Sisyphus: The Myth episode 16 recap – the ending/finale explained It's not "where" but "when".

April 8, 2021
Daniel Hart 11
Ending Explained, Netflix, Weekly TV
4

Summary

Episode 16 is an emotionally fuelled finale — it manages to keep the audience at bay all the way through to the ending. This has been a brilliant production, and the people behind the k-drama series should be proud.

View allNext Episode
4

Summary

Episode 16 is an emotionally fuelled finale — it manages to keep the audience at bay all the way through to the ending. This has been a brilliant production, and the people behind the k-drama series should be proud.

This recap of the Netflix K-Drama series Sisyphus: The Myth episode 16 — the ending/finale explained — contains significant spoilers.

Read the recap of the penultimate chapter. 

We’ve made it, folks — this has been a ride. An emotional, sci-fi ride. This K-Drama series could have been choppy with the writing, but it sustained and remained in its own quality.

Episode 16 — the finale — opens up with future Mr Park visiting his house to deal with the present-day Mr Park — he can hear him present-self brutally hurting his wife. His assistant tries to stop him, but he explains that everyone is going to die soon. Suddenly, his assistant reveals herself to be his daughter. She had planned to run away with her mother, but she hasn’t turned up. Ji-eun asks Mr Park to trust her.

The present-day Mr Park is about to kill his wife, but then the younger Ji-eun runs out and distracts them both. The future Mr Park is in shock as he starts to flicker; he drops his gun and smiles — he apologies to his daughter for not recognising his own child; he believes everything has changed and wants to see her mother.

The opening scenes are emotional, and this is only the beginning of a rollercoaster for the fans.

Trust me, no matter what happens

Sisyphus: The Myth episode 16 returns to the church; Sigma has Gang Seo-hae, and Tae-sul surrounded. He believes he’s won again. Gang Seo-hae has visions of her been shot in her wedding dress and Sigma asking Tae-sul to make a choice — “the girl or the world?”. Gang Seo-hae tells Tae-sul not to finish the code for the Uploader. Tae-sul tells Gang Seo-hae that she needs to trust him, no matter what happens. These are strong words from Tae-sul — there’s certainty in his voice — it brings goosebumps.

The future is changing

In the first episode of Sisyphus: The Myth, we were made to believe that Tae-sul is a genius; he can fix anything, and he’s good at thinking of his feet. It’s strange how we forget how clever he is as the series progresses, and the finale reminds the audience of who we are dealing with.

Sigma asks Tae-sul to put the code in the Uploader, but Tae-sul asks him questions about his life up until this point. Suddenly, Tae-sul flickers, which surprises Sigma — Tae-sul tells him he’s going to win. Sigma’s phone rings, and there are mechanical noises from the Uploader downstairs — Tae-sul tells him the future is changing. Sigma then starts to flicker, and Tae-sul smiles. Sigma asks his men to shoot Gang Seo-hae, but they flicker and disappear. After a brief fight, Tae-sul is knocked out by Sigma and then the villain proceeds to choke Gang Seo-hae — however, she starts to flicker too. Suddenly, Sigma is shot by someone at the top of the Church. The villain asks Tae-sul how he did this — he talks about how he’s alone in the world. Sigma is shot again as he stands up. He’s dead.

Gang Seo-hae wants to know who shot Sigma. Tae-sul tells her that it’s not important “where” but “when”. Gang Seo-hae realises he’s on about the Uploader — Tae-sul tells her they need to use The Uploader and finish this.

The whole “where” and “when” quote from Tae-sul is the series’s defining moment.

The Uploader

And then Tae-sul’s real plans come to fruition, but there’s still a strange anxiety murmuring under the storyline — everything feels too simple.

Tae-sul and Gang Seo-hae head to the Uploader, and the genius gets to work. He tells her he had all this figured out when he locked her in the bunker. The pair bicker, lightening up the moment a little. Mr Park and his group join them, and he’s surprised Sigma is dead. Tae-sul finishes the coding, and the Uploader turns on. Gang Seo-hae and Tae-sul are injected as they prepare to use the machine. Mr Park tells them that he hopes he never sees them again.

The Uploader is geared up, and Gang Seo-hae and Tae-sul hold each other’s hands as it consumes them.

Crossing over

Sisyphus: The Myth episode 16 starts to replay events from a different perspective to bring an emotionally charged ending.

Gang Seo-hae and Tae-sul arrive at a park — it’s during the same time Gang Seo-hae is locked in the bunker. He tells her he locked her away so she wouldn’t get caught, and she starts punching his arm in a teasing way. The pair head to the police station to meet Gang Seo-hae’s father, Gang Dong-gi, to ask for a favour — they tell him to take care of Seo Gil-bok if he finds him. Before they leave him, Gang Seo-hae hugs her father.

Meeting Gang Dong-gi and asking for guns

And then we experience a scene that we’ve already seen — Tae-sul asks for a gun and a sniper off Mr Park. He whispers to him, “The future you asked me to tell you this. Your daughter is right next to you. But you’ve been wasting time without recognising her. So you can stop it now. It’s okay”. Afterwards, Choi Jae-sun picks Gang Seo-hae and Tae-sul up. Choi Jae-sun reveals he had a bulletproof vest on, and he was in on Tae-sul’s plan. He didn’t die; he fainted. Gang Seo-hae gives Choi Jae-sun a big hug. She then tells Tae-sul that he’s good at lying.

Time loop

And then the church scenes occur again, proving that Tae-sul has begun a loop of events.

The church scene is then replayed but from another perspective, with Tae-sul and Gang Seo-hae setting themselves up at the top of the church so they can shoot Sigma, while the present-day Tae-sul and Gang Seo-hae are in a precarious position with Sigma. Meanwhile, Gang Dong-gi finds Seo Gil-bok (Sigma) and takes care of him just like he asked. Present-day Tae-sul and Gang Seo-hae fight Sigma, and the other Gang Seo-hae snipes the villain.

Gang Seo-hae and Tae-sul head to Sigma, and he flickers from existence. Suddenly, Gang Seo-hae feels faint, so Tae-sul holds her up. She kisses Tae-sul on the cheek, and tears flow down her face. Gang Seo-hae thanks him for everything he did for her. The couple kiss as they cry. Gang Seo-hae begins to disappear, and Tae-sul asks her not to leave.

The twist — Edward Kim

However, in a formidable twist, Gang Seo-hae doesn’t disappear. Edward Kim walks in and shoots Gang Seo-hae. He tells Tae-sul to complete the Uploader, or she’ll die if he doesn’t make it. This is a brilliant moment because we always assumed this all weighted on Sigma — we completely forgot about Edward Kim.

Tae-sul gets emotional and asks why he’s doing this. Edward Kim tells Tae-sul that if he knows his birthday date, he’ll stop as they have known each other for twenty years. He’s tired of sorting out all his messes. He then reveals he liked Seo-jin first and that he came between them. Edward Kim asks the question, “Is it the girl or the world?”.

Tae-sul tells Gang Seo-hae that they should start again, and this time they can either kill Sigma, hide in the bunker together or go back to the beginning before they knew each other. Tae-sul starts putting in the code, and missiles start heading towards Korea. Gang Seo-hae tells Tae-sul that she’s fine and tells him to stop — she doesn’t want to repeat this over and over again. Tae-sul sees visions of everyone suffering because of the war and stops typing. He quickly grabs a gun and points it at Edward Kim.

Save both

The entire series has had a tagline — “save the world or save the girl?”. What we didn’t realise is that Tae-sul is stubborn, and he’ll find his own way. How about “save both”?

Tae-sul tells Gang Seo-hae that he knew all along this was going to happen. He tells her to find him even if there’s no future. Tae-sul turns the gun on him, and he kills himself. The missiles that are about to hit Korea disappear — Mr Park and his team smile at each other and disappear — Agnes and the orphans disappear. Gang Dong-gi looks around, and everything feels peaceful all of a sudden. The war never happened — Tae-sul saved the world.

Gang Seo-hae looks over a dead Tae-sul and admits her favourite person is him and vows to find him. As she holds his hand, she disappears.

She found him

But the emotions do not stop there…

The scene then flits back to the plane that Tae-sul was on at the beginning of the series. A passenger nearby is complaining about his food. Next to him on the plane is Gang Seo-hae, who is asking about the wine list. She found him. They are together. He drops his medication as he clearly doesn’t need them anymore, and he leans on Gang Seo-hae’s shoulder.

The ending

The series then shows Seo Gil-bok. He’s painting a child outside, and then he returns to his place. He sees one of his paintings and opens a notebook — written inside is “Sigma, Seo Gil-bok, Seo Won-ju, Asia Mart, Park Hyeong-do, Seon-jae, Seon-ho, Bingbing, Quantum & Time, Tae-sul, Han Tae-san is still alive, Uploader Bunker, Control Bureau, Hwang Hyun-seung, Jung Hyeong-gi”. He puts on his glasses and tries to imitate Tae-sul in the Forbes magazine and says to himself in the mirror, “Don’t look at me like that”. Audiences will have to make their own interpretations about what this means — did Sigma ever really go away?

Sisyphus: The Myth episode 16 is an emotionally fuelled finale — it manages to keep the audience at bay all the way through to the ending. This has been a brilliant production, and the people behind the k-drama series should be proud.

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11 thoughts on “Sisyphus: The Myth episode 16 recap – the ending/finale explained

  • April 8, 2021 at 4:36 pm
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    I actually really don’t get it. I mean, how did Seo-hae find Tae-sul again? And how did Tae-sul retain his memory of the future, if they were back to the scene in the beginning? And how did Seo-hae be by his side, considering she’s actually a kid in the current timeline and considering Tae-sul killed himself to prevent the uploader from ever being created, doesn’t that mean, she has no way of going back to the past, as there’s no such thing existed, and the future of the dystopian world doesn’t exist also. So technically, the future Seo-hae that knew him, doesn’t exist also? I’m confused, can you explained to me, please?

    • April 8, 2021 at 5:38 pm
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      Hello, thanks for your comment.

      I don’t think we will be able to fathom these answers unless we get season 2. Especially with how Gang Seo-hae found Tae-sul and sat next to him on the plane. I imagine the Gang Seo-hae on the plane isn’t from the present, but from the future.

  • April 8, 2021 at 7:44 pm
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    I do agree! I really don’t get it. I hope someone explains and answer those questions.

  • April 8, 2021 at 8:56 pm
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    This is a story of a time paradox, to which each iteration is actually a reality that continuously builds on the previous one, the “future has changed” is an illusion to them since they have a foreknowledge of the “past” to which they want to change, then it “changed” based on their perspective but it is actually the same reality that they all play. Welcome to the time loop.

    A season two would be something similar, only that their “past” would be the Season 1.

  • April 8, 2021 at 11:04 pm
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    Gang Seo Hae in the plane was just a memory of Han Tae Sul. He wanted to take the pills just like he did at 1st episode when he kept seeing Han tae San in that plane also. But he did not take the pill to enjoy the moment to be with her even if it was just hallucination.

    Han Tae sul did die in other time paradox. This is another time (beginning again, so the concept of the sisyphus in mythology) however this time, Tae Sul already knew what will happen just like the previous Sigma. He knew that the Gang Seo Hae will be there to save her again. And maybe, to fix what did thet do wrong.

  • April 8, 2021 at 11:08 pm
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    Some things didn’t add up. For example, Seo Gil-bok is attempting to commit suicide and is stopped by the nuclear blast that could only have occurred at that moment had he not committed suicide. And while having Seo-hae find Tae-sul and sit together on the plane–at their current ages, even though at that moment she is living with her parents and is 15 years younger–makes for a warm fuzzy ending, it doesn’t make any sense based on what we have watched. Also, it’s one thing to have people disappear who came back in time via an uploader that wasn’t actually invented, what about those people in the present who saw them, interacted with them, etc.? If they were to lose all memories of those who came back, then Tae-sul wouldn’t know who was sitting next to him on the plane. If they DID remember, then it would have been more realistic to have Seo-hae’s father (and others) tell her about Tae-sul and the relationship they had. While it might not be enough to create a new relationship, at least when Seo-hae grows up she could “find” Tae-sul.

    None of which really matters because I really enjoyed the series.

  • April 9, 2021 at 6:08 am
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    I really don’t know..supposed to be seo hae is still a child at the time..so I think she’s only a manifestation of his illusions like his brother at first..he didn’t took the medicine because it will be more hard for him so he embraced the fact she’s there..I’m so sad

  • April 9, 2021 at 4:00 pm
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    Thank you so much for writing these recaps! I loved this show. It was one of the best shows I have watched in a while. I watched it because I love science fiction, and because I enjoyed Cho Seung-woo in Stranger. That said, I thought that episode 16 was a mess. It’s mostly the church scene that I can’t accept. First, there are now two pairs of Tae-sul and Seo-hae: one set on the main floor of the church, held by Sigma, and a second pair, having traveled back in time, on the second floor with the sniper rifle. What happened to the upstairs pair? After that Seo-hae takes out Sigma, they disappear from the story. But more importantly, they had to get away from Sigma in order to get to the uploader and travel back in time, and they couldn’t do that until Sigma was taken out. But they couldn’t take out Sigma until they had gotten to the uploader and gone back in time. It’s just too glaring a contradiction for me to accept. I wish it had been Mr. Park and his gang coming to the rescue; then we wouldn’t have had this problem.

    And, going back to the Tae-sul and Seo-hae who were on the second floor, where did they go? Perhaps we could hypothesize that they are floating through time in Tae-sul’s life (maybe because multiple time travels have caused them to lose a fixed place in time), and that’s how they ended up in the airplane. But I really see that plane scene as written for the fans, without any particular explanation.

    Anyway, I was on the edge of my seat for most of this series and thoroughly enjoyed it. I just wish they hadn’t tried to be so tricky with the final episode.

  • April 10, 2021 at 2:23 am
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    Time travel shows are difficult to get right and Sisyphus failed in this respect. The show quite honestly made very little sense and the only thing keeping the show going was the chemistry of the actors. The penultimate episode revealed the villain was responsible for orchestrating the meetings between the two lead characters as if that was a bombshell moment but it came across as a so what moment.

    The ending was a mess and made little sense. The plane scene theoretically couldn’t have happened and this was not explained.

    Park Shin Hye is a great actress but she needs to be more selective in what she chooses to appear in. Memories of the Alhambra was pretty bad and it didn’t help that Shin Hye spent about 16 episodes crying for someone she had no chemistry with and now Sisyphus.

    All in all, a pretty terrible drama that stood very little chance in Korea being aired against Mouse, a quite brilliant show.

  • April 10, 2021 at 2:39 am
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    A pretty terrible dramas JTBC you nailed it? the ending though ??

  • April 10, 2021 at 6:22 am
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    Is it just me or is anyone else getting the vibe that han tae sul IS sigma? It kinda doesn’t make any sense at all but nothing does either way. Even before han tae sul finds out about the future, he is still a mentally ill patient. His brother suddenly being alive (apparently
    took pics of sigma, but every pic has han tae sul) , the child/adult version of sigma obsessed with him (kid drew him fixing a plane and adult literally created a love story between the 2 for no reason) and this little girl who grows up to always come to save him. There are a lot of details that can be interpreted this way but the very last seen kinda solidified it even more for me. He puts on glasses (seemingly from the magazine cover with han tae seul) and says to stop looking at him with those eyes in a mirror to himself as if han tae sul is the one looking at him. Sigma was into self harm and han tae sul’s story ends with suicide. Perhaps seo hae was one of the girl’s from the park he drew and he created a love story for that reason. Maybe everything really was just inside his head.

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