Duty After School: Exploring Alternate Endings for the Heart-Wrenching K-Drama

Do you remember the feeling of binge-watching the entire series and getting emotionally attached to the students of class 3-2? We all thought we were in for a heartwarming ending, but no one could have predicted the traumatic finale that left us reeling.

Korean dramas are known for their gripping storylines and emotional endings that leave fans satisfied. However, sometimes the ending of a drama can be controversial, and this is the case with “Duty After School.” The drama, which aired in 2023, received mixed reviews from fans and critics, with many expressing frustration over its ending.

As mysterious “spheres” cover the sky, high school seniors are forced into a “real war” to fight against the unknown creatures, unleashing a dynamic and desperate struggle for survival that will captivate you from start to finish.

What sets this drama apart is its vivid portrayal of survival and growth. You’ll be taken aback as you witness how these high school seniors exchange their pens for guns, all for the sake of receiving “extra points for college entrance exams”.

One of the most charming aspects of Duty After School is the ease with which we connect to the characters in such a short amount of time. Take Wang Tae Man, for instance. Despite his poor hygiene habits, he quickly became one of our favorites. And who could blame us? Haven’t we all been in a situation where brushing our teeth wasn’t an option, and we had to resort to chewing gum? Then there’s Deok Joong, who always seems to be hungry, even during the toughest of times. And let’s not forget about Kimchi, who struggles to confess his feelings. We’ve all been there, right?

But it’s the writer’s effort in creating deep and complex characters that truly sets this drama apart. You’ll grow close to them despite their constant conflicts and find yourself rooting for their blooming friendships and romances. Lieutenant Lee and So Yeon’s relationship will have you on the edge of your seat, while Bo Ra and Ae Seol’s friendship will warm your heart. And don’t even get us started on Il ha, the character we couldn’t help but have a soft spot for.

Just when you thought you’d seen it all, “Duty After School” delivers a twist ending that will leave you reeling. Despite surviving the worst, the characters meet their untimely end at the hands of their own, leaving us with a profound sense of grief and loss (ah, SHIBAL!!!!)

But, here are some ways which I think this series could have had a better ending.

Alternate Endings for Duty After School

Alternate Endings for Duty After School

The Webtoon Ending:

In the webtoon, we are shown that crazy Young Soo killed three students, including Jang Soo and two other characters not featured in the drama. Although Jang Soo was dear to our hearts, maybe this ending would have been better than having them all dead. But perhaps, the writer thought that having them all dead would make a more significant impact, which, in reality, it did.

It’s All a Dream!

In the final episode, when Kimchi thought it was all a dream, it could have been a better ending if it was all just a horrendous nightmare of someone rather than having them killed mercilessly by a crazy psycho. Although this ending may not seem plausible, it would have been more satisfying to the audience.

(Maybe then our Want Tae Man and Class President ship would have sailed.)

Young Soo’s Suicide:

As Young Soo used to look at Il Ha with intense feelings, many of us knew that eventually, this maniac would attack or even kill Il Ha. However, using the scene where Young Soo sees an illusion of Il Ha calling him a murderer, the writer could have made Young Soo regret his actions, feel repulsed with himself, and eventually commit suicide. The audience wouldn’t have felt any remorse for that jerk’s death.

The War Continues:

If they had stayed and continued the operation, maybe Young Soo wouldn’t have become crazy enough to kill all his classmates. Perhaps, once they had seen the science students from the other school dead, they would have returned to their mission and continued fighting for their survival. This alternate ending would have been more satisfying than having their friends kill them.

Killed by the Spheres:

It may sound harsh, but having the spheres kill a few characters is less traumatic than having their own friend killing them. After surviving outside the classroom, it is more depressing and frustrating to see them die inside of it. This alternate ending would have been more satisfying to the audience.

Anyway, how did you feel about the ending of the drama? I would love to hear your thoughts and comments on how it could have been better.