K-Drama Review: “Happiness” Blends Multiple Twists and Gritty Characters In An Engaging “New Normal” Story

Colored with a faint but heartfelt love story, we got the best of both worlds in terms of thrill and romance in Happiness.

abbyinhallyuland watched Happiness on iQiyi

Episode Recaps: 01 & 02 | 03| 04| 05| 06 | 07 | 08 | 09 | 10 | 11 | Finale + Review |


Happiness Finale Episode Quick Recap

Sae-bom and Tae-seok move with their deal. Receiving the last vial of her extracted plasma cure, Sae-bom decided to use it on Seo-yoon’s mother. Meanwhile, Tae-seok used the remaining cure for his wife and faces the higher-ups with a prepared excuse.

Sneaking back to the apartment to search for Yi-hyun, Sae-bom learned of what transpired when she was locked up in the facility.

Apparently, Andrew survives the bite from Yi-hyun and the bat slams from Yeon-ok. Ju-hyung, who desperately thinks he can transform by taking the pills, failed to do so.

Unknown to him, the cleaning couple retrieved some of the pills which alleviated the pain of the wounded husband stabbed by Andrew. The couple then evicts Ju-hyung from his own house.

“I don’t care what you look like. I’m okay with everything.”

Refusing to believe Yi-hyun that Andrew’s body is not on the rooftop, Yeon-ok goes on her own and was bewildered to realize Andrew was not really there. She again connives with Ju-hyung to kill Yi-hyun.

But Sae-bom saves her husband in distress by subduing Ju-hyung. Bravely calming Yi-hyun who is having an attack of the infection, the two reunite as Sae-bom plants a kiss on his lips.

The missing Andrew finally showed up just as Tae-seok ordered Ji-soo to fetch the newlyweds. Subduing Yi-hyun by hitting his fresh gun wound, Sae-bom was alerted by the gunshot.

Unable to shoot the villain because of her husband, Sae-bom shoots herself to lure him with her blood. Yi-hyun then shoots Andrew and was able to protect Sae-bom.

A year after, the city and the world survived the mad person disease outbreak. Ju-hyun and Yeon-ok face criminal charges. Seo-yoon also comes back healthy along with the infected people.

Yi-hyun and Sae-bom claim back the happiness of being together that they so yearn for.

Happiness Quick Plot Recap

In post covid era, a disease rapidly spreads making the infected people show monster-like symptoms of wanting to bite and drink human blood.

An entire apartment complex was locked down following the outbreak, save one building with healthy residents in it. However, the lockdown gets extended and the city was placed under Martial Law.

While denying the entrance of infected people to their relatively safe building, the residents battle endless contentions as they each have personal greedy interests to fulfill.

Happiness Peak Points

Unputdownable Narrative Trajectory

Spawning a “new normal” narrative, Happiness admirably proved its ability to withstand any scrutiny in terms of creativity and portrayals.

Along with how the thrill escalates in the story, the slated lessons about honest and kind living truly resonate.

Possessing an immutable addicting drive, the series is not to be opened if you are not planning to do a binge-watch. Otherwise, it will haunt you or cause you to bargain with your prearranged activities or even sleep.

Neat and sensibly written, the energy of the series also spins from its easy-to-navigate direction made exciting by plot twists and cliffhangers. In fact, it moves like a bullet train in escalating its conflict. Deducing who would betray, who would die and who would survive heightens the excitement level of this story.


Excellent and Balanced Cast Portrayals

Clearly running a paradox of its title meaning, the layered subtle romance between the “married friends” braving odds to reclaim the happy married life they were eager to begin, makes the series worth rooting for.

Aside from that, we have to give it to the villains for spicing up the suspense in their own special evil ways. We’ve scorned and raked the villains over the coals countless times that we can no longer have words to use on how annoying they were. Nevertheless, they served a valuable purpose in elevating the enthralling mood of the series.

Notably, Happiness really knows how to reel viewers in the story while working on the character developments. Spurring the audience to commit to big-picture thinking while considering the personalities and motivations of each character, proves that a big-cast drama can still efficiently utilize everyone.


A Prudent Nudge On Human Greed

Featuring a variety of characters, the series emphasizes the idea of how there are really people whose thirst for personal greed is unwavering. That there are downright evil people who won’t change for the better while some individuals can appreciate life setbacks and bounce from the slump again. It is a reminder that even grownups know nothing about real life.

On the brighter side, it also presents that humans are innately kind and protective of their loved ones. We are all inherently capable to choose compassion. However, in a dire situation, that’s not likely what we can gamble on. At the very least, if we cannot help, then, we should choose not to harm others.

In this presented miniature version of a scary new normal, I hope viewers can pick up not to tolerate stubborn people. Staying away from people who reek selfishness and bad attitude would also save you from any trouble. This is true in any kind of situation.


Happiness Series Musings

Happiness really made me joyous before wrapping up this K-Drama year. It even granted my earlier wish of a little fan service in the final episode. Going for a dozen episodes really made the sequence of events logical without the need for unnecessary fillers.

Considering how the series was shot majority in a building, it’s already a victorious feat to make the viewers gravitate into watching each week. Credit is to be given to the amazing cast for the commitment and immersion to their roles regardless of whether they have main or small parts.

Remarkably, the clever delving of reality versus perception in the presented premise of human survival in a small-scale setting pushes us to ponder on who will we take as a character if faced with the same predicament. Generally speaking, if we will choose to be evil or not.

Initially appearing to be deceptively plain, the deeply satisfying K-Drama entertainment we got from Happiness is definitely a gift. Equal parts exciting and addicting, it also ruminates on how we can all be put in that deafening instant – that life is changing. In hopeless situations, it’s important that we know our “happiness” – so we can choose to fight without regrets because we have a reason to live.

Before the year ends, don’t miss the riveting story of Happiness on iQiyi!


Photos/Videos: tvN | iQiyi

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