Drama Recaps
Boys Before Flowers: Episode 25 (Final)
by | March 31, 2009 | 626 Comments

Last episode!

I was pretty satisfied with this finale. It didn’t feel rushed, but it wasn’t too dragged out either — it wrapped up everything much as you’d expect, but managed to insert enough details to keep it interesting (because I was fearing that the ending would go down too predictably and therefore be lame). Oh, and you know the part that they kept saying would deviate from the Hana Yori Dango original? I LOVED IT.


Toy – “Bon Voyage” with Jo Wan-sun of Roller Coaster. [ Download ]

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Oh my god, this recap is so long. Sorry, guys! You are forewarned.


Jan-di visits the hospital in the early morning, while Jun-pyo is still sleeping. She makes a joking comment trying to magic back his memory (“abra cadabra, make Gu Jun-pyo remember Geum Jan-di”), then drops off her dosirak lunchbox at his bedside.

Later that morning, Yumi comes by. I want to give her the benefit of the doubt (so far she’s annoying, but not evil), but really, she’s got boundary issues to be slipping into a sleeping patient’s room and applying a skincare device to his face while he sleeps. That wakes him up.

Glancing over at the side table, he wonders what the lunchbox is doing there. Yumi opens the containers, and as she pulls out the Jun-pyo Face Rice tray and the egg roll-up snacks, Jun-pyo furrows his brow, a thought niggling at the back of his mind.

He tries one of the egg rolls, and the taste jogs his memory — it gives him a vague (good) feeling. Jun-pyo asks if she made the food, and for a brief moment Yumi hesitates, as though wondering how to answer, then nods. He says, “I remember. The thing I forgot — it was you, right?”

Although you get the sense she hadn’t intended to lie at first, this is too good for her to pass up, so she goes with it.

F2 arrive at the restaurant for some lunch, while the girls watch in puzzlement, wondering why they’re here. Finally, when they’re done eating, they announce the good news: Jun-pyo’s been released from the hospital.

Jan-di perks up. The guys encourage her to go to him, and she rushes off excitedly.

Yi-jung remains behind, because he has something to say to Ga-eul. They watch clay baking in a kiln as Ga-eul muses, “They look happy, those plates inside. For some reason, rather than thinking they’re hurting in that heat, it feels like they’re happy. They’re full of hope that if they endure this, they can come out and receive love.”

Yi-jung has two things to tell her, and starts with the bad news first, the way she likes it: He’s leaving. He adds, “I guess that may not be bad news to you.” He plans to remain abroad for four or five years.

Ga-eul tries to be optimistic, saying it’s actually good news because he’ll be sure to return an even better potter. She asks for the second part, so he tells her, “When I come back, I’ll come find you first.”

That’s even more startling than the first, but makes her much happier. Perhaps Yi-jung is a little uncomfortable to have opened up, because he adds, “I mean, if you can’t find your soulmate by then.” But that’s enough of a confession for Ga-eul, who breaks into a smile.

Eager to see Jun-pyo, Jan-di rushes into his room, calling out a welcome greeting, then stops short: Yumi is already there. Jun-pyo just tells her that Ji-hoo’s not here, and that she should take care of her boyfriend before rushing to check up on him.

At his ungracious non-welcome, Jan-di figures this was a mistake, and turns to go. Yumi steps in to admonish Jun-pyo for being mean, and urges Jan-di to stay for tea. It’s an odd dynamic, because Yumi has usurped Jan-di’s position as hostess, and I’m not the only one who thinks she’s an upstart: the maids also direct dirty looks at Yumi.

Jun-pyo acts pretty friendly and relaxed with Yumi, which is hard for Jan-di to watch, so she gets up to leave. Jun-pyo tosses out casually, “Don’t come by again.” (He doesn’t say so in a mean tone, but maybe it’s all the more hurtful that he’s so blasé about something that means so much.) He adds, “When I see you, I feel really bad. It bothers me.”

Jan-di retorts, “Fine. I’m sorry! I won’t come by anymore!”

Yumi reads the tension and follows Jan-di outside to ask, “Are you the person Jun-pyo oppa is supposed to remember?” She sees that Jan-di is, and takes a tone of concern as she says, “But as you can tell, I think it’s worse for him to see you. If he sees you, I think his condition will deteriorate. So for now, I think it’ll be better if you don’t drop by. Don’t worry, I’ll do my best to bring back his memories of you naturally.”

Yumi’s words are reassuring, but Jan-di is also a little doubtful; after Yumi rejoins Jun-pyo, Jan-di peers inside. Jun-pyo asks Yumi to make the lunchbox again — proof that Yumi had taken credit for her lunch, which probably means she’s lying about the rest, too.

Upset, Jan-di rushes down the stairs on the way out and bumps into Ji-hoo, who tells her firmly, “Don’t run away.”

Jan-di tries to escape, but Ji-hoo says, “You can’t be pushed aside like this.” Pulling Jan-di behind him, he heads for Jun-pyo’s room. Unfortunately, they find Jun-pyo and Yumi napping cozily on the couch together.

That hurts. Jan-di rebuffs Ji-hoo’s attempts to reason with her (and persuade her to fight for Jun-pyo), telling him that it’s over, she’s done: “Even if he lost his memory, even if we started over from the beginning, I had faith he would recognize me. But I was wrong.”

Ji-hoo starts to protest, but Jan-di isn’t swayed:

Jan-di: “No, it may be upsetting and unfair, but I have to acknowledge the truth. The Gu Jun-pyo I loved is gone now.”
Ji-hoo: “I told you that you couldn’t be the little mermaid. I can’t let you two break up over such a ridiculous thing.”
Jan-di: “This isn’t because of Yumi. In the end, Geum Jan-di and Gu Jun-pyo could only make it this far.”

Yumi presents her lunchbox to Jun-pyo, who eats an egg roll with anticipation. However, the moment he registers the taste, he frowns: “This isn’t it. The taste is different from before. Did you really make it that time?”

Yumi stutters, “O-of course! Who else could have made it? That’s just because every time I make it, the taste is a little different. I’ll make it right next time.”

But something’s not right, and the taste of the food just enhances his bad feeling. He says, frustrated, “That girl. That Jan-di weed girl — I can’t forget her expression.”

Yumi: “That’s too mean! How could you say that? I’m the one who was with you, from the hospital up till now, but you feel so bothered by a girl who just dropped by and bugged you a few times? Your friends all treat me badly and take her side, and her boyfriend totally ignores me. But still, I put up with it because of you. If you act like this too, what is Yumi supposed to do?”

For us who know the truth, she’s obviously way over the line with this speech — but if she really WAS Jun-pyo’s girlfriend, I suppose this is how she would react, and she’s acting her part to the hilt. She cries, and makes Jun-pyo feel uncomfortable.

The guilt trip works, because the next thing we know, Yumi and Jun-pyo are jointly hosting a “surprise pool party.” (I’m wondering what the surprise is, if they’re handing out formal invitations.) The setting is absolutely gorgeous. In fact, this entire episode is pretty visually stunning, on the whole.

Yumi wastes some screentime with a harp performance — and seriously, Mr. Jeon PD, do you really have to pay tribute to yourself (again!) by using a My Girl theme song here?

Feeling pretty low, Jan-di steps aside to be alone. Yumi finds her by the pool and keeps up the ruse that she’s been working to “help” Jan-di. She has news to report, but it’s not good: “He doesn’t remember you.”

Yumi speaks obnoxiously about herself in the third person (because we don’t already hate her enough?): “I’m sorry to tell you, but Yumi likes Jun-pyo. I didn’t try to deliberately, but I ended up falling for him, so much that I can’t break up with him. Oppa feels the same as Yumi. But you can understand, can’t you? We can’t control our hearts.”

Yumi draws everyone’s attention to make a big announcement: She and Jun-pyo are going to study abroad together to the States. They will leave in one month.

F3 marvel in a sort of disgusted fascination at Yumi’s fast maneuvering. Ji-hoo leads Jan-di away from the crowd to the pool, where he leaves her while for a moment to get her a drink.

Alone, Jan-di takes out her star-moon necklace, just as Jun-pyo walks by. As soon as he sees her, Jun-pyo turns to leave, but Jan-di asks if he remembers the necklace she’s holding, or the names engraved on it. Jun-pyo takes a look at the “JJ” and says irritably, “How would I know that?”

Jan-di holds it out to him: “I’m giving it back. Take it.” None of this makes sense for Jun-pyo, and he retorts, “Why would I take something like this? If you want to get rid of it, do it yourself.”

He hands it back. Jan-di says, almost defiantly, “Fine.” She throws the necklace into the pool, where it settles on the bottom. But she’s not quite done:

Jan-di: “Gu Jun-pyo. I’ll ask just one more thing. Do you know how to swim?”
Jun-pyo: “Swim? I don’t swim.”
Jan-di: “You don’t, or you can’t?”
Jun-pyo: “I have a bad childhood memory, so I don’t swim. I’ve never learned.”
Jan-di: “No. You did know how.”

Jun-pyo bristles at the way Jan-di is talking about him so familiarly, but her words start to unnerve him, particularly as she tells him what kind of person he truly is (including a few of the sayings he’d messed up previously):

Jan-di: “You’re hardly afraid of anything in this world, yet you shake in fear over a bug. You’re an idiot who thinks it’s better to get all your ribs bashed in than see one of your girl’s fingers break. You’re a dummy who can’t tell the difference between the words privacy and pride, who insists like a train that swallowed its heart that the 38th Strategy [of ancient China] is running away [it’s the 36th]. You say you hate kids, but you want to be a devoted father who watches the stars with your son. You’re a lonely person with a lot of love.”

Uneasily, Jun-pyo demands, “What are you really after?”

Jan-di tells him, “Say my name,” then starts to step backward, slowly, purposefully. At the edge of the pool, Jan-di pauses… and then lets herself fall backward into the pool.

It’s an eerily beautiful image as she hits the water, stiff as a board.

In the pool, Jan-di picks up the necklace, but doesn’t come back up to the surface. Clutching the necklace, she remains submerged.

The rest of the party rushes to the water’s edge, alarmed. Jun-pyo stands frozen in shock… and then, memories come flooding back.

In quick succession, he flashes to all the other water-related emergencies earlier in the drama (if I didn’t love this moment so much it would be funny that they have enough of those to compile a montage).

He whispers, “Jan-di.” Then, jolted out of his stupor, Jun-pyo shouts her name again, and dives in.

Memory now back in full force, Jun-pyo pulls her to safety, where he tries to revive her. In a panic, he administers CPR and calls her name repeatedly, until Jan-di sputters awake.

She looks up and asks weakly, “Do you remember now?” He tells her he’s sorry, and she asks him to say her name again.

He clutches her to him and obliges.

(Yumi walks off, petulant. Good riddance!)

And then, it’s back to everyday life, kinda.

Jan-di and her family are back at their old place in Seoul, and she’s about to graduate. She doesn’t intend on going to her graduation party, although her mother urges her to.

Jun-pyo calls her out to congratulate her on her upcoming graduation. He also asks if she’s really serious about medical school, teasing about how she’s not smart enough.

He’s also here to request a date. Echoing an early scene, Jun-pyo traps Jan-di against his car, leans in closely, and says: “Tomorrow, ___.”

Naturally, just as he relays that crucial bit of information, a passing motorcycle drowns out his words. Jun-pyo thinks his message is clear and warns Jan-di that if she’s late this time, she’s really dead.

True to her word, Jan-di doesn’t plan on showing up to her graduation party, but a stretch limo pulls up (presumably from Jun-pyo) to take her — so when she arrives at the formal party, she’s still wearing her school uniform. (Let’s ignore the horrid dancing and the familiar set, shall we?)

F3 greet her warmly, and Woo-bin steps up first to ask her to dance. This allows each person a send-off as each gets his moment with Jan-di. As she dances with Woo-bin, she thinks, “Song Woo-bin, he’s always reliable and caring, as though he was the eldest in F4. I know now that he understands better than anyone how to comfort a person’s feelings, while standing one step behind.”

With Yi-jung, she thinks: “He acts cold and like a bad boy, but in reality he’s warm and innocent. Thanks to Yi-jung sunbae, I think Ga-eul has really become a lovable woman.”

Ji-hoo’s last:

“I was like Alice dropped into Wonderland. Could he know what a huge solace he was to me, that I was able to meet him whenever I went to that emergency door? He’s like a ‘bonus’ given to me from heaven. I won’t ever forget him. My soulmate Ji-hoo sunbae, thank you.”

When Jun-pyo doesn’t make his appearance, the guys wonder what’s keeping him. Jan-di thinks back to his drowned-out words, and now realizes what this reminds her of — and rushes off to Namsan Tower.

Sure enough, Jun-pyo’s waiting for her and asks, “Didn’t I say you were dead if you were late?” But he’s not upset, and with a snap of his fingers, lights fill the courtyard.

Jun-pyo comments, “It’s nothing magical. Stuff like this is really easy — compared to tending to the Jan-di-baht.” (Literally, “maintaining the grass.”)

Since this is a reenactment of their first date (albeit upgraded), Jun-pyo buys her coffee, then leads her to the viewing deck. In a cute moment, Jun-pyo brings her to the cable car, intending on pointing out the graffiti he’d written on their first date, but Jan-di’s embarrassed and blocks his view.

She complains, “Why’d you write this, and make it impossible for me to get married?” (This means that it makes her look promiscuous and would therefore be a stain on her character.)

Jun-pyo doesn’t see the problem: “Then just marry me — who else are you thinking of marrying?” In contrast to her grimace, Jun-pyo looks at the scrawled words proudly, announcing, “Now you can’t get married.” (To anyone else.)

But now it’s time for them to get down to some serious talk. Jan-di tenses nervously when Jun-pyo’s tone turns solemn: “Let’s marry.”

Jan-di doesn’t know whether he’s joking — he isn’t — and is completely taken aback, since she just graduated from high school. Jun-pyo explains, “I have to go to America. This time it’s not because of my mother, or the company. I decided this.”

He’s decided to take his future into his own hands: “I’m going to do my best. If I can save the company, that’s good. If I can’t, I’ll shut it down with my own hands.”

Jan-di’s dismayed when he says that he’ll be back in four years at best, asking, “That long?” Jun-pyo: “So come with me.”

But that’s not the magic solution, and it’s Jan-di’s turn to grow (more) solemn. She can’t go with him: “When you went to Macau, I made a decision too, regarding my dream, my work, what I want to be. Like you, I have something I want to devote myself to, and it’s here.”

It’s not a rejection, it’s reality butting in. Jan-di says with a hint of a smile, “Go, and come back. In four years, if you come back as a really impressive man, I’ll think about it again then.”

At this, the mood lightens. Maybe it’s not an ideal solution, but the compromise will work for them. Jun-pyo asks, half-jokingly, “Do you mean that? If you lose me, you’ll really regret it.” She teases back, “Hey, if you lose me, you’re the one who’ll regret it.”

Jun-pyo has no problems admitting, “I know that if I lose you, I’ll regret it till I die.”

Once again repeating some words she’d formerly told him, Jan-di says, “Gu Jun-pyo. You may not be a complete idiot.”


And now, we’re four years later.

Jun-pyo has made significant progress as a managing director with the company, and is being interviewed on television. While it starts with his business successes, the interview segues into personal questions. Naturally, as a rich, young, handsome chaebol, Jun-pyo’s the target of a lot of crushes and romance speculation.

When asked whether there’s anybody in his life to help him through the hard times, Jun-pyo responds, “It would be a lie to say I haven’t had tough times or been lonely. But because of a promise I made with somebody, I drew upon that as support and was able to endure.”

Watching proudly are Jun-pyo’s family — Mama Kang actually shows warmth as she watches alongside her husband, showing him affection that we’d never seen from her. It looks like she’s finally showing the personality that the others have hinted at — the kinder version of herself before she’d become Shinhwa chair.

And maybe the biggest surprise in this epilogue is that Jun-hee has now taken over from her mother’s position — she’s the new Shinhwa chair.

Next up: Yi-jung, who arrives at the airport with dark shades and a swagger. (I’m sorry, Yi-jung being badass just makes me giggle.) True to his word, he heads first to Ga-eul, who is now a teacher. He watches as she leads her young students in a pottery session, then steps in.

It’s adorable how one of the little girls looks at Yi-jung and asks, “Ajusshi, did you come from abroad?” He’s surprised that she guessed right, and she follows up, “Did you come from Sweden?” Is he their teacher’s boyfriend? ‘Cause, y’see, Teacher Lady mentioned something about someone in Sweden… A little embarrassed, Ga-eul moves to shut the girl up, but Yi-jung enjoys this proof that she’s been talking about him to her kids. (SO CUTE.)

Now, for Jan-di. And, somewhat surprisingly, also Ji-hoo.

She is a student at Shinhwa University’s medical school, as is Ji-hoo. As we might expect, Jan-di’s sorta struggling along, klutzy and bumbling as ever, while Ji-hoo is doing very well and about to graduate.

Today, they’re on a sort of medical outreach trip. During a break, Jan-di sighs to Ji-hoo about her tough time, and he teases her about failing.

A sudden disturbance interrupts their conversation — a helicopter hovers above, and a familiar voice comes over the loudspeaker. Just like a prior scene when Jun-pyo crashed Jan-di’s working vacation on the fishing boat, he now announces, “Oy, commoner! Can you hear me? Geum Jan-di!”

He instructs her meet him at the beach and zooms away.

When she arrives at the beach, well, now THIS really is almost paradise! (Yes, I’ll admit it — despite making my ears bleed earlier, I was glad to hear the return of “Almost Paradise” after its extended vacation.)

Jan-di approaches with gladness, but a little disbelief to see Jun-pyo here in the flesh .

Indicating her white coat, he teases that she looks like “an ugly duckling playing at being the white egret” — another callback to a previous Jun-pyo-ism (he means swan). At that, Jan-di laughs, “It really is you.”

Pulling her to him in a hug, Jun-pyo says, “I missed you to death. I’m not letting go again.”

He reminds her that she’d agreed to marry him when he came back. Jan-di returns, “Look here, Dummy Gu Jun-pyo. If you want to get technical, I said when you came back in four years, I’d think about it.”

Jun-pyo drops down to one knee, pulls out a ring box, and makes it official: “Geum Jan-di. Marry me.”

And of course, at that moment a voice calls out:

Ji-hoo: “I have an objection to that proposal!”
Yi-jung: “I do, too!”
Woo-bin: “Me too! You two can’t agree without our approval!”

THE END (finally)


And, okay, another Song of the Day, just because:

Rumble Fish – “사랑해 마지막 그날까지” (I’ll Love You Till My Last Day). If this were a movie, this would be the point halfway through the ending credits where the main song ends and a second song starts up. [ Download ]

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I’m going to start off with the criticism, because ultimately I was happy with the ending and would prefer to end on an upbeat note. So I’ll pull a “Ga-eul” here and start with the bad:

WEAKNESSES (aka, Stuff I Just Let Slide):

(1) Madam Kang’s witchy opposition. Poof, gone now? To be fair, I don’t really think it’s a logic flaw, because after Jun-pyo recovers his memory, I take it we are to assume Mama Kang gave up her opposition. It actually does make sense — there’s nothing like contributing to your son’s near-death to give you a wake-up call. But on the other hand, we didn’t see that explicitly, which might give the impression that the Jun-di reconciliation happened too easily, when goodness knows it came anything but “easily.” Not after all those episodes of separation and angst.

(2) Dr. Ji-hoo. Uh, but what about The Music? Where did his doctorly pursuits come in? I get that this probably has as much to do with his grandfather as Jan-di, but it felt random. Like it was conjured just to prove again that Ji-hoo is Jan-di’s soulmate, only now it emphasizes that they’re platonic soulmates, since they’ve remained friends even though Jun-pyo’s been away.

This leads me to:

(3) Soulmates (not to be confused with Soeulmates). I’ve never been a big fan of the “Ji-hoo is Jan-di’s soulmate” aspect. Maybe we’re all conditioned to think that soulmates are a romantic thing, and maybe I resent how much time was overwhelmingly given to the soulmate and not the actual love interest. I think Kim Hyun-joong has improved a lot over the course of the drama, but I still don’t really feel the chemistry between Ji-hoo and Jan-di. The fact that they had SO many sweet, intimate moments throughout the series and I still never jumped ship indicates just how lacking their pairing was for me.

(Intellectually, I thought Ji-hoo was better for Jan-di, but I never felt their emotional connection on a gut level, and their interactions never got me excited or giddy or otherwise invested.)

On the other hand:


(1) Callbacks, yay! I enjoyed all the revisited past moments and bits of dialogue that were injected into the finale. I’ve seen dramas do this in the past, but a lot of times they feel forced in. Boys Before Flowers surprised me by doing a good job of incorporating past lines or interactions to build the action here. It didn’t feel like a mere rehash but a natural use of these characters’ personalities.

For instance, I liked how all of Jun-pyo’s misstated sayings came back and were worked into dialogue — both in really serious scenes (the pool) and lighter, more upbeat scenes (the cable car, the beach). In some dramas, it feels like characters are suddenly altered/forced into making the ending work, but I like that this was an example of continuity done right. Done wrong, we get blatant fanservice, but done right, it’s pretty emotionally satisfying.

(2) The epilogue. The time-skip epilogue is a risky device and is sort of an easy out. Epilogues can be problematic in that they provide a “perfect” wrap-up for characters, kinda like sticking a band-aid over a more serious problem. BUT, in an over-the-top, feel-good romantic comedy like this, I’m all for it. I know there’s no such thing as a true-life Happily Ever After, but this is what I want from a giddy, lovey romance drama. The perfecter the better!

An epilogue gives us a little more time to deal with goodbyes, so we avoid the let-down feeling of a resolution that comes too quickly. I would have been sorely disappointed if we ended after the cable-car kiss — and for a few dreaded seconds, I actually thought they’d ended the drama there — but the “four years later” gave us (okay, me) that needed buffer to let myself down gradually. LOL.

(3) Soeulmates. I expressed my ambivalence about how they would wrap up, but I was pleased with their ending. I don’t think they really needed a huge finish — that would’ve taken time away from the other romance — but I like that we have hope for their future without necessarily seeing it.

The time skip works for them because they, perhaps more than Jan-di and Jun-pyo, needed to grow up and live their lives and mature some more before getting together. As much as it might have been romantic for Yi-jung to have made a big gesture at the age of 20, I wouldn’t have the hope for their future that a time skip sorta automatically takes care of.

(4) The amnesia fix. Just as I was pleasantly surprised about how the amnesia plot came about, I was pleased at how it played out.

Example: The taste thing was one part that was well tied in, because Jan-di made those foods for him in the past, and when she did, they had some significance. The first time Jun-pyo asked for those egg rollups, it was after the snowstorm. It also symbolizes something of their class differences — or rather, emphasizes the “Hey, maybe we’re not so far apart” aspect of their statuses, since Jun-pyo loves this commoner food for what it is, even though he has gourmet stuff all around. (Hey, metaphor!)

But I was glad that the taste issue alone wasn’t enough to get Jun-pyo’s memory back. Here’s where the plot diverges from Hanadan, and I was really happy with it — and frankly wished they’d diverged more often. The taste was enough to remind Jun-pyo of his newer, warm-n-fuzzy feelings, but not enough to identify all the details (like, for instance, WHO those warm-n-fuzzies were directed at).

That leads Jun-pyo to be chummy with Yumi (grrr), because he’s correlating his memory of Jan-di’s warmth (evoked by her food) with Yumi. I doubt he feels anything for Yumi specifically; it’s more like his wires got crossed so the affection he feels for Jan-di is being misdirected at Yumi.

(5) The pool. OH, the awesomeness of the pool!

Here’s why I love that Jan-di fell into the water:

(a) It proves that despite what she tells Ji-hoo, she still does have faith in Jun-pyo. At first I thought she would merely fake being in “trouble” underwater till he jumped in to save her, but she committed to her last-ditch effort so much that she was really in danger. Was it foolish? Perhaps. But it’s also evidence of how much she believed that he would come around, because even if his conscious memory can’t recall her, she believed in their other connection — that intangible, indestructible love they feel, that connection that’s so strong that forces much stronger than plain ol’ amnesia weren’t able to sever them. (Namely, Madam Kang.)

(b) I love Jan-di’s speech to Jun-pyo, because it appears that his selective amnesia (as evidenced by his belief that he can’t swim) has blocked out the past year or so. Any feelings that resemble the Newer Jun-pyo (post-Jan-di) are mostly expressed subconsciously; everything he knows and does consciously is from pre-Jan-di times. So in her speech, Jan-di speaks to the Jun-pyo who changed for/because of her. The things she tells him may not even be things he realizes concretely — they’re things he’s forgotten as well — but as she talks, he feels them resonate. He can try to deny that he knows her, but he can’t deny the truth of her insight into his character, and that scares the bejeebus out of him.

(c) And most importantly, Jan-di’s jump into the pool forces Jun-pyo’s subconscious to act. Sure, all throughout the episode, Jan-di (or F3) could have told Jun-pyo the truth of their relationship, but it would’ve done little good to merely announce, “Hey, I’m your girlfriend, you idiot!” Maybe it would have helped, but it wouldn’t have provided the jolt that would return the rest of his memory — not like a good ol’ scare to the subconscious could, anyway.


Was Boys Before Flowers a GOOD drama?

Well, no.

In all honesty, I can’t really call it good — insofar as a “good” drama requires strong acting, masterful directing, tight storytelling, and overall high quality. And it can’t just have one of those elements, but most or all of them, expressed in skillful balance.

On the other hand, it depends on how you define the word “good” for yourself. “Good” might not mean “artistic” to you; it might not mean “eloquent” or “insightful.” Good might mean entertaining, or emotionally provocative. Excitement-inducing. Enjoyable to watch and rewatch and participate in fan culture. And in those measures, I’d say BBF delivered.

Because sure, an Academy Award-winning film deserves its praise, but to be frank, they’re not always entertaining. Or they may be beautiful and meaningful, but not move the heart.

Boys Before Flowers was kind of a glorious mess — the acting was sometimes very good, sometimes horribly bad. The music was decent, but applied carelessly in messy spurts like a five-year-old who’s sneaked her way into mommy’s makeup stash for the first time. The writing had its moments, but more often than not was poorly paced, and as we know you can’t build an entire drama upon random nice moments.

But it also had its weird brand of narcotic magic. If you stuck around till the end, you know what I’m talkin’ about. If you didn’t, well, you may still know what I’m talking about, even if you were never under the influence. A film snob may sniff at “the masses” — and I’ve been that person too — but so what? Let the snob enjoy his lofty solitude while we masses can commune with each other and laugh and cry together.

I was actually reading a book somewhere around the middle of BBF’s run, and a paragraph leapt off the page and just about smacked me in the face with its aptness. And who can argue with the words of the (late, great) awesome David Foster Wallace?

“At root, vulgar just means popular on a mass scale. It is the semantic opposite of pretentious or snobby. It is humility with a comb-over. It is Nielsen ratings and Barnum’s axiom and the real bottom line. It is big, big business.”

Truer words, y’all.

Okay, okay, I’m done! Finally!

I’ve had SO MUCH FUN, you guys! I think the drama has reached its time to go, so I’m not sad that the series is over, but I will miss the insanity of this drama. All the discussion, the fangirling (myself included), the plot dissection, future predictions, kvetching about story insanity, snarking about ridiculosity, and yes, even bitching about everything that drove us crazy.

Honestly, I haven’t been this entertained following a drama in a while. True, in a vacuum, this product itself is far from perfect — but thankfully, I don’t consume my entertainment in a vacuum, but out here in the wilds of the internet as part of an enthusiastic community.



626 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. Sharon

    thank you thank you thank youuuuuuuu~

    • 1.1 Erika

      Will there be a season two…??? I saw a wedding pic of Gu Jun Pyo and Geum Jan di??

      • 1.1.1 Shreya

        I am pretty sure that was made by a fan.. And anyways, I think season 2 started with the episode of Jan Di’s trip to Macau in search of Jun Pyo.. I may be wrong, but I think I am right..

  2. JAY..

    i was planning to be first =[

  3. awwwww sob


    thank you for doing this. thank you for your commentary. THANK YOU.

    to all of us crazy BoF fans…it’s been a long haul, and i’m not exactly glad it’s over, but…

    thank you dramabeans, thank you fans for being crazy people addicted to a kdrama.

    and i liked the ending. liked.

  4. lovenyc52

    wow. top 5. amazing. ok now time to read haha

  5. jj


  6. AnGeL

    Yay! Thanks much for the recaps! ^__^

    Oh, and I just have to mention, I literally ROFL when I saw Ji Hoo run towards Jun Pyo while Jan Di was doing that drown in the pool act. What is it up with his legs? :))

    • 6.1 Shreya

      I know right!! that was hilarious, the way he ran!!

  7. Hannieoon

    OMG! Last episode D:

    I think that the last episode tried to tie up too many loose ends in the story and thus I feel kind of cheated. Kind of like everything was jam-packed into one hour. Maybe it’s because I’m still in denial that the series ended. LoL It was still enjoyable. It had it’s moments. So I’m assuming that GJP’s sister took over the company while Madame Kang stepped down is enjoying life with her conscious husband. I thought that was interesting. Wonder what that would be like if the world finds out (Madame Kang:: “Oops… I was just trying to teach my son a lesson….”)

    And everyone leaves for 4-5 years??? How ridiculous is that???

    So-Eul relationship started out great but ended not so great. It’s as if the writer got bored of their relationship and just continued writing because he/she already made So-eul part of the storyt and they have to finish it.

    And I thought that Jandi should have appeared a little more mature (Wardrobe change would be nice in a grown-up way that would fit Jandi. Still cutesy but not like she’s still sixteen. The long hair didn’t cut it for me) when she wore the doctor’s coat but it seemed like she was playing dress up.

    And the part where Jandi goes into the swimming pool? Hahaha. That was hilarious. People just stand around while GJP has his flashbacks. Like a tennis match, one look at the Jandi drowning and one look at GJP. I liked what he said to Jandi right after he rescued her (I’m going to kill you if you make me worry about you like that => Very GJP-ish)

    I enjoyed watching Boys over Flowers and will miss anticipating what was going to unfold for the last three months. Out of all the dramas (remakes of BOF), I think the k-version cast fit the original manga well. The story plot? Hmm…. I liked the Japanese version better. It didn’t drag as much as the k-version. *Sigh* I wish an F4 actually existed and that I was Jandi. Man… I don’t have a good drama fix now. Hopefully “Six Months” with Kim Ah Joong will be my next drama to watch.

    I <3 Lee Min Ho
    I<3 Kim Hyun Joong
    I<3 Kim Bum
    I <3 Kim Joon

    P.S. I had a hunch that “Allmoosssstt ParRrRRAaAAaaDddDiiiSE!” was going to played at least once during the last paradise. Funny thing is I wanted to hear it. LoLoLoLoLoL!

    • 7.1 Marj

      Jandi’s ponytail on the epilogue is a homage to her manga character Tsukishi who has her hair like that.

  8. GreenFreak

    Thanks for all the time and effort you put in to recapping this drama!!!

    Loved the ending.. couldn’t of ended any better…
    Completely satisfied, but what to do now… can’t believe the fun is really over. 🙁

  9. Iris

    Thanks for recapping the series! It was such a fun series, bad points and good, and I’ve really enjoyed your insights into things like Jun-pyo’s character and the like 😀

  10. 10 aya

    i haven’t kept up with this drama except reading recaps here in dramabeans so i’m glad someone else explained clearly what i don’t like about this drama.


    i didn’t know some other people feel the same as i do as it’s mostly BOF is great and i don’t understand why they think this is so…

  11. 11 alexthegirl

    This is the first time I’ve been refreshing over and over to see your commentary. Perhaps because I’m really curious to see what you would say at the end of it all.

    Thanks for all your hard work in recapping this drama we hate to love. 😀
    Looking forward to continuing to check in on your blog!

  12. 12 mag

    Thank you!!!! i’ve been refreshing ALL DAY!! i am sad it’s over though despite the pain that was the fiance arc! Thank you so much for recapping though! I enjoyed your recaps way more than some of the episodes!

  13. 13 jbk

    Thank you so much for the recaps! I always read them even after I watch the episodes! I love your writing…looking forward to more to come!

    thanks for making boys over flowers even greater !

  14. 14 nixza

    Lots of thank you for your wonderful recaps…

  15. 15 wandergirl

    Finally, it’s over! Thank you^^

    Boys Before Flowers was kind of a glorious mess — I agree!

  16. 16 deeta

    Puahahaha, it WAS a long recap and man, I enjoyed every second of it. I’ve got pretty much nothing to add because I fully agree with your assessments. Perhaps one thing I wish they had added was more Woobin, or at least what became of Woobin after the time jump. It seems like he just suddenly popped out of nowhere.

  17. 17 blavkum

    thanks javabeans for all the recaps of this drama…
    i will definitely miss this one…

  18. 18 Halice

    Thank you for the last recap!

    I’m going to miss BBF. I never watched it though, just waited for your recaps. xD

    I’ll miss Kim Hyun Joong, but he’s turning into an UGLY Jihoo. o.O I mean, WHAT’S with the glasses? He looks old in this last doctor scene. xP

    Thanks again love! 🙂 <3

  19. 19 ibako777

    Again, Thank you very much!!! I’ll forever LOVE BBF!!! See you all again for the next best thing!!!

  20. 20 Mila

    Hey, Javabeans! Thanks so much for the recaps. A lot of people are grateful for them. I enjoy reading them and your commentaries! I just moved, so I’m using my cell phone to post this comment. I am, and will continue to be, an avid reader! (That sounds cheesy, but it’s true…)

  21. 21 wasabi

    I liked the ending so much!
    thank you javabeans for the recaps!

  22. 22 awwwww sob

    kbites said theres gonna be a special episode a week from the final (today)

    wonder what that will be about

  23. 23 ling

    thank you so much! i love your recaps if not for your recaps i wouldn’t even bother watching the show!

  24. 24 cathy

    The ending was a disappointment for me. I wanted, i don’t know.. something more? We’ve had two remakes of this story already, can’t you change the ending?!?! Atleast make it more interesting.

  25. 25 val


  26. 26 evie

    This is probably the first time that I’ve followed your recaps for a drama from start to end, and I’ve really enjoyed the insights you’ve given – and the fangirling too. kekeke. Thank you for the hard work put in!

  27. 27 Biscuit

    YAAAAAAAAAAAAY finally *____________________*

    My brain was literally DEAD today… I was just waiting for the clock pass by I couldn’t even do anything!

    I feel so happy, sad, and grateful for your recapps ^^

    I love you TT____________TT


    But really, without you I wouldn’t have finished this series ^^
    Complete Dramabeans Supporter forever :O

  28. 28 Sweetll

    thanks for the recaps!!! don’t know what i would of done without them as they were the only real informative (includ your comments) about the series!!!

    can’t wait to watch it as well when it’s subbed!

    glad that Korea did their own version in a way and can’t wait for the next BIG thing!

    it was overall an entertaining series that’s for sure and the HYPE that went along with it as well! LOL

  29. 29 lisa

    i cried more in the taiwan version. i didn’t even cry in this version. but i still love it anyway 🙂 can’t wait to get the dvd set! xoxo

  30. 30 fizzy

    dearest javabeans,

    i have not read you recap yet, but i wanna thank you so much for ALL the recaps you’ve given us.
    [i’ve been reloading dramabeans since morning, with hopt to read the final recap..lol]
    it’s only ep 14 in malaysia, but i read your recaps like how i read a book.
    [i hate surprises so i tend to want to know what will happen next].

    in short, you have made my days so colorful with your fun recaps.
    i like your writing so much, and at times you always cracked me up with your opinions.

    감사합니다, 사라애유!!
    take care!

  31. 31 tiki

    Aaah! I’ve had so much fun! Thank you javabeans, commenters, everyone for making this such an enjoyable experience! I feel like we all really connected with this drama.. We hated it, we loved it, we talked about it, we obsessed over it… *sigh* I’m sad it’s all over.
    Until the next one, then? =P

  32. 32 elmo

    thank u!

  33. 33 ella

    i’m glad to say that i liked the ending! very much. sure, the series as a whole has flaws, but pretty much i’m happy with how they ended it. there were things i wanted to see though, kind of like an epilogue that shows what happened to junpyo’s family, and what they did to yumi-biyotch (LOL), and ga eul-yi jung. it would have been more complete if they really managed to tie up the loose ends. but ahhhh, it’s okay. it could’ve been worse, i suppose.

    but yay, free tuesdays and wednesdays for me! LOL. i think i’m one of the few who feel happy to see the series ending. sad too, but i’m glad it’s over so i can move to other dramas. hahah

  34. 34 foxymama123

    I am so sad that it has ended!
    I really do like this ending because I feel like it gives the audience enough conclusion so that we are not left hanging but at the same it leaves room for either imagination or …dare I save it….a sequel?
    *Both the taiwan and japanese version had sequels and I think with the popularity of BBF, it is HIGH possibility of it happening.*
    I agree. It wasn’t a perfect drama nor was it a well directed or written (and some bad acting) but i think the fairy tale plot is is something everyone enjoys. I have 2 favorite above all story lines in this drama. First Jun Pyo and Jandi. While they may not always seem like they are meant for each other. They are adorable. It makes me wish there was a Jun pyo in my life.
    Jandi and Ji Hoo. I actually really wanted them to be together. It was a torn decision for me. I wanted Ji hoo to be happy but not at the cost of his friendship to both JP and JD.
    I loved all three of them. Best triangle love plot EVER!

    BBF 4ever.

  35. 35 Missemergency

    It’s been a long time since I was able to follow a drama week by week like with BBF and I really enjoyed that. It was the highlight of my week sometimes and it almost always put a smile on my face; even when Jan Di was overly passive and Gu Jun Pyo was all amnesiatic (is that a word??).

    What I really liked about the korean version as opposed to HYD was that they allowed Jan Di to do more than just be married to Jun Pyo. In HYD, it gave off the impression that Makino never did anything other than marry Domyouji, even though she had wanted to be a lawyer previously. I always thought that Jan Di/Makino’s personality was one that had big dreams and work towards achieving them, so it was nice to see Jan Di in med school, even though she was a little clumsy.

    Overall, this was my TV crack for 3 months and I will miss that mon-tues slot, though I am glad to send the drama off into the vault.

  36. 36 mummycow

    Thanks for all the recap.

    You are so right – BBF is a “glorious mess”!

  37. 37 IcanhazGJPyo


    Thank you for the good times here. I have never had so much fun being a part of a community of fans. It was a blast. Thank you for your hard work putting these summaries together and for the love for BBF/HYD.

    I thought the ending was as good as it could get considering the really bad 2nd half of the series. I have fond memories of the first 12 episodes, and I am happy to have that.

    I don’t know what to watch next!

    (Infinite Jest FTW. I haven’t read Wallace’s Lobster book yet–I still cannot wrap my brain around the fact that he is gone. I was in shock for days and days after his death. There is a great New Yorker piece (or was it NYTimes) on his last days–unbearably sad).

  38. 38 jassarah

    Thanks for your wonderful recaps throughout this entire series! It’s been fun.

  39. 39 K4Ice4Thu

    This has totally been a wild ride, but it sure was a really fun one despite some of the fail going on XD
    Am also doubly glad you were along for this ride – its always stimulating and entertaining following your recaps!!

    Was very satisfied with the ending (although in my secret dreamworld, there was a wedding and curly haired JunDi babies running around XD)
    I loved the pool scene also and am so glad that JD didn’t sacrifice her dream of becoming a doctor – she truly wants to be on even ground with JP and I love the maturity they exude when discussing their future together.

  40. 40 Alyssa

    Thank you so much! Truly, it was a drama worth watching.

    The ending could tie into possibly another season? Who knows. x]

    But one thing I was a tad disappointed was the development of Madam Kang and her comatose husband. I expected her husband to wake up and be a factor to jandi/ junpyo’s relationship. He’d be rooting for them unlike madam kang. And just a simple acknowledgement from madam kang of acceptance to jan di would do as well. I guess they couldn’t fit everything but it worked out for the most part. LOVED IT.

  41. 41 chupachup

    Thanks so much for all of your wonderful recaps. This is my first time actually writing a comment (I’m usually a silent stalker, hehehe), but I’m always waiting to read your insightful and often hilarious comments. I’m so glad you loved that pool scene because I thought it was beautiful. For once, I also thought the music fit really well with that scene. I loved the song that was played. I actually teared up, lol. And about the final return of “Almost Paradise”… how could this drama not end without the song that will forever be linked with Boys Before Flowers? Lol, but I too was happy to hear it and it helped with the closure. Now I’m looking forward to the next series you decide to recap and I’m sooo excited for the Spring drama season, yay!

  42. 42 jo_ajero

    It seems im not the only one who thinks Jihoo runs weird.

    BOF was certainly entertaining, and in my opinion, a success. Given the popularity of the show way before it started, and how everyone was holding their breathes if the show failed or not, the show survived. Never (in my experience) was a drama more controversial, anticipated and watched by women all over the world.

    Java beans, your right to say it delivered, thats more than we could all ask for.

  43. 43 rescel

    I’m gonna miss BBF on Mondays and Tuesdays, which became part of my weekly routine. I wonder if there will be a 2nd season or movie. But who will be the villain now that Mama Kang showed a change of heart? And, if there is 2nd season or movie, I look forward to see more scenes of Kim Bum and Kim Joon. I hope to see more on Gae Yul and Yi Jung… and Woo Bin finding his one love. And, will Ji Hoo always remain a lifesaver for Jan Di? … I hope he will find someone deserving of his love too, but I guess that’s not how the story goes…? (He’s the kind of man I wanted my daughter to have for a husband..LOL) Oh, Joon Pyo, you’re such a cool guy. Jandi, risking your life so your beloved will regain memory of you … way to go! I wished the script gave you more lines to express yourself, but just showing your emotions through body language shows you can act.

    There may be some lapses on some episodes, but in general, I commend all the actors…the F4 (oh I just love them!), Jandi, Gaeul, and including those who played supporting roles: Goo Jun Hee, Kang Hee Soo, Jundi’s family (Kang San is very cute), Jae Kyung, Mr. Jung, grandma, grandpa…etc., etc., etc. The director, scriptwriter (I wished there were more details, then there will be longer episodes too), and the entire production crew … Kudos! Chukahamnida! (did I say it right for congratulations?)

    Oh well, all’s well that goes well…a happy ending!
    I can hardly wait for the DVD to come out to complete my collection of the Hana Yori Dango series/versions.

    Javabeans, Maraming salamat… Muchas gracias…. Domo arigatoo gozaimasu… Kamsahapnida… Thank you very much!

    – From ajima in California.

  44. 44 naners~

    loved the ending.. but i wished we could have at least seen jandi in a wedding dress with junpyo. she would have been such a beautiful bride. and i wish i saw more about what happened to junpyo’s father. since jandi took care of him for awhile i though they would wrap that up nicely.

    i wonder if they are going to make a movie like a finale with a wedding like hana yori dango.. but thats probably just going to be wishful thinking on my part.
    thank you so much for posting this blog on bof. i really appreciate it.

  45. 45 nixxochick

    the pool scene did it for me…i completely loved how it played out.

    overall this drama was okay…at times it annoyed me and at others i was completely hooked and waiting anxiously to see what would happen next…its not the best ive seen and its not the worst either, but i enjoyed (for the most part) the time i spend watching it.
    thanks for all your hard work!

  46. 46 etsy

    kind of sad its over

    i was watching the cpr scene and goodness gracious! have they never taken cpr 101? i know its a drama so i dont expect it to be real but how he was breathing into her CLOSED mouth and not holding her the right way at all made me laugh

  47. 47 funniebones

    I have had so much fun following along on your recaps on this series. As I am not of Korean heritage, your recaps really explained to me what subtitles have either muddled or failed to clarify, you were really helpful with the confusion. I’ll admit, I even enjoyed reading them more than watching the show itself especially when it dragged in the middle.

    I am so relieved that they ended the So-eul ship not too heavily. Subtlety embodied. I had tired of the Jan-di-Jun-pyo relationship more than I can admit, but I was totally rooting for So-eul all the way! The time difference really did them some good, I could clearly see the maturity Yi-jung has exhibited throughout the show — may be he did need that emo phase.

    Although clearly, there was more to be desired in terms of closure, my one true regret is that Woo-bin never really got his storyline. I wish they had at least developed that a bit more. If he was the one looking out for everyone, can’t we at least see a bit of how he got there?

    Thank you for your recaps! I thought that at 22 I’d be done with my fangirling!

    With that, I’ll be looking forward to your recommendations in the future!

  48. 48 Jenn

    I really enjoyed the ending. I think a wedding scene would have been too cliche and pure fan service. Do we really need that to feel satisfied? I also believe they’re leaving things slightly open for a movie. I can’t imagine them not wanting to milk this for all its worth.

    That pool scene! Oh man, I absolutely loved it and it brought tears to my eyes.
    I’m going to miss the discussions and the show itself but it was time to put it to rest.

    Thank you java for all the recaps. You made watching even more enjoyable 🙂

  49. 49 lilhkqute


  50. 50 EndlessxBliss

    Despite the lack of high quality, this drama is addictive and lovable. (seriously, who could hate the F4?)
    Some people say they’re sad they’ll miss the series, and though I will miss seeing the F4, I’m glad to say good-bye to the drama that not-at-all-horribly took away considerable sleeping hours.
    Thank you so much, Javabeans. For the recaps, for the wonderful and helpful insights. Javabeans = Awesomeness.

    • 50.1 Juliet onyilimba

      Love is all about someone who would stand 4 u when ever u need him/her not like gu jun pyo who was never there when guem jan di needs him but the role of yoon ji hoo indicate love he was always there to stand for her thats love and not soulmate

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