Moorim School: Saga of the Brave 무림학교
Final Episode 16 [Love makes you see who you really are.]
The chintamani key isn’t the only thing that has to be pieced together in the final episode of Moorim School. Broken bromance, fractured families, a school with an unsure future, good and bad guys running around, the chintamani, and relationships are up in the air as Moorim School comes to and end.
Chi Ang is trying hard to step into his position of heir of Sang Hae Group and son of the powerful Chairman Hao. His father has placed the responsibility of the chintamani key in Chi Ang’s hands. He is in hot pursuit of Soon Deok at the moment who, he realizes, is wearing a piece of the chintamani around her neck in the form of Shi Woo’s necklace. He tells Secretary Chang this, but warns him not to hurt Soon Deok. I’m not sure why he trusts him with that information.
Chae Yoon arrives at Moorim with injured Hwang Moo Song. With the power of Gi Chae Sool, Chae Yoon stops an assailant from stabbing his friend. Realizing the Dean Monk is working with Juk Poong, Chae Yoon lets him know in front of everyone that he can handle the likes of him. Dean Monk’s days are numbered. Furthermore, the true nature of the chintamani is not to possess it for personal gain and power, but to possess it to protect the world from chaos.
Sun Ah calls Shi Woo to tell him that Soon Deok is headed to her hometown, Gangwondo, for her mother’s memorial. Soon Deok waits at a bus stop. There is an old poster of idol Shi Woo. She secures the loose corner of the poster with a chicken restaurant sticker. “You’re everywhere I go,” she sighs. Soon Deok believes that removing herself from Shi Woo’s life is the best thing since it was her family that made his life so hard.
Chae Yoon peeks in on Dean Hwang and Sun Ah. She sits by her father’s side and is full of remorse for the things she said. Dean Hwang stirs, but he still isn’t out of the woods with his injury. “Oppa, are you okay?” sh cries. She apologizes to him over and over.
In the dark halls of Moorim, Chae Yoon stands over the seal. He summons his powers to extract the third piece of the chintamani key that Hwang Moo Song hid in the seal for safekeeping. Sun Ah watches from the doorway. For the first time, father and daughter meet alone. He tells her that it’s ironic, they started all this to protect the world. But in the end he couldn’t protect it or his family. Although he has no regret, he only wanted to find his children. It is a tearful reunion. Sun Ah tells him that now that she’s found him, she wants to stand by his and the Dean’s side to protect Moorim.
The Juk Poong team made up of Old Chairman, Chairman Hao, and Dean Monk scramble to get the key now that they are exposed. Chairman Hao tells them they must wait until Chi Ang gets a hold of the third piece of the key. There is a turn of events, however; Chairman Hao takes offense to Dean Monk’s comments that he was smart to use his son from the beginning. Looks like Dean Monk is out – both chairmen have no use for “useless” people like Monk.
Shi Woo has missed what’s been going on at Moorim since he left to find Soon Deok. Sun Ah tells him that their father, Chae Yoon, is there. Soon Deok and her father are at the country house in Gangwando. Her father is sorry for the way things turned out, but Soon Deok knows that it was hard for him, too, and doesn’t resent him. She goes into town to find a job. Meanwhile, Shi Woo looks for her and finds the chicken restaurant sticker on his old idol poster. He knows she must be close by. Chairman Hao has sent his men to find her knowing that she has a piece of the chintamani key. She finds herself surrounded by men who have been ordered to escort her to the chairman. A car pulls up and Chi Ang gets out. He was on the way to find her, but his father was in too much of a hurry to get the key and sent his own men. In a way, they have the same goal in mind which is to get the chintamani key piece, but Chi Ang doesn’t like that his father stepped in.
Chi Ang mistakenly thinks that he can forcefully convince Soon Deok come with him. After all, he has joined with his father to get the chintamani, and he wants her. Why can’t she be with him? He has never been able to accept that she has given her heart to Shi Woo. Soon Deok tells him that she doesn’t like that he would hurt Shi Woo to get what he wants. He promises that if she’ll just come with him, no one will get hurt. Soon Deok has enough gumption to tell him that there is only one way no one will get hurt and that is for him and his father the give up the chintamani. Chi Ang says that is impossible; his father won’t give up until he gets what he wants. It is an ill-thought out ultimatum: if she comes with him, no one will get hurt. Chi Ang has chosen power over his friend and Moorim. Shi Woo, who was looking for her, arrives at that moment and grabs Soon Deok’s hand, “Let’s go.”
Shi Woo tells Chi Ang to take the key if that’s what he wants. Chi Ang yells, “Your mother died protecting it!” He can’t understand why Shi Woo won’t fight him for it. Shi Woo says all he cares about is Soon Deok’s safety and that his friend, Chi Ang, is all right. But, Chi Ang isn’t moved and says that if he really cares about him then he will give him the key.
The teachers, staff, and students rally behind Dean Hwang and Chae Yoon. They are grateful for their loyalty. Shi Woo convinces Soon Deok to return to Moorim with him. He tells her that what happened to him back then at the fire and in the woods is not her fault; in a way, her father saved his life. It’s time to put all that behind them. The one thing he is sure of is that he loves her. They are warmly greeted at Moorim. It is time for Shi Woo and Chae Yoon to meet as father and son. It’s a bittersweet reunion after eighteen years of being apart. Tears flow freely between them as they embrace. Chae Yoon tells him that he is sorry for being so late. Shi Woo whispers, “I missed you. I missed you so much, Father.” I feel so sorry for the time lost between them.
Chi Ang hands the chintmani key piece to his father who is surprised that Shi Woo gave it to him without a fight. When Chi Ang tells his father that Shi Woo still thinks of him as a friend, his father laughs. Since Chi Ang feels like he has always lost against Shi Woo, now that the chintamani key is in his hands, he plans to get everything he wants according to its legendary power. His father places the two pieces in his son’s hands.
Funny thing is, Shi Woo believes in his friend, Chi Ang more than Chi Ang believes in himself. Chae Yoon is worried that Chi Ang will turn on Shi Woo and doesn’t think that their plan to meet at Moorim Peak so that Shi Woo can give the last piece of the key to him is safe. Chae Yoon warns Shi Woo that Chi Ang may betray him, but that is a chance Shi Woo is willing to take. You have to feel for Chi Ang’s inner struggle at this point. Losing to Shi Woo and wanting things so badly has made him side with his father for the power of the chintamani. But, he doesn’t feel so good about trading that power for friendship and other things. More than ever before, Chi Ang is at a crossroads.
There is a cute, awkward scene between Sun Ah and Shi Woo as sister and brother who are still too shy to refer to each other as that. They promise to get used to their new sibling relationship and make up for the years they were apart. Such warm fuzzies!
Dean Hwang rests. Shi Woo steps into his room, and with the task ahead thinks, I will see you when I get back. Chi Ang heads up the path to Moorim Peak to meet Shi Woo. True to his promise, Shi Woo hands over the third and last piece to the chintamani key. Chi Ang has the complete key in his possession. Even though Shi Woo knows that Chi Ang could betray him, he tells his friend that he trusts him. What happens next is the turning point for Chi Ang. His father follows him to the mountain after all. Chairman Hao claims that it is because he couldn’t wait another second to see the chintamani key. Chi Ang has done some soul-searching and asks his father to choose between him and the key. He holds the key over the edge of the cliff. When his father hesitates, Chi Ang tells him how lonely he and his mother were because of father’s single-minded drive for power.
We backtrack in the sequence of events to discover that Chi Ang had made up his mind about the chintamani key before he met Shi Woo. When Shi Woo handed over the key with no strings attached, Chi Ang asked if he trusted him (not to betray him). Shi Woo says that they must destroy the chintamani key together to end the chaos. The plan: Chi Ang will ask his father to choose and knowing that he’ll choose the key over him, will jump off the cliff with the key to shake his father to the core. Shi Woo will use his powers to suspend Chi Ang and save him. But the key will be lost forever as he lets it go. It is the ultimate plan for Chi Ang to get his father’s attention and to put an end to the power struggle so that no one else would get hurt. Another thing, Chi Ang backed off from his relentless pursuit of Soon Deok because he realized his motives were selfish and he was unfair to her. To his friend he says, “Don’t make her cry. I won’t leave you alone if you make her cry.” Aw, bromancce is back!!
The plan is put in action. “If you say you’ll catch me, I’ll only drop the key,” Chi Ang tells his father. Sadly, his father angrily replies, “It was my mistake to trust you.” No, the biggest mistake was sending him to Moorim, Chi Ang says, for it was there that he learned there were things he wanted to protect and people who loved him. He tells his father that he really missed his love. It is an emotional confession from son to father, and with that, Chi Ang falls backwards off the cliff with the key in his hand. Shi Woo stands below, alert and ready to save his friend.
True to their plan, Shi Woo uses Gi Chae Sool power to suspend his friend. The key flies out of his hand – lost for eternity. Chi Ang closes his eyes, I trust you, Shi Woo. An arm reaches for him, outstretched to save him. It is Chi Ang’s father who reaches for him, not the key. I guess you’re never too old to learn a life lesson.
Seven Years Later
Dean Sun Ah walks the halls of Moorim. She stops by Professor Shim Soon Deok’s class. Shi Woo works in his room writing music. He hangs out At Moorim more than his studio because that’s where Soon Deok spends her time. Wherever she is is where he wants to be. So cute together! They’ve sent out wedding invitations, but so far, Shi Woo hasn’t heard from Chi Ang. They wonder if he is upset at the news of their marriage.
Dean Sun Ah and both fathers – Hwang Moo Song and Chae Yoon – head to Chi Ang’s office for the annual donation and support review. Chi Ang is Chairman of his father’s corporation now, and naturally, the biggest supporter or Moorim. Aw, his secretary is Choi Ho. Ain’t that adorable.
Chi Ang and Sun Ah are an item these days, too. They plan to tell their parents soon. One thing he has never told anyone: that day, he and Shi Woo went to see the chintamani. They did it before they destroyed the key. “Was it true that it held such power?” Sun Ah asks.
[Shi Woo’s voice over] ~ The power I generated to save Chi Ang ended up saving Chi Ang and his father, too. It also shattered the chintamani key. The chintamani is still hidden in the cave at Moorim Peak. I’m not sure the chintamani Chi Ang and I saw had the absolute power that would make all wishes come true. But what we witnessed was the reflection of ourselves in the chintamani. Even if we didn’t hold the chintamani in our hands, even if we looked at each other without saying anything, we realized what the chintamani meant.
Shi Woo wonders if they forgot anyone on their wedding list. One by one, we are updated as to where the students and staff are seven years later. All are expected to come to the wedding.
Our bromance buddies meet up. Shi Woo reminds his friend to take care of his sister and that he’d better not make her cry. “I won’t leave you alone if you make her cry.” Chi Ang mentions Shi Woo’s new hit song. “By the way, was it about us?” he asks. Shi Woo teasingly says, “No.” But the song is their story: two friends who climb a mountain, believe in each other and save each other. Shi Woo tells Chi Ang to feel honored that he’s the main character in his song.
They reminisce about their first day at Moorim and can’t resist a final challenge. “Let’s see how good you are.” Bromance lives!
- I’ll start out with what this kdrama did right.
- This was a decent coming-of-age story of boys to men and girls to women. The target audience would probably be more teen than adult (which, in part, accounts for the low ratings I would guess). It reminded me of a younger young adult fantasy novel. With that in mind, the neat wrap up is in keeping with a story that ends well. There was plenty of angst-y moments for our hero and antagonist of jealousy, doubt, betrayal, rivalry, and hurt feelings mixed in with heart-felt bromance and adventure.
- Bromance – everyone loves a bromance story line and two handsome men at that. Sometimes that’s enough just to watch the whole drama.
- I am a big fan of Lee Hyun Woo; he has such charisma, a beautiful smile, charming aura, he has a convincing delivery, and his acting is well-paced. He was captivating as Shi Woo, the idol with a chip on his shoulder and a sad childhood who came into his own through transformation. I also really liked Shin Hyunjoon as the loyal and unmovable Dean Hwang and loved Eugene as Sun Ah.
- But, oh! This drama was rift with problems, and it’s probably not necessary to go on and on, but I will mention a few.
- The Juk Poong story wasn’t consistently sinister enough. While Old Chairman heading up the bad guys was a twist, people like Luna and Secretary Chang were annoying, undeveloped side characters with no follow through as to who they were or why they were connected to Chairman Hao.
- Not to mention that no one was arrested for Shi Woo’s mother’s murder and burning down the house.
- Chi Ang’s mother’s cardboard character was pitiful. I could not make the leap of Chi Ang’s love for her even though I wanted to because she was such a flat character.
- Or that Shi Woo’s mother died for something that ended up, yeah – don’t make me go there. The man in the mirror ending was a disappointment. Big time. * (see more thoughts below)
- Chi Ang’s father, Chairman Hao, got off light in the end, too. It was an unsatisfactory resolve to his evil ways. I like a contrite and repentant bad guy, but it was left too vague. Could be the result of cutting the drama from 20 to 16 episodes.
- What happened to Yub Jung’s angry motivation? He was such a major part in the discord at the school. I was convinced that his elite Hong Kong Martial Arts family lineage had something to do with the chintamani and maybe even Chae Yoon’s wife who was murdered. But, there was absolutely no follow through to his story and the importance that was placed on being a loner and an elite fighter. Plus, the tension with his brother…nothing. The story line just dropped off.
- They could have acknowledged Shi Woo’s ringing in his ears and migraine and how that dissipated. Sure, we can assume that he faced some difficult things in his life and that eliminated the psychological trauma, but the show really needed to go there for the viewers and address it directly.
- I’ve mentioned all along the promise of magic and the lack of it was also disappointing. There were plenty of opportunities for magic to fly and martial arts to wow, and it just didn’t happen. I was so looking forward to that.
- What do I think of Hongbin’s acting? It was unconvincing but not the worst – I’d give him another chance in another kdrama. Seo Ye Ji was just okay, too.
- I was thinking that I would have liked Sun Ah’s and Soon Deok’s roles reversed. I think Sun Ah would have made a stronger romantic partner with Shi Woo and Soon Deok would have been cute as his sister. Then Chi Ang and Soon Deok would have ended up together 🙂
* If we go with my thought that this is more suited to a younger young adult audience, then the reflection revelation of the chintamani could work. It’s just that as a kdrama ending to a quest that had a violent past, the shortcut ending seemed cheap and thoughtless. Knowing your audience is huge and writing to that audience is critical. Otherwise, you end up with low ratings because the story is flat.
Finally, I enjoyed recapping another kdrma because watching kdramas is what I do best! Thanks for joining me at cimiart and leaving your comments, likes, and views. Be sure to check out my art gallery! 감사합니다