Designated Survivor: 60 Days Season 1, Episode 16, “The Last Case” presents Park Mu-jin one last, difficult decision in a breathtaking finale.
This recap of Designated Survivor: 60 Days Season 1, Episode 16, “The Last Case” – The Finale, contains significant spoilers. The Korean Netflix Series will be running weekly every Monday and Tuesday until season 1 ends. You can read the recap of the previous episode by clicking these words.
The finale of Designated Survivor: 60 Days understands the meaning of a true hero. True heroes are often misunderstood, and at the finish line, they are applauded for their utmost nobility and honesty. It’s not about the best decision. It’s about the right decision. I was fortunate not to watch the original Designated Survivor, so the final twist in this saga was delivered to me unknowingly.
So let’s talk about how Episode 16 formed the true hero in Park Mu-jin (Jin-hee Ji). His polls are at an all-time high; he’s on the verge of the unprecedented: claiming the highest honour in office based on exceptional due diligence and patience. But, Mr Kim hangs over him — the man claiming to be the VIP wants to be pardoned in return for the truth. Park Mu-jin was part of the jigsaw puzzle to the bombings.
And while Mr Kim was eventually killed by the higher-order to remove all evidence before revealing the entire truth, there was a gloomy shadow hanging over our hero. His secretarial team felt inspired in their drawing room, planning speeches and his campaign slogan; “Finally, our pride, The Republic of Korea”.
And the final blow arrives for the Acting President. The NSI learn that the one man that Park Mu-jin felt emotionally connected to, the ex-Chief Presidential Secretary Han, once represented Mr Kim as an attorney in a human rights case. Video footage and intrinsic evidence prove that Han could have prevented the attack; he could have warned the Deputy President before he set off to the General Assembly about the bombings. Han didn’t, and he claimed it was a hoax, which led to the deaths of many people.
And this reveal happened on the cusp of Park Mu-jin’s finest hour. Our hero has to prove himself once more when all he deserves is glory; as he approaches Han to discuss the allegations by the NSI, Han’s entire demeanour changes. His real personality comes to life with his words:
“This country is not worthy of a President like Yang” — “He was more than what the country deserved, and his decrease in polls proved it” — “fear and terror is the best way to implement change”.
Those were the horrifying words of a man Park wanted desperately to support his administration. It reeked of the Joker’s ideology in The Dark Knight and reverberated to the audience. But Han’s doctrine was ultimately flawed; his final move contradicted plans in motion to make Park Mu-jin a puppet — he asks Park if he wants to be the President that restored hope for the nation, however, the deceased Assemblyman Oh Yeon-seok was the image of Han’s plans, not the current Acting President.
Park Mu-jin has the defining choice in Episode 16, “The Last Case”; tell the world the truth and make it known that he was part of the puzzle or continue to be the “hope” for the people, based on false pretences. His words are chilling when he turns to Han and says, “I don’t want to be remembered as a piece of the puzzle you created”. Episode 16 shows Park walking around the Presidential office, taking it all in, revealing what he could have, with a tinge of pride and sadness, before shredding a piece of paper, presumably his excellent speech.
And in his speech, he resigns as Acting President, and in the same sentence, stands down his Presidential Candidacy revealing that a member of his team was behind the bombings, with a troubled looking secretarial team on the sidelines. Ironically, Han believed that the country did not deserve a good man leading the country, and in effect, created Korea’s Dark Knight — he declares he must be made accountable by inadvertently being part of the puzzle that brought down the nation.
Once his speech is over, you sense the hope draining for Chief Secretary Cha, who witnesses Han been escorted from The Blue House by NIS agents. But it’s clear that despite Park’s decision, he respects it — the emotions spiralling over his face were incredibly difficult to watch as he stands before Park, who is about to embark on his last days as Acting President.
Episode 16 slowly closes Season 1 as the characters move on; Park Mu-jin lives out his last days as Acting President, and on his way out on his final day, the team stand before him for one last goodbye; he started this series disrespected on every level, and leaves the Blue House as a historical figure.
His team learnt a lot from his leadership, as the end of the chapter shows. Designated Survivor: 60 Days Season 1, Episode 16, “The Last Case” ends with his former team approaching him during one of his speeches about dust reduction. They ask him if he would like to run for the next Presidential Campaign, and he smiles.
Maybe Han was right in a twisted perspective — “without sacrifice, there can be no revolution.” The Republic of Korea sacrificed a man of nobility and honesty, but the revolution is his return.
There are rumours Designated Survivor: 60 Days will not return for a second season. Jump on twitter and promote #DesignatedSurvivor60DaysForSeason2
Daniel Hart is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has operated as Editor-in-Chief since 2017.