All good things come to an end and new things begin, even if “Tunnel – Drama” likes to mix the “when” part of it up. Jin-woo is arrested and our characters get closure in the present. It is a time of regret, relief and redemption, but also a time of goodbyes as Gwang-ho decides to take one last run through the titular tunnel in hopes of reuniting with his family in his own time.
While I feel the series could have spent more time with Jin-woo’s (Kim Min-sang-I) creation as a killer, I do appreciate that we at least discover his perspective. Ho-yeong (Heo Sung-tae) and Jin-woo had a skewed perception of the world and the neglect or even enabling of the ones around them in light of it slowly robbed them of their humanity. I wish Jae-i’s (Lee Yoo-young) speech about preventing the creation of victims included preventing the creation of perpetrators.
That being said, any focus on the other victims and the killers’ psyche should have been built into the plot and now is not the time for it. Now is the time for goodbyes. First of all, let me say that the three leads have been great characters it was a pleasure to journey with through this story. The goodbyes are emotional because the people and relationships involved are rich. It is this very richness which makes the haphazard ending and the bad handling of the time element all the more disappointing.
The episode plays up the drama of everyone bidding Gwang-ho (Choi Jin-hyuk) farewell and hurting over losing him. It is not Gwang-ho whom we are losing, however, but every character we loved in the present. This comes right back to the refusal of the writer to talk about the consequences of Gwang-ho’s return. Min-ha (Kang Ki-yeong) briefly wonders what changing the past means for this present, but the series quickly dismisses it. I wish we had at least seen the alternate present Gwang-ho’s return would eventually generate.
The brief look into our hero’s old life is also poorly handled. Everything and everyone we know will change and we will never learn how. Also, how did the modern Gwang-ho (N) have his name in our known present when our own Gwang-ho had disappeared in 1986 and therefore never met the young man’s mother? I just wish the creators had indulged the “neat little bow” urge with elements that matter. As it stands, they just added an error.
When all is said and done, “Tunnel – Drama” offers a compelling story and villains whose entertainment value and significance only become greater after their identity is revealed. I have my gripes with the ending, the use of the time element and how the series sacrifices its human potential in favor of killer chasing and more standard drama fare at times, but all in all, this has been a highly enjoyable, solid series.
“Tunnel – Drama” is directed by Sin Yong-hwi and Kim Seong-min-I, written by Lee Eun-mi-III and features Choi Jin-hyuk, Yoon Hyun-min and Lee Yoo-young.
Written by: Orion from ‘Orion’s Ramblings‘
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“[HanCinema’s Drama Review] “Tunnel – Drama” Episode 16 Final”
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