Drama Recaps
Air City: Episode 16 (Final)
by | July 15, 2007 | 31 Comments

Wow. Everything I say in this post will probably be surprising, because the finale of Air City — which took me this long to finally see, due to general lack of interest — in an unexpected turn, didn’t completely suck. Actually, it’s the first episode I liked since Episode 5. Nobody is more surprised than me.

See, I’m not a horrible mean hag who enjoys tearing down other people’s hard work. I am completely able to give props where they are due. I want to give props and I’m pleased to finally have some to deliver. And despite an overwhelmingly mediocre run, I think the writers pulled out a nice finale. Then again, perhaps this benefits from having absolutely no expectations left — they’ve been pretty effectively crushed by the last ten installments. But I wasn’t annoyed once this episode, which is rare enough for this drama.

SONG OF THE DAY

Wanted – “사랑이란..” (Love is… / The thing called love) [ zShare download ]

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EPISODE 16 SUMMARY

Ji Sung is sent to NIS headquarters, where he’s given the order to ship out to Moscow immediately. He visits the memorial wall and deliberates over his choice.

 

Do Kyung is distracted over learning of Myung Woo’s illness, and finally confides in Ha Joon. Surprisingly, Ha Joon tells her to keep quiet — Ji Sung wouldn’t stay with Do Kyung if he knew about Myung Woo, and he tells her to carry this burden alone, and do her best to be happy as Ji Sung’s woman.

 

Ji Sung tries to resist the order, telling his boss that compliance means he’ll have to leave everyone behind without a word — cart supervisor Mr. Eom, his fellow agents, airport staff… He understands too well the pain of facing separation without a understanding the reason. The chief says the words “personal choice” aren’t in a black-ops agent’s vocabulary: “Are you going to throw away your career over a woman?” Grimly, Ji Sung says yes. His boss slaps him across the face at his foolishness.

Ji Sung: “I want to live a normal, happy life.”

 

Still, Ji Sung feels carefree and light at this dismissal of responsibility, happily helping Mr. Eom with his carts and visiting Do Kyung in her office to whisk her away to Seoul for the day.

Ji Sung takes Do Kyung to a church in Seoul, the same one his parents were married in. Then, in typical Korean male fashion, he tells her, “Let’s have our wedding here too.” So much for fancy proposals. Ji Sung IS sorry, however, to not have prepared a ring in advance.

 

 
However, Ji Sung meets with his agent friend and is shocked to be informed of Myung Woo’s condition.

Seeing her lying in her hospital bed, needing a respirator, he breaks down outside her room. Just then, Do Kyung arrives to pay a visit, and sees Ji Sung’s reaction.

 

There’s a small side plot regarding the planned expansion of Incheon Airport. In order to further develop the airport, they’ll be buying out the land from everyone living in the vicinity — which elates the airport workers who own land there, as they’ll be receiving lots of compensation. The (lower-ranked) cleaning lady quits her job immediately, and Manager Noh holds out hope that his bit of land, which is just outside the deisgnated planned purchase area, will be included with minor tweaking to the purchasing plans.

After seeing Ji Sung’s reaction to Myung Woo’s condition, Do Kyung senses their impending relationship troubles, and throws herself into her work. She tells Ha Joon, to whom she’d mentioned the proposal, that she won’t be getting married after all — but asks him to please leave the consolation for later.

Ha Joon asks Ye Won about Ji Sung, and finds out what it means to be a black ops agent — to go on mission using a different passport, to live as some other name, to disappear without a trace. Once a black ops agent is in place, the main headquarters disavows knowledge of the agent, even if the agent is killed: “They must face everything alone.”

Feeling bad for Do Kyung’s situation, Ha Joon piles work on her, although she doesn’t understand the reason for it. Ha Joon watches her work, thinking to keep her busy to keep her mind off her personal hurt.

Ji Sung, meanwhile, changes his mind and decides to take the assignment. Having been gone for a few days (which the chief explains is because he’s away on a training assignment), none of the airport employees think much of seeing him back at the airport one last time. They greet him happily, and Ji Sung resists his impulse to say anything, particularly to Mr. Eom.

 

And so, he leaves for his mission, with one last regretful look at Do Kyung before he goes. Do Kyung and Ha Joon both hear (from Mr. Eom and the security officer, respectively) that they saw Ji Sung just a while ago in the airport, and they take off running through the airport to find him.

Ha Joon finds Ji Sung on the security monitors and holds the plane back to talk to Ji Sung. He can’t believe the nerve he has, leaving without a word, but Ji Sung asks him to please let him leave quietly. Just as Ha Joon is yelling at him for being thoughtless and cruel, Do Kyung arrives, and the two of them step aside for a tense, silence-filled moment.

 

 
Ji Sung asks her if she can understand him (just as he did before they started dating), and Do Kyung nods. Ji Sung wipes a tear from her face, puts a hand briefly on her shoulder, then forces himself back on the plane with clenched, stoic jaw.

Do Kyung goes out to the runway to watch his plane depart.

 

Meanwhile, life carries on at the airport as usual:

 
Having decided to carry on construction elsewhere, the land purchases are cancelled, leaving Manager Noh’s and the cleaning lady’s hopes for wealth dashed. Supervisor Min and the bureau chief bicker back and forth as usual, Ha Joon is as hot as ever, Nan Young and Ye Won are still in full rival mode, and Mr. Eom brings home yet another young man to treat as a son figure.

As Do Kyung walks through the airport, her turf, her voicover says:

“In this place filled with so many meetings and farewells, I met and came to love one man, and also experienced a parting I couldn’t control. Whenever a plane takes flight, my heart goes with it. I wonder if he thinks of me whenever he sees an airplane, too. Farewells are painful, but discovering that waiting for someone can be a happy thing is something I learned at the airport.”

 
Final thoughts:

It’s no secret how I feel about Air City. If I had watched this drama completely on my own, I would have ditched it ages ago and not felt the least bit sorry. But since I stuck through it, I’m at least glad the final installment was able to remove a bit of my disappointment. I think part of the reason for the final episode being better than I expected was that there were no ridiculous spy-action-intrigue shenanigans. Korean dramas are usually quite good at relationships and characters, and less so with these kinds of high-stakes occupational action stories. I’m glad the melodrama was left behind (no drawn-out doctor scenes, no drawn-out sobbing farewells) and the final image was in the vein of the airport motif — rather ordinary (another day in the life), but uplifting.

If Air City gets a Season 2, I will be shocked (and I won’t be watching). But I think all the stars will go on to do more worthy endeavors, and perhaps the series will do much better in overseas markets.

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31 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. ay_link

    Hehehehe… congrats on completing AC! lol… =D though the ending completely took me by surprise, AC is one of the drama I’ll treasure for a very VERY long time heheh…
    Thanks Sarah for all the summaries and for hanging there, despite those many, many ‘turbulence’ kekeke..

    And oh, gotta comment about the song…. WOOHOO… WANTED! is this coincidence? *wink* haha… and you chose Ha Dong Kyun’s solo also… double-woohoo! hahaha.. ;) muah~~ u’re the best!

    PS: WANTED – “Be My Woman” is a must hear also… sigh~~ I’m just soooo in love with these guys

  2. Philippa

    Congratiolations for finishing this drama too! I bet you’ve been dying to just type whatever happened in this episode. Well, I hope that there won’t be a second season and I was just lmao when you said “and if there is a second season of Air City, I won’t be watching it!” lol. that is just soooo funny! lol. Well I didn’t really like the ending, I just want them to be together! They will be together but that’s going to be after the mission, I thought that they would have a 3 years or 1 year later or something… Then the two of them together.. That would’ve been much better, but NOOO they had to follow the typical Korean drama that’s going to make you think if they are going to end up together in the future or not….
    So congrats for making it through, I like episode 15 better than this! I thought this drama had 20 episodes! I bet you would literally bore yourself to death if you had to write 4 more episodes of this drama! lol. Thanks again! And I LOOVVVEEEE Bad Couple! lol. I LOVE it!
    Thanks again!
    P.S. Thanks again for writing Aircity and bad couple today! That’s A LOT!

  3. chickenburp

    Wow. I’m amazed you even finished summarizing this drama. I think the staff that made Air City owes you a big one, because if it wasn’t for your summaries many people would not have even paid attention to the drama at all. I gave up watching after episode 5. I just couldn’t take it. I moved on to better dramas and have no regrets.

    I’m glad that the main couple didn’t get together in the end because that gives me hope that she’ll get with Ha Joon later. Yeah! He deserves it. She doesn’t. WAHHHHHHHH! If only I lived in a Korean drama where all the guys are either hot or funny. Dang it.

    Thanks again for the summaries and I look forward other summaries for dramas that totally deserve your time and effort.

  4. jxbeaucp

    thanks for the recaps and your hard work. they are really appreciated. to me i would have to agree with u i would not be able to watch this drama………didn’t really understand the main point of the movie>>>>

  5. thunderbolt

    sarahbeans, bravo on finishing the recaps! I admire your stick-with-it-ness.^^

    “Farewells are painful, but discovering that waiting for someone can be a happy thing is something I learned at the airport. Depends who you’re waiting for, LOL, but that’s a lovely quote.

  6. ktv

    I’ve been waiting for your summary about this serie alot.

  7. ktv

    Thank you for finishing the series, even though you do not like to watch at all. While reading your recap of this final episode, I think again about Ait City. Seriously, Korean writers cannot do well on this type of action movies. The story is kinda irrational with unreasonable details. However, as many other fans who watch this drama, I don’t really agree with your opinion about this ending. Iknow it’s an opened ending but it’s too opened that sometimes the audiences feel confused and kinda angry with this unfinished ending. Btw, keep up your good job and I’ll be waiting for your summary of Coffee Prince.

  8. peonies99

    I love Air City. It is a very special and fresh drama that offers action and excitement in almost episodes. It is unlike those typical Korean dramas that have the same theme over and over again. They bored me easily after watchng a few of Korean dramas. They concentrate so much about the struggled love and the couples. They usually start with a poor struggling girl save by a rich boy such as she has a hard life or illness or lately even worst a married/divorced older woman fall for a younger guy. Korean dramas are usually unrealistic and they intentionally want you to cry but in Air City you find something different. It shows people solving crimes and struggles in an airport . It has a taste of romance and comedy as well. It’s nice to see Korean actresses played confident and professional career women for a change. I guess this is not you typical Korean drama but I enjoy it very much from beginning to the end even though the ending is not what I like.
    If i don’t like the drama, i just don’t watch it nor i leave comment because i don’t want to affect people from watching it and everybody has a different opinion. Sorry to write so much but Air City deserves for recognition.

  9. ginnie

    In this place filled with so many meetings and farewells, I met and came to love one man, and also experienced a parting I couldnt control. Whenever a plane takes flight, my heart goes with it. I wonder if he thinks of me whenever he sees an airplane, too. Farewells are painful, but discovering that waiting for someone can be a happy thing is something I learned at the airport.

    The best thing about this drama has to be this monologue at the end. tee-hee…

    Way to go Javabeans for being there till the end of this!~

  10. 10 mimi

    I agree with peonies99. I love Air City. Thank you for your summary.

  11. 11 starz12

    so the ending was just like that… agent NIS left to his mission leaving Chief Han behind..what a pitty. i love this drama, but i’m still in episode 15 but i think i’m not gonna finish it since the ending is a bit awkward. i agree with some other people say..the drama was different from other korean dramas, and i like it… the excitment keeps you going and keeps you wanting to see what’s happened next, but i still wanted the ending to be some kind of happy ending.. or at least he stayed at the airport with her.
    overall, i enjoyed that drama pretty much t’l this time…
    i rate this… 4/5

  12. 12 ellabel

    Thanks a lot for finishing Air City despite of and inspite of. I know you’ve exerted too much efffort. :) First time, i watched a K-drama on-line and i find it exhilarating and exhausting at the same time. I dont think i’ll do it again soon unless there’s a Season 2 of AC (with the same cast), which of corz, i doubt very much at the moment. ^^ Becoz of AC, i discovered your blog and it was such a pleasure reading your summaries. Well, all in all, i love Air City and LJJ and CJW team-up was awesome. Thanks again.

  13. 13 xinya

    Hey, thanks for completing the summary for this drama eventhough it was a dissapointment to you. ;)

    Read from soompi (AC thread) that MBC is requesting viewers and fans for feedbacks on possible scripts/ storyline for the season 2 of this drama. (Don’t really know if this is true!)
    However, since I became a great fan of your writing skills I suggest that you try it. You’re really good! Especially when you give alternative plots to those we have watched in this drama.

    Keep up the good work!

  14. 14 Nora

    I will rate Air City 10 out of 10. I love this drama, full of action, interesting events, problem solving, little romance & some comedy. It had everything, just like our real world stories, full of everything, unlike the typical Korean dramas I previously watched, almost same story, poor girl, rich boy struggles in their romance & vice versa, poor boy, rich girl plus leading lady dying of cancer or incurable sickness. I’m pretty sure this drama will be more acceptable internationally. Anyway, thanks for your summaries.

  15. 15 curios2k

    Hi Javabeans,
    Thank you for the final summary! I really appreciate your effort to stay till the end to do the write-up for us non-Koreans. Sure, Air City may not be your type of drama but it has attracted so much attention overseas (China, Japan, Thai, Vietnam, etc…) among the fans for its “unconventional drama formula” in my humble opinion, although it was not without flaws. I do applaud the writers’ effort for trying to bring a “breath of fresh air” (pardon the expression, but I have no better words to describe it) in Kdrama land. They may not have succeeded domestically but on the international front they might do very well due to the star power of Lee Jung Jae and Choi Ji Woo. This is the first Kdrama that I have attempted to watch live via internet connection on its first two weeks of broadcasting. I don’t think I will ever watch any other drama live again (it was very early in the morning & sometimes internet connection was not very good). Besides that, the whole Air City watching experience was worthwhile because I have learned so many things about Kdramas from your witty, clever and insightful summaries, and from lively (and sometimes heated) forum discussion in Soompi as well.

    Gamsahamnida. Cm ?n r?t nhi?u. Thank you very much. Merci beaucoup. Muchos gracias! (That is how much I appreciate your blog).

  16. 16 amareally

    Thanks for sticking it up and making summary of the last episode… I gave up on episode 5 and I’m glad you made the final summary, so that I can only read what happen to them with out watching episode 6-15 (hihihihi) Thanks Javabeans !!!

  17. 17 little_girl

    i absolutely love air city!! i’m sad that you don’t but i do understand your reasons though :). i seriously thought air city had until 20 episodes? i guess it’s ending early! awwh darn. i really wanted do kyung & ji sung to be together in the end. they would make such a cute couple. i love the way how lee jung jae smiles :) it just makes my heart melt every time he does. thank you for all the summaries!! i know that it was tough on you. i really appreciate your time & effort! kamsahamnida

  18. 18 LINDA

    Agree with Curios2K that Air City is doing much better overseas than in Korea. When I watch the series on the internet, comments from fans of other countries are mostly positive. I really hope that MBC will make AC season 2 with the same cast. I love the team of Choi Ji Woo, Lee Jae Jung and Lee Jin Wook. They make such a sensation, with CJW’s new image of a career woman, Lee Jae Jung’s charming personality of a “gentleman-from-old-school” and Lee Jin Wook is so cute. Most important of all, these actors can really transform the characters alive. Thank you Javabeans for doing all these wonderful work to write the summaries of each episode. It is a great help to the non-Korean speaking audience like me.

  19. 19 Nordelm

    I love this drama. I kinda miss watching it when it ended too soon. I wish they continue this series because I want to know who Han Do Kyung will ended up with. I actually want Kang Ja Joon to be Do Kyung’s boyfriend. He’s so good to her. Sacrificed his own love for the happiness of Do Kyung, what a guy. To me that’s true love. Kim Ji Sung was wishywashy, could not keep his word to Do Kyung, proposing & then left her. I guess I have to make a happy ending by thinking that Do Kyung finally realized who the right guy is (Kang Ja Hoon was always there for her, he’s her strength & she once had crush on him when they were younger). Maybe they should have new writers, but the same casts. Choi Ji Woo, Lee Jin Wook & Lee Jung Jae did real great acting. Thanks dramabeans for all your work. By the way, who’s the lady NIS agent, what’s her real life name, she’s pretty good.

  20. 20 sinopciones

    I just watched the end of air city, and not a minute later am here trying to undestand better, But I most say. Not even the ending did it for me, this whole series was full deception, I was bore most of the epissodes pushing forward, am a Huge Ji Woo fan, and am fully down with her perfromance, so plain and nothing like the woman they portray on the character description, and although she was mostly fancy dressed she looked old. I hated also how in the blink of an eye He went from am quiting my job and marry me to acept and leave and more so asking her if she understand, please what kind of woman understand that. not even Ji woo star power would make see a sequel. I mostly stick to the end cuz Javabeens here said that the endidng was surprising, so I thougt, WTH, anyhow. Thanks a lot for your hard work writing this summaries. you rock!

  21. 21 epyc

    I just finished watching Air City, almost a year after it was aired and recapped here. And, surprisingly, I like it!

    I decided to give it a go despite the not very complimentary review here and relatively low ratings in Korea. I gather timing and expectation gave me the opportunity to appreciate this drama in a different light. Fresh off from a few melodrammas/love stories, I’d like to watch something different. Then I caught half of an episode (in Japanese on NHK) while on a business trip overseas which set my fancy to see how bad it could be. So, my expectation was low or none at all whatsoever.

    However, it turned out to be one that no fast-forward was necessary (which is not uncommon for other dramas that I watched). I keep watching it without having pushed myself and finished it over two days. And I had 16 enjoyable hours.

    I am impressed by the ambition and resources poured behind this project . The pride of Koreans about Incheon is so tangible – an airport I’m yet to and would love to visit. The set and the cast are impressive. As for the plot, it is to me an attempt of an Americanised series in that the main cast and their stories are happening as backdrop to link the almost standalone plotlines and episodes. I wouldn’t say that those plotlines – be it bomb threats, money laundering, spy revenge or birds – are top-notch but they are not bad. The LJJ-CJW romance against all these is nonetheless refreshing with a mature and subtle treatment. – matching the experience, age and personality depicted of these two characters. There aren’t many romantic moments but when they turn up, that gaze, stare or a pad on the shoulder is great.

    (And I always believe that CJW is more suitable for comedy than tragedy. Her turn in Everyone Has Secrets is just one great example.)

    The final episode is perhaps the best. I particularly love the ending narrative of CJW as so many others before me have said already. I would truly recommend Air City to those who look for something different .

  22. 22 dandelion

    I and many of my friends loved Air City! What was there not to like about it? It was not your typical kdrama but full of action and intrigue. I loved the acting and thought CJW did her best work in this drama. I looked forward to see what CJW would wear next. Her clothes suited her well. I was amazed at how tall both she and her sister in this drama were.

    Lee Jung Jae fit his part perfectly. He and CJW were the perfect couple. I’m not going to put much credence in your reviews from now on. I will only take them with a grain of salt.

    I hope there is a season 2 for Air City.

  23. 23 Randy

    I loved this kdrama! I don’t understand why there are negative reviews. I’m not alone in thinking this way. Everyone I know who has seen this drama loved it. Lee Jung Jae and Choi Ji Woo were perfect in their roles. They had good chemistry and looked well together. I thought this was one of the best drama of 2007. I want a sequel! I want to know what happens to the two main characters and see what other interesting stories the writers can come up with for the setting of Incheon airport.

    I found this drama to have an different kind of story line. It wasn’t the love triangle, which I hate or the sad, someone is dying theme. I can’t say enough good things about this drama.

  24. 24 passerby

    sinopciones

    Well, I have a good laugh after reading his/her message,apparently you are not a Huge Ji Woo fan, you are not her fan at all. why pretend?? haha

    I am not a fan of her , but I can read between the lines and know your motive.
    Well, all are entitled to their opinion , but at least be true to yourself.
    Pretending to be a artiste fan doesn’t made your personal opinions stands out or any intention to degrade this drama…

    You are not the only people that does that, there are some on the web who post negative messages pretending to be fans of artiste that they may dislike …HAha..

    That’s all I have to say. Smart ones will be able to read between the lines of your message and your intention..LOL

  25. 25 cherylee

    I love this drama! Definitely not those typical Korean drama with illness etc.

    Never knew who LJJ was but I’m smitten with his looks & acting skills! The chemistry between CJW & LJJ is awesome.

    As for the ending, I’m more optimistic when interpreting it.

    Their love is matured & subtle. KJS truly love HDK & she finally realises it only at the departure gate. (She thought that KJS had a change of heart towards her upon knowing his ex-girlfriend was dying) If HDK is to be KJS’s woman, she must wholly understand & accept the nature and danger involved in his job Being sent on missions without leaving a word & not knowing when or if he’d ever return to her side. KJS reached out to hold her hands asked her again if she understands & HDK nodded & shed tears. KJS wiped those tears lovingly & squeezed her shoulder before tearing himself away from her. (Note: This is the 2nd time. The first time was in the episode where they had spent the previous night together & before telling her that he’d be staying back at the airport for her> KJS stated this & asked HDK if she can be that understanding. She nodded then.) She found herself feeling happy while waiting eventhough their farewell was painful & beyond her control. (Note: KJS, in the episode where he waited for her for 2 hrs at the runway, experienced the same emotion > he normally dislike waiting but was surprised at himself feeling happy while waiting for that someone ‘special’ ! )

    Well, missions do come to an end at some point, so if he’s not dead or something, KJS will be back! So HDK…wait happily.

  26. 26 be happy

    actually i adore aor city with its new refreshing story and way of acting

    CJW and LJJ chemistry is great …i wish there will be AIR CITY season 2

  27. 27 abui

    I just watch this drama and totally love it. I love the story lines,the action, light romance, the actors, especially LJJ! He is awesome! Love it when he handles gun and of course other silly things that he does with CJW!

  28. 28 Jomo 143∞

    Thanks for giving your final thoughts.

    I cried at the “not goodbye” and CJW’s final narrative.

    Someone here said there weren’t any fforwardable parts in this drama, and I have to agree. Maybe I did a little FBing during some of the spy parts, but mostly I was interested in what was on.

    Come on, people! Of COURSE he comes back alive. If it is his last covert, then he can retire and make baby pilots.

    I would also like to add how much I love Kwon Hae Hyo in every single part he has played. He steals every scene he is in, and makes talking to yourself the most delightful thing to watch EVER. If I could find him, I would hug him for how wonderful he is.

    This show made me more of a LJJ fan, and surprisingly I like CJW more. I don’t think Triple will ever be on my watch list, but I may do the divorce one with Oska…

    Bye!

  29. 29 i-in

    aku sangat menyukai drama ini,
    drama yang membuat seakan-akan aku juga berperan menjadi tokoh utamanya
    di mana di setiap alur ceritanya memberikan inspirasi bagaimana sifat kita dalam menghadapi sebuah masalah,

    dimana dalam suatu pekerjaan kita harus bersikap propisional tidak mencampur adukan atau menampakkan antara cinta dan pekerjaan..
    dan menahannya sebisa mungkin..

    dan membuat saya ingin menjadi agen NIS
    di mana pekerjaan yang sangat menantang dan beresiko itu sangat menyenangkan dengan kesibukan-kesibukan seperti agen NIS.
    aku sangat menyukai pekerjaan seperti itu..

  30. 30 i-in

    I really like this drama,
    drama made ​​as if I also played a main character
    where in each plot is how nature inspires us to face a problem,

    in a job where we have to be propisional not mix mortar or appeared between love and work ..
    and held as much as possible ..

    and made ​​me want to be an agent of NIS
    where the work is very challenging and risky it is very pleasant with busy-busy as NIS agents.
    I love a job like that ..

  31. 31 Hades

    Thankyou for the summary , i love it so much…. i read it after i had finished watchin (sigh … hhahaaa… ) i hope that there will be AC season 2 and with the same actors and actreses … and there’s inmprovement on the two … i hope that dramabeans will keep update the news about this drama if there is any.
    This drama inspired me so much that made me want to study more (i am still junior high ) this film made me want to be an agent of NIS

    Thx javabeans

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