Playful Kiss: Episode 15
You can start to see the loose ends being tied up, or rather, preparing to be tied up in the finale tomorrow. I suspect we’ll get a lot of ends hastily tied together in the next episode just for the sake of leaving everyone happy, which I am not a great fan of; lead us through conflicts and get us there naturally, rather than inventing last-minute scenarios for happiness that don’t necessarily ring true.
On the other hand, if we must choose between an ending that is either too pat or littered with loose threads, I’ll (grudgingly) take pat.
SONG OF THE DAY
FT Island – “결혼해줘” (Marry Me) [ Download ]
EPISODE 15 RECAP
Mom announces that the happy couple will marry next week, causing double-takes all around. Seung-jo had meant to marry after graduation, but she points out that there’ll always be something to wait for — internship, residency, his army obligation — so they may as well do it now.
Ha-ni shares the news with her friends at the noodle shop, which seems like a pretty insensitive place to do it, considering that Joon-gu is nursing his broken heart by throwing himself into working there. But I suppose we need them here so we can witness the odd introduction of a new girl, who arrives for some noodles.
Her appearance throws everyone off because she’s Caucasian. Everyone is anxious at having their precarious English tested, but as it turns out, she’s fluent in Korean (her mother is Korean). What a random scene, but the fact that it is so awkwardly shoehorned in here leads me to believe we’re being set up (clumsily) for something.
Ha-ni and Seung-jo go ring and dress/tux shopping — or at least attempt to. Ha-ni is excited about all these plans, and tries to convince Seung-jo to participate, but he grumbles at each step of the way.
Ha-ni urges him to get a ring as proof of their love, adding that he has to let people know that he’s taken. He notes that she really means for the ring to act as shackles, and leaves the store. He balks at a photo shoot and buying a tux, because in his uber-logical robot brain, the ceremony is a waste of time and money. He tells Ha-ni that even when they’re married, he won’t just bend over backwards to suit her preferences. She points out that he’s never done that.
He starts to blame his mother for pushing, but Ha-ni wisely sees that Mom’s not the problem. Why did he announce that he’d marry her if he was going to be like this? Seung-jo doesn’t know and sighs that he regrets it, then adds that they ought to reconsider.
With only a few days remaining until the wedding, Ha-ni is dejected and confused. Her friends assure her that Seung-jo’s just being his usual difficult self, but he doesn’t mean to really call it off.
Sure enough, Seung-jo comes back to his senses (seriously, boy? It’s that hard for you to understand that a wedding is important to women?) and visits Ha-ni’s father. To Ha-ni’s surprise, Seung-jo takes the two of them on a road trip to visit the graves of her mother and grandmother.
Seung-jo has come to pay his respects to them, and introduces himself as “son-in-law.” He says, ” I’ve already gotten in trouble for not listening to Ha-ni. But don’t worry, I’ll take good care of her.”
Ha-ni’s still feeling stung and mutters that she hates him, but then shakes her head and amends, “No, I like you. Thank you.”
Now he’s more willing to discuss wedding plans, and although he initially scoffs at the idea of a honeymoon, he relents and tells her to pick the place. She decides an island vacation would be nice (thinking of a beach resort), and Seung-jo makes her happy by readily agreeing… until he asks, “How about Yeouido? Or Bamseom? Or Dookseom?” LOL.
(Those are technically little islands in Seoul, on the Han River, but barely qualify as such. It’s like asking for Hawaii and having your husband suggest Long Island or Staten Island instead.)
Seung-jo pulls out his phone and makes a deal with her: If he turns up a three-of-a-kind on his game, he’ll agree to her choice. She chants, “Jeju Island” over and over, willing the game to go her way — and when it does, she squeals in glee and dances around him. Then we see that it’s rigged to always yield a three-of-a-kind. Gah, Seung-jo! Would it break some sort of circuitry in your brain to simply agree? You are a tiring man-boy.
On the eve of the wedding, Ju-ri and Min-ah come over for a sleepover and present Ha-ni with pink lingerie for her honeymoon.
Next door, the brothers share a moment as Eun-jo comments on all of Ha-ni’s flaws, though without his usual scorn. He declares that while he’s going to marry a much prettier, smarter girl, he approves of his hyung’s choice: “I really like you, hyung, but it’s true that there are problems with your personality. So I think you have to marry a girl like Oh Ha-ni. You’re doing the right thing. Congratulations!” It’s kind of adorable.
Two other men, however, are having a tougher time of it. First is Joon-gu (poor Duckie!), who looks up at Ha-ni’s window from outside. His mood is bittersweet, but he focuses on the positive, saying that he’s happy, “Because you’re really happy right now. If you’re happy… I’m happy too.”
AGH, my heart bleeds for you. Can we have a nice girl show up in the last episode and give us assurance that he’ll be happy? Oh, wait… I see what you did there, drama!
Ha-ni’s father, meanwhile, has a lonely drink that night. Ha-ni joins him, and finds herself fighting back tears as she thanks him for raising her. Dad blinks back his own as he urges her to smile rather than cry.
They practice matching their steps down the imaginary aisle for the ceremony, which is one of the sweeter moments in this episode. This relationship has always been among the more genuine ones in this drama, so it’s particularly poignant.
Wedding day. Ha-ni receives a few unexpected visitors as she waits for the ceremony, which include her high school teacher — who’s now married to Seung-jo’s old teacher and pregnant. Looks like the dumb-but-lovable woman won out in both generations, eh?
He-ra is quite gracious in her well-wishes for Ha-ni, telling her that she’s glad that Seung-jo chose her; ironically, it’s that very fact that makes her like him, as it shows Seung-jo has good taste in women. Ha-ni’s touched by this unexpected praise, and the two shake hands warmly.
Even when she was being antagonistic He-ra was always sunny and likable, so I’m glad that they kept from making her cartoonishly villainous, which would have been the easy way out. It fits with the overall theme, in that the point wasn’t that Seung-jo would pick Ha-ni because He-ra was a bitch, but because heart trumps logic — no matter how well-matched they seemed on paper, his feelings went a different way.
And then, it’s time for the ceremony. Just before Ha-ni heads out, Eun-jo offers her his wedding present, and whispers into her ear.
Things proceed smoothly as Seung-jo and Ha-ni state their vows, followed by speeches by both fathers. Ha-ni’s father’s is particularly heartfelt as he praises Ha-ni for her snail-like steadfastness. He’d worried about her, but now feels relieved to leave her in the hands of a capable mate: “Seung-jo, thank you. Please stick with our Ha-ni through the end.”
But it wouldn’t be a true Ha-ni affair without a mishap or several, and when it’s time for the ring exchange, Ha-ni drops Seung-jo’s ring, which goes rolling under the seats.
It’s found soon enough, but Seung-jo mock-grumbles that she’s a dummy. Undaunted, Ha-ni returns, “Don’t make fun, Baek Seung-jo — I know you liked me a lot, and from a long time ago.” She’s referring to their second kiss, which wasn’t in the rain after all but at the villa. Seung-jo shoots a look at his brother, who nonchalantly glances away with a “Who, me?” look on his face.
Ha-ni teases him for playing coy, then grabs him in a surprise kiss, to the surprise of everybody.
Seung-jo pulls back in embarrassment, but she playfully sticks out her tongue at him.
And then they have to ruin this light-hearted moment by panning over to poor Joon-gu’s pained face. Don’t worry, Joon-gu! Just hang in there for another hour, and I’m sure you’ll get your happy ending. Well, if the following two are any indication:
He-ra is exasperated when Kyung-soo follows her out of the wedding, but she accepts his invitation to have lunch together. Notice for a hot-dog-eating contest grabs his attnetion, and his boyish excitement makes her laugh. I’m not at all convinced that these two coupling up makes any sense, but it’s like the drama wants to slap everyone together in twosomes now that we’re heading to the finish.
Off to Jeju go our married couple. At the resort, they run into another newlywed couple, whom you will learn to hate soon enough. The young wife, Hyun-ah, eyes Seung-jo with interest while her own meek husband keeps his head bowed and obeys her every whim.
At first it’s coincidence that keeps them in each other’s orbits, since they’re staying in adjacent rooms. The couples select the same dinner course, so Ha-ni uncomfortably sits through dinner while Hyun-ah commandeers the conversation and boldly flirts with Seung-jo. Feeling put out, Ha-ni reaches for the wine and ends up hungover the next day.
Like I said, this random character is clearly being set up for a last-minute arc, and I suspect she is here to give Joon-gu a consolation prize. She returns to the noodle restaurant, where Joon-gu serves her. When she asks for a fork, Joon-gu cannot let this go — as we know, he takes his food seriously, and instructs her how to use chopsticks properly.
Back on Jeju, Ha-ni and Seung-jo head out on Day 2 of their honeymoon, visiting the Museum of African Art… only to find that the other couple is also there. Hyun-ah has the brassiness to actually cling to Seung-jo’s arm like a girlfriend (or wife, I suppose), leaving her own groom to trail behind with Ha-ni. I’m a little annoyed at Robot Boy for allowing this, because politeness be damned, he’s got a WIFE now, yeah? Dude, I know you’re not into Hyun-ah, but this would be a FINE TIME to employ your famous cold shoulder, buddy.
Ha-ni tells Hyun-ah’s husband to keep Hyun-ah to himself, but incredibly enough, Mr. Milquetoast is actually blind to his wife’s antics. He fears that Seung-jo will fall for her, whom he describes as innocent and sweet. Uh, sympathy go poof now.
Hilariously, just as Hyun-ah is moving to latch onto Seung-jo’s arm again, a woman in a wig bumps into them hard, separating them. Aw, Mom! You sure don’t know your boundaries, but at least your heart is in the right place.
That evening, Ha-ni gets out her pretty new underwear and nervously anticipates that this is the night she’ll get to use it… until there’s a knock at the door. It’s the Pesky Pair, here with champagne. Cockblocked!
The next morning, Ha-ni is bummed, as this is their last day here and she’s hardly had any time alone with Seung-jo. Plus, she doesn’t even have any vacation photos — which makes him smile and tell her not to worry, since he knows Mom has got that part covered.
Seung-jo agrees to spend today with Ha-ni, just the two of them, and she gets prettied up excitedly. And then comes the knock on the door.
If he were my husband I’d be glaring at him to keep the damn door closed, but the urgency in the visitor’s voice is too much to ignore. The husband bursts in and begs for Seung-jo’s help — Hyun-ah is doubled over in pain.
Ha-ni’s uncomfortable watching Seung-jo feel up Hyun-ah (uh, hello, no medical license?), and her woman’s intuition just may be making her a little suspicious as well. She blurts, “Stop!” and says that she hates seeing him with his hands all over another woman.
Seung-jo assumes that Ha-ni’s being jealous for no reason and tells her in a hard voice that he’s going to be a doctor. If she has a problem with that, well, then they can’t be together. Oh, Seung-jo, you sure know how to make a honeymoon romantic.
In tears, Ha-ni runs out and Hyun-ah’s husband heads out to follow her. At which point Hyun-ah smiles and takes his hand, saying, “Finally, it’s just the two of us.” Having faked everything, now she makes her move, saying that she wishes he’d met her before Ha-ni, whom she can tell he doesn’t like.
Seung-jo shoots her a hard look and rejects her advance coldly. Finally! How is it that you have more patience for an interloping stranger than you do for your wife?
Seung-jo finds Ha-ni sitting alone and joins her, but she, feeling wounded, scoots away. He asks if she’s still angry — she is — but melts that away by telling her, “But you’re prettier when you smile.” Smooooth, I’ll give you that. He adds, “When I see you smiling, it makes me feel good.”
Seung-jo starts to tickle Ha-ni, and her anger fades fast as she shrieks with laughter.
That night they sit awkwardly — how adorable are they in matching PJs? — both thinking of the night ahead but a little unsure how to get there. Ha-ni apologizes for being foolish and jealous earlier, and Seung-jo answers, “You’re cute… sometimes. Sometimes you’re beautiful, somehow.”
Slinging an arm around her, he wonders, “But why do I like you? You’re not that pretty, and you’re cute only sometimes. Why do I always want to see you? What have you done to me?”
With that, he moves in for a kiss, then gathers her up in his arms and carries her to bed. Ha-ni pulls back, pausing to ask for a few moments to “prepare” a few things (thinking of her pretty lingerie), but he tells her not to bother: “I can’t wait anymore.” (Well, if you hadn’t let the Newlyweds From Hell derail your honeymoon for three days…)
Honeymoon over, the couple begin married life back at home, where Seung-jo’s room has been redecorated to suit both of them. Ha-ni manages to oversleep (it’s customary for the new bride to be up at the crack of dawn to pay her respects to her in-laws and make breakfast) and rushes downstairs, where the others are already eating. Thankfully, Mom isn’t a stickler for those old-fashioned expectations and greets her warmly.
Ha-ni’s intending to drop by the nursing department today so she can apply for a transfer, but she’s got a few obstacles to overcome, like waiting for a spot to open up, as well as passing an entrance exam.
Mom reminds Seung-jo to take care of the marriage registration paperwork… but Seung-jo gets an idea and answers with a noncommittal, “We’ll see. I’ll think about it.” Mom is bewildered and Ha-ni worried — does that mean he’s reconsidering the marriage? They won’t be legally married until they register, and dragging his feet after the honeymoon is awfully cavalier of him, Mom argues.
Seung-jo answers that he just feels like he’s being shoved into everything, and comes to a “compromise” — that he’ll register the marriage once Ha-ni passes the nursing department exam.
Ha-ni worries about what happens if she can’t — say, for instance, a slot never opens up. Seung-jo just shrugs it off, asking if she was only prepared to exert this (paltry) amount of effort to pursue nursing.
Clearly he is using this as motivation to spur Ha-ni to try hard, as he once did to provoke her into picking a future that extended beyond being his mate. And as he walks away from his stunned family, he smiles in amusement. You bastid!
I dunno, I was rather bored this episode. For one containing such a big life event, it sure was ho-hum about it. And the other newlywed couple — they were irritating, but worse than that, ultimately pointless. You might argue that they forced Ha-ni and Seung-jo to address the issue of her jealousy, which might have worked if Ha-ni were actually overreacting. Instead, it was just absurd and aggravating. It might have been fine at a different point in the series — but in the penultimate episode, I want to deal with story that actually has an effect on our main characters. Like the nursing bit at the end (even if I am uncomfortable with Seung-jo using their marriage as a tool to manipulate her, even if it’s “for her own good”).
I disliked that even after Seung-jo found out that Ha-ni’s instincts about Hyun-ah were right, he didn’t apologize or do anything to ease her concerns. He let Ha-ni believe it was 100% her fault for overreacting, when really there were two parties at work here. And when she apologizes for overreacting, he just accepts it. Oh, how generous of you for liking this dumb, unpretty girl who’s only sometimes cute.
Look, I get that this is the character. I get — and even like — that he’s kind of an ass sometimes, since we don’t need our heroes to be perfect Prince Charmings. But when you’re putting these characters into a marriage and giving us the happily-ever-after treatment, shouldn’t that marriage be, yunno, functional? Balanced? Mature? I guess the luster is off and I no longer really think this couple is adorable beyond belief.
(It might help — a little — if his hair were still curly. JUST SAYIN’.)
On the other hand, my favorite scene was probably the father-daughter “walk down the aisle” because it played with all the right conflicts and emotions — the ones we care about, the ones that have been well-established and built into the fabric of this drama. It’s such a small moment but that bittersweet moment of letting go of daddy’s little girl is so real and packed with honest feeling. I wish we had more of those beats, rather than silly external conflicts brought in to buzz in annoying circles over our heads like gnats at a picnic.
- Playful Kiss: Episode 14
- Playful Kiss: Episode 13
- Playful Kiss: Episode 12
- Playful Kiss: Episode 11
- Playful Kiss: Episode 10
- Playful Kiss: Episode 9
- Playful Kiss: Episode 8
- Playful Kiss: Episode 7
- Playful Kiss: Episode 6
- Playful Kiss: Episode 5
- Playful Kiss: Episode 4
- Playful Kiss: Episode 3
- Playful Kiss: Episode 2
- Playful Kiss: Episode 1