We’ve come to the end of “Liar Game”, and the finale is filled with revelations, drama, and guns. The main storylines are brought to a close, but the door is left tantalizingly open for a second season.
After running through my five favorite scenes, I’ll share my thoughts on the drama as a whole, and akinahana89 will share hers, since covering this drama was a team effort. I hope you enjoyed the ride as much as we did!
These were my five favorite scenes from “Liar Game” episode 12:
1. Lee PD defends her show
If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it many times: I really like Lee PD. She’s wonderfully professional, but she clearly cares about people. I loved her in this episode, as she did her level best to make a good episode of television, even as all of her contestants were acting out and plotting and settling scores. Good for her—may her career be long and prosperous!
2. “Reward loyalty. Punish betrayal.”
Honestly, I like how sweet and trusting Da Jung is. Especially in the face of so much deceit, I think it takes a lot of courage on her part to always see the best in people. But I confess I was a little happy when she turned her gun on Woo Jin and recited his own words back to him. It’s all well and good to always be sweet and kind, but it’s nice to see that she’s learned some self-preservation, and that she won’t take cruelty lying down.
3. Woo Jin wasn’t the one with the real bullet
This, I did not see coming. It turned out that Do Young’s minion took the bullet from the detective’s gun, making Woo Jin surprisingly innocent. Even worse, Do Young put the real bullet on Da Jung’s podium—so that if anyone died, Da Jung would be the killer. Wow. I think Kang Do Young might be the picture in the dictionary next to “evil genius.”
4. Woo Jin saves Do Young
I was sort of expecting Do Young to die. Before I watched this episode, I thought that Woo Jin would kill him. Once we saw how he meddled with the bullets, I thought Da Jung would be the one to do it—accidentally, of course. But even though Da Jung did pull the trigger and send a real bullet flying towards Do Young, he lived—because Woo Jin saved him. I don’t know what surprised me more: the fact that Woo Jin did this (though I think he did it more to protect Da Jung from becoming a killer than because he cared whether Do Young lived or died), or the look on Do Young’s face when he was anticipating the killing blow. He looked almost peaceful, like he would welcome death. As he later informed Woo Jin, his death had always been a possible part of the plan. I wonder if Woo Jin did the right thing in saving him.
5. Sung Joon lives!
When Woo Jin and Da Jung saw a bruised and battered Sung Joon in the hospital, I just squealed, “Puppy’s alive!” I’m so happy that he didn’t die.
Overall thoughts and feelings
Honestly, I’m torn. I really enjoyed this drama—it was fast-paced, struck a good tonal balance between dread, humor, and heart, and it had a really gorgeous aesthetic, all slick, cool blues. The cast was uniformly excellent, and I came to care about every “Liar Game” participant because of that. The way that Woo Jin and Da Jung’s relationship developed was lovely, and definitely left the door open to a future romance. The plot was propulsive and twisty. I was always excited to see the next episode, and I always had fun while watching.
But this finale didn’t entirely land for me, and I think the problem is less the content and more the structure. For instance, I liked the flashback scenes at the orphanage. They were atmospheric and disturbing and showed us that maybe Kang Do Young was a bad egg even before he was taken to America (seriously, that well game creeped me out!). But because these scenes were intercut with the final round of the “Liar Game”, and with Dal Goo’s mission to rescue Da Jung’s father, the overall effect felt weakened. The tension of the game was never really allowed to properly build because we kept on switching to other scenes.
Another issue I had with this final episode was Do Young. Over the past few weeks, he had been steadily unraveling. But here, he was weirdly in control, just as he was at the beginning. So the final confrontation felt a lot less dramatic, because Woo Jin was practically foaming at the mouth, and Do Young was acting like he was being treated to free entertainment. I would have much preferred to dig deeper into just who Do Young is, how he became that way, and how truly unhinged he is. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but he just wasn’t creepy enough in this finale. I can’t help but feel let down—I feel like earlier episodes promised that Do Young and his inner psychological horror would keep me up at night, but that ended up really not being the case.
The thing is, I liked this drama. I liked it a lot. But because it was so good before, it set up really high expectations for its conclusion. For me, those expectations were not quite met. But I would still absolutely recommend “Liar Game”, and I’d happily watch a second season. Although I really hope that, if there is a second season, they don’t actually give Woo Jin the haircut he was sporting in the final shot of the episode!
akinahana89’s Final Thoughts
After last week’s all new level of intensity, I had mentally prepared myself to be absolutely blown away by the last two episodes. Unfortunately, I actually felt a bit disappointed with episode 11. I didn’t feel that heart gripping, hand trembling thrill of the unknown except for that brief scene where Ha Woo Jin finally unblocked his memories because of the painting. (That was creepy!) I contributed the predictability of the episode to the fact that we knew, ultimately, the showdown was between Ha Woo Jin, Nam Da Jung, and Kang Do Young, but there was no explanation for how “Liar Game” suddenly straddled the border of becoming a drama cliché based on the hints thrown at us about their connected pasts.
For the very first time, I was concerned about the finale. Korean dramas are notorious for their lackluster endings, so I was suddenly struck with the fear that the last two episodes would completely ruin the drama for me. When episode 12 finally rolled around, I realized… I needn’t have worried. At all. In fact, I should have begged for the PD’s forgiveness for ever having doubted him.
Because, wow! Wow! What a finale! What intensity! What utter perfection! I could scarcely breathe the entire time with the unexpected, the twists, the revelations, the ability to finally connect all the dots, and the fear. Oh, the fear! It was delicious in a psychological way and I think I’m still shivering just a little…
The connection between Kang Do Young, Nam Da Jung, and Ha Woo Jin was actually very tastefully done. It broke my heart to see how different Kang Do Young was compared to his bright, trusting nature as a child, but it didn’t make him any less insane, although I suppose the fault wasn’t exactly his. In fact, I found him to be a giant walking contradiction. He was a victim, but also the perpetrator; a puppet, but also the instigator.
I think Ha Woo Jin still had many burdens to unleash, but thankfully, he has Nam Da Jung on his side now, to faithfully trust in and support him. I was also grinning from ear to ear at the relationship between Jo Dal Goo and Jamie, along with seeing Sung Joon battered and torn, but very much alive! Even Bulldog and Goo In Gi had their happy endings. At last, everything is as it should be… for now.
Plot aside, the acting from the entire cast was stellar and topnotch, as always. Plot wise, almost everything was tied together neatly and satisfactorily with a bow. I say “almost” because the finale strongly hinted at a second season. The cast wants one, the fans want one, and the PD for “Liar Game” said they’ve already secured all the rights for the entire original “Liar Game” series, so it is a definite possibility. I, for one, am totally game for it! I’ve actually been hoping for another season since the beginning, so I have all ten fingers and toes crossed for my “Liar Game” dream to come true.
And pssst… PD-nim, can you make sure to add in that Ha Woo Jin and Nam Da Jung love line in season two because they were absolutely killing me and countless others with their chemistry? He he!
But moving on from the joke that wasn’t really a joke, I would highly recommend “Liar Game” and give it an honest 10 out of 10 stars rating, which I rarely do. Again, I’ve never seen the original Japanese version or read the manga series, so I can’t compare, but I know I enjoyed the Korean remake thoroughly. I consider it one of the best dramas of 2014, if not the best drama in this genre. There were zero regrets and I’m already planning a re-watch because, frankly, it’s just that good.
What did you think about “Liar Game?” For those who have seen the original, how did this version compare in the end? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below and let’s wish for a second season together. I would love for rughydrangea and I to reunite with you for another seasonal ride full of heart pounding, palm sweating, intensity filled goodness!