I did it! I recapped 50 episodes! 25 weeks! Half a year! I’m a recapping BEAST! We are at the end of the road for Soon-shin. While she may have been the best, her drama left me wanting. Still, there were some really beautiful moments and I appreciate the show for giving me that…and Jo Jung-seok! And IU!
Onwards to the final recap!
AGB Nielson Nationwide had this episode coming in at 30.1%.
episode 50 (final) recap
Joon-ho drives Soon-shin home from her cryfest on the beach with Mi-ryeong. He takes her hand to comfort her as she cries…as he should’ve been doing instead of the noble idiocy.
Jung-ae sits at home worrying about Soon-shin and gives her a ring. When Soon-shin comes home, Jung-ae pulls her into a hug, knowing Soon-shin is hurting. Where was this before? Why are you a good mother off and on? Guh. I’m settling for the fact she learned to be a good mom.
Mi-ryeong broods over Soon-shin’s lecture and then heads home to pack. Yes, she’s moving. While Hwang flips out that she hasn’t suicided, she tells him to make an appointment with the reporters. He wants to deny everything, but she’s going to come clean with everything in order to start over. She wants to do this for herself, not Soon-shin. She will try not to damage Joon-ho’s agency either.
I’ve been waiting 50 episodes for this and I wanted it sooner so we could work on a relationship with Soon-shin. This kind of crisis could’ve been brought to the forefront sooner instead of all the B.S. we had to suffer. It’s a good realization for her, but one I wanted her to make in episode 40.
The news breaks and Yi-jung and Soo-jung ask Joon-ho about Mi-ryeong, worried about her despite their hating on her before. Soo-jung has a change of heart and goes to see Mi-ryeong who is packing the picture of her and Soon-shin. She tries to apologize and Mi-ryeong says she’s just happy that she stopped by. She admits to trying to make Soo-jung jealous – she’d always been jealous of her life. She tells her (former? current?) friend she feels free now.
Soon-shin finishes filming her drama and is complimented by her director while Yeon-ah watches. Afterwards, Yeon-ah runs into Joon-ho and I guess we have to see her redeem herself. She hopes he can resolve everything with Mi-ryeong and then she apologizes (for everything). He accepts it quietly and walks past her. She smiles in quiet acceptance.
Turns out he was going to meet with Soon-shin and advise her to meet with Mi-ryeong. Soon-shin doesn’t want to and he tells her he wants her to see Mi-ryeong before she moves far away.
Time for some more harmony in the world: Gil-ja and Yoo-shin are getting one better than ever. Yoo-shin has been having cravings and Gil-ja makes her food…that is, until Gil-ja starts gagging.
It would be AWESOME if that time away got Gil-ja knocked up, but I’m sure it’s just “sympathy pangs” for what HAS to be Yoo-shin’s pregnancy. The boys walk in, happy to see them getting along. Yoo-shin heads to work and is feeling a little “funny”. She’s TOTALLY knocked up. To confirm it, she realizes that she hasn’t gotten her period and pees on a stick. She does not look happy.
Granny and Jung-e walk around in the ugliest, frumpiest clothes EVAR. Granny had a good dream, probably some kinda birth dream. Then they see Jin-wook and Hye-shin walking together, but a phone call from the police station stops her. They’ve got the hit and run culprit.
Really? In the 50th episode? It would be fine if things had worked more slowly to resolution. But everything is happening now. It’s too much.
Anyway, there will be a trial and he’ll be sent to prison. Yoo-shin comes home raging against the hit-and-run culprit. Granny thinks her dream was a lucky dream and then, as if on cue, Yoo-shin starts gagging. Apparently Granny had a similar birth dream for her.
Yoo-shin says she’s tired, but Chan-woo isn’t a fool. He expectantly asks if she’s pregnant. She sadly confirms and he’s ecstatic. He sees she is not and she admits that she’s confused and not ready. He understands her fears and says that they’re in it together and he’ll help her as much as he can. Then she frets about Gil-ja making her quit work when she finds out. He will take care of it, he says, and hugs her. D’aw.
Gil-ja keeps gagging. I still think it’d be funny if she was knocked up. Yoo-shin and Chan-woo go into the kitchen and watching her looking like a cat about to hurk up a furball. And then Yoo-shin starts up. She runs out and Chan-woo gets to drop the news that Yoo-shin is preggers. They are ridiculously excited.
Granny keeps thinking about the ways of life and why stuff happens. Then she goes out for a stroll and sees Jin-wook happily playing with Woo-joo and making her smile. She heads to the bakery and although she acts really cantankerously and makes him nervous, she invites him for dinner to find out his true intentions – a sign of acceptance. We get a scene with his adorable satori-speaking assistant. All one line…I’ll miss him.
At home, Granny tells Jung-ae that Jin-wook is coming over. He gets on with Woo-joo well and makes her smile as she hasn’t in a while. I suppose I’m happy for this change in Granny. Again, I hate EVERYTHING happening in the last episode. But Granny needed this change.
Next we get to see Soon-shin taking on the stage. Joon-ho peeks in on her and visits her after rehearsal. He tells her she’s awesome and offers to buy her dinner, but she has to go home for dinner. He weasels his way into an invitation by buying flowers and telling Soon-shin he wants to leave a good impression on her family.
So now family dinner is comprised of the three sisters and their men. It’s really nice to see this. THIS is what I like to see in a last episode. Granny scolds Joon-ho for coming uninvited and for other stuffs, but they all end up giggling at her Granny-like-no-so-funny-jokes. Then Yoo-shin tells her family she’s knocked up and everyone is really happy, including Joon-ho who claps like a fool.
Jin-wook comes in late ‘cause he was baking cake. Yoo-shin glares at him and is pissed everyone knew he was with Hye-shin but her. She starts the interrogation and Woo-joo stops her in defense of ahjussi. Yoo-shin can see she likes him – Woo-joo says she likes him better that Yoo-shin. HA! Yoo-shin starts on Joon-ho and they tease her. Laughs ensue and then comes the cake.
The cake is revealed and it says, “You’re the best, Woo-joo,” causing the entire family to fall into teary silence. Jin-wook says he was mad the cake wasn’t picked up and called Hye-shin to pick it up. When she came to get it, she started crying and Jin-wook got scared. Maybe that’s why he always wants to make her smile when he sees her.
Joon-ho folows Soon-shin to check out her room and notices she looks a bit down. She’s actually just overwhelmed because her family had a genuinely good day, one of the only ones since her father died. Joon-ho pulls her into a hug to comfort her and Soon-shin is apprehensive someone will see. As Joon-ho assures her no one is coming in, in comes mom with tea! Hehe. Soon-shin shoves him onto the bed and he quickly scrambles to chug the tea, making Jung-ae laugh.
It’s pure merriment as Gil-ja looks over baby things. She is so happy she SAYS she’s willing to do anything for Yoo-shin. When Yoo-shin comes in, Gil-ja asks when she’s quitting work. She’s not going to and Gil-ja wonders if they want her to watch the baby. Chan-woo says that he will get paternity leave. Gil-ja freaks, Bok-man smirks and Yoo-shin falls in love with him all over again.
Granny decides that Joon-ho is cute. She’s right! She stubbornly refuses to accept him or Jin-wook, but she’s all words. She’s actually happy her granddaughters are happy, as is Jung-ae. Actually, Jung-ae missed Chang-hoon a lot because her family was so happy. She heads to his grave where she runs into Mi-ryeong who assures her she was just saying her goodbyes. She promises not to show up again and actually seems humble. That gets to Jung-ae who offers her some tickets to Soon-shin’s play.
We get to see Soon-shin on stage and she remembers her lessons with Mi-ryeong as she acts. It makes her sad, perfect for the scene she’s doing.
Mi-ryeong sets the table outside in some undisclosed rural area, probably her home town, and Hwang comes to taste her cooking – it has improved. She actually seems relaxed and happy and Hwang notices. She tells Hwang about seeing a family when she was young and remembering how happy and warm they seemed eating a meal together. She envied them as an orphan. Then she says she dreamed about Soon-shin every day, but now can’t remember her face. It’s a relief.
Why? I don’t get that.
Joon-ho goes to dinner with his now perfectly happy family. This is the family reunion that bugs me. Both men treated the women like crap. Dong-hyuk still emotionally cheated and the issue wasn’t resolved. Yi-jung still hasn’t made anything of herself. I suppose it’s good they’re happy, but it seems like too much to ask for that everyone gets this bow tie happy ending.
Joon-ho invites his mom to Soon-shin’s play and she pretends to be testy, but she gets over it when Dong-hyuk asks (after giving him a hard time, of course.)
Soon-shin is on stage and Joon-ho watches her, happy to see her happy and doing well. Afterwards, he brings her flowers. Turns out he’s gone to every single show. AWWWWW. He thinks she’s awesome, and he’s be right. She says she can only focus on him because he’s so good-looking. So…it’s a lot of stupid flirting, but I’m a sucker of a girl. So there! IT’S CUTE! He’s about to touch her when In-sung and Chan-mi come to congratulate her. Soon-shin calls them on coming together. Young-hoon comes without his shades and looks like the Lee Ji-hoon that I know!
I suppose this is all the side characters’ last hurrah ‘cause Mr. Waiter is there, too. They all decide to go for dinner.
Before they go, Soon-shin spots a familiar silhouette and chases Mi-ryeong down.
They greet each other and it’s a testament to the acting that the air between them has completely changed. Mi-ryeong says that she did well and turns to leave. Soon-shin thanks her and calls her “eomma”.
Although it’s touching, I think it is very out of place. Mi-ryeong is not a mother and Soon-shin knows it. I think the writer was just trying to put a cap on that storyline. I’m really dissatisfied with how they handled it.
As Jung-ae narrates get flashbacks to Soon-shin’s birthday cake; Jin-wook, Woo-joo and Hye-shin kneading dough and goofing off together; a super pregnant Yoo-shin works work as hard as ever and goes home to her loving husband. Then we get a fake-out scene with Soon-shin dressed as a bride and Joon-ho ogling her. It’s only for her first movie and Joon-ho watches the actor with envy…then pulls out his own pair of rings. He awkwardly practices his proposal like the goofy Joon-ho that I love. He smiles like a fool and I want to kiss him!
We end with Jung-ae looking at a picture of Chang-hoon. She’s been narrating to him. She hopes to meet with him one day and wishes him well until then. Then, she thanks him.
And there we have it. We’ve come full circle…well, not really. It’s sort of the thing I love about family drama; watching the family start in one place and grow and change and come back again, changed, but full of love and having learned new things. This story kinda had a lot of characters stubbornly stagnate and then make a mad dash for change in the last few episodes. Only a few characters actually made what I would consider a full circle: Jin-wook, Woo-joo, the Ex, maybe Gil-ja. None of the main characters. They were jerked around by the writer to satisfy ridiculous plot needs like separating the main couple for no good reason or having Jung-ae hate on Soon-shin for way too long and then turn a total 180. I wanted more retribution for those who did wrong. I wanted a few of those who did wrong not to come around. While I love me some happy endings, too many neatly tied up plot threads just makes it seem like Candyland rather than Dramaland.
In-sung and Chan-mi: In-sung had a personality for all of 5 seconds, and then he became a sidekick, comedy guy, plot pusher…etc. Same for Chan-mi. She was a friend who wasn’t REALLY a friend. She said all the wrong things and did all the wrong things. The only connection she really had with Soon-shin was that their families were friends. I seriously think pairing In-sung and Chan-mi up was pointless. Although, In-sun’s crush was cute. He was cute in his over-the-top suggestions. I liked him more than I liked her as a sidekick to a second lead.
Mr. Waiter: I was really hoping he’d fall in love with Soon-shin since he was so sure she’d love him at the beginning. He was lost in the fray of too many characters and too many episodes. He did help the writer show how a person who means well can still hurt a friend, like at the BBQ where he asked Soon-shin to help him become an actor and she got mobbed. I also like that he acknowledged her before she got famous even though he was kinda hestitant about it.
Young-hoon: The most wasted actor/character in the show. I really wnated him to give Joon-ho something to fight for. Instead he became the step-in for whenever Joon-ho or Yeon-ah needed a kick in the pants. Even his adorable friendship with Soon-shin teetered off towards the end. WTF, show? I love their friendship. I would’ve also loved had we developed him more. We had one episode of gut-spilling and that was it. Wasn’t he a second lead? At least I thought he was supposed to be. At least Lee Ji-hoon did a great job
Yeon-ah: More than anything, I wanted Yeon-ah to come to term with her family issues. Her meddling was a result of her loneliness and feelings of inadequacy. I feel like she merely accepted what was not to be rather than truly growing a learning to make her own family. Her character really fell off, almost as badly as Young-hoon’s did. I suppose that’s a casualty of a family drama. Doesn’t mean I have to like it.
Bok-man and Gil-ja: Bok-man was a foil for Gil-ja who really did most of the growing and changing. She was loud and obnoxious, but at least I got her. Yoo-shin is selfish and doesn’t know how to care for a home. As a woman who is a homemaker, I can understand where Gil-ja is coming from. All her silly mechanizations with Yi-jung were annoying, but I really found I enjoyed her and her blubbering after the marriage. It felt like she grew gradually with a few helpful pushes from stressful situations. Bok-man was sort of relegated to a similar role as Chan-mi. He was Gil-ja’s Chan-mi, plotwise. The person who bugs her and pushes her and talks to her and doesn’t really appreciate her. I wish they had made him less of a jerk to her though. He really was a jerk. I can understand how Gil-ja becamse so annoying bitter and naggy. And, got to love her with sympathy pregnancy nausea. Pfffft.
Yoo-shin and Chan-woo: Yoo-shin was a bit too much and never apologized. She treated Soon-shin better, but still, I think it’s important, even for family, to hear an apology and to show affection, not just assume it. We’re people. We need to know. I like her with Chan-woo because his evenness really, well, evens her out. She compliments her fiesty temper by being strong, but quiet. He doesn’t let her get away with things and it was a relationship that was equal on both sides, because she opened him up.
Dong-hyuk, Soo-jung and Yi-jung: I’ve already ranted about Dong-hyuk and Soo-jung for as long as that “cheating” thing happened. Badly handled and sends a bad message to both men and women in relationships that are going through similar situations. Soo-jung was naggy and insecure and annoying and let him bowl over her. Dong-hyuk treated her like a piece of furniture. They both let Yi-jung whine her way to high heaven and back. They let Joon-ho get really cheeky and be rude and disrespectful. Even as an American in American culture I found him rude to his parents. They didn’t really foster a great family environment. As a family drama, I was hoping that Joon-ho’s family would have some really rounded changes happening, but they were all about dramatics and very little about the actual issues.
Granny: I’ve seen this actress in many other things and I was so sad they didn’t make more of her character. She was just a whiny old bag who nagged and complained and really made things worse. She treated everyone like crap. I know she’s the head of house, but that’s not only a social privilege, it’s a position to be treated with respect and she didn’t do that. MOst of the issues in the family stemmed from her complaint and her disdain and her inability to accept whatever it was: Soon-shin as an adopted kid; Soon-shin as Mi-ryeong’s daughter; Mi-ryeong back in the day; Jin-wook; Jung-ae. She accepted no one and expected happiness. I’m going to pretend she’s the granny from Ojakgyo Brothers!
Hye-shin, Woo-joo, the Ex and Jin-wook: Hye-shin didn’t really make it full circle. She still needed her kid to stand up for her in the end against Granny concerning the Ex. But she did get verbal enough to get her man and tell her family what she feels about her romantic life. So that was good. Woo-joo and Jin-wook were probably my favorite pairing in the whole show. They both fought, hated, loved and LISTENED to each other. Truly listened. Not just heard what the other said. They listened and acknowledged and talked and discussed. Sure, Woo-joo was a brat who really needed discipline, but with Jin-wook, she was gold. That kid is a great actress, too. I also loved Jin-wook’s quiet love and his unobtrusive way of showing it. I like that he wasn’t flashy and that he really gives a lot to Hye-shin. Her best contribution to him was her acceptance. That was awesome. I thought her character was kinda lame outside Jin-wook and Woo-joo. I don’t like it because her character started as someone who is dependent on the opinions of others. I wanted her to outgrow it. At least she did it a little.
Jung-ae: I haven’t quite forgiven her for that stunt she pulled in the 10s and 20s. Y’know, hating on her kid because she couldn’t handle her own jealousy. But she did do a lot to show Soon-shin she cared and she did grow a heart as time moved on. I wanted a lot from her as a character. I didn’t want just petulance. I wanted her hurt to manifest in a way that reflected her age. She’s lived a while and suffered through hardship and had a spouse for most of that. It just seemed like she had a massive 10 episode long fit that suddenly disappeared and left us with a skeleton of a good woman/mother/person. She fleshed out near the end when she started to consider Soon-shin, not the situation that Jung-ae herself was in, or Soon-shin, or the family; but Soon-shin the person. She seemed like a reactive parent rather than pro-active as well. I dunno. Unevenly developed and not fun to watch. Only in the beginning when her and Soon-shin were SO CUTE. They were cute later, but it was overshadowed by bullshit.
Hwang: He took no responsibility for anything he did. Blah. No one did in this show until the 11th hour. He didn’t learn a thing the entire drama.
Mi-ryeong: I’ve bitched about her from episode 1. She changed the least throughout the show and then changed all during the last episode. Sure, there were seeds planted earlier, but its ridiculous to have her change so much so late in the game. I wanted her to grow and change the most out of everyone. Be selfish. Be unable to love another. Then learn, make mistakes, maybe have a few fits. But not 49 episodes of them. It was utterly ridiculous. And then have Soon-shin and her not have any sort of relationship? WTF?! I wanted them to change each other. Instead, they got on each other’s nerves, didn’t do much of anything (even when I thought they were making progress) and then regressed. It’s infuriating. She had the most potential and the writer just let her flounder. And then poor Lee Mi-sook got stuck with that shit. She’s brilliant, but this character was awful!
I wanted Mi-ryeong to do something like, use Yeon-ah, then come back later and really see that what she did was wrong. I wanted her to hate on Jung-ae, but in the end, not care because she got to be with her daughter who she learned to love and care for. Nothing like that really happened. The show went through the motions, but I didn’t see it. It had the chance to explore biological and adopted parentage. It just made a convoluted mess of the whole thing and let biology take over decision making. Jung-ae gave in to Mi-ryeong because Mi-ryeong popped Soon-shin out even though Jung-ae gave up 25 years raising her. Guh. Just RAWR! So many wasted opportunities.
Joon-ho: He started well: bumbling, arrogant, damaged. He ended up controlled by the plot. He treated his family terribly, but Soon-shin well. Normally, I say, never date a man who doesn’t treat his mother well, so you can imagine I had issues with that. He had some growth in terms of dealing with Yeon-ah and Soon-shin, but he neglected work, he neglected Mi-ryeong and he kinda spun in circles for the last 15 or 20 episodes. It was frustrating because he had so much going for him as a character. He had no noonchi, no social prowess. He was a failed musician (the show failed to use more singing!). He was damaged by love and never called Yeon-ah on it. He did the noble idiocy thing. It was completely scattered. Jo Jung-seok was AMAZING every second of the way, but his character was lackluster. It was the little things that Jung-seok oppa brought out that were the best: the smiles, the twitches, the strange gait. He ended up opening up, which was good for him, but the strange plot mechanizations really dampened his character for me.
I wanted to see his relations with his family get better but that only happened as a bi-product of the amelioration of his parents relationship.
Soon-shin: IU, you are so cute. You improved like whoa, and I love you even more now. Your character grew a back bone, but a bit too late for my tastes. I get that she was downtrodden and often kicked around, but I wanted her to have the same gumption she did in the beginning of the show throughout the show. Yeah, maybe she’d break under extreme duress, but she was so sassy at the beginning and I LOVED it. She needed to not like Mi-ryeong kick her around. At first I can see her shock and fear taking control, but after a while, I was just wondering why Soon-shin didn’t ask Joon-ho to go to the press or something. Or think up some way to curb the insanity that was Song Mi-ryeong. Or her Granny’s acerbic tongue. I KNOW you treat elders well, but DAYUM, Granny treated Soon-shin like worm poo. That can’t be right. And Jung-ae rarely defended her and rarely got Yoo-shin off of Soon-shin’s back. I honestly think she needed to go live in the dorms once she signed the contract. Get out and on her own and away from the sick way everyone treated her. I suppose that is reason why she wasn’t more forceful in the situations I wanted her to be forceful in, but 50 episodes later she BARELY learned to open her mouth and say “No, leave me alone.”
In the end, this show was draining. The cute wasn’t worth it. I was ready to fastforward to uri oppa and IU and Jin-wook and Woo-joo. There was a lot of wasted potential and I’m glad to stop recapping.
Episodes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50 (final)