The Penthouse – K-Drama Episode 21 (Finale/Ending) Recap & Review


This Is Not The End!

We begin episode 21 of The Penthouse with audio-footage incriminating Yoon-Hee. Along with the bloodied knife with her fingerprints all over, Yoon-Hee eventually outright admits to killing Su-Ryeon. As she says the words, she goes on to reveal she hated Su-Ryeon and wanted her dead.

In the room opposite, Joo Dan-Tae also blames himself but he’s allowed to leave and head home. When the detective leaves the room, he drops the façade and continues to act like his usual selfish self. Ugh, this guy really is the worst! Ro-Na unfortunately is the real casualty here, as she sits in the lobby unsure what to do next.

While most of the residents are in mourning, Ma-Ri is only concerned about the price of Hera Palace now that Su-Ryeon is dead. Kyu-Jin simply tells them all to play up their grief, “The skies will eventually fall with the rich.”

Seok-Hoon and Seok-Kyung decide to leave the Penthouse for good. At the same time, Seo-Jin steps up as Hospital Director and immediately kicks Yoon-Cheol out of the hospital and suspends his license. Eun-Byeol however is finally starting to come around to her Father’s way of thinking and throws a cake Seo-Jin gets her in the bin.

Logan awakens tied up to a chair thanks to Joo’s goons. Joo shows up and immediately antagonizes the American-Korean. He mentions Logan’s Father and it turns out he’s bargained with him. In fact, it goes deeper than that given the evidence he’s managed to obtain. This would almost certainly incriminate his Father and send him straight to prison. As Logan screams at the Chairman, asking who killed Su-Ryeon, Joo instead walks away and heads back to the Palace to spend time with Seo-Jin.

As we cut back in time, we see more of the parking lot confrontation between Seo-Jin and Yoon-Hee. Despite Joo calling Yoon-Hee his woman, he actually kept tabs on her afterwards while scheming with Seo-Jin. It turns out he was planning this whole coup all this time, ditching Yoon-Hee at the right time to frame her for killing Su-Ryeon.

In order to put the finishing touches to his plan, Joo needs funds – funds delivered through Seo-Jin’s reserves. Along with Seo-Jin, Joo meets with the Congressman and presents him with a big bribe. This is used to cover up everything that’s happened while he’s blackmailed for his own corruption issues.

Out at the police station, we cut back in time as we see Yoon-Hee actually threw the knife in the bin but Secretary Cho picked it up. He then convinced Yoon-hee to head home while Joo framed the entire picture frame incident to make it look like Yoon-Hee was deranged.

Joo was the one who convinced Ms Yang to call Su-Ryeon, with Seo-Jin colluding with him to ring when Yoon-Hee showed up at the Penthouse. Joo was the one who actually killed Su-Ryeon, setting everything up to frame Yoon-Hee for Su-Ryeon’s murder.

With all the pieces aligning for Joo and Seo-Jin, Ro-Na is the real victim here. She pleads with the detectives to let her see her Mother. Ro-Na is not taking no for an answer and sits cross-legged on the floor.

Back in the interview room, Yoon-Hee learns that her prospects of winning this case are close to zero so she’s admitting to murder in order to try and leave prison quicker. Given she killed Seol-A though, it seems like a part of her is also  Yoon-Hee is repenting for her actions.

Poor Ro-Na retunes home to find the word “psychopath” written over the front of her door along with a number of other horrible messages. Jenny shows up though and hands over a bag full of food, telling her not to cry on an empty stomach. Ro-Na acts her heart out when she heads inside, showing her SBS Award was well-placed, as she weeps and struggles to compose herself.

We then cut forward 6 months later. Chairman Joo is a free man and his embezzlement charges have been dropped. Kyu-Jin is being groomed by his parents to be a politician while Seo-Jin is back at school with everyone gushing over her return.

Eun-Byeol remains silent though, turning away from her Mother and refusing to talk. Instead, she glares at Seo-Jin as she decides to attend a party with Joo and the others to celebrate their big win.

Eun-Byeol suddenly asks about her Grandfather and as we cut back in time, it turns out she was the one who recorded her Mother and was there that evening. She doesn’t give anything away but immediately gets the upper-hand over Seo-Jin, who seems to understand her daughter knows something.

Seo-Jin starts becoming paranoid, seeing Seol-A’s ghost (see, I told you guys last episode recap it would happen!) and her dead Grandfather in the reflection of the windows.

Ms Yang is given a whole stack of gold bars for her part in this elaborate cover-up. Seok-Hoon watches from afar and sees her bribed with thousands of dollars. To further clean everything up, Joo decides to send Seok-Hoon and Seok-Kyung abroad to study. Apparently it was their decision but it’s difficult to believe this is the truth.

Back in prison, Yoon-Hee’s trial goes ahead. Just before that, we see Su-Ryeon giving a petition over to a reporter, who subsequently drops it off to Yoon-Hee. As she reads the words with trembling hands, the letter confirms that Yoon-Hee is a warm and kind-hearted person.

As she reads the words, Yoon-Hee immediately breaks down crying. Well, that’s the least of her problems as she’s also given life in prison. As the words come out, Yoon-Hee stands up and pleads with them all, revealing that she’s not responsible and asks for the investigators to look at the case again.

As she pleads with Ro-Na to help, Yoon-Hee is transferred to prison. While all this is going on, the Hera Palace residents live it up.

En-route to prison though, Logan hijacks the police escort. He flips the car upside down, uncuffing Yoon-Hee and taking off. Police are hot on their heels though but the pair manage to get away. When Yoon-Hee awakens, she finds herself with Logan.

Only, Logan knows that Yoon-Hee killed Seol-A and now she knows that Logan is her brother. Yoon-Hee pleads with him to stop, if only to get revenge on Seo-Jin and Joo who are the real duo responsible for what’s happened here.

Yoon-Hee does admit to killing Seol-A though and proceeds to stab herself in the throat. As she collapses to the ground, blood seeps all over the floor as Logan stands over her.

As season 1 comes to a close, Yoon-Hee seems to let out her dying breath while Seo-Jin looks out the window at the penthouse.

The Episode Review

Okay this one is going to need some dissecting! Thematically, The Penthouse leaves with a very dramatic finale that also teaches a pretty damning message. The rich will always succeed and thrive to the top while those who are good and righteous will fail – unless they know how to play the game. Now, perhaps this is a controversial opinion but at times Penthouse is quite reminisce of Game Of Thrones.

No it’s not a lavish production with massive, epic fights but that show depicted a lot of evil characters getting their way for large periods of the opening seasons. Eventually everyone learned how to play the game…until the writers kinda forgot how to finish their own story.

Anyway, I digress. Ned Stark needed to die in season 1 (and he was the main character of the show!) because he didn’t know how to play the game properly.

Penthouse feels like it’s trying to emulate that same formula with the hierarchical nature of rich and poor. Su-Ryeon is obviously “in” with the rich crowd but played her hand too early and revealed herself to Joo and the others. I’m sure she’s ruing the moment she revealed herself with the caged bus.

The same goes for Logan too, who showed up on the escalator and revealed everything to Joo, believing the Chairman would be locked up for good. Unfortunately, Joo is far too cunning for that and was subsequently captured by his goons.

Believe it or not, this sort of trickery was actually foreshadowed early on with Kyu-Jin trying to blackmail Joo and failing miserably. We’ve seen what happens when these residents try to break the rules and don’t have a Plan B to fall back on.

So then, how did Logan escape from Joo’s warehouse? Where has Ro-Na been for these 6 months? Has she been investigating? And could we see Eun-Byeol gain revenge over her Mother and leak the details of the murder? There’s certainly a lot of tantalizing questions waiting for season 2 and hopefully we don’t have to wait too long before the show returns.

Lee Ji-Ah leaving the show is a bit of a disappointment no doubt, but I’d imagine the narrative will now shift focus to Yoon-Hee and Logan (or Ro-Na and Logan if Yoon-Hee really is dead) to take down Chairman Joo, Seo-Jin and the others. And what of Seok-Hoon too? He’s seen the maid’s bribe – he could be the wild-card for season 2.

While season 1 is not the ending many people will want, especially with the antagonists coming out on top, the fact we’ve got 2 more seasons to come is evidence enough that Penthouse has plenty more gas left in the tank. Until next season though, we’ll be left with numerous theories and ideas for where this one will go next.


What did you think of Penthouse’s finale? Will you be sticking around for seasons 2 and 3? Let us know in the comments below!

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13 thoughts on “The Penthouse – K-Drama Episode 21 (Finale/Ending) Recap & Review”

  1. Question: Is Joo Hye In really the daughter of Soo Ryun and Dan Tae? Why was she in the hospital for so long? Did she have an accident?
    At the beginning of the drama, there was an exchange of baby tags – Sol-A’s and a sickly baby’s – in the hospital. Is the then sickly baby Hye In and therefore not Soo Ryun’s real daughter, Sol-A being the one who lost in the exchange? Now that Soo Ryun is gone, will Dan Tae be able to use her inheritance as he wishes since he is now her only parent/guardian?
    Lots of other loose ends/questions.
    Beautiful Kim So Yeon’s acting was so over the top at times – I had to laugh -, as was Choi Ye Bin’s.
    I am so unhappy/frustrated with how this drama ended. Hope they’ll salvage it in S2.

  2. Season 2 without Su-Ryeon definitely I’m not going to watch it even though i love logan so much but w/out su-ryeon is like eating a plain rice (no taste) huhuhu. Love this couple logan-su ryeon so much, they both must ended living 2gether hahaha.

  3. Is it just me? I have this odd feeling that’s been lingering in my head after this episode ended. I feel like I’m leaning towards that Su Ryeon has a twin too. I remember in episode 20 when Logan and Su Ryeon were talking it left off when she asked where the woman in the photo is.. and then it jumps to when they were hiding at Su Ryeon’s furniture company so there’s like a certain gap between these two scenes. I feel season two well be even more intense. And as far as I know I don’t know much about Su Ryeon’s family backstory other than her father giving the company to her daughter. What about Su Ryeon’s mother? Was she mentioned in these past episodes? And if the woman in the photo is recent that means she didn’t die so something must’ve happened that time too and I have a feeling Joo Dan Tae had something to do with it. And I feel that when season 2 comes out.. which is two episodes a week and since it’s 12 episodes the season will go by quick, and they’ll bombard us to get the truth out. And I do hope the kids will be featured more in this next season now that they’ll probably be older if there’s gonna be another time skip or something. I’m really anxious about next season.

  4. Honestly without Lee Ji Ah and her character i have less reasons to watch this painfully annoying show, much less a second season, when most of the characters including that annoying Bo Na are all dislikeable and over the very top. Its a typical Korean drama which depicts, as always, a society full of rich scums bullying and terrorising the poor while the law and enforcement forces either colludes or totally inept.

  5. also confuses me…remember the scene when Su Ryeon remembered everything when Su Ryeon and her former husband were by the piano playing…and Joo sprayed them with gunshots….then at the hospital when Su Ryeon was watching Seol A at the nursery Joo came and asked if they can get back together?Implicatibg they were lovers before….So if Su Ryeon had a twin…is Joo really that obssessed with Su Ryeon to the point of finding somebody exactly like SuRyeon

  6. Hey Jeanda,

    You’re absolutely right. I just rewatched the scene again and it was definitely Seok-Hoon. I’ve updated the recap and also adjusted the lawyer/reporter section too. Thank you for the correction, it’s very much appreciated!

    -Greg W

  7. I heard Lee Jiah was in the script reading for season 2! So she will probably be in season 2! If the mom of the twins is Shim Suryeon’s twin sister then it makes sense that she gave birth to twins, right?

  8. I’ve read over the words. It wasn’t Yoon-Cheol who saw the maid with gold bars it was Seok-Hoon. And the one who gave the petition was the reporter not the lawyer.

  9. The lady who gave birth to Chairman Joo’s twins looked like Su-Ryeon so I guess Lee Ji Ah will be back next season?

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