tvN’s “Awaken” has concluded its run earlier today and it ended with a cliffhanger that’s both shocking and heartbreaking.
Today, I am here to quickly recap “Awaken” episode 16 and explain the ending.
Note: below is a quick summary recap of the finale of “Awaken,” it’s a summary of the important highlights but doesn’t delve into every single scene in the drama.
The quick recap
“Awaken” episode 16 begins where episode 15 ended. Jung woo confronts Oh Jung Hwan and tells him he’s the president and one of the people whom the experiment has worked on. He gets kidnapped by Jung woo and Kim Min Jae.
They bring him back to their hiding place and tie him up, he asks for his medication [which prevents his aging], Jung woo gives him a pill but questions why he’s using it, he takes it away after the president admits it slows his aging process, however, he must take it once every single 6 hours.
Dr. Jo sees that Dr. Gong has Son Min Ho tied up, she asks him why and he explains Jung Woo has given him the formula. They decide to test it on him, but he ends up passing away.
Dr. Jo concludes that she must get her son’s blood and use it along with the formula to get the best results.
Dr. Jo calls Oh Jung Hwan and concludes from his voice that something is terribly wrong. She orders military personals to kidnap Jamie and bring her over. She then sends him a message of her tied up, and after a call they conclude that they should meet up to resolve it.
Hye Won brings over the rest of the team. At night, all of them gather at the rooftop, again, Jung Woo attempts to convince them to not interfere but they disagree and everyone including the third child and the fourth child agrees to help take them down.
The next day, they split into teams with a solid plan in mind. Jae Woong and the other hacker go a separate place to hack into their system and destroy the data they worked so hard for, and Ji Wan goes to the police to inform them of whats going on. The police chief gathers everyone including a SWAT team and heads over to the location.
Meanwhile, reporter Lee receives a tip from Jung Woo and heads over to the location to film in real time what is about to transpire. The team also plants bombs at the doors as they enter the lab.
Jung Woo ends up surrendering to his mom and the rest get tied up and held at gunpoint. Jung Woo’s mom takes his blood while Hye Won slips a USB to the computer so the other team could hack into their system and destroy everything.
As they carry on the experiment, Oh Jung Hwan is running out of time and discovers that Jung Woo got rid of his meds, he panics and the Dr. suggests they administrate the shot to him, Jung Woo implants doubt in him since it could be that his formula is just poison that’ll kill him.
He runs out to the car and is surrounded by police. He discovers that there are no pills and quickly ages and dies before the police eyes.
Meanwhile, Jung Woo confronts his mother who is about to administrate the shot to herself, he yells at her telling her not to do it. She triggers him when she answers his question on whether she had ever felt any remorse for her actions, she says she never has and adds,
‘That’s why you were born. You are my monster.’
This triggers a memory inside Jamie and Jung Woo, Jung Woo cries saying he should’ve never been born, his head starts to hurt and he begins to scream in pain asking everyone to leave.
His eyes turn red, his face changes, he wakes up and says,
‘okay, so everyone involved in the white night village is gathered here, is that right? I told Jung Woo that we can’t leave any evidence that we’re alive but he just won’t listen. we can just kill everyone.”
Turns out, Jung Woo also has dissociative personality disorder and his other self is the destructive one. Jung Woo begins to toss people around and as Hye Won approaches asking him to stop he begins to strangle her. After she yells hoping he comes back, he does, he then proceeds to ask them to empty the premise and leave asap since there is a bomb about to go off.
After he checks that everyone has left, he locks the door, Hye Won and Jamie scream for him to get out but he refuses, he asks his sister to live a happily ever after.
His mom asks him to complete the experiment together and refuses to surrender until the very end, she administrate the shot they completed on herself. Jung Woo sheds tears saying he should’ve never been born before the bombs go off.
Afterwards, Hye Won’s father is arrested but he refuses to admit to anything or say he’s wrong.
Jamie visits Jae Woong in prison, he didn’t tell police that he’s had a personality disorder so he didn’t get a reduced sentence, she tells him she’s leaving for the states and will visit him every once and a while.
Police arrests a bunch of higher-ups related to the issue and Hye Won returns to the force. She goes to say goodbye to Jamie, Jamie asks if they found her brother, but Hye Won says they’re still looking for him, neither his body nor his mom’s was found at the location.
Hye Won then goes to visit ahjussi and finds him cleaning an ambulance. She asks why and he gives a fake answer. After getting driven by him, she discovers a chewed lollipop and a ticket to Yeosu.
She searches the CCTV from the explosion and discovers the same ambulance had been there. She concludes that Jung Woo is probably alive somewhere in Yeosu. She asks reporter Lee to investigate for her.
3 months later
Hye Won has been promoted to a captain. She’s greeted by reporter Lee who proceeds to tell her the findings of his investigation. Apparently, he went to an island and one of the village members of that island saw him carrying a young woman, when he asked him who she was; he said she was his mother. Jung Woo asked the village frontman to find him a house and that the price didn’t matter.
The village frontman then visited them at their house, he didn’t see Jung Woo but saw his mother and as he was heading down, she asked him if he’s had pesticides [used among Korean people to commit suicide] and asked him ‘please kill me.’ Reporter Lee went to the house but found that they’re no longer there.
Later, Hye Won calls her team to go to a place to catch a criminal. The criminal then gets into an altercation with them and pulls out a knife and holds a person hostage, suddenly, a sign from a poll falls on his face and they make an arrest. Hye Won is reminded of something that happened similarly and remembers Jung Woo. She runs after a man who looks like him but misses him.
As she’s headed back, the camera pans out, Jung Woo pulls out a lollipop. He’s alive.
“Awaken” ending explained
To explain it as simply as possible, Jung Woo has two personalities, a timid one that’s rational and more humane and another one that is destructive. He’s been experimented on by his mother ever since he was a child and he wasn’t normal to begin with.
He is also the one responsible for the death of the white night village members. The lollipop he uses could be interpreted as a pacifier and some sort of drug he uses to control his other persona.
When he’s getting severe headaches it’s because of his high blood pressure and a side effect to the experiment. It also appears to be the trigger that brings out his other persona.
Added to that, it’s true, the formula Jung Woo gave to his mother was real and when she administrated it, she became young again which explains why the village frontman didn’t believe him when he said the woman was his mother.
Jung Woo is not dead, he was able to escape with his mother with the help of ahjussi who was aware of the full plan, his plan wasn’t to kill himself and his mother but to escape and stage what appears to be a suicide to put an end to it so no one would look for them ever again.
However, Hye Won believed he was still alive.
Jung Woo also probably realized that the reporter was onto him so he’s moved himself and his mother away. He possibly thinks it’s his punishment that he has to take care of his mother until the day she dies.
So this is “Awaken” ending explained, what did you think of “Awaken” episode 16? did you like the drama?