Home > Entertainment > ‘Nevertheless’ and other famous K-dramas partially ruined by their cliffhanger endings
‘Nevertheless’ and other famous K-dramas partially ruined by their cliffhanger endings

While there is no denying that Nevertheless (2021) and Love Alarm (2019) are some of the most famous Korean dramas to watch, they also belong to a league of shows that are likely to leave you unsettled with their endings.

Open-ended dramas and movies can be quite exciting to watch. Cinephiles, to this date, debate about the final scene of Christopher Nolan’s Inception (2010). However, some cliffhangers can end up ruining the whole bingeing experience. For example, when a major character is killed and abruptly revived in the Lee Je-hoon-starrer sci-fi Korean drama Signal, with no logical explanation, the plot twist makes fans question the credibility of the script.

And when the makers don’t introduce future seasons, the loose ends remain untied. A case in point is the open ending of Love Alarm season one, which left fans wondering if protagonists Jo-jo and Sun-oh will get back together. However, season two failed the audience by disregarding the chemistry between the beloved couple in favour of a new love angle.

Check our complete list on K-dramas to watch!

Korean dramas to watch that will leave you wanting for more with their suspenseful endings

Nevertheless (2021)

Directed by: Kim Ga-ram and Jang Ji-yeon

Cast: Han So-hee, Song Kang, Chae Jong-hyeop

Episodes: 10

The cliffhanger: Classmates Park Jae-eon (Song) and Yoo Na-bi (So-hee) do not believe in relationships. Things change when they get to know each other better and start dating.

While Nevertheless presents itself as a hardcore romantic comedy and stays that way for most of its duration, the plot gets messy when Jae-eon suddenly disappears from Na-bi’s life and then comes back in the end. Not only is there no real explanation given, but the final episode confuses fans even more by showing the couple kissing and holding hands as they walk down the street.

The abrupt ending leaves multiple questions unanswered and up to the viewers’ interpretation.

About the show: One of the famous Netflix romantic Korean dramas to watch, Nevertheless is based on a webtoon of the same name by Jung Seo.

Watch here.

Vagabond (2019)

Directed by: Yu In-sik

Cast: Bae Suzy, Lee Seung-gi, Kim Min-jong, Moon Jung-hee

Episodes: 16

The cliffhanger: A prime example of a series that got viewers hooked but left them disappointed with the conclusion, Vagabond tells the story of stuntman Cha Dal-geon (Lee), who promises to discover the truth behind a mysterious plane crash that kills his nephew. While he gets help from undercover National Intelligence Service agent Go Hae-ri (Bae), his mission soon gets complicated.

With a gripping premise, the show had fans on the edge of their seats. But just as everything seemed to be building towards an epic climax, the series fizzled out with an unfulfilling conclusion. As the K-drama changed tracks to focus on Dal-geon’s romantic feelings for Hae-ri, no clear answer was provided about the mysterious plane crash in the end.

About the show: One of the famous SBS Korean dramas to watch, Vagabond earned Lee and Bae the Top Excellence and Best Couple awards for their performance at the 2019 SBS Drama Awards.

Watch here.

Love Alarm (2019)

Directed by: Lee Na-jung

Cast: Kim So-hyun, Jung Ga-ram, Song Kang

Episodes: 16

The cliffhanger: One of the most famous Netflix K-dramas to watch, Love Alarm focuses on Kim Jo-jo (Kim), a girl clueless about love, Hwang Sun-oh (Song), a popular school jock and his childhood best friend Lee Hye-Yeong (Jung), who is secretly in love with Jo-jo. The three live in an era where an app called Love Alarm has been developed to notify its users if someone within their 10-metre radius likes them.

While Sun-oh and Jo-jo go from lovers to exes in season one, at the end of the last episode, Jo-jo is seen standing in a room with Sun-oh after their break up, along with Sun-oh’s current girlfriend. It’s then that Jo-jo’s Love Alarm goes off, indicating she still has feelings for Sun-oh.

This left fans looking forward to the next season to learn how things work out between Jo-jo and Sun-oh. The second instalment, however, focused on the relationship between Jo-jo and Hye-young and didn’t tie up any loose ends from season one.

Watch here.

Sky Castle (2018)

Directed by: Jo Hyun-tak

Cast: Yum Jung-ah, Lee Tae-ran, Yoon Se-ah, Oh Na-ra, Kim Seo-hyung

Episodes: 20

The cliffhanger: Residents of the posh Korean neighbourhood Sky Castle, Han Seo-jin (Yum), Lee Soo-im (Lee), No Seung-hye (Yoon) and Jin Jin-hee (Oh), lead the most luxurious lives. With their successful husbands and children attending the nation’s top universities, the four rich women are ready to do anything to maintain their status.

As the Korean drama progresses, audiences are introduced to a sadistic tutor, who derives pleasure from torturing and hurting her students.

While fans expected the families to get rid of the tutor in the end, the last scene insinuated that the latter’s torturous classes weren’t over yet. This particular cliffhanger left most fans disturbed because it meant that the students never escaped the tutor’s clutches.

Watch here.

Memories of the Alhambra (2018)

Directed by: Ahn Gil-Ho

Cast: Hyun Bin, Park Shin-hye, Park Hoon

Episodes: 16

The cliffhanger: Yoo Jin-woo (Hyun), the CEO of an investment company, is looking for the creator of a rare augmented-reality game. On his quest, he ends up in Granada, Spain and comes across a mysterious hostel owner, Jung Hee-joo (Park). With time, Jin-woo starts discovering multiple secrets about Hee-joo.

This Hyun Bin-starrer has one of the most clichéd cliffhangers. While the last episode shows Jin-woo being killed as a bug in the game, the K-drama ends with a hint that he might still be alive.

The lazy ending didn’t satisfy fans and they continue to hope that the creators will return with Memories of the Alhambra Season 2. Unfortunately, there have been no words from Netflix or tvN on the drama’s renewal.

About the show: One of the most famous fantasy Korean dramas to watch, Memories of the Alhambra earned Ahn the Best Director nomination at the Baeksang Art Awards in 2018.

Watch here.

Signal (2016)

Directed by: Kim Won-suk

Cast: Lee Je-hoon, Kim Hye-soo, Cho Jin-Woong

Episodes: 16

The cliffhanger: A time-transcending walkie-talkie connects present-day criminal profiler Park Hae-yeong (Lee) with detective Lee Jae-han (Kim), who existed in 1989. The duo discover that both of them are working on a case of a young girl, who was kidnapped on the way from school. Following this, Hae-yeong and Jae-han decide to solve the mystery together.

As the series approaches its end, Jae-han, who was supposed to be dead, is shown alive. The makers do not offer a proper explanation behind his survival and keep it open-ended to make the finale align with the overall thought of the series, “As long as you have hope and never give up, you can change the future.”

About the show: One of the most famous sci-fi Korean dramas to watch, Signal won the Best Drama award at the 2016 Baeksang Art Awards.

Cheese in the Trap (2016)

Directed by: Lee Yoon-jung

Cast: Kim Go-eun, Park Hae-jin, Seo Kang-joon, Lee Sung-kyung

Episodes: 16

The cliffhanger: This Korean drama revolves around the complicated love story between rich, popular and bad-tempered university student Yoo Jung (Park) and hardworking scholarship student Hong Seol (Kim).

Towards the end of the series, not only do viewers get an unsatisfactory break-up but also multiple disjointed scenes that do not add up. In the final episode, Jung leaves without offering any closure and Seol is heartbroken. The episode then takes a three-year leap where fans see Seol sending Jung emails, only to be left unread. The K-drama ends with Jung finally calling Seol after reading one of her letters.

This cliffhanger made fans question the decision of the makers — why would they introduce the time jump in the first place if they had to end the show without any solid conclusion?

About the show: One of the best coming-of-age Korean dramas to watch, Cheese in the Trap was adapted from the webtoon of the same name by Soonkki.

Fashion King (2012)

Directed by: Lee Myung-woo

Cast: Yoo Ah-in, Shin Se-kyung, Lee Je-hoon, Kwon Yuri

Episodes: 20

The cliffhanger: The story follows rookie fashion designer Kang Young-gul’s (Yoo) quest to make a name in the South Korean entertainment industry. As the plot progresses, Lee Ga-young (Shin), Young-geol’s love interest, feels betrayed by Young-geol’s choice to leave her and pursue his career in the United States.

However, this storyline comes to a screeching halt as Young-gul gets shot by an unidentified assassin in the final episode. The sudden killing off of one of the leads by the makers left viewers scratching their heads.

Irked by the cliffhanger ending, fans pointed out that while it took almost 17 episodes for the main character to reach the top, his downfall was wrapped up in just three episodes.

About the show: One of the most controversial Korean dramas to watch, Fashion King is also famous as Paesyeonwang.

(Hero and featured image: Courtesy Netflix)

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

– What is the highest-rated Korean drama to watch?

Some of the highest-rated Korean dramas you can watch include Goblin, Crash Landing on You, It’s Okay to Not Be Okay, Business Proposal, Hometown Cha Cha, World Of the Married and Sky Castle.

– Who is the best K-drama actor?

Some of the best Korean drama actors to watch out for are Lee Ji-eun (IU), Kim So-hyun, Hyun Bin Kim Jung-hyun, Ahn Bo-hyun, Kim Tae-ri, Lee Min-ho, Bae Suzy, Uhm Jung-hwa, Kim Byung-chul, Lee Byung-hun, Son Ye-jin, Lee Sang-yi, Kim Soo-hyun, Yoon Hye-jin, Kim Hee-ae and Kim Hae-sook.

– What is the best Korean romantic comedy-drama?

Some of the best Korean romantic comedies are Boys Over Flowers, Oh My Venus, Oh My Ghostess and Strong Woman Do Bong-soon. Meanwhile, Crash Landing on You — a love story about a South Korean heiress Yoon Se-ri (Son) and a North Korean soldier Ri Jeong-hyeok (Hyun) — is one of the best romantic Korean dramas to watch.

– Which K-drama is trending currently?

Some trending dramas to come out of the South Korean industry in 2023 include Mask Girl, Celebrity, Heartless, See You in My 19th Life, Bloodhound, Extraordinary Attorney Woo and Divorce Attorney Shin.

– Which K-drama should I watch?

Some of the top Korean dramas to watch for beginners are Goblin, Crash Landing on You, Squid Game, Vincenzo, All Of Us Are Dead, Unlocked and The Legend of the Blue Sea. While most K-dramas revolve around Korean culture, thrillers like All Of Us Are Dead or coming-of-age dramas like It’s Okay to Not Be Okay, make for an exception.

‘Nevertheless’ and other famous K-dramas partially ruined by their cliffhanger endings

A PhD research scholar, Sushmita is a full-time writer and a part time poet. Notepads are Sushmita's one true love -- the unbothered victims drowned in the ink of her pen. An avid fan of K-pop and K-dramas, she mostly writes about Korean culture and entertainment. When not writing, Sushmita is dancing, reading, collecting books, learning about fashion, art, motion pictures, and appreciating BTS.


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