The Killing Vote (Season 1 Finale), Episode 12, concluded with an open-ended finale, leaving viewers with mixed emotions. Despite the ambiguity surrounding Seok-joo’s fate, the Killing Vote finale gave certain characters closure. Jin-soo found solace in his new job at a café, while Jo-dan and Yoon-ji embarked on a romantic relationship. The show cleverly leaves room for speculation and anticipation, ensuring that the impact of “The Killing Vote” resonates beyond its season finale and questions the thin line between Justice and Vigilantism. This article contains spoilers.
The Killing Vote (Season 1 Finale), Episode 12 Recap:
The episode begins with a flashback to the time Joo Hyun’s parents had died. She was in mourning during the funeral, and the woman who had caused the accident arrived to apologize. The woman tells her that she had long days and she had dozed off, because of which she had caused the accident. Joo Hyun tells her that she was a liar as she had smelt alcohol from her on the day of the accident. She also reminds her that she had made sure everyone in the car was dead before leaving.
The woman insults Joo Hyun and asks her to accept her apology. Joo Hyun had tried to bring the woman to justice, but nobody listened to her. She had then decided to become a police officer and always listen to what the victims of a crime had to say. In the present, Mu-chan is trying to catch Seok-joo alive. But he gets a call from the police chief asking him to kill both Seok-joo and Chul-min. Mu-chan asks him if he is asking him to kill because of self-interest, but there is silence. Mu-chan tells him that he will do what is right.
Ji-hoon is trying to stop people from voting on the Killing Vote. Meanwhile, Ji-young gets a call from the police chief informing her that Mu-chan is striving to keep Seok-joo alive. Ji-young loses her cool and starts yelling at him to visit the location and kill Seok-joo with his bare hands if he has to. Do-hee sees the vehement side of Ji-young and is disgusted. On the other hand, the public had abstained from voting and ended the killing vote.
Ji-hoon is happy to see the results and is celebrating with Joo Min. But Seok-joo proceeds to take away his life. Chul-min escapes the hideout as he sees the cops approaching. Some bully kids at Ji-hoon’s school find him and start a live video of them beating him up. Joo Hyun finds Ji-hoon, but it’s too late as the kids kill him. Ji-hoon dies in the hands of Joo Hyun while getting an assurance that Seok-joo is okay. Before he takes his last breath, he gives a pen drive to Joo Hyun.
Meanwhile, Mu-chan saves Seok-joo from dying. Joo Hyun visits the location and starts yelling at Seok-joo for involving Ji-hoon in his revenge, and this is the reason he has died. Seok-joo is heart-broken. Seok-joo, on the way to the police station, asks if he could say his final goodbye to Na-rae. Mu-chan and Seok-joo talk but are interrupted by Chul-min holding a gun to Joo Hyun’s head.
Chul-min asks Mu-chan to let Seok-joo go, and he will leave Joo Hyun. Seok-joo asks Mu-chan to cooperate while telling Chul-min he should continue his legacy. Chul-min is ecstatic and forgets about the situation. Joo Hyun and Mu-chan utilize the situation to disarm Chul-min. Mu-chan shoots Chul-min, but Chul-min drags Seok-joo into the sea. Mu-chan jumps in, trying to find them, but he cannot. The police chief gave a press conference closing the Killing Vote case and declared Chul-min, Seok-joo, and Ji-hoon dead. But they said Seok-joo had killed Ji-hoon. Joo Hyun, listening to this, is angered.
Mu-chan is sad because of Seok-joo and Ji-hoon’s death. He was looking at images and videos of the case and found something. He rushes to Ji-young’s house, where Na-rae’s murder took place along with his team. His team is breaking down a pillar when Ji-young, in panic, questions Mu-chan what he is doing. He tells her that a search warrant was issued, and it was in her living room. She takes out her phone to call a lawyer. But he tells her nobody in the country could help her as Detective Choi is not reachable and her husband has divorced her. She was in a state of shock. The team breaks the pillars down to find a dead body. Mu-chan tells Ji-young that she could be arrested with this much evidence.
Ji-young tells him she is not planning on resisting. We cut to a year later, and everybody is busy. Joo Hyun was the ace of her team. Jin-soo had quit and was working in a café. Jo-dan and Yoon-ji are dating, and Jin-soo is teasing them. Joo-hyun gives a lecture on cyber security and finds a picture of Jo-dan, who had won an award. Jo-dan and Joo Hyun meet, and she asks him who had won the first place. He tells her it was someone called Mystery X, and all hackers leave a trail, and he knew their signature was LRAE. Joo Hyun finds it familiar. She goes home and finds out that the original video of Gaetal had the same signature.
Meanwhile, Joo Min is 20 years old now, and she goes to the place Ji-hoon went. She is missing him, and soon she receives a text from Ji-hoon. Ji-hoon had scheduled to send that text to reach her when she was 20. He shares with her in the message that she is the brightness of his life. On the other hand, Ji-young was pretending to have become a better person in front of everyone. At a volunteer program, she meets the lawyer who had defended Seok-joo. He reminds her why justice had to be served and about Seok-joo’s sacrifice. She gets out and hires a new person to keep the Killing Vote going. She had let her secretary take the fall for her crimes and had made sure she was murdered in prison.
The Killing Vote (Season 1 Finale), Episode 12 Ending, Explained:
Is there a new Gaetal?
Joo Hyun meets Ji-Hye in prison and asks her if she thought Seok-joo was alive. She tells her that as long as there is injustice, there will be a new Gaetal, and Seok-Joo will always be alive. Mu-chan is investigating a case, and a biker hands over a pen drive to him. He takes it to the forensics and bumps into Joo Hyun. He asks Joo Hyun if she knew about Seok-joo’s petition for Ji-hoon, and she tells him she did not know. But we see that she had the petition with her.
Joo Hyun reads an email about a man in his 40s found in Japan and smiles. Mu-chan, while investigating, hits a man for scamming people. He punishes the man, picks up the Gaetal mask, and wears it while we hear Seok-joo’s voice saying there will be another Gaetal in the background. Joo Hyun and Mu-chan’s expressions show that the Killing Vote had begun.
The most heartbreaking part about the show was Ji-hoon’s death. The ending with Mu-chan finding Gaetal pen drive and Joo Hyun reading about a man rescued in Japan somehow indicates that maybe Seok-joo is still alive and will continue to fight injustice in his way through them. Ji-young has not changed despite everything that has happened; this might be the show makers way of saying Gaetal lives because of people like her and to fight injustice. We also don’t have closure regarding the role Doo-hee plays. Will she continue to help Gaetal? The reasons for her kidnapping are left open.