Tomorrow’s Cantabile Lesson 16 …
We begin the final episode of this series, episode 16, as Yoo Jin (Joo Won) back hugs Nae Il (Shim Eun Kyung) after flying (yes I said Yoo Jin got on a plane and flew to the woman he loves) to Jeju island where she had fled to in the last episode. Nae Il is stunned, thrilled, and stoked that Yoo Jin came for her. She asks how he got here. He says he flew on a plane. He admits in the airport he wanted to run but he heard her voice in his head (recall she hypnotized him into believing he could travel by airplane). He hugs her tightly. She soaks in the hug. Nae Il’s hands draw him to her as she hugs Yoo Jin back. Terrific start. That was a dream come true moment for Nae Il. I appreciate the cinematographer doesn’t just recycle the exact scene from the previous episode we see different camera angles.
…Cue Opening Credits…
Yoo Jin asks Nae Il if she regrets not competing in the upcoming Salsburg competition. She admits she regrets not applying. Yoo Jin hustles Nae Il into his rental car and asks were the nearest fax machine is. They only have one hour before the submittal deadline.
Yoo Jin submits to the time honored tradition of proving your worth to your girlfriend’s family by how well he handles his alcohol. With Grandma, Mother, Father and Nae Il watching with approval, he drinks. Father admits he never thought Nae Il would marry with her unique personality. Yoo Jin tries to clarify they are not engaged. Father smiles knowingly and confides that’s what he thought years ago too.
Yoo Jin’s mother is thrilled he took the airplane to Jeju. She frets that her mothering skills must be lacking as she could not help him overcome his fears. Yoo Jin chides his mother that self-pity does not become her. They hug. Love the way Yoo Jin leans his head into his mother, so sweet.
Il Rak, Min Hee and Min Soo are happy and sad that Nae Il is back and if she wins the competition will study in Europe. Il Rak tells them he will still be there so all is well. Much to Il Rak’s surprise, they agree they will be glad to have him around.
Yoon Hoo finds Nae Il in the piano practice room. He jokes with her that she came back for him and because she realized she loves him. Uncomfortable with the bantering but still enjoying it, Nae Il tells Yoon Hoo he needs to keep a proper distance. Yoon Hoo gives her a pretty necklace. When she starts to decline the gift, he presses her to consider it a gift from a fan that she re-energized because of one of her performances. He wishes her well.
Nae Il and Yoo Jin take a night hike. They bicker a bit about Yoon Hoo and Nae Il’s new confidence in their relationship. They stare at the night sky and wonder what their relationship will be like when they return to this spot.
They made it…Europe…the streets Yoo Jin remembers from childhood…he now visits as an adult.
Yoo Jin finds Nae Il mooning over couple rings in the display window. He recalls the glee Il Rak and Shi Won had when they showed Nae Il and him their couple rings.
Yoo Jin and Nae Il go to visit Maestro Vierga but he is hard to track down because of his busy schedule. They elect to sight see for the day. Nae Il exclaims it would be great to declare their love in front of a fountain. Yoo Jin finds the perfect spot, draws her near, whips the rings out of his pocket, has her close her eyes, positions the rings above her head…then the fountain turns on and the rings slip into the fountain basin. Yoo Jin locates the rings after searching a bit. He convinces Nae Il to practice with the lure of the rings. He tells her after she wins the competition, she can have the rings. That is sufficient motivation for Nae Il!
Nae Il knocks on Yoo Jin’s door and gives him plaintive looks practically begging him to let her into his room. Amused he allows her to enter. She asks for ramen and he goes to the store to get some. While he is out, she holds up various night gown options for Min Hee to approve of via video chat. Nae Il claims they are living as husband and wife. She encourages a doubtful Min Hee to spread rumors about them. Little does Nae Il know that Yoo Jin has returned to the room and overheard. Yoo Jin tells Nae Il she must leave. Min Hee’s doubts about their “married status” are confirmed. He kicks her out of his room and bans her until the competition is over.
Il Rak and Shi Won hang out at his father’s eatery. Shi Won claims that Il Rak got his father a health drink. Il Rak’s father is touched and walks away noting Il Rak’s mother was considerate like Shi Won too. Nice to see Il Rak’s father. I missed him last episode.
Yoo Jin and Nae Il learn that a Korean pianist Lei Wu is competing and will be difficult to beat. The competitors come of out the woodwork on this show!
Nae Il frets that if she does not win the competition she will not live in Europe with Yoo Jin. To boost her spirits he presents her with her couples ring. She is thrilled. Nae Il tries to seal the deal with a kiss but Yoo Jin will not participate.
Oh no, the spelling of Nae Il’s name on the application does not match her passport, she is disqualified from the competition. Yoo Jin calls Dean Song who is in the car with his mother.
Dean Song, Professor Do and Yoo Jin try and persuade the organizers to allow Nae Il to compete. The organizers state if they can find someone that is recognizable or a judge to vouch that Nae Il is who she says she is that will be sufficient. Cue Yoo Jin’s father stepping into the auditorium while Nae Il practices. When she finishes, he claps, and she recognizes him. She begins to introduce herself as Yoo Jin steps into the room. His father is stunned…how did Yoo Jin get to Europe?
Yoo Jin tells his father he is there to support Nae Il in the competition. His father sees supporting another as a weakness. He urges Yoo Jin to only think of himself. Yoo Jin refuses to live that way. His father sees he cannot be swayed. Before he leaves the room he tells Yoo Jin that the concert at the school was reasonable for a college orchestra. As his father leaves, Yoo Jin muses that is what it is like to get a compliment from father.
Yoo Jin calls Maestro for helping in obtaining the list of the judges. Maestro notes nothing comes easy for Nae Il. He cannot promise he will be successful obtaining the list of judges.
Just before the competition a judge confirms Nae Il’s identification. Wanna bet it is Yoo Jin’s father? Yes, the panel of judges includes Yoo Jin’s father. Yoo Jin cannot believe his father might have helped him when the Maestro states his father is a judge.
Yoo Jin and Nae Il wait for her name to be called to perform. He holds her hand and tells her she will do well. Nae Il realizes that she does not have to win the competition to obtain the goal of introducing herself to the world. Lovely moment when her name is called and they are holding hands.
As Nae Il plays, Yoo Jin recalls their “greatest hits” moments. He ends with the dream of her playing in the field from episode 1. It is a lovely montage. He smiles as he listens to Nae Il play. His father is surprised by Nae Il’s skill at stroking emotion from the piano.
In the final moments of the show:
* Min Hee tells Nae Il she will help her pack for Europe.
* Professor Do and Professor Ahn look forward to the batch of students. They chuckle that Professor Do did learn to have fun because of Nae Il.
* Il Rak tells Rising Star Orchestra they are now professional. No need to study abroad. They can continue their music at home.
* As Nae Il and Yoo Jin argue about what she can and cannot take to Europe, Il Rak, Min Hee and Min Soo observe them from the doorway just like in episode 8. Min Hee shakes her head at their childish behavior. Il Rak says their support got Rising Star recognized, so it is all good. Min Soo notes most people change after winning the Salsburg competition, but not Nae Il. They tell them to stop fighting, they’ve got someplace to go to.
* Straightforward and satisfying final episode. The show had a natural divide between the characters Nae Il and Yoo Jin in Europe, and the others at the school which provided a natural focus on our couple, which I was all for. I do not know when the European scenes were filmed but our couple seemed a bit stilted together in the outdoor scenes. They had developed such a sweet relationship in the second half of the series it was a bit jarring to see the physical comedy and the sniping with each other return to the level the couple had in their early episodes. The shocked look on Yoo Jin’s father’s face when he realized his son was in Europe – priceless. I liked that he was the one that vouched for Nae Il so she could play in the competition.
* Joo Won as Yoo Jin supported Nae Il in the final episode. Lovely to see him be her primary support and enjoy it. Terrific to see him stand up to his father and be comfortable doing it. I liked that this character learned being alone is ok but the support of friends makes life better. Yes, I feel ripped off they did not kiss.
* Shim Eun Kyung as Nae Il was practically brazen about their future together. Loved her dress that she wore at the final competition. Poor girl, did not even get a kiss out of Yoo Jin. The rings were pretty.
* Ko Gyung Pyo as Il Rak was comfortable in his relationship, his role as concert master, and his future. What a positive place to end for this enjoyable character.
* Our other supporting characters contributed. Min Soo was part of our core trio. Nice to see them featured as a trio again. Min Hee support our couple even though she wanted to gag at their antics couple of times. Yoon Hoo was back in sync with himself and the others. Nice to see him integrated not separate.
* The adult supporting characters all ended in a good place too. I enjoyed the friendship between Professor Do and Professor Ahn. I liked Yoo Jin’s mother. I loved Il Rak’s father. Nice to see Nae Il’s family. Even Dean Song and Maestro looked like they might step into a relationship.
I enjoyed this series. I have not seen 2006 original Nodame Cantabile so I had no preconceived notions watching this series. I know there was some negativity regarding this remake. While I understand loyalty to the original, remakes offer an update opportunity. This show brought this script to life in a playful positive way. Our main couple was fun to watch. I enjoyed their push/pull with each other. The supporting characters were likable and engaged me. Overall, this show was a thumbs up.