Oh my gosh, this was one of the worst finales I’ve ever seen. I’ve been leaving room for the drama to upswing at the eleventh hour, but now that it’s over I can say with certainty that this is a gross disappointment. I can’t say it’s the worst last episode EVER (because there are many dramas I have never seen finale episodes for, of course), but certainly one of the most disjointed, nonsensical, pointless finales I’ve actually watched. It’s as bad as Witch Amusement for weirdness — but maybe even worse because at least Witch Amusement‘s finale was amusing to watch.
SONG OF THE DAY
My Fair Lady OST – “I Love You” [ Download ]
EPISODE 16 RECAP (FINAL) (thank goodness)
Grandpa Kang comes home from the hospital, and Hae-na devotes herself to caring for him. Life returns to normalcy, as Hae-na admits in a letter that she writes to Dong-chan, “Nothing has changed. Except for you, everything is the same.”
She says she’s doing well and wonders how he is. She writes, “When I miss you, I imagine that you’re with me.” As she goes about her daily business, she imagines that Dong-chan is still around, nagging her and acting as her butler. “I miss you. I can’t help missing you.”
However, she doesn’t actually mail the letter, because the housekeeper later finds it crumpled and discarded.
Dong-chan, meanwhile, is back at the flower shop. Eui-joo gives him the news that the chairman left the hospital. Although he is relieved that this is a sign of improvement, Eui-joo says it’s more that he’s given up on treatment.
The directors all know the end is near, as they hint in a meeting held at the mansion. Hae-na has taken reins of the company temporarily, and counters their insinuations of the chairman’s failing health by saying that he’s well. (They all know the truth, but there’s an usavory eagerness to see him kick the bucket and vacate his spot.)
Tomorrow is Hae-na’s birthday, and Hae-na goes out for a walk along a bamboo-lined trail with her grandfather. As she steps aside to retrieve drinks, Dong-chan arrives. He has been directed here by Woo-sung, who wants to “repay his debt” by bringing him to Hae-na.
The meeting is awkward, and Grandpa’s demeanor stern. Dong-chan says that he didn’t plan this meeting, but now that he’s here, he has something he’d like to say: “Please live a long time. If only for agasshi’s sake, you must live a long time.” (Uh…? I don’t see the point in this dialogue — or this scene — since he ain’t telling Grandpa anything he doesn’t already know.)
He turns to go, just as Hae-na returns with drinks. The shock of seeing each other renders both mute for a prolonged moment, until he bows his head to her and continues on his way.
Hae-na watches him go sadly, until her grandfather calls her back to attention. He doesn’t know how Dong-chan came to be here, and writes this off as “a strange coincidence.”
Later, both indulge in their own pity parties, thinking of each other. Dong-chan rewatches his video clip of Hae-na telling him “I love you,” then wishes her a happy birthday.
In the morning, the staff surprises her with a birthday song and cake. She’s moved to tears.
(Hae-na’s birthday is a random thing that doesn’t serve much of a purpose. I wonder if they decided to shoehorn it in here because Yoon Eun-hye just celebrated her 25th birthday on set last week.)
Eui-joo calls Tae-yoon out to lunch again. She knows he finds her annoying, but she has a reason for this meeting. She sees how sad Dong-chan is, and is convinced that the couple are still pining for each other. Therefore, she thinks it would be a good birthday gift to Hae-na to bring the two back together, and enlists Tae-yoon’s help.
Eui-joo is rather proud of her scheme, and therefore put out when Tae-yoon responds unenthusiastically. She reminds him that they’re partners, and presses her point.
She lays out her plan — all he has to do is call Hae-na out. She’ll take care of getting Dong-chan.
Her suggested meeting point is a tourist ferry that travels along the river. Tae-yoon laughs at her, teasing her for thinking of such a corny activity. Who’d want to do something so lame? Eui-joo answers grumpily that she’s never ridden one before but thinks it would be romantic.
Grandpa asks his butler and housekeeper to keep taking care of Hae-na, as they have done a good job all these years. But the housekeeper speaks up hesitantly to say they’re not the ones Hae-na needs — the person she really needs is Dong-chan. She hands him Hae-na’s discarded letter to prove her point.
(Geez Louise! You’d think Hae-na were a child, the way they are carrying on about her, or at least a minor. She is a 24-year-old ADULT, and a supremely rich one, at that. She’ll be FINE.)
Now here’s where the plot logic starts getting fuzzy for me. I’m not sure if it is as sloppy as it seems or if I’m just missing something. Dong-chan goes to the Han River, where he recalls the last time he’d been here with Hae-na (they’d lit a cake and she’d asked him to stay with her). Hae-na also happens to arrive here and sees Dong-chan sitting along the bank. (I am assuming that she was heading to meet Tae-yoon at the ferry and saw Dong-chan coincidentally.)
When he looks up and they make eye contact, she hurriedly walks away. He catches up to her and they have a short, strained conversation wherein they trade pleasantries. When she gets up to go, Dong-chan grabs her hand and tells her to wait. Presenting her with her birthday coupon, he wants to claim it now: “Spend today with me.”
So they walk holding hands, happily play games at the arcade, feed each other ice cream, and what the heck is going on…? (They’re somber, then giddy, then playful, then somber again? Oh, whatever.)
They catch up on what’s going on in their lives; Hae-na tells Dong-chan that she’s been working hard, and even wrote him letters that she didn’t send. He says he’s been keeping busy and doing okay, although he has missed her too. When he says (lies?) that he hasn’t been struggling too much, she confesses that she has. She lays her head against his shoulder, “Just for a moment.”
All this while, Eui-joo and Tae-yoon wait at the boat for Hae-na and Dong-chan to join them there. At the same time, they both receive text messages, which tell them that the two others will not be meeting them. Realizing that their attempt failed, they try to get off the boat, only to find that it’s already pulling away from the dock. They’re stuck onboard.
Unfortunately, Tae-yoon gets a bad case of motion sickness and rushes to the bathroom to barf. He admits this is his first time on a boat, and feels embarrassed to always show his weaknesses around Eui-joo. She waves it off, saying that it’s not like they’re dating, so there’s no need to keep up appearances.
Grandpa reads Hae-na’s letters, perturbed at the contents since it shows that her love for Dong-chan remains undimmed. The next day, he tells Hae-na that he’s quite happy, and asks if she’s happy too. She answers, “If you’re with me, I’m happy.”
Grandpa says he has a birthday present to give her: “Live the way you want. That’s the best happiness. Whether that’s being the successor, or Seo Dong-chan, seek what you want. Do you understand what I’m saying?”
Hae-na sort of understands, although I would contend that she doesn’t because she doesn’t rush off to reconcile with Dong-chan even though there’s nothing stopping her now.
She heads inside to fetch Grandpa a blanket, and when she returns, he’s asleep. Or so she thinks.
After a moment, Hae-na realizes that Grandpa is dead, and cries.
(The music is exceedingly tragic and the tone jarringly solemn. I literally asked my screen, frustrated, “What the hell kind of drama do you think you are?”)
After the funeral, Dong-chan finds Hae-na in the bamboo forest. She tells him she could feel him around her as she prepared the funeral, and assures him weakly that she’s okay: “But truthfully, I’m scared.” She’s all alone now. “How do I live on my own?”
He comforts her.
Su-min wins a child modeling contest and WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON NOW? (I know this is just to give us a cute montage of Wang Seok-hyun, but it makes no sense. It’s so random and out of context. Eh, whatever.)
Hae-na calls a handful of directors, including Uncle Chul-gu, to the house for a meeting. She has made a decision: “I’m will decline the successor’s position at this time. However, this does not mean I am giving it up.” She’s going to go study abroad, to learn and gain more experience. So she will leave the company in the hands of management experts.
After the directors leave, she asks Chul-gu to keep good watch over the company until she comes back, and not ruin it. He’s surprised, but agrees. I’m surprised, because WTF? He’s been an immoral and ludicrously over-the-top villain all series long, and suddenly he’s competent?
Hae-na extends a hand, and they shake on it.
Next, Hae-na cooks a meal for her servants as she announces, “I’m going to leave tomorrow. I don’t know when I’ll return. But when I come back, I’ll come back as a grown-up, mature Kang Hae-na.”
The servants are stunned and saddened, but also touched at her sincerity in cooking for them. She says that the food is “a bribe to ask you not to leave here and wait for me.”
(Personal aside: Last-minute studying abroad is a cliche I HATE because it makes no sense. You can’t just go overnight to study abroad! What about finding a school and a program and making arrangements? It’s a lame way to get someone on a plane — or under the threat of getting on a plane — and it’s about time dramas either give more thought to it, or figured out a better story to elicit that conflict.)
As she heads to the airport, Hae-na gives Dong-chan a call, but because he’s at work, he misses it. Eui-joo rushes in to tell him that Hae-na is leaving for the States, urging him to find her to say his goodbyes. Dong-chan is tempted to, but decides against the urge. However, when he checks his phone, Hae-na’s voicemail message gives him second thoughts:
Hae-na: “It’s me. I’m calling because I thought I should at least say my goodbyes. I’m about to leave for far away. How happy can I be in a place without you? And how happy can you be here, without me? What is real happiness? Grandfather gave me the freedom to be happy as his last present. The happiness I don’t want to lose is you, but I know how difficult I made things for you by being Kang Hae-na. So I’m going to leave now. When will I be able to return? I don’t know exactly when, but I will definitely return. At that time, if your happiness is still me, and mine is still you, then let’s love again and start over.”
(I AM SO FRUSTRATED.)
Spurred into action by her words, Dong-chan changes his mind and sprints out of the shop, grabs a cab, and heads straight to the airport. Once there, he scours the terminal looking for a sign of Hae-na, who has just arrived and is saying her goodbyes to her butler trio.
Spotting her in the crowd, walking to her gate, Dong-chan heads straight for her, their steps echoing the scene from Episode 1. Now he speaks to her in casual speech, startling her with his assertiveness: “Hey, you! Where do you think you’re going, without my consent?”
Hae-na looks up at him, perplexed, as he insists (oddly, with a pretty unemotional delivery), “Don’t go! I’ve been thinking, and I can’t let you go like this. I don’t think I can be happy in a place without you. So don’t go.”
But maybe the lack of emotion is the whole point of this scene; to play the big reunion without the big drama. Or whatever. Hae-na starts to catch on, and she retorts, “Hey! Do you think I’m the kind of woman who will come and go when you tell me to?”
By now it’s like they’re so relieved to be back together (again) that they revert back to their familiar script of bickering, where they fight but don’t really mean what they’re saying. He taunts her to try to leave, and she taunts back, “You think I won’t?”
Dong-chan blocks her path and says, “I can’t ever let you go. And I won’t let you go in the future.” She looks at him, holding back a smile, and reminds him that this is his cue to carry her out.
So he does, just as he did in Episode 1, and scoops her up over his shoulder. As the crowd watches, he shouts laughingly, “She’s my woman!”
And now for a truly choppy, random epilogue:
Su-min shoots an ad or photo spread of some sort, while his family brags that he’s one of them. The PD practically rolls his eyes at the silly Kangs.
Tae-yoon takes on a case representing Dong-chan’s debt collectors, who are now in jail and blame their misfortune on Seo Dong-chan.
Eui-joo complains that Su-ah has stolen her shoe designs and pleads with Tae-yoon (whom she’s been calling “Mr. Lawyer” all this time) to help her. He turns her down, which upsets her, until he leans toward her flirtatiously and says, “I’ll help you if you call me Tae-yoon.”
The butler trio go on a group blind date… only to find that it’s with the maid trio. All are disappointed.
Butler Mr. Jang and housekeeper Ms. Jo have some flirty vibes going on.
And finally, Hae-na and Dong-chan are fighting once again over some insignificant thing, and Hae-na shuts him up with a kiss. Dong-chan says jokingly, “That has lost its effect,” which prompts her to kiss him repeatedly.
The end. Or whatever.
What an awful finale. It felt like a school play and I cringed throughout. Honest-to-goodness, I think that everyone — even the writer and director — gave up in this last episode and simply ran out of steam. I am relieved this drama is over. The best thing about this episode was the IRIS trailer at the end of it.
I think the thing that rankles most of us still watching at this point is that this drama should have been better. The scenery, lighting, and wardrobe were all gorgeous. The music was badly overused but not bad on its own merits. The cast was certainly easy on the eyes. And aside from Yoon Eun-hye’s slow start as snooty Hae-na, the acting was never the problem. I think she was the only one actually trying to act in this last episode, actually, and was impressed she could still wring out some tears when we’ve all lost the ability to connect with the story or these people.
Heck, the only reason I stuck with this drama for so long was because there were bits and pieces scattered throughout that hinted at a better drama. I kept hoping that the story would swing back upward and return to its high moments, but instead it kept crawling downward in a steady decline. I feel duped.
I think it would take days to nitpick all the little things that went wrong, so I’ll skip that exercise. But there were some huge threads left hanging, as most of you have already pointed out before, such as Hae-na’s first love. Seriously, what was the point? It would have been more fun to make Hae-na a bitch just for fun, rather than giving her a big emotional backstory and then never addressing it.
Furthermore, her transformation was so excessive that it feels like Hae-na grew a new personality entirely. I wish we’d gotten to see traces of the old Hae-na lingering in the new one, because otherwise it feels like one of those daytime soaps like All My Children where actors leave and new people are brought in to replace them and it’s just treated like it’s normal. What I liked about Fantasy Couple, for instance, is that Anna softened her hard edges and became more sympathetic, but she was the same person at the end that she was at the beginning. It’s like Hae-na started out similar to Anna and then turned into Eun-chan from Coffee Prince.
It speaks well of Moon Chae-won that she had people both liking and disliking her so strongly, because I just realized that Eui-joo is a completely blank character. What do we know about her? What personality traits is she given? What character quirks? All we know is that she speaks her mind and wants to design shoes. What a complete failure of the writer to create a character — but Moon Chae-won somehow made Eui-joo a real person. (Jung Il-woo fell flatter in that regard, because I think he was thinking too hard about analyzing his character instead of just, I dunno, being it.)
I like Yoon Sang-hyun and I thought he did as well with Dong-chan as could be expected. Unfortunately, the Dong-chan dance (butler, not-butler, butler, not-butler) got repetitive about eight episodes ago, after which we were essentially seeing the same story repeating itself over and over again. And that made his storyline, and therefore character, tiresome. His relationship with Hae-na suffered the same lack of imagination with same conflict playing out in episode after episode. It’s sixteen episodes of Groundhog Day. Urgh.
I think we can all agree that the actors deserved better, and that they all have brighter futures ahead of them. Let’s wipe the slate clean and move on, shall we? (If I didn’t leave this drama behind me, I’d be too bummed about the time I spent on it.)
- My Fair Lady: Episode 15
- My Fair Lady: Episode 14
- My Fair Lady: Episode 13
- Who’s to blame for confusing characters?
- My Fair Lady: Episode 12
- My Fair Lady: Episode 11
- Stars of My Fair Lady deny dating rumors
- Jung Il-woo is confused with his character
- My Fair Lady: Episode 10
- My Fair Lady: Episode 9
- Fans rally to support Yoon Eun-hye
- Yoon Eun-hye sheds tears at acting criticism
- My Fair Lady: Episode 8
- Happy birthday, Jung Il-woo
- My Fair Lady: Episode 7
- My Fair Lady: Episode 6
- My Fair Lady: Episode 5
- My Fair Lady: Episode 4
- My Fair Lady: Episode 3
- Moon Chae-won promises more smiles in My Fair Lady
- More gifts for the staff of My Fair Lady
- My Fair Lady: Episode 2
- My Fair Lady: Episode 1