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The Ending Of Vincenzo Season 1 Explained

Revenge is one of the oldest subjects in fiction, because it's an inherently volatile concept. All of us can understand the need for revenge. However, even when it's justified, getting revenge has a way of warping people. Can we get revenge and still remain the person we used to be? That's the question at the heart of "Vincenzo," a hit new Korean mafia drama that concluded its first season on May 2, 2021.

"Vincenzo" follows a South Korea-born mafia consiglieri named Vincenzo (neé Park Joo-Hyung), who arrives in Seoul with the goal of recovering 1.5 tons of gold stashed inside the Gemuga Plaza skyscraper, which the corrupt real-estate company The Babel Group has taken over. He teams up with an ambitious young lawyer named Han Cha-young, whose father The Babel Group has murdered.

After an action-packed 20 episodes, Vincenzo's season finale delivers not just a high body count, but a definitive answer to its central question. Sadly, it looks like "Vincenzo" won't be coming back for season 2. But there's still a lot to unpack from the season 1 finale. Here's what it all means. 

Vincenzo serves up several helpings of poetic justice

The main plot of "Vincenzo" deals with the titular consiglieri's efforts to recover 1.5 tons of gold stashed inside the Gemuga Plaza skyscraper, which the corrupt real estate company The Babel Group has taken over — but it's also a show about revenge. Various members of the Babel Group have wronged Vincenzo and those close to him, and in the finale he gets revenge. Vincenzo personally orders the deaths of two of his worst enemies, and each death has symbolic implications.

First up is Myung-hee, the Zumba-loving corporate lawyer for the Babel Group with many skeletons in her closet — she had both Vincenzo's birth mother and Cha-young's father murdered. Vincenzo executes her by dousing her with gasoline and setting her on fire. When she tries to flee the flames, her movements resemble dance steps, and Vincenzo even plays Zumba music over it. Myung-hee's favorite activity gets turned against her as an instrument of torture.

Then there's the main villain, Han-seok, whose death is even more brutal. Vincenzo fires up a device he calls the "Spear of Atonement," a dental drill that will penetrate Han-seok 5mm every five minutes until he dies. Han-seok definitely earned such a brutal death after all his misdeeds. However, what's really important here is the scene's final shot: a crow pecking at Han-Seok's body.

Contrast this with Inzaghi, Vincenzo's pigeon that serves as an important symbol throughout the show, which we'll discuss below. While the gray pigeon symbolizes Vincenzo's struggle, the all-black crow indicates that Han-seok's karma is fully evil, and he's paying for it.

Vincenzo decides to become a good mobster...

Throughout the series, Vincenzo has been working his way through a moral conundrum — is it possible to be an ethical mobster? Vincenzo grew up in the mafia and started off the series committed to a life of crime. When he returned to Seoul to recover his gold, he found himself allied with the residents of Gemuga Plaza, the collective David to The Babel Group's Goliath. This experience gave him something like a conscience.

Vincenzo's inner conflict is symbolized by Inzaghi, the pigeon who shows up on his roof one day and decides to be his pet, much to Vincenzo's chagrin. Inzaghi is a kind of karma barometer for Vincenzo. Every time Vincenzo is rude to the pigeon, his luck turns bad. And vice versa. Eventually, Vincenzo decides to be nice to Inzaghi. The bird rewards him by gathering a flock of his bird brethren and saving Vincenzo from three assassins. 

The Vincenzo-Inzaghi dynamic slowly teaches Vincenzo the benefits of kindness. In the finale, Vincenzo decides to become the "good" kind of mobster... but Vincenzo's redemption only goes so far.

Vincenzo is too far gone for redemption

After all the revenge killing, "Vincenzo" uses a one-year time jump to show where the show's surviving characters end up. Vincenzo recovers the gold and buys an island near Malta, where he takes control of the local olive fields. This signifies his ascent to the top of his profession. At the beginning of the series, Vincenzo drove past his employer's endless olive fields. Now, he has an empire of his own.

In voiceover, Vincenzo explains that he's had a change of heart — although not a full-on redemption. Vincenzo hasn't left the mafia, and he freely admits that he's a villain who doesn't believe in justice. However, he does believe in something less noble: eliminating people who are worse than him. Or "garbage," as he calls them. So, while he's not leaving his life of crime, at least Vincenzo has a moral code now.

Vincenzo's honesty isn't enough to salvage a possible relationship with Cha-young, his potential love interest throughout Season 1. After the time jump, Cha-young travels to Malta for a diplomatic mission, and Vincenzo meets her for a day. They share a passionate kiss and say how much they miss each other, but they leave a lot unsaid as well. They both understand why they didn't end up together and why they can't be together. Vincenzo might have his heroic moments, but deep down, he's a villain.