Stranger (Secret Forest) season 2, episode 16 recap – the finale explained

By Daniel Hart
Published: October 4, 2020 (Last updated: 3 weeks ago)
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Stranger (K-Drama) Season 2 Recap
Stranger Season 2 Promo Image via Netflix


Stranger season 2, episode 16 is a typical finale that wraps up the main plot points. It’s well woven and although it does not open the door for a season 3, it does leave the audiences pondering if this story can expand even further.

This recap of K-drama Netflix series Stranger season 2, episode 16 (Secret Forest) — the finale explained — contains spoilers.

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The opening

We’ve made it folks — 8 weeks of in-depth police and prosecution speak and we finally see a conclusion. The penultimate chapter gave the audience the answers that were needed but the Stranger season 2 finale wraps up the show by finalising the loose ends.

Si-mok and prosecutors go through Woo’s warrant with the Deputy Prosecutor. There’s enough evidence to arrest him. Meanwhile, when Woo goes to the press conference, it’s dead. In another press conference, Chief Choi reveals the details of Park Gwang-su and how his body was moved to conceal a meeting at a vacation villa. Si-mok tells Choi that Woo has the capability to destroy Yeo-jin’s life. Choi admits to helping move the body in the press conference. The flashback with Si-mok reveals he told her that she can control the outcome to all of this.

In the press conference, Choi stands down as a chief and apologises to the victim’s family — she did the right thing, just like Si-mok felt she would.

Her last moment

Stranger season 2, episode 16 shows that even in his darkest hour, Woo tries to inflict his position on others despite no endgame in sight for him. He’s a character that reeks of selfishness and recklessness and it’s good for the audience to see it all collapse around him to finalise the story.

Woo rings Choi and asks if she’s happy that she survived this on her own. He talks about how the death of Park Gwang-su was the worst moment of his life. Choi accuses Woo of using her. Choi puts the phone down and takes in her last moments as the chief. The police salute to her and Yeo-jin looks over at her solemnly but with a slight tinge of regret and shame in her face. This is a sober moment between two women.

It’s been abused and misused

Si-mok sits with Woo; he tells Si-mok that if they didn’t trace Dong-jae’s last steps then none of this would have happened. Si-mok asks if he interfered with the investigation — Woo refuses to comply with the conversation. Si-mok heads to the Deputy Prosecutor’s office; he tells him they can fire Woo but he wants Si-mok to end it with the abandonment of a corpse and not to take it further i.e. for the prosecution to have leverage over the police. He doesn’t want to hurt their investigative authority. Si-mok apologises and says the prosecution has abused and misused their authority and walks off.

This was such a swag moment from Si-mok who does not seem to care about positions of power — that’s his power.

Dong-jae can hear people

In the middle of the night, Kang Won-chul rings Si-mok. He wants to ensure nothing in the prosecution mentions Hanjo after his recent conversation with Ms Lee Yeon-jae’s assistant spoken to him but he doesn’t get the words out. Kang Won-chul goes to the hospital and looks for a guardian for Dong-jae. The lawyer wakes up with his wife by his side. He can hear them and squeezes the wife’s hand.


It’s announced to the police that the police prosecution council has been disbanded as they are not trusted to make a decision. In the aftermath, two colleagues privately talk to Yeo-jin due to her involvement of Choi’s departure but she laughs it off. Detective Jang then rings her and ask if she’d like drinks and a meal and she gets emotional. The stress of the situation is getting to her.

You have to feel sorry for Yeo-jin at this stage; she’s based her entire decision making on doing the right thing which could potentially compromise her career.

You can make a change

Si-mok is told he will be going back to his original post in Wonju and he accepts it calmly. Meanwhile, Kang Won-chul meets Ms Lee Yeon-jae again; he’s recently resigned — he tells them that the central district office will investigate the Namyangju case and that she’ll know soon about it — he mentions how Park Gwang-su gathered officials at the vacation home under Hanjo’s orders which is part of the internal investigation team’s report.

Kang Won-chul shows his anger before he leaves and tells Ms Lee Yeon-jae that she could make a change rather cheat and bribe. He also tells her that her late husband trusted Si-mok until the very end and asks her to ensure no harm is done to him. When he leaves, she asks her assistant to find out who the lead prosecutor is from the central district office.

A goodbye meal

The Stranger season 2 finale offers one last meal between everyone’s favourite characters. It feels like a bittersweet meal — they’ve sacrificed everything so everyone else can observe the truth.

Si-mok and Yeo-jin meet for a meal. The prosecutor tells her how he is going back to his original case. He then shares his dream about the West Seoul office and how everyone appeared from there; Young Eun-soo, Chief Prosecutor Kang, Mr Yoon, Chief Prosecutor Lee, and Prosecutor Seo. Yeo-jin keeps saying bye because he’s leaving over the weekend. They keep toasting to it.

One connection left

Ms Lee Yeon-jae visits Dong-jae and talks to him as he sleeps. She tells him her late husband really cared for him as well and hopes that he gets better soon. Ms Lee Yeon-jae then whispers to him that he’s the only one left that can connect her to the dead lawyer.

The ending

Yeo-jin joins the Intelligence Bureau and no-one speaks to her as she walks into her new office. She takes it in her stride and unpacks her box.

Si-mok meets Kang Won-chul who is fishing. They have general chit chat but it feels like an end of an era. Mr Kang has resigned due to his past and he wants to leave it behind him. Si-mok leaves a note behind for Prosector Jung about the bullying at the station and asks her to continue pursuing it. Meanwhile, in her new office, Yeo-jin is greeted by the new director which feels like a relief.

As the episode ends, Dong-jae returns to work and he’s interviewed by the investigation — he’s asked if the late Park Gwang-su had a connection with Hanjo Group.

Stranger season 2, episode 16 is a typical finale that wraps up the main plot points. It’s well woven and although it does not open the door for a season 3, it does leave the audiences pondering if this story can expand even further.

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