Drama Recaps
The Woman Who Still Wants To Marry: Episode 16 (Final)
by | March 26, 2010 | 104 Comments

Before we get into the final recap, I want to give a hearty thanks to girlfriday for recapping this drama with me. I’ve never shared recaps for a series before, and I found it even more fun than I thought it would be, and also a learning experience (to see what she picked out that I didn’t, for instance). Fear not, this is not her last recap, though I won’t yet announce for sure what comes next.

Since this is the finale, this recap contains comments from both me and girlfriday; you’ll find hers in blue, for ease of distinguishing between us.

SONG OF THE DAY

The Woman Who Still Wants To Marry OST – “사랑을 열다” (Opening love)
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EPISODE 16 RECAP

The foreign correspondent position isn’t Shin-young’s yet — she is in contention with two others — but she decides she wants to go for it. [I’m so torn here, because I want her to succeed, but don’t want her to go to stinky ol’ Finland. No offense, Finland. -GF]

In the UBN hallways, she crosses paths with Min-jae, who’s looking quite miserable. But in keeping with her wishes for a clean break, they pass each other without stopping. The encounter leaves both with tears in their eyes as they walk off in opposite directions. [Music video stylings, to be sure, but these two act their hearts out in this moment. -GF]

Therefore, she hedges when her boss wishes her well for the upcoming selection, which surprises him; he thought she’d be jumping at the chance but it sounds like she’s half-hearted. This boss has been at times infuriating with his wishy-washiness and playing to the old boys’ club, but he has also acknowledged Shin-young’s talent, and he gives her some Bu-ki-esque advice: It’s not like going to Finland means she’s letting go of the chance to meet her match, or allowing time to pass her by — she will have experiences there and who knows, maybe she’ll meet her match while she’s away.

Min-jae hasn’t been contacting Shin-young per her wishes, but he rides his bike to her apartment. He doesn’t mean to run into her and in fact has quite the opposite intention, as we’ll find out soon enough.

Shin-young records her last episode, after which she and her teammates go out for a congratulatory party. They’re all sorry to see her go, although happy for her at the same time. Shin-young is spooked when she hears Min-jae’s disembodied voice asking if she’s going to be late tonight. Freaked, she hands her phone to her cameraman and instructs him not to give it back no matter what, to prevent possible drunk dialing. [And here I am, screaming, “Give the phone back! Give it back!” I think Shin-young could use some drunk-vulnerability right now, right? Don’t be coy and pretend you don’t know what it feels like to wake up the morning after and relive the horror of a drunk-text/drunk-dial in which you divulged the deepest wishes of your very inebriated heart. -GF]

But Min-jae’s voice pops up again, this time asking, “Don’t you miss me?” Shin-young decides to confront this issue head-on — only, her cameraman has taken her at her word and refuses to return her phone. He points out that she’ll just yell at him tomorrow for giving in.

After a brief chase, Shin-young gives up. Crouching, she says miserably, “It’s a good thing I can’t call.”

In the morning, Shin-young emerges from her bedroom, still feeling a little groggy from her night out, and sees a spread prepared on the table, with festive balloons decorating the place. Bu-ki must have arranged this, and she digs in. [If Bu-ki HAD done it, I’d be concerned we were rooting for the wrong couple here. -GF]

Da-jung attempts to work through her sister-in-law’s jabbering, and is listening to something on headphones and therefore doesn’t react. Argh the sight of that woman’s face just gets my blood pressure up, especially when Bitchy Sister-in-Law actually pulls Da-jung’s headphones off, which would totally be my cue to slap a bitch, but Da-jung has more patience than I do.

Bitch-in-law wants Da-jung to make coffee for her remodeling crew, so Da-jung directs her to make it herself. She’s actually quite civil about it by Western standards — she says there’s plenty of instant powder and also an espresso machine, so help herself — but as the Korean wife addressing the almighty husband’s family, anything less than utter servility is seen as uppity disrespect. So when she turns back to her work, Bitchyface yanks off her headphones again and expresses her incredulity at Da-jung’s ‘tude. And I’m like, where’s the lightning bolt of irony when you really need it? [It’s booked on a higher-rated show, I gather. -GF]

However, this exchange also yields a revelation for Da-jung, when Bitchycakes makes a comment about Da-jung’s two-facedness; why is she being so snooty now after she’d helped with the deposit on the upstairs apartment? Ban-seok had told her that it was Da-jung’s idea to use their own apartment as security against the upstairs place. [What in the WHAT? Oh, no you di’n’t! -GF]

Da-jung understands that this apartment is Ban-seok’s, but he should still have consulted with her. He was doing it to make her look good in his family’s eyes, and while I think Ban-seok is almost criminally dense [AMEN! -GF] with regard to women’s feelings, this parallels Da-jung’s lie about his birthday present in a previous episode. He doesn’t compare the two situations, but you’d think he’d have learned from that experience that this was not a good idea. Two wrongs don’t make a right, kiddos.

Da-jung suggests that they move apartments, then — can’t she live as his wife, without being tied to his family? No wife likes the idea of spending every weekend with her husband’s parents, or having her sister-in-law barge in constantly without warning. Ban-seok thinks it’s a matter of “You can just change your mind! It’s simple!” Which makes me think many thoughts of hurting him. [I was picturing an old-school tar-and-feather, unless you’d prefer a ritualistic burning at the stake. I’m a go for either. -GF]

Female oppression through perpetuating outmoded patriarchal mores doesn’t have to be malicious or intentional to be harmful, and Ban-seok frustrates me with his blissful ignorance — he thinks he’s fair and enlightened, which almost makes it worse because there’s just no arguing with him. [Pumping my fist in solidarity! -GF] His character is so cute and endearing in other respects that it is very frustrating to see him so deficient as a husband. I mean this in a positive way regarding the drama writing, though, because I appreciate that we’re seeing this conflict in grayscale — neither he nor Da-jung are portrayed as right versus wrong, since they’re both flawed. [Yes, it’s true–I don’t hate him. It’s a lot like the frustration I feel towards Sang-mi and my desire for her to be a better person when she will inevitably learn from her mistakes. -GF]

Anyway. Da-jung recognizes that trying to change his mind is not a feasible task, and says in a resigned voice, “Then that is the answer.” He, being oblivious, immediately perks up, thinking he has won her over. He then brings up his desire to have a baby right away. ‘Cause I’m sure forcing your wife to concede that her future will be miserable is, like, such an aphrodisiac. [Shoulda gone with oysters. -GF]

Da-jung sighs.

Off to Bu-ki’s. Da-jung has come from visiting the apartment building where she’d been doused with water in Episode 1, and says, “I think I was happier back then when I was moaning about not having a man.” She wasn’t suffocated back then.

Bu-ki reminds her that she wasn’t happy then, either. Da-jung wonders if this means she’s destined to be unhappy either way and says rather matter-of-factly that she may be looking at divorce. [This moment of Da-jung’s rings so true to life for me, because I’ve changed boyfriends, jobs, cities–all in an effort to find that elusive thing called happiness, only to discover that happiness is merely a perspective that we choose to take on our daily lives. I think Da-jung’s journey, past the basic single/married dichotomy, is really about learning to be happy with herself once the catalogue-version of marital bliss gets stripped away. -GF]

Shin-young joins them wanting a pick-me-up after being transferred to the international news department. She notes Da-jung’s case of tonic, which was given to her by Ban-seok and is supposed to help you get pregnant. Da-jung plans to throw one drink away daily, on the sly. [Hello? Red flag? -GF]

Shin-young thanks Bu-ki for the morning spread, but gets a blank response. Bu-ki wasn’t responsible for the breakfast this morning, nor the one the previous day.

This can only mean one thing, and when she comes home, she finds Min-jae in the middle of preparing another meal for her. He has been coming by to make her food while she’s out, which is simultaneously super-sweet and crossing some major boundaries. (Right?) Ever the romantic, he has prepared various mix CDs themed under “When you’re weary,” “When you feel down,” and “When you want to dance.” [Cutest and most achingly age-appropriate gift ever. It’s actually making me cringe, the sweetness of the mix CDs, because it’s highlighting their now seemingly monumental age gap. -GF]

Shin-young asks why he’s doing this. He says that his feelings for her aren’t going away, and doesn’t understand her decision — do they have to break everything off cleanly before she leaves?

She reiterates her stance, saying that she wants to focus on her work and doesn’t want to worry about him. Min-jae feels that means she doesn’t trust him, or work is more important to her. (And he’s just getting that now?) [Right? Can I remind you, good sir, of the time you got almost-seemingly-kidnapped because you were trying to impress her one-track mind? -GF]

Shin-young says that when she sees him, all she can think is how young and passionate he is. He replies, “That’s a matter of passion, not age,” and “Being 24 doesn’t mean I just love anyone.” [TRUE. The number one thing I hated when I was young was people disregarding what I felt (FELT!) simply because of my youth. Choices you make because of love are vastly different at various ages, to be sure, but no one can say that what someone else feels is or is not love. Immature actions usually accompany young love, but I think it’s dismissive to think that Min-jae inherently can’t love on the same level as Shin-young simply because of age. -GF]

But I feel like this is just a rehash of their previous discussions, and both of their tones are sad and despondent throughout this conversation. Neither budges on his/her position, and neither convinces the other toward their side.

On another tutoring/babysitting afternoon, Da-jung juggles studying with playing hostess. Infuriatingly, Ban-seok and Bitch-in-law laugh and sit back while Da-jung serves them. (I can understand Ban-seok being out of the loop about the dynamics when he’s absent, but when he’s right here and still oblivious — and contributing! — grr…) [Don’t get me started on Joseon-era holdovers of patriarchal servitude as current-era plates of fruit! I will write a manifesto! I will! -GF]

Ban-seok comes upon Da-jung while she’s dumping out her tonic in the kitchen sink, and asks what she’s doing. What does this mean?

She briefly tries to lie, then honestly tells him that she doesn’t want to take the tonic. She’s not confident she can live the way he wants to live, and while she loves him, she doesn’t want to constantly be with his family. Stunned, he asks if this means she doesn’t want kids at all. How could she do this to him? (Sigh. Notice how he has consistently been overlooking what all this means to HER.)

Da-jung replies that she wants to spend some time apart, and heads back to Shin-young’s apartment. [Woo! I miss the fun girly times in the apartment! -GF]

To her credit, Da-jung understands that Ban-seok is not a bad husband — he doesn’t hit her, or gamble, or cheat. [Are those the only options in Korea? -GF] Still, she’s not happy, and asks, “But why does it feel like I’ve run into a wall?” She advises Shin-young again not to marry.

Shin-young tells her friends that she was chosen to be the special foreign correspondent, and will be sent abroad by the end of the month. Rather than being thrilled with the opportunity, she’s apprehensive and feels that this is happening so quickly.

Her friends congratulate her, laughing at her comment that she’ll be 37 when she returns. Bu-ki reminds her that she’ll turn 37 if she stays, too.

Min-jae hears about Shin-young’s assignment from his co-workers. He had suggested a beach outing with Shin-young for Saturday, and even though she hadn’t responded either way, he sends her a reminder text to meet him on Saturday. [Min-jae, don’t you know about the ocean? Don’t go to the ocean! -GF]

However, when the day comes, she doesn’t come out. She’s busy at work all day, and Min-jae ends up waiting in his car all afternoon. It isn’t until nighttime that he finally decides to leave. [It seems that this is the final nail in the coffin that forces him to accept that Shin-young doesn’t intend on getting back together. It’s like his heart breaks all over again. -GF]

Da-jung starts feeling nauseous, which in drama-land can only mean one thing, and true enough the plastic stick confirms her worries. She sighs, “Other people are ecstatic when they’re pregnant.”

Ban-seok ain’t doing so well with the separation, either, and has taken to moping at home. Glumly, he mumbles, “No matter how I think about it, Da-jung doesn’t love me.”

(Sigh. Yes it’s sad for him, but this just proves to me that Ban-seok is immature, because things are so black and white for him.)

Sang-woo shows up to the studio to shoot some photographs of Sang-mi dancing. Yeah, not creepy AT ALL, dude. When Sang-mi notices his presence, she asks (a bit angrily) for him to erase them, but he doesn’t want to. [When did Sang-woo go from mature and patient boyfriend to creepy stalker with a telephoto lens? Did I miss an episode? Was there an emotional spiral left undocumented? -GF]

Not giving in to her cool brush-offs, Sang-woo asks Sang-mi to teach him to dance. He also tells her of an upcoming flight that’ll take him to Paris, which he wants to bring her along on. The mention of Paris is particularly meaningful, since that was what they initially bonded over in their first encounter.

Ban-seok’s sister bursts in, appalled at the state of his living quarters, and starts to nag him. Feeling miserable with his marriage in trouble, his sister’s brashness only aggravates his bad mood, and he (finally!) tells her not to barge in anymore. He also tells her he’s going to change his passcode, putting her in her place in a way that he can as older brother, but that Da-jung couldn’t.

Spurred by this outburst, Ban-seok heads to Shin-young’s apartment to confront Da-jung. In an emotional plea, he tells her that he’s fine letting her have her way, or even if she loves herself more than she loves him — none of that matters when he loves her. Da-jung keeps her back to him, feeling conflicted, and tells him not to say that — she’s selfish and self-absorbed and not good for him.

He vows he can’t live without her, declaring, “This must be love — my mind has changed, and my thoughts have completely changed.”

And really, that’s all it takes. With his tearful words, Da-jung turns to face him, and tells him that she’s pregnant. Ban-seok’s reaction is so filled with joy that it’s enough to bring a tear to your eye. [Whose eye? Not mine! I dare say not mine! (Sniff.) I didn’t really know what people were talking about with this actor until this moment–and I totally get it now. You should have played to his strengths, Show. I know he was silly and bumblingly cute, but I would have cared a thousand times more throughout if I had seen this caliber of acting before, say, the FINALE. -GF]

I think this is a case where this couple doesn’t need to be 100% in line with each other in order to be in a functional relationship — they just need communication. They’ve been trying so hard to be that perfectly matched smug married couple that they’ve been holding things back. (Admittedly this has been more Da-jung’s issue than Ban-seok’s, but he has shown smugness with his “perfect” marriage at times, too.)

Despite her intention to focus on her work, Shin-young finds her mind wandering, and decides that she’ll probably have to see Min-jae one last time before she leaves. I believe this is more for mental closure than to actually say anything specific, because when they run into each other at the office, they mostly exchange pleasantries.

Min-jae wishes her well, and for the first time calls her “noona.” This is his concession to her that he’s accepting her decision not to date; previously, he’d purposely avoided that term in order to assert himself as her romantic equal. [Okay, this kills me. It is the most heartbreaking use of the word “noona” in all of history. I never thought that word could cut like a dagger. It simultaneously floods my head with memories of all the times he insisted on calling her “Shin-young-shi” and “jagi,” while making me gasp at the coldness of addressing her so formally, so distantly. -GF]

As they separate, her voiceover says:

Shin-young’s narration: “Yes, Min-jae, play guitar and work hard on your music. Despite the very fact that you loved me, you’re 24 and in your youth. Go with your heart, and if love comes, love. Live passionately today, like there’s no tomorrow. Thank you for appearing to me this past winter. Thank you for loving me. Thank you for making me see myself again. The feeling of fluttering excitement, like spring has come — that’s a gift you gave me. During the time we were together, I loved you more than anything in the world.”

They go on with their daily lives as Shin-young prepares for her departure, but it can safely be said that Min-jae takes this separation especially hard. As he rides his motorcycle, he’s overcome with his emotions and doesn’t react as quickly as he ought, swerving in time to miss hitting a truck. However, another oncoming car honks at him, and as he speeds to avoid a crash, he loses control and falls from his bike. (Thank god he didn’t hit anything. Well, other than the ground.) [If I get even the faintest whiff of amnesia, I’m breaking up with you, Show! -GF]

At the airport, Bu-ki and Da-jung see Shin-young off, and she finds herself looking around inadvertently, hoping for Min-jae to come. She sends a few last texts while waiting for the plane to take off, and receives one from her old teammate telling her that Min-jae has been in a serious motorcycle accident.

Torn, she vacillates momentary, then grabs her bag and pleads with the plane staff to let her off.

Trust the drama to give us a comic moment out of a serious beat, [Thank GOD. -GF] because upon arrival at Min-jae’s hospital room, she sees the bandages and casts swathing the patient and tears up in horror. A man sighs and points her at the other bed — this one’s HIS buddy. HAHA.

Min-jae’s injuries, thankfully, are nowhere as serious. He lies asleep in bed as Shin-young sits by him.

Sang-mi walks into the room and smiles to see Shin-young there. She leaves to allow her some privacy.

Shin-young doesn’t wake Min-jae, and merely sits for a while at his bedside. Finally, as she stands to leave, she thinks, “Thank you. Be well.” [But! You got off the plane! You’re just going to leave, without waiting for consciousness, maybe make sure there’s no selective amnesia? -GF]

She goes on to Finland, the reports of which Min-jae watches on television back home. He hasn’t been in touch with her, so when Sang-mi visits him and asks how Shin-young is doing, he says she’s probably well. Sang-mi thought they’d still be in contact after what she saw at the hospital — which is news to Min-jae. He hadn’t known she visited him. [It’s a nice little capper that Sang-mi helps to bridge their reunion. -GF]

Just as Min-jae watches Shin-young’s broadcasts, she watches the latest interview with him online. He’s revving up activities for a new release, which bears the title “Waiting For you.” Asked to explain the meaning, Min-jae says, “I think everyone lives waiting for someone.” He hopes that “the person I miss and love the most” will come to the upcoming concert.

Sang-mi comes to the studio and finds photos of her stuck to the mirror, which are the shots that Sang-woo had snapped the other day. He asks, “Do you like it?” (Like it? I think the more apt question is, “Are you scared? cuz really, I don’t mean to be a stalker…”) [I AM scared. I literally jumped out of my chair. I think Sang-woo skipped past the grand gesture chapter and went right to scare tactics. -GF]

Sang-woo’s trip to Paris is coming up soon, and he still wants to take her. He reminds her of all the places she’d wanted to see — Sartre’s cafe, the graffiti at Notre Dame. Sang-mi asks why he’s making things so hard on her. He asks, “Why is this hard on you? Doesn’t that mean you still love me?”

She tells him not to expect her to come, but he promises to wait, and leaves her with the ticket. [And the heebie jeebies. -GF]

Min-jae performs at what has got to be the calmest rock show ever. Seriously, I’ve been to classical music concerts with more excitement. As he plays, he thinks he sees Shin-young in the crowd, but his eyes are playing tricks on him, and it’s just a random girl.

He introduces his last song, “The Woman Who Cut My Guitar String,” and says he’d like to go back to the time when he’d written it.

As he plays the song, this time we see the real Shin-young walk in and observe his performance. It’s actually quite emotional for her, and she stays just for the duration of the song, walking away as it winds down. Min-jae doesn’t see her, though she gives one last backward glance before leaving. [Again with the leaving! I know you’re trying to keep up the break-up, but you obviously still love him. Maybe at this point we’re to believe that she knows this, but thinks it’s still best for Min-jae to be young and free. -GF]

Sang-mi decides to go to Paris after all, and boards the flight. I’ve gotta say, Sang-woo knows how to do his romantic gestures right, giving her a cushy first-class experience (I say this with only a little bitterness, as I will likely be consigned to coach for all eternity). [Uh, I’d pretty much marry stalker Sang-woo for a first-class ticket to anywhere, let alone Paris. Does that make me easy? -GF] The flight attendant lets Sang-woo know that the seat has been filled, which makes him smile excitedly.

The attendant returns to Sang-mi with a note that reads: “Even if you want to see me, please wait 11 hours and 50 minutes. I love you.”

Shin-young is only back in Korea for a brief while and it’s a working trip for her, so she still has one last deadline to meet before leaving again. She takes a quick break at the UBN studios to meet with her former teammates, and when she gets back to her computer, her laptop screen is dark and it won’t turn on. The cord has been cut. [What a great little callback–not an anvil, like most rom-com “metaphors.” Using the term metaphor loosely, as most kdrama “metaphors” (ie. moments involving necklaces) are so thinly veiled as to be laughable to a ten-year old. -GF]

She borrows a cord and plugs it into the computer, and when the screen flashes back on, written in big bold letters is the message: “YOU’RE STILL THE WOMAN I LOVE!”

That’s enough to break past her resistance, and Shin-young runs out fighting tears. She heads to their hallway, which is empty, but finds an mp3 player on the windowsill. When she listens, “The Woman Who Cut My Guitar String” is playing on it.

Min-jae comes up behind her and greets her with a smile. He asks, “Why did you just leave that day?” referring to his concert. She asks, “You saw me?” He answers, “I felt that you were there. I missed you.” [Gah, I’m such a sucker for the can’t-see-you-but-still-feel-you connection! -GF]

And they hug. [Eeeeeee! -GF]


Onward to tie up some other loose ends:

Da-jung gives birth, with Ban-seok at her side. Bu-ki, meanwhile, is still single and fabulous, and still deflecting Myung-seok’s pathetic bids for her attention. (Rock on, Boogie-woogie! Also: How much do I love that Boogie-woogie is her nickname?)

Following their (presumably blissful) Paris trip, Sang-mi and Sang-woo are back on, and cuter than they’ve ever been. Sang-mi teaches Sang-woo how to dance — or maybe it’s Sang-woo teaching Sang-mi his own brand of dance. It’s endearing because they’re just goofing around, enjoying being together, having fun being playful.

As for our main couple… Min-jae performs again, and in the middle of the show, the instruments cut out mid-song. It’s a planned lead-in to “The Woman Who Cut My Guitar String,” which he reminds fans is based on a real experience. In fact, the woman who inspired the song is here today, Min-jae explains as a roadie brings out a metal bucket. The person in question is the one who gets doused with this bucket of water.

Shin-young laughs and protests, but when the bucket is tipped, she is showered with confetti, not water.

One last voiceover wraps this series up:

Shin-young’s narration: “When the wind blows, it’s okay to shake. I have faith that at some point, the wind will stop. When it rains, seek out friends. You’re not alone. When love comes, love. And when love leaves, let it go. When you accept what you can’t change, a different love will come. The times of being overcome with jealousy are over. Treasuring today… confessing that I love you… Now I think I can be happy. This is UBN News’ Lee Shin-young.”

 
JAVABEANS’ COMMENTS

I’m thrilled to have our happy ending, but I would have been okay with a more open-ended finale regarding the Shin-young and Min-jae romance. With most romantic comedies I’d be really upset if I spent the whole drama invested in a romance that didn’t come together in the end, but The Woman Who Still Wants To Marry isn’t your standard rom-com. It’s not centered around the love story, unlike most trendy romances, but is squarely about Shin-young and how her love life figures into her overall life.

Thus I have always been on Shin-young’s side in this drama more than on Shin-young/Min-jae. If they’d both moved on, it would have made sense because their romance was portrayed as wonderful and special, but in this moment. At this point in time they love each other, but Shin-young isn’t vouching for the future.

That’s also why I am relieved that she didn’t marry, or even revisit the topic of marriage in the finale. (We’re given room to think they married if we want, but that’s each viewer’s choice.) The title may indicate that Shin-young wants to marry, but it’s more of a metaphor — she wants marriage, but not at the expense of her individuality or her career. If she had married and settled down, that would have actually run counter to the rest of the drama. With our three friends, we get a look at three different places on the marriage-work spectrum, with Da-jung in the most traditional role of happily married. Still, even she realizes that there’s more to that perfect picture than just arriving at an altar, and that marriage isn’t an end — there’s work to be done after that, yunno!

Bu-ki, well, she’s just perfectly happy being herself. I’m glad they kept her consistent throughout the drama, even if that means her character got less development and screentime.

As for the finale’s resolutions — something to note is that this drama gives the women agency in these relationships. Notice that Da-jung is the one who realizes her marriage isn’t working, and she’s the one who leaves. She’s also the one who makes the decision to take Ban-seok back and to go forward with the marriage. Similarly, Shin-young is the one who makes the call about breaking up and reuniting. Same with Sang-mi. It may rub some the wrong way that the men are seemingly robbed of the power to make decisions about their romantic lives, and I feel a twinge of that, too. But isn’t there also something beautiful about the fact that these three men bare their emotions and offer them up to their women, who are given the agency to then choose them? So many times the man makes a grand gesture and whisks the woman away, and it’s assumed that because the woman also loves the man, there’s no need to linger on the annoying issue of letting her make that choice!

These women are not slaves to emotion — there’s emotion there, but there’s also pragmatism and careers and family considerations. And they’re not allowing men to drag them around by the wrist. This drama puts all the decisions into the women’s hands — perhaps to an excessive degree. But even though it does swing too far on one end, I appreciate the thought.

 
GIRLFRIDAY’S COMMENTS

Thankfully there was no three-year fast-forward, no marriage proposal, and no selective amnesia. Kudos, Show. I much prefer this kind of finale, where we deal with how our characters, as we’ve come to know them, deal with events in the here and now. The slight jump forward (of presumably eight to nine months) works well because it gives Shin-young and Min-jae time to be apart and find out BY TRYING, that they still want to be together. This to me is very different from people just declaring that they want to stay together forever. It’s more realistic, more pragmatic, and feels organic to Shin-young as our main hero.

I’m glad that Sang-mi and Sang-woo didn’t rush off to the wedding chapel, and are taking time to rediscover themselves and each other. It’s exactly what I wanted for her, so I’m happy with her send-off. Da-jung and Ban-seok could have been given a little more epilogue besides the birth of their child, because I still want to see some kind of proof that Ban-seok stuck to his word and didn’t fold in front of his family like the doormat that he is. But as far as Da-jung goes, I truly enjoyed her character all the way through, and I like that she doesn’t get a neatly-wrapped solution to the happiness question either. Boogie-woogie is, of course, awesome as always, and I would never doubt her finding utter and complete happiness and self-worth in everything she does.

What I love about this series is that it doesn’t vilify marrieds or singles. It doesn’t give us neat little answers to all of love’s conflicts. It invites us to search, to question, to be brave. What Shin-young, Da-jung, and Bu-ki show us is that life is fuller when you dive in and take chances, value yourself, and lean on your friends when you fall.

This is Dramabeans’ girlfriday, signing out.

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104 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. starstrukk

    first comment??
    i have waited for this forever!
    i really liked this show and i think you guys summed it up pretty well!!!
    thanks for taking the time to recap!!! keep up the good work!!!

    • 1.1 anna

      it’s awesome reading the recaps again. this is when i fell for girlfriday ..well her writing hahah..
      im shall watch this drama again!

  2. kaedejun

    awesome stuff you two!!! i enjoyed reading this dual recap of yours!!!

    i like that they gave women agency in this drama, and i don’t think it should rub the wrong way really – after all, this drama is giving the women’s point of view – it’s supposed to be “biased” in this sense. it can be just as excessive anyways when the man makes all the decisions as well – which is common in other dramas.

    although the nice trend is that since coffee prince we see the girl taking charge of her life – putting work and her life first. wish upon a star was the same – pal kang wouldn’t marry until she felt more secure with her position in society and at work. i like this trend!

  3. Chen

    WOOHOO! I really LOVE THIS DRAMA!

  4. ernie

    So- Shin Young’s not staying in Korea?

    Anyways, thanks for the great recaps. I checked this page everyday for them x] I thoroughly enjoyed reading all of your witty thoughts and comments on the happenings of the drama. I never actually got to watch it, but these recaps are just as good. (: It was probably a lot of hard work to do- I tried to make some just for fun, but they weren’t easy and they took me a while. x] I really appreciate the hard work you guys put into these recaps!

  5. ivy

    it’s so interesting reading the java and GF’s comments together. haha. I had an enjoyable time reading this post. thanks for the work, both of you!

  6. lholie

    holy smokes, i have been waiting for this as well for a couple of days already..anyways, i would like to say thank you to javabeans and girlfriday for the recaps and both of you have surely made us readers craved for more each time a recap is up.

    as for the drama, i think the finale was much more realistically done compared to a mushy-mushy ending. as both of the bloggers had stated above, it is more like a closure to the emotional contentment of each charactes. at the end, all of them were able to accept that in life each invididual has to go into different stages. there are those who are contented to be by themselves, there are those who choose to explore life with a bitter-half and there are those who just live life each day and be happy. it is more like an awareness to all the women and that goes to me as well that life is prescious to be wasted…so live life to the fullest.. i totally, love this drama.

    hope to read more of your blogs in the future guys..KUDOS!!!

  7. amhrancas

    I would like to take the moment to heartily thank both of you, Javabeans and Girlfriday, for a series of AMAZING recaps on The Woman Who Still Wants to Marry. This story struck a number of chords with me, being an academic, just 30, and still very, VERY much single *sigh*.

    I enjoyed this show a great deal, but all the more so because of your knowledgeable insights and commentaries, so thank you both, very much.

    …and thank God for no 3-year Fast-forward!! (^_^)v

  8. kay

    yay! i liked the way this ended and kim bum was utterly adorable. he’s super cute and all but i was never really attracted to him until this. thanks for the amazing/funny/insightful recaps!

  9. Kender

    It’s over? *sniff* Somebody hold me, I think I’m gonna cry. :(

    I have nothing new to add to you guys’ finishing comments, so I’ll just say “Ditto.” :)

    Thanks for a great ride, you two. This is one of the best shows I’ve seen in a while, and I’m sad that it has to end. (Kind of bittersweet, isn’t it?)

  10. 10 miss_procrastination

    Thanks so much for the recaps!!!! Both of your recaps were hilarious as they were insightful! Can’t wait to see what else you’ll be recapping!

  11. 11 Avy

    I’m a sucker for happy endings. It was a very enjoyable ride. I really felt Da jung grow after marriage. It’s a sad reality. I know of many women who are desperate to get married only to find out they can’t sustain a one.

    Marriage is not evil, but rushing into one is. I will surely make my girlfriends watch this.

  12. 12 Kitty

    An excellent recap to a very satisfying ending. I’ve always loved your comments. Please keep it up!

  13. 13 Bloop

    Thank you so much for all the wonderful recaps of this drama!! I loved it and loved all the input you guys gave the show. The drama is a fantastic life lesson for all women I think, and I could almost say a little inspiring. So thank you!! And I love how Girlfriday ended her comments. Very nice touch to the ending of all the recaps!!

  14. 14 kdramatic

    loved it!! thanx soo much javabeans and girlfriday!!

  15. 15 langdon813

    I loved this drama so much. And these recaps were like cream cheese icing on a carrot cake…one is SO much better with the other! Awesome tag team effort; well done JB and girlfriday!

    Can I just say how much I loved that they (finally) didn’t cut away from the kiss at the end? And it was a real kiss, too. Sigh…..loved it. Will definitely watch this one again.

  16. 16 sherrie in hb

    Yes, Yes, thank you for your recap on the finale. It was done in such a hurry that there are parts that was confusing ie., the time line was not clear, was SY back from her 3 years commitments. But you have cleared all this and thank you again for the whole recaps.

  17. 17 Molly

    Thank you so much to javabeans and girlfriday for amazing recaps all the way through. I loved reading your comments and watching the show. I wasn’t a huge fan of the fairy tale-colored ending (reminded me a bit of The Last Scandal) and would have preferred things to close on a more open-ended note, but overall, enjoyed how everything was neatly concluded.

    Now I’m going to miss them! Even though I’m far from being married, or even dating lol, Da-jung and Ban-seok’s relationship was really interesting to me, even more so than Shin-young and Min-jae’s. I would have liked to see the Bitch-in-law (love that phrase!) taken down a peg more, but ah well.

    Thanks again. Can’t wait to see what else you have for us!

  18. 18 Juwo

    Thank you for this wonderful tag team of JB and girlfriday – it was brilliant to read your opinions and recaps =]. Looking forward to the new crop of dramas coming out as well!

  19. 19 maria

    i’m loving the adjoined recapping and comments, you guys! the insight and the wit x 2 is just funny x bajillion! :D

    i will miss TWWSWTM, precisely for all the points you’ve already raised.. in a way, this was an almost impossible undertaking– to have taken something as complex as real world love with its pragmatism, choices, responsibilities, accountabilities and genuine concern for the other person— and then to have presented this to us in this endearing, funny and relatively simple way….. it’s a message that reminds people to NOT be jaded, because there ARE ways to live your life in the way the 6-year old you thought you could and would. the world is active, not reactive,and we only stand to lose so much by thinking it is.
    so many things come and go, and they served to disillusion, mystify and jade us, when they should have served the purpose of teaching us a lesson and letting us move forward with faith and hope.
    thanks for reminding me, show. …girlfriday and sarahbeans, thanks for the words that made me remember.

    :)

  20. 20 etsy

    Thank you so much for all the recaps for this series! It’s really been such a pleasure reading them!

  21. 21 JiHwan

    The “signing out” at the end made me giggle. This has been truly an enjoyable drama and I definitely enjoyed every minute of it. Thanks for the recap folks!

  22. 22 slim

    thanks girls for the recap..you girls are hilarious..i was cracking up reading this recap ..( especially on comments about sang woo..i did find his tactics creepy and little strange too..!! )

  23. 23 cranky

    I think in my years of watching dramas, Korean or otherwise, Bu-ki or Boogie woogie, must be the best written, most awesome female character in a long, long time. Especially being set in Korea, modern times or not, still very much rooted in partriachal and rather sexist practices. Bu-ki being confident and assured in her life and own choices is such an inspiration.
    I love you, Show!, for giving us Bu-ki, and Shin-young, and to a certain extent, the charmingly-acted Da-jung, who could have been the most annoying woman ever lived but wasn’t because of the great acting.

  24. 24 doozy

    THANK YOU to javabeans and girlfriday for all your time and hard work on the recaps! Love the awesome show and love the witty and insightful recaps!

    The commentaries are HILARIOUS! And I don’t know why but I laughed the most at this one: “And I’m like, where’s the lightning bolt of irony when you really need it? [It’s booked on a higher-rated show, I gather. -GF]” Commentary aside, it’s really too bad that this show didn’t get the rating that it deserves.

    @ girlfriday
    I’m so happy to hear that this won’t be your last contribution to dramabeans. Totally looking forward to reading more of your writing!

  25. 25 doozy

    oops. misspelling… girlfriday.. sorry!

  26. 26 estel

    Their last encounter before Shin-young leaves for Finland just kills me. Every word out of Min-jae’s mouth was a knife to the heart. What a sad scene!

    One thing I really liked about this drama was the way they handled Bu-ki and Da-jung. The three friends make up something of a continuum — Bu-ki is satisfied and secure with herself just the way she is, Da-jung is the complete opposite, always searching for something different to make her “happy”; and Shin-young falls somewhere between the two. Bu-ki and Da-jung provided nice foiled each other nicely and helped explore the whole picture. I think it’s great that we get to see not just one point of view in the matter, but three different but complementary ones. Plus, I have to say I really appreciate that Ban-seok and Da-jung didn’t just get married and “live happily ever after” — I like that they showed that marriage isn’t a cure-all or the perfect happy endings. Relationships need continual care and lots of nurturing to work.

    All in all, I’m really going to miss this drama! Here’s hoping Kim Bum will be back in another noona-killer role soon! And a huge “thank you” to both JB and girlfriday! Each recap was lovely, and a really enhanced my viewing experience.

  27. 27 jusash

    A BIG THANK YOU to you both, for your efforts in making these recaps as enjoyable a ride as the drama itself!

    it’s been 2 wks since it ended, and i am still missing it bigtime.

    ===============

    thought ep 16 could have been fleshed out a tad better.
    eg: Da Jung: i actually felt more for her character, post-marriage.
    so much conflict and realistic marital issues to confront … all fading just because she declared the pregnancy? wimpy doormat Ban Seok a changed man?

    how does the coming of a baby solve all their underlying issues?
    rather, i see more ‘happy families’ being craved by BS … extended-family time together expected by his parents, now that a new grandchild is in the picture. bitch-in law probably come by daily to dispense unwanted advice on what Da Jung is doing wrong in parenting.

    thanks for clearing up the time frame!
    i’d actually chosen to presume SY’s last trip back to the office meant she was back for gd AFTER living out those 3 yrs abroad as foreign correspondent, alone. gaining more confidence, at peace with turning 37 and getting more to where she wanted career-wise. (with those little mini trips back and forth to Seoul – one where she also detoured to attend Min Jae’s concert).

    in the meantime these 3 yrs they were apart … Min Jae had also gone on to do all the things SY had wished for him … ie live his life, the way she presumed a 24 yr old should.

    ===============

    “noona” …. OUCH! :( :(
    how devastating can that one simple word, uttered by our favorite noona-killer in that one moment chill so very much? Ouch, the pain = I ached for SY and MJ … the writing in this drama is sooo succinctly effective.

    MUCH THANKS again, JB and GF!
    missing this drama, and no more upcoming recaps lots already!

  28. 28 daisytwenties

    I was, both, anticipating AND dreading the final recap because YAY, we get to revisit the drama and NAY, its going to be truly over.

    The ending, for me personally, was a good one because there were no illogical twists and/or sudden events. I was satisfied because, first off, Bummie and Awesome Shin-young are together at the end, and second, they didn’t rush the main pairing into marriage or give Bu-ki a match just to tie up loose ends.

    This drama was definitely different from other ones but that, essentially, was what made it appealing.

    THANKS javabeans and girlfriday, the recaps rocked. Major props to you two for doing the recaps. :D

  29. 29 Sammi510

    Thanks for the recap. I thought this drama was super cute, especially the beginning and middle. I was pleasantly surprised that no one at the end got married either. I have a major problem with dramas ending all nice and neat these days. Loose ends make things more believable. Thanks again ^.^

  30. 30 mimim

    i am waiting for last episodes subs.. i love this drama.. i am on min jae’s age soon.. i am just curious what will be happened to me on 30’s . i like this drama because some of the story happened near me. indeed!

  31. 31 kez

    Been waiting for your recap & thoughts on the finale – worth the wait! It has been one great ride! I’m watching this series again on Dramafever!

  32. 32 soomp

    thank u thank u ladies! i really enjoyed your recaps, and unexpectedly fell in love with this drama <3 girlfriday is an awesome addition to the team!

  33. 33 celestialorigin

    Thank you JB and GF! I sure enjoyed your duel recaps. Now, I’d love see this episode subbed soon enough.

  34. 34 Icarusfalls

    Thanks so much for the recaps!! i have never laughed and smiled more for a recap than for the actual show! Not that I don’t think the show was fantabulous! It was! Also, regarding buki (boogie woogie.. LOL)! She is sooo my favorite second female lead for all eternity!

  35. 35 bluefire

    I rarely comment, because I either don’t bother *gasp! sadface*
    or I don’t have time *another sadface*
    But I am an avid follower of DB (don’t know what I’d do without my fixes actually) and appreciate everyone here (you guys make my day!).
    I just want to take a little time to express my appreciation for JB and GF…you guys were fantastic! It makes my day brighter every time I see these recaps! I hope to read more of GF in the future as well. I really appreciate DB, JB, and crew. Thanks so much!

    I think this drama will be one of my top faves. I love the messages it conveys (JB and GF’s lastestest ^^ comments sums it up for me. I’m definitely keeping it on my external HD, and buying the DVD (if/when it comes out).
    Loved every bit of this journey and looking forward to another one ;)
    Thanks again guys!

  36. 36 Kelela

    “What Shin-young, Da-jung, and Bu-ki show us is that life is fuller when you dive in and take chances, value yourself, and lean on your friends when you fall.”
    PERFECTION, GF!

    And Javabeans, loved that you and GF collaborated on this. We got the best of both worlds!!!

  37. 37 fk

    Great job with the recaps from both of you! I was satisfied with the ending and as gf said, thank goodness it wasn’t a fast forward several years into the future. One of the more enjoyable dramas this year!

  38. 38 Aldrick

    Thank you Javabeans and Girlfridays. See you on the next series you’re going to have recap. You go girls. =)

  39. 39 Rossi

    It’s your last recap for this drama *TEARSSS!!*….be back with more coherent comment/fangirling later. Shall go emo in corner first!

  40. 40 Kukilas

    I have been looking forward to this recap for some time, but dreading it also, knowing it would mean the end of the series.

    While I already saw the finale, you cleared up some questions I had.

    I really loved this series and loved that they portrayed the women so well, except for the bitchy sister-in-law. I love that we got an image of strong successful women who also have emotional insecurities that are so realistic. The love story of Shin Young and Min Jae was just so squee worthy, and I am glad the finale did not paint a happily ever after that would have glossed over the insecurities that they had. This leaves it open ended to any viewer’s interpretation too.

    Thanks so much, JB and girlfriday! I loved the commentary in each recap and am very glad to hear that we will have more recaps from girlfriday in future as well.

  41. 41 aloha

    thx 4 d recap..

  42. 42 km

    the recaps have been wonderful, thanks so much! i really enjoyed this series, and kim bum is probably the finest thing around (since lee minki hasn’t been in a drama since god-knows-when!).

  43. 43 rainerust

    Loving your recaps, Girlfriday and Javabeans! They’re awesome posseum. A bit sad now that the drama’s finished and there’re no more recaps to follow – on the other hand, the ending has been very satisfactory so there’s not much I’d want to change about it.

    Anyway if Sang-woo’s a pilot, it makes getting first-class tickets easy. Sigh. My friend travels first class all the time since her father’s a pilot. It certainly adds a sort of attractiveness other than the uniform, I must say.

    Looking forward to your next recaps! :)

  44. 44 Sonam

    I gave up this drama after a few episodes because all the ladies sounded so scripted just like S&TC.
    Kim Bum is gorgeous but I just can’t connect with him.

  45. 45 Mariz

    Great recaps JB & Girlfriday! Your observations and insights make me appreciate the show even more.

    This drama is very entertaining, so well-written and showed excellent acting from the entire cast. All the characters are interesting and fun to watch (except for the pesky in-laws of Ban Seok and Shin Young’s sunbae Myung-Seok.. they annoy me to death!).

    Kim Bum and Park Jin Hee had great onscreen chemistry, I had doubts in the beginning if they could pull off a May-Dec love affair, given the 10-yr age gap, but they made it so believable. It felt so real that they made me fall in love with their love. One of my favorite k-dramas of all time. Lots of life lessons you can learn on this show too (huge credit to Bu-ki’s wisdom… as you have said earlier Girlfriday, she really should have charged by the hour, it seemed that she had all the answers… hehe). I really enjoyed this one!

    my rating: 5/5

  46. 46 MEIKO**** ^-^

    *sigh* ^_^

    am so excited to watch this….finally!! lol!

  47. 47 Mariz

    Great recaps JB & Girlfriday! Your observations and insights made me appreciate this drama even more.

    This drama is very entertaining, light-hearted, so well-written and showcased excellent acting from the entire cast. It will make you fall in love with the characters, especially Shin Young and Min Jae (except for the pesky in-laws of Ban Seok and Shin Young’s sunbae Myung-seok… they annoy me to death!) Lots of life lessons to learn from this drama too (huge credit to Bu-ki’s wisdom… as you have said Girlfriday, she really should have just charged by the hour..lol).

    Kim Bum and Park Jin Hee had great onscreen chemistry, I had doubts in the beginning if they could pull off a May-Dec love affair, given the 10-yr age gap, but they made it so believable. It felt so real that they made me fall in love with their love… and I fell for it hard! One of my favorite k-dramas of all time. I really enjoyed this one!

    my rating: 5/5

  48. 48 diane

    I loved this drama. I loved the recaps. Thank you, JB and girlfriday.
    I loved Shin Young’s voiceovers. Loved the ending.

    I loved most of the women in this drama. I felt the drama portrayed women in a much more realistic light. Love the way the writers left Shin Young and Min Jae’s relationship open and enjoying the moment. The same with Sang mi and Sang woo’s relationship. One step at a time enjoying today, not burdening the future with a lot of heavy expectations.

  49. 49 ella

    How awesome is that ending kiss? SERIOUSLY.

  50. 50 snail

    Been waiting for this recap! A lovely recap for the Finale… I like how it ends, it’s more real and ground sounding esp on the ShinYoung and MinJae relationship. As what girlfriday summarize nicely ‘…life is fuller when you dive in and take chances, value yourself, and lean on your friends when you fall.’ Totally agree with this line :)… Another drama goes to the all time favorite list…

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