I really don’t look forward to final episodes of dramas – whether I have liked the story or not. Leaving characters that I have grown fond of makes me sad. They are like my children who I need to let go of as they continue living without me watching their every move. They’ll be fine. I’ll be fine, too. At least with a drama, I can go back and watch the tape. With my daughter going off to college this month, well, I thank the heavens that we made it this far together, and I pray to those same heavens to keep her safe and happy. She’ll be fine. I’ll be fine, too. ~sniff~
✷ ✾ ✱ ❋ ❀ ✵ ❁ ✾ ✾ ❁ ✵ ❀ ❋ ✱ ✾ ✷
Chul-su and Byung-hee hug with Chul-su giving her advice on life without him while he is in the army.
Byung-hee is surprised. Chul-su explains that he has thought a lot about it, and that he can’t do anything for her while they are apart.
Byung-hee asks “Who asked you to do anything for me?” She has lived without him before and can do so again. But Chul-su insists that during the two years he is gone, Byung-hee could meet (yet) another man and be happy.
He tells her not to waste her life waiting for him.
“Who says it’s wasted? To wait for you is wasted time?”
He admits he has no confidence anymore, which makes her angry. What happened to the afraid of nothing, strong and good-natured Chul-su we all fell in love with? She tells him to snap out of it. He stands in front of her, silent, so sad.
And she tells him he isn’t acting like Chul-su.
His answer is when he was alone, there’s nothing that scares him. But for Noonah, this, this break up, is the right thing to do.
Byung-hee connects some dots and asks, “Do you think I am a burden?”
But Chul-su doesn’t want her to misunderstand her. His face falls.
“You don’t want me to wait for you? You want to break up? Fine. Do what you want,” and she walks away. He watches after she’s gone, tears filling his eyes.
Byung-hee goes into her bedroom, Chul-su walks home, both with heavy hearts.
Bulldog goes down his marble hall and finds Jun-hee asleep in a corner. “You were supposed to be gone a month. Why are you back?”
He tells her she owes him rent for staying there. They go inside and drink. Jun-hee wants him to agree to a business deal. He feigns disinterest, but his curiosity gets the best of him. She will go abroad to study if 1. he agrees to marry him, which he refuses, and 2. If he shows her his butt. LOL
He insists, “Never! I’d just as soon agree to marry you before doing that.”
Jun-hee is pragmatic, “Well if you marry me, your butt comes with, right?” He has no reply.
Later, we see he slides across his large, slippery silk bedclothes onto the floor. Her idea tempts him more than not.
Sung-ran helps Byung-hee write her resume. The landlord comes in, surprised to see them, and tells them that Boss canceled the lease. But, as long as they pay the rent, they can stay.
They worry about their future.
Boss is playing at a PC Bong eating ramen, ignoring her call from the office, and taking the battery out of his phone.
Byung-hee calls the garage looking for Chul-su, but he hasn’t been there in two days.
She leaves a worried pouting Sung-ran.
Chul-su doesn’t answer his door, and Byung-hee calls down from his window “You’re not hiding down there are you?”
She tells a possibly empty room she knows he doesn’t really want to break up, that she doesn’t want to break up. There isn’t much time left, can’t they be together until he leaves?
Seung-hye overhears this, and takes Byung-hee into the video shop and shows her the box of army supplies he received.
She tells a story of how when Chul-su was eleven, he had pneumonia, and the possibility of him dying hit her for the first time. Seung-hye realized that losing her brother would be more devastating than losing her parents. The thought of being left alone, without Chul-su terrifies her. Does Byung-hee feel the same about him?
Seung-hye admits, “If you are confident that you can make him outlive me, do what you want, jerk face!” Seung-hye breaks down in tears.
Byung-hee walks around Chul-su’s room, looking at his helmet, bed, phone.
He finds her and she apologizes, asking how he’s been lately.
He says he was somewhere. Byung-hee starts to say something, “Actually…” she looks closely at him, he looks back… “OK, let’s break up.”
A momentary shock flashes across his face. No matter what he has been saying all this time, hearing the words from HER mouth stuns him. Neither of them wants this, but she sticks with the idea that it is the best thing for both of them and she starts to leave. He watches her go up the stairs, and she has to suppress sobs with her hand.
Mom walks down an autumnal tree lined path with Worker. He wonders if she will be OK without her, and she reminds him she was fine before he worked there. He puts his coat across her shoulders, then his arm, which flusters her.
He asks her to bear with it, because “you’re like my mother!”
He often walked with his mother like this, and she asked him to call her by her first name. (Yergh.)
“What?!” Mom asks. “How can I be your mom, I’m not old enough!” but he says she is about his mother’s age, actually, since she married young. Mom is pissed and walks away.
Jun-hee and Bulldog walk along in a park, but her heels make it difficult. She asks him to piggyback her, but he refuses. He calls her “Jashkie” a bunch of times blaming her for making him say that to her so often. She climbs on his back anyway.
They walk along; Jun-hee loving being that close to him.
Out of nowhere, Bulldog asks what marriage means to her.
“I already told you: living together, hair turning black to white…” she answers.
“So, marriage is black hair turning white…And living together forever?”
“What else is there?”
That is why she needs to learn more, he says.
Then he says, if, she still feel the same way after returning, which she won’t, he will accept her heart.
That means marriage, right? she asks. He says no, but means yes. She tells him she knows he will miss her.
(I love what they are wearing in this scene. They look fabulous together.)
Byung-hee and Sung-ran struggle to finish the edition on time.
The landlord arrives and tells them they have to move out to let the new tenant in.
Byung-hee looks at her calendar with days crossed off heading towards Chul-su’s enlistment date. (I get very choked up here, as I have a similar calendar going right now.)
Bulldog, Bae and Boss are eating and drinking at the smoky standing grill place.
Boss is venting on how tough it has been for the last ten years with C’est Si Bon. At every stage, someone was criticizing him. Bulldog tells him that is because what he wants to show needs to be hidden, that is what culture is. (Michelangelo would disagree.) Boss says anyone who gets scolded constantly for ten years is going to die from it; they wouldn’t understand, he even asks Bulldog for a job as a security guard.
Bae asks about Byung-hee –how is she going to make a living? Boss doesn’t know and doesn’t care. Byung-hee and Sung-rang haven’t given up on the magazine, though. They even call Boss sometimes but he ignores them. This makes Bulldog even madder, oh, and by the way, you all know she broke up with that guy, right?
This shocks Bae.
Boss and Bulldog fight around Bae, who hasn’t moved since hearing the news. He just stares.
Seung-hye is treating Chul-su to a meal at another restaurant where you cook your own food. (Koreans are obsessed with eating food so hot, it burns your tongue off.) She feeds him lettuce wraps and eggs and he complains she’s stuffing him like a pig.
Seung-hye worries about how cold it’ll be for him at the army, and he says, “You’re the one who’s sending me there.”
He tells her that looks old, and should get some facials.
“People tell me, I don’t even look thirty.”
“Use that beauty and get remarried, then.”
She objects to the “re.” He should just say “Get married.”
Chul-su asks about her ex, whom she doesn’t want to discuss. He wonders how is she will survive without her brother?
She says a year passed and she heard nothing from him before, so he promises to write this time. And call, too.
She blots tears caused by the smoke, but he tells her this isn’t a grill.
Chul-su does odd jobs around the store, and leaves a plant and junk food for his sis.
She reminds him when he switched from calling her “Ahjumma” to “Omani” about a month after his parents died. At first she didn’t like it, but now she does, he really does treat her like a mother. She takes his hand and apologizes for treating him badly, and tells him he can be her son. But NOT her son-in-law. Byung-hee overhears the last part from outside the room.
Byung-hee waits outside and goes with Chul-su to the park to say good-bye. They sit on the bench and struggle to find the right words.
He tells her he is going by train, alone.
When she asks when his first break is, he replies “You don’t need to know.”
When he asks if she has seen Bae recently, she echoes “You don’t need to know.”
A long silence, then, he says a final, “Take care,” and gets up to leave.
She asks him to stay a little longer, after all, this will be the last time.
Isn’t she supposed to wish him a bon voyage? He walks away, but she runs up and back hugs him.
She holds him and reminds him of all the times she hugged him from behind, like on the scooter.
”Seems like your back has many expressions. When you feel good and when you don’t. At times when you feel happy and when you aren’t.”
“I don’t know.” (I vote sad!)
She holds onto him for a little longer, but he says he has to go, and reluctantly, she wishes him a good trip.
An extremely sad soundtrack plays as we watch Chul-su get his haircut, suffer insomnia, say good-bye to his sister.
Byung-hee also cannot sleep, and frets at work.
Leaving home, on a train.
The day I left for the army camp,
After paying respects to my parents.
When I left the gate.
Deep in my heart, there was something.
I felt a longing.
The faces of my cool friends.
Everything is so new.
Now starting at the beginning again.
My young life.
Friends, when I go to the army.
You must write often.
The happy times I had with them.
I won’t forget those days
When the train was about to start off,
The hot feeling of both hands holding together
With the sound of the horn furthering away.
The images gradually fade away.
Now starting at the beginning again
My young dream.
When Chul-su leaves for good, Seung-hee sinks to the ground.
We watch Chul-su get on the train; he looks for Byung-hee who runs to see him off at the last minute.
Seung-hye unpacks a box of his clothes and weeps.
At the PC bong, Boss sees an army kid has a copy of C’est Si Bon! December issue. He is surprised they managed without him.
Byung-hee stretches at her desk and gets up in front of the mirror just like the first time, and Bae, knocks and comes in just like the first time. He gives her the business card of a publication – a possible future employee for her?
Boss enters, scolding them for the December issue. He knows they need him, which is why he came back.
Byung-hee checks in with the Ob/Gyn. Her female parts are healthy. The doc asks about Chul-su. She knows he wasn’t a real brother. This brings a sad smile to Byung-hee’s lips, and she finally admits out loud how depressed she is now that he is gone.
They sit and have tea, and the doc cuts through her denial about feelings towards the boy. Doc challenges her, if Byung-hee wants to end it with him, then she has to endure the pain, pretend he is dead.
(NO!) (Did I say that out loud?)
Byung-hee, also, knows she can’t cut him out of her life.
He’s been a part of her life for too long.
Doc says that many of her patients look for advice, but most of them know their true heart. Could Byung-hee also know what the answer is?
Byung-hee writes to Sunbae presumably filling him in on everyone, but mostly just to talk about how she misses Chul-su. Seung-hye is fine. Boss wants to set up an annual Sex Cultural Festival, Sung-ran is happy, Mom still watches Hepburn, and Bae…She feels sorry towards him.
Jun-hee decides she will study in New York, and Bulldog sends her off to the airport.
They argue about whether or not they will get married in the future. She stares at him to memorize his face. He won’t agree to visit her, even when she threatens to fall for all the handsome guys who like Asian woman. They wave good-bye. He feels her loss instantly. He looks back, so sad. Jun-hee runs over and envelops him in a hug,
Mom and Byung-hee eat. Mom tells her she should go after Bae and eat in nice restaurants. Her mother gives her a shopping club voucher for a birthday present.
Byung-hee takes a walk to the goodbye bench in the park to open her birthday gift from Chul-su. It is almost impossible to open the box.
Finally she gets it open and holds a car key. She has an epiphany. “A camping car!”
There it sits – right where she found Chul-su working on it after her operation.
“Happy Birthday, Noonah.”
He tells her he didn’t have that much time to prepare this for her, so she may have to put up with a wobbly dining table.
In an echo of his earlier letter, he tells her it would be OK for her to share the bottle of wine with a new lover.
“If you meet someone you love later on… Someone who really loves you…Maybe you’ve already met him by now…Then just leave with him. Don’t push it till tomorrow. Just leave today. Time won’t wait for you. This bus brings a little warmth into your life. That’s the only memory I had when I made this bus. My life will become warmer too. Quickly stick in the key. Don’t hesitate. Quickly take off to wherever you want to go into the unknown world.”
She and I cry.
Fortunately, we know whom that person is that she loves. In no time, she is off to the army camp to find him. She goes to the guard post and asks for him. They ask if he is his sister, and she tells him yes.
There is a little picnic area set up where families of other recruits chat and feed their loved ones. She waits and waits, but he doesn’t show. She gets angry and starts to leave.
“Noonah!” he calls, and is surprised to see it isn’t Seung-hye.
She orders him to get a leave pass, but he won’t. She drags him over to the middle of the area and announces, “Hey everyone, this is my boyfriend, Park Chul-su!” and pulls him
OMG he smiles the cutest secret smile following her.
And boy does he look good all bulked up in his uniform.
He didn’t think she would use the camper to visit him? (When subconsciously, he must have made the camper with the sole purpose of her visiting him, right? Why else would he decorate the thing with couple pictures?) He attempts escape, but she takes his cap. She researched on the internet, she knows how much trouble he will be in if he goes back without it.
Byung-hee goes into the camper. He bangs on the door calling her “Go Byung-hee!” which makes my heart a flutter.
Still he refuses to go in. The day passes, and he stays outside while she cooks. Finally it gets too cold, and he breaks down and opens the door.
Byung-hee tempts him with home cooked warm meal, tasting the soup in front of him. He resists a little, then sits down, stuffing his face with her meal.
She scolds him for his “two is scarier than one” speech, saying if there are two of them, there is less fear.
She makes girly faces at him, asking him to admit that he missed her.
She rubs his hair, and he smiles at her to melt an iceberg, telling her how great she is.
We find them snuggling in the bed, and he asks if she doesn’t remember any of that night, and she says no.
What about him? Well, it was soooo long ago. She tells him from now on, his head, touching him here and there, is mine.
They smile and hide under the covers, both giggling and fighting.
We watch the camping car travel over beautiful roads while hearing Byung-hee’s voiceover:
“We, who got together through a mistake at Oido, now we’ve become true lovers. No, we’ve become uneasy lovers. Now and the future, there’s no guarantee whatsoever. Just like whatever I do, others will always point fingers at me. Maybe there’ll come a day when I regret my choices. Even so, I’ll still go to that kid. Throw away everything, put my bet on it. Where will we be headed? We don’t know that yet.”
“I am so afraid to be with this woman here. From now on, she’ll lean on my back to cry. But, maybe what she says is right. Two is better than one. Less fear. I, too, want to lean on her to cry. Yes, I’ll give it a shot. Be with a heart of happiness, following my heart.”
The ending credits tell us:
I don’t like “I am not breaking up with you because I don’t love you, but because it is what I think is the best thing for you.” I never will understand this thought or action, but it has become a regular event in K-dramas.
The writer wins me back with how they ended it, though.
I like that Byung-hee had to pursue Chul-su, at least for a moment. Chul-su playing hard to get only lasted a couple hours, but at least it showed him she really did want to be with him. I really liked how they reversed the idea that Byung-hee would be wasting her time waiting for him. The perfect gift of the camping car lessened his distance from her, and gave her something wonderful to do filling the time waiting for him. Chul-su gave Byung-hee her dream come true. He gave her the means to do the travel she longed for.
I would have liked a final smooch in front of the camera, but I will take a hidden snuggle under the covers instead. They are and will be for some time my favorite OTP.
♥ ♥ ♥
Thank you, EE, for hanging in there and getting me her marvelous writing in a timely fashion. I dragged over this finish line because work has turned into a monster in the last few months, I am happy to have a companion to keep me going.
Thank you, readers and commenters, for reading and commenting. It is so nice to share the love of this show with you all.
Not sure what we will do next. Hopefuly one of the new trendies will make our hearts soar. Hear that, Shows?!
If I were to be honest, I would have to confess that I didn’t “get” the end of this drama the first or even the second time I saw it. The line in Chul Soo’s voice over about being scared kind of threw me off. Did Chul Soo go AWOL? Now I see it as more like apprehension of what happens next, they each want to be together but that doesn’t mean it is some fairy tale “happily ever after” scenario. So many dramas end with the OTP getting married, as if that means smooth sailing for the rest of time. I like the OTP to end up together, but I prefer that they don’t go from pounds of angst to a wedding within a week. I like that What’s Up Fox keeps it real, they have chosen each other and they DON’T know what the future holds.
I also love the chemistry of the whole cast, and their genuine connection to each other. I remember seeing somewhere that Go Hyun Jung was one of PIE’s only visitors when he completed his military service a couple years ago. And actress Kim Eun Joo even changed her professional name to that of her character, Go Joon Hee. In a recent episode of We Got Married, she listed off Go Hyun Jung as one of her three closest friends. I love the idea that not only do they stay in touch, but they are all still close.
I would also like to thank the readers, I enjoyed seeing several comments that people discovered this drama or it was already a favorite that they were happy to re-live. Special thanks to Jomo for having me as a contributor and giving me a chance to write about something I love and giving me some deadlines and structure to keep me focused. It has also been wonderful to bounce ideas off of someone else and discuss the drama all over again.
Much like Byung Hee and Chul Soo, we don’t know what our future holds but I am excited for it. For now, we live in that apprehension that whatever we choose next could be either the perfect drama or something that starts cute but becomes a train wreck. If we never venture out there, we will never enjoy the good for fear of the bad. The good is what gets your heart racing, gets you out of bed in the morning (or keeps you away from bed at all hours of the night). So we move on, forever in search of our true (drama) love . . .