International Dramas: ‘Imitation’ Finale and Series Review

Screenshot of Lee JunYoung as Ryok in ‘Imitation’. Copyright goes to KBS and Kakao Entertainment.

Hi! It’s Annie!

Sorry for the several ‘Imitation’ posts in one week, but today was the actual finale of ‘Imitation’! Yep, despite my confusion last week it was definitely the final episode that aired today. And it definitely does not look like they were gearing up for a second season after the ending of this show. I already thought that would be pretty impossible considering the schedules of the cast for this show. But after seeing the ending, I don’t think it’s likely we’ll see this cast together again, or at least not in the same way. With that aside, I found that the finale of this show only proved my fears correct. They started out so many plot points and were not able to satisfyingly end any of them. I think it’s pretty obvious that over-all, this series wasn’t my favorite. But let’s just get into the specifics of this finale and how the writers wrapped everything up. SPOILERS AHEAD!!!

The Good:

The Acting- As always, I have to commend this show for the actors. For a few of the major ones and many of the minor actors, this was their first time in front of the camera in this way. They all did amazingly despite their different levels of experience and everyone only got better as the series went on. I thought it was such a good idea to cast idols as idols for the show, and the choice to do so definitely payed off. I loved watching everyone improve as the show went on and it was clear that everyone put their heart and soul into their performances.

The Wholesomeness- Despite the extreme choppiness that I found in this episode; I loved how wholesome it was to see all the characters together. There were some moments that I found cute expressly because I just wanted to see a few of the characters spend time together for the last episode. Though things were not well-wrapped up, I still liked seeing the characters happy at the end. And, unfortunately, that all has to do with the actors and nothing to do with the writing. The actors are what made the characters lovable in the end.

The Bad:

CEO Wrap Up- In this episode we saw Ryok confront the CEO of Shax’s company a few times and then Shax confronted him all together and that was it. All of the scenes were only a couple minutes long and none of them were impactful. We got some trope-y set up for this mustache twirling villain and then he was taken down very easily. The entire storyline felt like it had very little impact on the story over-all. It was just solved easily towards the beginning of the episode and just never touched on again. At least Ryok got some moments to shine this episode.

Main Romance Wrap Up- For being a show that’s supposed to focus on the main romance, the ending of this show had very little screen time for it. Putting aside the fact that we saw very few scenes of the main two characters bonding in the entire series, this episode only saw them in about two scenes with time to themselves. In the end I didn’t even think I could call their relationship cute because I never even saw much of a relationship to begin with. It surprised me how neglectful this last episode was to the main characters of the entire show. Maha hasn’t really been focused on for a while either, but I at least did come out of the show liking Ryok. Though he still didn’t get enough character moments for me. But that goes for all of the characters.

Side Plot Romance One Wrap Up- For the first time since the most awkward date I’ve ever seen on a K-Drama, we actually got to see Yujin and Hyunji spend time with each other. There were a couple moments, albeit very brief, but they were moments all the same. Hyunji gifted Yujin some product placement and then Yujin met up with Tea Party at the big concert at the end of the show. Except, Yujin hasn’t changed. I thought one of the entire purposes of his character was that he was focusing on Maha too much and neglecting the people around him because he was so obsessed with her. But at the end of this episode he was only talking to and wishing luck to Hyunji while Riah and Maha looked at each other incredulously. So basically his focus has shifted to someone else but he still hasn’t learned his lesson. And Hyunji has been focused on so little that I can’t say she even had much of a character by the end of this. At least they actually got some screen time this episode which is a miracle in itself.

Side Plot Romance Two Wrap Up- What we all wanted to see was Riah and LeeHyun get more screen time and become the cutest couple on the show as they were meant to be. Instead we got a brief scene in this episode where Riah kissed LeeHyun on the cheek and that was about it. It was cute, I’ll give you that. But it felt like basically nothing. If they had more screen time they would have been amazing, but they just never got the time. And so we’re reduced to the bare minimum, just like with every other storyline on this show. I just wanted more from them.

Sparkling Wrap Up- We never saw any of the guys talk out their problems. Everyone was just having fun with HyunOh. Still nothing from any of them. There was really no plot here at all. It just makes me wonder why they wrote in the animosity that HyunOh had for Yujin in the first place. Because it seriously never led to anything.

Shax Wrap Up- We saw them band together to go against that CEO, but we still haven’t had much character development from any of these characters. I just wanted more of Hyuk, was that too much to ask? The leader showed regret for his actions, but that had been focused on so little in the series that sometimes I forgot that was even a plot point. And the estranged member of Shax came back at the very end when he was lifted into a song in the memory of Annie which made me cringe so hard. I wanted to see more of these characters too, but they didn’t get screen time either.

Annie Wrap Up- She receives no real justice. A journalist threatens the CEO with a picture that’s supposed to solve everything, which just left me confused. And she gets a song at the end. As if that’s enough for what the show said happened to her.

The Concert- I’ve been writing in so many of these that the characters or plot line didn’t get screen time. So what was the entire episode then? Well, it was the choppy wrap ups of all of the story lines they continuously left out to dry and then a giant concert at the end where all of the characters performed every song they had ever performed in the show over again. This took up about half of the episode. I’m still baffled by this decision. The point of a final episode is to tie everything up, not create a best hits version of your series. But for all the writers could do about wrapping up storylines, I guess this is just as good as anything else. Because they wrote so many beginnings without middles that endings just wouldn’t have made sense no matter how they had done it.

Useless Plots- You could argue that almost all of the plots in this show were useless. None of them felt like they came to anything. Yujin and HyunOh had an intense rivalry for a while and they never confronted each other. Maha and Ryok had the beginnings of an adorable relationship but they never spent any time together. Annie was revealed to have had horrible crimes committed against her by several different company owners which was solved in a minute long confrontation. The sub-plot romances never had any time to develop beyond showing the audience that they had interest in each other. The brotherly and sisterly bonds of the different groups were never focused on because this show is apparently allergic to side-characters. I still don’t know what the point of La Lima was. The ‘Imitation’ part of this show was dropped a couple episodes in. There was a lot of drama over the fact that Maha and Ryok might be found out as a couple by fans that also never got properly addressed. This show is absolutely full of unfinished plots. I literally just sat there for a moment after this finale and wondered what the point of this show even was.

I don’t like being so negative about shows. I’ve been negative about dramas before, but I’m not sure I ever have been to this extent. And I think part of that is disappointment. I thought the idea of this show was really interesting, I thought the casting was amazing, and many of the actors drew me in from the get-go. As I have said in almost every review post I’ve made for this show, the actors were amazing. They never let me down, it was always the writing. I would have loved to see all of the same actors in a much better version of this show. One that wasn’t so messy, one that narrowed down plots to a few that the writers would actually commit to, and one that gave characters the screen time that they deserved. But instead, the writers started a bunch of different plots and never developed any of them. They just wrote filler and then the beginnings to more plots that would never get solved. What was the point of Ryok beating up HyunOh in that one episode when they had barely even met each other? What was the point of Maha and Ryok breaking up? What was the point of most of this? This is one of the messiest shows I have ever seen in my life and I hate saying it. Because there are so many elements of this show that I want to support and I feel a little bad for posting an honest review because I feel those elements deserve my unwavering support. And they do. But I have to be honest. I wouldn’t recommend this show to anyone. Unless you want to see ATEEZ act (and they are amazing in this), or some of your other favorite idols act. There are cute scenes you can look up on YouTube, but I still wouldn’t recommend the entire series. And that isn’t to say that this show never had any good moments, because it did. There were some moments that I thought were cute and had potential. But in the end the show felt like it was written episode by episode with no clear ending in mind. (Very much like the most recent ‘Star Wars’ trilogy.)

Ok, that’s the end of my rant. I am so so sorry for this being so much of a downer. It wasn’t as bad watching this episode as it probably came off! I always love watching ATEEZ do literally anything. But I couldn’t turn a blind eye to everything this show was besides just what ATEEZ did. And even then, there were times where I was frustrated because the boys barely got any screen time. I swear, there will be more positive K-Drama reviews coming up! I just watched two that I absolutely love and I just started another one that I’m already really liking. So there will be positive reviews and recommendations coming up soon if that’s what you’re looking for! I’m really looking forward to writing about something that I just genuinely loved too! But if anything, I can at least say I will probably return to some Yujin and Hyuk scenes on YouTube so that I can see the boys acting again. I at least looked forward to that part every week! Hopefully the members of ATEEZ will act in more projects in the future!

See you across the pond!

Sincerely, Annie

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