As the show reaches its end, the cracks in the show are also starting to show. It’s still enjoyable enough for me to follow, but the weight of bringing together parallel universes, time travel, doppelgangers has become a burden that’s too heavy to bear. In spite of many questions that linger in my mind, there are still many touching and meaningful moments that keep me interested in what happens in the end.
The most touching moment for me was the parting between Eun Seob and Yeong. I’ve always enjoyed scenes with both characters and they play off each other so well whenever they are together, that I did tear when hugged each other. Unlike the other doppelgangers who have been antagonistic to each other, both Yeong and Eun Seob have become like brothers to each other, helping each other to protect what is precious to them. Having to take on Yeong’s position has brought out the heroism and selflessness in Eun Seob without having him lose his fun and cheerful personality.
Another character whose journey continues to be deep and meaningful is Shin Jae, and in this episode, we finally gets to meet his mum at the same spot where they first met Lee Rim at the bridge when he was still young. He meets her not to get an apology from her – he meets her so that he can wake up from this ‘bad dream’. He tells her then that he’s abandoning her this time; for the first time, finally, he has some agency to decide how to confront this reality of his confused identity and parenthood. After drifting around for twenty over years, uncertain of who is he or where he belongs, he now knows. Even though the answer is not a happy one, he finally has one. I believe it’s this certainty and decision that also makes him ready to sacrifice his life for Lee Gon, and confess his love for Tae-Eul. Shin Jae’s story is the type of story I wish we had more of in the show, with such profound emotional and psychological impact.
Part of me thinks that this is not the last encounter we will see between Shin Jae and his mother. Given how things are building up towards the finale, I foresee one of our dear characters – be it Yeong, Shin Jae, Tae-Eul or Lee Gon – will have to be sacrificed in this big battle, and somehow I have a feeling Shin Jae will not survive our finale.
However, as to what that big conclusion will be, I’m still not sure. While that can be a good thing in some shows as it creates in suspense, for TKEM, the uncertainty of the ending is due to confusion. At this point, it’s not just the time travelling that’s confusing, but also certain characters’ motivations and decisions become less clear.
For example, in this episode, once the magic flute becomes whole, Lee Gon can no longer go back to that moment because he no longer hears the music. However, at that moment, he has Lee Rim right beside him, along with both Yeong and Shin Jae. It seems like he was already intending to travel back at that point. Why doesn’t he just split the flute and then get one of them to follow Lee Rim, while the other follows him? Also, why is Lee Rim so hell-bent on controlling the universe and eternity – what does he ultimately want to achieve out of that?
I’m also wondering Tae-Eul’s decision in allowing Luna (who has just stabbed her a few days ago to get her organs and poisoned Lee Gon) to stay with her dad in the world of Korea. Luna has not done a very convincing job of being Tae-Eul at all, and how could Tae-Eul even imagine that she would be a suitable replacement? Am I missing something? Was there a scene where Luna did something to win over Tae-Eul’s trust – because at this point, this is all bewildering to me.
Similarly, Seo-Ryung’s character is also a big disappointment for me. Having claimed that she wants to get the flute in Episode 14, she does nothing in Episode 15 except to threaten Lee Rim. We are one episode away from the series ending and we have no idea what her bigger plan is and how she intends to achieve it.
Putting aside all the confusion, the episode did give us plenty of sweet and meaningful moments between Lee Gon and Tae-Eul. It’s kind of bitter-sweet that even though Lee Gon visited Tae-Eul at different points of time in the past, that ultimately did not change where they are now in 2020. Yes, they did spend more time together, and she did go to his parallel universe quicker, while also accepting her fate quickly. However, tragedy ironically came earlier and fate didn’t change. Fate did not change, because Lee Gon was not ultimately trying to change it as he moved through time.
Unlike Lee Rim, Lee Gon is not intent on disrupting the order of the world and challenging fate. He certainly could have warned Tae-Eul of what was going to happen, since he did get to see her when it was Election Day and Lee Rim was already present. However, he knows his destiny and he knows that if he attempts to change anything along the way, it might result in more disaster.
We later learn in a conversation with Shin Jae about what Lee Gon has decided to do. He wants to go back in time again and kill Lee Rim straightaway at his moment of anger, rather than focus on saving his younger-self. By doing so, Lee Rim would not have been able to wreak havoc on both the worlds of Corea and Korea. That would definitely be a game-changer, but would it be so simple? Does that necessarily mean that Lee Gon and Tae-Eul would never meet again? Let’s hope that the finale gives us some satisfactory answers in this aspect.