Recess: A Penny for that Cliffhanger

K-dramas do the most awesome of episode ending moments. Not all episode-enders are created equal, of course, but the truly unforgettable ones imprint themselves in your brain. Sometimes your jaw drops, other times your heart threatens to jump right out of your chest cavity, and every time it turns you into a raving lunatic chafing for the next episode. What are some of your favorite episode ending moments from a drama?

Just a few episode endings that made Koala gasp:

1. In Hong Gil Dong, when Yi Nok is in the marketplace and there is smoke all around her. Chang Hwe finds her after thinking she’s been hurt, and looks up to see Gil Dong a few feet behind Yi Nok. Chang Hwe grabs Yi Nok for a hug, genuinely happy she’s not hurt, but also to keep her from seeing Gil Dong after those two have been apart for over a year. Bad Chang Hwe! But OMG so hot. Watching HGD was like watching the battle of Koala’s two guys – Kang Ji Hwan v. Jang Geun Seok.

2. In Secret Garden, when Joo Won held the unconscious Ra Im and drove into the eye of the storm. I may have HUGE issues with this drama, but Kim Eun Sook set that moment up perfectly, and Binnie brought it all home.

3. In Chuno, Un Nyun is shopping in the market when she looks up and through the flapping colorful cloth drapes, she thinks she sees Dae Gil. She looks more carefully, and her jaw drops when she realizes that man she has loved her entire life, and that she thinks has been dead for the last 10 years, is in fact not dead and right in front of her. But too bad this sighting happens right after she has just married another man. Yeah, timing sucks. Actually, the entirety of Chuno had some of the best cliffhangers I’ve ever seen, all in one drama.

4. In Beautiful Days, when Min Chul thinks that Yon Soo has left and he stands by his car with his sad sad back to the bus, and then the bus pulls away and he sees Yon Soo just standing there.

5. In 49 Days, when Ji Hyun is about to take The Great Elevator to the Sky, and then she suddenly gets two more tears to complete her three-tear quest.

6. In I Am Legend, Seol Hee is playing at a club with her band. She knows Tae Hyun is in the audience, but suddenly she stumbles during a verse and her eyes widen. Tae Hyun follows her line of sight and see Ji Wook, Seol Hee’s ex-husband, standing in the back watching her perform, an expression of tenderness in his eyes. The Rat Bastard Bus in IAL was so good it was painful to ride.

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Recess: A Penny for that Cliffhanger — 72 Comments

  1. I was totally into HGD ending that you mentioned above…gosh, JGS was so damn hot in that scene..and I rewinded it again and again, just to see him pulling Yuri from seeing KJH…and yes, SG is also one of the best episode ending…it was so beautiful

    • City Hunter’s cliffhangers at the beginning was like – “You call this a cliffhanger?”
      But it got better – 😛

      • After episode 5 every cliffhanger of City Hunter was HEART STOPPING/HEART ATTACK…I swear CH almost took me to an early grave. I missed CH soo much.

    • I think City Hunter had the best cliffhangers ever as far as physical danger. But I find the emotional ones for addictive. I don’t think I could ever watch a melodrama week to week.

      • Absolutely RIGHT!! City Hunter got the best cliffhangers!! VENUS correct..after Episode 5, all its episodes palpitates your heart w/ anticipation and you can’t avoid cursing why it had to be another week of waiting..

  2. well, how ’bout that episode in LTM when we all thought Ki Joon was getting back with his ex and not having the chance to really explain himself to Ah Jung…I remember the uproar over that one

  3. City Hunter had some really good cliffhangers. I was actually screaming at my television when I thought Nana had died.

    Best Love had a lot of heart-tugging cliffhangers. So much angst that pulled at my heart every week. I was never worried about how things were going to turn out the next moment, but instead I just felt SAD for everyone. Especially poor Dokko Jin. Watching a man madly in love and have it not be reciprocated is just awful.

    There were some pretty good cliffhangers in You’re Beautiful too. The two that stick out in my mind are when Minyo is wearing the Jackie O clothes, and she’s going to out herself, but Shinwoo steps in to save the day…all while Taekyung watches. The other is when Minyo is crying her eyes out to Mother Superior and Taekyung arrives and confesses. I was squealing like a little piglet!

    • The EXACT episode I thought of too, the end of City Hunter ep.11
      I was like “Kim Nana NOOO” T^T when her hand just went limp I had a hard time swallowing it just racked my brain entirely. For me that was one of the best cliffhangers.
      Also 49Days had some good cliffhangers towards the second half: Ep 17 when she back hugged Kang-ah I was like “WHO IS IT?? Is it Ji hyun is it Yi Kyung? :O
      Ep 14 when Yi Kyung answered Minho like she knew him O_o ^&%$&@ *brain officially warped*

    • CH did have some awesome endings (backed by great music), but the Nana dead one didn’t get me at all. I mean, there was no way they would have killed the main female lead in episode 11 of a 20 ep drama.

      • See I really felt like City Hunter was crazy enough to do that. It was like when Rachel Dawson was killed off in Dark Knight. Killing off the female lead gives the hero another reason to keep fighting. He’s got to live to not only get revenge for his parents, but for his love as well. It puts the hero in a really dark place, and then they have to figure out how to get themselves out–their lady friend isn’t there to ground them.

  4. that SG cliffhanger was one of the best, because not only was it set up perfectly, but it was so pretty to look at too!

    City Hunter had some good ones too. The one I remember the most is the episode when NaNa shoots the City Hunter not knowing his real identity. Definitely one of those, “Gaaaah! I can’t believe I have to wait!” moments

  5. Well, if it’s cliffhangers we’re talking about, Time Between Dog and Wolf and Giant had some of the best- had me clutching at my heart waiting for the next episode to roll in. Brilliant Legacy had some of its moments too, I think around episode 18 or 19 when the mother of all evil began dropping bombs (all lies of course) about HHJ’s character to grandma. That was priceless.

    • Ooh! I was just about to mention Time between Dog and Wolf in the comments section.

      Those cliffhangers were killer. I didn’t even watch the drama when it was airing and the suspense still drove me nuts!

  6. I know that Koala Did not like City hunter…however I gotta say I loved it!
    The best cliffhanger on my opinion goes to City Hunter… mostly every week I was pulling my hair off, yelling and even running like crazy trying to hang on for a week until the next episode…
    Totally agree with Koala on Secret Garden moment…

  7. Ah definitely that chuno moment. And the other 3974940101140 times it ended when they were about to cross paths.
    And as for 49 days my cliff hanger was that part when we all thought she was going to live but then she mutters the words “I’m going to die” I went crazy. Seriously crazy.

    For the currently airing dramas, I’d say Warrior Baek Dong Soo, and The Princess’ Man are tied. Those cliff hangers are like killing me. Every week the endings are becoming more intense each time. Honorable mention was episode 10 of Scent of a Woman. *sighs* v_v.

    Though I’m eager for Protect the Boss, it just satisfies me to the point that my uncontrollable excitement becomes easy to tame.

    • Not watching WBSD, but I agree with you regarding TPM. They have had some excellent ending scenes. My favorite is ep 6, when we have the big political showdown between the fathers intercut with SY going to find SR at the monastery.

      • Oops! Meant WBSD! I should really edit before I click post.

        And an “Amen” to the Chuno endings. Some of the best ever.

  8. One of the endings that stuck to mind was I thnk end of episode 4 of Winter Sonata -[yup – good ‘ole WS LOL!] – When Yoo Jin went to Min Hyuk’s office for a meeting and she’d just picked the jigsaw off the floor and stuck it back – she turns towards the door and her expression turns from gentle curiosity, half smiling in welcome – to – do my eyes deceive me – to stunned consternation and then utter disbelief.

  9. my favorite HGD one was actually when Gil-dong got shot with that arrow at the end of episode 7 or 8. He had knocked Yi-nok unconscious so that she wouldn’t follow him while he was being chased. And when she woke up, he was gone. The combination of Yi-nok going around the woods in tears calling out his name, Gil-dong getting shot (and that omg-moment when the arrow left the bow and time froze for a bit and then unfroze to let the arrow hit Gil-dong), and Taeyeon’s melancholy “If” was playing in perfect sync with the emotions and the directing — it was perfect and my heart swelled and then broke.

    As for 49 days, it was the first tear that I felt was the most memorable. The plea to G/god that she wanted to live…and then ding! the first tear! It was a miracle!

  10. is hong gil dong any good?? i am hesitant cos i dont know if the ending is sad or not and i dont want an ending where the main character dies…

    • I like the ending cause I admire Jang Keun Suk. That was some of his best acting so I was on his side and to this day hate Hong Gil Dong the character and the stupid girl character.

    • Hong Gil Dong? It’s probably my favorite Hong Sisters drama because there were stakes and actual emotional development that didn’t feel lightweight. The ending kills me because part of me loves it (the beautiful music and when the arrows were headed towards Hwal Bin Dang) and another part hates it because I thought the Hong Sisters twisted Gil Dong’s character at the end to make the point about turning his character into a martyr. The drama isn’t a real sageuk but is instead quite silly at times. And Jang Geun Seok was so emo as Prince Chang Hwe a bunch of us started a emo-count got how many times he emo’d per episode. Anyways, I recommend solely for Kang Ji Hwan’s performance – from a clown to a hero. He owned the last few eps of the drama. Sung Yuri was passable, but Yi Nok really annoyed me for the most part.

  11. I gotta say, 49 Days had some really awesome cliffhangers. Another drama I remember being pretty good with cliffhangers was Brilliant Legacy.

  12. I know mine is probably not as heart stopping but I REALLY liked it…..My Princess when Hae Young (SSH) goes to Lee Seol (KTH) room at the end of ep 10? 11? and asks ‘Can you not be a princess and just be my woman instead?…GaaaHHHH!… I thought the music building up to that scene and SSH expression was Perfect!

    • OMGosh, yes! This ending was superb along with the anticipation that they might kiss in the next episode. Got bummed that they didnt, though

      • IKR? I waited all week for the next episode..and not to mention the preview actually showed SSH leaning over. The new bts pics also show gilmpses of the scene..but i wonder WHAT would possess them to cut it out…heartless I say.

  13. Hmmmp, Jewel in the Palace i think all the episodes. I just love this Drama. When I watched it before couldnot help but look forward for the next episode. The contest, the plight, etc. But the top would be What Happened to Bali epic ending. 100x bow to Ha Ji Won.

  14. Yeah, Captain Koala, you mentioned very good cliffhangers, especially in Chuno and SG. Other ones I like are when Nana was shot in CH and we all wondered if she was going to die. Another one was when Yoo Ah In was sliced in SKKS and again the answer to the question of OMG-is-he-gonna-die? had to wait another week. Those were to die for.

  15. That SG cliffhanger was very memorable. It was cinematic the way it was shot and you knew what was going on without any words from JW so it was a really great emotional scene.

    • I didn’t watch that ending, but did Hyun Bin really look like that? His skin/face is kinda frighteningly bad in the picture

  16. Every Sungkyunkwan Scandal episode ender was a cliffhanger for me. First time I watched live stream even if I couldn’t understand what they were saying, just to make sure geul oh was alive or what would have happened to our favorite scholars.

  17. My favorite cliffhanger was from episode 10 of Myung Wol The Spy when Kang Woo and Myung Wol are acting in the drama (Shiri2) within the drama. They go off script and finally admit their true feelings for one another.

    And, of course, shortly after this episode ended the real drama began and we didn’t even know if this cliffhanger would get resolved.

  18. Memories of bali… when Ha Ji Won finally confess her feeling towards Joo In Sung. but in the most inappropriate condition. in bed, half naked after sleeping with another guy and half to die…. I really can forget that moment. The most tragic scene in K-Drama history. and I also cn’t forget Joo In Sung crying scene in MOB. so sad 🙁

  19. i dunno if it qualifies as a cliffhanger, in dream high when all the kids in the good class come back to school and see the losers doing well, jason sees the new and improved pil sook and the episode ends. i was yelling @ the pc wanting more now dammit!!! lol xp
    other than that the best i can remember off hand is the greatest love–they had some really good ones–when dj was on the opperating table and aj was singing the song outside the hospital b/c she couldn’t get in. everyone was speculating on the ending to the drama. i almost had a blood feud with hong sisters thinking dj was gonna die in the last episode. i hate tragic endings. i cursed for days after chuno ended!

  20. I guessed that all this while I had been marathoning all my K-drama, so it wasn’t really a cliffhanger at all.
    Unless you counted all the sleep and eating and drinking lost because you got to just watch one more episode to know what happens next! Hehehe..

  21. Thank you Captain Koala for reminding these breathtaking moments! I loved HGD and this moment in the marketplace was so intense and JKS was stunning there! Actually HGD is one of my favorite JKS’s drama and I loved the pair of JKS and KJH – now happen to be two Koala’s guys! It looks like they have another battle now in the field of the most romantic drama’s – M3 and LTM for who’s kiss is hawter!
    And OMG the heart stopping ( sob sob) scene from SG with Binnie driving to the storm….

  22. 49 Days I thought had some fabulous cliff hangers. More recently Spy Myung Wol has been kicking it up a notch with it’s cliff hangers too.

  23. City Hunter was the best but I haven’t watched that many to know better. Right now the ending to Ep 10 of Scent of a Woman has everyone on pins and needles.

    • 100% agree.
      after watched that episode i just can’t wait 6 days later to watch the next episode!!!
      saturday,,,please come quickly!!!!

    • Absolutely. I think it has been a while since I’ve been so involved about drama characters so I’m wondering if SOAW is doing the dramatic cliff-ending well or that we are so engrossed in the relationship of the OTP that if doesn’t matter how the episode ends, we’ll all be on pins and needles for the next one?! Saying that SOAW has been giving us some dramatic ends to the weekly episodes- i.e. Episode 2, 4(not so much), 6, 8, 10.

      • You have a good point. The storyline is the very typical Kdrama scenario. I agree that the OTP is surely the ones driving us off the cliff.

  24. I think I hated every even episode in LTM coz I became a Zombie from Wednesday to Monday morning waiting for LTM! but I admit the first kiss was memorable and I struggle to wait for the next episode how they will take it in, after the epsiode 8 when Yoon Joo said they got back together, and when Ah Jung admitted that they were married and lose her job, and Ki Joon admitting they are not married to save her. :))

  25. Well, don’t you think that Goong’s ending was one of the greatest cliffhanger? And to think that we’ll never know unless they do a sequel which is almost an Impossible Dream?

    WAS CHAE KYUNG PREGNANT OR NOT?!

    • waaaah I am wishing it will not be impossible! 🙁 I am still hoping.Wishing. Waiting. Joo Ji Hoon will go out of the MS on November though I know wuri YEH is busy enough but STILL! Goong 2!!

      • If Goong 2 is too much, maybe a special, just to see the “life after palace” LOL

    • How can you ask that ? When you take a look at the last bear scene, where the princess bear is holding a little baby bear in her arms and the prince bear is standing beside them? Of course, she was!

  26. In city hunter when nana got shot. I thought that was a great ending because it let room for some debate on whether or not nana should die or live.

    In spy myung wol, when eric and yeseul was acting and adlibbed their real feelings and we were all like whoa what’s going on…

  27. — You’re Beautiful when Tae Kyung kiss the mean girl
    When Mi Nam realize who is Tae Kyung’s mother

    –Protect the Boss the 2 kisses

    –Sam Soon when Samshik kisses Sam Soon in the bathroom!

    –Best Love when you didn’t know how the operation went

    –My Girlfriend is a Gumiho when she shows the 9 tails
    When they are at the mall, that she grabs the glass elevator and a lot of bubbles like the Little Mermaid

    — Scet of a woman whe he realizes that she is sick and is standing on the door asking doc, is she isnt she!! OMO I cried my eyes out!!

    BTW Secret Garden got the best Cliffhangers ever!!

    The worst part is that you have to wait until next week, same time, same channel! Awful!!!

    • I forgot

      –My girlfriend is a Gumiho (episode 3) when he left her on the boat and starts to run, suddenly Mi Ho starts to cry, and the rain starts too, he stops and what happens next? The end of that episode!! Really! Y-Y

      Yeah, I LURVE My Girlfriend is a Gumiho, I watched 3 times already and everytime I loved it MORE!! LOL

  28. OMG so many cliffhangers:
    Koala i must agree with you with the Hong Gil Dong and Secret Garden ones.
    Then i must agree with katrine about You’re beautiful and Best Love. i was dying when Hwan Tae Kyung says Go Mi Nam he gave her permission to like him…no way i was missing next episode. Best Love has so many, my faves:
    1. First cupping scene (end of episode 4)
    2. Dokko Jin kneeling to put AJ the sneakers (end of episode 7)
    3. DJ kissing Aj and then AJ accepting YPJ and DJ saying he feels he’s dying (end of episode 9)
    4. Recharging Kiss (end of episode 11)
    5. When Dokko Jin tells AJ about his condition (end of episode 13)
    6. DJ on surgery and AJ singing the thump thump song (end of episode 14)
    i know i left out some… but then i would mention every episode… kekke

    btw CSW has another good one when Jo Guk was about to kiss Mi Rae (City Hall episode 13)

    some other must be when Han kyul kisses Eun Chan in Coffe Prince… i can’t believe it… and the kiss in the rain from Que sera sera (i think ending of episode 9)

  29. What about that totally hot ‘Game Over’ kiss in Personal Taste? This one isn’t a K-Drama, but the end of episode 9 of Yamato Nadeshiko Shichi Henge when Kyohei realizes she’s gone? GAH!

  30. All the above is all great, but to me , its definitely soaw ep 10 and it make me google ,to find even a glimpse of preview ep 11 🙂 or anything at all… he he i am hopeless when it is about soaw.
    Off-topic-the intro of a drama that make an impact on me is cinderella’s sister-ep 1, it’s a wow to me, keep watching it over and over again ,that make me want to see more, but alas, the half last part of the drama is watchable but not so great (to tell the truth ,i skip a lot of the scene & ep 😉 but ep 1 is definitely a winner.

  31. This is an oldie k-drama cliffhanger: In “All about Eve”, when Woo Jin died, Yun Mi walks in the river and… IT JUST STOPS THERE! You dont know if she killed herself or if she’s so shocked, or sad… CRAZY waiting for the next episode!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Also in Prosecutor Princess… after that amazing kiss and the truth out, sweeet!

  32. How about the most recent? In Scent of a Woman, ep 10’s ending in Ji Wook which trailed Yeon Jae’s friend to the hospital room, realised that she was headed to the cancer patients’ wards, saw Yeon Jae’s name outside the ward, and got greeted by Yeon Jae’s doctor friend. What a satisfying episode ending. Not one which makes me crave for the next ep (although I am very interested about how things will go from now), but one that built up the mood in th last 10 mins of the ep. Great writing.

  33. Chuno and Damo is my best cliff-hangers. I usually take some rest or sometimes a week later before continue watching any drama or sometimes stop watching altogether… But not with Chuno or Damo. I’ve watched from 1st episode to final episode non-stop without any sleep! Damo is satisfying but Chuno… basically had takes my heart off the cliff.. My heart. my head and my nerves went crazy, frustrating and i was tearing my hair off every time the episode ends. I wanted to stop watching and continue after sleep but I just couldn’t.. damn Chuno’s end-episode cliff-hangers! To make the matter worse, the ending was not doing my nerves or my heart any good. Sigh!

  34. oo..definitely gonna have to go with City Hunter as the best cliffhangers (from ep 6 on)… i literally said ‘oh thank god’ when it was a Wednesday ep cuz i knew another one was coming, but when it was a Thursday ep i wanted to pull out my hair. ha. And now the anticipation has been replaced by Myung Wol. I know Ms. Koala does not like either drama, but both have me on the edge of my seat, wanting to know what happens next 🙂 Maybe it’s the life-or-death situation that both of these dramas encompass that makes the anticipation that MUCH MORE for me. either way, i have a love/hate relationship with these damn cliffhangers lol.

  35. I remember with the 49 Days episode that I jumped out of my chair and yelled, “She got the tears! She got the tears!” to nobody in my house.

    Didn’t SKKS have a good one for when she was almost discovered in the bath?

  36. The ending of Episode 8 of LTM. I just did not know where that show was going to go. It could of done anything. But I also wanted to add that for IAL, im glad im not the only one who was on ex hubby’s bus. Seriously, I couldn’t hate the guy after seol hee showed that they were in love. My gosh it killed me that I liked him. heheheh

  37. Yeah, I love that SG cliffhanger too! It’s my favorite one in that drama.

    For me, I like 49 days’cliffhangers- the one when Min Ho come to the coffee shop and says Yi Kyung name and she reply it when she supposedly don’t know him. Also, the moment when Ji Hyun get the first tears, Yi Kyung faints and see Min Ho besides her and Ji Hyun faints when Yi Kyung left and go into the train.

    City Hunter usually have bad cliffhangers for odd episodes and interesting cliffhangers for even episodes. My favorites are when Yoon Sung saves Nana when she almost fell down and when Prosecutor is dying 🙁

    Currently, my favorite cliffhanger is Myung Wol the Spy ep 10

  38. Definitely the City Hunter Cliffhangers! My favorite is the panning of the two characters (the dogged straight lawyer and City Hunter) through the stairs, missing each other in seconds. Great shots and score!

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