Money Flower Episode 24 (Final)
The cook, Go Eun A, finds Jung Mal Ran (Lee Mi Sook) in the kitchen next to a tray containing champagne and two glasses. Mal Ran asks Ms. Go to make snacks Pil Joo prefers. She asks where the “special bottle” is. Ms. Go states she threw it away. Mal Ran is not happy.
Kang Pil Joo (Jang Hyuk) walks the outside corridor and finds Mal Ran’s assistant, An Hee Young, waiting for him. When he enters his quarters, he finds Ms. Go. She explains that Mal Ran wanted her “special bottle” added to his snacks tonight. Ms. Go heeded the internal warning bell and checked the liquid on a spoon, and found the color turn (classic indicator of poison). She begs Pil Joo to stop Mal Ran.
Mal Ran poisons Pil Joo’s glass. She also poisons her glass.
Ms. An enters with a flower arrangement that is not to Mal Ran’s liking. Ms. An asks Mal Ran to come and select what she wants so she can make a new arrangement to her liking. Mal Ran leaves the room with Ms. An. Pil Joo enters the empty room swaps the poisoned glasses for clean glasses. Mal Ran enters the with Ms. An and the new flower arrangement.
Jang Boo Cheon (Jang Seung Jo) strides through the outside ground with a shotgun and a determined look on his face.
Pil Joo fakes being poisoned after he and Mal Ran drink champagne. When he stops choking and calmly asks if his acting was convincing, somehow Mal Ran manages not to let her jaw drop. He walks to Mal Ran. He informs her people in the house still take care of her. Pil Joo states her life can’t be ended by her own hand. She’ll have to pay for her crimes in prison. He states the detectives will be there soon. Pil Joo starts to walk away.
Boo Cheon bursts in the door and aims the shotgun at Pil Joo. They stare at each other. Boo Cheon puts his finger on the trigger. He looks at Pil Joo. He looks at his mother. He’s stunned to see his mother raise the bottle of poison to her mouth. Pil Joo turns and sees Mal Ran preparing to drink and die. Pil Joo grabs the rifle, aim and fire. Mal Ran is hit! She falls to the floor and reaches for the poison. Boo Cheon rushes past Pil Joo to his mother. Pil Joo picks up the poison. Boo Cheon helps Mal Ran to a sitting position. She’s shot in the arm. He places his handkerchief on the wound. Mal Ran stares at Pil Joo. He stares at her.
AWESOME!! Writer Lee did it again! The backstory to the scene was perfect. Mal Ran’s unwavering need to take her own life rang true. Not because she wanted to die for what she did. But she wanted to die for having failed. When Pil Joo stares into her defeated eyes, I wondered if he considered his revenge on Mal Ran complete.
The police take a handcuffed Mal Ran to the waiting car. Mal Ran tells Ms. Go and Ms. An that she’s innocent which will be revealed soon. She asks Ms. An to call her lawyer. Ms. An states her employment with Mal Ran ends right now. Mal Ran quickly realizes that Ms. An works for Pil Joo. She asks Ms. An to confirm it. The silence is her answer. She shakes her head and gets into the police car. Boo Cheon pledges to follow his mother. Mal Ran looks at Pil Joo as the police car pulls away.
Now there’s the delusional Mal Ran I’m used to. It NEVER gets old when Pil Joo outmaneuvers those that want him permanently dismantled.
Pil Joo stares at the photo of his biological father, his mother, his brother and himself when he was a boy. He stares at his mother’s will. He recalls Chairman Jang telling him to read it and heed it. Pil Joo reads his mother’s words “Don’t waste your life by ruled by hatred and anger. My wish for you is to be happy. If revenge is your goal, happiness will not be part of your life”. Pil Joo tells his mother she knew nothing. But his tears say otherwise.
There is a caring human under that tough outer shell. I love glimpsing it and hope to see it more often this episode.
Pil Joo tells his grandfather that he reread his mother’s will. He isn’t sorry he misunderstood it the first time. Even if he had understood, his actions would not have changed. Jang Kook Hwan (Lee Soon Jae) calls him a brat. Pil Joo says his mother wanted him to be a fine man even to the Jang would tried to murder him. Pil Joo tells his grandfather if he doesn’t do as he asks, he’ll commit suicide at the river where he tried to commit suicide as a teenager. Chairman Jang declares he doesn’t care if Pil Joo lives or dies. Pil Joo points out he’s the most qualified grandson. Chairman Jang scoffs. Pil Joo gives him two things to do. First change the company’s succession rules to end family inheritance. Pil Joo states this will guarantee the company’s longevity. Chairman Jang doesn’t like the recommendation. Pil Joo points out the rule put a target on his back and Mal Ran tried to kill him, his mother and brother. Chairman Jang cannot refute his point. Pil Joo notes that the competition between Yeo Cheon and Boo Cheon was pointless. He advises Chairman Jang to direct the board of directors to elect a chairman that will put the company first. Second, Chairman Jang must invest his slush fund into medical research. Chairman Jang doesn’t like the suggestion. Pil Joo dangles the one thing that matters, immortality for Chairman Jang company. That gets Chairman Jang’s attention.
Remember when we started this series and Chairman Jang wanted the high-rise tower built as his legacy? Pil Joo knows Chairman Jangs identity, self-worth, and longevity is tied to his company, which has been his life’s work.
Pil Joo briefs his vision to earn the top spot by merit not birth. There are unhappy faces from Sung Man, Yeo Cheon and Boo Cheon. Sung Man demands to know if his father stands behind Pil Joo’s vision. Chairman Jang retorts the committee will decide but his priority is the company’s longevity.
They all look like children whose favorite toy has been put out of reach.
As Pil Joo walks with his grandfather a man yells at them in the lobby. Chairman Jang does an about face. Pil Joo approaches the man and tries to calm him. But the man doesn’t care about the cash payout Pil Joo once gave him. He warns that Pil Joo will one day be like him, illegitimate, barred from the family, and miserable.
Pil Joo brings his grandfather home. The news report showcases Chairman Jang’s $4M donation to research. Chairman Jang snaps that Pil Joo is bold with his money. Pil Joo calmly states this elevates the public’s opinion and sets a future path for the company. His grandfather orders him to leave. Pil Joo bids him a good evening. Chairman Jang falters and falls onto a chair. Pil Joo calls to his grandfather.
A healthy Congressman Na visits Chairman Jang in the hospital. He gives Chairman Jang a book of poetry. Recall Chairman Jang gave Congressman Na a book of poetry when he visited and advocated suicide. Congressman Na admits he can’t cast stones when he is made of glass. He declares he’s turning himself into prosecutors for questioning. Unable to speak Chairman Jang turns away.
The symmetry of the poetry book given during visits was perfection. Finally, Congressman Na takes ownership of his missteps. I can’t imagine Chairman Jang ever been that enlightened.
Congressman Na speaks to the prosecutors.
Congressman Na’s family watches the news report of his custody and alleged acceptance of money from the company for political aspirations. Mo Hyun’s mother is proud of her husband but tired from the emotional ripples. Mo Hyun’s brother takes her to the bedroom. Na Mo Hyun (Park Se Young) receives a flash drive from Congressman Na’s former aide with the cracked secrets of the foundations double secret probation accounting system. Mo Hyun can’t believe he cracked the code. The aide admits he didn’t, Pil Joo provided the information. Mo Hyun knows this information could send Pil Joo to jail. The aide believes Pil Joo is prepared to go to jail to reveal the underbelly of the Jangs.
Mo Hyun takes the information to the prosecutors. She surprises them when she tells them Pil Joo provided the data. She further states that Pil Joo protected his father from harm when he was defenseless. Mo Hyun spotlights the fact that without Pil Joo, no one would ever know the truth. She asks them to consider Pil Joo a whistle blower.
I enjoyed the quiet dignity of Congressman Na in dealing with Chairman Jang and the prosecutors. That was echoed by Mo Hyun when she correctly took the information to the prosecutors even though Pil Joo’s dirty dealing would be exposed. Her request to consider Pil Joo a whistle blower wouldn’t avert punishment but fairly characterized Pil Joo’s act.
Sung Man is angry when Pil Joo’s support of Congressman Na earns him sympathy and support from the public. As he orders a counter statement, Pil Joo announces that Mo Hyun’s data is valid and turns himself over to the prosecutors. Sung Man realizes that Pil Joo controls the family perception.
Mo Hyun and her mother visit Congressman Na in prison. He apologizes to his daughter for ruining a precious time in her life (recall she was pregnant) with his scandal. He cries genuine tears of remorse. Mo Hyun forgives her father. She thanks him to reverting to the honorable man she can esteem. Mo Hyun’s mother forgives her husband. She was waiting for him to apologize (and mean it) to Mo Hyun and that day has come. She tells her husband not to get sick in prison. She cries. He cries. I cry too.
That was absurdly touching. Mo Hyun’s family took a licking but came out on the other side rediscovering their love, honor and determination to do that right thing.
Mo Hyun resigns from the foundation. She packs her belongings. Pil Joo surprises her with a visit. He informs her the prosecutors have allowed his family to remain in their homes during the investigation. Pil Joo spies the resignation letter on her desk. He’s heard that she’s resigning and going into politics. He suggests the option of Mo Hyun staying at the foundation to use the organization’s power to help other and never do dirty dealings again. Mo Hyun agrees to think about it. Pil Joo stares into her eyes and with humble sincerity apologizes for using her in his revenge quest. Mo Hyun points out that her family, Boo Cheon, and many others owe their lives to Pil Joo. She suggests that be his payment. She’s been afraid to reach out to him. Mo Hyun knows the distance between them won’t be mitigated. She promises to keep the boy she saved and the man that saved her in return forever in her heart.
Pil Joo steps into her personal space and stares into her eyes. Their nonverbal communication says everything. Tears brim in their eyes. Pil Joo turns to leave. Mo Hyun takes his hand and stops him. Pil Joo turns. She releases his hand. He turns again and leaves.
Wow! Perfect scene! In every series there are moments where Jang Hyuk’s magic is obvious. That scene had it. His sincere apology, his obvious love her Mo Hyun (reciprocated by Mo Hyun), the nonverbal communication, was practically swoon worthy.
Boo Cheon and Pil Joo visit Mal Ran in prison. She looks good in the prison uniform she feared. She mistakes Pil Joo for his biological father Soo Man. She states he was going to his family (Pil Joo’s mother, brother, and Pil Joo) on that day so she had to attempt kill them. She regrets her part in his death. She wanted him to live. But Chairman Jang removed the respirator and killed him. She’s thrilled he came back from the grave to visit her. Boo Cheon tells Pil Joo to leave. He does hearing Mal Ran calling after him. She mutters she’ll kill him and his second family again for leaving her.
I wish Mal Ran weren’t delusional. I wanted to see the weight of prison in her face. I wanted to see her pride nicked.
Boo Cheon visits Pil Joo’s quarters. He says he’s leaving the family compound. His stuff is gone and he will be too. Pil Joo pours Boo Cheon a drink. Boo Cheon assumes that Pil Joo’s revenge is over now that he knows details of his father’s death. He asks if Pil Joo ever envied him like he envied Pil Joo. Boo Cheon states now Pil Joo is the one to be pitied because he spent a lifetime seeking revenge. Pil Joo says he wouldn’t change anything. Boo Cheon insists they ignore each if they meet again. Pil Joo agrees. Boo Cheon bids Pil Joo goodbye. He leaves.
The court sentencing for the company’s illegal dealings is here. Chairman Jang is sentenced to 7 years in prison. Sung Man is sentenced to 7 years in prison. Pil Joo is sentenced to 3 years in prison. Mal Ran is sentenced to 3 years in prison. Yeo Cheon is sentenced to 1 year in prison. Handcuffs are placed on them and they are lead away.
Pil Joo walks through the prison and a guard shows him to his cell.
Boo Cheon visits delusional Mal Ran in the mental hospital. He asks what she gained by killing Pil Joo’s father and his father. He admits he wants to lose his mind but can’t allow himself to do as she has done. Mal Ran tells Boo Cheon the company is hers and his to rule. Boo Cheon hugs her. Boo Cheon promises to stay with her until she comes to her senses. Tears fill her eyes.
She’s retreated into delusion because she can’t cope. But it isn’t as satisfactory as seeing her crushed.
3 years later…
Pil Joo exits the prison. No one is there to greet him. Assistant Woo is surprised to find him in the chairman’s office. He rushes to Pil Joo and welcomes him back with a smile. Pil Joo smiles and the nameplate reveals that Mr. Woo is the chairman. Love it! Mr. Woo wants to resign. Pil Joo declares he’s saying goodbye to the company.
Mo Hyun enters the office. She’s surprised to see Pil Joo. He’s surprised to see Mo Hyun. She smiles and asks when he got out. Pil Joo says it was today. She asks Mr. Woo about foundation business. Pil Joo turns to leave. Mr. Woo asks where he’s going. Pil Joo points to the roof and says he’ll visit up top.
Pil Joo’s right-hand man, Yong Goo, reports everything is wrapped up and he’s heading home. He says this will be their last conversation on a phone. Standing on the company rooftop Pil Joo thanks him for all his efforts. Yong Goo wishes him happy.
I’m pleased that Yong Goo is moving to the next phase of his life.
Pil Joo breathes the night air. He tells himself he did well. He looks the city lights. A man approaches him with a knife and stabs him. Looks like the guy from the lobby. Pil Joo stares at the blood on his hand. The man stabs him again. He drops the knife and runs away.
With tears in his eyes, Pil Joo makes his way to the edge of the roof. He falls backwards onto the roof top. He stares at the night sky.
Chairman Jang is tended in the hospital by Ms. Han. She reports the search for a new CEO is on.
Mo Hyun directs a subordinate. She’s the executive director of the foundation.
At Pil Joo’s old house a mail delivery man calls out. He leaves the letter from Mo Hyun on the bench. Pil Joo picks up the envelope and stares at it. He sees it is a recruiting package from Mo Hyun.
Flashback to Mo Hyun finding Pil Joo on the roof after he was stabbed.
Pil Joo offers the yearly memorial to Pil Joo. He tells his persona that today he returns his name. He thanks him for the use of the name.
Pil Joo returns to the company. Boo Cheon walks past him. They don’t acknowledge each other.
Pil Joo enters the conference room for the interview. He presents his vision for the company.
Pil Joo enters the lobby after the interview. Mo Hyun watches him walk away. Dreadful earrings.
Pil Joo walks in the afternoon sunshine. He looks to the sky. The music plays. Overhead shot of PJ walking down the set. The chorus chimes in. The camera sweeps up the Seoul skyline. Drones with cameras are beautiful things. The end.
I can dread final episodes. Kdramas have a penchant for getting them wrong. Writer Lee hit so many home run episodes in this series. This final episode wasn’t the best episode of the series. I don’t disagree with how things wrapped up. There were fabulous moments in this finale, yet I can’t gush about as much as others. Writer Lee ticked off everything and settled all accounts. But the pace was slower, reflective and therefore not always as engaging. Bottom line, the series went out like a lamb not a lion.
Boo Cheon paid with a crazy mother. He had to deal with Mal Ran’s departure from reality. She chose to exist in an alternative world back in time. I found this unsatisfying. Boo Cheon’s declaration that he and Pil Joo not acknowledge each other is standard kdrama fare. But Boo Cheon was right to move on without Pil Joo, his crutch for so many years.
Mo Hyun took Pil Joo’s advice and continued to work for the foundation. Mo Hyun’s father admitted his wrong doing and went to jail. Finally, the father she once respected returned. The prison scene were Mo Hyun and her mother forgave him was touching. I was surprised the final episode featured Mo Hyun that much. Her on screen presence was reduced in the latter episodes. All of it opens the door for Mo Hyun and Pil Joo to begin anew. That works for me.
Pil Joo achieved his revenge. When he read his mother’s will, she wished that he wouldn’t waste his life seeking revenge. But Pil Joo wouldn’t have changed his path if given a do over. The goodbye scene with Mo Hyun was magic. Pil Joo was a wonderful complex character with an inner compass that refused to stop until he achieved revenge. In the end he got what he wanted. The company hired based on merit not bloodlines. His Jang family paid for their crimes. Mal Ran paid by retreating into a fantasy world.
Pil Joo was the chess master of this series. Writer Lee created a cool calm and collected character that handled everything that life threw at him and came out on top. Often in revenge dramas, team evil has the advantage until the end when the long-suffering hero triumphs. I chafe at that standard story. But Pil Joo broke that mold. He had the upper hand most of the time. When he didn’t, he rolled with the punch, regrouped, and triumphed. This was an intellectual drama, not an emotional one. Money Flower worked on every level for me.
Jang Hyuk’s portrayal was perfection. He was handsome. His haircut was marvelous. He rocked every suit, coat, and tuxedo the stylist put him in. Jang Hyuk has waded through several dramas that did not have the magic mix of top notching writing, direction, and acting. Money Flower had it all. It was gratifying to see Jang Hyuk soar once again. May it not be the last.
How did I do on my wish list for the final episode?
* Pil Joo doesn’t die or end up in a coma. Granted. Boo Cheon didn’t shoot him and he survived the stabbing which seemed a bit gratuitous and pointless.
* Assuming Pil Joo is functional, I’d like to see him retain the chairmanship of the company. Granted. You know he nailed the job interview and will become chairman once again.
* I don’t think Pil Joo should get the girl romantically but friendship and warmth would be welcome. Granted. But I’d bet that romance will ignite.
* Boo Cheon doesn’t shoot Pil Joo. Granted. Boo Cheon avoided prison and ended up with a delusional mother. But he was given the chance to begin again. That was the best thing that could happen to him.
* Mo Hyun finds her own path. Granted. She took Pil Joo’s advice and stayed with the foundation. She saved his life once again on the rooftop. That was a full circle moment.
* Mal Ran rots in jail. Granted, if you count a mental hospital as jail which I do. Is she really delusional?
* I don’t want Sung Man or Yeo Cheon to be chairman. I don’t want Chairman Jang to die, but if he does, he does. Granted. I was glad that Sung Man got 7 years in jail. I wasn’t surprised to see Ms. Han still by Chairman Jang’s side.
Ranking the episodes (on a scale from 1-10) had me rank this episode as terrific. My episode ranking chart is below.