We end this series hoping to achieve resolution for our couples and their family members. What happens?
High Society Episode 15 and 16 (Final) Recap.
The setup: Four key characters comprise our young romance quadrangle: Rich unloved daughter Jang Yoon Ha (Uee, lead), poor Choi Joon Gi (Sung Joon, lead), rich chaebol Yoo Chang Soo (Park Hyung Sik, 2nd lead), poor part-timer Lee Ji Yi (Lim Ji Yeon, 2nd lead). Rich Yoon Ha and poor Joon Gi want to get back together. Rich chaebol Chang Soo and poor Ji Yi want to get back together.
Yoon Ha comes from a dysfunctional rich family – cold Dad (Jang Won Sik, played by Yun Ju Sang), grieving and drinking Mom (Min Hye Soo, played by Ko Du Shim), presumed dead kind big brother (Jang Gyeong Joon, played by Lee Sang Woo), power hungry big sister (Jang Ye Won, played by Yoon Ji Hye) and bitchy big sister (Jang So Hyun, played by Yoo So Young).
Nutshell Summary Episodes 15-16:
Ha Na’s father’s second collapse is a ploy to lure presumed dead brother Jang Gyeong home. It works, he returns. Mom is upset but he is stoic. His choice, his life.
Ji Yi meets with Chang Soo’s mother who gives permission for them to date. It has the opposite intended effect, Ji Yi begins to cry. She thanks her but says she can’t date Chang Soo because they can never get married without his family’s approval and she can’t live through another breakup with Chang Soo. His mother is surprised at this stance.
When Chang Soo learns from his mother what Ji Yi said, he cajoles his mother to accept whatever his decision is. Chang Soo is masterful in this scene.
Chang Soo and Ji Yi meet. She tells him she can’t move to his neigborhood and he can’t move to hers. She believes he needs to be with someone he’s comfortable with. She says they should choose not to kill each other like the frog and scorpion. They shouldn’t date. He is stunned.
Joon Gi tells Ye Won he won’t do as she has asked. She fires him. As he walks to office he see Yoon Ha. She is excited about her cosmetics line. He says her brother Jang Gyeong is waiting for her in her office. He tells her to win. She assures him she will.
Yoon Ha’s appearance on a local beauty show goes well.
Flushed with solid sales figures, Yoon Ha sees Ye Won. Ye Won deflates her bubble when she tells her she had help and her primary help just walked out of the company.
Yoon Ha rushes to the parking garage to find Joon Gi who has packed up his desk.
Yoon Ha watches Joon Gi drive away from the company and her after he quits. Chang Soo has trouble concentrating in a meeting thinking about Ji Yi rejecting the opportunity to date.
Chang Soo tells his mother he wants Ji Yi. The only way he can have her is if she approves the marriage and gets his father to approve the marriage. His mother is amazed Chang Soo is asking this of her. He relentlessly tells her he chose her path and did as she said. Now it is her turn to do as he says. He tells her his brothers married for business, he wants to marry for love. I chose you Mom, he tells her. I want Ji Yi, he tells her. I must have both of you in my life. Mom caves.
Joon Gi won’t tell Yoon Ha why he left the company. He tells her he needs distance to reflect on his actions.
Joon Gi and Chang Soo bike ride. They agree that Yoon Ha and Ji Yi makes them feel love. Chang Soo says he’s chosen Ji Yi but she rejected him. Joon Gi can’t help but smile at his friend’s personal growth but result that wasn’t to his liking. Chang Soo vows to try and win over Ji Yi. Joon Gi tells his friend he believes he will be successful. Joon Gi says he’s taking a break for some personal reflection and growth.
Yoon Ha and Joon Gi have a full circle moment as they sit by the river. Yoon Ha admits she wanted him to be perfect but that was impossible. He encourage her to ditch him. She says that is ridiculous. She wants to know when he first loved her. Their first kiss? No. She presses him to tell her. Yoon Ha says it would be better if he showed her where he first fell in love with her. Joon Gi admits if he takes her there, he’ll never want to let her go. Swoon moment for Yoon Ha!
Joon Gi takes Yoon Ha to the hotel where she met Chang Soo on the blind date. He explains he studied her in the elevator on her way up to meet Chang Soo. As they enter the elevator, Joon Gi admits the first moment he saw her, he fell in love with her. He turns towards her and softly says “I love you”. She turns towards him and says “I don’t believe in fate. I’m making a choice. It’s Joon Gi, I choose you.” They kiss. Yoon Ha’s voice over “innocence is made complete through refinement. Our start was impure, but through loving each other, we have a pure love.”
1 year time jump…
Yoon Ha is successful at work. Ji Yi is pregnant. They all meet at Chang Soo’s villa for a cookout. Ji Yi and Chang Soo are married and happy about the upcoming baby. Ji Yi declares she likes living with Chang Soo. He is pleased. Ji Yi asks when Yoon Ha and Joon Gi will get married. Yoon Ha states the man she loves won’t propose. Joon Gi puts the box with the rings on the table. He asks Yoon Ha to marry him. She wonders if he shouldn’t say he loves her first. Joon Gi says “I love you, will you marry me?” Chang Soo and Ji Yi bicker about when he told her he loved her. Yoon Ha stops them, looks into Joon Gi’s eyes, and tells him the rings are pretty. The camera pans up as we watch our foursome, happy, together, and in love.
- Yoon Ha’s presumed dead brother is back. He’s positioned himself to interact with the family company from another company. He raised a good point with this mother – living for your children or your husband, was her problem and choice, not his.
- Yoon Ha’s mother wonders why she focused her life on her husband and her son.
- Yoon Ha’s big sister Ye Won has the position of vice president but is forced to deal with her brother again. Not what she wanted.
- Yoon Ha’s father never evolved. Too bad he did not reconnect with his wife even after she decided to stay with him. His emotional intelligence was zero. The company and his interests were all that mattered. Everyone else was a chess piece.
- The last two episodes were the least compelling of the series. The last episode in particular spent much time focused on Yoon Ha’s family members and their issues. My interest in High Society has been the couples with a smaller interest in the family matters. Therefore an episode that flips the formula of the series was less successful.
- Couple power – our couples work through their issues and find a resolution that proves love can conquer societal divides.
- Yoon Ha and Joon Gi – Yoon Ha realized Joon Gi was the man she wanted in her life. She was able to work through his initial deceit. I liked that she poked and prodded until she’d asked the questions and gotten the answers she needed. Exploring and resolving issues was refreshing. Too many times storylines force “let us forgot this ever happened”. I found Joon Gi’s step back and self-reflection surprising. I never thought he’d evolve. Good for him. Blissfully brief, he took a moment to come to terms with his father, who’d he’d largely ignored the bulk of the series. In the end, Yoon Ha and Joon Gi were able to reconnect in their own particular way. This isn’t a swoon worthy couple but they have their own charm.
- Ji Yi and Chang Soo – Ji Yi won because Chang Soo effectively convinced his mother to let him have his cake and eat it too. If Ji Yi hadn’t taken the stand “I don’t want to break up again” which was code for “marriage or bust”, Chang Soo would not have had to find a permanent solution because the approved dating was no longer acceptable to Ji Yi. Chang Soo masterfully manipulated his mother by being upfront about what he wanted and why she would give it to him. In the end, Ji Yi and Chang Soo end up together and happily bickering while they await their first child.
- I will write a series review. Here is a nutshell reaction to this series:
- Double shot of couples made this series addictive
- Our leads evolved over the series in interesting and believable ways
- Even dysfunctional families can evolve and be value add to a story