Like Flowers in Sand Season 1 Ending Explained – A happy but depth-averse conclusion

By Jonathon Wilson
Published: February 2, 2024 (Last updated: last month)
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Like Flowers in Sand Season 1 Ending Explained
Like Flowers in Sand | Image via Netflixq


Like Flowers in Sand amounts to a happy ending with all loose ends tied off, but it lacks emotional power.

On paper, the ending of Like Flowers in Sand is a solid one. Episode 12 wraps up all the loose ends and builds to a sensible – if obvious – conclusion for its leads. But it does lack emotional power and intrigue, as it has all the way through. The predictability of the criminal case coupled with the one-dimensional romance was never going to amount to a deeply satisfying payoff in the end, and the K-Drama ends with a whimper rather than a bang.

Those who have been rooting for these characters throughout won’t mind too much, I’m sure. But it’s hard not to lament the outcome here when you consider what might have been, especially with how promising the early episodes and their ssireum focus were.

There are prevailing themes of past and present in this episode, specifically around the central group. Despite having grown apart and found their way back together over the years, the finale’s real payoff is centered around the idea that the bond between the friends is stronger than ever.

This is why the finale opens with the group as younger versions of themselves, writing notes for each other. It’s why Du-sik recalls Chil-seong before going to chase down his killer. That small-town vibe connects everyone, and interweaves every story strand.

Who is the killer?

As per Episode 11, Mi-ran has been accosted in the café by the killer of Chil-seong and her father. It turns out to be Gyeong-mun, the owner of the rice cake shop. This criminal mastermind is essentially guilty of losing his temper twice, with fatal consequences. Back in the day, he and Mi-ran’s father were business partners. However, the latter didn’t want to continue with the match-fixing. Out of anger, Gyeong-mun struck him with a rock.

Chil-seong was similarly killed after a disagreement. It hardly exonerates Gyeong-mun that he smashes peoples’ heads in when he gets wound up, though. Chil-seong had recorded their conversation, which is why he has been so desperately trying to recover the phone. Gyeong-mun chokes Mi-ran and threatens her with another “mistake” if she doesn’t play ball, but the evidence is with the police. By the time Du-sik and the others arrive, Gyeong-mun has fled, evading the police and remaining on the most wanted list.

Does Du-sik win the championship?

After this, Du-sik returns to Seoul. Baek-du encourages her to follow her dream, not plucking up the courage to ask her to stay, which she would’ve had he done so. He pines for her when she’s away ignoring his text messages, but luckily she surprises him for a family dinner where he confesses his feelings once again and resolves to win the ssireum championship. If he does so, Du-sik can reveal her feelings. Only fair.

Reflecting the earlier episode where Baek-du struggled to perform without Du-sik watching him from the stands, Du-sik is called away when Gyeong-mun is discovered hiding out in a motel. A bus breakdown keeps most of the locals away too. Baek-du is forced to rely on his skills and his confidence in himself to battle through the championship.

Baek-du is able to make it to the finals without much fuss, however, predictably, he has to have a re-do with his old rival Dong-seok after their controversial previous match. It’s a close contest again, however Baek-du is ultimately able to emerge victorious.

Do Baek-do and Du-sik end up together?

After the championship, Du-sik is waiting for Baek-du outside his house. She owes him a confession about whether or not she likes him in return, and she finally gives it – she does. They share a kiss, finally on the same page.

Like Flowers in Sand Season 1 ends with he entire friendship group reminiscing over their longstanding relationships through childhood and into adulthood.

What did you think of Like Flowers in Sand Season 1, Episode 12 and the ending? Let us know in the comments.

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