Bargain Ending, Explained: Do Hyung-Soo and Joo-Young Survive?

Paramount+’s ‘Bargain’ is a South Korean action-thriller series directed by Woo-Sung Jeon. Based on the 2015 Chung-Hyun Lee short film of the same name, the series follows two unlikely individuals as their fates are intertwined due to a disaster. In the series, Hyung-Soo and Joo-Young meet at a secluded motel, with the former agreeing to pay for sexual services. However, when an earthquake nearly destroys the motel, the duo must work together to survive a gang of ruthless thugs and other challenges. If you are wondering whether Hyung-Soo and Joo-Young survive and what the future holds for them, here is everything you need to know about the ending of ‘Bargain.’ SPOILERS AHEAD!

Bargain Plot Synopsis

‘Bargain’ follows No Hyung-Soo arriving at a remote motel to meet with Park Joo-Young, a young prostitute. At the motel, Hyung-Soo and Joo-Young argue after the former refuses to pay $1000 for the latter’s services. Hyung-Soo claims that Joo-Young lied about being a virgin and tries to haggle a cheaper deal. Eventually, Joo-Young agrees to sleep with Hyung-Soo for a mere $70. However, while Hyung-Soo showers, Joo-Young’s actions reveal she works for an underground organ trafficking gang that lures people like Hyung-Soo and auctiones their organs.

Hyung-Soo is captured and prepared for the black market auction. Joo-Young speaks with the operation manager, Hee-Sook, who scolds her for accepting another customer without consulting him. Later, Joo-Young acts as the auctioneer as Hyung-Soo’s body parts are prepared to be auctioned to the highest bidder. Hyung-Soo’s left kidney is first up for sale, and a bidder named Ko Keuk-Ryul raises the winning bid. However, when Keuk-Ryul ends up short on money, he risks losing the kidney. At the same time, Joo-Young discovers Hyung-Soo is an undercover police officer who is investigating the prostitution racket.

Keuk-Ryul reveals he needs the organ to save his father’s life. As a result, the traffickers offer Keuk-Ryul and the others a loan with their organs as collateral. A small termor leads to commutation in the auction room, forcing Hyung-Soo to enter and calm the situation. However, before the auction can resume, an earthquake strikes the motel, and everyone present, including a captive Hyung-Soo, is affected by it. Hyung-Soo’s stretcher falls down a hole in the building while Joo-Young plots to kill the trafficking gang’s boss and steal his money.

Joo-Young tries to cut a deal with Hee-Sook to kill their boss and steal his money. However, Hee-Sook is loyal to their boss and throws Joo-Young down the hole. She lands in a water tank on the ground floor, where Bu-Gwa and Min, the boss’ sons who deal with the corpses, save her. After failing to escape the butchery, Joo-Young finds Hyung-Soo and frees him after convincing him to help her escape. While Joo-Young escapes through a vent, Bu-Gwa and Min learn of their father’s death and go on a rampage, vowing to kill Hee-Sook.

Hyung-Soo encounters Keuk-Ryul, and the latter saves him from the brothers. Keuk-Ryul demands that Hyung-Soo give his kidney in exchange for saving his life. Joo-Young opens the butchery door to free Hyung-Soo and Keuk-Ryul after she realizes she cannot escape the debris alone. As a result, an uneasy alliance is forged between the trio to help them escape the rubble alive. However, neither of them trusts the other and pursues their individual goals while dealing with dangerous thugs and other hostile survivors stuck with them in the motel.

Bargain Ending: Do Hyung-Soo and Joo-Young Find the Money?

After betraying each other numerous times and dealing with thugs and hostile bidders, Hyung-Soo and Joo-Young finally decide to trust each other before climbing up to the fourth floor. Joo-Young reveals she was sold to the boss by a revered who took care of her after she completed a juvenile sentence. However, Joo-Young has a tracking chip in her brain. She wants to get the chip removed and plots to steal the boss’ money for it. Eventually, Hyung-Soo and Joo-Young learn that only seven things are alive and housed on the fourth floor in the boss’ office.

Hyung-Soo and Joo-Young make their way to the fourth floor after collecting a gun and six bullets from Joo-Young’s ally. In the process, they kill one of the surviving thugs and gather other resources. After arriving at the boss’ officer, Hyung-Soo and Joo-Young make quick work of the thugs, leaving only Hee-Sook, the boss, and Keuk-Ryul alive. The boss refuses to tell Hee-Sook where the money is, while Joo-Young’s only goal is to kill the boss and Hee-Sook.

As a result, she once betrays Hyung-Soo as she had promised to get him the money in exchange for help in taking down the organ trafficking gang. Ultimately, Hyung-Soo and Joo-Young kill Hee-Sook and the boss, respectively, and their hopes of finding the money die with the latter. However, an injured Keuk-Ryul reveals that the boss kept eyeing the room’s ceiling, which leads them to a hidden safe. Hyung-Soo and Joo-Young use the boss’ fingerprint to unlock the safe and get $7 million in cash that was being kept hidden. However, they must now find a way to escape the building.

Do Hyung-Soo and Joo-Young Survive? Does Keuk-Ryul Die?

After collecting the money, Hyung-Soo and Joo-Young cannot reach the fifth floor as the hole is blocked. Therefore, they decide to jump into the ground floor’s water tank, hoping it will lead them to a nearby water body. Despite Keuk-Ryul’s pleading, the duo refuses to take him along as he is a liability. Hyung-Soo also refuses to keep his promise to give Keuk-Ryul’s father his kidney. However, Joo-Young gives Keuk-Ryul a vial of morphine she found in the boss’ office, and she and Hyung-Soo leave him behind to find his own way. Hyung-Soo and Joo-Young drain the water tank, and outflowing water leads them to a nearby reservoir, where they celebrate escaping alive. However, the duo is surprised to learn that despite being fatally wounded, Keuk-Ryul followed them and managed to survive.

Ultimately, Keuk-Ryul, Hyung-Soo, and Joo-Young all survive the traumatic events after the earthquake. Keuk-Ryul is resilient but gullible and easily believes the promises made to him. Hyung-Soo is righteous and attempts to help others, but not at the cost of his own well-being. Joo-Young is a cunning liar and has been forced to survive all her life. These interesting personality traits create a compelling interpersonal dynamic between the group, leading them to make decisive choices when their survival is at stake. Despite their greed, personal motivations, or quest for revenge, the trio survives by working well with others when it matters the most. Hence, the series tells a fascinating story of survival that examines the fundamental aspects of human behavior when presented with the challenges of a dire circumstance, such as being stuck in an earthquake.

What Happened to the Outside World?

While Keuk-Ryul, Hyung-Soo, and Joo-Young escape the motel, the latter two argue about the state of the world. Hyung-Soo believes that an earthquake rocked the motel and that escaping it will lead them to normalcy. In contrast, Joo-Young, whose life has been anything but normal, is skeptical of finding peace even after escaping the motel and the organ traffickers who used her. In the finale’s closing moments, Joo-Young is proven right as the trio finds the world outside in chaos as mountains burn and several structures are destroyed.

While the cause of the disastrous situation is not explicitly stated, it is implied that a nuclear or drone strike caused it. Nonetheless, the ending brings the trio back to square one, as their battle for survival hasn’t ended. On the contrary, it is only getting started, and a post-credits scene hints at the challenges in their path. In the post-credits scene, the trio encounters an armed woman who forces Hyung-Soo to help save her friend stuck under the rubble. The scene ends with Joo-Young trying to cut a deal with the woman, reinforcing the show’s overall theme of bargaining being the only way to survive in this dog-eat-dog world that has presumably taken a post-apocalyptic turn.

Read More: Best KDramas on Amazon Prime