Only one more episode left. Usually by the time a finale rolls around, even if I’ve enjoyed the drama, I’m good and ready for it to finish. But I’m really going to miss this drama’s mixture of warmth and humor — and Seung Hyo! — when Who Are You? ends tomorrow.
Today’s episode wasn’t the most plot-driven we’ve had, but that’s okay with me. It was full of touching moments and bonding scenes, which is what the series has really done best, and the other stuff (the mystery, the paintings, the art gallery plot) was always secondary anyway.
SONG OF THE DAY
Kim Sarang – “하루살이” (Live a day) [ Download ]
EPISODE 16 RECAP
SeungHyoDad fights off Young In’s advance, reeling from the kiss, also upset that she’d kiss Seung Hyo in the first place. Hilariously, his parental scolding gets hopelessly muddled as he keeps mixing pronouns when he remembers he’s supposed to be Seung Hyo:
SeungHyoDad: “Who says you can just kiss this guy — no, Cha Seung Hyo — me? Is that what I taught you?”
Young In: “What?”
SeungHyoDad: “Shinche balbu, suji bumo.” [As our bodies are given by our parents, honor them by distinguishing their names through success.] “Suji bumo! Are those lips yours? They’re mine! I gave them to you! How can you use them so carelessly?”
Young In [getting it wrong]: “Shinche balmu, Suji bumo? Who’s this Suji chick?”
Aw, she ain’t called “99” for nothing. She reads a different meaning into Il Gun’s words (about her lips belonging to him), thinking he’s getting possessive; smiling, she tells him, “Since you kissed me yesterday, you’re telling me that my lips are yours, right?” That news, of course, startles her father, who rants, “What? Cha Seung Hyo, you…! So you two have…!”
At this point, Young Ae sees things heading in the wrong direction and steps in, and tells Young In that this is her father. She calls SeungHyoDad “Il Gun” and tells him, “Young In should know. Preventing happiness now to prevent sadness later is foolish. Don’t take Young In’s happiness away.”
Young Ae tells Young In to confirm with Seung Hyo if she has a hard time believing it, because he’ll know her father’s situation best.
At Seung Hyo’s house later that night, Young In asks Seung Hyo if her father is truly here, if they’ve really shared his body. Young In tells him, as Il Gun listens, that when he first told her he was her father, she’d felt glad because she hated to think of how they ended things before his death. She asks, “Is my father really here with you, with me?” Seung Hyo nods: “He’s by you. Sitting by your side, he’s been crying for a while now.”
Young In turns to her father and raises a hand to Il Gun’s cheek. They don’t necessarily touch, but a flicker of light suggests that Il Gun can feel her hand, or at least her presence, in a tangible way.
Seung Hyo asks, “Can you feel him? Your father is holding your hand.”
Seung Hyo acts as medium between father and daughter, explaining to Young In that her father doesn’t want her drinking coffee when she should rest. Young In tells her father she wants to stay up all night talking; Il Gun responds (translated by Seung Hyo) that a sluggard like Young In won’t be able to stay up all night.
But Young In doesn’t want to waste a moment (“What if there’s no tomorrow for us?”), putting off something for later and risking not getting the chance to do it.
Young In apologizes for the way she treated her father the night before he died, for saying such horrible things .
Young In: “I want to cancel those words. Forget that I said you were tiresome, that my wish was to live apart from you. When I said you always made me unhappy, it was a lie, so forget it all. Saying that I didn’t like eating with you, that you suffocated me — they’re all lies, so forget them all, okay? I was wrong. I’ve regretted saying those things. I didn’t know you’d leave like that. My chest hurt so much to think that those were the last words I said to you, I regretted it every day. I’m sorry, Dad. I know now. When I won every time we fought, it wasn’t because you were bad, but because you loved me more than I loved you. The person who loves more is always the one who gets kicked away.”
At that, Seung Hyo looks over at Young In — it’s an indirect revelation that she loves him — as she continues, crying harder:
Young In: “In truth, I’m really happy you’re my father. I didn’t know it — stupidly, I lived not realizing — but I really love you a lot. I’ve loved you all along. You can’t forget that, Dad.”
The next day, Deok and Sook worry over Young In’s whereabouts. While Sook is willing to wait for Young In to hear her romantic stories, Deok has less patience and calls Seung Hyo directly.
Seung Hyo, meanwhile, is arriving home from running early-morning errands at Il Gun’s request. When Il Gun hears that the caller is Deok, he nods in satisfaction because Deok is a good kid, and wouldn’t be a bad boyfriend for Young In — so of course Seung Hyo’s a little curt when he answers the call.
Deok’s worried that Young In’s spent the night out, guessing correctly (to Seung Hyo’s discomfiture) that they were together. He tells Seung Hyo he understands, man to man, what his body and heart must feel like. But he cautions Seung Hyo to take more care with Young In, adding that he ought to meet her in daylight hours and stop dragging her over to his place. (Il Gun fully approves of everything Deok says.)
Seung Hyo checks in on a sleeping Young In, straightening her hair and making her more comfortable as she sleeps. Having been called odd names by ll Gun, he muses, “Me, wily? Look here, my soccer ball. Because of you, I’m being made into all sorts of weird things.”
When she awakens, she finds him in the kitchen preparing breakfast, and can tell right away that this is SeungHyoDad. Among other things, he’s singing his favorite song:
Lee Moon Sae – “나는 행복한 사람” (I’m a happy person) [ Download ]
The lyrics go:
The me that you love is a happy person,
even if I may be forgotten later
Receiving your love, I’m a happy person
even though we may part later
Sitting by the darkened window, looking outside
Thinking of you, I’m truly happy
Whom would I envy in this world?
Because I’m happy now
He tells her he’ll make her whatever food she wants, and she answers that she wants kimchee. He assures her that he’ll make it for her before he goes, and mention of his eventual departure dampens her mood, so he suggests, “Let’s just do happy things today. We can do the sad things tomorrow.”
Over breakfast, Young In tells him cheerfully, “Thanks, I’ll eat well. Dad, you eat lots too.” SeungHyoDad is particularly struck by those words, and asks her to repeat it just once. She does, voice wavering, and both surreptitiously wipe away tears as they eat — probably in peaceable companionship for the first time in years.
As for the Evil Art Gallery, each person has a different reaction to their upcoming art collection. Jae Ha’s mother is practically dancing in excitement, already picturing the headlines and attention. Ha Young wants to move the exhibition to Beijing — supposedly in conjunction with the Olympics, but she hints that she’d feel more at ease with the paintings transferred there. She can sense Jae Ha’s growing sense of conscience, and is reading between the lines, realizing that there’s a danger of Jae Ha’s guilt provoking him to do something foolishly noble (like return the paintings, perhaps).
Jae Ha’s particularly drawn to a painting of a girl, likely inspired by Young In. Ha Young notes that Il Gun’s paintings are full of warmth and feeling, and bound to be a smash success.
But at Jae Ha’s continued grim reaction, she tells him that he can’t have it both ways: “If you decided to be the bad guy, just be the bad guy.” She advises him that his feelings for Young In will change with time — and while the paintings may increase in value, “Your feelings toward her will fade, losing their brightness and color. In the end, they’ll disappear.”
Seung Hyo receives a letter in laughably mangled English from the company’s board, telling him he’s losing his CEO position in Korea but that he’ll have a new position if he returns to New York within 15 days. Although it’s pretty hard to make sense of that letter (“Preparing new divergence”… “After that, you may got other works”… all signed off with a morbidly cheery “Take Care!”).
Mr. Yoon rushes in, having just heard the news. Seung Hyo tries to accept the news calmly, knowing his options are limited — he can either return to New York, be fired, or quit.
Seung Hyo hears Secretary Yeo cursing Ho Joong for not calling back, but assumes her words of frustration are directed at him. But rather than get upset, he surprises her by acknowledging that she’s worked hard for a difficult boss. He thanks her and shakes her hand.
But later, he expresses his concern to Il Gun, who apologizes for his part in Seung Hyo’s current situation.
Seung Hyo: “Mistakes, failure and setback are things I’m unfamiliar with, so I’m unsure about what to do in situations like this. Back at the orphanage, I was told I was too old to be adopted, that I looked too gloomy, that I was too quiet, that I didn’t smile. Maybe it’s because I was always rejected and unpopular as a child, but I lived my life working hard not to make mistakes, not to fail, to avoid rejection. I tried my best to be the one who rejected instead of the one facing rejection, studying my hardest and focusing on my work. I don’t think there’s anything I can do aside from what I do now. For me to throw everything away and start over in a new place from the very bottom… I’ve grown too tired to do that arduous work again. I will return to the main office in the States. I can’t be fired like this.”
He goes home and sinks into melancholic brooding, gloomy enough to worry Il Gun, who tries to convince him to eat something. Il Gun understands Seung Hyo’s dilemma, and tells Seung Hyo, “If you have to return to the States in 15 days, go. People have to live.”
As Seung Hyo watches over his turtles, he recalls all our favorite moments between him and Young In — her assurance that she’ll live longer than his turtles… the first time he was able to put his foot on the floor comfortably… her joking around with his sweatshirt… their walk among the cherry blossoms… her wish that he would be her miracle… walking home in the rain… their kiss…
Seung Hyo makes a sudden decision and heads out to see Young In at work.
He surprises her by walking in and saying, somewhat awkwardly, “Let’s go on a date.” Right now. In the middle of the night.
They walk along the street, and Young In teases that it’s hardly a date. But when he says they can go home if she’s tired, she hurriedly backtracks, saying she’s not tired and that “a date is just when people who love each other spend time together.”
Young In hesitantly links her arm through his, but at his impassive expression, she laughs nervously and withdraws her arm (cutely calling him Mr. Miracle). But at that, Seung Hyo takes her arm and re-links it through his. She ventures to rest her head on his shoulder, and they walk on, quiet.
The next day, Young Ae receives a text message from Young In, thanking her: “I believe in miracles now.”
That makes Young Ae think back to her marriage proposal from Il Gun, which she’d accepted conditionally, returning the ring until she could earn Young In’s approval. Now that she’s won over Young In, however, Young Ae ruefully wishes she’d kept the ring.
The next morning, Young In sees Seung Hyo preparing huge batches of cabbages for kimchee and automatically assumes her father’s busy at work. She thinks he’s joking when he tells her it’s not her father, but realizes it’s true when Seung Hyo recites a litany of stock-market and financial information.
Seung Hyo argues with Il Gun (over how annoying this is and how Seung Hyo will have to do all the work anyway), leading Young In to wonder if her father’s really there. She asks for a high school nickname to prove his presence, and Il Gun answers, “부릅뜨니 숲이었어!” (It’s a half-nonsensical pun on Britney Spears’ name.)
After that, Il Gun takes over, and Young In and SeungHyoDad spend some father-daughter time making kimchee.
She tells him that he went overboard with the amount of kimchee, but he answers that he’s making enough to last at least two years. He jokes that she’ll have to continue dating Seung Hyo just to take advantage of his fancy kimchee refrigerator before he cuts himself short, remembering that Seung Hyo plans to leave soon.
At the reminder of the future she’ll be living without him, Young In sobers, saying with tears forming in her eyes, “I didn’t know that all this cabbage held that kind of meaning for you, Dad.” She tells him she’ll happily eat it all, for a long time to come.
On one hand, the ending is unusual in that nothing big happens and we don’t have a huge cliffhanger for the next episode. But that could be mostly due to the fact that we had the series extension, and in any case I actually like the poignant way it goes out. It kind of reminds me of some of the more thoughtful endings of Mixed-up Investigative Agency episodes, and fits the point of this episode as being all about the father-daughter relationship. The Reaper had asked Il Gun to think of what his daughter would really want from him and steered him away from his misguided thinking that he would provide her with mere material goods. Although Il Gun will (presumably) have to leave for good in tomorrow’s episode, I feel like we’ve gotten some nice closure on this relationship in an emotionally satisfying — yet not too melodramatic or cheesy — way. Well done.