The way a show ends can make or break it. As we’ve seen with failures like “Game of Thrones,” the quality of what came before the end can be thrown out the window if you don’t stick the landing.
While Game of Thrones crashed nose-first onto the runway and blew up into a million pieces, Twenty Five Twenty One wobbles, loses a wheel, and just about makes it down in one piece, even though the passengers are shaking and everyone is looking worried.
Aside from plane comparisons (I’m sorry if you’re afraid of flying and are reading this!) Twenty Five Twenty One could have been the perfect k-drama about coming of age, but the ending makes it hard to give it a 10/10.
Aside from that, this show has a good story, great characters, and one of the best soundtracks I’ve heard in a Korean drama in a long time. Aside from the ending, this is one of the brightest gems of 2022.
Both now and 1998 are parts of the story. During the presentation, a certain virus is going around, and Na Hee-Do watches as her daughter loses her nerve during a ballet competition and quits right away.
Kim Min-Chae finds her mother’s journals when she goes home, and we learn about Hee-past Do’s through her eyes and clever bits of narration. Most of the drama happens here, as we see the young, hopeful world of this young fencer who is on his way up.
Due to the financial crisis in South Korea, Hee-high Do’s school fencing team has had to be disbanded. Hee-Do talks her mother into letting her go to Coach Yang’s gym instead of her old school. Yang has a past with Hee-mom, Do’s which we find out more about as the season goes on. She also coaches Ko Yu-Rim, who is the current fencing gold medalist and Hee-role Do’s model.
Another story about Baek Yi Jin, a sad young man who has to take over his father’s business, is woven into this one (and debts). Yi-Jin suddenly goes from being rich to being poor because of the financial crisis. He studies works part-time jobs and try to pay back the people who are upset with him because they think he is to blame for their problems.
As the show goes on, Hee-Do and Yi Jin find comfort in each other. Yi Jin’s life experience and grounded attitude are the perfect contrast to Hee-upbeat Do’s and optimistic personality. There’s something about these two that really sticks out throughout the season, and their conversations and the fact that they aren’t a good match for each other work like a charm.
Twenty-Five Twenty-One has a lot of emotional weight to it because it has strong themes about youth, forgiveness, innocence, and the harsh realities of life. But what’s really interesting is how this changes as the play goes on. As Hee-Do and her friends get older, the problems they face become a lot more important.
At the beginning of the show, we deal with school exams and training problems. By the end, the real-life tragedy of 9/11 is woven into the story, and PTSD, mental health, and depression take the story in a very different direction. This is a slow journey, and it’s so subtle that you might not even notice it until the end when it slams you in the face and makes you cry. The main difference is that those funny moments from before are almost all gone now.
Twenty Five Twenty One is a good story about coming of age, but it’s also a lot of fun and not too serious for most of the story. Every time Hee-Do and her friends make you cry, they also make you laugh out loud or say something silly. This is not true of the ending, though.
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I won’t give anything away, but a lot of people have said that this finale ruined the whole series. I have to disagree.
Given how good everything has been so far, it was always going to be hard to bring everything to a satisfying end. The problem is that the end of Twenty-Five Twenty-One is just…an end. It doesn’t answer a lot of important questions and ends in a way that seems rushed and forced. If you’ve put a lot of time into this, that’s probably going to make you feel bad.
It’s not a bad ending in and of itself, but after all the great writing up until this point, it’s a little disappointing to see just average writing in the end.
But the drama before that is so good that it makes the ending seem less important. There are some great lessons about friendship, sacrifice, and the harsh truth of life that hit like a sledgehammer in this book. I dare anyone to watch episode 15 without crying so hard they can’t see straight.
In fact, I’d like to talk about episode 15 because it seems to be the turning point for a lot of people. I won’t say anything about the plot here, but the whole chapter is great and probably one of the best episodes of a K-drama that has come out in a long time.
In this, the show looks at two relationships that end very differently. The first comes from Yu-Rim and Hee-Do, who used to be enemies but are now friends. Their amazing journey ends with a sad fencing match.
This 1 hour and 20-minute episode changes its focus to Yi-Jin and Hee-Do right in the middle, just like a fencing match is split in half. However, the tone is very different at this point. But, isn’t that how life is?
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“The world isn’t all sunshine and rainbows,” Rocky said. It is a very mean and nasty place, and if you let it, it will beat you down and keep you there forever.
I won’t write out the whole quote, but I think this is a good summary of what Twenty-Five Twenty-One is trying to do. This K-drama is beautifully written and almost perfect. It shows how innocent and young teenagers are, and how hard it is to go from being a teenager to an adult.
This is one of the few times when what has already happened is so good that it would be wrong not to watch it. Even with its subjective ending, Twenty-Five Twenty-One is a great Korean drama and one of the best to come out this year.