‘Revenant’ Episode 12 Recap & Ending Explained: Does San-Yeong Survive? 

The question is, was the last episode of Revenant the grand finale we needed? The short answer is yes; it lives up to our expectations and gives us the satisfaction we needed. People may say that Kingdom has got to be writer Kim Eun-Hee’s best work, but I’d like to argue that Revenant is just as good or even better in many ways. She’s especially good at balancing an emotional message that packs a punch with the ridiculous lengths human beings can go to in their greed. In many ways, Revenant has a very simple and straightforward plot, but the way it reaches its conclusion is truly delightful to watch. In terms of the best episode, it’s got to be episode 11, but 12 doesn’t fall too far behind, either. It’s a shame we won’t be waiting for new episodes every Friday anymore, but we hope to see more incredible work from Kim Eun-Hee and Kim Tae-Ri, along with everyone else involved, as no one misses a beat.


Spoilers Ahead

What Happens In The Final Episode?

As we had suspected, finding all five objects resulted in Hyangi completely taking over San-Yeong’s body. San-Yeong (who is now Hyangi) returns to her mother’s cafe and gives her a tight hug, saying she’s returned. Semi had just brought San-Yeong’s mother back from the hospital. They’re both still shaken from the events before. Hae-Sang and Hong-Sae arrive there too, and Hong-Sae hands her the piece of Jade headpiece to see if she sees any visions from it. It turns out she doesn’t, and she tries to convince them that she’s back to normal. The thing is, San-Yeong took the piece with her right hand, so Hong-Sae and Hae-Sang were unsuspecting of her. They drop the mother-daughter duo off at home, and Hae-Sang finally gets the call about his grandmother. They rush to the hospital, and Hae-Sang meets Chi-Won immediately. He knows he’s made this happen, and he asks why he did so. How can the man be okay with blood on his hands? Chi-Won just wanted revenge for his son’s death and everything else that he had to endure all these years, but Hae-Sang was angry because his grandmother didn’t even apologize to them for what she’d done.


At the same time, Hong-Sae finds out from the lead detective that murder is not out of the question in her case. San-Yeong could be considered the suspect since she was the last person in the room and was present until she died. Hae-Sang clarifies that it was the evil spirit that made it happen. He’s still not convinced that all is well with San-Yeong, though, as he hasn’t even put the objects away safely for the evil spirit to disappear. San-Yeong’s mother is the most suspicious of them all, though, and she knows from the start that it is not San-Yeong that’s in front of her. Hyangi reveals herself by asking San-Yeong’s mother if she would prefer if Hyangi died and San-Yeong lived. Hyangi says she doesn’t need a mother like that again, so if she’s not cooperative, she’ll just get rid of her. San-Yeong’s mother asks where San-Yeong is, and Hyangi replies that she’s trapped in the mirror. Throughout Revenant Episode 12, we see San-Yeong trying to fight a faceless ghost with hair just like hers covering her face. San-Yeong is trapped where the ghost was; we can call it a kind of purgatory, and she’s being hunted by this ghost. San-Yeong’s mother asks Hyangi what she needs to do for her to spare San-Yeong, and Hyangi tells her to kill Hae-Sang.

Hae-Sang, on the other hand, starts placing the five objects with the protective rope around them in places where people died by Hyangi’s hand (the suicide spots) and burns a talisman with Hyangi’s name on it at every spot. Fire is the way to get rid of her. When he’s reached San-Yeong’s grandmother’s house and is just about done with his work there, San-Yeong’s mother tries to come at him with a knife. She tells him everything that has happened at home and that San-Yeong is in the “mirror.” Hae-Sang realizes that the evil spirit and San-Yeong have switched places. That’s why San-Yeong’s shadow had become normal too. She tells him that the evil spirit told her to try and kill him in order to bring San-Yeong back.


On the other hand, San-Yeong visits a jewelry shop, a flower shop, and a car repair shop while Hong-Sae follows her. He knows something is wrong. He’s writing down her moves when there’s a sudden knock on his car window. He’s realized already that it’s not San-Yeong but Hyangi in front of him. She asks why he wants San-Yeong to survive and not her, and he says because she’s strong. He’s realized that Hyangi wants to kill San-Yeong’s mother by poisoning her; that’s why the pattern of the places she visited. He also knows that Hyangi doesn’t have the power to make people do what she wants anymore; this is what finding the fifth object did. He asks her what she’s done to San-Yeong, but she says it’s all over now. Even if he tries to save her like a madman, he won’t be able to.

Hong-Sae gets a call from the detective on Hae-Sang’s grandmother’s case. He rushes to Hae-Sang immediately and tells him that his grandmother left a message before dying. She had lacerations on her left hand because she hadn’t died immediately after falling from the window. She had to take Hyangi with her. Hae-Sang finally remembered that, in Mokdan’s case, her finger had been saved by Man-Wol as the source of the ghost. So, finding Hyangi’s finger would bring an end to it all. They get people to search where the body’s remains were found and tear down the house to find the finger, but they can’t seem to find it anywhere.


Then, Hong-Sae gets a message from San-Yeong’s mother saying “Hyangi” is trying to kill her. Earlier, we saw San-Yeong’s mother returning to the house and telling her that they were looking for her finger in the hopes that she would spare her daughter. San-Yeong hands over a glass of poisoned juice to her and tells her she’ll spare San-Yeong if she drinks it. She then uses San-Yeong’s mother’s phone to text Hong-Sae, but she slips up. Hae-Sang never told San-Yeong’s mother that the evil spirit’s name was Hyangi. He stayed back while Hong-Sae went to find San-Yeong’s mother.

Hae-Sang reveals himself in the room once San-Yeong brings out the box with this finger in it. She had seen it all those years ago when Hae-Sang’s grandmother had hidden it. He tells her that San-Yeong’s mother is well on her way to recovery in the hospital. Hae-Sang takes the box from San-Yeong, almost breaking her hand. He pours oil all over the box, but before he can light it on fire, San-Yeong grabs a glass vase and hits herself on the head. Then she takes a lamp and does the same. If the body dies, San-Yeong would never be able to return. Hae-Sang hesitates and before San-Yeong can stab herself in the face with a shard, Hae-Sang hands over the box to her. She’s about to walk away, but suddenly she can’t move. San-Yeong’s wrist starts turning red, and she’s extremely confused (as were we for a second). It so happens that the real San-Yeong finally realized that this whole time she was fighting herself, and once she realized that, she came out of it stronger and fought hard. With San-Yeong’s spirit in the mirror and Hyangi in her body, she burns the finger and finally ends it all.


Does San-Yeong Return To Her Normal Self?

San-Yeong had wanted to kill herself many times because she felt burdened by the world she lived in. The story parallels the plight of the poor in this world and Hyangi’s world very well, and we see that even though the struggles are different, they result in the same kind of unhappiness. Hyangi was greedy, and San-Yeong was depressed; that was a big difference. The lesson San-Yeong finally learned is to live for herself and do what she wants for herself, not for her mother or anybody else. San-Yeong, her mother, and Semi start to tick things off her bucket list. She takes good care of the cafe, and we can be optimistic about her and Mr. Detective Hong-Sae getting together. Provided he musters up the courage to tell her how long he’s had a gigantic crush on her. She still hasn’t told her mother about her eye condition, but she plans on telling her once she’s fully recovered from all that has happened. Hae-Sang’s grandmother’s death is finally concluded as a suicide, so all is well for San-Yeong.

Hae-Sang continues to take his folklore classes, but now he makes sure to tell his students that he is not crazy. Revenant ends with a firework festival that keeps bad omens like evil spirits, misfortune, and illnesses away and brings good news. But we find out that San-Yeong can still see ghosts. As they watch the beautiful fireworks, Hae-Sang asks San-Yeong if she can see the happy spirits on their way out, and she admits she can. The festival is like a grand purification ceremony brought on by people’s wishes. While they’re watching the fireworks, San-Yeong’s mother hears Gang-Mo apologize, and Hong-Sae hears Mun-Chun cheering him on (why was this so emotional, though?). We can only hope that San-Yeong’s wish to be happy comes true. Finally, the view turns grayish as we realize her vision is leaving her again, and San-Yeong says that she will endeavor to survive it all!


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Ruchika Bhat
Ruchika Bhat
Ruchika, or "Ru," is a fashion designer and stylist by day and a serial binge-watcher by night. She dabbles in writing when she has the chance and loves to entertain herself with reading, K-pop dancing, and the occasional hangout with friends.

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