Bad Papa Episodes 31-32 “Last Man” (Final)
While Yoo Young Sun (Shin Eun Soo) is in the middle of a wheat field. She hears and sees her father, Yoo Ji Cheol (Jang Hyuk), looking for her and calling her name. She calls out to him but he can’t hear her.
During questioning he pharmaceutical company’s CEO, Jung Chan Joong (Park Ji Bin), lies that Doctor Cha was the mastermind behind the drug development and illegal testing. Doctor Cha’s daughter Detective Cha Ji Woo (Kim Jae Kyung) doubts Chan Joong’s lack of knowledge. He claims Doctor Cha was a zealot about the drug saving lives and was obviously willing to do anything to make the drug come to market. Disgusted Ji Woo walks out. She stares at her father when she passes him and says nothing.
Ji Cheol admits he took the drug without knowing what it was. Ji Woo tells him that was stupid. Ji Cheol agrees. Switching topics, Ji Cheol hands Ji Woo a voice recording of the ZD producer admitting that he bet big on Ji Cheol’s defeat 11 years ago.
Chan Joong exits the police station all smiles. He tells his assistant to find a remote location for their next lab.
Young Sun asks Kim Yong Dae (David Lee) (her father’s boxing manager) to take care of her father in the future. Yong Dae says after the next match his relationship with her father will end. Young Sun tells him to take care of her father. Little does she know, Ji Cheol is listening in the hospital hallway. Yong Dae encourages Young Sun to share her real feelings. Young Sun admits she’s angry, scared, and in shock that her health is so compromised.
The actress was emotionally vulnerable even with an oxygen mask on her face.
Yong Dae finds Ji Cheol in the hallway. The ZD producer calls Yong Dae who tells Ji Cheol to visit his daughter.
Lee Min Woo (Ha Joon) calls Ji Cheol to asks to meet. Min Woo wants to know why Ji Cheol kept his illness a secret. Ji Cheol states it was his problem to manage and no one else. Ji Cheol maintains he was unable to beat Min Woo 11 years ago. He lies that his health is fine. Min Woo wants to cancel their match. Ji Cheol refuses stating he must show his daughter that he’s healthy so she’ll belief she can be too. Min Woo fondly recalls Ji Cheol’s support and wanting to be like Ji Cheol during his career. Min Woo states his daughter will be inspired by her father. Ji Cheol tells Min Woo he’s grown up now. The next time they meet will be at the match.
That was mature of Min Woo to reach out to Ji Cheol.
When Ji Cheol visits his daughter, she urges him to fight well. She knows she can’t take her competition to the end but wants him to achieve this goal. Young Sun tells her father to win. Struggling with his breaking heart he urges his daughter to fight. She retorts as his daughter all she can do. With tears she apologizes for making him worry. Ji Cheol brushes it off and urges her to fight with a smile.
These two have the most emotionally complex and compelling scenes.
Choi Sun Joo (Son Yeo Eun) (Ji Cheol’s wife) urges her husband to fight with passion and honor. She admits his fighting passion caught her interest all those years ago and inspired her to fight for her own life and path. She urges to show their daughter the same spirit and inspire her. Ji Cheol agrees.
I love the moment when a young Sun Joo watches the young Ji Cheol fight and a tear falls down her face.
Yong Dae meets with the ZD producer who doesn’t care about Ji Cheol’s daughter’s illness. Instead he presents Yong Dae a briefcase full of cash and orders Yong Dae to give Ji Cheol a blue pill during the match or else, and else includes Yong Dae’s death.
Yong Dae explains all to Ji Cheol who assures his manager the ZD producer should be arrested by the police for his evil actions. Ji Cheol says he’ll also receive punishment for his actions.
Without a lick of remorse, the ZD producer calls Ji Cheol and tells him to take the pill or else. He claims he’s only looking out for his boxer. Ji Cheol tells the ZD producer to have a good day. The camera zoom in on the coffee cup the ZD producer just drank from.
Is there a pill in the coffee cup?
The police chief briefs his team on the arrest of the ZD producer.
The ZD producer falls asleep under the sleeping pill in the coffee while is assistant drives him.
The police wait for the ZD producer to arrive.
When the ZD producer wakes he finds the gangster waiting for him. His men grab the ZD producer and pull him into the car. The gangster follows the ZD producer into the car and stabs him to death. Bloody, the gangster walks away having avenged his brother.
Hmm, interesting murder scene. The gangster personally killed the man responsible for his brother’s death. The ZD producer got what he deserved.
In the locker room before the fight, the gangster calls and tells Ji Cheol that the ZD producer won’t make the fight so Ji Cheol can fight without threats over his head.
Showing respect for his former mentor, Min Woo enters the fighting cage first.
Before entering the fighting cage, Ji Cheol stares into the camera and gives his daughter wink and lift of his boxing gloves. Young Sun smiles. Sun Joo smiles.
Awk! Tears! That was touching.
Ji Cheol and Min Woo dare each other to go to the end.
The first round is aggressive. It is a draw between the fighters.
The second round Min Woo lands damage but Ji Cheol survives.
The third round Ji Cheol lands a blow that knocks Min Woo down. When he gets up, Ji Cheol is in a boxing stance. Min Woo understands and accepts the invitation to finish their boxing fight from 11 years ago.
The fourth round is an endurance round as both men hit and hit and hit. Young Sun and Sun Joo watch Ji Cheol’s won’t give up effort. Sun Joo recalls a young Ji Cheol. Young Sun watches her father with pride. The round ends with both men exhausted.
Awk! Tears! That was touching. I’ve never cried during a boxing match. Terrific job of overlaying the soft emotional part of this grueling match.
The fifth and final round finds Ji Cheol knocked down. He recalls Young Sun imploring him to go to the end. He gets up, recalling his promise to fight to the end. Both men a punch drunk and finish the match. The audience, announcers, and viewers know they’ve witnessed a display of strength of will.
Min Woo is announced the winner. Ji Cheol locks eyes with Min Woo and nods in approval. He raises his fist in respect. He exits the cage and stares into the camera knowing his daughter is watching. He smiles. He did as he promised.
Min Woo win was warranted. That final round brought even more tears. Bravo to the production team.
Young Sun has tears in her eyes as she watches her father. Then she’s unable to breath and collapses. Sun Joo yells for a doctor.
Ji Cheol arrives at the hospital. Sun Joo tells her Young Sun’s condition has worsened and it could be fatal. Ji Cheol assures her he can cure her.
Ji Woo visits her father in prison. He maintains that one day the world will understand why he had to sacrifice lives in the pursuit of the greater good. Realizing her father will never understand why that path is unacceptable, Ji Woo tells him to reflect on his wrong doing and leaves.
When Young Sun wakes her parents are there. She tells her father she watched the entire match. Ji Cheol notes he was great. Young Sun agrees. Sun Joo smiles. Young Sun says she needs to sleep. Ji Cheol watching his daughter sleep. He turns to the team of doctors. It’s time for his surgery.
In the hallway Yong Dae asks if Ji Cheol has to undergo the surgery. Ji Cheol counters that he must and Yong Dae knows this. He tells Yong Dae to take care of Young Sun.
Young Sun is wheeled into surgery. Sun Joo tells her to hang in there. Ji Cheol is wheeled into surgery. He tells his wife that he has to help their daughter. He tells her a family trip is in order once Young Sun recovers. They smile. Young Sun grabs her husband’s wrist and says he must survive. Ji Cheol says “good parents spend time with their children. I didn’t do that. I was bad papa. I am giving her time. Now you’ll fill the void and be a good mother.” Sun Joo sobs knowing what this means. Ji Cheol apologizes. Ji Cheol touches his wife’s face. He’s wheeled into surgery. Sun Joo sobs as her husband leaves her.
Wow, that was effective. Tears are streaming now.
In the operating room Ji Cheol looks at his sleeping daughter and gives her a thumbs up.
We are treated to a montage of happy moments between the family and father and daughter.
Ji Cheol finds his daughter in the wheat field. He hugs her and says everything will be okay. He gives her a piggyback to the edge of the field. He tells her mom is waiting for her over the rise. Young Sun wants her father to come with her. Ji Cheol tells her he’ll always be with her. They hug. Ji Cheol watches his daughter walk away for the last time.
Young Sun wakes in her hospital room. Sun Joo is there. She praises her daughter for enduring. Young Sun looks for her father. Sun Joo cries. Young Sun implores those around her to tell her where her father is. She yells instinctively knowing the horrible truth. She sobs saying Dad told her to wait for him. She screams her grief.
1 year later…
Yong Dae struts out of the building and is pushed aside when Young Sun exits to adoring fans. Young Sun is hungry. Yong Dae suggests pork belly. They both smile and agree.
Min Woo preps for a series of fights at the middle weight range. He’s stretching himself to conquer a new class.
Sun Joo visits her husband’s memorial marker. She remembers happy moments. She recalls Ji Cheol asking why she didn’t leave him and her reply that you don’t leave just because things get hard. Ji Cheol gives her a lovely necklace, the necklace she wears today. Sun Joo adds another photo to the memorial marker. She cries.
Sun Joo and Young Sun are at the beach. Young Sun says she doesn’t remember visiting as a child but it is lovely. Her mother smiles. They link arms and walk the beach. Sun Joo’s voiceover says this is the family trip she wanted to take.
Utterly satisfying finale. Ji Cheol left a legacy for his daughter, his wife, his manager, his former protégé, etc. His life mattered. I knew Ji Cheol would likely die in this final episode but I didn’t want him to. Writer Kim Sung Mun and producer Jin Chang Gyu knocked it out of the park in this final episode. The emotional pull was there in almost every scene. The violence was tempered with the meaning behind it. The fight for one’s dream and the fight for one’s family came through loud and clear. Bravo to the team behind this compelling finale episode. The payoff for this show was strong as it peaked at the end. Ji Cheol’s death was the right choice. It was the impactful choice.
Titles. I must compliment Writer Kim’s titling of the episodes. The last three episodes were called Last Dance, Last Girl and Last Man. Spot on titling that was succinct and meaningful. I appreciate the producer revealing the title after a short opening sequence.
Yoo Ji Cheol (Jang Hyuk) gave his life to save his daughter. Writer Kim allowed Ji Cheol to give Young Sun the gift of life while sacrificing his own. Ji Cheol thought he was a bad papa. But was he? He was there even when he was emotionally withdrawn. Young Sun knew her father loved her, that was never in doubt. That’s a good papa. Sun Joo was frustrated with her husband’s emotional withdraw and having to wear the mantle of head of household. But she never forgot the man that inspired the turning point in her life, the man she loved, married and created a life with. Ji Cheol inspired his wife to carry on without him. That’s a good husband. I’d be remiss if I didn’t highlight Jang Hyuk’s subtle handling of the emotional moments of this finale. He never got maudlin but there was a gravity that let you know that he was walking a final path. Ji Cheol’s sacrifice was the only option for this character. Jang Hyuk made sense of it for me as a viewer. I accepted it and appreciated the dignity of the choice.
Did my wishes come true for the finale episode?
* GRANTED – Young Sun is saved. I loved this father and daughter. They were the star relationship of the series.
* NOT GRANTED – Ji Cheol lives. I suspected he would die, even though I didn’t want it to happen. What surprised me is the dignity of that choice and how Writer Kim made it the right choice.
* GRANTED – The Yoo family is able to rebuild. The Yoo family survived and thrived. Mother and daughter are strong and supportive.
* GRANTED – The ZD producer is financially ruined. The ZD producer was murdered by the gangster. Good riddance to a horrible man.
* NOT GRANTED – Chan Joong doesn’t evade punishment. The little weasel escaped and planned to begin again with a new remote lab.
I rank this episode (on a scale from 1-10) as excellent. My episode ranking chart is below.