They Should Have Ended It At Season 2
Episode 2 of Penthouse Season 3 begins with Seo-Jin fished out the water and offered a deal. Yoon-Hee and Su-Ryeon want her to team up with them and take down Dan-Tae. With the villains released from prison, the pair have lost faith in the law system and intend to work beyond it.
Seo-Jin leaves the stream and heads up to see Eun-Byeol. She’s not happy to see her Mum though, and reminds her that she’s the one who ruined her life. In Seo-Jin’s absence, she’s actually been happy. When Seo-Jin threatens Ms Jin, Eun-Byeol holds a knife up to her neck to show just how serious she is.
Meanwhile, Dan-Tae attends the press conference for Cheong-A. The company is on the verge of going bust and they refuse to accept his executive command. Well, the more vocal of those in attendance find themselves instantly dismissed. With Dan-tae abusing his power, Seo-Jin suddenly shows up and plays happy families. She plays up to the cameras too, intending to change public opinion.
In private, Seo-Jin shows the photos she’s managed to obtain from Secretary Do depicting Dan-Tae in his old man disguise. She blackmails him into becoming partners on the Executive Board and promises to show Su-Ryeon if he doesn’t comply.
Back home, Su-Ryeon returns to find the writers repeating her story again. How? Well, Logan is back. But this time it’s Logan’s brother, Alex. Apparently Logan withdrew 10 billion dollars on the day of his death and Alex is back to figure out where it is. He’s not happy to see her though and promises to get revenge for Logan’s death.
Meanwhile, Seo-Jin confronts her family – and in particular Seo-Young and her mother. She forces them to sign over Myeongdong building but Cheong-A foundation? Well, that’s been sold to Su-Ryeon.
After all the bullying, Je-Ni’s Father shows up at school and immediately makes his presence felt. He threatens Seok-Kyung and Min-Hyeok too. Su-Ryeon shows up too and immediately fires Doo-Ki for everything he’s done.
Meanwhile, Kyu-Jin makes bail and is released early from prison too. He immediately sees the group, where Dan-Tae has an idea regarding an innovation of a new district. Kyu-Jin refuses to fall for this again, given how much money he spent before. Well, Yoon-Chool too suddenly shows up after being released. He had the shortest sentence of them all. He’s determined to gain revenge though – and obtain a boatload of money in the process.
Back home, Je-Ni’s father returns to see Ma-Ri has been released too because why not I guess? Everyone else is out now. It turns out Dong-Pil has actually been to prison too for murder. Dan-Tae reminds him of this as Seok-Kyung comes out of hiding and peddles the same ideas from way back in season 1 – she wants Dan-Tae to get rid of Ro-Na.
We then skip forward to the day of the university exam. Je-Ni is shown audio evidence of her father’s confession by Seok-Kyung. This prevents Je-Ni from singing while Eun-Byeol is disqualified thanks to her phone being stashed into her bag. It was Seok-Kyung of course, but it’s staged to make it seem like it was Ro-Na. All of this is, of course, a ploy to get Seok-kyung into the SNU.
That evening, while Dan-Tae speaks to Seok-Kyung at the restaurant, Baek Joon-Ki looks set to kill him from afar. He holds a gun up to him and prepares to fire. That is, until Su-Ryeon shows up and stops him. Dan-Tae realizes something is up and heads over to investigate.
The Episode Review
Penthouse should have ended with season 2. This third season began with a rocky opener and now this follow-up has completely undone all the good work established in progressing our characters and bringing people to justice. Everyone is released from prison with varying degrees of believable excuses and no one has learned anything.
Seeing Seok-Kyung regress back into “Ro-Na revenge” mode is particularly disappointing while the tired trope of a long lost brother is repeated with Logan lee.
That brings with it its own set of issues including some questionably racist cultural appropriation. I won’t go into specifics but suffice to say SBS are likely to get a lot of complaints off the back of this episode. And why is this even here? It’s a lazy story trope, and while it was just about passable for Su-Ryeon, it just feels insulting with it repeated a season on.
While there are some good moments and the acting continues to impress, the writers are clearly spinning wheels now and the show is struggling to come up with anything unique or original. Lt’s hope next week’s episode is an improvement because right now Penthouse feels like that boisterous party guest that’s fun at first but now starting to overstay their welcome.
Expect a full season write-up when this season concludes!