A lovely end to our amazing journey. A more fitting end I would not be able to find.
Episode 50 (Final)
Seo-young finally gives voice to her innermost thoughts and feelings – most importantly, her abiding love for Woo-jae. Their kiss is not only an affirmation of their love, but a token of forgiveness for all their past hurts, and a promise for their future. Woo-jae tightly holds Seo-young and says, “Thank you,” and she replies, “I’m sorry. Thank you,” then burrows even more tightly into his embrace. Can I get a “Hallelujah!” from the choir?! Yee!
Ready to give Seo-young her last piece to a new life, Papa Lee wakes from his coma. Seo-young is still with Woo-jae, telling him to hand over his keys so she can drive him home. He tells her to go on up and get some shut-eye, and before she can answer, she gets a call from Sang-woo. Apprehension filing her, Seo-young hesitantly picks up as Woo-jae also stands by nervously. To their utter joy and relief, Sang-woo excitedly tells his sister that Papa Lee regained consciousness.
At the hospital, Papa Lee slowly opens his eyes and finds a tearful Sang-woo and Ho-jung beside him. Sang-woo couches his love and relief in a chiding “Why did you make us worry?!” and Papa Lee is saved from further ‘scolding’ as Seo-young and Woo-jae race in. Papa Lee weakly smiles at the two, trying to reassure them that he is fine. Unable to hold it in any longer, Seo-young embraces her father and tearfully says, “Thank you, Father. Thank you for being alive. Thank you.”
Mi-kyung shares the good news with her family, who are all overjoyed. When Mi-kyung explains that it’s quite rare for a patient to overcome what Papa Lee did, Papa Kang (yes, I have officially deemed him worthy of the title ‘Papa’) says, “That is what a father does.” *tears* Asked whether Woo-jae knows, Mi-kyung says he came together with Seo-young, which makes Papa Kang scoff – they made a big fuss about having broken up for realsies, when in truth they were dating behind the parents’ back. Hee!
At the hospital, Papa Kang wakes up from a nap and finds Seo-young holding onto his hand, fast asleep. He tries to gently ease his hand out from under hers, to drink some water without disturbing her, but the movement wakes her up. As she hands him a glass of water, she gently reproaches him for not waking her when he was thirsty. Papa Lee tells her he can be on his own now, subtly telling her to go home and rest, but Seo-young ain’t goin’ nowhere. He gets out of bed, and she asks if he needs to use the restroom, and Papa Lee says he just needs to stretch a bit. Though they have come a long way, father and daughter are still a bit awkward around each other – or at least Papa Lee feels so.
Seo-young: Between a daughter, son, and daughter-in-law, the daughter is supposed to be the most comfortable to be with. Father, you feel uncomfortable around me, don’t you? It’s your fault. You made it so that I only expressed anger towards you since junior year of high school.
Papa Lee: I know.
Seo-young: I can’t remember the last time I comfortably ate, laughed, and talked with you. That’s your fault, too.
Papa Lee just nods in acceptance and slowly makes his way toward the windows. (He’s back in the regular ward.)
Seo-young: It’s possible that I met Woo-jae-sshi because of you. [He stops and looks back at her.] If I hadn’t had to be a live-in tutor, you know me – I wouldn’t have done it. If you look at it from a different perspective, Woo-jae-sshi is actually a jerk.
Papa Lee: Wh-what?
Seo-young: He’s so arrogant. I heard you said so yourself – he’s stubborn and does whatever it takes to get what he wants.
Papa Lee: I d-didn’t m-mean it that way.
Seo-young: But Woo-jae-sshi seems like a dummy. If it were me, I wouldn’t like a woman like me. [Papa Lee softly smiles.] But he knows me all too well. I can’t find someone like him anywhere in the world.
Papa Lee: What do you mean you’re not that great? There is nothing anyone could find fault with in you. [[Awwwwww.]]
Seo-young: You’ve paid of all your debts to me.
Papa Lee: [turns away and walks to the windows] In Vietnam, when we were as poor as dirt, I resented my father and vowed to never become a father like him. Though I did not expect to be wealthy, I thought I would be able to feed, clothe, and educate my children comfortably. But things don’t always go the way you want. After I lost my job overnight during the IMF, I saw that my skills/talents were overwhelmingly lacking. You two were so very smart. I don’t know how such a bright (intelligent) girl like you were born to Lee Sam-jae. Both you and Sang-woo. If I am to make an excuse, that was why I felt more desperate and rushed. There was no job, and I couldn’t just live as a day laborer. I should have given up when I got scammed by Sung-tae. But I just couldn’t give up because I kept thinking of you two. And then, more and more, I lost my senses. [scoffs] This is an excuse, too, but later, I really had no hold on reality.
Seo-young: You should have told us these things earlier.
Papa Lee: I am sincerely sorry for making you guys live that beautiful youth in despair.
Seo-young: I am sorry, too.
Papa Lee: I told you, you don’t have anything to be sorry for to me.
Seo-young: If Sang-woo and I hadn’t been born – no, if we hadn’t been born as twins, then you would have finished night school and lived happily with Mom, making the furniture you love. If you hadn’t been born to Grandma and Grandpa, but to younger parents, or to a wealthy family…
Papa Lee: It was not until you two were born that I understood how unfortunate my parents were.
Seo-young: Thank you, Father. Thank you. Thank you for giving up your dreams for us, for giving birth to me.
Papa Lee: Hey.
Seo-young: I think I’m better off than you were, though. I have Sang-woo, who is always on my side; and I have a father I can return to. You didn’t have anyone to lean on.
*sob* Papa Lee turns back to the windows, looking out into the night, and Seo-young slowly walks towards him. Overcoming a moment’s hesitation, she finally finds the strength to lean on her imperfect father.
The next(?) morning, Woo-jae and Seo-young are helping Papa Lee pack so he can go home. Papa Kang walks in, much to everyone’s surprise, and he tells Papa Lee he wanted to come earlier – but Woo-jae wouldn’t let him. Hee. After Seo-young and Woo-jae leave, Papas Kang and Lee finally ‘meet’ each other as in-laws for the first time. (The relationship between in-laws is quite important in Korea, which stems from the cultural aspects of family and marriage. Marriage is between two families – not just between the couple.) Papa Kang first sincerely thanks Papa Lee for saving his son, and then he says that he felt the parents should fix the children’s problems. Papa Lee is confused, and Papa Kang answers, “You didn’t get to see your daughter’s wedding.” Oh my, is this what I think it is?
Sang-woo is cleaning the house and getting ready for Papa Lee to come home. While dusting the top of their dresser, he finds a box he has never seen before. Curious, he opens it up and finds a ratty pair of slippers (sandals?). It takes him a moment to recall his conversation with Ho-jung on his birthday, when she gave him shoes as a gift and they talked about whether the saying about giving shoes as a gift was true. He ain’t dumb, and he figures these slippers must have been the gift from him she was referring to, but he can’t believe he would have given such ugly things to her. Not gift material by any long shot. Sang-woo’s on a roll, though: He remembers that night, looooong ago, when Ho-jung came to him in the middle of the night, barefoot and crying that she wouldn’t be able to see him anymore. The incredulity on his face pretty much sums up what’s goin’ through his head.
Ho-jung is waiting outside, neck craned looking for Papa Lee. Seo-young, Woo-jae, and Papa Lee finally round the bend, and Ho-jung runs to grab Papa Lee in a bear hug. So. Cute. Papa Lee is a bit embarrassed by it all, but she just snuggles closer and says this is how it’s done in Ameeerica. Hee. Laughing, Papa Lee says all her bubbly energy makes him feel like he’s really alive and back home, and he asks whether she prepared the noodles. (In the hospital, before the coma, Papa Lee had said he craved yeol-moo gook-soo [cold noodles in a radish-based soup], a signature dish of Mama Lee. Ho-jung had said she would perfect it so it would taste just like Mama Lee’s.) Ho-jung assures him the noodles are ready, and they walk inside together, arms linked together. Woo-jae teases Seo-young that Ho-jung seems like Papa Lee’s daughter (not Seo-young), and Seo-young deadpans, “Don’t provoke me.” Hee!
Inside, they all sit down for some nice yeol-moo gook-soo, and Papa Lee looks up with surprise when he takes a bite. Is it good? Bad? Sang-woo drinks a bit of the soup, and he can’t believe that it tastes just like his mom’s. What what? Ho-jung for the win? “I told you, a loooot of effort was put into this – by Seo-young Unni.” Hahah aawww. Ho-jung explains that Seo-young came beforehand and made the noodles for Papa Lee – because she had never once made a meal for him. *bawl* Seo-young shyly says she just tried to imitate what she had seen Mama Lee do. Papa Lee thanks her, happiness filling his face, and he tells her that it tastes just like Mama Lee’s. *tears* Before they can all dig in, Papa Lee mentions that Papa Kang had talked about Seo-young and Woo-jae getting married again. Yee!
Seo-young and Woo-jae walk along the street, and Seo-young expresses surprise at what Papa Kang had discussed with her father. Woo-jae is in high spirits, and he cheekily says this is precisely the problem with Korean parents – they are overly involved in their children’s marriage proceedings. “I mean, I haven’t even decided yet whether I’m going to get married,” he says. That brings Seo-young up short, and Woo-jae nonchalantly asks, “What?” Seo-young coolly asks, “What do you mean you haven’t decided whether or not you’re going to marry?” and he replies, “Since when did you become so dim? I mean that I haven’t decided yet whether I’m going to marry Lee Seo-young.” Ha! She plays it cool, with a “You’re just kidding around right now, right?” to which he returns, “Kidding around? I married Lee Seo-young before, by pushing for the marriage using whatever means were at my disposal. It ended up being a disaster. You want me to have another marriage like that?” He shakes his head, as if unable to bear the thought, and Seo-young sharply demands, “Are you serious?” Woo-jae asks, “Why? Do you want to marry me?” Ha! He cheekily continues, “If you want to marry me, tell me the reason. Then I’ll marry you.” You little scamp, you! The way the last sentence is phrased, it means that he will marry her as a favor of sorts – he will do it since she wants it so much. Hahaa.
Seo-young can’t believe what she’s hearing, and she parrots back, “You’ll do it for me?” Woo-jae just grins and says, “When you decided to stand on your own, I already resolved to wait three years. Fill those three years of independence without regret.” It’s now Seo-young’s turn to be coy, and she asks, “What are you going to do if I say I want to be independent forever?” Woo-jae just answers, “Well, I’ll just be friends forever, then,” and walks away as though it ain’t anything to worry ’bout. Ha! Seo-young’s dumbfounded expression says it all.
As they drive back home, Woo-jae asks what the silent Seo-young is thinking about. “That I want to drink coffee,” she replies. “Coffee?” he says, and Seo-young, pointing to a spot along the road, asks him to drop her off right over there. He pulls over and asks her what she wants to drink, getting ready to open the door, but Seo-young stops him and says she’ll get the coffee herself. It’s a No Parking zone, so would he please circle around and pick her up in a minute? Hee.
Seo-young buys the drinks and Woo-jae comes round, timing it perfectly. Once inside, she hands him a cup, but before he can drink it, he finds a ring rattling around the straw. Eeeeh! It’s Seo-young’s wedding ring, and he stares at it in shock before staring at her. She’s adorably awkward and stiff, but so sweet as she tosses out, “Marry me.” Aaack! Woo-jae just staaaares, letting the car veer off and sending the lovely drivers of Korea into road rage plus, and Seo-young yelps for him to pay attention. He yanks the car back into his lane then pulls off to the side. Gotta be parked for this one, ya know. He pulls the ring off the straw, still unable to believe his eyes, and he amazedly asks, “You carried this around with you?” Seo-young stiffly replies, “Yeah. Always.” Yee! Woo-jae asks why, and she responds, “I didn’t like the feeling that I was separated from you.” Aaaack! A grin slowly spreading across his face, Woo-jae says, “I’m surprised. Lee Seo-young doesn’t hide her feelings anymore for real.” Seo-young stiltedly asks, “What are you going to do? Are you going to do it (for me) or not?” Woo-jae lets loose his lethal dimples and answers, “Okay, okay. I’ll do it (for you). I’ll do it (for you)!” Hahahaaa heeee!! He grabs her in a hug, giddy with happiness, and Seo-young hugs him back, smiling with just as much joy.
Papa Lee rushes over to Mrs. Bang’s carpentry shop to work on his special project. Aww. At home, Ho-jung wonders where Sang-woo is – he said he was going to walk out Papa Lee, but he still hasn’t come back. She finds the trash by the door and grumbles that she told him to throw it away on his way out. To her surprise, her precious slippers are peeking out of the trash bag, and she hastily pulls them out to return them to her box. When she pulls down her box from on top of the dresser, though, she finds a gorgeous pair of brand new heels inside, along with a card. It reads: “This is my present in the stead of the slippers. Because I believe that you won’t run away even if I give you shoes as a gift!” Awwwww. Ho-jung excitedly tries on the heels, touched by the thoughtful gift. She goes outside, dressed to the nines in an adorable outfit that matches her heels, to wait for Sang-woo. But guess who should be there, waiting for her, with a ginormous bouquet of flowers? “I knew you would come outside immediately wearing those shoes.” LOL. Sang-woo tells her, “I learned something while going through all of the stuff with Father: If there is something you want to say, you should say them immediately instead of pushing it off. Thank you for marrying me.” All together: Awwwww.
He offers her the bouquet, but Ho-jung hesitates, and Sang-woo asks, “What are you doing? You’re not going to take them?” Haha such a Sang-woo thing to say. Ho-jung still doesn’t take them, though, and he demands, “What is this? Were you going to run away wearing the shoes I bought you?” That’s enough to jump-start Ho-jung, and she quickly grabs them, happily smelling the flowers. Sang-woo confesses, “Those flowers – it’s the first bouquet I’ve given to the woman I love.” Aack! Ho-jung looks up in surprise and squeaks, “What?” and Sang-woo repeats, “It’s the first time I’ve given flowers to a girl.” You’re just as cheeky as Woo-jae. Ho-jung clarifies, hope battling with wariness, “N-no, no, before that. Before that.” He doesn’t answer, and poor Ho-jung tries to excuse herself, “I must have misheard…” Sang-woo finally decides that that’s enough teasing for one day, and he holds her face as he affectionately says, “Oh, you silly thing. I said I love you.” Ho-jung just stares, and he softly kisses her on the lips. Now the poor girl is just bewildered, and Sang-woo sweetly says, “I love you,” before he even-more-sweetly kisses her for realsies. *swoon*
Mi-kyung returns to the residents’ room after a surgery, and her colleagues surprise her with confetti and good news: She has been selected to go to America for the fellowship program! She is obviously elated, and one of the guys asks if she asked Sang-woo to ask Kyung-ho for a recommendation letter. LOL you peeps don’t know she’s got better connections to Kyung-ho than through his brother-in-law. Mi-kyung is surprised to hear that the hospital rumor mill claims Kyung-ho wrote her reference letter, and she finds him in the cafeteria to ask what went down. Kyung-ho doesn’t deny that he used his connections – he studied with Dr. Jeffrey – to get rid of any doctor that was annoying him. Hahahaa just admit it. You wub her. Kyung-ho tells Mi-kyung that she is indeed not his type, but she is Dr. Jeffrey’s – he likes compassionate physicians. Aww. His final words to her: This is my apology for calling a young girl’s token of love “garbage”. Just get married already.
That evening, Mi-kyung presents the family with her plane ticket to America. Papa Kang can’t believe what he’s hearin’. Since when have his children done whatever they wanted then merely given him notice? Mi-kyung bought her ticket without consulting the fellowship with her family; and Sung-jae has decided to be a manager (agent) instead of an actor. Papa Kang asks his wife what she thinks about this outrageousness, and Mama Kang just flashes her trademark smile and says they should support their kids. The fact that she knew about this and didn’t discuss it with him sends Papa Kang into incredulity overdrive, and he reminds her that this is a violation of their contract. “So, what? Are you going to divorce me?” she asks. LOL.
Papa Lee continues to work hard on his rocking chair, which is nearly complete. Later that day, the whole Lee family goes to Jin-an together. Ho-jung and Sang-woo go in their car while Seo-young and Woo-jae take Papa Lee with them. Papa Lee says they should have enjoyed a date together instead of taking him along, but Seo-young says the person Mama Lee wants to see the most may be Papa Lee. At the riverside, the kids (well, grown-up kids) all pay their respects to Mama Lee and Sang-woo introduces Ho-jung and Woo-jae.
As they sit along the riverside, Ho-jung asks Papa Lee how he and his wife met. Sang-woo answers that Mama Lee moved to Dae-gu after her parents passed away, and that was where his parents met. Papa Lee softly smiles and says they actually met here in Jin-an. Seo-young chimes in that she knows Mama Lee never returned to Jin-an after leaving, and Papa Lee says he had come to Jin-an once before Mama Lee had left.
We get a flashback to Mama and Papa Lee’s first meeting: Papa Lee was doing repairs at a temple (he was working with wood then as well), and Mama Lee was there stacking stones into little towers. (It’s an old tradition(?) done when making a wish. Kind of like throwing a coin into a fountain.) As he walked past her, he accidentally knocked over her little tower with his beam of wood. So after putting away the beam, he came back and handed her a stone to help rebuild the tower. Awww.
Back in the present, Ho-jung asks if the two had had a long-distance relationship, and Papa Lee answers that it wasn’t possible back then – too costly traveling back and forth and finding sleeping accommodations. The kids are all curious as to what happened, and Papa Lee explains that after her parents passed away, Mama Lee went to Dae-gu in search of him. Awwwwww. Seo-young is surprised, and Sang-woo grins as he realizes Mama Lee must have liked Papa Lee first. Papa Lee lets out an adorably bashful smile, and Ho-jung excitedly exclaims that it must run in the family: the girl liking the guy first. HAHAHAAA. Everyone grins, and Papa Lee gets up to take a walk alongside the river. As the kids watch him go, Woo-jae turns to Seo-young and asks why she didn’t take after her mom more in that respect. Heheheee.
As they head back to their cars, Ho-jung says she’s got their day’s itinerary planned out, but Papa Lee tells them to go on ahead – he has somewhere to go. They think he is just making his excuses to let the young’uns have time alone, but he says it ain’t always fun playing with your kids. Hahaa. He says he’ll call when he needs to be picked up, and he slowly heads off to some unknown destination.
The two couples enjoy a fun double date in Jin-an, and as they’re racing down the highway, Ho-jung rolls down the window and happily sticks out her hand. Sang-woo worries it’s too cold, but Seo-young says it’s fine and rolls down her own window as well. Woo-jae grins and says this family’s women sure are headstrong, and Sang-woo replies, “Ho-jung-ie isn’t.” Ha!
They find themselves on a gorgeous, tree-lined road, and much to their surprise, they spot Papa Lee walking along in the distance. Woo-jae pulls over, and Ho-jung sadly remarks that Papa Lee really must have been killing time on his own because of them. But Seo-young says it isn’t, and we get a flashback to her conversation with Mama Lee long ago. (I think this one was actually aired, not just tacked on.) Mama Lee had told Seo-young about how she missed Jin-an. Had Morae-jae Road changed? Was her tower of stones still there? Recalling all these things, Seo-young tells them that Mama Lee had wanted to return to Morae-jae Road so much. “She must have had cherished memories with Father.”
Papa Lee walks along Morae-jae Road and sees his younger self with a younger Mama Lee, holding hands as they strolled down the path. They’re both still a bit shy around each other, and present-day-Papa Lee softly smiles to himself at the sweet picture the two make. *tears* Seo-young narrates,
There before me is a person who was born as someone’s son and was once a boy, a person who wanted to live as a man. I call that person, “Father.”
Gaaah. Seo-young, Woo-jae, Ho-jung, and Sang-woo silently stand and watch Papa Lee, as if in salute and honor of his life. Sang-woo puts his arm around Seo-young and suggests they leave, to give this time to Papa Lee. They all get back into the car and turn around, allowing Papa Lee to spend his time with Mama Lee, undisturbed.
An indefinite time later, Sung-jae announces the groom’s entrance, and we see both(!!) Woo-jae and Sang-woo confidently walk to the front of the wedding hall as people heartily congratulate them. Yee double wedding! It is now time for the brides to make their procession down the aisle, and a gorgeously understated yet elegant Seo-young makes her way to a nervous Papa Lee. We see Ho-jung in the background, bubbly as always, fixing up Papa Choi’s tux. Papa Lee smiles when he sees his beautiful daughter, and he wryly admits that he’s shaking with nerves. Seo-young gently fixes his hair, and Papa Lee tells her it’s okay, that it’s time to go in. He extends his hand, and Seo-young places hers in his warm clasp. Gaaaah I’m bawling right now. *sniff sniff* *hiccup*
Sung-jae announces the brides, and Seo-young and Ho-jung walk down the aisle with their father. I can’t see past my tearssss. *hicc hicc* Papa Lee looks at his daughter, his eyes full of love, as he recalls that day long long ago when he practiced walking down the aisle with Seo-young. Woo-jae steps forward and bows to his father-in-law, and Papa Lee puts out his hand for a handshake, entrusting his daughter and her happiness with him. Sang-woo comes forth to greet his father-in-law as well, who heartily claps him on the shoulder, and Ho-jung eagerly links her arm through her husband’s. Hee. After the ceremony, the two couples take their photo with Papa Lee proudly standing in the center, and then with all of their parents – one happy family.
Two Years Later
Seo-young is goin’ strong as a lawyer, taking on big cases while still working with disadvantaged youths. Yeon-hee is still with her, and Seo-young has gotten quite good at wheedling money out of Papa Kang for the Disadvantaged Youths Center. Hee. Papa Kang grumbles about how much money she gets out of him, but it looks like he ain’t countin’ pennies – this latest check is for $15,000. Interjection: Hair. Seo-young’s. I won’t say more. Back to the story: Mission accomplished, Seo-young heads out, and she runs into Woo-jae on the stairwell. He happily asks if she got a lot of money from their father this time, too, and she answers that she did. Ha! They’re both busy buuusy, and they run off to do their things, looking forward to seeing each other at home that night.
Sung-jae is busy as well, judging audtionees for Winners Entertainment. Love the eyebrow raise and haughty demeanor. LOL. He is still acting as the manager for Papa Choi, who has become the Biebs for ajuhmmas. Can’t believe I mentioned the Biebs. Sorry to all those with Bieber Fever – not my thang, but not my place either to say things about others’ heartthrob. LOL. Mama Choi is her husband’s stylist, and she hilariously has to promise to be on good behavior – no jealous fits – in order to go with Papa Choi to his shoots. Secretary Yoon, who watches Sung-jae from afar, seems happy and content.
Sang-woo is whipped and proud of it, much to Kyung-ho’s disgust. Ha! But Kyung-ho ain’t got any rights to talk trash when he turns just as giddy when Mi-kyung calls. Seems she is thriving in America – the program was supposed to be for 1 year, if I recall correctly – and Kyung-ho is going to see her soon when he visits Pennsylvania to give a lecture. Okay, I really need to say this again, though I ranted already in the Sneak Peek. WHY do they have an American flag hanging in the middle of the lab?? And WHY is she eating in the lab?!?! Little tidbit ’bout Whitecarrot and moi: we worked together in the same lab for four years. This kinda stuff doesn’t fly with us.
Smitten Sang-woo goes to pick up Ho-jung from her knitting workshop studio, but he comes up short when he finds Ho-jung laughing at a young admirer’s cheesy jokes. Stepping inside, Sang-woo calls out, “Honey~.” LOL. The admirer asks if she is married, and Ho-jung brightly answers, “Yes! This is my husband.” The poor dude scrambles up, hastily explaining that he’s a student, and Sang-woo serenely smiles and says, “Of course, I’m sure you are. You come to a knitting workshop to learn how to knit.” LOL. The admirer quickly beats his retreat while the clueless Ho-jung tells him to take his homework with him, and Sang-woo says the dude ain’t comin’ back, much less gonna worry about his homework. “You do your own homework,” he says. Ho-jung is confused, and Sang-woo reprimands, “Did I or did I not tell you that the first thing you do when a student comes is tell them you’re a married woman?” LOLOL.
They head home, with Ho-jung trailing behind and explaining that it’s awkward to say she is married if they don’t even ask. She really thought the guy was a student this time. Ooh looks like it’s a regular occurrence! ^^ Sang-woo can’t believe she actually believes those dudes come because they actually want to learn how to knit, and he demands to know what was so funny about those lame jokes. Finally, unable to take it any longer, Ho-jung complains, “You’re taller than him and a million times better-looking than him. Why are you jealous?” Hee! Sang-woo hotly denies it, but Ho-jung points out he called her “Hoooney~,” so he coolly turns back around and says it was for the sake of family peace. LOL. Ho-jung explains that guy was 25 – a dong-saeng (younger person, literally a younger sibling) – which sends Sang-woo into an even greater panic. Heh heh heh, finally startin’ to feel the young’uns nipping at your heels, eh?
Determined that this can’t go on any longer, he tells Ho-jung, “Let’s go to the fertility clinic tomorrow.” Ho-jung is surprised, because when she had begged to go to the clinic, he had said it was nice living like this, like newlyweds. Sang-woo responds that she seems like she’s single (unmarried) because she doesn’t have a kid, and Ho-jung lets out a grin and links her arm through his. But Sang-woo is feelin’ sulky, because he pulls his arm out, claiming it’s hot. Uh, you’re bundled up in coats. Ho-jung refuses to let go, though, because her neighbor is coming their way, and that hussy always fixes her makeup whenever she sees Sang-woo. Hee! The floozy in question walks by, struttin’ her stuff as Ho-jung holds onto Sang-woo’s arm and glares. It’s adorable. Sang-woo pulls his arm out again, causing Ho-jung to angrily say, “Oppa!” but he wraps his arm around her, which nearly instantaneously puts a smile on her face. As they walk home, Sang-woo reminds her, “Put up our wedding photo at the shop tomorrow immediately,” and Ho-jung happily agrees. Hee!
Over at the Kang residence, Mama Kang is piggybacking an adooorable baby girl. Eeeee! She demands to know whether Papa Kang is done eating yet, and he races out to take his granddaughter from his wife. Hahahaa. Seo-young comes in, apologizing for being late – her meeting ran longer than expected – and Mama Kang complains that she had suuuch a hard time today because of her granddaughter. Sol (the baby’s name) kept asking to be held, and Mama Kang thought her back was gonna snap in two. Hee! Seo-young reminds Mama Kang that she won’t let them have a babysitter, and Mama Kang says she can’t leave her baby to be raised by someone else. Seo-young asks if she should quit working, then, and Mama Kang pinches her for her cheekiness. Woo-jae is infecting everyone! Seo-young offers to take Sol, but Papa Kang tells her to go ahead and eat with Mama Kang – he’ll play with adooorable Sol.
Later that night, Papa Kang gives his wife a back massage, outraged that their granddaughter is out to get her grandmother. “That’s it. We need to force them to move out or something,” he vows, which clearly doesn’t meet with Mama Kang’s approval. Hahaa. He explains that it’s for her sake. They don’t even get to talk for twenty minutes a day these days! LOL!
Upstairs, Seo-young tries to get Sol to fall asleep, while Woo-jae watches the two, ooobviously smitten. “She doesn’t look like she’s gonna sleep anytime soon,” he says, and sure enough, she just claps her hands in delight. He takes her in his arms, and notes that she absolutely refuses to sit in the baby walker. “I wonder whom your stubbornness comes from~” he says, glancing pointedly at Seo-young. ^^ She hotly denies that assumption, saying that she was quite the meek one when she was little, and Woo-jae asks Sol, “Sol-ah, what do you think?” Gaah, I can’t get over the baby talk. Seo-young insists that she really for realsies was docile – that’s why Papa Lee took her to the mountains and tried to raise her more toughly. Woo-jae turns to Sol and tells her that Daddy will neeever take her to the mountains. Hee. Seo-young laughs and says Sol is just like Woo-jae in that if she doesn’t like something once, she dislikes it forever. Woo-jae just smiles, dimples out in full force, and exclaims, “Our Sol-ie is just like Daddy? That’s why you’re so cute, huh?” Gaaaah. WHY SO CUTE?!
As per the laws of the universe, Sol starts up a racket in the middle of the night. Both parents groan, and Woo-jae sleepily reminds Seo-young that it’s her turn to get up tonight. But she just burrows deeper into his side and says, “Sol-ie’s Dad, I’m so sleepy. Just let me off once.” Hee. Woo-jae cracks open his eyes and asks, “Are you gonna keep breaking the rules?” Gah, I love this. Seo-young just begs, “Woo-jae-sshi, just once. I have to go to work at 7 tomorrow morning. Please? Just once,” and hugs him even tighter. Who can say no to that aegyo? Nooot Woo-jae! He predictably caves, with an “Okay, okay,” and gets up to pick up a wailing Sol. That girl’s got some serious lung power. Seo-young sleepily settles into their new makeshift bed (it’s low on the ground, in deference to their baby) and thanks her perfect husband. Woo-jae is busy pacifying Sol and telling Seo-young to go back to sleep, and he eventually falls asleep, arms around both of the precious treasures of his life.
It’s a beautiful morning, and Papa Lee and Ho-jung anxiously wait for their much loved guests. Seo-young, Woo-jae, and Sol finally come into view, and Papa Lee races over to take Sol into his arms. Oh My Gawsh that giraffe one-piece is ADOORABLE!!!! Ho-jung begs to hold Sol as well, but Papa Lee turns away and says he doesn’t want to let her. Hee. Put out, Ho-jung calls Papa Lee a cheap-o meanie, and he demands, “What did you just say?” She quickly repeats, this time in honorific, “You’re a cheap-o meanie.” Hahahahaa! They go inside, Woo-jae and Seo-young forgotten, and Woo-jae reflects, “I’m totally ‘cold rice’ now to Father.” Seo-young just responds, “I’m spoiled rice.” HA!
Cultural Side Note: When someone is referred to as ‘cold rice,’ it means that they are no longer important or cared for. No one wants to eat cold rice when they have nice hot rice, so someone who has become ‘cold rice’ has basically been tossed to the side like a worn pair of shoes. Seo-young’s response is a witty one emphasizing that she gets even less attention – Koreans don’t actually used the term ‘spoiled rice’ in that way.
Inside, the men are all goin’ gaga over the adooorable Sol while Seo-young and Ho-jung prepare lunch. Ho-jung says Sol seems like a bean sprout, and Seo-young quickly defends her darling. “Bean sprout? What are you talking about – our Sol-ie’s face is really small, especially for a baby.” Ho-jung laughs and says, “So you do know that Sol-ie’s face is big.” Woo-jae butts in, “Choi Ho-jung! Our Sol-ie’s face is not big.” LOL. And Sang-woo joins in the fray, demanding of Woo-jae, “Did you just call our Ho-jung ‘Choi Ho-jung’?” Hahahaa oh my gawsh, I can’t stop laughing.
Another Cultural Side Note: As you may have noticed, Koreans tend not to call people by their names, especially if they can use titles. Even colleagues call each other by their respective job titles for the most part, and if you’re going to use someone’s name, it is usually their whole entire name, not just their first name. The exception, of course, is if you’re close friends or dating, but even then it’s “Woo-jae-sshi” for example, not “Woo-jae”. (The “-sshi” is a very mild ‘honorific’ term.) Even among friends or lovers, terms like “Oppa” (what a girl calls an older guy), “Unni” (what a girl calls an older girl), “Hyung” (what a guy calls an older guy), or “Noona” (what a guy calls an older girl) are used. These titles are espeeecially important when addressing family members. You neeeever call anyone, higher or lower ‘ranked’, by their name. So, here, Woo-jae made a boo-boo by calling Ho-jung by her name, even though they were family friends for a long time. He’s supposed to call her “Cheo-nam daek” (which is your wife’s brother’s wife). [“Cheo-nam” = wife’s brother; “daek” kinda = wife.] Makes your brain hurt, eh?
Woo-jae quickly changes his form of address, telling Sang-woo that “Cheo-nam daek” was saying his Sol-ie’s face was big, and Ho-jung laughs, explaining she meant that Sol grows so quickly. Seo-young is appeased, and Ho-jung bemoans to Sol that childless Auntie is so sad. That makes Seo-young feel bad and she quickly apologizes, having forgotten that it’s a sore spot with her cute sister-in-law. Ho-jung sighs and tells Seo-young that she might go to the fertility clinic, and Seo-young tries to comfort her with the adage that Samshin Grandma (a mythical goddess that gives children to people) gets jealous of couples who are so happy together, and doesn’t easily give them children. Ho-jung perks up at the thought that she and Sang-woo are perfectly matched, and Seo-young tells her to just enjoy life. Children are the heaviest bells around your neck – you can’t even go to the bathroom properly if you have a child to care for. Ho-jung responds that you can just hold the kid while you use the bathroom (LOL) and remarks, “Though they may be the heaviest, they are the loveliest bells in the whole world.” Aww.
Seo-young agrees, and when Ho-jung asks how adorable your own child is, Seo-young says s/he is the most adorable baby in the whole wide world. You wonder how this precious child came to you, and you feel grateful at the same time. She tries to describe the feeling you get inside, and Ho-jung says she thinks she knows – when she holds Sol, she feels something tingle all throughout her body. Seo-young is surprised Ho-jung feels such things when she’s not a mom yet, and she remarks that when Ho-jung has a baby, poor Sang-woo will be long forgotten history. Hee. Said like a true older sister. They move over to check on the soup, and when the smell reaches Ho-jung, she suddenly covers her mouth and holds back the nausea. Yeeeee!
She and Sang-woo go to see an OB/GYN, and to their surprise, two little hearts are steadily beating in Ho-jung’s womb. Aaaackkk! Sang-woo can’t hide his excitement and happiness, and Ho-jung bursts into tears of joy. Out in the waiting area, Ho-jung is still sniffling and tearing up, and Sang-woo asks if she is really that happy. “I’m so happy. So, so happy,” she tells him, and he tightly hugs her, sharing in her happiness.
Papa Lee is hard at work on another project, and Mrs. Bang laughs when she realizes it’s a swing set for the twins. Ho-jung is only eight weeks along, and Mrs. Bang laughs at Papa Lee’s eagerness, to which he sternly shushes her. “Just leave me alone. I need to draw when I’ve been hit with inspiration.” Hee!
The beautiful rocking chair in which Papa Lee poured out his love and devotion, is holding Seo-young and a sleeping Sol. Inscribed along the back of the chair are simple yet heart-warming words: “To my daughter Seo-young-ie. From Dad… ^^” Seo-young closes her eyes and slowly rocks herself back and forth… back and forth… as she falls asleep in the loving embrace of her father.
I really don’t know where to begin, or if I should even begin. The recap got so much longer than I had ever expected (hence the delay), and I feel your brains are just as fried as mine.
I want to keep it brief for once, especially since I always epically fail on that count. Looking back on the past 25(!) weeks, I realize just how far we have come – not just us as viewers, but the characters of this drama as well. My Daughter Seo-young was a story of growth, of maturation, of love. And it is not just the love between a man and a woman, but of a parent for his children, of children for their parents. It was an exploration of a father and daughter’s journey to understanding one another, to accepting one another despite their imperfections. And it was a tale of forgiveness and reconciliation.
Weekend family dramas are, for the most part, quite predictable and formulaic. But what endears them to me, what makes them warm the cockles of my heart, is the message of enduring family love. In an age when so many families are broken and people find themselves lost in the tempest called life, these dramas give us a glimpse into a world where love and family ultimately prevail. Though trials and tribulations litter the landscape, at the end of the day, we have someone to turn to: our family.
My Daughter Seo-young bowed out with an all-time best 47.6% (AGB Nielsen; unfortunately a bit less than our hoped-for 50%), and regardless of the ratings, I want to say it was one of the best finales I have ever seen. It isn’t easy to wrap up a drama in such a complete way, without feeling rushed, and I give extra props to Seo-young for doing it with a 50-episode run. Though I have had my issues with writer So Hyeon-kyeong, I must give credit where it is due. As mentioned before, the continuity was quite amazing, and so many of the lines were just beautifully written.
From a visual and editing standpoint, Seo-young was so well done, a feat difficult to achieve for these long-running, lower-budget weekend shows. Bravo. And, of course, we cannot leave out the actors and actresses without whom this fictional world would not have come to life. From the newbies to the leads to the veterans, every single person gave lights-out performances. In keeping with the theme of brevity, I will content myself with one sentence: You were all magnificent.
One very last shout-out to our newest (and a few old, whom I forgotsies) Patch Friends: DuckButtHunter, duckie, innit, Ivoire, jaseza, Jay Zablan, libes, minnie, Rich, and sudhird1! My sincere apologies if I forgotsies someone again! Call me out on it and I will welcome youuuu! :D
My Daughter Seo-young cannot have been the journey it was without all of you here at the Patch. It was one of the most physically and emotionally exhausting projects we’ve had thus far, and I chickened out for a good chunk of the run. But because of all of you, I was able to get back on the horse that bucked me, and because of all of you, I was able to persevere when the going got rough. From the bottom of my heart, thank you for a wonderful, wonderful ride. I hope the journey was as enjoyable for you as it was for me, and I hope this is only the beginning of your time with us here at the Patch. Thank you! *blows kisses*