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Closing – 4 hopes for Save Me

Now that the drama is over, it’s time to review how it held up against my original expectations.

We get a ton of social commentary. The drama did surprisingly well in that regard. Instead of pausing every couple of episodes for self-righteous speeches about the corruption of those in power, the injustices that were perpetrated were instead an integral part of the story. From Sang-mi being trapped in the Guseonwon to Dong-chul’s imprisonment to police officers who looked the other way to believers being milked for cash, we got to see failure after failure of the system and society. Perhaps the most reaffirming part of it all was that the good guys didn’t try to excuse their own family members’ complicity—they called them out on it instead, repeatedly.

Sang-mi’s trauma isn’t played to motivate the boys. I’m so happy about how this played out. Yeah, sure, the boys answered the call to help her, and they often expressed sympathy and were upset about her plight, but at no point did any of them take her suffering and make it about them. The boys suffered for her, because they understood that the Guseonwon was a shitty, dangerous, evil organization, and they could not help her unless they helped her bring the entire thing down.

Jung-ki is terrifying. Yep. He was. He was terrifying in his soft-spoken, I-have-half-a-dozen-people-willing-to-die-and-or-commit-murder-for-me way, and the grip he had on the Guseonwon members’ lives was absolutely awful. The man was a charismatic predator with a silver tongue and an ability to inspire fanatical devotion. His stolen wealth let him rub shoulders with the local elites and gave him absolute control in his domain. It has been a long time since I’ve seen someone who deserved to be set on fire as much as he did.

Give me an optimistic ending. Thank you. Despite the murders and the continuance of the splintered Guseonwon group, Sang-mi got her happy ending with her mother and was able to go out into the real world, just like she wanted. Dong-chul was able to start reconnecting with his father (here’s hoping he has a spot in an recovering alcoholics program), and Sang-hwan got the miracle of his mother waking up. The world is still populated with evil, corrupt people, but this time the young people won, and I’m so grateful they did.

Save Me exceeded my expectations, and it has cemented its spot near the top of my 2017 ranking. What did you think of the show?

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Save Me, Episode 16 [END]

TL;DR: WE GOT A HAPPY ENDING \o/

I am thrilled to report that the good people ultimately triumphed. (Some folks got a lesser punishment than I’d hoped for, but others exceeded my wildest dreams. YAY FOR FIRE.) After the hell she went through, Sang-mi certainly deserved it, and few things were as wonderful as seeing her reunited with her mother in the end. Continue reading “Save Me, Episode 16 [END]”

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Save Me, Episode 14

TL;DR: More people made it out of this episode alive than I anticipated.

I may have cheered both times Sang-mi claimed to have a revelation about something she then used to her advantage. That’s one of the unanticipated side effects of turning her into the Mother of Spirits: there is no way for a believer to counter what she says when they think she has special access to the divine. Sang-mi was able to get a few seconds semi-alone with Dong-chul to pass on information, and then she got to have a totally private conversation with her mother because of her maneuvering. Continue reading “Save Me, Episode 14”

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Save Me, Episode 13

TL;DR: That escalated quickly.

First of all, I’m so grateful that Sang-mi bought herself some time to breathe. I am disgusted, but not surprised, that all it took was for her to point out how powerful Jung-ki is and to flatter his ego by saying she wanted to “accept” him on her own terms. I cannot wait for this bastard to be taken down, and I hope Sang-mi gets to gloat over him at some point. She deserves it after all the times she has had to endure conversation with him.

(Especially after that fruit metaphor. *VOMITS*) Continue reading “Save Me, Episode 13”

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Save Me, Episode 12

TL;DR: You had better fucking not, show.

Episode twelve exists to start moving the pieces into place for the finale. In that, it does its job well, as it neatly stitches together smaller, inconsequential moments that I had honestly forgotten about. Turns out that the grandmother wandering into the police station to report her granddaughter’s disappearance was actually important as it’s providing a way into the Guseonwon for the police—provided the corrupt ones can find a moral line of their own and take a stand.

(I’m not holding my breath.) Continue reading “Save Me, Episode 12”

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Save Me, Episode 11

TL;DR: Look at all these young people calling out their elders and gathering evidence.

Sang-mi was magnificent in this episode, and I’m happy to report that she is doing an excellent job walking the line between complying with her captors and keeping a tight hold on her soul. I adored it when she said she was going to save everyone—and how her father and Eun-shil completely misunderstood what she said to their faces. Continue reading “Save Me, Episode 11”

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Save Me, Episode 10

TL;DR: Our heroes are preparing for a counterattack, but I’m still extremely anxious about everything.

I honestly didn’t think my love toward and protectiveness of Sang-mi could possibly increase, but this episode proved me wrong. She is easily climbing up my list of favorite kdrama heroines, in no small part due to the opening scenes where she defies Jung-ki to his face in front of the entire congregation. Even though no one is ready to listen to her, I got some immense satisfaction from her rebuking the members and telling them all to go home to their families. There is no salvation to be found here, only corruption and horror. Continue reading “Save Me, Episode 10”

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Save Me, Episode 9

TL;DR: I understand that this is only episode nine and that of course the heroine can’t win at this point, but damn it I want her to win.

In many ways, this was the episode that finally cut off all of Sang-mi’s escape routes. She has incontrovertible proof that it is useless to seek help from the authorities in Muji County. Whether it is the bad guys’ connections or the simple fact that no one besides the boys is willing to believe her when she explains what she has been suffering, the only recourse she has for justice is to walk back into the fire and drag the evidence she needs (and her mother) back out with her. Continue reading “Save Me, Episode 9”

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Save Me, Episode 8

TL;DR: We have officially hit a turning point, thank any deity except New Heaven’s Sovereign.

Sang-mi continues to be a resilient heroine, and I admire her balancing act. She resists whenever she can, whether that’s trying to leave during prayers or telling So-rin to run or snarking back at Wan-tae and Jung-ki, even though she is terrified and constantly under threat. I love her fierce defense of her mother and the way she continues to call out her father for being a trash human being. And I am so, so grateful that she knows she isn’t entirely alone anymore. Continue reading “Save Me, Episode 8”