Backstreet Rookie Episode 16 (Final) Recap
Choi Dae Hyun (Ji Chang Wook) dreams that Saet Byul rejects him and walks away with another man she claims to love. That man is him who is the manager/owner of the convenience store. Dae Hyun objects claiming the other Dae Hyun is a fake. Jung Saet Byul (Kim You Jung) counters as a consultant he is the fake. They walk away and salute him before exiting the convenience store. Unable to move Dae Hyun yells at Saet Byul not to leave.
Dae Hyun wakes and wonders why he had the dream.
The next morning, Dae Hyun goes to Saet Byul’s room and finds it empty. There’s boxes and a note. He reads the note. Saet Byul writes “This is the end for you and I. You got your dream job and I’ll pursue mine. I got the money from the real estate agent that swindled me. I prefer things not get awkward between us, so I’m leaving quietly. I wish you, your parents, and everyone well. Thank you”. Dae Hyun calls her, she doesn’t answer.
Saet Byul transfers planting in a rural town’s greenery. She tells the owner she loves flowers and small towns. The owner’s son meets Saet Byul and asks his father for money for books.
Dae Hyun demands the police officer that worked to catch the real estate agent that swindled Saet Byul if he knows where Saet Byul might have gone. The officer refuses to help Dae Hyun.
Dae Hyun calls Han Dal Sik (Dae Hyun’s friend) who tells Hwang Geum Bi (Saet Byul’s friend and Dal Sik’s girlfriend) that Saet Byul has disappeared. Geum Bi assures Dal Sik that this sometimes happens but Saet Byul always comes back. Dal Sik says his father wants him go on a blind date. He wasn’t interested so he told his father he had a girlfriend. But his father didn’t believe him. Geum Bi suggests they visit his father, so he can meet her.
Dae Hyun watches the new manager, Department Head Bae, working in the convenience store. He remembers happy moments with Saet Byul.
Saet Byul discovers the owner’s son paying off two bullies. She gets the money back. This angers the bullies who promise payback and the owner’s son who declares their older brothers can’t be beaten. Saet Byul murmurs she was only trying to help. She says she’s just like Dae Hyun. When Dae Hyun calls, she doesn’t answer.
Dae Hyun eats his supper and thinks about Saet Byul. Saet Byul eats her supper and thinks about Dae Hyun.
The next day Dal Sik and Geum Bi ride the bus to his father’s. They greet the farming workers and find Dal Sik’s father’s assistant. He leads them to Dal Sik’s father who is working in the fields. Dal Sik’s father calls Dal Sik the Seoul beggar. Dal Sik says he has a girlfriend. Geum Bi introduces herself. Dal Sik’s father introduces himself. They enjoy watermelon together. Dal Sik asks his father about the farm, animals, and orchards. Geum Bi wonders if his father is rich. Geum Bi brags her father owns much farmland. Geum Bi says her father owns a small education business. She tells him Dal Sik doesn’t need to go on blind dates again. Dal Sik’s father says he’ll find a nice guy for Geum Bi.
As they drive together Dal Sik spots Saet Byul. He yells at his father to stop the care. He and Geum Bi sneak into the nursery. They spot Saet Byul. Dal Sik tells Geum Bi, it would be more dramatic if Dae Hyun is the one to find her. Geum Bi agrees. Dal Sik calls Dae Hyun to let him know. Dae Hyun gets in his car and rushes to find Saet Byul.
Dae Hyun’s father’s friends return from their vacation. They go to find Dae Hyun’s father in the convenience store but find Department Head Bae. They are shocked when Dae Hyun’s father enters and declares Department Head Bae is the new owner. Outside the friends bring Dae Hyun’s father a jacket.
Dae Hyun drives to the nursery. He finds Saet Byul. She’s surprised that he found her. The moment is interrupted when the bullies and their brothers arrive to even the score with Saet Byul. The brothers aren’t happy a girl dispatched their brother. Saet Byul tells she was helping someone out. Dae Hyun tells the bullies and brothers to leave. They refuse. Dae Hyun offers Saet Byul the option to see if new side of him. Saet Byul wants to see that side of him. Dae Hyun approaches, assesses, and imagines he’ll dispatch the bullies and their brothers. Instead he’s knocked out cold to the ground. Angry that Dae Hyun was hit, Saet Byul engages and dispatches the bullies and brothers. She warns them not to bother her again. They agree and run away. Saet Byul strides to Dae Hyun, who wakes up. He looks for the bullies. Saet Byul tells him they ran away because they were scared of him. Dae Hyun loves it. He claims he’s okay.
Cute that Dae Hyun was easily dispatched and Saet Byul provided bully cleanup.
Dae Hyun tells Saet Byul he’s not going to ask the myriad of questions he wants to. Instead he’s happy that she is happy. Now he can wait until she’s ready to be in a relationship with him. Saet Byul is surprised. He says he’ll ask her the question only when she’s ready. He tells her not to change her address because she’s family. He promises to not bother her while she’s finding her way. But if she reaches out, he’ll respond. Dae Hyun says he’s wearing the scent she gifted him with.
He starts to leave then turns and tells her that he first met her 10 years ago when the punching bag almost fell on her. He says saving her spurred his path of helping others. He promises to wait for her. Dae Hyun tells Saet Byul she’s quite a woman. He leaves with a smile. Saet Byul smiles too pleased he remembered their first meeting.
That night Saet Byul misses Dae Hyun. She gets a text from Dae Hyun with their coded message pictures. Saet Byul smiles.
Dae Hyun looks at the convenience store and wishes Saet Byul were there to greet him.
The next morning, the owner offers Saet Byul a permanent job. She agrees to think about it. She thinks about Dae Hyun.
Dae Hyun has dinner with Yoo Yeon Joo (Dae Hyun’s ex-girlfriend) who admits to being surprised he made the invitation. He thanks her for helping him become a consultant. He points out the headquarter team needs her. Dae Hyun says he’s quitting the consultant position. Yeon Joo is surprised. Dae Hyun says the convenience store is where he belongs, as the owner. He asks her to cancel the transfer of ownership to headquarters. He puts his letter of resignation on the table. She asks if he’ll give her one more chance.
Yeon Joo’s mother joins her daughter for drinks outside at a cart bar. Yeon Joo tells her mother she’s returning to the US. She explains there is a startup company in California that would be a challenging job. Her mother isn’t happy. Yeon Joo chides her mother to be happy for her.
Yeon Joo’s mother meets Dae Hyun’s mother. She tells her that Dae Hyun was offered the consultant role because of his courage and willingness to protect Yeon Joo years ago. Dae Hyun’s mother is taken aback. Yeon Joo’s mother explains. Dae Hyun’s mother is impressed with her son. She’s not impressed with Yeon Joo or her mother. She points out her son’s behavior was loving and trusting but Yeon Joo lied to her son and didn’t trust him. Dae Hyun’s mother regrets wanting Dae Hyun to get back with Yeon Joo. She declares she may not have money but she has pride. She pays for their drinks and strides away, her head held high.
Dae Hyun makes a sign for a part-timer worker. Dal Sik spies the sign from his rooftop. He rushes to the convenience store happy to see that Dae Hyun is back. Dae Hyun isn’t as excited with Dal Sik. Dae Hyun tells Dal Sik to carry Saet Byul’s desk into the back room. Dal Sik says he’s too weak but Dae Hyun talks him into it.
Dae Hyun’s father and mother are surprised when Dae Hyun states Saet Byul has left town. Dae Hyun’s mother asks if something happened between them. Dae Hyun admits Saet Byul left so she wouldn’t impeded him. Dae Hyun’s mother realizes that she gushed about Yeon Joo when Saet Byul was there. She calls herself stupid. She regrets her words. She asks why Dae Hyun resigned being a consultant. Dae Hyun says there is nothing wrong with living with his parents and wanting to be like them. He says they have ups and downs but they love each other. That happiness is worth striving for. His mother tells him to go to the store. His parents are touched by Dae Hyun’s words. They laugh and declares they are successful parents. Dae Hyun’s father shudders when his wife suggests they have another baby.
Dae Hyun cleans the store, researches college entrance exams, and talks himself out of texting Saet Byul. He struggles to stay awake after working long hours. Dal Sik finds him napping. He offers to watch the store. Dae Hyun heads to the back room to catch a nap. He hopes every time the door rings, it might be Saet Byul. He texts Saet Byul the picture.
Saet Byul smiles. Saet Byul gets the text that her high school equivalency certificate was mailed to her home address. She’s thrilled. She realizes the certificate will be mailed to Dae Hyun’s house. She worries she might need the certificate.
Later that night, Saet Byul tries to get her certificate from Dae Hyun’s mailbox but his parents arrive home. Dae Hyun’s mother opens her mail. She and Dae Hyun’s father wish Saet Byul was there so they could throw her a party. Dae Hyun’s mother tells her husband to go the convenience store to relieve their son. She notes that sense Dae Hyun quit being a consultant he’s worked long hours. Startled, Saet Byul yelps. Dae Hyun’s parents stare in surprise at the now revealed Saet Byul.
Unable to hide, Saet Byul approaches Dae Hyun’s parents. Dae Hyun’s mother asks about the swindle. Saet Byul cries and apologizes for leaving without saying goodbye. Dae Hyun’s mother hugs her and says she didn’t do any wrong. Dae Hyun’s mother apologizes for what she said. They hug it out.
At the convenience store, Dae Hyun struggles to stay awake at the 40-hour mark. He falls asleep at the counter.
Saet Byul approaches the convenience store. She stares at the building. She looks inside and see Dae Hyun asleep at the counter. She sees the part-time help wanted sign. She strides in the store. She wakes Dae Hyun. They lock eyes. She says she’s there to interview for the part-time role. Dae Hyun asks if he’s seeing things. They squeeze each other’s cheeks to verify this is real.
Dae Hyun realizes Saet Byul is really in front of him. Saet Byul demands to know why he quit the consultant position. Dae Hyun says he likes working and managing the convenience store. Saet Byul demands to know who he’ll get advertising for a part-timer with a sign. Dae Hyun says she came. Dae Hyun declares he’s missed her. Saet Byul declares she’s missed him. Dae Hyun declares everything in the store reminded him of her. Saet Byul declares every flower reminded her of him. Dae Hyun thanks her for coming back. She thanks him for waiting. Dae Hyun tells her to stay by his side. Saet Byul agrees. She asks if she can hug him. Dae Hyun says he’ll initiate. They hug and smile.
Dal Sik and Geum Bi are thrilled as the final chapter of the webtoon is uploaded. They declare their affection for each other in their own way. Geum Bi asks what his next webtoon will be about.
Dal Sik takes her to the roof and points to the convenience store as the inspiration for his next webtoon. He explains a store manager will have an unpredictable funny romance at the convenience store. She loves the idea. But thinks his title needs help. She suggests Backstreet Rookie. Saet Byul and Dae Hyun spy them and wave. They agree Backstreet Rookie is the title of the webtoon.
Geum Bi and Dal Sik discuss the plot as we see stylized clips from the show. When Saet Byul tells Dae Hyun she’ll tell answer his question later, Geum Bi demands to know what happens next.
Saet Byul faces Dae Hyun and reminds him of the question he asked previously. With a smile Saet Byul says her answer is yes. With a smile Dae Hyun says his answer is yes. They both smile.
Dae Hyun moves in for a kiss. Just as contact is imminent, Dae Hyun and Saet Byul break the third wall, smile at the audience, and covers the camera lens.
Epilogue…Dae Hyun’s mother wins a service award. Dae Hyun’s father gives his wife a beautiful bouquet at the ceremony. Per request, Cha Eun Zo (Saet Byul’s friend) gives a client a dreadlock hairstyle. Geum Bi and Dal Sik sport an identical sleek haircut. Just before going on stage, Jung Eun Byul (Saet Byul’s sister) falls and gets a bloody nose. Eun Byul stands up, wipes her nose and declares she will go forward.
The camera pulls back on the final scene and Ji Chang Wook and Kim You Jung wave as the director calls cut. The camera angle changes and we see the crew of this series. The director calls cut. Backstreet Rookie is done!
All’s Well That Ends Well. Writer Son Geon Joo wrapped this series up by stringing out the reconnection with our couple until the last moment. We the audience were drawn into the final moments of the series when the third wall was broken. We got see our leads, Ji Chang Wook and Kim You Jung, show us the crew working the final wrap up shot. The pull back to highlight the crew was a nice touch. They work hard and deserve to be shown.
Choi Dae Hyun (Ji Chang Wook) waited for Saet Byul to admit she liked him…he got the answer he wanted. Dae Hyun decided to quit being a consultant. It wasn’t making him happy like being a convenience store manager was. He told his parents money wasn’t everything, their lives proved that to him. Though he had to work long hours, Dae Hyun waited for Saet Byul to return to him, to accept his heart. She did. And just as they leaned into seal it with a kiss, they broke the third wall. That worked. Ji Chang Wook made Dae Hyun likeable, lovable, ethical, and a nice guy that won. Ji Chang Wook seems to have chemistry with every female lead he’s given.
Jung Saet Byul (Kim You Jung) decided that being with the man she loved, the man that was waiting for her, was the choice she wanted to make. Saet Byul passed the high school equivalency exam. When she went to fish it out of Dae Hyun’s mailbox, his parents got there first. She overheard their happiness that she passed and that Dae Hyun was no longer working for headquarters. Saet Byul’s reaction revealed herself. Dae Hyun’s mother hugged her and apologized for her words that contributed to Saet Byul leaving. Saet Byul marched to the convenience store and gave the answer Dae Hyun had been waiting to hear. Kim You Jung’s megawatt smile and energy made Saet Byul likeable, loveable, and the hardworking girl whose dream man became hers. She and Ji Chang Wook had a spunk that wasn’t sexual but it was satisfying in this couple.
What’s my wish list for the final episode?
Saet Byul and Dae Hyun end up together. GRANTED. Saet Byul returned to the city to learn that Dae Hyun had quit the corporate world. She made her declaration and acceptance in the convenience store. Dae Hyun did the same. They ended up happy and together. We didn’t get to savor it, as it occurred in the final minutes of the series.
The other characters wrap up without messing with Saet Byul and Dae Hyun. GRANTED. The supporting characters stopped interfering with our couple and concentrated on their next steps. Yeon Joo returned to America, Dae Hyun’s parents were solid, Eun Zo and Eun Byul had cameos in the epilogue, while Dal Sik and Geum Bi framed the final scenes as the webtoon Backstreet Rookie was conceived.
Ji Chang Wook’s final behind the scenes video:
I rank this episode as almost very good, 7.5 on a 10-point scale.