So Signal is done. Things happened people died. People undied. A good time was had by all. Except us. We’re chatting the last two episodes of Signal and what it means for our enjoyment for the series on whole.
Stephanie: Not going to lie, I haven’t been looking forward to doing this last drama chat for Signal. These two episodes really put me in a funk since we watched on Monday. It’s hard to keep an open mind. Trying to rectify my love for the drama, my extreme dislike for the last two episodes, and my disappointment for the possibilities.
Jacqueline: I don’t wannna dooooo it. *Stomps foot like petulant child.* Partly because I’m lazy, but mostly ‘cause I’m irked to hell and back. But those last two episodes, ESPECIALLY that last one was nothing but a crazy train of boring confusion topped off with the biggest flame-out I’ve ever seen. My entire post tonight can be summed up as follows; STOOPID DRAMA ENDING IS STOOPID. That’s it. We’re done. Everybody can go home now.
Stephanie: Yeah, that seems like a good ending place. No? Probably not. We should explain our thoughts. Okay. Here’s the thing. There are a lot of people who loved the crap out of this ending. There are people who are okay with an ‘open ending’. Look. I don’t need things to be all magically tied up into a bow. Yes. I have big giant issues with the endings with last few moments. But for me the dissatisfaction actually started way before that. For me? The show lost it’s heart, it’s emotional drive once the brother was killed. After that it just seemed to be a random collection of ‘let’s just see how U-turny we can get.’ Yes, lots of u-turns and crazy things happened in this drama, but that wasn’t what the drama was about for me.
Jacqueline: I’m so with you on that, but for me open endings are only “open” if they’re written in such a way that doesn’t feel like cop out. I’ve seen some GREAT open-ended stories, and when done well, they rock! Signal didn’t do it well. At all. And what’s worse is what you said; the show lost focus. This entire thing has spent its attention on people other than the past cop. Yes he’s been at the center of the story, but he’s never been THE story. I think the drama’s decision to not save the brother was a giant mistake, because at exactly that point the scenes became haphazard. It was bad enough that we lost an emotional punch, but the drama lost its emotion entirely! In point of fact, our hero and story never even had time to grapple with said dead brother. It was like Signal went, “Okay, dead brother dead NOW ON TO ALL OF THE THINGS!”
Stephanie: This may sound weird, but I’ve never been that emotionally connected to the past detective. Don’t get me wrong, loved the character, the acting was awesome, but, maybe because he’s been technically dead the whole time, I actually thought it was fitting that he stay that way. Then in these last episodes we have the profiler dying? I didn’t care. I knew the next episode, he was going to be brought back to life, so the long winded death scenes made me go, come on, let’s go. Gah! I’m a horrible person.
Jacqueline: SAME GIRLFRIEND, SAME! I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that the character wasn’t written in an emotionally accessible way, plus dude didn’t have near the screen time as the main lead. Then again, the dead brother had even less screen time than anyone, and I was just as emotionally invested in him as I was the male lead. Such is writing, I guess. I don’t know if I 100 percent KNEW the Profiler was going to be brought back, but I suppose subconsciously I suspected as much because I didn’t even shed a tear at his death scene. I swear, all three of our leads die at one point or another in this show, and the ONLY one I cared about was our female cop. Which you’d think I’d have been shitting kittens when dead past cop got undead because yay romance, but nope. I wasn’t even emotionally invested in that to give a damn.
Stephanie: When they were doing the fakeouts over whether the brother was going to live or not, if what we were seeing was the original past or the new past, UGH. I knew at that point they were going to kill the brother (or keep him dead) and it broke my heart. He had such a tragic story. I know you were saying while we were watching (probably to console me) that it was okay because he fulfilled his last wish, to prove his innocence so his family could get back together again. I didn’t care about that. Not to mention, who would take that asshat back? He just thinks the worst, rips away the other son and then leaves you to live a life of drudgery and ridicule? Oh, and on top of that, we know he didn’t care about the profiler, he took that kid away from his mother to be an asshole and still abandoned him. Fuck that guy. He didn’t need a happy ending.
Jacqueline: Sadly, obviously the mom took back that asshole dad WHICH IS EPIC OUCH DUMB, but eh…Can’t judge a glitch by her preferred dick I guess. As is, when our profiler wakes up to his new reality to see photos of his parents back together, them together at his graduation and life events and all that jazz, I was happy but only superficially so. I like that our dead brother did get his final wish, poor idiot, but since I know how much of a shit that dad was I couldn’t be emotionally invested. I think this show would been MUCH more emotionally engaging if they had written it so that the story doesn’t start out with our past cop dying, but rather have him end up dying so that he could save the brother. Yes, a crap ton would likely have to be altered in the drama as a result, but considering the show was practically building to that outcome, and then to not deliver, it just felt cheap.
Stephanie: I know I guessed that would be the expected goal and this show hasn’t done the expected so far, so therego, I should have expected it to end differently. Although, I will say that I called it earlier in one of the chats when I said to expect one of those cop on the run stories. Why does every single cop show feel the need to have one. It’s a tired trope.
Jacqueline: I won’t consider Signal a waste of time, because for me a story is always more about the journey than the destination. Yes, the endings can sometimes screw a drama, but if by and large I had fun getting to the end then I count that as a win. I’m far more upset by how shittastically the final two episodes were plotted and paced than by actually what happened in those episodes. Everything up until that point had such nuance and elegance to its flow, with story points naturally evolving from one to the next. Those last two episode it was the literal exact opposite of that. HERE IS A THING OKAY NOW THIS THING, NOW WE’RE HERE, NO WAIT NOW THIS IS HAPPENING WAIT GO BACK OKAY YES NOW ANNNNNNNND WE’RE DONE.
Stephanie: It truly felt like, once the brother died the writers were like “What if this happened?” “How about this?” “Oooh that’s cool. Let’s do another one!” He’s locked HIMSELF in a mental institution for 15 YEARS? Just hanging out in there waiting for the past to catch up with the future? Oh, so now he’s probably talking to someone else on the walkie talkie? I feel my thoughts are best summed up by what I put out there in my FB chat: Fuck you show, Fuck. You. Which is so heartbreaking because I loved this show so much. And unfortunately, I can’t be one of those people like Jacqueline who respects the path. If the path leads to a dead mouse my cat vomited up on the floor, what am I going to remember?
Jacqueline: But part of that path is a cat that you love with all your heart, and you haven’t thrown your cat out because of some mouse upchucks :). Okay, okay, I’ll drop it; we shall agree to disagree!
Stephanie: But how did you actually take those last say, 20 minutes? They were throwing a crap ton of hypothesized exposition out there. Which was also odd. Ending on a voice over? Did we have a single voice over before?
Jacqueline: Honestly those last 20 minutes are just…I DON’T KNOW! I literally have no idea how this show ended. Until you said so in an earlier paragraph, I didn’t get what was up with him in that hospital. I didn’t get why everybody was all super sappy. I didn’t get the plotting or ANYTHING. I don’t even know if I know how he lived. Granted I was getting the sleepy-sleeps by the time we hit the end, but come ON. I’m only half an idiot, so some of that should have made some semblance of sense. And as for a voice over, umm…DRAMA WHAt?!
Spehanie: No, they didn’t cover how he got away from the mobsters. I would have thought they’d put him in the mental institution as I’ve seen that in dramas before, but they were obviously there hunting for him. They didn’t put him there. Then when the disk was leaked to the press, we thought it was the profiler, however, turns out no, it’s the past detective. Or now the present detective? Okay, I get it. In the annoying voice over we get why there isn’t an ending. The point was to keep pushing forward to solve cold cases even when others give up. Good life lesson. But in a drama? Seems a bit like a cop out.
Jacqueline: I’m glad you did the words and got it all worked out because my give a damn is about as busted as my brain.
Stephanie: I guess we’re done. Here’s a question for you. Would you recommend this show?
Jacqueline: Yes, actually, but with the caveat that the last two episodes are utter shite and to either stop watching beforehand, or to rewrite their own ending afterward. What about you?
Stephanie: I think I made my thoughts pretty effing clear. So, do you think if they have the second season, would you watch?
Jacqueline: Nope. They screwed the pooch for me, so while I won’t condemn the entire drama, it doesn’t deserve a chance at redemption in my book. What about you?
Stephanie: This is the only part I’m torn on. I literally loved the drama for most of it. I love the cast, I think they did an AMAZING job. I hope the guy who plays Profiler gets more and more roles. I’m actually thinking about picking up Goddess of Workplace for the lady detective. So we can see that they can make a good/amazing story. But how they left it? I’m not sure if I trust them to 1) not do it again and 2) have a story which packs as big of a punch as this one did. Where would they go from here? I guess it’s a wait and see game.
Jacqueline: I’m exactly with you on that! The writers have showed they can do amazing stuff, but when the pressure gets pressed, they cave and don’t deliver a satisfactory ending. I could very easily see them having the same damn problem; have great setup, great story almost all the way through, then give shit bricks by the end. I feel like that crap-out is a big knock for the actors, too, because like you said, I LOVE how amazing they were in their rolls. Literally everyone brought their A game, and that these characters just limp over the finish line does suck. I will say if Signal has given me anything, it’s that I now want that OST intro song AND want to check out more of that female actress’ work. Because damn, both were so good.
Stephanie: Shall we be done? I’d say let’s look forward to the next one, but it’s going to be a while for me before I can simulcast anything.
Jacqueline: LET’S NOT BE DONE BECAUSE I LIKE TALKING WITH MY FRIEND ABOUT DRAMAS—Oh, you mean with the chat. Yeah. I got nothing else. Other than perchance an extended middle digit pointed in the general direction of Korea because boo Signal. Boo.
Stephanie: Gah! I’m scrolling through screenshots to make our memes and I’m getting irritated all over again. Take the profiler getting shot. Dude. Dude. He ran out in front of her, from so far away? This is as irritating as those people who stand in the middle of the road waiting to get hit. There is plenty of time to dodge that shizzel!
Jacqueline: RIIIGHT?! I’ll quote Cinema Sins on that; Everybody in Dramaland “went to the Prometheus School of Running Away From Things.” Well, in her case she just, you know, didn’t. But still! DAMMIT SIGNAL WHY FOR MUST YOU SUCKETH?!
Stephanie: How about the scarf? Gah! The scarf. You mean to tell me that it made more sense for him to hold onto it and toss it in a random garbage than to destroy it? People would be watching him. Really? And then the Past detective just happens to find it?????
Jacqueline: Red scarf deus ex machina am I right? Like, let’s just suspend our disbelief long enough to say SUUUUURE drama, fine. Dude held on to it because reasons. Whateves. But you tell me, what the HELL DNA evidence would be on a scarf TWENTY YEARS LATER that would convict anybody. Yes yes, I know it wasn’t the rape but the murder so skin cells and shit, but come on. Ain’t nobody’s skin cells are gonna be around 20 years later. Unless he’s Jesus. What? Dramaland baddie is Jesus now? Okay sure Signal. SURE!
Stephanie: Also. The captain? The one who was the bad guys lackey? So in the new ending he didn’t murder Past Detective. Which would mean he’s probably still alive today? I did like that he didn’t know that the bad guy murdered the brother. So, he’s cool with fixing crimes and pinning bad things on kids, but he draws the line at murder. Since he was a conflicted character I do like that the show did give him the redemption he was leaning towards. However, I think the ending for the bad guy was a little anti-climactic, do you?
Jacqueline: See! That’s exactly my point in how damn spasmodic this drama went. We built and built and BUILT this story around this shitty bossman and then just barely nodded at an ending that actually felt like, oh I don’t know, AN ENDING. It was written in an almost, “Oh yeah, bad guy got his just desserts, that happened” kind of way. Which, yeah, good that our henchman got un-henched but not so good overall with, you know, THE BAD GUYS. Resolution fails all over the damn place. DRAMA YOU FAIL, NO SYMPATHY FOR YOU!
Stephanie: Okay, next. So she tells him about the time of his death. That was a cool moment when his new troop of cops came running down the hill—having it all be a set up. But what was the future consequence for that? Mob would probably have been after him anyway because he wouldn’t have stopped looking for the end. Is it him being stuck in a mental hospital for 15 years? But didn’t he put himself in there? Gah. I liked the moment, but I guess I just wish we knew more about the walkie-talkie and by more I mean anything. The only thing we learned was that it worked only at the time he ‘died’. So did he die again in his past and that’s how he’s possibly talking to someone else? He’s walkied talkie cheating on the profiler?
Jacqueline: SO MUCH GOOD POINTS. Yes, I freakin’ loved how our guy came bearing backup, but murder isn’t a one and done deal; THEY STILL GONNA TRY TO MURDER YOU, YA IDGIT. The fact that our show gave us ABSOLUTELY ZERO information about the walkie talkie, baring what you said, was so damn cheap. Granted I’d rather no explanation than a shitty one, but if his death is linked to the walkie talkie working, and he didn’t die, then wouldn’t that create a paradox in that it should never have worked to begin with? Since the timeline was reset? GODDAMMIT SHOW QUIT GIVING ME A HEADACHE.
Stephanie: So, not only did our profiler have a pretty bad life (as he definitely remembers his real past and not just the new memories with his happy family) but turns out our Past Detective’s life has really been pretty crappy. His almost girlfriend is murdered, everyone he knows is corrupt, he paralyzes a guy, he spends FIFTEEN YEARS in a mental institution, and he still didn’t get the girl. I did like how, as penance for that moment choosing the lady detective over the dead brother, he left and did not get with her—would not get with her until he felt he’d made up for his error. Which I say good. Brother trusted him. Brother had no one to turn to but him. (Although, yes, I do love our past detective.) Also, can I say? After almost a year in juvie for having a crime pinned on him, don’t you think the brother would have been a little wiser? Cautious? He came out of that prison the same way he went in there, and that’s not really realistic.
Jacqueline: Yay for some form of penance, am I right? Still, as crappy a life as he had, still no emotional engagement. I. Just. Didn’t. Care. About him. Much. At least not nearly the way I did for other characters. As for the brother, I honestly can’t say I fault his naivety. A year in juvie isn’t something to sneeze at, but it is light time, especially as far as I understand Korean detention centers. Plus, he’s still young. His youth and personality pair together to making him too trusting. Sad, but true. Either way, though, it still was such a weak way for our guy to go, considering all what he’d been through.
Stephanie: I held out hope for him right to the end. The other thing I’m sad at? The disbandment or more to the fact the creation of the cold case team. Without that first main case, without the bad guy to show up at the beginning, there was no reason to create the team. No reason to punish our characters into working together. It’s too bad.
Jacqueline: That’s the show in a nutshell; “it’s too bad.”
Stephanie: Okay. I think I’m good now. Thanks for letting me get that off my chest.
Jacqueline: Hey, what are friends for if not late night feel-fests and kdrama chit-chat! 🙂
So, what did you think of the ending? Let us know! Also, as this wraps up our Signal chat, Jacqueline and I want to say, thanks for reading!
Like Jacqueline? Check out her
Fangirl Musings (YouTube)
Diehard Fangirl (Tumblr)