The gripping Korean spinoff of Money Heist, the cult Spanish drama, makes a heart-pounding return with its highly anticipated second part, which is out on Netflix today, December 9.
Led by the masterful Professor (played by Jitae Yu, also spelled Yoo Ji-tae, known from the Oldboy film by acclaimed Korean director Park Chan-wook) and his gang (who are each named after a city), a grand robbery and hostage crisis unravels at a Korean mint in Money Heist: Korea – Joint Economic Area.
Part 2 of the latest Netflix K-drama sees an action-packed, emotional tale of explosive shootouts, intense suspicion and undying loyalty unfold in a series of unexpected plot twists, as the heist gang and police go head-to-head in a final showdown.
The Professor’s perfect crime reaches its climax, with the tables having been turned. His plan for the gang to be viewed as “political criminals” and show “who the real bandits are” by exposing the corrupt powers that be sees the heist members go from robbers to revolutionaries in the public eye.
Speaking to Newsweek from Seoul, the South Korean capital, ahead of the show’s release, asked whether the Professor is a hero or a villain, Yu said: “I think it depends on the era and setting. He [the Professor] is in a coup d’état setting, so whether he’s accepted as a hero or a villain depends on the times. Depending on which direction the public swings towards, the Professor’s role changes.”
The show’s political premise of establishing an “economic cooperation” between North and South Korea boils to the surface even further in Part 2, bringing the heart of the series back to what makes this a very Korean story, set against the fictional backdrop of a soon-to-be-reunified Korean peninsula.
A new recurring theme song introduced in the second part of the series also captures “the Korean sense of democracy and freedom” in the show, Yu told Newsweek.
The old Korean song, whose title translates to “To the Land of Happiness,” comes to represent a rally cry for the team and the general public throughout the second part of the series.
What Happened at the End of Money Heist: Korea Part 2?
The pulsating final episode of the series sees the Professor reunite with the remaining members of his team at the underground escape tunnel they’d been diligently digging from inside the vault since entering the mint.
His cover has been blown to his lover Woo-jin, the negotiator of the South Korean police task force (played by Kim Yun-jin from the Lost television series) and the authorities track down the entrance of the tunnel and attempt to infiltrate it after most of the team had already escaped the mint.
While trying to gather himself from the loss of his brother Berlin (played by Emmy and Screen Actors Guild award nominee Park Hae-soo from the Squid Game series)—who was believed to have died after attempting to block the police from entering the tunnel—and the police still hot on their trail, the Professor resorts to “the only thing we can try right now,” to save the rest of his gang.
He tricks the police to think bombs have been set to go off in a public square, where masses are protesting the corrupt politicians behind a planned summit between North and South Korea. But instead, a series of piggy bank-shaped balloons filled with cash worth a billion dollars is scattered and burst open over the square.
Mayhem ensues as swarms of people make a dash for the bills raining down over the square. The resulting chaos buys time for the heist team to make a getaway and “vanish into thin air” with the money they printed at the mint.
As protesters wearing the same red jumpsuits and masks as the heist team march along the streets, shockingly Berlin and Seoul (played by Lim Ji-yeon)—who was also believed to have died after trying to save Berlin in the tunnel and igniting a bomb to close off the entrance—emerge from a pothole on the ground. The pair quietly disappear among the crowds, wearing two discarded masks they find while walking along with the protesters.
Meanwhile, Woo-jin comes to realize where the Professor has escaped to with his team, after recalling a long train journey he once said he wanted to do with her that would culminate in Kherson, a port city in Ukraine.
She manages to reach the train before it departs and confronts the Professor. Furiously pointing a gun at him but unable to pull the trigger—just as he ultimately couldn’t kill her during an earlier confrontation at the team’s hideout—Woo-jin is left paralyzed by emotion before the Professor hops onto the train and fades away into the distance.
The series ends with a return to the start—a familiar yet new beginning—in the final scene. A year after the grand heist and getaway, Woo-jin eventually travels to Kherson, led there in a moment of reminiscing about the past.
While admiring lakeside views from a scenic vantage point in the city, Woo-jin asks a stranger where there may be a cafe in the area for a coffee. As she realizes that he doesn’t speak English and starts to walk away, another voice nearby says: “Actually there is one that just opened up nearby. The coffee there is excellent. Would you like to have a cup of coffee?”
Looking up to face the man talking, Woo-jin is stunned to see the Professor standing before her. Two months before the grand heist took place, under a guise of coincidence at the time, the Professor invited Woo-jin to go have coffee with him at his cafe nearby after he “accidentally” bumps her car from the rear.
Back in Kherson, as Woo-jin tells the Professor that he has a “unique way of gaining customers,” just as she’d said during their first-ever encounter, noting: “I wonder what you might have up your sleeve this time.”
He then replies: “Actually, I do have a great plan in mind. Do you want to hear it?”
As the camera closes in on the Professor’s hypnotic gaze, he says: “This will go down in history as a revolutionary crime,” which he had said previously about the heist at the mint, before the scene fades out.
Was it always a part of the Professor’s master plan to get Woo-jin to find him in Kherson? What is his next big plan? Where are the rest of the heist team now and will Woo-jin become their newest member?
Hopefully these, and several more burning questions, will be answered in a second season of the Korean spin-off of Money Heist.
Money Heist: Korea – Joint Economic Area is available to stream on Netflix now.