This page will serve as a comprehensive list of the most disappointing, heartbreaking and/or worst kdrama endings of all time.
- if you feel like a drama should be added to this list, please let us know in the comment section below!
- below is a table of contents of the drama names, in case you haven’t watched some of them, be warned, its ending will be spoiled.
- The list is in no particular order.
Table of Contents
Love Alarm 2 -reason: disappointing
“Love Alarm” ending definitely divided fans when it first aired. While the drama “ends on a happy note, many were not happy as the two main leads did not end up together.
“Love Alarm 2” ends with the main female lead Kim Jo Jo [Kim So Hyun] learning to let go of her dark past and accept the future, she learns that she should stop running away from her issues and face them head-on instead. That’s a noticeable improvement from the 18-year-old Kim Jo Jo who ran away whenever she could.
She meets Sun Oh [Song Kang] one last time. They have a civil discussion and she apologizes for what she’d done and for moving on and liking another man, Sun Oh tells her she shouldn’t apologize for liking someone. They part ways after establishing that liking Hye Young [Jung Ga-Ram] was her own choice.
Jo Jo ends up with Hye Young [Jung Ga-Ram] and Sun Oh [Song Kang] ends up with someone he’d been dating but not committed to because he couldn’t move on from his 1st love. This time, he tries his best and is determined to make their relationship work.
Read more on the ending: “Love Alarm 2” Ending Explained- Who Does Jojo end up with?
Nevertheless -reason: disappointing/ bad
“Nevertheless” ending was highly debatable among fans and depending on who you ask, its either a happy ending or a horrible sad ending disguised as a happy ending.
It tells the story of a female lead named Na Bi [Han So Hee] who gets into what turns out to be a toxic relationship with a man named Park Jae-Eon [played by Song Kang]. In the finale episode, she breaks things off with him only to end up accepting him back again despite knowing he’ll hurt her because she loves him.
The ending was criticized for several reasons including the bad message it sends, some argue the ending was badly written and that Na Bi should have learned her lesson and ended up with a man who truly appreciates and loves her without hiding it or playing games with her heart.
Something Happened In Bali- reason: disappointing + heartbreaking
The drama is a classic and was one of the first to receive so much love from the international audiences, however, the drama ending had people in tears wondering why it didn’t end up as they had hoped it would.
The three main characters played by Ha Ji Won, So Ji Sub and Jo In Sung engage in a very brutal love triangle that ends with the death of the three main characters.
Jo In Sung’s character hunts down Ha Ji Won and So Ji Sub after he thought they had eloped together; he finds them in a bed together and with the gun in his hands he shoots them both killing them almost instantly.
Before her character dies, Ha Ji Won tells Jo In Sung’s character that she loves him, when Jo In Sung’s character wakes up from his rage and sees her crying while dying he can’t contain himself.
He ends up going to the beach next to the room he found them both in, he shoots himself there as well.
Its very rare to find a kdrama where the three male leads all die, it was one of the most heartbreaking kdramas ever seen by kdrama fans.
God’s Gift 14 Days- reason: disappointing
“God’s Gift 14 Days” tells the story of a mother that goes back in time to bring her dead child to life, Cho Seung Woo’s character helps her.
This ending had people disappointed because many of them didn’t think it fit the entire story line. The ending seemed rush and abrupt for many fans and they were let down with how things turned out to be.
The ending was left open; Cho Seung Woo’s character; who tries to uncover the truth behind the child’s death to save her; probably ends up dead.
The story plays in a way that kind of explains its either him or the kid will have to die eventually. The child does return to her mother in the end, and we’re left with the open ending that suggests Cho Seung Woo’s character died.
Fans don’t know whether he ends up alive or dead for sure after the entire ordeal. Fans consider this drama ending beside the overall plot holes very disappointing and difficult to understand.
49 Days- reason: heartbreaking
“49 Days” is considered one of the best heartbreaking kdramas of all time. Fans thought the ending was brutal but nonetheless befitting.
The character Ji Hyun (played by Nam Gyu Ri) almost dies in a car crash, falls into a coma and gets transferred into the body of a suicidal woman Lee Kyung (played by Lee Yo Won) who isn’t happy with her life.
A messenger from God sees Ji Hyun soul and tells her if she finds three people who will genuinely shed tears over her in the next 49 days she will awake from her coma and live.
Sadly, in the end Ji Hyun (Nam Gyu Ri) character dies while Lee Kyung (played by Lee Yo Won) lives on, the two characters help each other. Lee Kyung helps Ji Hyun move on to the next life without any regrets while Ji Hyun helps Lee Kyung find a reason to live.
Queen For 7 Days- reason: heartbreaking
“Queen For 7 Days” almost instantly establishes itself as a drama that will make you cry in almost every episode.
The drama tells the love story between a king (Yeon Woo Jin) and a queen (Park Min Young) that takes an awfully tragic turn towards the end.
In the end, the queen sacrifices her position because of her love for the king, they both end up living apart unable to live together despite their immense love for each other.
They do end up reuniting 39 years later, both of them being very old one last time.
The drama ending was very heartbreaking, fans cried a lot because of how it ended but the sequences of the last episodes made fans very happy. Although it was a very sad ending it wasn’t disappointing, just heartbreaking.
Fashion King- reason: disappointing
“Fashion King” included the best cast; it had Yoo Ah In, Shin Se Kyung, and Lee Je Hoon. However, the plot, as well as the ending, made fans so furious that some called it one of the worst kdrama endings they have ever seen.
It tells the story of four people who work in the high-end fashion industry. Many fans labeled this drama as poorly written; the ending of the drama didn’t make it any better.
In the end, Yoo Ah In’s character drunkenly dials Shin Se Kyung’s character while in a Jacuzzi to tell her he misses her, he ends up shot dead by a random man while talking on the phone to the woman he loves. “Fashion King” ending truly puzzled fans with how random it felt.
Stairway To Heaven- reason: heartbreaking
“Stairway To Heaven” boasts great cast consisting of Kim Tae Hee, Choi Ji Woo, and Kwon Sang Woo. Its ending was considered extremely heartbreaking!
It tells the story of Song Joo (Kwon Sang woo) and Jung Seo (Choi Ji woo), two people who were destined for each other. Time goes by and eventually when they grow older and separate.
Jung Seo then sadly is involved in a car accident that causes her amnesia, she cannot remember the love of her life or even her name, the story follows her.
By the end, Jung Seo gets diagnosed with cancer in her eyes, but it had spread to her head, she has very little time left. Instead of choosing to chase after therapy to prolong her life she decides to spend it with the ones she loves most.
Towards the end of her life, she pulls herself together and asks her love Song Joo to take her to the beach; they walk there a lot before sitting down, she lies in his arms and takes her last breath.
Autumn In My Heart– reason: heartbreaking
“Autumn In My Heart” is considered a classic kdrama with a legendary cast that includes Song Hye Kyo, Won Bin, Han Chae Young and Song Seung Heon. The drama aired back in 2000 and is credited as one of the first kdramas that helped spread the Hallyu wave.
It’s a sad love story that begins with two girls who were swapped at birth, one of them led a happy life while the other led a sad life, eventually, the two girls return to their rightful places.
In the end, Song Hye Kyo’s character ends up dead of leukemia. Song Seung Heon’s character visits the places they used to frequent; a truck comes along and hits him.
He presumed to be dead, but the drama never explicitly explains whether he committed suicide or just surrendered to his fate when he saw the truck coming at him.
He was miserable after her death and might have followed her soon just like the tragic love story between Romeo and Juliet. Fans recall “Autumn In My Heart” ending felt very heartbreaking.
Empress Ki- reason: heartbreaking
“Empress Ki” is considered extremely successful in South Korea, its one of the biggest kdramas ever in terms of ratings. Ji Chang Wook, Joo Jin Mo and Ha Ji Won led this drama.
Ha Ji Won ends up in a love triangle between Ta Hwan (Ji Chang Wook) and Wang (Joo Jin Mo). Both fall in love with her, but it ends tragically. In efforts to protect his woman, Ta Hwan kills Wang.
He also ends up drinking the poison that was meant for her, choosing to die for her after all his wrongful deeds.
He ends up dead in her arms after the two profess their love for each other. Some fans think her true love was Wang while others are convinced it was Ta Hwan.
Hwayugi- reason: disappointing
“Hwayugi” boasts the star-studded cast of Lee Seung Gi, Cha Seung Won, and Oh Yeon Seo. It tells the story of finding light in a dark world where evils exist everywhere.
Throughout the course of the drama, you quickly find out that Oh Yeon Seo’s character must sacrifice herself for the fate of humanity, so it was already expected that the ending wasn’t going to be a nice one.
Eventually, the drama kills off Oh Yeon Seo’s character before Lee Seung Gi’s character could do anything about it. The final fighting scene felt rushed, heavily saturated with bad CGI and anticlimactic according to sp,e fans.
Many kdrama fans loved the drama throughout its runtime but unfortunately, the death of Oh Yeon Seo’s character and the lack of a happy ending to any main character rubbed fans the wrong way.
Lee Se Young’s character, who was also dearly loved by viewers, also ends up dead killed off by Lee Hong Ki’s character.
The drama’s ending hints at Lee Seung Gi’s character doing something to get his woman back, but the drama never came out with a 2nd season adding to the frustration fans had with the ending.
Im Sorry, I Love You- reason: heartbreaking
“Im Sorry, I Love You” is also credited as one of the first dramas that spread the hallyu wave.
“Im Sorry, I Love You” was a sad drama. The drama ends with the hero dramatic demise, Moo-hyuk [played by So Ji-Sub] kills himself in a motorcycle accident so that his heart can be transplanted to Yoon [played by Jung Kyung-ho].
Before his death, he calls Eun-chae [played by Lim Soo Jung] and tells her, “I’m sorry. I love you.” Hence, the drama’s name. His heart is given to Yoon, who makes a full recovery.
Eun-chae goes to Moo-hyuk’s grave in Australia, she’s in tears unable to move on, later, through newspaper headlines, it reads that a Korean woman’s body was found next to a person’s grave in Australia. Its presumed she committed suicide as a bottle was found next to her presumably containing some sort of poison.
Cheese In The Trap- reason: disappointing
The drama “Cheese In The Trap” is considered one of the recent biggest successes in Korean dramas, it launched the hallyu careers of many stars.
In the finale, Hong Seol [Kim Go Eun] is rushed to the hospital following an accident due to Lee Sung Kyung’s character actions. The doctors inform her parents that the surgery went well, but the consequences are uncertain. Park Hae Jin’s character, Yoo Jung, feels immense guilt over what happened.
Yoo Jung reflects on the pain he caused others due to his vengeful nature and decides to distance himself from Seol once she wakes up. Seol recovers, and Jung breaks up with her shortly after. He expresses his difficulty in loving her properly at the moment and suggests breaking up. Seol accepts the breakup but still cherishes their time together.
Three years later, Seol has achieved her career goals, and familiar faces from college reappear in her life. Seol coincidentally encounters Jung in a crosswalk, and they both continue walking unaware of each other. However, back at home, Seol opens an email from Jung, leaving room for the possibility of finding their way back to each other.
The drama was considered either disappointing or bad by some of the fans who have seen it, they name the lead actors not ending together as one of the reasons, and also cite how the characters who caused pain to the leads got a happy ending which felt nonsensical.
Scarlet Heart Ryeo – reason: heartbreaking
“Scarlet Heart Ryeo” is known for being one of the most heartbreaking kdramas in recent memory.
At the drama’s start, IU’s character is somehow transported to the past when she falls into the water, she ends up having to get accustomed to life in the Goryeo era.
Towards the end, a lot of the main characters die, and to make matters worse, IU’s character eventually gets pregnant and is escorted outside the castle where she gives birth to her baby before passing away. Thus, the king [Lee Joon Gi] spends his time longing for her unable to find happiness.
Then, IU’s character wakes up and finds out she’s been in a coma from falling into the water some time ago, and is finally awake. Her life is back to normal but she’s unable to move on. One day, she goes to a museum and sees a portrait of Wang in his castle grounds. She cries looking at it.
The sad ending left fans in tears and thus, its considered one of the saddest kdramas ever made. Added to that, fans were furious when an unreleased clip of the alternative ending was made public.
Lee Joon Gi had opened up about unreleased ending of the drama where in the final scene Wang So [Lee Joon Gi] hands Hae Soo [IU] a handkerchief.
Lee Joon Gi says in that scene after he hands her the handkerchief, she looks at him while he stands there not knowing anything about what had happened, he smiles and turns away, when Hae Soo calls him and looks at him, she smiles back.
Fans felt cheated when they found out about the unreleased clip and wondered why the director never used it as it would have made the drama’s ending a bit lighter.
Uncontrollably Fond – reason: heartbreaking
“Uncontrollably Fond” is considered one of the most heartbreaking kdramas ever made. The drama was filled with a lot of tear-jerking moments too.
Due to his cancer diagnosis, Kim Woo Bin’s character Joon-Young passes away in the arms of his lover No Eul who cries as he dies in her arms. It was a peaceful death, he died in the hands of the woman he loved. In the arms of the woman who made his final days happy.
“Uncontrollably Fond” is remembered by fans as one of Suzy’s best performances and the role that shot Kim Woo Bin’s popularity even higher. Suzy and Kim Woo Bin are set to reunite for an upcoming drama together, fans hope for a happy ending this time around.
Remember: The War Of Son – reason: heartbreaking
“Remember: The War Of Son” had a sad-but-expected ending considering its premise in mind.
Yoo Seung Ho played the role of Seo Jin-Woo, he is slowly losing his memories after getting diagnosed with dementia. Throughout the course of the drama, he falls in love with Lee In-A [Park Min-Young] and fight to bring justice. They end up able to achieve it and In A believes they might get a happy ending after the horrible things they went through.
However, Seo Jin-Woo had other plans all along. As his condition progresses, he makes a decision. Before things became more difficult for him and the love of his life, he cut things loose. He breaks up with her and moves away so she doesn’t suffer taking care of him. The couple does not end up together.
Triangle- reason: heartbreaking
“Triangle” ending is one of the rare kdrama endings that had to be changed because of its cast schedules. In the end, instead of the three main characters [ Jaejoong, Siwan and Lee Beom-Soo] reuniting as brothers, one of them dies, Siwan’s character was the one who ended up dead.
The heartbreaking ending scene of “Triangle” brought fans to tears as the prospect of the brothers finally being able to reunite and be together was squashed.
Jaejoong opened up about the reason at a later interview, he said,
“Jang Dong Chul’s [his character name] death was certain. He was supposed to die at the airport on the way to attend the Hold ‘Em Championships. However, the drama was extended by two episodes, so the ending changed. Im Siwan had other filming schedules and could only attend the filming of one extended episode, so that is why his character Jang Dong Woo died instead.”
Do Do Sol Sol La La Sol– reason: disappointing/ bad
“Do Do Sol Sol La La Sol” is one of the drama fans found very confusing with its ending and many called it disappointing for the way it played out.
The first half of “Do Do Sol Sol La La Sol” final episode was mostly positive. Ra Ra’s character [Go Ara] continued to work hard and live her fullest while Jun [Lee Jae Wook] focused on his alleged studies overseas, the couple would keep in contact via phone calls.
While Ra Ra was under the impression that he’s okay, he was in the hospital going through a difficult time receiving treatment for his cancer.
Ra Ra wants to propose to Jun, so she prepares an event for Christmas and he bails on her last minute. Instead, a video recording of him playing alongside her plays in the background.
After the event ends, Jun’s mom comes in wearing black clothes and breaks the news that Jun has passed away. She gives her a letter and says he kept it a secret because he was afraid she’d worry about him and he ‘didn’t want her to see him ill.’ She says that despite his blood cancer diagnosis, she gave him strength to go through difficult times.
Flash forward to 5 years later after the heartbreaking news, Ra Ra is playing the piano when Jun appears in front of her wearing a suit. She is shocked to her core. Later, they sit on a view and she asks him if he’s real, he says he is and he didn’t want to worry her, he said, “I wanted to wait until I fully recovered.” This is how the screenwriter explains the 5 year gap he took and him lying to her saying he died when he didn’t.
The nonsensical ending struck fans as odd and implausible, some fans also didn’t like how the main male lead character lied to the woman he loved and said he’s dead only to come back to life a couple of years later with the excuse he didn’t want to worry her.
Vagabond -reason: disappointing
The ending of “Vagabond” is still talked about this day for its inconclusive ending that disappointed fans who felt they did not get a proper ending.
Interestingly, the ending of “Vagabond” was shown during the first episode of the drama. The ending scene of “Vagabond” shows Suzy’s character riding in a limousine headed somewhere in a desert, Lee Seung Gi’s character is on standby with another shooter far away waiting for the car to arrive so they could kill who’s inside it.
To the surprise of Dal Geon, he sees his lover Hae Ri when she steps out from the car to see what happened after their limousine tire was shot. Dal Geon is given the command to kill Hae Ri but he hesitates, he ends up shooting the other sniper at standby, he wipes his tears as he allows Hae Ri to get away in another car.
Fans have been pressing for a 2nd season as it felt the drama was building up towards one, but “Vagabond” aired back in 2019, and its 2023, we still have not gotten news of a 2nd season.
Read the full ending and why netizens were furious: “Vagabond” Ending Explained- Will There Be A Second Season?
SKY Castle -reason: disappointing
“SKY Castle” is a dark satirical drama that discusses sensitive topics; it talks about society pressure, suicide and so many other things, it centers around four women and their families, the parents wish for their kids to succeed in high school at whatever cost. With such a heavy theme, the drama can be difficult to digest; however, “SKY Castle” writer proved everyone such a tricky theme can be handled well.
In the finale of “SKY Castle”, almost everyone gets their happy ending but the ending received mixed responses due to various reasons. One of them being how the drama’s tone shifted into an overly happy one with the finale. In the final episode, despite what many thoughts, a main character’s death [Hye Na’s death] is never brought up or explained properly.
The drama also shows the four women sitting down and happily chatting despite the very awful things some of them did to others.
The final scene of the drama oddly cut to coach Kim’s [Kim Seo-Hyung] face. Originally, the drama showed her character facing consequences for her actions and for the illegal things she’d done, however, with the odd cut to her face in her usual attire one cannot help but wonder if she somehow escaped prison or about what happened to her. None of which get properly explained.
Some fans found the ending to also be underwhelming and not on the same level as
Read more on the ending and reactions to it: “SKY Castle” Episode 20 Recap [Ending Explained]- A Cringe Fest Or The Perfect Happy Ending?
Memories of the Alhambra -reason: disappointing/ bad
“Memories of the Alhambra” final episode was an open ending which did not satisfy fans. It was also heavily criticized by many netizens.
In the ending, CEO Yoo Jin Woo [played by Hyun Bin] gets deleted by Emma [a key character played by Park Shin Hye] for being a bug in the game, Se Ju (the founder of the game- played by Chanyeol) says he programmed Emma to stab whenever it detects a bug.
Additionally, in the finale, Yoo Jin Woo gets killed off in the first minutes of the episode and to make matters more confusing, 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 by saying that only the master of the game can create an ‘instant dungeon’ which is basically another world you can trap yourself in, like another dimension.
Because of the screenwriter inability to provide a clear conclusion to the very messy ambitious kdrama, many fans were left wondering what went wrong.
Twenty Five, Twenty One -reason: disappointing
“Twenty Five, Twenty One” ending is one of the recent kdrama endings on this list, and is known for having angered many of the drama’s fans upon its release.
The drama ends with the couple breakup. Hee Do [played by Kim Tae Ri] says ‘this love isn’t supporting me anymore,’ Ye Jin [played by Nam Joo Hyuk] asks if its his fault but she says its not. He asks if she won’t regret it but she says its the right thing to do, they’re only blaming each other right now. Hee Do says she’s doing the right thing and has contemplated this for the past six months.
After their very messy breakup, they meet one last time in flesh. They hug each other and comfort each other with familiar words they exchanged. He ties her shoes and they both say goodbye crying their eyes out.
The drama fast forwards to several years later with many of the parties involved in the drama having moved on.
The ending signals that Hee Do might be trying to find Baek Ye Jin again and rekindle their romance, but we’re never shown Ye Jin in the present day which upset many fans.
The many unanswered questions during the finale of the drama as well as the absence of an explanation about Ye Jin’s whereabouts did not sit well with fans who thought it was not done well.