‘The Killing Vote’ Ending Explained & Finale Recap: Is Seok Joo Alive? Who Is The New Gaetal?


As much as we have expressed our irritation with The Killing Vote ever since it started, the ending has, in some ways, made up for it. It has just the right amount of ambiguity, and there is an acknowledgement of Gaetal’s actual motives that makes up for the lack of a discussion we had so desperately wanted from the series. Essentially, this has been a series that has tested our patience like anything due to the wonky storytelling at times and later due to the delay in episodes for numerous reasons. But through it all, there has always been a curiosity regarding the fate of the characters, and that has come to an end now. Therefore, let us look at the recap of the series once before forming a conclusive opinion.

Spoiler Alert

What happened in Kwon Seok Joo’s past?

Eight years ago, Kwon Seok Joo’s daughter was murdered by his psychopathic neighbor, Lee Min Soo, and the crime was covered up by his mother, Min Ji Young. Min Soo’s friend was framed for the murder, but he was also let off due to insufficient evidence. However, when Kwon Seok Joo came to know the truth, he murdered the boy and was sentenced to jail. Eight years later, Min Soo is working as a teacher, while Kwon Seok Joo has used his network of people outside and inside the jail to start The Killing Vote. Through this, the people whose crimes never got the punishment they deserved were put up for a public vote, where people ruled in favor of their execution or forgiveness.

In the present day, Seok Joo finally gets his hands on the evidence that his daughter was killed by Lee Min Soo. He would have killed him through the vote, but the man was saved at the last minute due to the police. However, when Min Ji Young tries to save her son, she accidentally ends up killing him in an accident. Now that Seok Joo’s primary mission is done, he wishes to die through the vote, but his adopted son, Ji Hoon, reveals the entirety of his past to the public so that they may make an unbiased decision. Throughout this time, Min Ji Young has put a bounty on Ji Hoon and Seok Joo, which makes them open targets.

What Finally Happens To Ji Hoon And Seok Joo?

After Ji Hoon’s message to the public, a majority of them either abstain from voting and some want the man to be pardoned for what he has done. Due to this, Seok Joo cancels the Killing Vote, but he still wants to die. His martyrdom is important for the overall cause, in addition to the fact that he simply wants to join his daughter. Seok Joo has left behind fabricated evidence to prove that Ji Hoon and his grandmother were forced to be a part of his plan due to coercion. This is his way of taking care of them, but sadly, Ji Hoon passes away before any of that happens. The bounty hunters mercilessly beat him, and after a fatal blow to his head, Ji Hoon dies while Min and Hyun can only watch.

When Seok Joo comes to know about this, he is heartbroken and wonders whether Ji Hoon could have been saved if he had not fought so hard after Na Rae’s death. Even Mu Chan says that had he not been so overzealous and tried to fabricate evidence, they may have been able to get justice for themselves, and Ji Hoon would be alive. Just at this time, Chul Min barges onto the scene, holding Hyun at gunpoint, and demands that he and the professor be let go. In the scuffle that follows, Chul Min and Seok Joo fall into the water and are presumed dead.

Is Seok Joo alive? Who is the new Gaetal?

The story handed out is that Seok Joo was the one responsible for Ji Hoon’s death, and the entire blame is pinned on him. Mu Chan doesn’t fight it because he needs that leverage to investigate Ji Young. While going through some tapes, he finds that the proof of her involvement may be in the basement where Na Rae was held. Mu Chan moves fast, and the police find that the column where Na Rae was killed was covered up with some construction. That is the proof against Ji Young that they needed.

A year later, Ji Young has gotten away with her crimes and is out and about. Her secretary took the fall for the entire thing, and she lost her life in prison, so basically, Ji Young has a fresh start in life. However, Ji Young has not changed her ways. A year earlier, she had bargained with Do Hee for something that had stopped the reporter from revealing her kidnapping. In the present day, she has teamed up with an expert hacker to get back her position as an Assemblywoman. She has been brought down, but Min Ji Young hasn’t given up in the least.

Elsewhere, Min is trying to get over the death of Ji Hoon. Before he passed away, he had left a few messages for her, and Min continued to get them to this day. As for Hyun, she has become the best in her team, though she is still wondering whether Seok Joo is alive or not. Ten years ago, Hyun and Min’s parents’ murderer had gotten away, and the sisters had no choice but to move on with their lives. While working in the police department had forced Hyun to consider legal justice, she had to agree with her sister on the need for vigilante justice. A year ago, she dug out an article about an unknown man being rescued by a fishing boat. Now, she was going to Japan for a conference and to secretly investigate this information.

During The Killing Vote‘s ending, Mu Chan starts following Seok Joo’s philosophy of punishing people as they deserve. Seok Joo had made it clear that the Killing Vote had not just been revenge but punishment, and there was a need for the latter in society. The audience also sees how Gaetal may have died, but he has become a cultural phenomenon, and the Gaetal masks are being sold everywhere, indicating that people still support him. Elsewhere, the Killing Vote has been started again, probably by the person who fished out the pen drive out of the water. Our suspicion is that it is the expert hacker, and he has done it because it is something ‘interesting’, as he had told Ji Young.

Final Thoughts

In many ways, this was a good ending to the show. Conclusive answers wouldn’t have had the same effect as the open endings have. At the end of the day, it was proof of how complicated the characters actually are, something that the audience did not get to enjoy during the runtime of the series. This still remains a show that is difficult to recommend, but for those watching it, the ending was a treat.

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Divya Malladi
Divya Malladi
Divya spends way more time on Netflix and regrets most of what she watches. Hence she has too many opinions that she tries to put to productive spin through her writings. Her New Year resolution is to know that her opinions are validated.

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