I have just finished Heartless City and I think it’s called Heartless City because by the end of twenty action-packed episodes your heart is ripped to shreds. You, in effect, become heartless.
I am so emotionally worn out after watching that finale. It was, as Javabeans likes to say, by no means perfect, but it sucked you in and does not ever let you go. It holds you as mercilessly in its grasp as the drug world holds Jung Shi-hyun.
This finale was strong. It tied up lose ends, kept the action going and developed the characters until the bitter end.
I really don’t have much to say, I don’t think. I’m so emotionally raw right now. My eyes are red and puffy and I can’t imagine my life without new episodes to watch every week.
Okay, let me rant on the stuff I didn’t care for first because then I want to GUSH.
I hated that Hyung-min’s father turned over a new leaf at the end and decided to do the upright thing. It’s totally not in his character. I think he should’ve been taken down, but that would’ve required more time. It was an easy way to wrap up the corrupt officials matter. I do, however, LOVE how Hyung-min reacted to it. So very him. The camera panning out on his stunned, impressed expression was epic.
The ridiculously short glimpse of Paksa’s back in the very last frame was LAME. I know there was supposed to be some alternate ending or some shit where he lived on without Soo-min knowing, but that’s as unrealistic as Hyung-min’s father repenting. Paksa is dead as much as I LOATHE to say it. It was a matter of time. Plus, the death he had was poetic and beautiful. Why undermine it with that lame copout? No, he’s dead. Why? I SAY SO!
Also, I think Hyung-min should’ve voiced over at the end. I KNOW Paksa is Paksa and he’s the man and the BESTEST, but Hyung-min is the leader of the living who will go on to fight the fight. He’s the one who will smile to make the world smile along with Soo-min and the others.
I’m going to talk about this in another post so I won’t get to into it, but this show epitomizes my idea of having two different ways to watch drama. You can watch it for enjoyment and leave the analysis aside. Or you can watch it for analysis or recapping. I am SO glad I didn’t recap this. This show is the most wonderful in the moment piece of cinematic art. It sweeps you up in his world despite all of the writing/production/etc indescrepencies. My sister and I literally flipped out when subs were out and ran downstairs screaming “PAKSA” to watch it on our new 40″ t.v. Paksa in 40″ glory. HELLZ YEAH! Had I been recapping, I think I would’ve loved it, but not to this extent. Analyzing things tends to kill the beauty of the “moment” sometimes.
And now to confess my undying girlcrush on Jin-sook. HOMIGOSH I LOVE JIN-SOOK! She is one of the best female characters EVAR. Smart AND clever, beautiful, powerful, a true alpha female and she still doesn’t lose any of the beauty of being a woman. She’s confident and knows how to love. Every scene with her in it was bloody amazing. Watching her realize that Soo-min betrayed her was so breathtaking. In fact, not even breathtaking. I held my breath most of the time. She is so human despite the kind of work she does.
We can’t forget that Jin-sook wouldn’t have been the amazing Jin-sook we know without the power-fucking-house Kim Yoo-mi delivering every second of every scene she was in. She is on my radar. Forever. I’m just blown away by her. She was cute, scary, vulnerable and everything you’d want out of a former-prostitute turned drug kingpin with a lot of power and an unrequited love. She is my favorite character just over Paksa. I know, BLASPHEMY, but she was so raw and real for me, that I can’t help it. That’s why I call her my girlcrush. Get over it. She’s the bomb digity.
Min Hong-ki, evil cop extraordinaire, loved her, too. That’s the only real thing I believed about him. She has this quiet elegance that is captivating. But besides his love for her, Hong-ki was a manipulative asshole. I think he didn’t actually have a real end goal in mind. It was this twisted idea of what he thought he wanted and what he believed to be justice. I just loved that he dug his own grave by playing everyone against each other. In the end, it played against him. He was clever as hell though, using people’s weaknesses to keep them chained to him. It was the cause of Paksa’s demise in the end. Paksa wanted family, affection and to be told he was needed and worthwhile. Min Hong-ki told Paksa that he considered him a son and in that split second, Paksa froze and became vulnerable. Hong-ki took that moment and shot.
He is a sociopath, Min Hong-ki, and I’m wondering what his trigger was. Maybe it was losing Jin-sook. Maybe it was losing his family. Maybe it was something minor. I don’t know. I would’ve liked to learn more of his motivations, but I’ll settle for watching Hyung-min shoot the bastard to death. (My sister is totally cursing him out as I write this…hehehe.) But he was a great TRUE villain. I likes having a good bad guy! I liked not knowing what side he was on. I had as much trouble believing in him as Paksa did.
Okay, must address bromance. I love that Soo was as fiery-tempered as ever but as soon as he cursed Paksa out while drunk, I knew that he was on Paksa’s side. I knew that he would never turn Paksa over. He knows what that world is like and that Paksa had done some things that couldn’t be doubted – i.e. saving his life a bajillions time. Even so, it was so wonderful to see Soo go back and take on Chairman Jo and his thugs, fighting as he always does, swinging and having fun. Even in death, he just wanted Paksa to know that he had a good time with him, that his relationship with Paksa was the one true thing he valued and died for. How glorious the bromance was!!!! It was true until Soo’s, and then Paksa’s, bitter end.
I also believe Soo’s death was the last straw for Paksa. Yes, he loved Soo-min, but Soo was with him through it all. The pain, the late nights, the fights, the drinking to take the edge off of how hard it all was. It was pretty amazing to have Soo be that “loved one” that Chairman Jo killed. Bravo, show.
After Soo’s death, Paksa broke and for the first time, we see him kill on screen: he shoots Chairman Jo in the head. It’s such a tense moment and I seriously felt nauseous watching Paksa spiral. And the meeting with Min Hong-ki pretty much just killed me, pun intended. Paksa was at his weakest and he knew he could never go back to being a cop. I think he needed it to end. I did have the thought that he let himself be vulnerable to the psycho Hong-ki, but I honestly think that it was probably Hong-ki’s “fatherly” words that gave him the advantage to take the killing shot on Paksa.
Still, when Paksa was shot, I started to bawl. Especially when he got to die in Soo-min’s arms, seeing her cry for him, seeing that he was worthwhile to somebody. And especially after Jin-sook told him she was proud of him (because she’s fucking AWESOME). She gave him encouragement and true, heartfelt support. With all of that, he got to die in a way that was honestly better than he’d lived.
And then there’s the realization that he’s dead. I had to pause to cry and my sister laughed at me. But we’d just been through this huge journey with him, watching him be hurt and betrayed, watching him feel love and watching him wrestle with the fate given to him. My poor, poor, Paksa. And Jung Kyung-ho. Rest well, oppa. Take care of your back. You seriously blew my mind with your acting. That was real dedication. I totally couldn’t tell you were drugged up or in pain. BRAVO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Last, there was one other bromance that I grew to love. Hyung-min and Paksa. I adore that Hyung-min shed a tear for Paksa when he died. I also love that he didn’t move. Instead, he just watched take take him and watch Soo-min cry over him.
As for Soo-min herself, I like that she stayed by Paksa’s side. I think it made him ready for the end. He could see she was strong, he felt loved. And Soo-min learned as well. She may actually turn out to be an okay cop instead of a ditz.
In any case, Paksa’s story has come to an end, and I’m crying as I write this because I don’t want it to. WAH!
Please stay tuned because sometime in the future I will come out with a more detailed reaction to the series as a whole and I will address a bunch of issues that many people had with the show: Kyung-mi’s character, the lack of realism in the world of cops and druggies, Soo-min and Hyung-min. I’ll also talk about how MUCH I LOVE SAFARI SAMCHEON!!!!!
What did you guys think about the finale?
Other reviews and recaps: