The penultimate episode of Taxi Driver interrogates the nature of revenge overall as the very underpinnings of the Rainbow Taxi Service are called into question.
This recap of Taxi Driver season 1, episode 15 contains spoilers.
Revenge is one of the most common thematic motifs in all popular entertainment, but there’s still mileage to be gotten out of its essential questions and ideas. Taxi Driver has never been shy about interrogating the notion of revenge; whether it’s a human impulse or the outgrowth of a systemic failing; whether it provides closure or remains cyclical and unfulfilling; whether there is the possibility for redemption in even the worst of people or if the sword of justice should come down on the necks of those who’re truly irredeemable. And on and on. In Taxi Driver episode 15, the first of the show’s final two episodes, this all comes to the fore, providing a fittingly on-brand climax after it seemed like the story was at – or at least very close to – an end.
There is still some housekeeping to be done, of course, mostly involving the sacrifices of the Rainbow team – Sung-Chul’s eye, Kyung-Koo’s finger, an alive but just-barely Jin-Eon, etc. – and the legal ramifications of busting Chairman Baek’s black market organ-trading ring. But it’s Rainbow themselves who’re close to admitting culpability for their roles in things, understanding that their actions, too, have had ramifications beyond the obvious.
Of course, there’s one more matter to settle, which is the case of Chul-Young, the serial killer who counts Do-Ki’s mother among his victims and for whose crimes Kyu-Jung has taken the blame. This in and of itself raises the obvious problem that Do-Ki and Sung-Chul’s efforts at righting wrongs have been built on a case of mistaken identity, thoroughly undermining the utility of Rainbow Taxi overall. Sure, the victims they helped were in genuine need of aid, and many of the villains they have brought down were in genuine need of a whooping, but if even one of them is innocent, doesn’t that throw the validity of the entire service into some dispute?
Considering all this, it’s no surprise, really, that Kyu-Jung would rather like an apology, thanks very much, and since he has been branded as a criminal for years, he’s perfectly willing to continue to be branded a criminal to get one. This is understandably personal for Do-Ki, but it’s personal for Hyun-Soo, too, the son of Chul-Young, who evidently has more of a role to play in all this; the sins of the father, and all that. This isn’t new thematic territory for Taxi Driver season 1, episode 15, but it’s welcome in a show that could quite easily have delighted in the facile pleasures of the whole thing rather than really interrogating what it all means. With only one episode to go, it’s looking increasingly likely that the final target for Rainbow to take revenge on might be themselves.