‘Chicken Nugget’ Ending Explained: Does Min-Ah Come Back? 


The absurd story of a woman turning into a chicken nugget is finally here, and it’s even more absurd than you’d imagine. Chicken Nugget series, starring some of Korea’s biggest names, is a satire about humanity and, I suppose, meat-eating, which will leave you concerned and possibly make you never want to eat chicken nuggets again. The extraterrestrial story is amusing, to say the least, and even if you’re not interested in what it really has to say, you can watch it simply for some surreal humor. I don’t quite get it, but it’s too fun to stop, kind of. The show follows a man named Choi Sun-Man, who runs a machine company and has one employee and an intern. Ko Baek-Joong was forced into mechanical engineering, but his real talent lies in jingle-making. The duo becomes a team when a mysterious machine appears in front of the office, and then Sun-Man’s daughter turns into a chicken nugget after entering the machine. Now, whatever “chicken nugget” you’re imagining, she doesn’t look like that. This is Korean-style sweet and spicy chicken, so keep that in mind while reading this recap. With that said, let’s dive into Chicken Nugget and find out what happens at the end of the K-drama.

Spoiler Alert

How Does Min-Ah Turn Into a Nugget? 

Chicken Nugget begins with Baek-Joong dancing his way to work on a normal day. His boss is happy to see him, and it’s almost as if there’s some sort of laughing gas in the office that keeps them giggling all the time. The other employee, too, who is extremely dissatisfied with his salary and his work, has the same problem. It’s almost as if they’re laughing away their pain. Everyone is somehow upset, yet they live on with smiles on their faces. At lunchtime, unlike usual, Baek-Joong decides to stay back at work because his boss’ beautiful daughter, Min-Ah, is coming by. She brings a box of chicken nuggets with her, and Baek-Joong is thrilled. It seems Baek-Joong has tried to impress Min-Ah earlier, but she isn’t interested in him because he doesn’t have a perfect face and a ripped body. It doesn’t matter that he’s kind-hearted if he doesn’t have those things. It appears Baek-Joong is working hard to get ripped, but it isn’t working one bit. Min-Ah notices that there’s a new purple machine in the warehouse. Baek-Joong tells her that it’s a machine to relieve fatigue, and Min-Ah immediately wants to try it out. Baek-Joong is the one who brought the machine in. It seems like he thought it was a machine that was meant to be delivered the next day but showed up early, simply waiting in front of the office. When Min-Ah enters and presses a button that appears out of nowhere, Baek-Joong watches in horror from the little window at the front of the box as she vanishes. When he rushes to look for her, she’s turned into a piece of chicken, just like the one he was about to eat and dropped a moment earlier. 

For the rest of the first few episodes of Chicken Nugget, Sun-Man and Baek-Joong navigate a slippery slope in trying to figure out how to bring Min-Ah back, how to keep her alive as a nugget (the fear of it rotting though!), who dropped the machine there, and most importantly, is Min-Ah really the nugget? During this process, we see that Sun-Man brought Min-Ah up as a single father after her mother passed away in childbirth. So, in simple words, his world revolves around her, and he really can’t live without her. In the meantime, Baek-Joong watches the CCTV footage of the space in front of the warehouse and discovers who may have dropped the machine off. Through this man, they track down a professor who may have answers to what this machine is, except he’s disappeared too. Later, we find out that he turned into a caterpillar two years ago. He comes back to his human form when his nephew, who is resentful of him and the world, decides to steal the machine for selfish reasons. The nephew, Yoo Tae-Man, grew up to be ugly and old-looking at the ripe old age of 22. Apparently, this is because he drank the herbal medicine that was meant for his older brother, who was a bit of a dud. 

What Happens When Baek-Joong Tracks Down Tae-Man? 

Sun-Man and Baek-Joong preserve Min-Ah in a little machine, considering they’re from a machine company, and this is the one thing they should be able to do. Tae-Man kidnaps the nugget along with stealing the machine, leaving the two no choice but to find him. This is when they finally meet Professor Yoo as well, who tells them how he went from human to caterpillar by accidentally looking at a caterpillar after he entered the machine. It turns out that whatever you’re looking at as you step into the machine, you’ll turn into it. On the other hand, there’s a nugget shop that has a picture of the same kind of machine in their storefront. Now, this shop is owned by people who have been making nuggets for generations. Soon enough, we learn they’re actually aliens, and so they have these machines with them to appear like humans. However, this happened two hundred years ago. Also, interestingly, the leader of the alien group is named Baek-Jung for some reason. 

Baek-Joong and Sun-Man make it to Tae-Man’s little shed and confront him and his uncle about the machine. Somehow, this complicates things further, as everyone has their own selfish agenda with the machine. Apparently, humans are very selfish; I wasn’t aware. Tae-Man stole the machine so he could look like his brother and be both smart and handsome; so he’d never again be looked down upon for his looks. Now, things get massively complicated as Tae-Man and his uncle decide to lock Baek-Joong and Sun-Man up for different reasons. Tae-Man is simply evil, and his uncle wants to change the world with the help of the aliens—mad scientists and all. This is when the aliens show up, and they’re disappointed to see that the humans are waging war yet again. It seems that, whatever they’re given, they don’t know how to make positive use of it. This leaves the aliens miserable and furious at the same time. On the planet they come from, one day is equal to 50 Earth years. These purple people have lived on earth for 4 whole days, and now they want to return home to their families, too. As peacemakers, they were never allowed to use their powers on humans; however, after accidentally killing a man, Baek-Jung’s mind has changed, and he’s willing to sacrifice himself so all his friends can go back to their families since it seems humans are a wasted species. 

The machines have stopped working, and there’s only one solution to bring Min-Ah back. Take her to their planet. The fact of the matter is that humans would never change, and so the aliens had no business remaining there anymore. Sun-Man agrees to let the aliens go with Min-Ah, with the promise that he will live on for another 50 years to see her again until he’s 106 years old. Despite their sadness, the two people who tried so hard to bring a loved one back to life moved on with their lives, waiting patiently. 

What happens 50 years later? 

Sun-Man had told Baek-Joong to become a musician and abandoned his company, More Than Machines, which now somehow belongs to Tae-Man. Tae-Man still looks the same as he did 50 years ago. Now, this is an advantage for him because he looks younger than he should. See, kids, everything happens for a reason. The company seems to be a massive success as well, working on technology that slows down aging (fair enough). On the other hand, Baek-Joong has, in fact, become a world-renowned singer with fans from across the globe. He’s doing his last tour at the age of 78. He’s called “Yellow Pants” because he always wore yellow pants to work to rebel against his father’s wishes to see him become an engineer. 

During Chicken Nugget‘s ending, a successful Baek-Joong finds himself looking for Min-Ah in a crowd of his fans. He notices her in the crowd, but it turns out to be the granddaughter of a kid who had been one of Baek-Joong’s first fans after he uploaded the “Chicken Nugget Rhapsody” to YouTube when Min-Ah first transformed. Now, all these years later, the purple alien reappears as promised, but with Min-Ah as a nugget. Baek-Joong is then given a very complicated task. It seems that when the aliens went back, they learned that Earth had become a travel-banned zone because weapons of mass destruction were created on the planet. So, all the machines were destroyed; however, only the one Baek-Jung traveled back with remained. But Baek-Jung would’ve needed another day to recharge the machine, which would leave nobody on planet Earth who still remembered Min-Ah. It was because of Baek-Joong’s kindness that the aliens were able to go back home, so to return the favor, he has one way for Baek-Joong to bring Min-Ah back, and that is to turn back time. There is one condition, though: the whole planet will lose its memory of the past 50 years when the clock turns back, but at least Min-Ah will be back. 

What does Baek-Joong do? 

In Chicken Nugget‘s ending, Baek-Joong ultimately makes the selfish decision to turn back time and bring back Min-Ah. This would change the entire course of history, maybe erase him as a musician completely, and he may never even get to be with Min-Ah, but he still chooses to do it. Chicken Nugget ends right where the mess started, with Min-Ah entering the shop with a box of chicken nuggets. Now, this could mean the entire cycle could repeat itself and possibly leave the world in a loop. Or this could be a hopeful ending, where Min-Ah and her father are reunited, and somehow everything changes, and Min-Ah never turns into a nugget. I guess Chicken Nugget is a unique kind of dystopian story where we’re not attacked by zombies or alien species, but we’re the real problem. We’ve seen this theme a dozen times in the Korean entertainment industry, but it’s never been made in this way. Chicken Nugget may appear to be a comedy, but it’s got a poignant undertone that makes you feel uneasy just thinking about it. What I’m trying to say is that we’re doomed, and it’s all because of us, and no alien or technology could ever save us from ourselves. 

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Ruchika Bhat
Ruchika Bhat
When not tending to her fashion small business, Ruchika or Ru spends the rest of her time enjoying some cinema and TV all by herself. She's got a penchant for all things Korean and lives in drama world for the most part.

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