WARNING: this article contains huge spoilers of tvN’s “Memories Of Alhambra” final episode
The final episode of “Memories Of Alhambra” has been released and a lot of Kdrama fans have already watched it and in case you don’t know, people are pissed (both netizens and international fans, which is rare to see).
“Memories Of Alhambra” started out as an ambitious project by writer Song Jae Jung whose name is going to be repeated a lot in this article for obvious reasons.
A quick recap of the final episode
Basically, the final episode was an open ending, CEO Yoo Jin Woo gets deleted by Emma for being a bug in the game, Se Ju (the founder of the game) says he programmed Emma to stab whenever it detects a bug.
The final episode was a PPL feast of Subway and Toreta. The majority of episode 16 uses flashbacks, Yoo Jin Woo gets killed off in the first minutes of the final episode.
After Yoo Jin Woo gets ‘erased/killed,’ the game miraculously resets itself and deletes all data of what programmers have been working on for a year.
Yoo Jin Woo’s body is never found and he doesn’t contact anyone after he allegedly got killed off.
The game somehow still manages to get released despite people not knowing why there was even a bug to begin with or why the game reset itself. Se Ju, the teenager who built the game, also doesn’t know why it happened.
Se Ju gets hired as the CEO (for some illogical reason) of a subsidiary company J One had established exclusively for him.
Hee Joo decides to never give up on Yoo Jin Woo and says she believes he’ll return one day, towards the end of the final episode (in the last 5 minutes) we get a glimpse that hints at the possibility of Yoo Jin Woo still being alive.
Se Ju explains it saying that only the master of the game can create ‘instance dungeon’ which is basically another world you can trap yourself in, like another dimension.
Se Ju subsequently explains why he disappeared for a year saying he did the same to himself, when Yoo Jin Woo finished the quest he became the master and it’s likely that he can actually create an ‘instance dungeon’ to protect himself? I don’t know what he wants to protect himself from with all honesty, all bugs were deleted.
Naver site was buzzing with articles discussing the ending of the drama which is almost an open ending in a sense; it also slightly leans towards the possibility of a season two, although I highly doubt anyone who was involved in the drama would return for a second season.
Here are some of what netizens are saying about the ending (provided by Netizen Buzz):
[+148, -8] This ending was more shocking than ‘Lovers in Paris’. Actually, a dream would’ve been better.
[+141, -0] I’ve never seen such an irresponsible ending. Did the scriptwriter get gravely ill in the middle? Are they alive? Or are they hiding somewhere?
[+135, -1] This isn’t an open ending, the producer just didn’t find a way to end it at all
[+103, -2] What was the point of the scene of Bora marrying the grandpa.. so useless. So many useless scenes and flashbacks after flashbacks.
[+92, -14] Nothing but cancer and PPL
[+87, -2] I could’ve written a better ending than this
[+10,166, -44] Open ending? More like an ending to piss you off ㅡㅡ
[+6,290, -47] Memories of Subway and Toreta
[+3,285, -60] This was cancer
[+3,154, -24] The scriptwriter got weak as it went on. Next time you write another drama, please make sure you flesh the whole thing out before filming it… The drama’s concept was great but it kept feeling like she was just rushing to fill in the holes as the episodes went on.
[+1,990, -27] What a waste of Hyun Bin and Park Shin Hye’s acting skills. Please apologize to the two actors, especially to Hyun Bin for all the suffering he went through.
Now, after explaining the ending and sharing netizens reactions I will be talking about my own opinion, if you happen not to like people who express their opinions, this where you stop reading.
I have a wish, I wish to meet Song Jae Jung writer-nim and ask her ‘what were you thinking writer-nim?’
I have watched countless kdramas starting from 2012, some good, some terrible and some memorable but I haven’t seen a script so messy and weak in my entire life, and I doubt anyone can surpass what Song Jae Jung wrote, its in a league of its own.
Logically speaking, Yoo Jin Woo bought the rights to the game. The moment the writer showed that the servers can be shut down, it compromised the entire fundamental idea of the AR concept.
Yoo Jin Woo could have chosen to shut down the servers, risk getting the company bankrupt, return to Hee Joo’s arms, speak with programmers/hackers/developers to figure out the programming error in this game off-line in order to fix it.
He knew he nearly finished the quest if he really cared about Hee Joo he wouldn’t just do that. After Professor Cha died he could have shut down the server, called the police, went through the investigation (he would have been proven innocent because of lack of evidence anyways), he could have restarted his life, the whole runaway situation from the police is flawed and illogical.
He could have told Hee Joo it would take him more time to get back her brother while he goes through the police investigation so he can logically think of what he should do and how. What was he rushing for exactly? Any experienced lawyer would have been able to get him out of the police investigation, he’s rich he can do it.
The writer tried to create a sense of urgency when there isn’t really anything at stake. The writer portrays Yoo Jin Woo’s character as a rational smart man yet he made the most irrational incomprehensible decisions that don’t even match his character description and for what? it’s just a game!
Also, how can a teenager be able to craft up to 100 missions in a game and think so far with the resources he had? how could he have plotted it out like that (telling Emma to kill bugs like that)? Also, J One has a smart team why couldn’t they decode the issue or find the source of the error? A team of professionals is surely able to detect and dissect every tiny detail of the game… that’s also another thing I don’t understand. I could be wrong with this part because I am not a programmer or developer but it just doesn’t add up logically speaking. correct me if I am wrong!
My head is about to explode.
My opinion on the script:
For a drama to come a full circle everything needs to be top-notch, the writing, the directing, the production quality, the acting and the chemistry. All parts of this drama were near perfect except for the script.
Song Jae Jung is a very ambitious woman, yet she can’t wrap her head around her own ambitious ideas.
I like the fact that she’s ambitious and isn’t afraid of writing experimental ideas like that. What I do mind is when writers lead on viewers to believe a certain scenario that they’re unable to carry out.
The reason writers (including myself) don’t write the scripts Song Jae Jung writes isn’t because we’re lacking, it’s because they’re very difficult to rationalize that’s why.
I am currently working on my first novel with hopes of publishing it this year, I always start off extremely ambitious but end up toning down because I can’t logically explain a lot of it.
I also give my novels and stories for my family and friends to read, because we all need a fresh eye to look at it from a different perspective and point out possible errors.
Song Jae Jung also wrote “W: Two Worlds” which was a mess, when I first started watching “Memories Of Alhambra” I didn’t know she wrote it, half-way through the drama I checked out who wrote it and my heart sank, I knew she was going to mess it up.
I held on because of the amazing performances, mainly by Hyun Bin who puts on his (in my opinion) best drama performance of his entire career. He was marvelous.
It feels that Song Jae Jung didn’t completely write the script before suggesting they go ahead with the production. When you usually write a story/novel/script, it goes through rounds of proof-reading and editing.
However, kdramas have a different approach, so I’ve learned.
The writers usually write as the drama progresses (most of the time); this means that as they roll out episodes the writer is busy pumping out content and that in itself is a disaster in the making especially for an idea like “Memories Of Alhambra.”
This is also why a lot of kdrama fans drop kdramas half-way through because this is when cracks start to show.
“Memories Of Alhambra” is a nice ambitious idea that should have been completely plotted out and written then went through rounds of editing and proof-reading before being even considered for a drama project.
What’s sad is that people will now remember this drama for its flaws; I am not a young person so I don’t expect all the dramas to end on a happy note.
I do appreciate it when they’re well-written regardless of whether the ending turns out to be good or bad. Real life is full of sad unhappy endings and not all kdramas end on a happy note but that doesn’t make them all bad.
Song Jae Jung writes ambitious projects but towards the middle of her dramas, it feels like she either gives up or doesn’t simply care to follow up on the hype she created with the first part of her dramas. There are too many loose ends here and there for me to summarize in one article.
The same happened with “W: Two Worlds” but people tolerated it because it was a ‘happy ending,’ I was fuming after watching “W: Two Worlds” final episode.
I took a look at her portfolio, and man its long, she’s been writing ever since 1998. Anyone would think she accumulated enough experience to at least tell if an idea is plausible or not.
Her scripts get more ridiculous with each project, “Memories Of Alhambra” script was wayyyy more ridiculous than “W: Two Worlds.”
Here is the silver lining to all of this, the drama was a lot of fun. I really enjoyed my time up until the second half, that’s when I started to worry.
There are far too many plot-holes for me to count. The execution of her ideas is messy at best. There isn’t any cohesiveness at all.
It’s was so bad that even young people without much experience can tell there is something fundamentally wrong with the script. That’s when you know, you’re in deep trouble.
I feel sorry for everyone involved in this production, specifically Hyun Bin. Did you guys know that the filming took 7 months? 7 months and this is how his performance gets rewarded… it’s a shame really!
What did you guys think of the ending?