Penthouse 3 | Series Review

This is our third series review for Penthouse and I’m not complaining. For the past year, it became our weekly makjang fix, and while I won’t argue about the ridiculous plot it had, the drama was so addicting that I’m always ready to look past the plot holes and absurdity of it all. The third season was also the most controversial as SBS once again proved their insensitive nature (what’s new) still runs through their veins.

Story-wise, unless you’ve started Penthouse since Season 1 and liked the plot, I can’t really say it got better. It should have ended in Season 2, at most, because Season 3 felt like a loose rubber band that was stretched beyond its life span. We can’t blame the creators though because the drama has been raking in money since its inception. And all the cast members brought their A-game from start to end. Kim So-yeon, Lee Ji-ah, Eugene, Uhm Ki-joon, and the rest of the casts deserved all the recognition.

While the start of Season 3 was disappointing due to the lack of character development, the build-up to the finale was quite rushed. I know we’ve had three seasons and hundreds of hours allotted spent already, but the deaths and exits of some characters were a bit abrupt, or was that really the aim?

Of fake deaths and reunions

By the time Logan was revealed to be alive, no one was really surprised already. Avid watchers expected that somehow, he would resurface by any means. And in true Penthouse fashion, the big reveal about his “death” was what we expected. By some miracle, he managed to escape death, thanks to Seo-jin and her minions. And for months, Seo-jin and a reluctant Yoo-chul kept him alive. The dead people in Penthouse keep coming back alive, disregarding the logic of human existence. This is also why until the final episode, I’m expecting Yoon-hee to resurrect from the dead. But in Penthouse, if we never saw one’s lifeless body, we can’t really be sure if one is dead or alive. But Yoon-hee’s case was different. She died twice – her body was tossed back and forth to the sea. Although there’s a one in a million chance they would pull off a Yoon-hee comeback, I still hoped for it.

The main villains Dan-tae and Seo-jin’s demise were both deserved. Dan-tae’s headshot at the penthouse and tragic fall to the fountain were reminiscent of Season 1’s killing of Min Seol-ah. Although Yoon-hee was the one who pushed Seol-ah, it was Dan-tae and Seo-jin who tortured her and caused her so much pain. But again, we never saw Dan-tae’s dead body, which caused my confusion when I saw the homeless man (played by Uhm Ki-joon) in the final episode. I wonder what’s the purpose of this prosthetic-filled appearance and interaction with Seok-kyung.

Seo-jin, on the other hand, just gave up on life. After her magnanimous downfall, she spent her prison sentence in agony and defeat. She reverted to being just Eun-byeol’s mother and accepted her fate after being diagnosed with cancer. And on the day she was allowed by the court to temporarily visit Eun-byeol to inform her about the illness, she took her precious life. The mighty Cheon Seo-jin, who did everything to protect her daughter, chose to end her life.

What surprised me most was the death of Su-ryeon. After all, she’s been through, and the sacrifices she had to make, her death was just not it. I didn’t understand why she chose to die instead of seeing her children live happily without fear. It just didn’t make sense. Well, nothing makes sense in Penthouse anyway. So, when they revealed in the finale that Logan’s illness also relapsed and he also recently died, I wasn’t surprised anymore. Su-ryeon and Logan finally ended up together but in the afterlife.

The teens of Hera Place

The only character development I accept in Penthouse 3 was Seok-kyung and Eun-byeol. Even though Seok-kyung’s redemption came a bit too late, I still love it. Our girl turned from a big bad bully to a hardworking part-timer and responsible adult. After the big reveal about her true lineage, Seok-kyung struggled to accept the truth and gave us annoying letdowns. I was almost convinced that she would still team up with Dan-tae after everything, but thankfully it didn’t happen. But when she finally returns to Su-ryeon’s care, she realizes the real meaning of family. It was satisfying to see her regret the evil things she did in the past and how she now perseveres to make a decent living. I’m proud of her for not depending on Seok-hoon’s wealth, too!

Eun-byeol’s painful journey back to reality was also agonizing. As much as we all wanted to strangle Eun-byeol for all her wrong decisions and delusions in the past, I can’t blame her for wanting to protect her mother until the end. Maybe it’s poetic justice that Seo-jin’s daughter now also bears the same scar that she caused on Yoon-hee.

Rona and Seok-hoon as the ultimate endgame couple in the story was just the drama serving its purpose. It’s the good triumphing over evil. A happy ending for the couple who survived the chaos. It’s 2026 in the Penthouse dramaverse, so it’s the perfect timing for the now-adult Ro-na and Seok-hoon to finally put their love first. I just find it funny that both are living overseas (they don’t really have to, show!) and they are determined to make it work despite the distance.

Grumpy Alley

🏆 The real winner of Penthouse was indeed Ma-ri!

🏆 I like the ending – even though it borderlines to fantasy LOL. We’re not watching the right drama if the episode doesn’t go from suspense to melo to romance to comedy.

🏆 Kim So-yeon, best actress!

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