Updated: Sep 21, 2022
Let me explain why I am upset with Kwon Min-woo's redemption *attempt* in case you too were conflicted about liking him at the end cause something still felt very, very off.
It was because they redeemed him for the WRONG SIN.
Kwon Minwoo has been called a tactician and strategist throughout the show so much that even the writer seemed to think that his main problem was that he was too cautious and liked to stay safe by playing up to authority and refusing to challenge it.
So his final arc was written to inspire some courage in him so he would stand up and defend his colleagues instead of pandering to his senior's ego.
And the inspiration was injected through Soo-yeon's affection for him.
So finally the cowardly lion found some "foolish" courage and all was well.
EXCEPT IT WAS NOT.
Kwon Min-woo was never hated by the fandom because he was too cautious to stand up for his friends or take any risks.
The man walked into Taesun and blackmailed Tae Su-mi.
Stomp on that silly notion right now.
KWON MIN-WOO IS AN ACE OPPORTUNIST.
And his biggest sin was not his cowardice or even his ambition but the fact that he treated Woo Young-woo as a misplaced alien who was taking up resources and attention that he wanted for himself.
The flaw his character should have been redeemed for WAS NEVER ADDRESSED.
Because Kwon Min-woo never had a moment when he showed remorse or even realisation of his own prejudice.
Even the SHOW didn't challenge Min-woo whenever he ranted about Young-woo's "advantages".
Attorney Jung Myung-suk politely told him off for bringing up punishments for Young-woo once but didn't sit the man down to address the underlying reasons for his hostility towards his colleague.
Soo-yeon could only stare at him baffled and later could only beg him to become a braver person.
None of which is an adequate call out of his behaviour.
Everyone just ignored his behaviour like it'll go away if they pretended nothing happened.
HOW CAN A CHARACTER BE REDEEMED WHEN HE DOESN'T EVEN KNOW WHAT HE DID WRONG??
And this is on the writer and director!
You guys created this man. How did you forget his main flaw?
Kwon Min-woo - the character - was initially an excellent piece of writing. The actor Joo Jong-hyuk poured a wry charisma into his skin and made him remarkably memorable.
He was instantly familiar to a majority of the audience as that guy who always saw the worst in people and situations. Who would never extend a hand of help because he wouldn't want to "look weak". Who would ignore workplace unfairness so long as it didn't affect him.
We all poured out unique experiences with someone "like him" into Kwon Minwoo, but ultimately we all hated him because he was mean to Woo Young-woo and it was unjustified.
And the story forgot that.
I don't blame anyone for wanting his redemption. Everyone deserves the chance to change.
BUT KWON MIN-WOO NEVER CHANGED.
Two failed high fives and an awkward smile doesn't mean a thing when it comes after a thoughtless betrayal just a few episodes ago.
He revealed to the reporter first that Young-woo was Tae Su-mi's birth mother. He knew nothing of her situation or her relationship with Tae Su-mi but he did this anyway so Young-woo would suffer.
Then he mailed evidence in her name to their rival to get Young-woo fired.
When a character falls into the pits of evil, you have to show a massive effort of conscience to convince the audience that he climbed all the way out.
We got nothing.
and that's why you and I are upset.
Cause Kwon Min-woo had real potential for a great redemption arc and the drama failed him AND US.