Witch Amusement: Episode 16 (Final)
Ahh, Witch Amusement. How you’ve amused me so. Despite your repeated shenanigans (or maybe because of them), I’ve enjoyed watching you, all 16 episodes. You gave me so much to laugh about (and more to laugh AT, but who’s differentiating? Po-tay-to, po-tah-to.).
And now, we say adieu.
(Random) SONG OF THE DAY
K.Will – “You” [ zShare download ]
EPISODE 16 (FINAL) SUMMARY
Joon Ha calls Mu-ryong for a man-to-man chat, because what pleasant chat isn’t replete with ominous threats? He informs Mu-ryong that Yoo Hee’s company has met with utter ruin, and pins the blame on Mu-ryong: “Because of you, Yoo Hee’s lost everything.” He tells Mu-ryong he’d better end things with Yoo Hee — let her go before people get hurt any further.
Mu-ryong goes to see Yoo Hee, who is reluctant to let him in because she doesn’t want him to see all the little red tags stuck to her household items. But Mu-ryong knows what’s up, and he pushes past her to confirm the sight for himself.
He’s upset first and foremost that Yoo Hee didn’t bother to tell him: “Do I mean so little to you? Why didn’t you tell me? Why do I have to hear about this from someone else?” Yoo Hee asks what the point would be in telling him; what could he do? Mu-ryong: “We could hurt together, worry together, be together!” Yoo Hee hardens, and blames him for her troubles: “Together? This happened because we were together. So just leave. Go study abroad.”
Mu-ryong asks if she means it. She tells him to leave.
So Mu-ryong leaves, stunned at his loss, and Yoo Hee cries at having hurt both of them with her lie:
Mu-ryong leaves for Paris, and his family are by now so used to his habits that they don’t actually trust him to get on the plane. They follow him all the way to the boarding gate to confirm that the plane does, in fact, take off. Mu-ryong goes away to France thusly…
…but comes immediately back!
For about three brief, shiny minutes, I was in awe — UTTER AWE — at the marvelousness of this twist. I laughed out loud, thinking, “Man, Witch Amusement had an ace in the pocket, and boy did they work it!” Because I thought Yoo Hee and Mu-ryong had planned this all out. It was brilliant. Like in Confidence (or any hustling movie, really), where you are led to believe one thing, and it turns out to be the complete opposite — i.e., the happy couple invented this elaborate scenario to fool everyone so they could be together in peace! It’s fantastic!
Except, not so much. Because, you see, it wasn’t planned. Oh well. I should’ve known better. Expectations, what were you thinking? Crawl back into that box and shut the lid.
Instead, Mu-ryong returns to his parents’ restaurant, to everyone’s astonishment, because they totally saw him get on the plane. But they must endure yet another shock, seeing Yoo Hee come in with her luggage. Mu-ryong informs his family that she’ll be staying with them for a while. His mother haaaaaaaates that idea, although Mu-ryong explains that it’s because of him that she has nowhere to go. Witnessing the negative reaction to her presence, Yoo Hee offers to leave, but Mu-ryong holds her back.
Joon Ha’s next course of action is to visit Seung Mi, proposing that it’s their place to now tear the two apart. Sensing her reluctance to play the annoying clinging ex-girlfriend (anymore), Joon Ha tries to goad her, asking how she can give up on her love so easily. (If he thinks Seung Mi gave up easily, I shudder to think what he thinks it means to cling.)
But Seung Mi, to her everlasting credit, shows the spine she couldn’t show Mu-ryong, and refuses to cooperate. “I’ll take care of my matters myself. I have no reason to listen to you.” Applause all around for Seung Mi.
Mu-ryong’s father, being the awesome parent that he is, understands that although he has reservations about Mu-ryong and Yoo Hee, he can’t live his son’s life for him. His suggestion is that they first work on persuading Mu-ryong’s mother, who appears on cue to shrilly express her displeasure. Knowing what makes her tick, Mu-ryong’s father employs some hilarious reverse psychology, putting on a show of cruelly throwing the couple out. Mu-ryong catches on to the plan and sighs, “I guess we’d better go then, and find someplace to sleep on the streets.”
Hearing that, Mu-ryong’s mother’s guilty conscience flares, and she stops them from leaving — she didn’t realize they were that hard up. She thought they were exaggerating. If they honestly have nowhere to go but the streets, they might as well stay at the restaurant.
The Chaes get a visit from President Ma, who, having failed to buy off Mu-ryong, is now here to buy off his family. He offers them an envelope, presumably containing an obscene amount of money, offering even more to come. In return, he wants their help convincing the happy kids to split up.
Mu-ryong’s mother is offended at President Ma acting so important and superior. She’s not impressed or intimidated by his wealth, but Mu-ryong’s father interrupts her tirade, seemingly taking President Ma’s side. At first.
He takes a calm, reasonable approach, yet at the same time manages to lay down a terrific smack-down. He commiserates with President Ma about his fatherly concern — all parents speak the universal language of caring about their children. But: “You cannot disregard people so easily. You should first carefully consider why your daughter told us she had no place to go, forgoing your fancy mansion to come to such a lowly, pathetic place like this instead.”
And he hands the money envelope back without bothering to look at its contents. Booyah!
Joon Ha attempts again to convince Yoo Hee that she should come back to him. If she continues, she’ll ruin herself. Someone should tell Joon Ha that wooing a woman’s heart would work better if he actually SEEMED like he cares about her, instead of constantly threatening her and glowering possessively. Just a thought.
As Yoo Hee attempts to leave, Joon Ha grabs her arm (seriously, he might want to reconsider his tactics; the repeated use of force is really not doing anything for his game), and tells her he loves her. He tries to look earnest, as though this time he really means it, despite the fact that merely two episodes ago he was sneering that love was an emotion he knew nothing of. Well, I suppose a lot can happen in a week. I did my laundry and wrote a couple blog entries; Joon Ha discovered the effects of a profound, life-altering emotion he’d previously never believed existed, and fell head over heels for its powers. It could happen.
I don’t buy his newly earnest avowal of love, and neither does Yoo Hee, although the ominous, tense music tells us we should be feeling something for Joon Ha. Pity? Empathy? Confusion? Whatever it is, Yoo Hee pointedly tells him, “Love doesn’t ask for money,” and leaves.
She meets Mu-ryong at a jewelry store, where he wants to buy her some “handcuffs” so she can’t run away — i.e., couple rings. I swear it doesn’t sound that kinky in Korean. Although the pair she first picks out turns out too be way too expensive for his means, she’s happily satisfied with the simple, less expensive pair they end up with.
While Yoo Hee smiles at her ring and says, “Not too bad, as far as handcuffs go,” Joon Ha dwells on her rejection of him, and forgets to concentrate on the road. He swerves to avoid rear-ending a car, and instead spins out and gets hit by another oncoming vehicle….
I’m sorry (no, I’m not), but I totally laughed. Come on! Look at that expression!
Joon Ha ends up in the hospital, alive but injured. Yoo Hee doesn’t want to visit him, but because Mu-ryong is The Most Understanding Boyfriend Ever, he persuades her to go and check on Joon Ha. It’s okay; she can do that much for him.
She’s alarmed to hear that Joon Ha’s suffered most in his right arm — and may never be able to pick up a knife again. To a surgeon, it’s an awful blow. Joon Ha doesn’t take the news so well either, yelling at Yoo Hee to leave — he doesn’t want her pity, and he doesn’t want to hold onto her using this accident.
Yoo Hee, however, feels an illogical amount of burden and/or guilt (although it makes no sense — what does she owe him?) and meets with Mu-ryong with a heavy heart. Mu-ryong can sense the moody atmosphere, so when Yoo Hee offers to buy him a drink or some ice cream, he stands up to follow her. She insists she can go alone, but he tells her, “It’s because I’m afraid you won’t come back.”
But Yoo Hee wants to go alone anyway. Ominously, she responds with silence when Mu-ryong stops her to say: “You do love me, don’t you?”
Mu-ryong’s intuition synapses are firing on all the right levels, because Yoo Hee doesn’t come back. Instead, she sends a little kid to bring him his ice cream cone, and her half of their couple ring set. Dude. She could’ve at least sent him a non-melty cone. It’s like rubbing salt in the wound, hammering the point in cruelly: YOU ARE TOO LATE. The ice cream of my love is melting and running down the sides of the cone of our happiness, becoming ever more soggy and inedible with time, unable to contain our epic relationship as we are doomed to suffer the winds of fate.
Or maybe it was just a sad little visual.
Yoo Hee cries over her choice, but for reasons that are known to her and nobody else, she feels she’s got to leave Mu-ryong. I don’t know why we’re supposed to understand her return to Joon Ha — she didn’t cause the accident, she isn’t his wife, they weren’t together at the time, and it’s not like Joon Ha’s completely helpless. But she goes back anyway. President Ma is happy at the reuinion, and advises Joon Ha to give up the hospital, since he can’t operate.
The separation leaves Mu-ryong empty and dull, which Johnny sees for himself when he comes to say goodbye. He’s leaving the next day to return to New York, and asks Mu-ryong if he’d consider leaving with him. I presume he means to study and not to go on lots more romantic man-dates together.
Over a meal together, Yoo Hee sees Joon Ha struggling to pick up his knife to cut his own steak (hello, heavy-handed metaphor) and cuts up his meat for him. She does so with little affection (because she’s in this relationship for the duty and obligation, silly, not the love!), but in any case, the President observes her actions with a measure of satisfaction and glee, because he is a creepy old man with way too much interest in controlling his daughter’s love life.
But! Yoo Hee steps aside to take a phone call, and is on her way back to the table when she overhears her father talking to Joon Ha about making sure “not to get caught by Yoo Hee.” Because…
…his wrist really isn’t injured! Dun dun dun!
In the privacy of his own office, Joon Ha unwraps his wrist to reveal that it was all fake! I have to hand it to them, they did manage to pull out a surprising twist just when I wasn’t expecting one. It’s unexpected and very Usual Suspects. Stupidly convoluted, but kind of cool just the same. In the absence of cool plot twists so far, I have to appreciate that they pulled ONE out.
But as with all stupid schemes (and it’s truly stupid — did he think he’d live his entire life pretending to have a bum wrist when it’s really fine?), he must be caught. Yoo Hee sees him as he’s about to enter surgery, all smiles and injury-free. (How was he going to explain to Yoo Hee that he had quit the hospital, as she believed, while continuing to work as a surgeon and operating??)
Yoo Hee, President Ma, and Joon Ha all converge as they try to explain what’s going on. Joon Ha asks her to listen to him, and President Ma tries to placate her by saying he’ll explain. But Yoo Hee isn’t having it: “How could a father do this to his daughter? How?”
She wrenches her arm free from Joon Ha’s grasp, just as the President suffers another heart episode, and must be rushed into surgery.
And I’m like, DUDE. YOU JUST USED THAT ONE. Remember last episode? At the wedding? When Yoo Hee wrenched her hand from Joon Ha’s grasp? And the President collapsed clutching his heart? And had to go into surgery? And… oh, forget it.
Mu-ryong prepares to leave for New York, and shares one last father-son moment. He promises that this time, he’ll work hard and do his best to learn a lot.
He makes one last phone call to Yoo Hee, and the two say their goodbyes.
Mu-ryong: “I leave tomorrow.”
Yoo Hee: “I know. Johnny told me. You’re leaving in the morning?”
Mu-ryong: “Yes. Yoo Hee… You have to be happy. Okay? And when you’re in trouble, call Superman… even if I can’t come to you… Take care.”
President Ma makes it out of surgery safely. Down-spirited, he can’t bring himself to look at Yoo Hee as he tells her that he seems to have no luck in life. (Oh, poor little rich man. Maybe it’s not bad luck. Maybe it’s karma biting you in the ass.) Yoo Hee reaches to hold his hand, but after a moment, the President pushes it aside and tells her, “Go on.”
It looks like he’s rejecting her, but (1) the happy music kicks in to tell us we are meant to take this scene as hopeful, and (2) I have seen My Girl, and this scene is a direct ripoff of the scene in which the Grandfather (same actor!) tells Yoorin he won’t oppose her relationship anymore — and sends her to catch Gong Chan at the airport before he leaves to go abroad. But I’m sure that was just a coincidence too, right?
Furthermore, I don’t know how we’re supposed to buy his sudden change of heart (oh, pun!). Maybe they put something into his medicine.
On her way out the hospital, Yoo Hee runs into Joon Ha, who once again takes her arm in an attempt to hold her back. But she’s in too much of a rush, worried she’ll miss Mu-ryong — she has to get to him before he leaves. Hearing this, Joon Ha slackens his grip, finally letting her go. It’s a nice gesture, but again, I don’t get the sudden change of heart. Maybe he’s sneaking some of the President’s meds.
At the airport, waiting for departure, Mu-ryong looks around distractedly for Yoo Hee, disappointed that she’s not arriving. She is instead attempting to hail a cab, but unsuccessfully… and Joon Ha surprises her by pulling up in his car and telling her he’ll drive her there.
But although Mu-ryong stalls and lags behind, holding out hope that Yoo Hee will arrive as boarding time nears, she’s still late. She mentally pleads for him to wait for her, for him not to leave, running through the terminal in vain. The airport’s too big and she can’t find him.
Dejected, she turns to leave, just as Mu-ryong appears……
Relieved, she asks why he didn’t go. He envelops her in a hug…
….and tells her he missed her.
I don’t normally swear that much on this site, but you’ll notice Witch Amusement has been bringing it out in me, especially toward the end. So I give you fair warning before I say:
What the fuck kind of pansy-ass ending is that???
What happened to Paran? And Sara? And Manager Lee and Hee Jung? And Song Hwa’s modeling career?
What happened to Mu-ryong’s career? Is it really that unimportant? I understand that love is supposed to conquer all, but they guy failed to go abroad HOW many times in this series? And two of those times was in one episode?
What was the point in Mu-ryong promising, in that sweet father-son scene, that this time he’ll really do a good job, if he was just going to give it up ten minutes later?
Witch Amusement, you coulda been good. You coulda even made sense.
Still, I enjoyed watching you. You were very pretty to look at, although somewhat empty-headed, but there are many people in the world like that who seem to suffer no slight for their cognitive deficiencies, so in the long run you’re not so badly off. You had a very talented but creatively wasted director, who may or may not have been frustrated with the plot absurdities. I only wish him many more fulfilling ventures that make more use of his abilities.
Your cast — even the less gifted performers — will all go on to greater careers, I’m sure. I thank you for having the foresight to cast unbelievable eye candy, because at the end of the day, the winning-ness of the actors made you watchable even at your lowest moments. (And you had several.) Jae Hee in particular really saved your tragic ass, so you totally owe him some karmic brownie points. He is so meant to be a star. Han Ga In looked amazing and was dressed to the nines, so I expect many CF engagements for her. I even grew to like Dennis, whom I was initially set to mock with vitriol, but ended up mocking with affection. I hated Joon Ha as a character, but suffer no ill will against Kim Jung Hoon despite it — another mark of talent, isn’t it? And Jeon Hye Bin proved she’s a very lovely woman whose second career as newfound actor may be even better suited to her than her first as B-level dance-singer.
And now you are over. Aw, Witch Amusement, you coulda been a contender. At least you were entertaining. May you retire from the airwaves in peace, to rest and frolic giddily in drama heaven.