tvN’s “Bulgasal” aired its finale earlier today, and we’re here to discuss it and explain the ending.
Note: even though I tried my best to explain “Bulgasal” ending, there are still many details that the screenwriters never addressed, important details that leave holes in the plot. Those shall remain unexplained unless the screenwriters choose to address it in interviews.
What happened 1000 years ago?
“Bulgasal” 16th episode begins with a flashback addressing exactly what happened 1000 years ago. Buckle up.
First, Do Yeon and Si Ho were siblings, their parents had to abandon them and make them run away, for some reason, the parents were being punished and hunted down by authorities.
Si Ho escapes with Do Yeon, who is just a baby. However, they stumble upon an armed man in the cave who is about to kill them. This is where Sang Un the bulgasal interferes and scares him away.
I need to mention that neither bulgasals from this age can speak, they communicate via their eyes
She helps the kids find refugee in an old woman’s house, the old woman is Hye Seok, she raises them as her own.
A couple of years later, the kids grew enough to run around and play, Sang Un continues to watch over them. She lives with Hwal in the mountains but always yearns to see the kids, they grew on her. One day, she interferes again and saves them from a monster. She also finds out Do Yeon is sick and has been coughing.
She comes at night and brings him medicine, the kids see her and tell her, along with Hye Seok, to live with them. In her mind, she explains she’ll only stay by the kids’ side until they’re old enough to care for themselves. She leaves him behind, meanwhile, Hwal thinks she’s abandoned him, he waits for her but she never came back. Hwal is furious, to say the least.
10 years later, the kids grew older and one day while working in the mountains, they accidentally stumble upon Eul Tae murdering his brother. He attempts to kill them since they saw him but again, Sang Un interferes, he runs away in fear.
Meanwhile, Eul Tae’s father, who is Detective Kwon, looks for his son. Eul Tae lies and says he’s been bulgasal kill his brother in the mountains. He guides them there. They look for her.
They raid the place where they live and take out Sang Un, they attempt to kill her but she doesn’t die. Detective Kwon then says he’ll behead her, cut her limbs and bury her deep where she can never see the light, he also directs his hate at the kids but Hye Seok defends them and says they didn’t know any better.
As she’s about to be beheaded, Hwal finds her and kills everyone who came there. The kids were also harmed and Hye Seok dies. So Do Yeon and Detective Kwon and Si Ho all collectively stab Hwal with swords to stop him from causing more harm and killing them.
He puts a curse on each one of them, Si Ho will never be able to have kids, Do Yeon will lose his sight, and detective Kwon will lose his hand. He then throws them away causing them severe injuries. Then, Sang Un who loved the kids dearly, decides to stab herself and kill them both, she says, ‘I can’t just let them die like this,’ Hwal feels betrayed and says ‘I despise you.’
At this time, Eul Tae shows up and sees the damage, he’s fascinated by the Bulgasals. As Hwal is dying, he takes him away, Do Yeon gets up one last time to try and kill Hwal but Kwon stabs him killing him. Kwon says he can’t let him kill his other son.
Eul Tae takes Hwal away but Hwal then reaches for his heart and takes out something tiny thats white. Basically, Eul Tae is transferred into a bulgasal while Hwal takes his soul and dies a human.
Meanwhile, Sang Un doesn’t die and goes back to their cave to wait for him to come back.
Now back to the present day.
Did Hwal regain his memories?
Yes, after he drank detective Kwon’s blood, he regained his memory.
He goes after Eul Tae and they meet in the cave where he used to live. Eul Tae tells him Sang Un waited for him here to kill him for what he’d done.
They end up fighting and Eul Tae says he won’t be able to go back to his oldself because he drank human blood.
Does Eul Tae die?
Yes, he does.
During the confrontation with Hwal, Sang Un shows up from behind and stabs him. He takes hold of her and stabs her back. Hwal retaliates and bites him back sucking his blood. He then stabs him in his heart. Sang Un then injects him with a sedative and goes after Hwal who disappears.
Does Hwal die?
Yes. He dies. He kills himself after stabbing Eul Tae.
He goes out after he stabbed his heart and drank his blood, he refuses Sang Un’s words and says he wants to end it. He feels terrible about the crimes he’s committed 1000 years ago, he can’t forgive himself.
Added to that, he says if he doesn’t die, the curses he started will never end and he can’t go back to being human. He disappears and dies and so does Eul Tae.
Does Sang Un die?
Yes, she does, she dies as well the same day.
After what happened, she’s heartbroken. She calls Si Ho and Do Yeon. They come to aid her. She’s bleeding heavily and tells them everyone died.
She feels her time has come, she tells Si Ho to have a family and take care of herself. She also asks her to read her palm, they have to retrieve the detective’s body and give him a burial. She dies after that.
What happens to Si Ho and Do Yeon?
They decide to wait for them at the same house they lived in together, hoping that one day, they will be reincarnated and reunited.
Si Ho gives birth to her daughter and raises her properly. Do Yeon eventually gets married and has a family. They live a good life.
How does “Bulgasal” end?
50 years later. One day, the old old Si Ho is relieved to find out they’ve found Sang Un’s reincarnated self. The reincarnated version of Sang Un receives a letter with the photo and location to their house. She cries without knowing why, she doesn’t recall her past lives.
She shows up at the house and while she’s taking a look, a man at the porch is talking about buying either this house or a house, it is Hwal.
The two meet and Sang Un decides to leave the place, she stumbles and Hwal saves her from falling, his hands get injured, she goes to her car to retrieve first aid kit. The two then look at each other and Hwal asks, ‘have we met before?’ Sang Un is crying.
“Bulgasal” review- final thoughts
“Bulgasal” execution remains a huge mess until the end, gosh darn it. This is so upsetting because the idea is sooo sooo good.
I talked about “Bulgasal” in the first half review a while ago and most of my points and thoughts still stand, very few of them have just gotten expanded and one of my opinions changed, which I’ll talk about later.
As I said, the screenwriters behind this drama just lovvveeee dragging things, this isn’t the first time this happened, its like when someone is soooo into their own story they can’t zoom out and think why most other people will have a huge difficulty understanding their perspective or having enough patience to understand it.
Its like going from point A to B, but instead of taking the straight line or even the line thats a bit twisted, the two screenwriters of this drama decide it would be best to go around in circles between the two points only to end up at point B having exhausted everyone with their ride.
“Bulgasal” as an idea is phenomenal, if it had been 8 episodes long, tightly scripted and well-paced, this could’ve become a bigger hit than goblin itself. The basic idea behind this drama is so much more interesting, heartbreaking, and twisted, something very few fantasy dramas can successfully pull off.
While it matters to write an interesting twisted script, its also important to consider the average viewer, what pains me is the fact that both of them [the screenwriters] will never get to hear the criticism they must hear, they have such amazing ideas but they don’t know how to properly execute them.
When I watched the 16th episode everything came together at last, but at what cost? You waited until the very last breath to ‘reveal’ the ultimate twist and it came at the expense of the entire drama, was it worth it?
Almost everything finally makes sense, you begin to understand why the characters behaved the way they did or why the screenwriters took the drama in that direction. It has its flaws but its still beautiful. I also really like the ending.
I am so upset because this drama could’ve been one of the biggest kdramas in recent memory.
The cinematography is astounding, the OST is to die for and most performances are great. As I told you guys before, I have some complaints about the editing, the last episode editing was a bit weird, especially the scenes that supposedly need to convey some time has passed. They’re too slow and confusing, am I supposed to count how many times spring came?
In my first half review, I said I had an issue with the directing, I still do slightly but its not as much as I used to, this is because I thought Lee Jin Wook’s acting was swayed because of the director, turns out, I might be wrong.
One of my readers pointed out how this has always been Lee Jin Wook’s acting method but I just never looked at it that way. He has trouble taking into consideration the people around him when he acts, it feels that he’s so focused on delivering his lines properly that he feels alienated from his peers. In Sweet home, this wasn’t an issue because his character was supposed to be the outsider, but here, in such type of script, its as clear as day that he struggles to maintain a connection with his acting peers during difficult emotional scenes which were the majority in this drama because his character was driven by revenge.
It doesn’t mean he’s bad but I think putting him as the main lead with such types of roles isn’t the best of ideas. His acting made it difficult for me to follow the drama, if it wasn’t for Lee Joon, I would have quit.
Lee Joon puts on his best performance to date in my opinion. He’s so engaging and charismatic…. There are no words to describe how much fun I had just watching him be crazy. If Lee Joon chooses to stick to playing villain roles for the next two years, I’d be thankful.
So What did you guys think of the Drama’s ending?