Empire of Gold Finale Discussion (Episodes 23-24)


I know I’m technically a day early, but I would like to keep this space up for people to rant and rave to their heart’s desire. I probably won’t get to my own post for a while, considering I’m on a quasi-hiatus…so this is me trying to post about Empire of Gold without actually posting on it.

In any case, I generally can answer comments really easily, and I’d rather talk about the drama with people as opposed to spewing my thoughts to a wall. Thanks everyone for being on this awesome drama journey with me, (my first one on this site) and hopefully there will be another to pull apart and dissect soon!

Let the final battle begin! 😀

All Empire of Gold Posts  | Go Soo Suit Post (LOL Post)

Episode 23 Preview | Episode 23 Rough Recap | OST

38 responses to “Empire of Gold Finale Discussion (Episodes 23-24)

  1. I thought SH was a useless character and she interfered with the main OTP which is moot anyway since the Writer showed no interest in writing a real OTP. What could have been a great mix of corporate intrigue and tug of love just ended up as an endless round of backstabbing merry go round. I was drawn to EOG by the potential love TJ was supposed to have for SY but continued to watch and get hooked because of the Choi family’s ruthless greed. Sadly, I was duped by the original synopsis and feel cheated.

    Its been quite a ride for 23 episodes but I’m more than ready for EOG to end. After a while each episode was just about who got who with very little about what all of these characters really Feel about each other. So few scenes about what they do or think about outside of this never ending quest for the SJG made it become over whelming and dull. No one hardly even walks around…all they do is SIT and Talk……about Business.

    There was absolutely No Balance in this drama….for instance, where is TJ’s family? The second half of this show exempt everything that would have made these characters Human. I admit I did enjoy the sparing conversations between all the characters, just wish it was sprinkled with a little more personal depth.

    I won’t bother to re-watch EOG. Once is way more than enough.


    • I think that if we forget altogether that the synopsis existed, then I particularly liked this merry go round of backstabbing. I feel rather sadistic, but what I looked forward to most was finding out how the trio would dodge their respective bullets and shoot the other two down. This a corporate drama through and through, and for that, it succeeded. I loved all the nitty gritty business stuff, which is an anomaly among most viewers. I also think the “tragic,” sarcasm laced “non-romance-romance” was interesting as well. Again, it’s not the kind of emotional romance most were looking for, but in context of who SY and TJ are, it worked. They are not the type to suddenly throw everything for love, and they are not the most emotionally expressive people either. Think about it, these two are “geniuses” — how many romantically inclined geniuses are out there? (Don’t mention ISWAK) Moreover, it gave the two a chance to reassess themselves: what do they love more, family, or SJG? Both chose the latter, and they’ll pay the price; ergo, tragedy.

      That said, now I need to hunt down the person at SBS that released all the fake promos. Ugh. It messed with everyone’s brain.


      • You and I feel the same, I’m actually very pleased with this drama and one of the things I like the most is the absence of romance. And also agree on hunting down the SBS executive who released the confusing promos, so let’s go hunting!!


      • Not having a romance completely opened up the character development, and it allowed the story to develop without needing to satisfy OTP. Seo Yoon’s character is MUCH more interesting because her end goal remains the company, not being with Tae Joo. Because Tae Joo and Seol Hee’s romance doesn’t have to carry the main storyline, their relationship allows us to see how much Tae Joo has changed and set Seol Hee up as his conscience. This flows more like a sageuk in that way.


  2. The one fearful of having no name, left with no name.
    The one fearful of loneliness, was left lonely.
    The one fearful of public shame, was shamed.

    And that folks, is what Choi Dong-sung left for his world. Horrifying.


    On the man with no name:

    “I read the smile at the end to be of irony and a sense of contentment. Tae-joo wanted one thing, and only one thing in the entire world: To be recognized as someone, to have the right to dictate his life, good or bad. If the world could not change to his satisfaction, he wanted the most of it, and be remembered and revered the way the Choi family was. What motivated TJ was not really greed, but jealousy of the faculty of choice the Choi family had. No matter how much money he had, he could never have the same power and influence as the Choi family, and that bothered him. He could never make decisions for himself, unmediated by some higher power. It wasn’t fair to him, for he thought he was as capable or even more capable than most of the Choi family, and he blamed the Chois’ bigotry and his heritage for this glass ceiling he faced.

    But in the very end he realized that he could only go back to the sea, ironically with less than what he started with 15 years prior. This time, he not only lost everything in his life, he lost his soul as well to the war of money. So he decided that he could give his body to money as well, the money he had thrown into the sea over a decade ago. There was really no other way out for him that would not require him to lean on either SY or MJ (especially MJ), which is the last thing he would ever do. And so, this last act of his life, suicide, was his choice, and his alone. Therefore, he left the earth happy.”


  3. what about that boat? the ending is more open for me.
    in any case, i was sad that TJ was the last hero standing….or not while SY cried alone as I knew all along that she would.


    • That stupid boat that showed up in the frame…it’s making everyone think that he “escaped to safety.” There is no way in hell I’d think that he escaped on a boat–even the thought is a disgrace to the writing. The only reason they panned away to that boat was to avoid having to film Go Soo jumping to raging waters. (They’re cheap like that.)

      He’s gone, and that’s the right ending for him. He’s finally free. For once, using suicide in a narrative made complete sense–possibly even brilliant.


      • I agree with you, the boat just happened to be there. It was the right ending for him. Even though some repetitive scenes and flaws this was the drama I’ve enjoyed watching the most lately, it made me think, it made me wonder… it was a real intellectual pleasure for me.


  4. fair enough… but why is it there? why not just cut away and end it. they showed it twice… once near, once far.
    i do not know… the ending is open.
    however, the drama totally redeemed him. he ended up the hero. again.
    nobody else was granted this redemption — especially not SY. how she fell in these last few episodes….


    • Haha, I think you’re reading too much into the shot. I takes time for Go Soo to move out of the frame, so by the time they took the shot back upon the pier, the boat probably moved.

      I don’t think for a second that TJ redeemed himself. In the very end, he could only think of himself. He left all the people who he “cared” about money. If he really cared, he would apologize, he would explain, he would have left last words. But no. Who does he call in his last moments? SY. To assert that he never lost to her, but her father. To ask for one wish. To leave his sins for her to take care of.

      No. He didn’t redeem himself at all. But what he did was die remarkably. He died not to escape jail, or deny that he had lost. He died for himself; he died to set himself free; he died in such a way that he could be a sort of God.

      “We shared a room for so many years,
      but you still don’t know, Ms. Choi Seo-yoon;
      I do the thinking, judging, and deciding,
      And I take the responsibility too.

      The sins I committed

      I’m going to punish myself for those sins.”


  5. I wasn’t pissed at the ending at all, instead left in awe – on how Park Gyeong So chose to end everything with TJ’s earlier statement about heaven and hell. There cannot be a more apt and fit description of TJ’s life.

    The drama had its warts and all (GS’s acting especially towards the end, he somehow pushed it too far I found myself cringing), but Park Gyeong Soo managed with class and writing finesse, from beginning to the very end. One of very few dramas with deeply researched and exquisite dialogue.

    My favourite one has to be SY’s:
    If love is beautiful, why the need to describe it?
    If friendship is genuine, why the need to describe it?
    Likewise if a family is about harmony, why the need for that adjective?

    Sorta along the line, I was like WOOOOAAHHH Park Gyeong Soo daebakkkkk!


    • The number of stunning, loaded bouts of dialogue are far to numerous to count. If Park Gyung-soo has his name on anything, I will be there.

      Go Soo sucked, to put it frankly. They kept showing that scene where he blew up and ordered to destroy the protesters, and each time I was laughing hysterically. I really can’t take him seriously, unless he’s acting the poignant moments: the soft stares, the weakened and weary eyes…

      Lee Yo-won though, really pulled through on that last scene. Those were real, ugly tears. I cried with her; she lost her siblings (MJ and SJ included), her in-laws, her husband…in her own way, she loved them all, yet she chose to leave them all for the sake of a dead man. Goodness, what have all of these characters done for dead people!


  6. WARNING: Long but I need to get this magnificent show out of my system. I apologize for treating your blog as my couch.

    i want to THANK YOU for these amazing discussions… I learnt so much from you … not only about this show but about life, love, analysis, what counts, what does not. GOMAYO!!!!

    i heartily agree on Go Soo who basically really damaged the last two episodes. he was TERRIBLE. LAUGHABLE. but I still think these episodes were centered around his character — Jang Tae Joo, who regained the complexity that had always been his greatest draw for me. Boat or no boat, for me he chose death as a way to leave the game. And as Seo Yoon had realized very early on, he does as he wishes. At the end the whole arc clicked in place for me… Min Jae was right about Tae Joo —- he is most powerful when he is in it for no one but with Seol Hee’s sacrifice to the Congressman, Tae Joo lost this freedom. He developed a mission that led him to all kinds of blind alleys and finally, self-destruction. He entered hell and got trapped. But in the end, Seol Hee freed him again. He could have returned in 10 years .. like Min Jae no doubt will and like his mother and Seol Hee had hoped. But that would have been to return to hell to go round and round in circles, up and down, down and up. The ordinary life — wife, kids, community — is not for him. He like, Choi Dong Sung, is a Superman. And Supermen should not reproduce… for as the show tells us, they leave the most vicious legacies for their children. Tae Joo is either in the ring or dead. Hell or Heaven. To be able to choose, in a world where no one else has that capacity, is to be hero. I think that is what I mean by his redemption. Can you imagine how much more bitter Seo Yoon’s victory became after that last phone call? If indeed she loved him — and I think she did — he left her with NOTHING except the humiliation that she has no choices — only responsibilities, duties, burdens, debts. While he is all — Dega, Dega, Dega. He committed suicide but he also proved to her that he was no lemming. THIS IS THE ONLY TIME I TRULY FELT HER TRAGEDY but as you know, I think the writer was not behind Seo Yoon. He gave her strength and intelligence but no happiness or fulfillment. Most importantly, he did not give her the room to act for herself. As VAULT OF DOOM so brilliantly put it… the winner takes all…. or nothing.

    Contrast to Seol Hee — who though the second lead — played a much more active role. She kind of made everything happen episode 13 onwards. Tae Joo and Seol Hee — whether we like it or not — they are the OTP. Seol Hee is the only one who moves Tae Joo OUT of himself…. she is his painful love, his damnation, his salvation. As he is hers. Though she is left without him… she is his savior. It is love is it not when the what you do for someone else, also makes you free? That is how SH and TJ are. They make each other free.

    Anyway, to come back to Go Soo. I think you are absolutely right… he is a romantic hero and shines in that mode. And this casting was a mistake …. the romantic chemistry he shared with LYW was not necessary to the drama and it was distracting and frustrating. It was a result of their mutual charisma of GS and LYW rather than characterization of TJ and SY. It was almost like they look so good together, why not have them be an OTP? Result of how they acted rather than what was written. Of course, the synopsis was misleading too. Having now seen, in some fundamental sense, how similar EOG worldview and philosophy is to the CHASER, i think Park Gyeong So is a GOD.

    I really really want to hear your thoughts on SY — did it end well for you as far as she is concerned?

    Thanks so much for reading this rambling post…


  7. First of all, thank you for being a constant face around here. I don’t blog to talk to empty space, and seeing you here is always reassuring that I am not just posting words on a wall. Please, please stick around in the future. It’s great having you. May this place be your drama watching couch.

    Onwards to the discussion! 😀
    This is the problem with SH… SH really isn’t Jang Tae-joo’s love.

    When I read the article from the Vault concerning PGS journey to become a drama screenwriter, SH finally clicked with me. She’s his wife, PGS’s wife. SH is a tribute to her, and that’s why PGS was devoted to her docile character within the confines of the narrative; both carried faith in the man she loved. Was she TJ’s salvation? I think not…the jail sentence brought him back to earth.

    Actually, let me amend my first statement a bit.

    When I first watched BOF, I scoffed at the “love triangle” and the differentiation between a sort of “soulmate” and “lover.” It made no sense, how could there possibly be a distinction? And yet, here I am, making the distinction here. After some internal debate, I’ve concluded that SH was the “lover” and SY was the “soulmate” (the parallels with BOF’s definitions are not direct).

    SH is the wife he wanted; someone with unwavering faith and could sacrifice wholly for his being. Unfortunately, that person is no better than a puppet, but I think I’m going to save myself from the agony of ranting on why his ideal wife is ludicrous and leave it at that. On the other hand, SY is the soulmate; TJ’s true, equal, counterpart independent of romance and attraction. I really can’t say much more than that, for it’s mostly a gut feeling I had from the dialogue they shared. It was rather meaningful that his last words were with SY…he could had the discussion he did elsewhere, at another time…why right before he jumped? Probably for the same reason he had SH receive the building at the time she did.

    I think, subconsciously, he loved them both. SH was just the person he felt he wanted to live with and give his heart to. I honestly think, had he met SY in another life, under different circumstances (i.e. no Sungjin Group), he would have married her again. Call me delusional, but I really do believe that; for me, TJ/SY in good faith represents an ideal that I haven’t seen any other K-drama get close to reaching. But anyway, why bother about fantasies…

    As for SY’s end, it’s going to take some time for me to answer that…i.e. elsewhere. (^_~)


    • In the story, each of the three four “power players” has a martyr conscience foil. Seung Jae is this person for both his mother and Seo Yoon; Dong Jin for Min Jae; Seol Hee for Tae Joo. In the story, she exists as the “character development commentary” for Tae Joo. It is through her commentary that we realize how much Tae Joo had changed during his years at SJG.

      If anything, she probably feel out of love for him. He had not only changed . . . .he had gotten “small.” The more obsessive his ambition, the more pathetic it seemed to her. It is not the dream of an entrepreneur, but that of a frustrated middle-management drone replaying the same “pity party” script whenever he didn’t get the promotion he always thought he deserved. . . Just like Choi Min Jae’s script..


      • You’re absolutely right, and it’s why I didn’t find TJ reasoning for his actions compelling (from standpoint of “being in the drama”–I think the point of the drama is that they aren’t valid). The “pity party” was really annoying because first of all, if Eden was already “Eden” in so many ways, why this search for turning hell into heaven? I think it’s because, contrary to his public statements, he wanted to change the world (change hell to heaven) and “feel Godlike,” that he could take the apple of knowledge and come out alive. Even at the moment of death, he wants to survive hell, to make it his heaven–forget actually trying to go to heaven.


      • “f Eden was already “Eden” in so many ways, why this search for turning hell into heaven? ”

        Yeah, it’s part of the Christian allusions that gently seep here and there in the show. Eden represents his pre-marital life, a kind of “paradise” Even though he rolled in a dirty business, he was financial successful, elevated his family status, and was viewed with admiration by his employees. He had the fairy tale happy ending we typically see in chaebol shows.

        But Tae Joo wanted to be a God. The appeal for him wasn’t merely the power of the SJG seat; it was the Godlike Indifference of that seat. The fact that over breakfast, people’s lives were thrown around carelessly like not even chess pieces, but idle gossip. He loved being “evil”, in a way that Min Jae and Seo Yoon didn’t.

        He wanted to make the kingdom on earth. He cites class resentment, but that was merely his way of explaining away his own insatiable lust for power. In other words, he would have done the same thing whether or not his father lived. Remember — he essentially did become Chairmen. That still wasn’t enough; he HAD to be Chairmen AND break out of the family.

        It’s a Christian allegory because the ending is almost always the same. The person who fought the beast becomes the beast himself. And then it is consumed in the abyss. Or in this case, the dock of the bay.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Really, the true villain of the whole show — all along — was President Choi Dong Sung. He destroyed MANY people’s lives, and even his lieutenant Manager Park admitted that Choi Dong Sung was ultimately driven by his own greed (including greed for his legacy.) The company was actually most magnamiously run when Choi Min Jae, not Seo Yeon, was the Chairman.

    The answer all along was for two people to share. That would have reconciled family and organization. But Choi Dong Sung wouldn’t share with Choi Dong Jin (notice how most of his fond memories with Dong Sung revolved around working together), and neither would his subsequent generation.

    The underlying tragedy is with Seo Yoon not only becomes her father, but becomes worse than her father. She became as vindictive as Min Jae, and as self-absorbed as Tae Joo. It isn’t politics that motivates her desire to bury her family; it’s her inability to see beyond her own hurt and how she justifies her own greed with it. She realizes she can’t take care of these people, not like her father could. She tried — but she just wasn’t meant to do it.

    Liked by 1 person


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