Our trio’s past and present story plays out in this final episode…
Chicago Typewriter Episode 16 (Final) Recap
Here we go, the final episode of Chicago Typewriter…
1930… Han Se Joo (Yoo Ah In) is trapped at the edge of a cliff by Baek Tae Min (Kwak Si Yang) and the police. Se Joo raises his gun to his head. He thinks he’d rather stay true to the cause of an independent Korea by killing himself. He stares at Tae Min knowing he won’t have the satisfaction of capturing him and he’ll become a beacon for the freedom fighters. He pulls the trigger. He falls to the ground. He pulls out the photograph of Jeon Seol. He says “I miss you.” A tear rolls down his faces as he dies.
Jin O (Ko Gyung Pyo) sits in his room, not answering when a servant, tells him a package has come for him. He leaves the package.
You must know, as I do, what is in the package. Awk! Tears!
Jin O opens the box. Awk! Tears! Inside is Se Joo’s typewriter, his gold pocket watch, and a note. Jin O opens the note.
"Are you alive? I was cleaning up before leaving for Manchuria and decided to send my three most precious things to you to keep for me. Do you remember the first day we saw the typewriter together? I didn't mean it when I said my pen was sufficient. After receiving the gift of the typewriter from you, I was so happy. I've received more from you than I can replay in this lifetime. Now at the point that I may not see you again, I'm sorry this is all I can give you. And they aren't even free, I need one more favor. Will you help?"
Jin O pulls out an envelope.
You must know, as I do, what is in the envelope. Awk! Tears!
"I'm hoping you'll finish my novel for me. Use the typewriter you gave me. Please write our story in my place. The story of us living on this land in this time. We lived diligently in this dark reality. We hurt and hoped, together. But we found happiness, together. We loved and fought with all our might, together. The pocket watch is for you. Please cherish Jeon Seol every minute you have together. Never let her be alone and stay be her side. Finally, I trusted you and loved our friendship. I am sorry I never told you. Let's make sure we meet again alive. No, let's meet again in our death. If a god asks if I was happy in this life, I will say I was happy because of you and Jeon Seol. If a god compliments me on my life, I'll ask for a favor, if I'm reincarnated, I'll ask to be with you guys again."
I had to take a minute to gather my composure. Goodness, that was touching and beautifully written. I can see the basis for this series, their friendship has always been the key.
Present… Tae Min drives reeling from what happened. He saw Se Joo fall off the rooftop. He saw Se Joo suspended in air then lowered to the ground. He saw Jin O exit Se Joo’s body. He saw himself drive into Jin O as he fled the scene. He knows he killed a man.
Jeon Seol (Lim Soo Jung) is surprised when Jin O tells her that Tae Min ordered the blackmailer to kidnap her. Jin O says that after an argument between Se Joo and Tae Min, Se Joo fell from the roof top. Jin O says he saved Se Joo by possessing his body but none the less, the impact had to cause injuries. Jeon Seol rushes to explain the situation to the doctors.
Jeon Seol explains how the accident happened to a stunned Publisher Gal Ji Seok (Jo Woo Jin) and Secretary Kang. Jeon Seol presses them to explain what happened so the proper tests can be run. Se Joo pulls the curtain back and stands with effort. He tells Publisher Gal and Secretary Kang that a ghost possessed his body and saved him from dying upon impact.
Tae Min finds his passport. He’s stunned to find Jin O in his office. He’s dead, how can he be there? Jin O says Tae Min looks like he’s seen a ghost. Can’t he believe that he survived being run over by Tae Min’s car? Tae Min recognizes Jin O from the night he drunkenly went to Se Joo’s house to beg for the first draft of Fate. Tae Min demands to know who Jin O is. Jin O says that’s the wrong question. He says Tae Min should be asking Se Joo, who he pushed off the rooftop, is alive. Tae Min declares he didn’t push Se Joo, he fell. Tae Min claims it was an accident. Jin O points out that Tae Min left Se Joo for dead. Tae Min claims he was scared and worried he would be blamed. Jin O asks if running him over was an accident or intentional. Tae Min won’t answer. Jin O walks towards him and says he tried to kill two people. Tae Min says there is no evidence. Jin O shakes his head and says he hasn’t changed one bit. The pattern remains – commit a crime, cover it up with another crime, with no remorse only excuses. Jin O grabs him and says Tae Min doesn’t know anything about remorse. Jin O flashes back to the past, grabbing Tae Min in the interrogation room. Tae Min pushes him aside and runs. As he opens the door, two police detectives are there. Yes! They arrest him for conspiring to kidnap Jeon Seol. Yes! Jin O watches and feels pain.
As they enter Se Joo’s house, Publisher Gal complains that Se Joo shouldn’t have left the hospital. Se Joo counters he has no broken bones and no concussion. Se Joo tells Publisher Gal to stop over protecting him. Jeon Seol sags with the weight of the day. Se Joo is instantly by her side. Se Joo demands they hospitalize Jeon Seol immediately. Publisher Gal quips the Se Joo is the overprotective one. Ha!
Jeon Seol and Se Joo end up side by side in the bedroom, both sporting IVs. Jeon Seol is sorry that she put Se Joo in danger but she’s happy Jin O saved him. Se Joo agrees Jin O saved his life. Jin O appears and asks if Se Joo is okay. Se Joo confirms this. Se Joo asks if his flickering has subsided. Jeon Seol does not understand that statement.
Jin O and Jeon Seol are surprised when Se Joo declares he remembers all of his past life. He asks if they are interested. They are!
Later Se Joo wonders if he should withhold the truth about the past. When Jeon Seol enters his bedroom, she asks who she shot in the past. Se Joo tells her not to worry about it. If she remembers, she remembers. If she doesn’t, then forget it. Se Joo tells Jeon Seol that his past persona prayed that he be united with Jeon Seol and Jin O in their next life. Se Joo smiles. That wish was granted. Jeon Seol smiles. She gives him a sweet peck on his lips.
Jin O sees the crack in his skin is longer. He remembers the past encounter with Tae Min. He wonders if he was the one that caught Tae Min not vice versa. He wonders how he died.
Tae Min’s mother and father visit him. His mother can’t believe her precious child is being accused like this. Tae Min’s father says the police have evidence. Tae Min’s mother refutes the validity of the evidence. Tae Min tells them to be quiet. Tae Min’s mother continues to spin her lies. Tae Min stands and yells are his mother. He tells her to stop whining. He tells her she suffocated him. She’s stunned. Tae Min’s father sends her out of the room. Tae Min’s father asks why he did this. Tae Min tells his father he ran over a person, but it wasn’t a person, but it was a ghost. He tells his father that Se Joo would know who the ghost is.
As they shop at the grocery, Chef Ricardo can’t believe it when Bang Jin tells him that the blackmailer became a waitress at the restaurant to spy on Jeon Seol. When he steps away to grab an item, Bang Jin spies Jeon Seol’s mother. She snaps a photo and texts it to her friend.
Publisher Gal finds Se Joo and Jeon Seol sleeping close together. He trips and falls. They wake. They are startled to see they are that close. Jeon Seol sits up confused why she’s there. Se Joo asks why she stayed last night. She reminds him he asked her to stay after talking all night. She says he was the one that crawled in her bed. He doesn’t like how she put that. Publisher Gal sits up startling both of them. He asks if they want to get their compatibility checked. Jeon Seol phone gets the text from BJ. She leaves.
Jeon Seol meets her mother and tells her to share what she knows about the past. Her mother hedges and asks what Jeon Seol knows. Jeon Seol says she knows her mother was a traitor. She knows she was caught after the mission. Her mother says remembering everything isn’t needed. Jeon Seol says that her past persona isn’t her, nor was she her mother’s past persona’s daughter. Jeon Seol believes that her past persona couldn’t forgive her. Jeon Seol says she can’t forgive being left behind when she was a young girl. She asks her mother to share the good and bad memories, so they can be released from them.
Se Joo finds Jin O deep in thought. Jin O shares not knowing how he died is frustrating. Se Joo asks why he needs to know. Jin O asks if Se Joo knows something. Se Joo says he doesn’t know. Jin O asks if Se Joo remembers more than he pretended to be the freedom fighters’ leader. Se Joo wonders if Jin O can handle the truth.
Jeon Seol returns to Se Joo’s house and overhears Se Joo tell Jin O that to save Jeon Seol he surrendered to the police. Se Joo tells Se Joo from this point forward he can only deduce what happened before he does not have firsthand knowledge. Jin O wants to hear his opinions. Se Joo says that Jin O couldn’t stand Jeon Seol being in danger and had no power to help her. Jin O can’t believe that Se Joo is implying he told the police who the freedom fighter leader was. Se Joo states the police launched a surprise attack on the freedom fighter safe house before they left the city. Jin O declares Madame provided the location information. Se Joo counters that only Jin O knew the safe house location. Se Joo reminds him these are only opinions, not hard facts. Jin O says the person that kill him was…and Jeon Seol enters the room saying she killed Jin O. She says her mother helped her remember.
1930… Jeon Seol sits alone in the interrogation room. She’s told she has been released. Jin O’s father’s servant gives her money and clothes and tells her to forget what happened. He tells her to leave the city. She sits there without saying a word. The man snaps that Jin O worked hard to get her released.
Jeon Seol stand in front of the Carpe Diem which is boarded shut. She sees a newspaper which announces Se Joo’s suicide and that he was the freedom fighter leader. She gets a determined look in her eye.
Jeon Seol retrieves a machine gun from the hidden stash. She recalls telling Se Joo the gun was called Chicago Typewriter because it sounds like a typewriter when it fires.
Jin O sits in his home, stares at the typewriter Se Joo left him and thinks about his words. He puts in a piece of paper and begins to complete the story as Se Joo requested.
Tae Min announces that Carpe Diem is now the official bar for the police of the Japanese empire. Tae Min toast the assembled Japanese official and supports. Jeon Seol bursts in the room, with a mask, and begins firing. She doesn’t miss and mows down many of the assembled. Tae Min hides behind the bar. He picks up a pistol. When he stands to shot her, she’s gone. But she’s not gone. She puts a gun to his head. Tae Min says that a gun is an unladylike accessory. He tells her to put it down. Jeon Seol tells him to put his gun down. He puts the weapon on the bar. He promises that he can help her. The thought disgusts her. Tae Min chuckles and declares she sounds just like Se Joo did before he killed himself. Jeon Seol shots Tae Min in the head. Yes! Give that woman a medal of honor! She stares at Tae Min’s dead body and declares for the freedom fighters; the puppet of their enemy is dead.
That was completely awesome! Tae Min got what he deserved. Jeon Seol delivered justice.
Jin O’s servant tells him there is a lone avenger lose. He explains the machine gun mow down of the previous day. Jin O learns that Tae Min was killed. He’s told the police are searching high and low for the avenger.
Jin O goes to Carpe Diem. He sees the remnants of the previous day. He goes to the hidden stash and finds all the weapon are gone. He knows that Jeon Seol is the avenger. He knows she’ll come for him.
Madame walks the street worried about the avenger. A carriage stops in beside her. A gun is pointed at her. Jeon Seol reminds the startled Madam that she once claimed love was forbidden for freedom fighters. Jeon Seol says that betrayers have a pay a price. Madame admits she was foolish to believe Tae Min would keep his promise and release her son from prison. Jeon Seol tells her she hopes they can be better situated in their next life. Madam pleads. Jeon Seol declares for the freedom fighters, their traitor will now be killed. Jeon Seol shots Madame dead.
Jin O types the story on the typewriter. Jeon Seol enters and puts the gun to his head. He turns and says that Se Joo left them gifts. Jin O tells Jeon Seol she should have the gold pocket watch. Jeon Seol asks why Jin O did it. Jin O calmly says the watch is hers, now she should end things quickly. Livid, she asks why he did it. Jin O replies that he couldn’t watch her die. With tears running down her face, Jeon Seol declares that she was nothing in the overall footprint of the freedom fighters. She screams that he never should have told the police who the leader was. Jin O yells her name. He calmly tells her to end things quickly. He reminds her of the code of the organization. Jeon Seol says the code requires this. Her hand shakes. Jin O comments that her hand is shaking. Awk! Tears! He steadies her hand just like he did when he taught her to shoot. He aims the pistol at himself. He tells her not to hesitate in front of a target. He tells her to do it. He says he’ll do it if she won’t. She gathers herself and stares at him. He is satisfied that her focus is back. He releases his hold on the pistol, he turns his back to her. Jeon Seol asks if he has any last words. Jin O tells her to kill him to give him piece of mind. Jeon Seol states for the freedom fighters, their traitor will now be killed. She kills Jin O. He falls on top of the typewriter. With his dying moments, he tells Se Joo that he made Jeon Seol cry. He knows he failed Se Joo’s request to keep her safe. He apologizes for that and not finishing the novel. He promises if they are together in the next life, he’ll keep his promises then. He promises to do everything to protect their happiness. Jeon Seol sobs with the agony of it all.
Jeon Seol walks alone with a gun in one hand and Se Joo’s pocket watch in the other. She sits by a tree. Se Joo’s ghost walks up to her. He touches her face. She looks at him. She’s happy he came. Se Joo reminds her he promised he’d come again. She admits she killed Jin O. She says that he was an older brother, father, friend, and comrade. She cries that by killing him she disgraced him and what he did for her. She declares she was the reason both of them died. She sobs her pain. Se Joo wipes away her tears and tells her she’s wrong. She asks if he’s going to leave her. Se Joo says he must leave and she must live with purpose. She wants to go with him. He tells her she must live to see an independent Korea. She’s exhausted and wants to sleep. She falls asleep. She drops the pocket watch. Time and weather cover the pocket watch.
Good grief, I’m emotionally drained from all the tears. Beautiful in its sorrow and perfectly portrayed.
Years later… Jeon Seol’s father finds the pocket watch. He says he’ll give it to his daughter.
Present… The three of them absorb the past.
Jin O remembers giving up Se Joo as the freedom fighter leader. He asks Se Joo if his betrayal lead to his death by Tae Min. Se Joo reminds him the past is done. Jin O asks Jeon Seol if he put blood on her hands by forcing her to kill him. Jeon Seol apologizes for killing him. Jin O says he was the one that started the chain of events that killed both of them. Jin O glows and falls to the floor. Se Joo and Jeon Seol call to him.
Bang Wool arrives at Jeon Seol’s request. Bang Wool can’t see Jin O lying on the bed. Jeon Seol describe the light emanating from Jin O that caused him to collapse. Jeon Seol says he experienced a shock. Bang Wool states Jin O will soon dissolve. She says there is no promise of a future life. Bang Wool states she warned Jin O to conserve his energy. Se Joo asks if they can reverse the situation. Bang Wool states even if all the energy were restored, the crack is still there. Bang Wool tells them to grant Jin O’s last wishes.
Se Joo tries to come to grips with the situation. Jin O follows him. He asks Se Joo to have a beer with him. Se Joo is not happy that Jin O kept this from him. Jin O counters that Se Joo didn’t tell him that he was a traitor. Jin O touches the typewriter and says he’s happy to know why he sealed himself in it. Se Joo asks what the reason was. Jin O says it was his way to beg forgiveness from Se Joo and Jeon Seol. Jin O says he needed to keep the promise to give up Jeon Seol in their next lifetime. Awk! Tears! Jin O says his plan to bring them together through the shaggy dog worked. Se Joo chuckles. Jin O says that giving up Jeon Seol is sad but has made him determined to meet new women in his next life. Se Joo laughs. Se Joo assures Jin O that his past persona didn’t resent him for what he had to do and his trust never wavered. Forgiveness was granted long ago. Se Joo says he has nothing to forgive Jin O for in this lifetime. Se Joo tells him to forget blame and find a way to stop from disappearing. Jin O asks Se Joo to let him use the writer’s lair. Awk! Tears! He wants to finish the novel, Chicago Typewriter.
Jin O thanks Jeon Seol for telling him the details he couldn’t remember. He states he’ll finish the novel now. Jeon Seol apologizes for causing Jin O to suffer. Jin O absolves her of her past actions. He tells her to live life. She asks him to realize his betrayal was done to save her. She says her past persona realized that and felt gratitude and sorrow towards him. She tells him that he was a respected teacher, trusted comrade, and loving brother. She wasn’t lonely because of him. She enjoyed her life as a sniper because of him. She thanks him for liking her. She cries. Jin O touches her hair.
Lovely moment between them.
Se Joo watches Jin O type and knows he’s expending precious energy to do this.
The next morning Writer Baek calls. He asks him to meet Tae Min who is saying odd things.
Se Joo meets Tae Min in the visitor room. Se Joo says he’s glad he didn’t get hurt badly or Tae Min would be in worse trouble. Tae Min asks who was the man he ran over, the man that was in Se Joo’s writing lair. He demands to know if he’s human. He gets agitated as he describes the man appearing in his dream demanding that he admit to wrongdoings he didn’t commit. Se Joo asks why Tae Min can’t admit his wrong doings. Se Joo asks why Tae Min can’t say “I’m sorry”. Se Joo tells Tae Min he must admit to his wrongdoing even if it is humiliating. Se Joo tells him to atone for his sins so he can restart his life. Se Joo leaves.
When Se Joo returns he calls to Jin O. He’s not in the writer’s lair. Jin O appears with a beer in hand. He smiles the novel is done. They enjoy a beer together. Se Joo says that Jin O has kept all his promises. Jin O is pleased. Se Joo reminds him there are other promises to keep. He hands Jin O the writer’s contract. Jin O says it would take multiple lifetimes to keep all the promises in the thick document. Se Joo says he only cares about the first item, until the novel is done they live together to share joy and pain. Se Joo says the novel is done, but the novel about the two of them isn’t finished yet. Se Joo warns him not to leave. Jin O smiles. Se Joo says that novel is his next project.
Se Joo finishes writing the novel. Jin O is pleased. Se Joo is exhausted. Jin O asks to read it. Se Joo considered trapping Jin O in his novel so he could not dissipate to nothing. He asks Jin O to promise to stay until the novel is published so they can have a chance to meet again in their next lifetime. Jin O glows. Se Joo tells him to follow him.
Se Joo, Jeon Seol, and Jin O fish together. Jin O remembers that he wanted to fish in an independent Korea. Jeon Seol asks if they want to bet whether Jin O will have another life with them. All three of them bet that Jin O will be reborn. They all chuckle. Jin O feels the pull of the other side. Se Joo thanks Jin O for bring Jeon Seol into his life. Jeon Seol leaves to get bait. Se Joo tells Jin O that he helped break down the walls that Se Joo had erected around himself. When he glances at Jin O, he’s gone. He asks Jin O if he’s still there. He asks for a signal. Nothing happens. When Jeon Seol returns she knows what has happened. Se Joo calls to Jin O to return. Jeon Seol hugs him. They cry together. Jeon Seol sees the bait bob. She smiles. He smiles. They know Se Joo will be with them in the next life.
At the book introduction Se Joo says “He was my muse and ghost. He traveled 80 years to help me when I faltered. He was my friend. The typewriter and his friendship allowed me to live in this life.” Se Joo holds up the novel Chicago Typewriter and dedicates it to his friend Jin O. Everyone is there and smiles. Jeon Seol gives Se Joo a thumb up.
Jeon Seol and Se Joo stroll hand in hand after the book signing. She admits she feels guilty for being so happy. She trips on her untied shoe laces. She wonders who could be missing her that her shoe laces untied. Se Joo ties her shoe. He says one person from years ago is missing her because he’s tied by the rope of fate. Jeon Seol asks what Se Joo thinks happened to Jin O. Se Joo hopes that Jin O is settled in his novel. Jeon Seol wonders if Jin O is happy. Se Joo suggest they flip a coin to find out. The coin indicates the Jin O is safely settled in the novel.
We see past Se Joo refuse to show Jeon Seol his novel. She wants to know the ending. He tells her to buy it and find out. She calls him petty. Jin O enters the room. They ask him where he’s been. Jin O says he’s been dreaming. Se Joo comments it must be nice to nap during the day. Jeon Seol says they won’t liberate the country by dreaming during the day. Jin O assures them that liberation will come. Se Joo asks what Jin O dreamed about. Jin O says he dreamed they lived together in an independent Korea.
Jin O pulls out the picture of the three of them. Now he appears in the photo. He hopes they’ll be together again.
Satisfying final episode. Writer Jin pulled my heart strings consistently throughout this episode. The past was resolved, the present was resolved, the promise of the future was made. In the end Chicago Typewriter was about the power of friendship. Our character’s individual and collective love for each other allowed them to push, prod, save, and enjoy each other. The fact that both men loved the same woman wasn’t a sticking point. With honor and kindness, they dealt with that reality.
Because Writer Jin spent so much time in the past in the final two episodes, the closure of the show with Jin O settled in the past in Se Joo’s novel was the perfect ending.
I enjoyed Chicago Typewriter for tapping into history, for having honor and friendship as its primary focus. This wasn’t a romance between a man and woman. It was a romance between three friends. All three actors hit their marks gave performances that drove this show forward.
Could I quibble about Chicago Typewriter? Yes, I could but I won’t. I’m pleased and satisfied with the final arc of this show. Writer Jin delved into the past and answered every question. Our threesome will be together again in their next lifetime, I have no doubt.
Jin O’s (Ko Gyung Pyo) ending was more than I expected. His story was richer than I imagined. He choices and the ripple effects were key components. Se Joo and Jeon Seol loved him and let him know it. Their absolution of his actions was touching. Initially Jin O was the annoying ghost but in the end, he was the loved and trusted friend.
Jeon Seol (Lim Soo Jung) had the hardest road to walk in the past. Living through Se Joo’s death, then killing the traitors, and finally taking Jin O’s life with his blessing was draining. Her internal fortitude was impressive. She survived the torture. She never would have cracked. Present day Jeon Seol was gentler and less sure of herself. But she had wisdom, warmth, and willingness to look beyond others actions.
Han Se Joo (Yoo Ah In) was the key character of the series yet without Jeon Seol and Jin O the story would not have succeeded. Hidden behind a physical and emotional wall, Se Joo was brought from the brink by Jeon Seol and Jin O and he wasn’t always gracious about it. Se Joo’s sensitivity to knowing the Jin O liked Jeon Seol was a mark of true friendship. The fact that he did this in the past was a measure of a man. Se Joo’s passion was attractive and compelling. Yet he had an ability to empathize and forgive. Yoo Ah In’s portrayal of Se Joo totally worked. He is now added to “my men” the list of actors I will always watch.
How did I do on my wish list?
* I don’t need to see any more of the past characters. Their story is complete. DENIED – How wrong I was to wish that. There was much more to be told and it was emotionally riveting.
* Tae Min can expire and I’m okay with that. GRANTED – Tae Min died in the past and ended in prison in the present.
* While I’d love Jin O to evade vanishing, I don’t believe that as possible. I’d like his final act to be one of friendship. It could involve saving his friends from Tae Min. It could involve him watching them from heaving and smiling. GRANTED – As Se Joo hoped, Jin O is settled in the novel Chicago Typewriter waiting for the next lifetime when they will all be joined again.
* Jeon Seol and Se Joo need admit that they love each other. Their past counterparts managed to finally admit their feelings. It’s their turn. I won’t mind a tinge of passion between these two. Their past counterparts delivered passion with their kiss. It’s time for the present Jeon Seol and Se Joo to do the same. DENIED and GRANTED – The passion in the present was never explored but they forge their path together. In the end, this is irrelevant. This love for each other is there, but Chicago Typewriter wasn’t about romance, it was about friendship.
The OST was compact but powerful. I was like Pavlov’s dog in the final two episodes and started crying as soon as “Writing Our Stories” played underlying the touching moments. Check out the OST’s playlist: