Memories of Alhambra Ends with No Good Answers and No Satisfied Viewers

Memories of Alhambra ended this Sunday in an avalanche of “IT SUCKED DONKEY BALLS” reaction from viewers and for once it was 100% justified. I wanted my final post to pay respects to both leads Hyun Bin and Park Shin Hye because the narrative and characeterization lapses were not their doing, and while Hyun Bin went above and beyond in his acting Park Shin Hye couldn’t do the same with a wafer thing character that just cried/looked worried/ran after the male lead. I can’t recommend Memories other than to die hard Binnie fans who want a drama to fangirl over his hotness and incredible onscreen chemistry. Beyond there NOTHING MADE SENSE even within the fantasy construct. In the end Jin Woo either died as a bug within the game that needed to be eliminated for reboot, or entered the game completely as Se Joo did to hide from the danger. Hee Joo ended the entire drama crying for Jin Woo and then running to find him, basically her entire modus operandi for 16 episodes continuing into the future. Too bad I don’t care anymore and really really am annoyed with the screenwriter for taking on more than she could chew.


Memories of Alhambra Ends with No Good Answers and No Satisfied Viewers — 64 Comments

      • Put aside the MOTA, Hyun Bin and Son Ye Jin were caught grocery shopping and hand holdings in LA. Let’s see how they are going to deny this. No wonder they stir up on the Pretty Noona reunion just to divert attention from the (possibly) real thing.

        Back to the drama, the main characters didn’t end up has nothing to do with HB’s personal life. And Hee Joo was never in the picture in the first place, she was added up to the plot and meant to be a flower vase and nothing else.

      • Nats18-you don’t read naver dispatch has photos of them grocery shopping in America lols. Feel bad for reign 123 and sega shipper hyun bin dating son hye jin now???.

      • @Binnie

        You can go check some blogs out there and they stated that they held hands. Some additional suggestions here… Go check your manners.

    • Update an hour ago via Soompi HB’s agency denied it again. Gosh I shop; eat out with my guy mates all time yeah I know I’m not famous but if it’s being denied a 2nd time who knows. Either it’s a ruse cos they’re dating others or it’s going through a song-song route of deny deny deny then finally admit a la we’re getting married? Anyway happy for them both if it’s true or not.

      • Personally think it’s a ruse. Just unsure what they are covering up or what other motive there is. First time round it was to cover for an actor in HB agency. Maybe both are there with their real partners. Been a fan of syj for a decade now and she’s always had had rumours of batting for the other team. And this is the third time she’s denied a link with a co star. As for hb I don’t know, I’ve never really bought into his publicly announced “relationships”, always felt they were PR stunts n that his real relationship is on the down low. None of them had any photo evidence, even from nosy Korean netizens, n always had “sources” to feed stuff to the media. He’s really, really private and I just don’t see him as the type to announce a real relationship in public. Someone below said hjw. Who knows.

        Anyways I’m so glad I stopped watching MOA at ep 9 and stuck to reading recaps. My fav episodes remain 1 to 4 and I really can’t believe the writer had the gall to end things this way. Any of her dramas from now will be a had pass from me. She has great big picture ideas but never executed them well or thinks through them properly. I wonder how the cast really feels about the whole thing.

  1. Everyone kept saying the ending made no sense, they hated it etc. I wonder what it means to ‘make sense’ for an ending to this fantasy genre drama, for those who are so mad/disappointed/whatever negative feelings you’ve managed to conjure. From the get-go, the premise already made no ‘sense’. Games in real-life don’t go sentinel and kill you. Unless of coz if you stupidly play a game non-stop for 72hours or so.

    I must be one of the very few to find the ending appropriate and satifying even if an open-ended one. The plot laid out to us from the later episodes, that the game has to have a Master. Jinwoo took the baton from Sejoo who couldn’t do a good job as a Master of the game likely because he was too young and too scared. What is the job of a Master you might ask. It could be anything the writer wants it to be. But from the looks of how Jinwoo behaved, he chose to be the protector of users of the game and used the dungeon to disappear from reality, until someone worthy comes along to take over his place. Or maybe he doesn’t even want to be replaced because, replacement requires a sacrifice. Who knows.

    To appreciate this drama, one will need to understand or at least acknowledge the vibrant gaming universe. From the looks of it, the writer of this blog had already not like the drama, so it makes sense for her to ride on the negativity for the ending of this drama in order to bring in the eyeballs. Lol.

    A drama doesn’t have to end with the romance that most of the peasant drama viewers crave. The writer also doesn’t have to explicitly explain how come people can die from the game, well it’s the premise of the plot. If she had brought back Dr Cha and Secretary Seo, that would have been an eyeroller. And worse, the ending is a dream.

    If you cannot share the vision of the writer, then it’s too bad that you dislike the ending, but it doesn’t mean this is a bad drama for others.

    • good insight. But how do you explain why JW keeps saying he does not want to die if he is prepared to enter the game and be the Master? He was trying to debug the game… didn’t he realize he was also a bug? Why didn’t he stab Emma instead of giving her the key and letting her stabbed him if he was so determined to debug the whole game and to stay alive? His logic does not make sense to me. The only way to end the game is to kill Emma.

    • Thank you @nekoi19 for your explanation. I’m feeling a lot better now that you’ve detailed the ending and given an overview appreciate your post. Almost likely that some of us were in a mire of confusion with the game settings so every week it was a sure head spin trying to make sense of it all. By all means it’s not a bad drama at all totally the opposite but I guess it posed more questions that remained unanswered. Also I was never on the romance train at all. However I can see that the writer was heavily influenced by the powers above to write a drama that she herself was never fully invested in ie the romance of the OTP.

    • I really don’t care about the drama making sense or not. I just hate the open end of the drama. Many questions were left unanswered. I disliked the end of ep 15 and hated 16. ?

  2. The message for this drama from the writer is don’t be addicted to games otherwise you will be sucked in and not have a life even though, you might have a pretty girlfriend waiting and crying her eyes out waiting for you.

  3. Episode 16 was a shoe in for product placement. I read a comment about episode 16, that the bottle of water had more screen time than Hyun Bin did and it made me laugh my arse off.

    Seriously this writer has a reputation for bad endings, I was burnt by W and expected no better, but this is the worst, most dissatisfying ending ever. It fell even lower than my nonexistent expectations. So we can conclude that Jin Woo became part of the game and will probably send someone a quest to rescue him from the game, and the cycle continues.

    And please don’t get me started on the amount of screentime dedicated to Park Shin hye’s crying and the flashbacks in this episode. What’s the point, were they looking for fillers because the real story ended 10 minutes into the final episode? I wonder.

    • I feel like the crying of PSH was made worse because they had the original scenes of her crying then they had the 10x flashbacks of her crying. It just made her look far more weepy than she actually was. The ending scene for her character was a real facepalm.

  4. Good bye everyone it was fun with the updates but yeah the writer should really think long and hard about her story endings because she does one thing really good though and that is to piss of an entire audience and leave us hanging with…! Season 2? Please don’t. Not now nor ever if you can’t get season 1 right then leave it at that. I enjoyed the ride but happy to leave it at that. Farewell MOA x

  5. Oh I’m currently watching and LOVING “W” I hope that it will not have a bad ending. I have just finished episode 5 and the logic works in a strange way and the characters seem to ask the questions I have and what they are doing is making sense so far.

    And oh my God that kiss… It is probably the best non Cha Seung Won Korean drama kiss I have ever watched. My insides literally melted and I don’t even like Lee Jong Suk as a guy despite liking him as an actor. To the people for whom W may not be your thing, do yourselves a favour and just watch that kiss in Episode 5.

    • I loved the first 10ish episodes of W. It did get a bit lackluster toward the end and some actually despised the ending but it actually didn’t bother me that much. However, I would lower expectations.

      • Thank you for your reply. I’ll follow your suggestion and lower my expectations (currently on episode 9)

  6. It really sucked bonkers! I haven’t been this hopping mad since Korean odyssey but at least the latter was more interesting and made more sense even if I wanted more and wasn’t satisfied. Tbh this show already lost my interest a while ago when it started piling up on missed potentials in all kinds of aspects and I didn’t think the ending could make it any worse but boy was I wrong. This show is such a mess and a huge waste of time! The only thing I am taking with me is being wary of the writer in the future…

  7. The writer is at least loyal to her original idea – no romance. The ending maybe a way of her rebelling against whoever’s wish to add in those two kisses. All the running and crying of the female lead is unbearable. MOA will never be a rewatch for me, really cannot stand HJ. I will keep HB’s JW role in my memory and patiently wait for his next drama. I am glad he redeems himself in k-dramaland with his great performance in MOA. Enjoy your vacation with SYJ, you deserve a long break with such a beautiful and talented woman 🙂

  8. HB is with HJW while SYJ is with JHI. These 4 really knows how to twist things around so they won’t get caught. HB is not afraid to go public with SYJ because they are not lovers so they can just deny anything because it’s not going to hurt their status. Unlike HB and HJW, they’re probably together but never appear anywhere because they’re a real couple and don’t want to get caught or deal with the media. So it makes more sense why HB and HJW claim to be good friends but is afraid to go spend times together in public. The same goes for JHI and SYJ.

    • Can’t comment on syj n jhi but I’m starting to wonder about the hB and hjw link Haha. I just think he’s extremely private and his real relationships, well, he never reveals them to the public ever. Couple or just close friends, it’s really nice how hjw still attends his movie premieres after all these years. Reminds me of Gummy and Jo Jung Suk n people started suspecting they were together when she attended all his film premieres.

      • I bet when he actually admits his wedding it’s no one other than HJW. Like I’m not a Sega Fan or even like the drama but actions don’t fool. Just look at HJW how she is so into him. They both are smart so it never crossed people mind these two may be more than just friends. She attended his movies and always have on that fishy look of I here because of you.

        Hehe off topic from the drama and dating rumors. I love Hyun Bin as an actor so much and wish he would end up with someone other than HJW or SYJ. No hating…

      • I’ve not observed hjw much but from the bits I’ve seen of her (relating to hb) she does seem into him. I love how you describe that fishy look cause that’s the vibe I sometimes get from her. And apparently she was in USA these past few weeks on a golf course lol. I can’t read hb’s emotions very well (he seems quite guarded) so it’s harder to figure out what he really thinks/feels, but like I said up thread I’ve never bought into his public “relstionships” with shk n ksr. See them as pr stunts. But I can totally see him hiding a real relationship(s) for years.

        Ha I like him as an actor too! On and off through the years. I dont feel strongly for hjw or syj either. I actually thought he looked good with han jimin. Same age n all but she seemed abit self conscious, stiff n shy with him in bts lol

      • I agree with Irene and Tammy. I am not HB & HJW Sega shipper but did a Sherlock Holmes investigative deduction to see what the fuss is all about. Looking at HJW’s instagram account on Jan 9-11, she was on overseas holiday somewhere in a golf resort around same time HB & SYJ scandal broke in LA, USA. Then a Sega shipper claimed in a previous ockoala’s post about HB’s character in Memories of Alhambra’s tech company is called J.One. I googled HJW’s skincare company called J.One in the internet. Voila it does really exist. Her J.One Jelly Pack moisturiser so in Sephora websites in US and UK. So this claim is true. Why does his drama character’s company name same as HJW’s skincare company name? A way of showing his secret connection to her? Also HJW’s Instagram on Jan 21 shows her promoting her Youtube suscription. In the background of the video is a soft toy (first left) emblazoned with a blue and red USA flag and stars. Her video is posted around the same time Naver Dispatch published photos of HB and SYJ grocery shopping together in the USA. Haha, is this HJW way of saying to HB, haaha everyone thinks you are in the US with SYJ. Of all soft toys why would she choose one with obvious US connection? If HB and HJW secretly dating they are very smart to use other stars to cover up their real relationship or as a distraction/ruse. HB’s Twiter and Instagram fan accounts also has HB’s photos with a mysterious lady covered with black face mask in Rampant movie set in Dec 23, 2017 and Memories of Alhambra wrap up party on Dec 30, 2018 HB’s selfie with a woman’s face blurred out. I rest my case.

      • @sherlock holmes: love your name lol. I’m not remotely a hjw/hb shipper and I didn’t watch sega lol. But sometimes when ppl bring them up, it gives me pause. Like the J.One thing in moa – of all the names, the writer chooses that? Hmmmm. Interesting that you picked up on all that whilst digging for hjw stuff! Sometimes they are merely coincidences but it’s really hard to tell. Who knows if they were grocery shopping and then meeting up with hjw to cook dinner roflll. I do think stars are very sneaky and use all ways to hide their real life relationships. I don’t blame them. When something is real and important to u, you’d wanna treasure it and protect it from public intrusion.

        Could the pic from the wrap up party simply be a staff who didn’t wanna show her face? I don’t think his real life partner (hjw or not) will attend the party tbh. Curious about the mysterious person in black on the rampant set! Maybe it’s another staff? Not doubting u, just throwing out possibilities.

      • Hi Irene, the photo of HB on set of Rampant with two ladies in black masks. The one closest to him, her fringe/bangs short bob hairstyle is similar to HJW who just finished shooting Hospital Ship. The eye bags underneath her eyes are remarkably similar to HJW too. I doubt only one special female staff would ask for her face to be blurred out if HB chose to show all his other selfies with staff unblurred in his FB fan page.

    • Lol the more I followed Hyun Bin the more I don’t understand why people know so much about him. It’s very interesting. He sure is the biggest jerk in the whole entertainment if he actually hid Ha Ji Won. Never thought this man is such a pathetic coward. ?

      • What nonsense you’re taking about Sherlock Irene Tammy? If hjw dating hb I don’t understand the need to hide it, they’re not idols. Syj and hb potentially dating have the nice comments by knetz, what hjw lacks that hb didn’t want to reveal her lol

      • What drug are u on larana? so actors are not celebs and don’t have a public image to keep up? they don’t have to engage in mediaplay? only idols are allowed to do that? u think actors are gonna tell you 100% the truth abt their lives because they are so honest and owe you integrity? LOLLL. U and I & everyone else here don’t matter to them one bit, they just need us to keep buying the illusion. but it’s people like you who prove my point. that these celebs will say anything, literally anything and u will believe it. grow up. and maybe go crawl back under the delusional rock u’ve been living under.

  9. I am very curious to the real feeling the 2 main leads and other casts members feels about the end to the drama. Both leads rejected “Where Stars land” to act in this drama.
    They have to be honest but exteremely tactful too. I bet that is a interview will be very popular.

  10. I see I stand apart from all the real K-drama fans who are into K-dramas only for the spurts of unrealistic, contrived romance.

    I don’t expect you all to understand. To each their own. This show was amazing.

    • I love this amazing drama period. I feel the same because the romance doesn’t stand out to me. I actually love the ending but wish it would have ended in Granada where all the magic started.

  11. Apparently I am a die- hard HB fan. Cos’ the story sucked. Really really sucked big time and I didn’t even like HJ in this drama.

    But HB was hot and sexy. And MJ- the sister is cute.

    Other than that the writer needs to go back to basics and learn about writing. Why the heck do they still buy her scripts?

  12. After W, I’ve become wary of this writer and with this ending I’m not looking forward to any future projects . Too bad Nine and Inhyeon were really great dramas.

  13. Dissapointment and headache
    Need a sequel for this
    Unfinish business the writer I think feel bad in her imaginative ways either time of writings she is annoyed or had bad days so clearly it needs to end nothing but dissapointments for viewers as well
    Damn i wasted my time Booki

  14. I have felt since the beginning that the writer and PD were not a good match. In all fairness to the writer we can’t be sure whose decision it was to have an open ending. Add Netflix in the mix as well- we don’t know if those $$$ buys them some rights to pressure/insist on some things. Unfortunately it also seems to be a trend in KDramas right noe to have sad or WTF endings (hey, I got onto the KDrama train for, among other things, happy endings, and I’M GETTING RATHER CRANKY ABOUT THAT)

    • Netflix is known for not getting involved other than signing the check. I think this is on the production team and the airing station in Korea. The fact that a writer like this can’t have a say over one of the biggest aspects of her story is disheartening. I was hoping because Netflix was involved that she could tell the story she wanted. Apparently, maybe that only happens with Kim Eun Sook.

      Having said that, maybe she would have ended it like this regardless. Maybe that was always the plan but without the crying girl being left behind.

  15. Happy to have dropped after ep 2. Much ado about nothing. Even for Hyun Bin ‘s hotness i couldn’t. Since words within and secret garden i wasn’t able to Watch a drama with him. The same goes for Gong Yoo as Big and Goblin were “nullissimes” for me. What a pity for me as i like both. After the success of Sky castle, i suppose that every channel is going to make same kind of drama .

  16. Hot take2:

    A) you cant polish a turd. Like a bad thesis statement, shitty inspos&shallow, half baked themes will always expose ur story as BS no matter how many dumb twists u have

    B) but the above doesnt matter as much for an enjoyable story if u have story structure and actual character arc. all this writer had to do was copy the structure of the heros journey the simplest shit ever and shed have been gravy. She obviously got nothing out of the Odsessy.

    C) Get a good editor at least if you can be bothered

  17. I’ve enjoyed most/all of the dramas penned by this writer. They are generally thoughtful, interesting, entertaining and refreshingly different from the usual kdrama fare. MOTA fits in with the others but I believe there were some critical flaws here that are less obvious in the writer’s previous dramas.
    I’ve noticed that the writer often employs a technique/device whereby a current scenario is explained by replaying a previous one but then adding new details that then help explain or add dramatic impact to the current scene. This was done excessively in this drama and in the process took away time that should have been used to flesh out the female lead as well as the other characters, their relationships and back stories. A lot of the characters felt like one dimensional plot devices used solely to drive forward the male lead’s story. There were some interesting hints (Jin Woo’s first wife’s feelings towards her ex and current husbands, Hee Joo’s fragility -why was she so timid? what’s with all the crying?) that could have been explored and maybe would have added to the story but they were dropped /ignored in favor of Jin Woo and his game. Also, I’m surprised and disappointed that a writer who writes such progressive stories would resort to lazy female stereotypes for all the female characters. The writer is definitely talented and has a lot to offer but there’s also much to learn.

    • I totally agree with your second para. She employed that device sooo much it actually confused the heck out of me. Doing it once in awhile is fine, but literally everytime she had to explain something, a previous scene would come on with new details. Also the editing really didn’t help things here.

      She needs to get with the times with regards to female characters. She employs lazy characterisations with all of them. I was particularly interested with the first wife’s backstory. How they met, what went wrong etc. I found the rlshp jinwoo had with his first wife more compelling than with heejoo. both still had some feelings for each other.

    • You couldn’t have worded my feelings about this drama better, thank you.
      Agree fully that the downfall of the drama is the weird number of flashbacks and the excessively weak female lead and annoying second wife.
      Since its a fantasy, there isn’t a need to have logic or whatsoever, but there are too many plot holes as well.

  18. back 2 basics for this writer ( and a whole bunch of other writers in drmamaland and hollywood; it’s been the year of shiny little turds 4 me)

    • Ah, this one I get! Marco was a bug only in Se Joo’s game. When Jin Woo completed his quest and became the new Master, Se Joo’s game was over and he was released. Marco was no longer chasing him and he could live in the real world without fear.

      Jin Woo had to only kill the bugs in his game, i.e. the Chas and cutie Secretary Seo and himself. Once he did, his game ended and rebooted.

  19. One more thing…no matter where the show is from, if the hero goes into a church and stares at/contemplates a sculpture or stained glass of Christ on the cross, there’s a good chance he’s gonna be sacrificing himself for the greater good. Just sayin’

    • “greater good” might be to release SJ which he has already done, SJ is home. Why did he go back to the church again and not kill Emma to end the game? His game is not yet ended because he is still in it and not released like SJ. Or better yet, turn the freaking game off, wipe out the whole program. Or even better yet, fold J-one coz Prof Cha is dead, Hyung wants to retire, JW does not need any money (trapped inside the game), first ex-wife does not want any involvement for her child, what’s there left except a tail for a sequel? BTW, I don’t want to sequel if HJ is in 🙁

  20. I’m one happy camper. Overall good production for me. Story held me til the end. Thank you actors, producers, writer and crew.

  21. @nekoi19

    To be honest, I doubt that most people are frustrated by the plot ending or lack of romance, as I was one of the viewers who fully anticipated that Jin Woo would either die in the end or become part of the game. And I could have done without romance in the drama. My issue is how it was all laid out. There are better ways to put in an open ending that a million flashbacks scenes and obvious product placements. Not to mention the numerous crying scenes of Hee Joo, constant slow motion running and her inability to accept Jin Woo’s disappearance. I feel episode 16 did a disservice to the drama which had been on a downward spiral since mid-way within the series.

    How many times does the viewers have to be shown the same scene only with additional details? It’s not like we are stupid. Someone messed up the drama between the writer or the director and this seems to be the formula of her dramas since the writer’s work in W. Endings that make no sense or could and should be much better, especially when you consider the premise of the entire show.

  22. Thanks everyone for your insights. I agree to disagree 🙂 Anyway anyone knows the brand of the ruffle dress that Park Shin Hye is wearing in the grassy image at the top of this post? XD

  23. Satisfied with the ending, it stays within the narrative. But agree, PSH character should have been given a lot more to do. What she was told her role would be must have been different per her message after filming. It’s a learning experience for her but still she was in a project unlike the usual. Who knows, ratings would have been higher as we see in her other dramas, she can do it! Now, her CALL movie is an all female cast. Us fans, we love it and anti fans probably will find other stuff to criticize her for. But anyway, it’s a form of flattery when you’re being singled out every single time….rather than being ignored, I guess.

  24. My theory is hero is waiting for some new player to complete tge quest and become the new master,till then he is hiding in instance dungeon trying to wrap around the losses the suffered due to the game and grieving his lost loved ones so that once he is not the master any more he can start afresh with heroine.Till that time is just acting the anoymous ally helping and saving other players so that they can complete the quest..
    Thank you..

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