The Dark Night Rises
Episode 12 of Penthouse Season 3 begins with Ma-Ri arriving to see the absolute devastation in the wake of the incident involving Seo-Jin. Screaming to the heavens, she calls for help.
Meanwhile, Seok-Kyung acts smugly in the police station, refusing to disclose where in Japan she’s taken Dan-Tae. The detective gets more luck with Su-Ryeon though, who believes he’s being kept in a mental facility.
In the wake of all this drama, Seok-Kyung breaks down. She apologizes for what’s happened, as Su-Ryeon’s kindness manages to get through her daughter’s mental barriers. As they hug, Seok-Hoon receives a call from Ma-Ri. She’s at the hospital and Seo-Jin is in a bad way.
Su-Ryeon is convinced she’s putting on an act, while Eun-Byeol acts as her Mother’s guardian in the wake of all this. Only… Seo-Jin claims she doesn’t know who she is as – yep, you guessed it – the amnesia trope pops up again. While Seo-Jin seems to forgets who she is, the loan sharks show and decide to use Secretary Do as collateral while revealing that they’ll be in debt forever.
Having moved on from eating SIM cards, Seo-Jin lashes out and bites one of the men in the ear. It’s a brief respite in truth, and enough for the loan sharks to be ushered out the door and forced to leave. At the same time, Seok-Kyung tries to earn forgiveness from Ro-Na but given all the horrible things that have happened in the past, that’s easier said than done.
Meanwhile, Dan-Tae manages to break free from the facility, courtesy of some quick thinking and pouring a massive tub of noodles over himself. He dons a disguise and manages to leave out the front door. He rings Seok-Hoon not long after, asking for his help in getting back to the penthouse.
Although Seok-Hoon agrees to help, in truth he’s still working with Logan and Su-Ryeon. He actually wants to kill the man himself. Unfortunately Dan-Tawe is savvy enough to evade their trap, stowing away on a fishing boat and managing to make it back to shore undetected.
Well, Su-Ryeon has plans for that. She spills all the news about Dan-Tae’s past over the news, including his murderous past and all the transgressions that have led to numerous people dying. Having now fallen from grace, Dan-Tae starts to reflect on where he started from – and where it all went wrong.
Speaking of wrong, Kyu-Jin and Sang-A both learn that Min-Hyuk is joining the military and had enough of them. Right off the back of this, the squabbling couple decide they want to get a divorce.
Su-Ryeon gently encourages Ro-Na to leave and study abroad. While this is a good opportunity for her, it also seems like a way of shielding her from a much larger plot. This plan involves Su-Ryeon publicly announcing an engagement to Logan in a bid to lure Dan-Tae out of hiding. She promises not to let the madman kill her but there’s bigger news afoot.
Along with some very heavy plot armour, Seo-Jin has also been diagnosed with early onset dementia. Given how she doesn’t remember anything, it does seem like it’s worse than that – or she’s putting some of this on.
Sporting a nasty Joker-esque cut up the side of his mouth, Dan-Tae shows up at the hospital to see secretary Jo. He promises to be in this with his boss, even offering up his parents’ place for the man to crash for the time being. After all, there’s a national manhunt underway right now. And just as predicted, when Dan-Tae finds out about the ceremony and decides to crash the party – with explosives no less.
Secretary Jo is eventually killed when he tries betraying Dan-Tae, while the latter breaks into Hera Palace and sets up his explosives across the building. A bomb threat is called in, prompting everyone to scarper. Upstairs though, a maddened Dan-Tae holds the detonator and prepares to fire against Su-Ryeon. Only, Su-Ryeon has heard enough and brandishes a gun, hidden under her dress.
Su-Ryeon eventually does fire though, shooting Dan-Tae in the chest – and then in the head. Just before Dan-Tae falls out the top of the window to his doom – ironically in the same way Seol-A did in season 1 – he sets off the detonator.
Su-Ryeon realizes that this is the end, as the bombs blow and Hera Palace comes crashing down.
The Episode Review
This ending really does feel like a conclusive finale to Penthouse. It’s poetic in a way that Dan-Tae dies in the exact same way that Seol-A did at the start of episode 1. The only thing that could have perhaps made this better is seeing Su-Ryeon going down the elevator like she did the first time around. I would say that she’s definitely a goner but honestly, it’s hard to tell with this show sometimes.
This chapter feels like it borrows elements from The Dark Knight too, between Dan-Tae’s scar up his mouth (hello, Joker) to his crazy mannerisms right the way through to the terrorist threat and becoming a national icon – the whole episode felt like it had been ripped from Nolan’s script.
At the same time, there’s some serious plot armour here and seeing Seo-Jin absolutely fine (minute the dementia stuff) is a little disappointing, to say the least. It would have been nice to see her in surgery and actually suffering from bad internal bleeding, maybe being unable to move rather than moving about freely and biting ears.
Despite that though, I still stand by what I said all those episodes ago. Penthouse should have ended with season 2, with a fitting finish for all our characters and redemption for Seol-A.
Still, there’s two more chapters to go and it seems like they’re going to be used to close out all our major storylines. For now though, we’ll have to wait and see if that transpires in that way – or if there’s another twist in the tale. One thing’s for sure though – Hera Palace is no more!