Episode #16: “There is no love that does not end” …
We begin episode 16, the final episode in the series, one year since Yeo Reum (Jung Yu Mi) broke up with Nam Ha Jin (Sung Joon) and Kang Tae Ha (Eric).
Wow, it is Yoo Ah In from Secret Love Affair entering Yeo Reum’s studio to sign up for a wood working class. Come on in! He asks if she has a boyfriend. No, she tells him it has been 1 year since she broke up with her boyfriend. Yeo Reum bluntly tells him she dumped her boyfriend after two-timing him. She asks if that would bother him. He leaves. Ha! Yeo Reum is sporting bangs and a bit of a flip to a longer bob. I like it.
Flip to interview mode:
Tae Ha: If only she had turned back even once.
Yeo Reum: I cried there for an hour. I hoped Tae Ha would come and get me.
Tae Ha: I don’t know how long I stood there. The sun was setting when I exited the warehouse.
Yeo Reum: I called drunk 2 months after the breakup. She pours her heart out only to find out she did NOT dial Tae Ha but some stranger!
Tae Ha: Phone call? I got a new phone and deleted her number.
Yeo Reum sits down to ramen and Do Joon Ho (Yoon Hyun Min) and Yoon Sol (Kim Seul Gi) enter looking like the cute couple they are. Gotta say Ha Jin’s flowers on the shoulders of his jacket is visually striking. Interpret that as you will. Ha Jin calls Joon Ho looking for a chart. Ha Jin looks the same. Joon Ho pretends it was another doctor but Yeo Reum knows better. Joon Ho confides that Ha Jin has not removed his ring yet.
Ha Jin comes home and fantasizes that Yeo Reum is waiting for him in the closet like she used to do. She admits she was wrong to leave, says she misses him and they kiss. In reality the closet only has pillows. Ha Jin shares that he is doing well. Flashback to Joon Ho at his apartment complaining that Yoon Sol is a different woman now they are dating. She is subtly obsessive. I can see Yoon Sol acting that way. Ha Jin orders Joon Ho to tell Yeo Reum he is fine. He is drinking the whiskey with gusto. He admits he misses Yeo Reum. He realizes that he could not make Yeo Reum love him. Just as he cannot make himself stop loving her.
Tae Ha has a female client show interest in him. As he leaves, he spots Ha Jin on a conference break talking to his buddies. They ask Ha Jin when will he get married. Tae Ha notices that Ha Jin is still wearing his ring. He leaves.
Ha Jin spots a woman that looks like Yeo Reum from the back. He tells himself every woman looks like Yeo Reum and he walks away. Turns out it is Yeo Reum and she meets the female client that was just flirting with Tae Ha! The female client confides the building company has a good looking CEO that does not have a girlfriend. That peaks Yeo Reum’s interest.
Tae Ha finds his car is blocked in the parking lot. Ha Jin comes out and finds his car is blocked by the same car. The two men irrirtate each other. Frankly that is the most likable Ha Jin has been to me in a long time. Ha Jin spots Tae Ha staring at his ring. He taunts Tae Ha that Yeo Reum is doing well and the wedding invitations have just been sent out. The car is moved and the two men drive away.
Min Soo and Yeo Reum’s mother are outside of Seoul. He encourages Yeo Reum’s mother to come stay at the house he has been fixing up after she is done writing her drama series. He tells her she needs to take better care of herself. He urges her to rest, relax, and enjoy having him by her side. She smiles and asks if they should get a dog. How cute, she is bantering with him. The older couple has their own level of cute. I like it!
Ha Jin returns to his apartment and stares at the bike A Rim returned to him before she went to study abroad.
The female client tells Tae Ha he needs to meet the furniture designer she is working with. Yes, yes, yes. They will finally meet again! She calls to Yeo Reum. Stunned Tae Ha looks to confirm it is her. The introductions are made and they pretend they have never met. It is obvious the Yeo Reum knew she would be seeing Tae Ha as she is comfortable and not shocked like he is. They bicker a bit about storage in the home he has designed for the female client. When Yeo Reum asks what she wants, the female client bluntly says that she will let Tae Ha decide because she likes him. Startled he spews his drink (literally). He gives her a gift from Jung Mok.
The female client asks Tae Ha to dinner. Yeo Reum gives Tae Ha small disapproving look. Ha! He accepts the dinner invitation. Tae Ha invites her to a tripe eatery. They stands to leave. Yeo Reum asks if she can join them. Yes, full circle, she intrudes, loving it! Tae Ha gives Yeo Reum a glare. I am practically giddy with their subtle but meaningful nonverbal interchange!
At the tripe eatery Yeo Reum and Tae Ha both order the same items. Cute! Tae Ha notices Yeo Reum is not wearing her ring. The female client asks Tae Ha questions about himself. After enough alcohol Yeo Reum starts to answer the questions for him. Smiling, yes I am smiling! When the female client asks about Tae Ha’s favorite movie, Yeo Reum pipes up and says he does not care about genre, he is into porn. In fact he has 12 movies of the “Madame” series on his laptop. LOL! Yeo Reum is dishing it out tonight! Tae Ha counters that the 12th movie is not even out. LOL!
Outside the eatery, the female client returns Jung Mok’s gift and stalks off. Tae Ha asks why Yeo Reum ruined that. Yeo Reum says he ruined her relationship. He barks that she is getting married to Ha Jin soon. He claims he is glad they broke up. He hands her Junk Mok’s gift telling her it is her wedding gift. He wishes her well and strides away. He spins, comes back to her and says that she used to say “Love is will”. He tells her that is wrong. Love is heart not will. He strides away. Yeo Reum looks secretly pleased. She knows that he likes her. She knows that he believes she is getting married to Ha Jin. She is happy about this power that has just been placed in her hands. Let’s see what she does with it.
Joon Ho and Yoon Sol watch a movie and munch popcorn together. Yeo Reum wants to watch too. Three is a crowd. Yoon Sol suggests they watch the movie in their bedroom. Joon Ho is on board with that plan!
Yeo Reum comes to their bedroom and tells them she saw Tae Ha. They do not care. She tells them it was not destiny just a coincidence they met again. Yeo Reum says he was rude to her. Joon Ho says she is tiring to Tae Ha. He tells her she is the used car to Tae Ha. Another full circle reference, this time Yeo Reum is the used car not Tae Ha. Yoon Sol and Joon Ho pledge NOT to become used cars to each other. They kiss. They ask Yeo Reum to leave their bedroom. They start to go under the covers. Yeo Reum flees. Cute!
The next morning Ha Jin’s mother comes to the studio. Yeo Reum stands, stunned to see her. Mother slaps Yeo Reum telling her she never liked her when she was dating Ha Jin. She is angry that Ha Jin is leaving Korea. Yeo Reum is dumbfounded at the news. Ha Jin’s mother calls her a bitch and leaves. Meanwhile, Ha Jin rolls his suitcase out of his apartment. Yoon Sol explains to Yeo Reum that Ha Jin is following his dream to do volunteer work abroad. Yeo Reum dashes out of the studio.
At the airport, Ha Jin talks to his mother via phone and tells her thank you for raising him. Yeo Reum arrives at the airport. Ha Jin is astonished to see her. She spots him. It is the slow-mo of her approaching him. Yu Mi looks particularly lovely.
Yeo Reum asks how long he will be gone. One year is the expected timeframe. Ha Jin asks if she will wait for him. She sidesteps that and says that she came to say she is sorry. Ha Jin finally admits that when he dated her he was not himself or happy. He says they were not happy together and he is ready to be happy alone. He wishes her happiness. Glad that is over with. Let’s get onto the main event, fingers crossed, and hope it goes the way I want.
Jung Mok meets writer Jang who has just published a book, “Discovery of Romance”. She pulls out the book and signs it. They banter a bit. He reads the message “I find you attractive Jung Mok”. Junk Mok says he does not like romances. He flips to the title page of the book. He comments he likes the subtitle which reads “Romance is reality, not drama”. All this while the perky song “Sweet Sorrow” from OST part 1 plays in the background. Jung Mok comments that from his observations, romance is like war. Writer Jang agrees stating she interviewed people for the book. Jang Mok reads the characters: Mr. K, head of a construction company; Ms. H, furniture designer; and Mr. H, plastic surgeon. He flips to the end of the book. He exclaims Ms. H ends up alone? Writer Jang confirms that is what happened in the interviews. But she notes their relationships seemed to go round and round so she is unsure what will happen in the end. Jung Mok appears entranced. Well that was direct intervention by the writer into the story. I wondered last episode if writer Jang represented the real writer, Jung Hyun Jung. Yes, yes she does. NOW can we get onto the main event? Fingers crossed, hope it goes the way I want.
Yeo Reum’s mother and Yeo Reum come to the tree. They find Tae Ha’s flowers. Yeo Reum guesses that Tae Ha was there. Yeo Reum mother tells father that Yeo Reum is here after 6 years. Yeo Reum silently says sorry to her father. Mother tells father that she will be marrying Min Soo. Yeo Reum is shocked. Mother continues that she will not visit again after she marries. Yeo Reum is stupefied. Her mother walks away. Yeo Reum asks how she can get married twice when she hasn’t even done it once. Mother says “when it is over, it over.” NOW can we get onto the main event? Fingers crossed, hope it goes the way I want.
They take a walk and catch up. A Rim has been in Vietnam. Ha Jin is miffed that she never emailed or used money from the account he created for her. She asks him if he got married. He claims that now that he has seen the human suffering, love does not matter. A Rim correctly guesses “the scary sister dumped him”. Love it! A Rim admits she used to have a crush on a guy with a girlfriend so she never told him. They watch the sunset together.
Joon Ho tells Yeo Reum that Ha Jin told Tae Ha that he was marrying her out of spite. It bothered him that he lied. Yeo Reum smirks. Joon Ho confesses that he never burned the memory box. He gives it to her. Aww, that is sweet. He tells her to do what ever she wants with it.
Flip to interview mode:
Tae Ha: With one stroke of lightning the tree is gone. Love is like that. There one day, gone the next.
He strides away. She follows. He smiles. He tells her he is not okay with her. She counters asking if he thinks she is okay with him. He guesses she saw his facebook post that he was visiting the tree. A flashback confirms this. The memory box is spilled on her bed and she is thrilled to finally find his facebook page. Yeo Reum claims this is destiny. He strides off. She follows chattering that it is wonderful they ran into each other. He stops. She’s happy they ran into each other? Yeo Reum confirms this. Tae Ha tells her he just got over her. He is ready to go on with the rest of his life. He says he wants a nice woman. She says she has become a nice woman. She states “You are a jerk. I am a bitch.” She thinks they are made for each other. He tells her to go. She strides away.
He spins and follows her. She complains of all the men in the world, why does it have to be him? She says she needs to date more. Tae Ha stops her and sees that she is carrying the handbag he bought her years ago. Next he notices she is wearing the necklace and earrings he got her years ago. The woman is a walking I love Tae Ha sign! He grins. She strides off.
He follows and grabs her hand. He tells her he is holding her hand. Full circle moment again. She smiles, he smiles (I smile too). He asks why she is smiling. Yeo Reum tells him with him she can be herself. Her words are like water to a parched man. He stares at her. She tells him that he can kiss her. He counters that he does not need permission. Full circle moment again.
They grin. He kisses her! 57 minutes into this 59 minute episode, they finally kiss. Hooray! I have the patience of a saint!
Yeo Reum’s voiceover “There is no love that does not end. But if you don’t believe that it will last forever, then we will never be able to hold hands.”
Tae Ha’s voiceover “The climax of our romance is over. We will just live and argue over nothing. I think I like that better now.”
* These are my comments on the final episode. I will write a series review.
* Was it worth the wait? Yes it was. BUT I felt the writer toyed with the viewers throughout this episode until the last 2 minutes when she finally delivered the words, the scene, and the kiss that made this series sweet enough. Once the writer established they wanted each other at the tripe eatery it was no longer a question of IF they would reunited but WHEN. Their reunion was dangled just of out the viewer’s reach though we slowly and slowly got closer throughout the episode.
* I was surprised to see Ha Jin’s mother. I was wondering what had happened to her. I thought she got dropped like a hot potato just like Yeo Reum Mother’s soccer child and the bunny.
* The writer, Jung Hyun Jung, was writer Jang complete with a book titled “Discovery of Romance” based on interviews of our main characters. Very meta. Not sure it really delivered something awesome with the self referential insiders knowledge. I appreciate the writer’s thought process behind it and will give her credit for weaving it into the story.
* Eric finally got to portray Tae Ha with a measure of control, will and flair. It was refreshing and delightful to see him smile or grin and get the girl! Their banter in the final scene was fantastic. Finally we got to see a happy interaction between Tae Ha and Yeo Reum. I watched this series for Eric. I believe he did everything he could but his character’s hands were tied behind his back for many episodes effectively downgrading this compelling character to faithful, patiently waiting, loving man. Que Sera Sera was the first and only drama I had seen Eric in before this role. He and Yu Mi were a compelling couple in that show and their acting together again was the second reason I watched this series. In the end, Que Sera Sera provided Eric the better role. I hope to see him more, this series proved to me his acting ability was real. I appreciated his fine portrayal of Tae Ha. I adored simply watching the man on screen.
* Jung Yu Mi’s character Yeo Reum finally let herself pursue the man she loved. It was long road but she finally gave herself permission and approval to pursue love on her terms. I loved her cyber-stalk of Tae Ha to find his location when he visited the tree. The push pull of the final scene, was played perfectly by Yu Mi. Yeo Reum was a wonderful role to play and Yi Mi did it well. I did not love this character but I liked her honesty, her willingness to put herself first, and her dealing with her father’s death allowing her to begin to live and finally love again.
* Sung Joon’s character Ha Jin started the episode still stuck in a rut and ended free to finally be himself. Unfortunately watching his evolution got to be tiresome for me. I felt this character overstayed his welcome and importance in the triangle. I groaned when he was still wearing his ring at the beginning of the episode. Reduced air time for this character and more for our main couple would have been more to my liking. In the end, I view Ha Jin more as an impediment than a character I enjoyed watching throughout the series.
* Speaking of characters that I enjoyed watching throughout the series, Yoon Sol was darling in love with Joon Ho. I loved Kim Seul Gi’s portrayal of this sassy character. The writer delivered on my final episode wish for Yoon Sol…that she and Joon Ho have cute couple moments and enjoy their playful love for each other. She was a good friend to Yeo Reum and kind to the men she loved. I enjoyed Kim Seul Gi portrayal of this character every episode.
* Joon Ho ended up as the crucial character to spur our main couple to reunite. So glad he kept Tae Ha’s memory box and told Yeo Reum about Ha Jin’s email regarding his lying to Tae Ha about getting married to him. Of course, Yeo Reum already knew about this lie, but props for Ha Jin to admit it. Thanks to Joon Ho for metaphorically taking Yeo Reum by the shoulders and telling her to make her choice to embrace Tae Ha again or forget him. His character walked the line of good friend to Yeo Reum and Ha Jin and did it well. I enjoyed Yoon Hyun Min’s facial expressions and comedic timing throughout the series. The writer delivered on my final episode wish for Joon Ho. He and Yoon Sol had cute couple moments and they continued their darling, playful love.
* A Rim’s shock and delight at seeing Ha Jin overseas was evident. A Rim continued to give Ha Jin a free pass for his dreadful behavior towards herself. Loved her knowing comment about the scary girl dumping him. In the end, this character was consistent and likable given the constraints the character had. She had a blind spot for Ha Jin, her childhood brother. I was glad the show left it ambiguous whether she would become romantically involved with Ha Jin. A Rim had moments in this series where she said the truth in a forthright manner when others were playing games or simply blind to themselves.
* Final thoughts thought on this episode. I am glad Tae Ha and Yeo Reum got back together. I am glad all the characters ended up happy. We got two primary scenes between the main couple, the eatery and the final scene. The writer toyed with the main couple and forced all of us wait until the final 2 minutes for them to unleash their magic as a couple. But they did unleash the magic and it was wonderful to end the series with.
* Nutshell series summary. Discovery of Love was a good series. The strength of the series were the first two thirds (episodes 1 – 11). The writing was clever and the characters crisp as a past relationship was explored in present day. The latter third of the series (episodes 12 – 15) dragged as the couple that needed to breakup dithered about getting this done. Eric, lead actor, was charismatic but stymied and made secondary spending his acting talents having to emote non verbally in the latter third. If you wanted to see the primary couple happy and in love, the extensive flashbacks to their past relationship was the only way you could. The present day relationship solidified in the last 2 minutes of the final episode. Finally this couple could delivered the magic they had.
* I enjoyed watching and recapping this show. Thank you for reading. I hope you enjoyed this show as much as I did.