Drama Recaps
Secret Garden: Episode 20 (Final)
by | January 16, 2011 | 624 Comments

It’s the bow-tied, triple-knotted kind of ending for this cast of characters, as we say our final goodbyes to Secret Garden. I’d personally like to say farewell to omo-queen Secretary Kim. Thanks for the laughs. And of course to my new favorite idol-oppa, Oska. Yoon Sang-hyun, I was never on your bus before, but I’m totally on it now. Oska, fighting!


Joo-won tells Mom that he’s going to live the rest of his life as Ra-im’s husband, despite knowing that it’s going to be near impossible for her to accept. She reels, spitting out that this is nothing but a momentary feeling—it’s something that happens once in everyone’s life. He looks at her curiously.

She means Joo-won’s father, of course, who we’ve never heard mention of until now. She says with bitterness shaking in her voice that “they” are always the ones to grow tired and leave first, while “we” are always the ones left behind. Hm. So she’s lumping Ra-im in with her husband, for a myriad of reasons including class. Well that explains a lot, but did it really require us to wait twenty episodes for that explanation? Is anyone going to be sympathetic for you after all that shrill shouting, for all those episodes?

Joo-won tells her that it doesn’t matter—even if it ends up that way, he’s never going to leave her. He tells Mom that someday he’ll walk her down the aisle with Mom’s blessing. She replies that she’ll roll over in her grave before that happens, and Joo-won takes his leave with a heavy sigh.

Meanwhile, Ra-im heads to the bus stop, trailed behind oh-so-conspicuously by Mom’s secretary. She decides to confront him, and hands him a coffee, saying he must be tired following her around in this cold weather. He looks at her sweetly and says he’s secretly on her side (aw) and offers to drive her where she’s going, since he’s going to follow anyway. Hahaha. Awesome.

She goes to meet Ji-hyun, who’s been going over Ra-im’s charts looking for the reason that she woke up from her brain-dead coma. Ra-im tells her that she’s not going to find the answer in medicine. She adds that the time she visited Ji-hyun wasn’t her; it was Joo-won. Way to advertise to a shrink that you’re batshit crazy.

Ra-im just explains obliquely that it was a miracle, and that she and Joo-won have experienced a miracle that can’t be explained by science and medicine. Or logic. You forgot logic.

At the same time, Joo-won sits down in a café with Jong-soo, who’s called him out for his concession speech. He tells Joo-won that this is normally the kind of conversation they’d have over drinks, but he’s already seen Joo-won’s drinking habits. Heh.

Jong-soo tells Joo-won that he’s always wanted to be a father, an oppa, and a man to Ra-im. But now Joo-won has to be all of those things to her. Joo-won just answers, “What if I don’t wanna?”

Joo-won: “I’m only going to be a man to Ra-im. A father, an oppa…you be those things. Don’t leave her an orphan. That’s MY request.”

AW. Seriously, aw. Can you…hug it out? No? Come on!

The next day Joo-won drives Ra-im somewhere, as he confirms that Oska and Seul have arrived. She wonders if they’re all eating together, but he doesn’t answer. He takes her inside, asking pointedly that if she wants to run away, it’s her last chance.

She halts in her tracks. Are we…? He just smiles, asking if there’s anything she wants to do in her last ten minutes before becoming a married woman. Buh…way to be romantic, dude.

She calls him a jerk for deciding this on his own, without so much as an “I love you,” even if he doesn’t mean it.

Joo-won: Why would I say something like that? You really aren’t very bright, are you? It’s not because I love you. It’s because I love ONLY you. I have no other choice in the matter, you amazing woman.

Pffft. Okay, I know it’s meant to be romantic, but um…it sounds like you’re saying this is your only option in life…which is just not the way you intended it to sound, methinks. He puts out his hand, as he says that there isn’t going to be any flowers, or candles, or even a ring…but will she still become his wife?

She puts her hand in his, and says, “Of course.”

They head inside to register their marriage, with Oska and Seul as witnesses. Joo-won peers over as Ra-im is writing, complaining that she’s writing awfully slowly, when he was totally fast. Heh. They sign with matching heart-signatures, the way Ra-im had signed Joo-won’s name when she was in his body.

Oska and Seul gag at the hearts, and Oska retaliates by signing the document like an autograph. Ha.

They head to Joo-won’s house first, to decorate his room for the newlyweds. Oska tells Seul that he’s learned something by watching Joo-won and Ra-im: that all memories, even bad ones, can be wiped clean with time and love. He promises to remember everything, even the bad stuff, and turn it all into happy memories of how they met, fell in love, broke up, and then got back together.

He gets her to agree to do his music video, and hugs her in delight. Joo-won and Ra-im walk in, asking what they’re doing here. Oska: “We’re here to do all this.” (Pointing to the decorations.) Joo-won: “You were doing OTHER stuff!” Ha.

They thank Seul and Oska, and Joo-won can’t help but take another jab. He turns to Seul: “If we had met when we were 21…” Ra-im and Oska scowl, and they all laugh, as Joo-won kicks them out. “We have…stuff to do…”


He chases her around the bedroom for a while, and then lands on the bed alone. She tells him to freeze, and then climbs on top of him for a kiss. Finally, the Ra-im of yesteryear, pre-wrist-grabs and buckets of tears.

We get a montage of their happy first days as a married couple, taking walks together and staying in together. As they laze around and read (Is it sick that this is the thing I’m most jealous of—that these people have time to laze around and READ?) Joo-won shows her the rewritten ending to The Little Mermaid.

She calls him Secretary Kim (cute) and tells him that his ending sucks, as he chases her around the room in circles. I suppose it works out nicely that they’re both immature in the same ways.

They go to ask Grandpa for his blessings, but he sides with Mom, saying that they’ll have to get her permission first. Easier said than done, Gramps.

Joo-won notifies Mom of the marriage registration, and she ends up in the hospital. Joo-won goes to see her, and she admits defeat. She disowns him as her son, and though she lets him keep his job, she takes back everything else, and tells him to cough up money for the land that his house is on. Well that’s actually way nicer than I thought she’d be. All those dramatics, and you get to keep your job AND your house? What the hell was on the line, then?

Director Park is lamenting his lost job when Joo-won calls, re-hiring him and taking him under his wing. It’s a win-win, as Joo-won earns an ally and loses an enemy, and Director Park gets to keep the job he loves.

Ra-im announces her married status to the action school, and the guys stare agape, some of them even crying (heh). Jong-soo congratulates her and gives her a script to a new project: Sector 7 (another shout-out to a Ha Ji-won vehicle).

Jung-hwan thinks she’s a genius for taking care of the paperwork first (since he’s never been shy about thinking that Joo-won was a catch) and wonders if maybe she’s pregnant. She glares him down, and he decides it’s time to pay Joo-won a little visit…

He shows up at LOEL with backup (and bats! Ha.) to make it clear that Ra-im’s got a bunch of oppas, and that the day Joo-won makes her cry is the day he dies. Aw, this is the cutest thing EVAR.

Joo-won says he already spoke to Jong-soo, but Jung-hwan’s like, I’m the director now! Why are you talking to him!? Hehe. Joo-won accepts the warning this time, but says the next time, he’s gonna tell on them to Ra-im. The guys look around nervously.

Oska handwrites invitations for his concert to his fanclub, and Tae-sun worries that he doesn’t have any time to waste if he’s going to do a decent performance. He makes Oska practice over and over, concerned that his vocal skills aren’t going to top the charts.

Oska tells him that he doesn’t care about those things anymore—now, every moment, all this, is what matters to him. He tells Tae-sun to use this studio from now on and make the music that he wants.

He goes to film his music video, and finds that the story is his first meeting with Seul. Aw. What’s hilarious is that they cast someone to play the younger her, but Oska plays himself. Ha. Oska winks at her as she watches from the monitor, and she smiles.

Joo-won and Ra-im each do well at work, and enjoy the sleepy exhaustion of being newlyweds. Ra-im: “You have to let me sleep sometimes!” Heh…heh. Heh. Heh.

Oska gets ready for his big concert, and everyone watches happily as he sings. Tae-sun is the only one who looks on with a heavy heart, as he sighs wistfully, slings a bag over his shoulder, and walks away.

Seul sees him, and chases him down backstage. She asks if he’s really leaving this way. He answers that it’s because he doesn’t like her (still calling her ajumma). She realizes that he genuinely loved Oska, and asks if he can’t stay and be his friend.

Tae-sun: “You mean you get to be his lover while I have to be his friend?” Well, when you put it that way…

He tells her not to lose Oska to some other girl, and says that the song “Tears” is his gift to her, as he walks away. She tells him that if he ever needs something, to call her. I do really love these two as frenemies fighting over one man. Too bad he has to leave.

On stage, Oska sings his 7th album title track, “Tears.” Seul returns to her seat holds up a sign that says, “Sun said that this song is about me. Do I have that right? With the excuse that I was hurt, I hurt you so much. I’m really sorry. Truthfully, the roasted chestnuts is me. But the cheesecake is some other bitch. I still love you anyway, Choi Woo-young.”

Hahaha. I do love her sassiness. Oska makes a big heart over his head as he sings, signaling to her that he loves her too, and she cries, holding up her sign in the middle of the audience.

As we watch Ra-im do sit-ups while Joo-won holds her legs (an excuse for him to kiss her, of course) he narrates in voiceover that they spend their days finding out just how immature a man and a woman who are in love can be. Heh. Accurate description if I’ve ever heard of one.

They wear MATCHING SPARKLY TRACKSUITS as they play and run around in the snow, and they continue to fight and make up like always. This time he follows her into the elevator for a makeout session, only to be awkwardly interrupted by his entire executive staff. As everyone else gawks and averts their eyes, Secretary Kim takes out his camera….LOL.

Five years later, they have three kids, and Ah-young’s dream comes true, as the couple takes the kids to Grandma’s house for a visit. There, outside the big gate, the kids cry that Mom won’t get them some new toy. Ra-im remembers the dream, and laughs that it really did come true.

Grandma comes out to greet the kids warmly, but coldly ignores Joo-won and Ra-im, making sure the gate shuts firmly behind her. Joo-won says in voiceover that his mother really was true to her word. They expected that time would change her, but she’s remained as firm as ever.

I rather like that her character stayed consistent. No easy answers in life. You know, except for coma-killing-body-swapping miracles. Except for those.

Ra-im becomes an action school director herself, echoing Jong-soo’s lines from the first episode to her team of stuntmen.

Oska proposes to Seul with a chestnut and then the ring he’s kept for all those years, and tells her that fifteen years have gone by since the beginning, and he plans to never grow up, and remain like this with her forever. Well, it’s good that you set realistic goals. She cries, overwhelmed (and probably exhausted, what with fifteen years of dating).

Ah-young and Secretary Kim walk along the river, and happen to find the message in a bottle that he had thrown into the ocean on Jeju Island after they had first met. She takes it as a sign and hugs him in delight.

Jong-soo goes to meet a casting director for a project, only to come face to face with Sohn Ye-jin. Dude, he gets Sohn Ye-jin as a consolation prize? No need to feel sorry for this guy!

She tells him that she happened upon his script that’s been stuck in development hell for the better part of a year, and asks what he thinks of her. He’s like, whaaa? Sohn Ye-jin: “What, were you thinking of casting Angelina Jolie?” He literally OMGs to her face. Haha.

Joo-won and Ra-im put all the kids to sleep and sneak out, thinking they’re home free…only one of them wakes up and announces that he’s going to sleep with mommy tonight. Joo-won: “Who says?” Kid: “Moooommy, I don’t like Daddy.” Ra-im: “I don’t like YOU right now.” Hahaha.

Joo-won puts the kid back to sleep with one finger to the forehead (That’s exactly what MY dad used to do! Why do all Korean dads do that? Where do they learn this stuff?)

They finally get the kids to sleep, and Joo-won carries her out. They go for a walk, as Ra-im says in voiceover:

Ra-im: We still don’t have a single wedding photo. But we live every day, loving and being loved, living a magical life. Maybe being in love is a lot like swapping souls. May your soul have flowers that bloom, a cool breeze, a shining sun, and…once in a while, a magical rain that falls.

It starts to snow as she says those last words, and they snuggle as they watch the snow come down. Still in voiceover, Ra-im asks Joo-won if he’s really not going to tell her…what he meant when he said he tried to deliver her father’s message sooner. Well you sure did ask soon. Five years and three kids later, you finally want to know?

We flashback to thirteen years ago, when Joo-won had gone to the funeral in his hospital gown, and seen Ra-im for the first time. He cried outside and watched over her all day and night, but couldn’t bring himself to go in.

Finally in the middle of the night, when she had fallen asleep on the ground, he came in and repeated, “I’m sorry, I’m sorry,” over and over to her. He collapsed next to her, and in a stupor, he watched her sleep. She started having a nightmare, and he put his finger on her forehead.

He then fell asleep with his hand over hers. They had met that way, in the wake of her father’s death, only to repeat the same actions over and over again.


What’s fated is fated. That’s pretty much the moral of the story.

As a final episode it didn’t exactly wow me, since including yesterday’s, that’s two full episodes of denouement. All the dramatic payoffs actually happened last week, and this week was mostly a happy send-off for all the characters, one by one. On the upside, it wrapped everything up neatly with bows and all, and we got an entire episode of future bliss for all involved. On the downside, no dramatic tension to be had whatsoever.

On the whole this series was kind of Frankenstein’s monster, what with all the piecing together of disparate genres and picking and choosing elements that don’t really bind together…but it walked and talked like a drama. I think this writer’s strengths are in the moments—her dialogue is crisp and witty, and all the butting of heads crackles with humor and dramatic possibilities. I especially loved the rampant immaturity in all the adult characters. It was aggravating at times, but always entertaining. Her sense of humor is dry and immature, which totally jives with mine. Heh.

What I find lacking (besides a satisfying use of the body swap element, grrr) is a true connection to her characters. I just never fell in love with Joo-won or Ra-im. I know lots of people did, and I’m happy for your beautiful and fulfilling love. I just didn’t, and well, it’s impossible to fall in love with a drama when you’re not in love with the main characters.

I found Joo-won’s character very compelling at first, because he was so damaged and flawed and curiously new…but he ended up being SO socially abrasive that he lost me. Ra-im seemed like she was going to be all spunk, but ended up quite the lackluster heroine, for all the badassery that was initially advertised. That’s not to say that they were wholly unsympathetic, but my heart didn’t expand and contract along with theirs; I didn’t cry when they cried; I didn’t hold my breath when they declared their love….and I really really wanted to. I just didn’t.

I don’t think I’ll ever get past the utter waste that was the body swap plot (oh, the potential, what could have been…I bleed, I cry…) and wielding the fantasy element with such disregard for narrative satisfaction. In the end I think the show courted the audience a lot like Joo-won courted Ra-im: it wore a bunch of shiny things and then expected us to come running, impressed at all the awesome. Hand-stitched in Italy is impressive, yes, but I think I’ll stick to machine-washable: earnest, and full of heart. But that’s just me.


First off, the finale itself. What a weird, uneven cobbling together of epilogue-type scenes. You can really feel the rush job with the awkward cuts between scenes, changing threads without a proper sense of build and flow. I thought it felt like the finale episode of a drama that has been given a last-minute extension—lots of padding to provide fanservice and fill out the time.

I have to admit that the latter half of the episode felt like a copy of My Name Is Kim Sam-soon to me, but without the emotional resonance—I LOVE the finale episode of Sam-soon and felt it was a beautiful fit to the drama, but here, it feels tacked-on. I wish the writer had found a way to make a finale that was more organic to THIS show, that felt like it flowed out of the 19 episodes preceding it, but I think she’d run out of steam (and perhaps more importantly, time).

As for the drama as a whole: Secret Garden is like Gourmet to me—the loveliness of the packaging totally obscures the ordinariness of the story and the hackneyed plot. That’s totally not an insult (and I really enjoyed Gourmet), although I know there will be those who take it as one. But let’s take a look at the drama first before jumping that gun—it’s a show built entirely around the premise of two lovers being held apart by social class, fantasy body-switching shenanigans notwithstanding. And with regards to that central conceit of She’s Just Not Good Enough, there’s nothing really new about how it’s addressed: Hero struggles with self, eventually gets over it. Hero’s mom struggles with it, causes a shitstorm of trouble to keep them apart, never gets over it.

Nothing wrong with a simple plot, and certainly, Secret Garden is buoyed by enough other aspects to make it a fun watch. The acting, for sure, and the chemistry between Ha Ji-won and Hyun Bin, which I think was fabulous despite never fully warming to either character. The depictions were great—the characters, meh. Ra-im was a shell of a character, never given much development or complexity; the writer chose to pour all her energies into Joo-won, at Ra-im’s expense. (This is not exclusive to Secret Garden, since it happens in a number of dramas, but the prevalence of this particular flaw doesn’t negate its weakness.) Thankfully Ha Ji-won’s performance was enough to gloss over that insufficiency for most viewers, although I wished I could have felt something for her character or connected with her even a little.

The magical element frustrates me the most because one of the biggest issues in the drama’s plot IS the body-swapping, and yet the drama never defines its magical rules, never explains the purpose, and just leaves us hanging. I don’t mean that everything has to be explained in minute detail, but when you create a huge conflict and then resolve it with absolutely no explanation, I’m going to feel cheated. I don’t need a logical explanation about how this works in real-life physics, but hell yeah I’m going to want to know why and how it happened within the context of the show itself. Instead, I’m left wondering, What was the point?

It’s clear that Dad initiated the swap to save Ra-im from a horrible stunt accident, based on his comments at the Mysterious Garden restaurant and after she misses her audition. Joo-won effects his so-called miracle to get her the role anyway, circumventing Dad’s intentions, which I can accept as one of those hand-of-fate motifs that kdramas so love to incorporate. But as we see, after she’s in her coma and pronounced very likely brain-dead, Dad still has the magical wherewithal to restore her body, healthy and whole. So why did he ever initiate the swap in the first place, if his mojo could revive the brain-dead?

I don’t buy that they needed to be swapped for Dad to save Ra-im, or that her body needed Joo-won’s soul to heal, because her own soul was perfectly intact—it awakened fine in Joo-won’s body. The only thing damaged was Ra-im’s body, and it was revived just fine.

The same goes for the amnesia—it happens for no reason, then goes away just as easily at a convenient moment. The 21-year-old Joo-won gave me some of my favorite bits of hilarity so I’m fine with the drama taking us there, if only to provide some bubbly fun. But couldn’t the drama have cobbled together a reason, any reason, no matter how flimsy, to explain it? Instead it just waves its figurative wand o’ hoodoo and makes the inconvenient questions disappear into bubbles with that narrative cure-all, magic.

So I am left to conclude that that magic was utterly pointless, and that makes me feel like Drama jerked me around and toyed with my feelings. And it’s too bad, because it’s such a well-made drama that had they tried just a WEE bit harder to connect its dots, it could have been more than a very prettily wrapped box… of air.

I know I know, people will always tell me to shut up and just enjoy it already. I’ve gotten the emails. But that’s not how it works for me— if a drama simply ceases to make sense, then I can’t enjoy it, because I like stories to not make my brain hurt. Or rather, let’s put it this way: I can fall in love with a crazy, messy ball of contradictions, flaws and all (which I’m sure you already know if you’ve been reading this site for any length of time). But I’m not going to try to convince myself that it’s not actually a crazy, messy ball of contradictions. In fact, I enjoyed Secret Garden despite much of its absurdity, shed a few tears, and laughed out loud at its wackier moments. It was fun, and often entertaining and zippy with the comedy. It didn’t rock my world, but not everything has to.


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624 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. Susa

    Loved it!

    • 1.1 aloedrinker

      Me too. Loved it much. and what a nice grand ending for the SEQUINS track suit. LOL…

      • 1.1.1 jo

        all five of them should have come out with the sparkling tracksuits. that could have made my day!

        • dramalover2012

          totally agree!!!

        • Sarah

          LOL!! best idea ever!

        • Saa

          You. are a GENIUS. xDD

    • 1.2 Lenita

      really, really love it.

      ok, now here’s the thing. i have not watched ANY of the episodes at all yet, just read the recaps here, and youtubed a few scenes (definitely not more than half hour worth of scenes in total). i don’t like the weekly waits and prefer to watch my dramas marathon style. probly this coming weekend 😀

      HOWEVER, i have to say that this is the first dramabeans recap that i wait for every week, and for episodes 17-20, you don’t even know how many times i refreshed the blog to check if the recaps are up. and i’ve been a lurker here for more than a year. so, i bow to JB and GF for your power of story-telling. despite not liking a drama, you are able to draw out the story and re-tell it well.

      it was fairly early in discovering dramabeans that i realize my taste in drama differs from JB’s and GF’s, but i now just come to the realization that despite not liking the ingredients much, you gals can use those ingredients to cook up a meal and have it enjoyed by others who do love them. and that’s like the ultimate fanservice. so, kuddos!

      • 1.2.1 Sean

        Lenita, I feel the same way. But sometimes it kills the excitement!

      • 1.2.2 sara

        “it was fairly early in discovering dramabeans that i realize my taste in drama differs from JB’s and GF’s”
        it is exactly my thought! and it’s the first time in my kdramaland I watched a drama when it is on air, even raw! because I really really really love this drama.
        thanks a lot girls, I do love you too.

    • 1.3 iluv_shillang

      to watch or not to watch. .

      • 1.3.1 Freedom

        Definitely to watch… You won’t be disappointed!

      • 1.3.2 seattlebound

        to watch! 😀

      • 1.3.3 lala


      • 1.3.4 LIZ

        WORTH WATCHING. definitely!

    • 1.4 secret garden director cut dvd

      Secret Garden Director’s Cut dvd pre order started
      Drama ng, makingmovie, spcial pakage so many additional images will siteul
      20 days one month next month will receive limited edition pre-order
      pre-orde is in English and Chinese pages

      – Korea dvd community – http//cafe.daum.net / secretdvd

      – English dvd community –
      http//secretdvd.wordpress.com /

      – 中国 语 – http://blog.sina.com.cn/secretgardendvd

    • 1.5 Faith hye kyo

      Hi everyone!. I really really deeply loved this korean drama i mean drama/comedy it tinkled me alot from my nerves, bones until to my entire body(lols!=p).ahahaha .. Im so amazed & impressed, specially to the writer of these show watta huge ideas and thoughts u have to created this, may the Lord bless u more ideas better than this or i mean the same good like this=)..Hyun Bin i saw u before on other show but im not serious rather focus to watch u but in this time, i’ve finally i so inlove on u;] hehe ur character here so fit on u & also to ha ji won ur both great I wont forget this SG it makes me inspiration how to be inlove(hope in reality have like this?)…hopefully keep me updated on the next show?..Now! i am ur number one fan!.CONGRATULATION! secret garden=).Thumbs up! cheers!…Kamsahamnida…hyun bin love u..mwah!

  2. eatsleeplove

    thank you!

  3. stars4u

    I feel like the last episode was the writer’s fan service…
    not that I’m complaining though! I keep replaying the scene where they put the kids to bed! It’s my favorite scene…

    Double the sparkles!!!

    I’m having a serious withdrawal!!!

    • 3.1 ana

      yea i agree with you about the fanservice thing, but man i loooooooooooooooooooooooooooved it.

    • 3.2 Twilight

      Thanks to dramabeans team for the update. I think the body swap was designed to make the story a little longer. I agree with the 2 reviewers that the whole body swap was pointless but it did gave me some cheap laughs especially the way Hyun Bin and Ha Ji won acted on the switch.. it was hilarious! I also noticed that the character of Gil Ra Im was poorly developed but thanks to the excellent performance of Ha Ji Won – she added a different kind of persona to the character which made Gil Ra Im real and vulnerable. I think the casting director should be given an award.

      The finale’s message was simple that both characters (Ji Woon & Ra Im) were connected by tragedy and ended up being destined for each other.

      • 3.2.1 sansukini

        I think the body swap is incorporated to make the plot more interesting, otherwise, it would just be like any other kdrama out there. hey, I think the drama could make do without the magical twist, it’s completely illogical, but this is a drama. There really is no need to internalize everything deeply and make everything logical.

        The drama itself is pure awesome-sauce in it’s totality. I really don’t get it why jb and gf are acting uber sensitive feminists with the drama.

        As for the amnesia, maybe it was designed so JW can remember his accident and his promise to relay R’s father’s message to R. I know, it’s too complicated, but it gave us some laugh over the 21-yo JW.

        I think the ending’s awe-inspiring, it’s not glossed with “everyone lived happily ever after” since JW-R still hasn’t gotten JW mom’s approval, but I think everything worked out for the best.

        • ni

          i dont think her (jb) only quips with this drama is the feminist issue. if you care to read their commentary, they pointed out a few issues which i think are very real. why condemn us if we’re ambitious about the story we read/see? is it wrong to have standards? it being a drama can mean being a little lax with the realism, but LOGIC is not always realism, and this story lacks logic. A narrative needs logic to be convincing. this wasn’t (convincing).

          • leo

            It’s not wrong to have standards. But I think the style employed in dramas and movies are different. Hence, the standards are also different. You would understand if you have watched a lot of (good enough) films. I watched SG just because of Ha Ji-won, and I’m glad she finally has a happy-ending drama. This drama is meant to incorporate fairy tales, and I think these elements had brought extra dimension into the drama.

          • ck1Oz

            Don’t we have to watch Comrade,Giant and Life Is Beautiful for those type of dramas?

            However I started SG for the rom com and I loved it.The melo part..meh.

            SG rocks even though quite a few people felt it didn’t rock their boats.Oh well…to each his/her own.

            In my case…Hyun Bin…leaving for MS?SIGH.

            Do you think they will make him a Marine officer?

      • 3.2.2 sara

        I think that the life the dad wanted to save through the body swap was not his daughter’s, but Joo-won’s.

      • 3.2.3 Menci Ang

        Re body swap, perhaps it is necessary so that the hero can prove his love and thus save the heroine.

    • 3.3 Niki

      I LOVED the FINALE! The fan service was awesome. Unfortunately, i didn’t enjoy a single moment of it as i kept feeling that the author will pull the rug from under my enjoyment during the last 5minutes. Only when the credits rolled, did i breath a sigh of relieve. I will definitely rewatch this ep when the subs are available and i’m going to enjoy every damn unsuspenseful moment of it this time!

      But i do agree with JB that HJW’s character was neglected. She had no development and i didn’t feel any bond with Ra Im. Although i rooted for her and hope her backbone didn’t pull anymore sudden disappearing acts throughtout the drama, i felt detached as well. It was such a waste as HJW is an excellent actress.

    • 3.4 sosoxrah

      The finale was episode 19 for me. The only thing I really liked about ep 20 was the couple tracksuits lol…they’ll never let us forget about that, will they? And the only reason why I stuck with Joo-won was bc of Hyun-bin; I can’t think of anyone else who would fit the role. At the same time, I’m in the same boat in that I didn’t feel a special connection to Joo-won and Ra-im. I just feel that Ra-im is one lucky girl and Joo-won didn’t develop that much. Anyways, thank you for the recaps once again!

    • 3.5 PickmePICKME

      Hahah totally agree. Loved the scene with the kids, I was like awww. SO cute. This is how a Kdrama should end after all the tears and what not. I mean, I know it wasn’t as complicated as others liked it. But It was totally about the POWER of LOVE. lol, it’s basically seeing how a relationship btwn two opposites, are. I loved it. ugh I can rewatc this anyday, everyday lol

  4. Agatha

    Wow the end finally, thanks gf.

  5. soysauce

    Thanks JB & GF for the wonderful recaps!!! You guys are awesome!! *sits & waits for subs*

  6. Peachy

    omgosh its here!

  7. Molly

    Thanks for the wonderful recaps! I will miss all the characters! Despite the flaws towards the end, Secret Garden was still a fabulous drama.

    The ending reminded me a lot of City Hall’s though – did anyone else think that?

    • 7.1 opal

      Yes…., it totally reminded me of City Hall which I prefer much better than SG.

      • 7.1.1 Molly

        I liked both – Secret Garden was just way more addicting for me because of Hyun Bin!

        The ending of SG, with the motif of a fateful encounter before the OTP’s official meeting, triggered some tears and a big fat “awww”…until I had a big deja vu moment and realized that Writer Kim copied one of her old dramas! I was hoping for something more original. Ah well, gotta think back to all the lovin’ I did earlier…I’m going to miss Hyun Bin.

      • 7.1.2 elle loves kdrama

        Yes, I thought the same thing. City Hall is also one of my favorite shows, so I didn’t mind Secret Garden’s ending so much.

        • City Haller

          This is kinda random but since Molly brought up City Hall which I’m currently watching, did anyone realised that stuff toy cat in GRI’s room is also seen in Mi Rae’s room. Go check out City Hall episode 15.

    • 7.2 moomincandylalala

      I was just about to say that!! And actually a lot little things of how this drama went reminded me of the other. Except JW actually finds out about the fateful meeting which give the characters the satisfaction of knowing it’s “fated”and JG and MR didn’t about the phone call (so only the viewers know)
      And it was a (near) Win-win ending for both main male of the drama. JG and JW both were able to pretty much keep doing what they wanted and keep the girl but lost their “evil” dad/ mom’s support. somehow I was expecting that..the mermaid ending that JW rewrote fell along those lines too, and it was totally hilarious.

      Yes and what did happen to JW’s sis? There better be some explanation that surfaces…she didn’t even get written out logically (at least could say she went overseas or smth). did SYJ last min guest spot “steal” the original story line? hmm.. speculations…

      It also seemed to me that at the end the same plot devices kept getting rehashed…
      But they gave us the gratuitous Couple Tracksuit (and a kiss along with it too!!), so I couldn’t complain.

      JB and GF Thanks for the wonderful ride of recaps, as always!!
      The drama did stop making sense, but HB an HJW continued to rock it so they got away with everything.. oh well!

    • 7.3 Amg1

      *Secret Garden*

      The potential for this drama to be great was undermine by the hand of its own creator.

      In all great story telling whether fact or fiction there must be a thread of logic that binds all characters to the dynamic of the events that occurred within the context of the story line.

      I am afraid that in the case of ‘Secret Garden” once again the writer over extended herself, and did not commit properly to a
      proper development of the main characters, instead she made used of comedy and illogical fantastical assumptions, mix with a high dose of angst, to get lost in the shuffle.

      The main hero never really grew from being and obnoxious Jack Ass, who was abusive to all the people around him, even after the fact that he went trough a series of traumatic events that could have serve him as a vehicle for his redemption and subsequent, mental, and spiritual restoration, that enables one to be deem worthy of someones love and affection.
      Till the end he remain the same Jack Ass as when he started.

      Our heroine did not fare much better, from being a self sufficient bad ass stunt-woman we ended up with a crying female afraid to stand for herself while being abuse by her so call suitor and his mother.
      I agree that she out of all the characters was the one that suffer the most, her relationship with the hero was one of antagonism, and constant fight and bickering, something which I do not find “Cute nor Funny”.

      So what make this drama so successful?
      The acting between the main leads and the supporting actors IMHO is what made this drama a success, if we take a hard look at the story line we will realized that is full of inconsistencies, due to the lack of proper logic in the story line, the only reason why I enjoy this show was because I force myself to overlook at all its flaws, otherwise I will say the lack of logic is reminiscent of the idiocy of MSOAN!

      • 7.3.1 mimosa

        “Till the end he remain the same Jack Ass as when he started.”

        @Amg1, a bit too harsh, aren’t we ?

        Is this the same ‘Jack Ass’

        who took RI to the hospital to have that nasty gash attended to ?

        who actually came back to check how’s the wound healing ?

        who took back Director Park, the man who almost cost him his life ?

        who sees through his cousin Oska’s bluster and fake-antogonism and appreciates his love ?

        who inspite of his upbringing, able to NOT end up like his mom and willing to give up EVERRTHING for his love ?

        who made the ultimate sacrifice, willing to DIE in the place of RI so that his love could live ?

        Let’s be clear, our hero is NOT perfect, not even near that, but…… Fair is Fair, no ? he is definately not a Jack Ass right to the end, or even from the very beginning.

        As for the heroine “a crying female afraid to stand for herself while being abuse by her so call suitor and his mother”, don’t get me started on this one too !

        Hey, everyone’s entitled to their rant and rave ? but to run them down over like that, well……..

        • britener

          Woo Hoo!!!! Good job:) I’m with you!

          • zsa

            that’s right…there’s no perfect hero or heroin anyways(where’s the drama in that?)…it’s so easy to critize…

        • bd2

          The problem w/ all that is that writer didn’t properly develop Joo-won’s character (plus his character wasn’t that believable in the 1st place) so the “changes” didn’t ring true and felt forced/hollow.

          But then again, the writer didn’t really develop any of the characters.

      • 7.3.2 jfc

        to say JW was abusive is going too far, imo. He might’ve been arrogant and had a high opinon of himself as a defense mechanism but to say he was abusive? I disagree strongly with that. We can say that Ra Im physically assaulted Joo Won many many times in that case.

      • 7.3.3 Molly

        Now that the withdrawal is starting to sink in, I’m getting really disappointed with how the writer managed the last few episodes. I’ve always agreed with JB and GF’s comments, but it’s only now that the flaws are becoming glaringly obvious. It’s sad because I’m starting to picture what could have been Secret Garden and it doesn’t feel as fresh as it was at the beginning. So all in all, I do agree with JB, GF, and Amg1 (though not as harshly as the latter) in that Secret Garden didn’t utilize its elements as well as it could have.

        • leo

          I’m really surprised to find people giving out negative opinion about this drama, because I thought this is about the normal quality of a drama. Alright, I haven’t watched many dramas, because I prefer watching films. (In fact, many Jdramas are better than Kdrama.) Dramas and films have different length, hence different styles. And I can always find millions of loopholes in drama. That’s why I don’t understand about the complain.

          OK. Maybe I’m outdated, and recent dramas have improved a lot. But regarding “…Secret Garden didn’t utilize its elements as well as it could have,” how would you have written differently?

          • Molly

            Rather than saying that I would have been able to write it differently, I’m just agreeing that the fantasy element could have been better justified and explored (for example, as in My Girlfriend is a Gumiho, where rules were set, as JB and GF mention). Another thing is the amnesia, which personally, is a no-no, although Joo-won’s self-sacrifice was swoon-worthy and just about the sweetest thing ever.

            Ultimately, it’s not about me complaining; it’s about enjoying what we were given but at the same time, wishing for the things that could have been. That said, as I mentioned before, I did love Secret Garden and it hooked me in and got me addicted and squealing like no other.

          • ni

            theres a post by crook or some username like that that detailed out what COULD have been. No, SG is not of normal quality. It is of EXTRAORDINARY quality – the acting, cinematography, and dialogue are all top-notch. Which is why I’m angry. It’s like going to the French Laundry, going through the first 5 courses like a dream – so satisfying, so good – only to have mediocre courses for the last 5. Sure, the dessert is pretty and sweet, and wraps up the meal wonderfully – even if the dessert is not extraordinary by itself. But I still have a bitter taste in my mouth. Fuck, I paid 500$ for this. I deserve better.

            The body-swap: did they really learn to empathize with each other’s circumstances? I don’t see it. And to repeat jb and gf, if Dad’s magic was so convenient as to fix everything at the end, WHY FUCKING SWAP IN THE FIRST PLACE?

            The amnesia: oh, so, he can only recall his lost memories if you erase ALL his memories one fucking more time? because there’s no other way to make him remember, otherwise?

          • ni

            oh and sorry for my language. i was just angry at something else at the moment and the anger spilled over lol (as expressed in my strong language).

      • 7.3.4 bd2

        SG was totally HOLLOW.

        No real character or relationship development; storyline w/ the body-switching and amnesia plotlines seemed more of a cheap, convenient ploy, than something essential to the story (JB is totally correct in that the writer failed bigtime in giving some kind of proper background for them); most of the characters were 1 dimensional, caricaturish and/or annoying (it says something when the best was Son Ye jin’s cameo) and the acting was OK to subpar.

        I could forgive all of these shortcomings if SG, at least, had funny/witty dialogue or really heartfelt, emotional moments, but sadly, no (there has been more of both in 4 eps of “My Princess” than the entire run for SG).

        All in all, SG was a mediocre drama and an even worse rom-com.

      • 7.3.5 Aqua

        U don’t realize how amazing this show became to be, sure not all shows are perfectly made to what we wanted but Secret Garden showed us what most of us wanted.
        The actors and actresses worked very hard for the show because i wouldn’t be able to cry that much if i tried and acting two characters is not very easy.
        For me i think acting like a guy being an actual girl is easy but for a guy to act like a girl is not that easy, especially one squealing while seeing a “naked” guy. So thank you actors and actresses for doing this hard worked.
        Sure it dragged a little, and the viel of unswitchness thingy was confusing but it was only for our benefit, to show the true feelings and just another way to show how the actors and actresses could potray 2 different people.
        The plot had its flaws here and there but what do you expect from a magic fantasy drama. Not everything that happens is going to have logic, right!? So don’t be complaining here because so far a lot of the show is based on fiction fantasy not logic so the amnesia and dad suddenly changing them back is something that can happen in this storyline.
        I admit that sure Ji Woon was a little jack ass but he also loves her and cares for her like nobody can. He didn’t even know her but yet he took care of her bruised leg when they meet, and who risked his life for hers during her accident? Him!
        So think about it, are the stuff that u actually wrote, make sense? When you go around saying that the plot does not have proper logic, what would u expect from a totally made up, fantasy drama!!!?

    • 7.4 pohonphee

      me, me. How neatly wrapped it is, reminds me the City Hall’s end. It like clearly say: That’s a wrap!

    • 7.5 Shin mi rAe

      Cityhallera hello! Gosh I thought it’s only me but that ending was so city hall. That bits and pieces of what happens with the characters and the explanation that the OTP actually met so many years ago. That OTP are fated to meet and fall crazy in love. I don’t know if I’m reading too much but when the voice over says that Ra-Im and Joo-Woon has no wedding picture, it reminded me how city hall ended with the jo guk – mi are wedding photo shoot.

      Aren’t these two dramas from the same writer?

      • 7.5.1 elle loves kdrama

        Yes, I think I remember reading somewhere that it was the same writer. I loved how in both “City Hall” and “Secret Garden”, Hyun Bin and Kim Sun Ah found a way to mention each other in passing. So cute!

  8. Jewels

    Thanks for the recap.

    I was drawn into this drama from the first episode and was caught up in the emotional roller coaster. Kudos to the actors who made their characters come to life. It was a great ride!

  9. xiaoSxin

    WTH ~ ep 20 boggled my mind

  10. 10 susie

    Darn we all commented at the same time ^^

  11. 11 Balletbabe

    Ahhh this episode was pure fan service but you know what I am one happy viewer ^_^! The writer kinda had no choice but to give us a happy ending or else she would have had some very angry fans and a divorced ex-husband ( or so I read somewhere on Twitter)

    My favorite scene was when Ra-Im come downstairs looking super exhausted and her hubby gives her some water to drink (how cute was that ^_^)

    Thanks for the recaps ladies and the comments from SG fans. This has been a GREAT drama, I’m adding it to my top 5 K-drama list!!!!!

    • 11.1 Nana

      agree that was my favorite scene as well ^^ super adorable!!

    • 11.2 kappy

      Oh, was that water? I thought it was a smoothie (from the bottle). But that might have left some smoothie foam on her mouth which would have come across as another “invitation” and, oh, we are tired already.

  12. 12 Beng

    whatever the others might say, i love the ending. each characters wrap up nicely except what happened to HB/JS precocious sister?

    Thanks so much JB and Girlfriday for another very successful recaps =) More power to Dramabeans!!!

  13. 13 Cecilia

    Thank all of you for recaps, for the pictures, for everything. I love and loved this drama!

  14. 14 twylah

    it’s here!thank you much.off to read.

  15. 15 annaNuna

    OMG!!! You’re so fast!!!
    Thank You JB and GF, I have been dying because I haven’t read ep 19 and 20, FML

  16. 16 Sean

    I can say now that THIS is one of the must-watch drama/series!…from ep 1 – 20, never failed me. I always look forward to watch every epi, raw or subbed, + reading recaps/
    … Thanks SG for emotional roller coaster, the best ride, ever!

    • 16.1 Liz

      You took the words right out of my mouth. Secret Garden is definitely one of THE BEST!!!!

  17. 17 Natalie

    I agree with JB and GF, i really liked the series, but I never loved it or really fell in love with the characters. And it had really brilliant moments, but what’s disappointing is not that it sucked or anything, but the low moments were lackluster, and that’s actually even more disappointing to me.

    like with dramas that i really loved last year— SKKS and MGiaG, I was so in love and invested with the characters, even the villains in SKKS, and I think that’s the most important thing for tv shows, you have to feel an emotional connection to the characters.

  18. 18 olivia

    Thank you!! JB & GF Thank you Thank you!!!

  19. 19 That Girl

    I only watched this drama for two reasons: 1) body swap and 2) HyunBin. And both delivered beyond my expectations. It was a delightful drama to watch when it wasn’t bogged down in unnecessary drama.

    But unfortunately I don’t think I really caught the “Secret Garden” fever everyone seems to have. I actually just skipped through the boring parts (basically any scene without HyunBin&HaJiWon or Oska&Taesun).

    I honestly wished the Mother wasn’t just so evil and stubborn. Maybe it is realistic for the Mother to not accept the couple but still wished something more was done there.

    The only episodes I truly enjoyed were the first body switch and the last two episodes.

    But it was fun while it lasted. Oh I am going to miss HyunBin.

    • 19.1 Wildflower

      I only watched this for Lee Jongsuk. I only got into watching K-dramas somewhere around January this year, and I never got round to watching Secret Garden. My first Lee Jongsuk drama was School 2013, and now he’s my favourite actor. <3 Haha, yes, I'm guilty of that too—I read the recaps, then watched the scenes I wanted to watch. Most of them were the Oska-Taesun scenes, haha.

      Also, how coincidental is it that Infinite H's Special Girl came on the radio right when I was reading the part where Taesun decided to leave Oska? Nuuuuuu. Why do K-dramas always love to break my heart. First it's Hoya's Joonhee in Reply 1997, now it's Jongsuk's Taesun in Secret Garden. Whyyyyy. Many K-dramas tend to handle homosexuals in the drama lightly, and always either leave them hanging, or give them a sad ending (much like Taesun). At least let Taesun say something in voiceover like "It'll be hard, but I'll let go. Because I love him, and I want him to be happy." Or give him a short scene (somewhere in the five-years-later scenes) where he's waiting at the side of the street, and his boyfriend comes to pick him up. Just give him a happy ending, please!!

      I really feel like giving Jongsuk (or rather, Taesun) a big bear hug now.

  20. 20 kit

    wow, actually an hour of happy endings? o_o
    usually i hate it when it’s drama drama drama until the last ten minutes, but this feels even stranger.
    i actually didn’t watch the latter half of the drama, although i enjoyed the recaps. the chemistry was sizzling, and the other trio sounded like lots of fun but i think i’m getting sick of kdramas that kind of only hold on together because of the actors. kind of like watching tangled, i think. i don’t know if it’s me getting older, or because it’s a 21st century version of an old disney classic, but i’m half rolling my eyes even whilst thinking it adorable.

    thanks for the recaps though <3333

  21. 21 Jasmin

    When Jang Hyuk’s name was attached to this drama I didn’t jump on the bus right away. But as soon as Hyun Bin’s name got thrown in the mix, I was all aboard. Glad I gave this show a chance and I’ve found a whole new appreciation for Hyun Bin. I wanted to give Joo-won a few kicks in the shin myself during the duration of the show but Hyun Bin kept me hooked on the show. My goodness, how is this man sexy, adorable and endearing all in one package. Loving him all over again.

    Thanks again JB & Girlfriday for the always fabulous recaps. It was a good ride!

  22. 22 JD

    I agree with you on your commentary. I never fell in love with the main characters, thus, never fell in love with the drama itself.

    This episode does look cute though.

  23. 23 Jenni

    Thanks so much for recaps!
    I love you literally xD

  24. 24 aloedrinker

    I’m stalking this site for almost 8 hours. and I left to take shower for 15-20 min. and here you are.. Voila.. thanks for the super sweet recap.. and boy 15 minutes with 20 something comments. Love it. and was crying crazily. because it’s ended.

  25. 25 bee

    i feel… letdown ):

  26. 26 Diane

    Thanks javabeans and girlfriday for your time to recap this wonderful drama! I’m going to miss it my juwonnie!! Hopefully there will be another drama as great as this!! (:

  27. 27 Racel

    I watched this drama faithfully, and it was fun. However, like Girlfriday, I never really connected with the main characters. I’m not a big fan of the Cinderella/ mean mommy plot either, probably because I’ve seen it in so many other dramas.

    The comic body-swapping moments were fun. I loved that she was a stuntwoman, and wish they had made her more of a badass in general. I really liked Philip Lee.

  28. 28 Nana

    Thank you GF and JB for the recaps really appropriated.

    Also thank you for everyone who puts there comments on the recaps. I really enjoy reading every one of them

    It’s been a very enjoyable ride ^^ I really wish all people live as happy as JW and GL and I really hope that every one on earth have a good heart filled with goodness and do righteousness and die faithful and go to paradise afterlife :) :) .. amen

    • 28.1 Nana

      ** appreciated I meant 😛

  29. 29 bbstl

    while I completely agree with jb and gf that this show could have been so much more . . . I was swept up from the moment that Oska said “I feel my chest starting to sag”! HB was, as someone here said early on, a comedic revelation. And HJW helped him shine while doing her best with a not-fully-fleshed-out character. It is hilarious, ridiculous and preposterous – and I love it. It’s been made even better by watching with everyone here. I will miss it!

  30. 30 danna

    I agree i was never on the Yoon Sang Hyun bus either but now i’m completely taken…cant wait for his next project…..i actually found more of a connection with the characters in the last few eps so at least i finally got there….this is a fitting goodbye for Binnie till we see him after his MS *sob*

  31. 31 anais

    For the longest time, I thought I was just about the only one who wasn’t in love with the characters or the show. Couldn’t feel it anywhere in my heart, especially since Ra-im was not at all the sassy character she was purported to be. The characters I did most feel for turned out to be Oska, Secretary Kim (LOVE – shame there’s so little info about the actor – swear he’d played a bit part meanie in Jejoongwon), and the new action school director who’d been on campaign Ra-im/Joowon from the get-go.

    That said, certainly enjoyed the laughs plenty.

    Now, debating whether to watch Episodes 19 & 20, though my heart ain’t into it. Whaddya think? Worth watching or enough to enjoy JB & GF’s recaps, which often turn out to be better than the episodes themselves?

    • 31.1 A

      definately watch!
      recaps simply cannot capture all the lovely dialogue/actions of our fated pair :)

      • 31.1.1 anais

        Yeah, the dialogue really is fabulous.

    • 31.2 thistle

      Secretary Kim’s actor was also the would-be blackmailer in City Hall, I think.

      • 31.2.1 thistle

        Sorry to reply to myself–anais may want to see this.

        • anais

          Yeah, saw that. And couldn’t believe that he had so few credits when he’s been soooo fabulous here. LOVE him here. I’m sure, like a lot of others, he had me at Omona.

          • thistle

            Well, maybe this is something of a breakout for him….

          • kappy

            Yes, when Joo Won contemplated eating Seul’s father’s gift to him (the deer…with the long necks).

      • 31.2.2 Schmazel

        I noticed that too! When I first saw Sec. Kim, I was like, wait…isn’t he that badass reporter from CH? I hope this actor gets more recognition from now on, because he can really play cute like in SG and loathsome like in CH.

        • Ashnia

          He was also in Ahjussi as a drug dealer he really has a wide range of characters.

          • soysauce

            THAT IS SO TRUE!!! I never realized that!!! haha, I love the variety of roles he’s had.

            LOL, I literally ROFLed when he pulled out the camera in the elevator scene.

      • 31.2.3 City Haller

        Yes , same actor !

  32. 32 Lucille

    I thought the same thing about MNIKSS. I felt the endings were similar.

  33. 33 Aerim

    I’m gonna miss this show a lot! thanks for the recap!!

  34. 34 lovin it

    loved it!
    thank you for the recaps!!!

    random comment.. at the end when they showed jong-soo, i expected to see joowon’s sister sitting across the table.. what ever happened to her?

    secret garden was the first series that i enjoyed till the end in a while..

    what next? what is gonna cure my hyunbin withdrawal?

  35. 35 Melkim

    Was I the only one not impressed by the “big concert” scene? For one, I thought we were actually going to see Hyunbin sing, maybe Joowon singing to Raim. But the actually concert scene didn’t really fulfill a narrative purpose to the main story arc like in You’re Beautiful.

    Also, it was so poorly edited that I was cringing all over the place. You can actually hear the director in the background through the walkie talkie saying things like, get a tighter shot,zoom out, hold up the 2nd planccard to Seul, etc. At one point, I even heard another staff saying loudly that the walkie talkie was too loud and to turn it down all while YSH is singing his heart out and the actress playing Seul is crying.

    • 35.1 Fall

      Yeah that was totally annoyed me. I hope the director’s cut is better.

    • 35.2 jodasg

      Oh, so i am not the only one? I turn my radio vol up & down, trying to pinpoint if that talking comes from the drama or some neighbours’ loud volume. Finally decided that it is from the show.

    • 35.3 Haejin

      Does anybody here realize that the ‘big concert’ scene coming from ‘Secret Garden OST Concert’ ?
      You can tell it just by looking at the stage and HyunBin’s suit…

  36. 36 a-a-a

    JB, just an observation… but I thought that the purpose of Joo-won’s amnesia was so that he could remember the elevator incident. Although, I agree it was not the most obvious reason that one would think of. But, I really thought in terms of writing, Joo-won became 21 in order to remember that piece along with what ever else took place… What you do think? Don’t know maybe I am over thinking! Although all-in-all I did enjoy the show, I admit I was not connected in the heart to heart sense. In any case, I would like to thank both of you super-woman-esque ladies for all of your hard work and awesome writing! It was so much fun to ride along with both of you :)..

    • 36.1 a-a-a

      Oh and I absolutely loveddddd OSKA!!! he was awesome.. And I really was never a fan of YSH, but OSKA totally made me fond of him.. in that heart-to-heart sense.. I actually liked SEUL a lot as well.. interestingly, she turned out to be much more spunky than Ra-im.. which totally sucks considering how she was suppose to be kick-ass-super-spunky-stunt-woman!

      • 36.1.1 buhdoop

        I know right! Seul ended up being the bad-a$$ woman. I didn’t like Seul in the beginning but I ended up loving Seuls character at the end.

  37. 37 Mhinami

    aw! and I’m now experiencing SG withdrawal! [sigh] :(

    I’ll miss all the characters! esp. Joo-won! :)

  38. 38 Ashnia

    idk about anyone else but Secret Garden ROCKED my world like any other!

    • 38.1 ghaylet

      you’re not alone.. it rocked my world too.. (“,)

    • 38.2 Liz

      rocked mine too! 😉

  39. 39 Schmazel

    Thank you for all the recaps! I know it’s hard work and I really appreciate it. :)

    I enjoyed the drama very much and I must say it’s not only due to the leads, but the whole ensemble as well. I loved how her action school brotherhood acts like her oppas and cares for her so much. And, Secretary Kim has a special place in my heart. I totally LOLed when he was going to snap a pic of RI and JW in the lift. Ha! 😀
    Also, was anybody else shivering along when they saw Seul and Oska’s proposal scene? I was. Imagine being in a short robe, outdoors, mid-winter, in South Korea. Brrr.

    I usually leave my brain behind when watching dramas so the not-so-logical happenings don’t really bother me. heheh. The only downside to this finale was the walkie talkie instructions during the concert scene. That was really unfortunate (due to the lack of time, I suppose), but oh well…what’s done is done.

    I liked the ending as well. It was well done. (It kinda reminds me of City Hall’s ending, though.) All in all, SG will be one of my go-to dramas when I just feel like watching an enjoyable drama. Well done to the cast, crew and writer! 😀

  40. 40 Jenny

    Oh my god!!!!!! I am going to miss Ra and Joo Won a lot. And thank you so much for the recaps. I too feel there were some loopholes like the dad reason and the amnesia. But i satisfied myself by assuming that the latter one was to make the two characters fall in love all over again without the body swapping issue. And yes their chemistry is OH SO GOOD making the reason for me to stick till the end even when things were rough. And the final scene was very thoughtful. Too sweet!
    Thanks again for the recap. I love you guys!

  41. 41 Jomo

    Thanks, both, for your recap and thoughts.

    I loved this drama for all the small things, as you said, like
    the side by side walking, sit-ups, stare downs, Oska’s tenderness for JW, the foam kiss, and for some true belly laugh moments. The scenes where JW played the worst extra in a fight scene EVER, makes me giggle every time. Logic? Not so much.

    But I have to admit every time JW/HB came on screen, or showed us a new outfit, my brain kept saying, “Omo, omo, omo,omo.” He was beautiful to watch.

    I also cried every time Key Lime cried, but that’s because I love HJW.

    This is one I will re-watch, for sure.

  42. 42 Ojou_Belle

    No matter what all the others say…I am satisfied with

    the ending of Secret Garden. I’m gonna miss this

    one…It’s really special.

    And I still can’t get over the six (6) hours filming

    of the bed scene kiss…envious much!

    • 42.1 A

      OMO it was 6 hours!?

      i would LOVE to get my hands on the BTS footage of that!
      KEKEKE.. ^^

    • 42.2 Lenita

      really, the bed scene took 6 hours?! where was this mentioned, link please? (err, if subbed ha!).

    • 42.3 crazy4kdramas

      WOW! I’m jealous… 6hrs… sigh…

  43. 43 maria

    THANK YOU! my stalking has paid off, and boy was it worth all the callouses i’m getting from hitting f5. 😛

    i must agree (profusely!) when i say i was rather underwhelmed (sometimes, even annoyed) at the lazy use of the fantasy element (don’t kill me, die hards! i’m one of you!) …it was like no one thought of a more creative way to bring about the resolution to these two eggheads butting heads and not understanding each other esp at the beginning.

    but i dunno….. i find im willing to forgive this transgression, just because i was so very much captured by the drama. it was charismatic, it was raw (at times) and realistic. the emotion that was played up esp in the latter part really hit me in the gut, and the lack of creativity was forgiven for solid use of emotion and the actors, at least.

    almost like, Hey Writer KIm!– you didn’t do a whole lot. but what you DID do, you did well. 😛 kudos to you. :)

    i rather liked this taking 2 episodes to show us glimpses of the life past the crazy hijinks.
    i think emotional resolution is an erroneous term, because what is TRULY TRULY beautiful about life, i guess, is that nothing is EVER resolved (in the strict dictionary sense of the word). everything… HAPPENS, and evolves and we carry it all with us and we make new things happens because of them. we create and we dream and we try and try so hard everyday– it’s knd of poignant for me to have been given a glimpse of their LIFE, the great scope of it! ..as opposed to having been just been given a story of what happened to two people.

    thank you for the great ride! thanks for recapping what was such a great drama for me! thank YOU Show for giving us that last bit with Sohn ye Jin (yeah, no pity for Jong Soo LOL), the matching blue tracksuits,the triplets and my last adieu to Cupid and to secretary kim. :)

    good start, 2011! :)

    • 43.1 sunandmoon

      I agree with most of your assessment, but do think the writer deserves more credit. As good of a job the actors did, the drama really held together because of the energetic, witty script — even the so-called typical k-drama situations were refreshing to me because the dialogue snapped and sparkled and subtly subverted cliche. (In contrast, Mary Stayed Out All Night recently illustrated to me the limitations of relying almost solely on actors to make something out of nothing…)

      • 43.1.1 maria

        oh god, when you compare it to MSOAN, ANYTHING sounds like a masterpiece! 😀 lol! but yes, i agree– more credit to the writer. one keeps wanting for more more more, but i guess you’re right. looking at how bad that could’ve gone esp with the magical hijinks, she did a splendid job! and in all fairness, i did like her charcaterizations and the way she made the banter flow. :)

  44. 44 arnarn

    Was never really a big fan of Ha Ji Won, but her character in this drama is easier to relate to compared to her other works. I like that this drama is a fan service, and it is easy to the eyes (and the heart). It has its shortcomings of course, but as I don’t have to analyze it bit by bit, I guess it’s a privilege to be enjoying the drama solely bec it’s fun.

    I will forever love Raim and Joo Won. Please excuse me for I still have the SG syndrome (which will pass of course), but I secretly hope and wish that hyun bin & jiwon would have a sorta (err, hesitates) “liking” for each other. *looks at shk’s picture*. nah. just hoping (cross fingers).

    • 44.1 Aerim

      haha I AGREE!!

    • 44.2 A

      keke ^^

      don’t worry i have my fingers secretly crossed for them too, sigh if only…

    • 44.3 Haejin

      Hahahaha, don’t worry, me too ^^

      사귀라 ! 사귀라 ! 사귀라 ! ㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋ…

    • 44.4 jusash

      I am with you on HJW too. Somehow, I cannot appreciate ‘the magic of Ha Ji-won’ or her awesomeness despite all the accolades from her fans (and cyber chingus) in her other works.

      Even in SG … great chemistry yes. But I still don’t find Ra-im outstanding .. if compared to Hyun-bin’s Joo-won. As in, I think another actress could play the Ra-im part and I could enjoy it too. But different story with Hyun-bin – he really acted the socks off Joo-won’s bizarre character.

      Nice fantasy … but I would never go as far as to wish tany credible OTP pairing OUTSIDE of any drama except fantasy drama land. Or IF the leads were UN-attached in real life. Then sure, all is fair game.
      Otherwise, it’s just NOT fair to the real-life significant others in their real lives.

      Rabid fangirl comments aside … sometimes let’s try put ourselves in those shoes, and see if we’d appreciate other people fantasizing (and meaning it seriously too in some delusional fangirls’ cases) about our partners (ie bfs/gfs/husbands/wives).

      Besides once any drama is over … OTP pairings also go onto create othe OTP pairings with other people as well, creating yet another magical pairing with someone else. R’ber how Hyun-bin and SHG even started? 😉

    • 44.5 gingganggolli

      …I’m a fun of SG but more of HB and HJW as a start…but anyway going back to that “for them to like each other” ain’t bad but believe me when you saw her drama with Jo In Sung you will have a second thought. As for HB he is very much hmmm I think in love with Song Hye Kyo…though their drama together “the world they live in” didn’t rate well but they fell in love and they are really beautiful couple… their chemistry is oozing with sex appeal….

  45. 45 Sara

    loved loved the ending.It was all I had hope for and more. Turning blind the technical flaws and all and just bask in the happiness of Raim and Joo won. My new favorite kdrama couple.

    • 45.1 PickmePICKME

      same here!!! I loved it!! All I hoped for and more–even though I didn’t believe I would get this. Not in a million years. I did feel for tae sun a bit though–so sad. Not that I wanted him to get oska though, he’s for SEUL. I was so happy with her as a second lead ( And i mean absolutely happy) it was crazy. My first time liking a second lead heheeh. AWW I bask in the happy memory. Joo Won’s mom is just so jealous of them (thats why she’s so bitter.) But I would never of allowed her to see my kids. As if!! I wouldn’t want my kids around such POISION. Bahahah but w.e I LOVED IT. I’m NOT disappointed at all. I love the happy ending montage YAY!!

  46. 46 vannie

    the cast played their chracters really well. all of them from hyun bin who gave a fantastic performance down to the stuntman! that’s what glued me into watching SG.
    i just realized now that oska was the main in that drama with yoo eun hye. can’t remember the title but i think his character here in SG suits him to tee! he is the best hyung and oppa!

  47. 47 crook

    I can’t believe it’s over!

    Secret Garden has to be one of my all time favorite dramas, and probably the only show I’ve followed so closely from start to finish. I agree that it had some major issues, but I can overlook those because I just connected with this show for some reason. Unlike GF and JB, I did fall in love with the main characters, which is a rare feat for me.

    For some reason, the finale felt sort of melancholy and bittersweet even if it was objectively filled with fluff. Maybe I’m projecting my own feelings about SG ending but it was sort of jarring to see RI and JW so domestic and ‘quiet’

    If only the plot made more sense, this could have been a perfect drama. I feel like I understand what the writer was trying to accomplish, but she just didn’t quite get there in execution.

    What really elevated this show was the acting, especially Hyun Bin. Damn they got lucky with the casting (although I’d kill to see what Jang Hyuk could have done with the role). Whereas MNIKSS was KSA’s vehicle to shine and HB just served as the obligatory male lead, in SG, the Joo Won we see could have only come from Hyun Bin. This was the show that’s made me a Binnie fangirl (and such good timing too :/).

    Overall, I have to say I loved Secret Garden, and I feel satisfied with how it ended. Like GF said, the show’s strengths come from it’s moments, like the sparkly tracksuits and when characters go head to head in quickfire banter. I do wish the plot was more epic and satisfying since SG does have that air of self importance as all KES dramas do, but I’m okay with what I was given.

    Show I will miss you!

    • 47.1 A

      couldn’t agree with you more :)

  48. 48 Doraemon4ever

    OMG! I so love this show!!! ! As much as I enjoyed Coffee Prince and You’re Beautiful, I have never desired to rewatch the shows.

    As soon as I finished the last episode of Secret Garden, I went back and watched episode 1. Then it hit me. I love the show even more! After rewatching episode 1, everything makes even more sense! All the characters and the story were so well written. I will so miss Secret Garden!

    • 48.1 mimosa

      Whoa….. me too ! Went back almost immediately to rewatch episode 1 and continue from there !

      And you’re absolutely right…..this rewatching makes me love the show even more.

      Btw, i think the show has a lucky break when by chance, Hyun Bin came on board. I could not THINK of anyone else could do Joo Won the way he did it. And he’s right to loose weight for this JW role, altlhough he looks much better in World’s Within.

      Am now a true Hyun Bin fangirl. yayy!

      • 48.1.1 Doraemon4ever

        Yeah, I also could not think anyone else to play Joo Won role. It have not been the same. Binnie nailed it to the T. Although I didn’t enjoy looking at Binnie’s skinny body, but I also think that it was on purpose to match the role. Joo Won apparently has never done anything physical in his whole life. I could not even go hiking. lol

  49. 49 jfc

    I absolutely loved the finale b/c lots of things were irking me midpoint but the last few eps were just feel good eps and emotional too. Just as I couldn’t stand Seul’s earlier crying scenes, Ra Im’s constant crying were getting on my nerves…but I love her in stuntwoman mode and I love her and Joo won’s “childish” love…Seul really grew on me and loved oska and jw’s relationship, love the look seul and oska had when they were being so corny at their marriag… love the love montage, the blanket scene by the window, dual sparkly tracksuit was awesome…loved seeing my girl Son Ye Jin in a cameo…the mom really was awful, just a few episodes ago she was crying my beautiful boy…i have to say i didn’t fall in love with the drama but i fell in love with the characters Ra-im (she kinda lost me with too many crying scenes but won me back again)and especially Joo won, but more so the acting of Hyun Bin, loved him so much here. No matter what asshat things were coming out of his mouth, I couldn’t help but love him to pieces.

    • 49.1 Clara


      I do not understand why some people like “Secret Garden”.

      I mean, Kim Joo Won (the character played by Hyun Bin) humiliates so many times to Gil Ra Im. In episode 8 he calls her “dark and ugly”. Even when they are already a couple, he keeps saying her woundings words. For example, in episode 14, he makes to tell/notice the social difference between him and Gil Ra Im, when he says: “You don’t have to be that touched. Making the poor neighbor’s life sweet is the sense of societal leaders”. What is the point of saying “poor neighbour” and etc.? The same phrase that used in one episode to treat her really bad (vacuum cleaner scene).
      Someone would expect an evolution of Kim Joo Won. But, no. For example, in episode 17, when he sacrificed himself to save Gil Ra Im, he writes a letter to Gil Ra Im, that says: “I’m letting you know beforehand that You Are the First and Last poor neglected neighbor to ever get a letter from society’s leader, Kim Joo Won. So be proud of yourself.”.
      In episode 15, when they are training Kim Joo Won says Gil Ra Im: “Do you need more miracles? There was already a miracle. A woman with no decent family background, no money, no good looks, is someone very special to someone who has everything. Isn’t that a miracle? Be honest. When I was clinging on to you, I know you said “go away, disappear”, but inside you were going KYA!!! Right?”.

      I mean, why does Kim Joo Won keep/remain being arrogant?
      Why does he keep his arrogance and mistreatment to others? Even towards Gil Ra Im.

      In the final episode, when they are already married, and they are talking about fairytales, Kim Joo Woon tells Gil Ra Im: “Moreover, they’re attractive. But how did someone with your looks meet someone like me?”. Then, Gil Ra Im replies: “You said, Gil Ra Im, at what age did you become so pretty?”; and Kim Joo Won answers: “A man trying to win over a girl will obviously say these things”.
      Or even worst. When they (Kim Joo Won and Gil Ra Im) are in their wedding night, and Yeun Seul and Ozka went to Joo Won’s house to decorate it like wedding gift Kim Joo Won flirts with Yeun Seul, when he says Seul “It would’ve been better if we met when I was 21″. !!
      I did not see an evolution or development in Kim Joo Won.
      Why does he feel attracted to Gil Ra Im? Because she does not feel attracted to him. Such a narcissistic. He was used to get all he wanted. But, then, he falls in love with her because she is such a sweet person. But, why does Gil Ra Im fall in love with Kim Joo Won? I mean, he is constantly humiliating her. HE NEVER APOLOGIZES. He never said sorry to Gil Ra Im for all the woundings words he said her through the episodes.

  50. 50 Mary

    o0o0oh I love this ep.
    & I love son ye jin cameo. cute. <3

  51. 51 e

    why i loved SG
    1. it was witty fun comic and refreshing (before they went makjang on us)
    2. the actors especially hyun bin nailed their roles
    3. it was really entertaining and it was something i looked forward to during weekends

    although i loved secret garden i have to agree with the comments that i felt cheated:
    1. with the whole body swap gimmick not having a solid explanation of why it had to happen and dont get me started on the coma/brain dead thing (well it is kdrama land but still )
    2. why was her father messing around with his screwy magic
    3. what was the whole point of the drama (i know it was about fate and destiny but why did it need the body swap thingy)
    good thing that the actors really delivered and owned their character as they were able to cover up for the gaping plot holes SG was really fun during its run but it turned out like a new gadget *shiny, hyped but still needs polishing and fixing of some bugs

  52. 52 kitkat

    :/ mixed emotion.. im happy it turned out so well, much better than i expected actually. but why do i have a heavy feeling that ill be missing SG so much, and that im gona wait for the drama to have a complete compilation of episodes on dvd for months..(hope a dvd with a nice subtitle) *sigh* *sigh* *sigh* *sigh*

    • 52.1 bbstl

      it turned out much better than I expected, too. When it started, I thought – ewwww, too-skinny Binnie (so thin that his shirt collars were too big), and with a bad haircut – and body-switching? Can’t be good. It was a huge surprise that it is so much fun and at least 1/3 of Korea was transfixed by it. HB is now a superstar.

  53. 53 rich

    I actually love how they tied things up… :) I’m going to miss the characters of this drama. ^^

    Wow, Sohn Ye-jin?? Lucky Jong Soo! XD

  54. 54 chrislawrence

    “AW. Seriously, aw. Can you…hug it out? No? Come on!”

    HAHA! my thoughts exactly!

  55. 55 Kitchel17

    One of the best dramas i’ve seen in a very long time! Loved it 😀

  56. 56 Nokcha

    Loved it and will watch again and again!

  57. 57 crazedlu

    WORD with everything you two said.

    did not dig this series.. at all.

    the useless magic bit was such a publicity stunt. the moments were not enough for me.

    on to better things..

    • 57.1 ck1Oz

      …but you still read the recap.

      • 57.1.1 Jenni

        LOL. This made me laugh. xD

      • 57.1.2 crazedlu

        indeed i did.

  58. 58 L'horreurD'Esther

    Am I the only one…who just lost interest after ep.14??
    I just stopped watching for some reason…
    I then would come here and just look at the pics of the recap in less than 2 mins and leave. It’s like Athena…after ep.5…I stopped. Something, is making me lose faith, interest or excitement w/ KDramas… Maybe one of these days I’ll watch it again and finish but….I dunno.
    It’s like Boys Over Flowers….I just stopped after ep. 6 or 7…it just was sooo bad. Pasta tooo after ep.3…I just lost it.
    There’s smthg wrong w/me….or what? SKKS…the last ep. ruined almost the whole series for me…ugh…I just…gooodness. I’m having quite a gripe w/ KDramas lately…I cannot explain it.

    I’m back to watching foreign movies (including Korean) and American TV shows…like Dexter, House, Criminal Minds (ugh s.6 is quite lackluster but I am invested) and re-watching The Wire, The Sopranos, Gilmore Girls, That 70’s show, Golden Girls, Dallas and Dynasty.

    • 58.1 isabella

      I felt the same was as you in 2009. I stopped watching Kdramas for the entire 2009 until mid 2010. After awhile, everything was just boring to me. Those dramas that excited everyone was just bleh to me. So I went back to watching American series. In 2010 for some reason I decided to watch Korean dramas again and I became hooked once more! You probably just need a long break.

    • 58.2 Twilight

      I think with k-dramas you need a break from it because all of them will get redundant.

    • 58.3 lala

      haha, you’re not alone. I watch dramas until I can’t take a single more episode. SKK was the only exception. I watched it all the way through, probably because it was so refreshing and cute. I think it’s the acting – actors must be versatile and keep you engaged – and the script/plot.

      For example, I watched Delightful Girl Choonhyang 7 times and I STILL am not tired of it. So I think it’s a lack of interesting plot/character development and unique story-lines rather than you. Dramas shouldn’t drag out so much…..and Secret Garden did. aish, it was so DULL and lacked direction/purpose.

    • 58.4 Nana

      Lol I thought I was alone. Yeah, I will probably take a break from kdrama for a while. Everything I watched loses my interest in middle road.

    • 58.5 samgetang

      Interesting discussion here…

      It’s probably a case of “the law of diminishing returns” in economics that says your love/appreciation for a particular thing diminishes with time. In short, too much of the same thing (especially junk) would be bleh, boring, uninteresting. If you see signs of this, get off the bus and take a different ride or another route. Change of scenery and pace might come in handy. :-).

      In contrast, excellent, praise-worthy and beautiful stuff do not fade with time but become more so as time goes by. :-) I guess we just need to take in more of the great and a few of the bad and not-so great and if we do we do it so we can appreciate the great and excellent so much more.

      • 58.5.1 samgetang

        opppps it should be “the law of diminishing utilities” :-)

    • 58.6 bd2

      Surpised that you lasted that long.

      Been more enjoyment in 4 eps of “My Princess” than the entire run of SG.

      • 58.6.1 samgetang

        am i right: SG and MP are created by the same writer?

        i’m surprised that i’m enjoying MP now and yes, i agree, MP is much more enjoyable than SG…so far. again, surprising, because many said that SSH and KTH are not that good an actor although I felt that their performance so far is just right for their roles in MP so i guess the roles were made/developed just with them in mind. but overall, HJW and HB are far better actors in my humble opinion.

        but i see the similarities in them: the set-up where the romance is made to revolve is similar in some ways. SG has the poor girl-rich guy and unapproving chaebol parent while MP has the poor girl-turned-princess and chaebol guy-turned-penniless and the jealous sister. SG has the body-soul swap while MP has the poor-rich swap; one magical, the other physical.

        h/ever the flow of MP is better and the relationship between the two main leads was well-established at the get-go as compared to SG…so these are pluses in MP’s favor.

  59. 59 tegami

    Secret Garden has been one heck of a rollercoaster ride for me. Since episode 1, I had caught the hook, line and sinker. This drama had me so emotionally invested in its characters they almost feel like old friends. A giant “Thank you!” to all the people behind SG. This one will stay with me for a long time.

  60. 60 twylah

    Thank you JB and GirlFriday for your wonderful recaps! You’ve totally made the 20 episodes of this drama so much richer with your insights and views. Admittedly, I’ve been totally swept by SG . I’m all for JW and RI. I enjoyed watching how they became a couple. I enjoyed the hijinks of the body swap, and even the 21 year old JW. I cried reading the recaps for episode 17. In sum, I was totally had by SG. Totally had by Sec. Kim, by Tae Sun and Osca. Logic and reason notwithstanding.

    Though I have to agree with JB above, I was waiting, at ep 19 and at ep 20 for some explanation of the body switch and why it had to happen. In failing to provide an explanation, i wanted more, more from the drama — for there has to be a reason! but even then, i’d say i enjoyed it a lot. True too, the ending sort of reminded me of MNIKSS, specially that I had it in rerun before the ending aired.It could have been done better, I guess.

    Still, I loved the drama. I fell in love with JW and RI. I can live with the lack of explanation, but it kept me thinking that i loved You’re Beautiful’s ending more, or even Hong Gil Dong (for all its tragedy).

    But that doesn’t mean that I’m not going to have serious SG withrdawals. No, i’d be rewatching it for a long, long time. With the OST in my playlist and on repeat.

    Now, if i can only have a copy of that chant.

    • 60.1 twylah

      oh. i change my mind. hong gi ldong ending was too tragic, i wouldn’t want that for JW and RI. OK. Am gonna admit it. i loved the ending no matter what.

      now where’s that chant?

  61. 61 Heilie

    Thankyou so much for the recaps!!!!! For me the ending was pretty average but I’m all for the happy ending so I shouldn’t complain! This show is probably one of my fav mainly because Joo-won totally rocked for me!!

  62. 62 Nashoujo

    I’m left with : EH….
    bit funny.. but EH..

    I really wanted to like this show for what it’s worth but the whole magic voodoo made no sense and I never felt connected with the characters. I don’t know why everyone is in love chemistry between hyun bin and ji won’s characters so much..
    Kim sunah have WAY better chemistry with Hyun Bin is Kim Samson!!

    Yes, I’ll admit that I watched for Hyun Bin but man, do I feel cheated.. mainly because hyun bin and ji won could have had more potential if the storyline was more developed and made more sense.

  63. 63 fatehat3sme

    I cannot ignore the fact that Girlfriday’s and Javabean’s comments are very insightful, but this drama totally turned my view of kdramas upside down. secret garden proved to be one of the best ones i have ever watched, and i will definitely be watching it over and over again.

  64. 64 Bluefyre

    Thanks so much you guys! I loved reading the recaps as well as your comments. And despite everything, I loved and will love this show anyway. 😀
    I’m gonna miss it.

    The Sohn Ye-jin cameo takes the cake…as well as the kids. LOL! And can I just say that I hate Joo Won’s mom? Grr. ^^

    Thanks again!
    (so glad I got hooked on My Princess so I won’t feel this show’s absence that dearly)

  65. 65 ni

    thank you both for your wonderful work! i’ve always enjoyed reading your comments and glad that there is still this space where we viewers can voice our opinions intelligently and politely, without the interference of “if you dont enjoy it the remote is right there”. to quote my friend – “sorry, we watch it online.”

    anyway, SG to me is like my child. I love him so much. I expected so much him, much like most mothers would. And he was great. Until he dated a stuntwoman…oh yikes, im not JW’s mom I swear 😀 but seriously, it hurts so bad when your favorite drama just doesn’t WANT to live up to its potential. I didn’t want to say “decline in quality” because through and through, the drama was entertaining. The acting was great, the music fitting and awesome, and the dialogue very much of an “Asian screwball comedy” style, if there is such a thing. I just thought it meant more…you know, like the soul switch could have been used to educate our characters and help change them. Or the amnesia actually had a point other than making us fall in love with Hyun Bin more than we already are.

    But nope. It was all a bloody mess. I used to squeal, scream, watch the episode at least 3 times before I let it go. I think that stopped after the first soul switch, as we entered the cycle of the mating dance all over again, like the switch never happened. I could feel it! Feel that some of the love I had for my child was lost :( it was a very sad feeling :(

    Still, in many aspects (maybe except heart and true meaning), this drama excelled and far surpassed others. I just wish it was what it could be. It was refreshing (soul switch) but not enough (trite parental obstacle). The characters were awesome (Oska, Joo Won) but not all of them (Ra Im, and hell, a bunch of potentially interesting characters went unused – Ssun, grandpa, new grandma).I get that it can’t be perfect. But why not? It was so easy to be. It started out PERFECT. Why couldn’t it end perfect as well?

    oh and did you guys know the key plot point of Kim Eun Sook’s movie, “A Millionaire’s First Love”, is EXACTLY the fucking same? what’s with her and UNFULFILLED PROMISE AND AMNESIA?? was she dumped by her elementary school boyfriend or something???

    • 65.1 yen_nguyen

      ha ha cute: “sorry, we watch it online”
      so do we have a forum in our language and everybody’s crazy for SG’s excellence, I saw a fan criticized something then she was strongly attacked.

  66. 66 crook

    obviously I’m not a famous kdrama scriptwriter, but if I were to do SG, here’s what I would change:

    1. Make the first swap permanent w/o any of the magical rain crap. If RI’s dad’s goal was to save his daughter from the dangerous stunt, then how can he be sure they’d really be swapped when the stunt happened if they switch every time it rained. From what I can tell, he didn’t control the weather. Also, he gave up his life to save JW’s so it doesn’t really make sense that he’d want to sacrifice him 20 years later.

    2. make the major plot point them trying to discover how to switch back, which forces them to spend time together, and in the process they end up falling in love (while in each other’s bodies). Yes this would have made it harder on the actors and potentially lead to some icky self-incest? moments, but then the body swap would have been given purpose and actually to organic and logical plot developments (for a fantasy anyways)

    3. They switch back once JW remembers the past and how he was suppose to take care of RI per her dad’s last words. Since he couldn’t consciously fulfill his promise, his subconscious made him instantly attracted to Ra Im as soon as he saw her etc etc. Cue angst on both sides to get the obligatory crying emo all kdrama’s love in. However, at this point, they’re so in love it conquers all the bad that’s happened in the past or whatever.

    This would give the body swap purpose, and emphasize the fate theme, while still allowing for angst, romance and comedy.

    • 66.1 Jenni

      That was a great idea. I enjoyed reading it. -sigh- Unfortunately it didn’t happen.

    • 66.2 asianromance

      you should have been Kim Eun Sook’s assistant to make this happen!

    • 66.3 Severine

      Totally agree with you. I initially thought the first switch was going to be permanent, but alas…

    • 66.4 madqueen

      I especially like your suggested point 3.
      That would indeed give the body swap more defined purpose…
      JW’s sacrificial body swap can still happen for all the emo that we love, but let it occur only after he recalls the past.

      JW was supposed to deliver the message from RI’s dad, which he never got to do. He wrote that letter to RI, so he can state in the letter that he recalls the past and tells her father’s last words and he’ll figure that the only way he can communicate this message (on top of how he loves her so much and wants to sacrifice for RI etc) is so that RI can awake from her coma in his body and read the letter.

      Also rather than DAD comes in to undo the magic, I much rather prefer that DAD leaves the antedote to the magic alcohol somewhere for Ra-Him to discover and undo the magic themselves. But ok, DAD may need to do a bit more since RI’s body is damaged but since this is fantasy anyway, we can accept that the magic alcohol can also cure RI’s body.

      As for them switching back and forth when rain comes, even when JW in now in RI’s comatose body, I suppose this can be eliminated if the drama can explain the rain will not occur in say 2 or 3 weeks , enough time for Ra-Him to find the solution to the body swap.

      Then we have the happily-ever-after story.

      hahah, I’m no script writer, but just my 2 cents worth on what could have happened?

  67. 67 ni

    oh and im sorry that you have hate mails. it always comes with doing public service/celebrity-dom doesn’t it? 😀 even if it’s restricted and virtual (as in Internet) celebrity-dom ^_^
    im sure you know this by now, but please know that there are grateful individuals (who might be too lazy to send love mails to offset those hate mails) who are not idiots and have common sense reading your blog.

  68. 68 luckyme

    thanks jb and gf for the recaps. loved this show

  69. 69 Ladymoonstone143

    Thanks Girlfriday and Javabeans for the 20 amazing recaps of Secret Garden.

    There might be flaws on this drama but I am just ignoring it all because I truly enjoyed this drama to pieces. I am so grateful that I discovered Hyun Bin and Ha Ji Won and that I will be a lifelong fan of theirs because of this.

    I am happy that the ending is happy and the writer give us a good wedding night scene….:) I wish all dramas will give us a good kissing scene like what Hyun bin and Ha Ji won did. I was totally amaze that those kind of kisses existed in kdrama…lol. Sweet and passionate without overdoing it. I was tired of those lame pressing of the lips kind of thing and zooming out afterward to the scenery.

    This is one of the dramas that I am so wishing that the main characters will be dating for real ( I wish the same thing with LDH and LDW of My girl, JSM and KHY of PK…lol) The chemistry is just amazing. I do hope that in the future, Hyun Bin and Ha Ji Won will have another project together…but I think with so many actors/actress in kdrama industry, it seldom happens. But a wish is a wish…:))

  70. 70 Daniela

    The End. It ended. And now is my second favorite drama.

    First, after reading your comments I think that the writer knows that she would use the body swap to save Ra-im, maybe that was one of the things that she has clear, is just that she lost a little while getting there. Yes, amnesia, big mistake, she kind of fix it but it was amnesia. I was thinking yesterday about this episode because since yesterday, or as you said since episode 18, it looks like everything was solved, except for the amnesia and the mom. I like it, it was fan service, yes, but Im a fan so its ok.

    Why did I love this drama? First thing that comes to my mind, the details. Im weird, so things like the Kim~~suhanmoo keobugiwa, the way Joo-won says “Sorry”, her high-pitched screams, when he is wearing his track suit and you can only see his eyes and his nose and looks like a turtle, when she frowned his face and he put his finger on her forehead (yes, the 3 times, each one for different reasons), matching tracksuits , all of them make me happy. There are many others but they are very little and usually fast so it’s difficult to name them all.

    The acting, yes of course, and it comes with the characters .They are hard to love I must said. The main ones. You love them or you not (not exactly hate them). At the end I, I was able to love Joo-won because in the first part he said horrible things but do nice things. When he was a jerk, I want to slap him but then I just laughed because I thought “Oh, you are feeling so different”. Joo-won is hard to love, but if you do, blame it on Hyun Bin. If Secret Garden were a book, maybe I would never like Joo-won. Ra-im, I don’t dislike her, for me is just normal. All the things she did didn’t surprise me (remember, I’m weird) so I’m in peace with her ( More development wouldn’t hurt) The secondary characters are another thing. Oska, Seul, Secretary Kim and Ra-im´s sunbae (the one that at one point is the director), I love them.
    The dialogue. The fact that I never get bored. And the kisses (the kisses are important haha.)
    And it made me laugh. Sometimes really hard. I’m always saying it (here, in my princess). It’s not the only thing I’m looking for, but I love to laugh so if laughs came with it, it gets so much better. And an important, very important thing: it’s the first drama I watched while it’s on air. The recaps, the comments, me looking for spoilers or previews…ah, lots and lots of fun.

    (Jeez , how many times did I write love?) This is getting to long. In the end I saw the flaws, some of them didn’t bother me, some of them I just let them pass. The thing that girlfriday said about that the show throw a bunch of shiny things to impress us, part of me agrees, but I’m glad that I got impress.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you for the recaps! You two are awesome. And the people who comment, thank you too.

  71. 71 Skye Lim

    Speaking of omo-queen Secretary Kim, I think I saw him in the movie, The Man from Nowhere as a total jerk. I was like ?!

  72. 72 Sarah

    havent yet seen the drama however i think it was good; i loved the side plots involving oska more than ra im and tracksuit boy (lol)

    im wondering what jb’s all time-fav dramas are cause I’d really like to understand the ‘element’ of a good kdrama that i feel jb gets and i lack to comprehend..

  73. 73 asea

    I usually HATE sad ending.. However, I feel like if they end it with only either one of them can be conscious at a time using joo won body, and then share notes or whatever each time they swapped soul, it would be more beautiful and meaningful.

    The ending tho ends in a happy notes, sadly negates all the drama we have been experiencing beforehand. It feels like their sadness and our tears have been so useless since in the end the problems were solved so easily.. @_@ I keep thinking, maybe this is not the ending that the writer intended…

    • 73.1 crook

      I hate sad endings too, but your ending would be really satisfying. RI’s dad sacrificed his life for JW, and JW sacrifices part of his for RI. Given this writer’s track record those, I think fans would be ready to torch her house if this happened though

      • 73.1.1 mimosa

        Haha….. RI will take monday, wed, and fri. Joo won on tues, thurs and sat. And sunday….. each to take turn for this extra day, eh ?

        Anyway, such ending is too masochistic…… no children, forever alone right to the end and no direct conversation. And RI, should she tire of this ‘arrangement’, can’t have the option to find a new love as she’s trapped in a man’s body ! heheh.

    • 73.2 Shin mi rAe

      I agree with you. I actually thought about this too. But to make it more dramatic or loving, I will add one more rule on the body swaps. Proximity. They should be near each other when it rains, like really beside each other. So there will be a dramatic scene of checking the weather or even a crying and running in the rain to be near the other before the rain stops for the switch. Imagine how we will all be bawling in tears every time they start reading each others note or love letter. Especially if Raim will say something like “i love you so much i want you to live a full life. Stop switching and live a full life”… Just thinking about the possibilities…

      I agree with jb and gf. There is something missing. I love hyun bin. Marveled over his acting skills and comedic timing. He actually made me watch Kim Sam Soon (and fell in love with kss all over again) again and wished he was this good when he did kss. Maybe because I don’t know what the show wants from me. I can’t go hilarious then serious then at death’s door then hilarious again. I’ll have a psychotic breakdown. I’m a simple viewer. Phase 1: I like hilarious and cute at the start to get me invested in liking the OTP. phase 2: Then after loving the couple and feeling their love, we need the angst. This is the time when the drama will pull our hearts at all different directions. We cry with the characters. In SG, this could have been done without the evil chaebol mother. Really, korean mothers are getting bad reps with shows like baker king, cinderella’s sister, msoan, and you’re beautiful. The body switching brain dead plot would have been enough for us. To warm up, we need more than 1 episode for this. Phase 3: the great answer to the great angst. The rule is if you spend a great deal of episode time to build the angst then don’t make the answer a simple wave of a wand. Don’t make us regret every tear we shed at phase 2. (ehem skks). We are suppose to feel happy with the OTP because their problems are solved. End of drama. SG didn’t follow this. Sometimes I think we are in phase 2 already then we go back to phase 1. Just when I think I’m there with joo-won, the drama regressed back to cute and hilarity. While I appreciate the journey of love for joo-won, I don’t get it for Ra-I’m. Joowon taught us that sometimes, love just happens. First time he sees RaIm and he is doomed for love. No reasons, no explanations, no escape. I actually enjoyed his journey to realizing this. But how RaIm fell in love with Joowon is beyond me. While he have his moments of sweetness and awesomeness, he keeps going to back to jack a-s. so I agree with jb and gf that while the writer spends a lot of time developing Joowon, RaIm was overlooked.

      Oska is the revelation here. Whether its the bromance with Joowon, the romance with seul and the love hate relationship with tae sun. Osca’s complex story lines are sufficient for one kdrama on its own. And that actor who portrayed oska was so good we would have stick with him for 16 episode, just to know who he ends up with, tae sun or seul. if OTP is not the celestially shining hyun bin and hajiwon, then we would have forgotten about Joowon and RaIm and stick with oska. And if we didn’t spend so much time with oska, they could have made better story developments with Joowon and RaIm. Oh well, wish wish wish.

      • 73.2.1 Raiko

        I completely agree about Oska being a necessity. I had a weird obsession with him and TaeSun’s relationship, so sometimes I would even just skim through the episode to see if they interacted. I wasn’t really happy with the ending because I wanted them to have some TaeSun Oska goodness. I reallllllllly wish that Oska had stopped him from leaving the concert, or maybe in the epilogue TaeSun was somehow contacted by Oska. You know, just to show that Oska and him still talk. I wanted more TaeSun!!!!!! He was my favorite character.

  74. 74 ct

    when the drama kicked in, i was totally into SG. but i think with all the advertisement about how the happy the last episode was going to be, i sort of fell out of love. not that i didn’t like SG as a whole, but it’s like i lost gas out of my balloon after ep 18. actually, the whole amnesia thing was just random (though i loved the 21 yr old joo won), so i would say in the middle of ep 18.

    anyway, LOVED the humor and wackiness. hyun bin’s acting was SPOT ON. even the 21 yr old parts he had to play were great (“No~ope. I like her”). REALLY liked Oska, Secretary Kim, Ah Young and Seul. Joo Won, if Hyun Bin didn’t portray him, I don’t think I would have liked him as much. Ra Im, loved her in the beginning. End.

    But a feel good drama is just a feel good drama. Two episodes of denouement, like you said girlfriday, isn’t exactly my cup of tea. But i did smile while watching the them. Wish they brought back joo won’s sister, not that i didn’t love son ye-jin’s cameo, but the bow wasn’t tied as neatly as i would have liked.

    still, nice touch with the memory at the end

    thanks so much dramabeans for all the fast service!!!!!

  75. 75 addictive too SG

    why is everybody asking for the explanation of the body switch…
    I thought this is supposed to be a drama deconstruction website…where ppl look deeper than just relugar explanation
    the explanation doesn’t have to be spelled out..
    It’s implied…..
    I think the switch is just a vehicle for Joo Won to communicate the message that he was supposed to give to Ra Im a long time ago….
    I think it is very obvious with the explanation of the accident and the the elevator accident.

    And I’m confused with all the question regarding logic..wasn’t this drama advertised as a fantasy drama?
    there is no logic in fantasy drama..that is why they call it fantasy…
    and No offense, even I think there is no logic in regular drama…bwa..ha.ha..ha..ha

    just like Alice in wonderland story….There is no logic behind it but there are a lot of symbolism.

    Anyway just my two cents….

    • 75.1 A

      Hm. I like your take on the reason for the switch.

      I never thought of it that way before :)

    • 75.2 sophie

      I agree!

    • 75.3 Doraemon4ever

      I totally agree with you! ha!

    • 75.4 dorispngPinas

      you said the magic word, its a FANTASY drama thus, I don’t need to know the logic behind the body swaps, waking up from coma etc. etc….what’s important is I enjoy the emotional roller coaster ride this drama has given me, the laughs, the tears I shed and the most important one is I got my happy ending!

    • 75.5 roswara

      Hahaha…I also agree….
      why does everybody keep talking about the purpose of the switch in the first place? When it’s all so clear for me….lol
      I think the switch is the preparation process.

      The first switch is a chance for JooWon and RaIm to understand each other’s background.

      The second switch is a chance for RaIm to have a glimpse of what will happen if JooWon is dead (accident in elevator, where JooWon collapsed). It’s untolerable for her. I can see clearly that, if RaIm can, she would be willing to switch place with JooWon. And it’s the first step for JooWon, to think about RaIm’s audition. He showed that he cared enough when RaIm lost her chance of audition.

      The third switch is all for JooWon. JooWon finally said that he’s willing to be Little Mermaid, to be gone forever, but there is a huge difference between saying it and doing it.

      Clearly, 21 years old JooWon is someone who cares more about himself, he cared more about his own feelings, his guilty, trauma, etc, that’s why he shut down the memory of the accident, and he forgot RaIm’s Father’s last message. He knew that RaIm was sooo sad from losing his father, yet he had no courage to face her and said the message. But if JooWon had courage at that time to face RaIm, well, perhaps RaIm wouldn’t be able to “forgive” him, eventhough it was not JooWon’s fault, but hey, sadness can make people loses some logic. Since RaIm was still young, and the wound from losing one’s father was still fresh on her heart.

      As the time goes by, slowly but sure, RaIm is healed, indeed she is still sad from losing her father, but the difference is she can accept the fact now.

      And the switch, is like a “TEST” for JooWon, if he, for the sake of RaIm, will sacrifice his life.

      And for JooWon’s point of view, at first, he thought that he will just playing around with RaIm, that losing her doesn’t matter at all for him. But when he finally face it, the situation (where RaIm’s body technically dead), it is untolerable for him, it’s all his subconscious feeling.

      His subconscious feeling that told 21 years old JooWon to bury the memory of the accident, and its the same subconscious feeling of 34 JooWon to make him remember the accident, and bury the memory of RaIm.

      The difference is this time, everybody around JooWon keeps pushing him to remember who RaIm is, plus the fact that RaIm always pop up around him. Unlike the accident, where everyone around JooWon hide any information about the accident, even covered it with lies.

      So, all in all, it all wrapped up nice for me..hehehe…

      And indeed, just like you said, this is a fantasy drama. So be it, and I’m really really satisfied with the story…hehehe

      • 75.5.1 crazy4kdramas

        Nicely put :)

        Thanks to everyone in this website for sharing their thoughts. It’s like we were a part of the Secret Garden staff. I really enjoyed watching the show, reading the recaps and all your comments!

      • 75.5.2 13thangel

        whoa. nice one!!! thanks! im buying this!! :)

    • 75.6 sunandmoon

      Agreed. The Alice in Wonderland analogy is apt.

      Interestingly, I found this drama more realistic and genuine in its portrayal of its characters than most dramas despite the less realistic fantasy elements. Also, I appreciated that it didn’t gloss over the tensions of when two people of different socioeconomic status are attracted to each other — not just family opposition problems but because of themselves and how they’ve each lived their lives. Could such people really know and understand each other short of a body swap? And could they really stay strong in their love despite the constant challenges, unless they’ve almost died and come back to realize what’s really important? The magical “rules” had more poetry than logic, but the use of magic definitely served a plot/character development purpose, on top of being entertaining.

      By the way, something I haven’t heard mentioned much before about this drama even by those who love it is that the rich are satirized brilliantly. The awkward dinner at Joowon’s grandfather’s house with all the complicated relations, Seul trying to intimidate people with her bad English, really Joowon and his entire eccentric existence… I love.

      • 75.6.1 sunandmoon

        And then there was the satire of the Korean music industry via Oska. Oska’s outrageous styling and dance moves when he was trying to be the idol oppa are forever seared in my memory.

        So yes, SG wasn’t perfect, but it had a lot going on. Some of it didn’t work, but a whole lot of it did, and personally I’d rather have a jumbled, quirky extravaganza of romcom brilliance than one that plays it safe and doesn’t have easily definable flaws because it never exposes itself to vulnerability.

      • 75.6.2 addicted to SG

        I agree with you….it’s a very smart kdrama with plenty of satirical storytelling…
        that’s why I love this drama… (aside from Hyun Bin Factor :p)
        It’s quirky and unusual
        Take the main lead…
        Thank god he is not a perfect and boring man..
        I love KJW to death….
        I don’t find him hard to love at all…
        I would like to be loved like that….. ;p

        In addition to that, in my opinion I think this is the closest kdrama that feels like a manga/manhwa….(I have to throw this in..I’m a big manga/manhwa reader..he..he….he)

        This is the first kdrama that I totally obsessed with
        and I re-watch every episode….which I assure you…I’ve never done with any other kdrama even Kim Sam Soon.

        • tari

          second this, secret garden n mnkss is the two top kdrama for me now. make you wonder what happens when Kim Joo Won meets Kim Sam Soon..

      • 75.6.3 R

        I hope you can hear me clapping from here, Sunandmoon and Roswara. :)

        It’s funny how almost all detractors of this drama seem to be gathered here. It’s like the law of Groupthink in psychology: you’re sure 2+2 is 4, but everybody around you say it’s 5, including the teachers, and your certainty begins to falter.

        I for one have watched this show from a completely different angle. I don’t see it as a story about fated love, but as one of “fitting” into a world that is not yours. Hence the little mermaid, alice in wonderland (who is too big to enter and has to drink from the bottle), the body switch and all the little but poignant lines thought rather than spoken by the characters, RaIm in primis, about distance.

        Why did Joo Won fall in love with Ra Im and why did she fall for him? Because she is everything he is not, and he is everything she is not. She is physical, he is celebral; she is too humble, he is too conceited; she is brave, he is a coward; she has principle, he has money.
        No one falls in love because the object fits the bill, and this is what puzzles JooWon from the very beginning. He has been shouting it from the start: why am I obsessed by this woman? And this is, on final analysis, the big question: why do we fall in love with X and not Y?

        Their encounter is fated because they are just perfect complement for each other and, in fact, the trial they go through – including the body swap – will change them forever. Once the distance between them is shortened and each has learned from the other, they become the perfect match.
        The final episode and a glimpse on their life together enphasized this: they are accomplices, who understand each other with a glance. In this sense, the body switch is just a dramatic device, not the main theme of the plot.

        This is a love story I will remember for a very long time, unlike many others out there. Its pace, at times hectic, at times lingering and its emotional intensity fits my taste to a T.

        • roswara

          Ahhh….I love this word of yours…
          “Why did Joo Won fall in love with Ra Im and why did she fall for him? Because she is everything he is not, and he is everything she is not. She is physical, he is celebral; she is too humble, he is too conceited; she is brave, he is a coward; she has principle, he has money.
          No one falls in love because the object fits the bill….”
          But at the last episode, we can see clearly, eventhough they are still different, somehow they can work it out, and just like a real husband-wife, where as the time goes by, the husband can complete his wife’s sentence, and vice versa, I can see clearly in this series, the love-symbol on their marriage certificate sign, their shrug, and along their life, I can see they understand each other….ahh..marriage bliss…

    • 75.7 Sara

      couldn’t agree more….Secret Garden is just what I need and all the fantasy and stuff just add to the magic….love all the Secret Garden analysis in soompi… everything is just perfect for my taste and have seen my share of unlogical dramas and storyline to last me a lifetime

    • 75.8 jusash

      Though I think the body-switches (esp when coupled with the confusing dream-scene) turned out so redundant …. I also excused the device on the premise it was similar to adventures of Alice in Wonderland.

      If Alice in Wonderland wasn’t deliberate – why else this specific choice of book?

      Yes, SG completely jerked us around from tears to laughter, from sympathy to utter frustration at time … with its schizophrenic plot turns.

      But ultimately, when I look back at each episode, in each exasperating sequence of events …. the drama somehow managed to deliver an uplifting gem (or a few gems) thrown in to surprise us too. That is enough for me to sustain and forgive.

      While SG could be tighter and better … overall for me, it already stands ahead of many dramas in calibre. And I really enjoyed the entertaining dialogues in this show!

      Thank You for all the SG recaps, jb and gf!

  76. 76 lovedramas2

    Thanks GF and JB!!! I loved this drama overall. :) However, it doesn’t come without a lot of grips and things that coulda, shoulda been better, but nonethless, it entertained me all the way through and had me wanting to see what happened next. This is something that no other kdrama has done for me in awhile. It is one simple but oddly put together drama story so I’m not even going to try to make sense of it all. I’m just happy to be along for the ride. This one and BOF will always have a place in my heart — it helped me through sleepless nights after #1 was born and now #2. Call me crazy for saying that a story with a really crazy storyline was keeping me sane :)

    Off the rewatch the last 2 episodes. Btw – I did love Oska and Secretary Kim a lot. They really shone in their parts – I loved their rapport with Ra-Im and Joo-Won.

  77. 77 Kathy

    I am glad that I am not the only odd one that lost interest. I even don’t plan to watch the ep 19 and 20. Totally agreed with girlfriday’s insights and sad that secret garden not be a good show as it should. May be I am a romantic at heart. I rather watch Yoon Eun Hye’s latest TV series – My fair lady which I can feel her as a real person.

  78. 78 Raitei

    I never got really attached to Joo Won or Ra Im either, although Hyun Bin in ep17 just totally wrecked my heart. Hyun Bin! Hyun Bin! >.<

    But at least Sec. Kim is funny. Jung Hwan's gotta be my fave character in the series, but…Sec. Kim is just…too adorable for words! Too adorable, I say! 😀

    I think the last ep is okay. There's the happy ending and the sweet possibilities for all the characters. So, yeah, it's still a sweet fairy tale ending for everyone (okay, I guess except for Tae Sun)… ^^

  79. 79 Jenni

    I can understand how you lost some interest and wasn’t as dully satisfied with the drama, and I DO agree with you. It lacked some character development also, I would also to have liked to see more.

    But SOMEHOW, I just got hooked onto this drama from the beginning and watched it through the end. I’m not fully satisfied with the ending; but I’m just glad it ends happily and no one dies or any other tragic moments. Well er. This somehow ended up being one of my favorite dramas. :B Surprisingly. Overall, I unintentionally fell in love with it.

    I’m satisfied though, with Ha Ji Won’s and Hyun Bin’s acting. The chemistry was nice : )

    • 79.1 Jenni

      Fully* typo there

  80. 80 elle

    i totally agree that hyun bin and ha ji won’s excellent acting chops were what carried the drama (and all its plot and logic flaws).

    and it’s a grand shame that the body-swapping mojo wasn’t fully explored and wasn’t utilised to help propel the character development.

    still enjoyed watching it nonetheless i suppose!

  81. 81 crook

    Soooooo…… Son Ye Jin next up in a Kim Eun Sook drama? I think I’d die of happiness if that happened

  82. 82 Doraemon4ever

    What I love about the show is that it is unpredictable. I know many have said that it could have been this, it could have that, body swap this, body swap that. but seriously had the writer done that, we would be bored of the expected. True Joo Won has the worst mouth out of all the male lead I have seen, but I appreciate that he didn’t go soft just because he is so in love like many of the male leads in Kdrama. Seriously, no one will dramatically change in real life even if they are so in love.

    Ra-Im might be a badA$$ stuntwoman and seems strong when we first saw her in a few episodes. However, no one has one side. Despite her hardcore exterior, she is still a girl who has lost her dad at young age. I would have been crying my butt off, too if I was in her shoes. Living on her own for many years and finally being loved by someone, it is natural that one will soften’ up and show the emotional side. She might stand up to Joo Won’s mom like we wish she would. But according to asian tradition, you have to somewhat respect the elders. I think she has done a great job of standing up to her without fully disrespecting her. After all she always gave into Joo Won despite his mom’s warning until Joo Won’s mom declared to destroy her own son. Even then her reaction is totally understandable. After all who would want to see someone you love, get destroyed.

    Joo Won’s mom character serves the story right. As a man of his status, it is only true that his family would be the way they are. It has always been like that throughout the human history. I would have not appreciated the drama as much, should the mom all of a sudden become understanding or should she be totally loving and caring. That is not how people of that status would react.

    The ending was in my opinion also fulfilling. There have been so many great dramas where you watch it in agony due to out of nowhere conflict until the last 10 minutes, then all the trouble is solved. The leads kissed and laughed and THE END. That left me wonder how would they act now that they finally got to be together?! SG gave you that glimpse into their life as a couple which I really love! You get to see how they interact with each other and their life has turned out 5 years down the road. And the best of all, THEY DIDN’T HAVE THAT OOOH WWOOW wedding! Tell me that it is not a good writing. The writer stayed true to the characters even whether they should have a wedding or not. I could have not imagine Joo Won being a wedding type of person and definitely not Ra-Im who didn’t care much about materialistic superficial things, but the actual content within. The way they got married was so sincere and perfect: you don’t need an expensive ring and a wedding to define the strength of your love which I think is beautiful.

    All in all I absolutely love this drama.

    • 82.1 sophie

      You just explained very well how I was viewing the characters and the ending of the series!

    • 82.2 Jenni

      This would make such a persuasive essay to all the dislikes out there XD <3
      I enjoyed reading this

    • 82.3 roswara

      You took the words out of my mouth…

      Lol….previous comments keep commenting about the purpose of the switch…

      But you give some highlights about the ending…I love that.. I also very very like the ending. It’s not cheeeessyyy in my opinion. I also can’t imagine JooWon being the type of huge wedding, etc, etc.

      Just like you, I like it that the writer doesn’t force so much changes into the characters. Change what needs to be changed, and leave the rest intact….Lol…

      Besides that, if JooWon turns to a cheesy man, I don’t think RaIm can put up with him. Lol, because it’s JooWon’s charm to be such a snob, and straight-to-the-point guy.

      • 82.3.1 asianromance

        And the cheesy version of JW would have been Oska.

        I’m also glad that JW stayed true to form. After all that is the JW Ra-Im fell in love with. True Love may cure a few bad habits like smoking or not closing the bathroom door when you poop but it doesn’t cure bad personality traits! you just learn to love ’em or leave ’em.

    • 82.4 geanna

      totally agree & very well said! i’m glad someone share the same thought as i am :)

    • 82.5 jodasg

      Well said!

    • 82.6 AcrobaticUrchin

      Your explanation of Ra Im’s character is very nicely put. Although this is a very bad way of putting it, it’s like when a small child hurts themselves and doesn’t start crying until their parent becomes sympathetic. People can be strong, but once they’re being pursued or someone is trying to make an emotional connection with them on some level, their character can change a lot.

    • 82.7 Babyboomer

      Absolutely! Could not agree more and well put.

      Maybe I have eaten more rice! The last scene gave a glimpse of genuine contented married life. We take our spouses with the gems and warts and all the in between.

      We grow old together with our kids and extended family. We laugh, cry, quarrel, argue and make up . . . its part of the marriage contract and life in general. Give and take agree to disagree yet love each other for oursleves and NOT somebody else in our imagination. If there is anything I have learnt in marriage – is that one does NOT change the other person. Through Love we are willing to show our innermost being with the other person and change ourselves for the better of our other half and family.

      In SG, we joined the lead and the other couples in their journey of finding the right one for themselves. The diamonds with the coal! Lest we forget coal with much pressure, fire and in time become daimonds!

      Personally have thoroughly enjoyed SG yet understand the controversy that it has also brought about with certain scenes as it opened Real wounds for some people.

      Remember reading somewhere that . . .

      While reading the comments on the controversial episode -I could not help but remember the picture of the old lady / young lady . . . Who do you see? For myself, always see both but only one at a time even in succession.

      – – Every coin has 2 sides and May we live and let live and forgive along the way.

      • 82.7.1 ghaylet

        couldn’t agree more…

  83. 83 cph

    Thanks for the recaps, it adds a lot to my drama viewing experience, and adds another perspective for me to think of ^^
    I wish the writing would have been better, or maybe the script thought thoroughly before making the drama… but still, the cuteness was good enough to make SG viewable~

  84. 84 asianromance

    thank you girlfriday, javabeans, and the commenters here for making Secret Garden even more enjoyable! Secretary Kim, I’m going to miss you so much!!

    This extended epilogue of an episode definitely made it apparent that the writer ran out of steam and time. Tons of fanservice (I gobbled it all up so I can’t complain too much) and not much substance. Even the ending is really reminiscent of City Hall. However I do think the ending does a good job of explaining why JW was really drawn to RI from the first episode. Subconsciously, he recognized her.

    I’m glad Ra-Im has stuck with her career. I was afraid that JW will really get her to quit! And is anyone disturbed at how RI is voluntarily wearing that sparkly tracksuit? RI, you have to be the NORMAL parent!!! And whatever happened to JW’s sister?!! did the actress get sick or quit? Having Son Ye Jin cameo is not going to distract me from this question!

    I thought the part where JW’s mom still didn’t accept RI and JW was a good touch to keep the episode from being too saccharine. In kdramas, you hear about the hero/heroine’s parents who married against THEIR parents wishes and now don’t have contact with the grandparents, but when it concerns the actual hero/heroine, the parents tend to give in by the last episode.

    This drama could have been almost perfect even with all its flaws. BUT the fantasy element’s logic- or lack thereof- is just too much to take (couldn’t get through the dream scene in episode 19 with fast-forwarding). The more I think abt it, the more I become obsessed with it. How could the writer not plan that out logically? Was the body swap just a gimmick to stand out? Can’t help but draw comparisons to MGIAG and find SG really lacking in making the fantasy element work. Also sad that HJW had to take take a step back with this role and let Hyun-bin do all the sparkling. (Parents watching Hwang Jini right now, so I’m a bit bitter that she had to take the backseat here..though I love Hyun-bin too and can’t imagine anyone doing a better job than he did in his role as JW)

    Anyways, I thank this drama for being so cracktastic, especially during the first 13 episodes. I’ve watched a fair amount of dramas and to be honest, even the really good ones tend to fade in my memory. However, I can see Secret Garden as being one of the more memorable ones! There are just too many awesome lines and moments. And omg, socks with YSH’s face on them!!! And I love not hating the secondary characters. I needed that break away from the poor sap secondary male leads and bitchy, obsessed secondary female leads.

    • 84.1 Doraemon4ever

      LOL I actually it was cute that she decided to wear that matching tracksuit. That’s what people in love do. Shoot, as manly and anti metro as my husband is, he would let me put make-up on his face for fun or he would do things for me just because he knows I would get a good laugh out of it. As big as his masculine ego is, he would never ever show this side to anyone except for me and our kids. With that being said, it is totally normal for her to wear that ridiculous suit. :)

      • 84.1.1 twylah

        that’s so sweet.

  85. 85 tari

    I can’t help but smile at JB’s comment on ep 19 recap “WE GET IT. Mom no likey the girlfriends..” maybe it is not as dramatic as lets say the conflict in You’re Beautiful, but it is very dramatic even horrific when it happens in real life. Love the scene when they put the kids in bed and the fact that Raim still has her career as a stuntwoman, can’t help but picturing Joo Won goes crazy every time she hasn’t home, and it sounds boring but it is the hardest thing to do in relationship to love someone and not trying to tweak them to meet your comfort zone. I like that they have these every day problems and dress it up with the whole magic thing, its not perfect, me also went “what?” with the whole amnesia thing. I guess the writer wants to say finding love is magical let alone to have the chance to live your life with the person. It’s cheesy but most of the days we take it for granted. By the end of episode 20, I look at my hubby differently, “yes you may take that scholarship, go abroad two years without me, be happy, do your thing”

    One more thing, a realization hits me while SG is nestling to its end, over the years I keep wondering why I keep watching kdrama despite its cliché and politically incorrectness sometimes. Oh my, I’ve been waiting for Kim Joo-Won!! Simply love love love that imperfect perfect specimen, don’t go change on me KJW, Freud said we can’t btw. So now there he is as another permanent resident in my heart along with Sidney Carton and George Emerson. Joo-Won earns his place for showing that a lack of ‘fashion’ is not necessarily a lack of sincerity. So dearbye you-lovely-stark-staring-sparkling-suit.

  86. 86 Moozy

    First thing first – thank you JB & GF for the recaps!!! Without both of you I’d be lost..

    My take on this finale. I felt it lost some of its steam. I X know why but it feels that way. Maybe it felt a bit uneven and choppy at some stretch. Episode 19 and 18 are my fave episodes.

    I will mmiiiiissssss Hyun Bin!!!! Next week is the special edition thingy right? Hope it will be good to us SG fans. Farewell Secretary Kim & AhYoung, Oscar & Seul and foremost Joowon & RaIm.

  87. 87 AuntieMame

    Actually, the flashback to the funeral scene is not 13 yrs ago, but, 18 years ago. It was 13 yrs between the death of Ri’s father and her meeting JW. And, now, it’s been 5 years since they married.

    I agree that the RI character needed to be developed much more. I would have liked to know a bit about what happened after her father died and the impetus for her to become a stunt woman. At one point, I had thought that she wanted to be a stunt woman, in the hopes of having a fatal accident. Thereby, in her own way, dying in the line of duty.

    And, I find it odd that JW’s mother will honor RI’s father every year on his death anniversary. But, it doesn’t seem that she was beholden enough to take care of the orphan child of her son’s savior.

    Just imagine how different things could have been if she had financed Ri’s education or employed RI at one of their companies.

    Even with all its flaws, it was still a very enjoyable drama. Mainly because of the cast. (The only one that I never want to see again is JW’s mother. Oy. Her channeling Audrey Hepburn’s fashion style was too much.)

    Thank you to JB and GF for the fun recaps and insightful comments, as always.

    • 87.1 asianromance

      “At one point, I had thought that she wanted to be a stunt woman, in the hopes of having a fatal accident.” –> I totally thought this too back when JW was in RI’s body and noticed all the scars! After all didn’t JW mention she had sad eyes. his would have been a really interesting direction for the writer to have gone. it would have given a good reason for RI’s dad wanting the body swap- maybe to cure his daughter of a psychological sickness too that could lead her to death.

      Too bad Joo-won-mania took off (I’m guilty of loving Joo-won too!) and all the focus was on Joo-won

      • 87.1.1 AuntieMame

        I do wonder if the writer changed the direction of the drama. Perhaps, she had originally intended using psychological defects as a common issue amongst all the major characters; with JH being their Psychiatrist.

        I had even shared my diagnosis of each character with my friends.

        JW = bipolar
        Oska = schizo
        JS = introverted; fear of rejection
        RI = functionally depressed

        JW’s mother = delusions of grandeur
        Oska’s mother = fear of aging (She’s beginning to look younger than her son.)
        And, both mothers fear abandonment by their respective sons.

        Grandfather = obsessed with finding the perfect love


        • twylah

          LOL. It would have been interesting to watch that.

    • 87.2 d-addict

      “Just imagine how different things could have been if she had financed Ri’s education or employed RI at one of their companies.”

      Maybe JW’s mom saw them together in RI’s dad’s resting place and foresaw some horrific future of her son falling for his ‘adopted’ sister. So she cut ties.

  88. 88 Ace

    Thank you for patiently recapping Secret Garden.

    I think I liked episode 19 more, but I’m waiting for the subbed episode to decide. Some things I liked in this episode:

    – finding out that Secretary Kang was on joo-won & Ra-im’s side
    – Joo-won to Ra-im: I am going to be your husband…because I can only love you…
    – JW & RI’s heart signatures & their subsequent identical shrugs
    – JW while being chased by RI (after she reads his version of the LM’s ending): “When a man is trying to woo a girl, what is there he wouldn’t say?” (true, Joo-won. so true)
    – JW’s mom really looks pretty without much make-up on and with her hair down
    – RI in the yellow hooded sweater, so cute that she’s so sleepy and JW tells her to say “ah” so he can pour the drink in her mouth
    – the reverse sit-up where JW tries to kiss RI and the SPARKLY COUPLE TRACKSUITS
    – Secretary Kim taking a picture of JW & RI kissing in the elevator
    – Oska’s proposal to Seul (even though he’s wearing that leopard print bathrobe then adds on a bow tie)
    – message in a bottle, the cute couple Sec Kim & Ah-young by the Han River
    – Son Ye-jin so very, very, very pretty
    – JW & RI walking together after putting the kids to bed
    – the final scene =)

    I’ll miss Hyun Bin. I’ll miss Joo-won, Ra-im, Sec Kim, Ah-young, Jong-soo, Seul, & Oska. What would I now do during the weekends? 😉

  89. 89 makadoto

    my favorite kdrama everrrrrrrrrrr….oh..iam gonna miss joowon and Raim

  90. 90 kc

    this drama is a disappointment

    • 90.1 lala

      agreed. nothing special. it was so bland. and I hated both characters! extremely superficial and empty

      • 90.1.1 sunandmoon

        Honestly curious. What romcoms do you like that you consider deep and meaningful?

        • crazedlu

          gumiho, for one.

      • 90.1.2 mimosa

        you are not serious, right ? oh, you ARE serious ! Mian.

        Well, different strokes for different blokes i guess.

        • mimosa

          sorry, i mean to addresss Lala. Still could not get over that there are some who find SG

          1 nothing special

          2 bland

          3 extremely superficial and empty

          4 both Juwon and Raim are hateful characters

          Well…. one man’s meat is another’s poison.

  91. 91 typicrobots

    I am so bitter Jong-soo didn’t end up with Joo-won’s younger sister. They had two great scenes together and then we never saw her again, not even when her brother was in and out of the hospital. I kept side-eyeing Sohn Ye-jin like she was going to turn into the sister at some point, because according to drama-logic you can’t have flirting scenes like that and then never follow through! What was the point of them?

    I agree that this drama was such a mish-mash of things, especially towards the end, but I always loved watching it even if I wasn’t obsessed with it like I was in the beginning. I think after ep 10 I realized this drama wasn’t going to be an example of genius storytelling, so I just enjoyed it for what it was – crack fun. I will miss the characters but I’m also glad I can move onto other shows; dramas always know how to emotionally exhaust at just the right moment.

    • 91.1 asianromance

      I’m also disappointed that there was no follow through with Jong-soo and JW’s sister. The groundwork was there! they’re breaking drama-logic! She just disappeared and never came back- *drumroll please* like bubbles. oddest thing! even when JW was at the hospital.

    • 91.2 Katey B

      Totally with you re: Joo-won’s sister.

  92. 92 nara

    good work ..thanks JB and GF….

  93. 93 Birdie

    A big thank you to JB and GF. You both have an incredible way of expressing yourselves which I can never match. I haven’t seen any good finale these days. The leads characters are not likable. I am not sure why we spent hours watching an arrogant rich guy bullying his way into a poor girl’s heart.Every episode I was hoping for more depth,which I did not get. Yes, the drama was enjoyable to watch in some ways, but let’s not glorify it.

  94. 94 lala


    • 94.1 jaykay

      no, i agree on some level. i dont think she can measure up to hyun-bin’s level but shes lvoed because of how naturally gorgeous she is.
      i liked her.

      • 94.1.1 lala

        I think she’s ugly. Don’t get it. So I always thought she was a great actress or something. She’s always acting with hot guys. But it’s her looks that get her the roles….??
        My honest opinion.

        • jfc

          So she’s ugly but the only reason she gets good parts and acts with hot guys is because of her looks? Somethings defy logic….

          She’s beautiful and a great actress. There isn’t another actress I can think of who does action as well as her.

        • A

          you should see her in
          hwang jin yi or damo,
          when she was the main character

          She IS an amazing, incredibly talented, and hard working actress, really.

          I personally think it was the makeup (or lack of), lack of sleep, the hair, and the outfits that made her look somewhat plain. If you search up videos or pictures of her in real life, she’s gorgeous! :)

    • 94.2 geanna

      i think so? :)

    • 94.3 geanna

      hmm… seems u r not alone haha… but imo she’s a great actress (in Bali and Hwang Ji Ni) and i can connect with her character in SG… i cried when she cried, laughed when she laughed, felt hurt when her expression seems hurtful… that’s a sign she’s a great actress to me… :)

    • 94.4 Endon

      HJW is an amazing actress. The fact you think she’s a bad actress means that she completely distracted you from the fact that GRI was a sub-par character. There wasn’t much in SG that she could work with, if you think about it. While JW was a jerk, he was an interesting character and between him and Oska, they had the best lines in the show. All HJW had to do as GRI was walk beside JW silently and cry on cue.

      Watch some of her other dramas – Hwang Jini or Damo. She’s an amazing actress.

    • 94.5 crazedlu

      yunno, i never thought she was too good either. hyun bin definitely carried this.

      • 94.5.1 mimosa

        Did a check with a handful of male. All unanimously declared Ha Jiwon has the X factor….. that elusive magnetic allure, rather understated but nevertheless it’s there. They couldn’t get enuf of her !! Way to go, HJW !

        • Sukispop

          You can count me in as another guy who will state without reservations that Ha Ji-won definitely has the “X” factor goin’ on. She’s a highly skilled actress who always puts her heart into her roles, she has a natural beauty that transcends all those made up glam queens around her, and she is mesmerizing when she’s doing her various fight scenes choreography. She has one of the most athletic physiques of any Asian actress that I’ve seen. And when she’s in front of the camera, it’s hard to take your eyes off her.

          • mimosa

            Mmmm……looks like she’s got you !! heheh. Agreeeed with what you’ve just wrote about this gorgeous one, altho am not a guy !

            Btw, imo, this RI role will be totally trashed if they have some obviously pretty pie doing it. I liked that RI here has minimal make-up and those athletic physique and short, unfussy hair.

    • 94.6 bd2

      HJW is more cute than beautiful, but the writer certainly didn’t help her out here.

      As for her acting in SG, it says something when Kim Tae Hee’s crying scene in “My Princess” was more believable/emotional than HJW’s crying scenes in SG.

  95. 95 jaykay

    what i don’t understand is how he ended up falling asleep next to her at the funeral and yet they didnt know eachother or recognize eachother at all when they “first” met.

    • 95.1 izzie

      When Joo-Won forgot about the accident, Ra-Im was part of that “package” of memories that he sent to his brain’s recycle bin. Ra-Im didn’t recognize him because when they first met, she never laid eyes on him – he didn’t enter the funeral room when she was awake and crying, and when he did she was already asleep. Joo-Won was probably taken out of the room (by his mother’s goons?) before Ra-Im woke up.

    • 95.2 buhdoop

      I think he just passed out and his loss of memory kept him from remembering it.

      In the elevator scene the Dad said JW would faint when he saw his daughter and during the very last scene he actually did faint when he saw her up close. I LOVE THAT

  96. 96 lala

    I swear to god people only liked this drama because of Hyun Bin. The man could do a 10 hour bollywood movie and people would love it.

    • 96.1 jaykay

      of course, because he’s THAT great of an actor. thats why i fell in love with this drama, not really for ha ji won or for oska but for HYUN BIN. he stole my heart and i love how amazingly right on he was fr the role of joo-wan.
      and top of that, the man can sing! good lord.

    • 96.2 ni

      i beg to differ. i couldnt stand Snow Queen 😀 i tried, but just couldn’t.

      • 96.2.1 Shin mi rAe

        I agree. I tried Snow Queen too. I quit after episode 6. And that was after Kim Sam Soon and my love for Binnie knows no boundaries. He was also very good in SQ. His role was so different from KSS. But I couldn’t understand the story, the characters and all the crying.

        But maybe I will take it on again after hyun bin goes to military.. Missing Binnie might drive me to do the unthinkable.

  97. 97 jaykay

    one of the best dramas i’ve seen in years. maybe im just hyun-bin biased but i thought he did an AMAZING job of protraying joo-wan and he was so incredibily cute.

    i loved the little citty, funny comments through out this whole drama and when they put the kids to bed and she was like “i dont like you”, it was cute. gahh, i love this drama. it was my obbsession for a few weeks.

    i espeically love how they didnt have like 1 kiss scene, they had cute little ones and i love that! i love how joo-wan cant seem to keep his hands off ra-im.

    hyun-bin, i’ll miss you SO MUCHH, come back soon from the marines.

  98. 98 seprienna

    i do agree that this drama has its flaws,but if i’ve to compare all the k-drama that was aired during 2010, SG is still top of my list.
    from the emotional RI to comedic JW, it will remains in my fav character from k-drama for a long time.
    thanks JB & GF for recapping this series.

  99. 99 jodasg

    This show gives me a warm, fuzzy feeling. Some stuff in the show might be illogical (hey, this is kdrama!) but overall, all are well written. There is no meanie in the show (mum is not really a meanie, she is mild compared to some other kdrama mums) which I like cos I am sick of seeing meanie all the time, witty dialogue, great acting (eps Hyun Bin) by the cast, nice OST & beautiful scenery. I am gonna catch this drama again in HD mode just for those scenes cos it is really beautiful.

  100. 100 Zuwa

    Yep…It didn’t rock my world too…Good job tho~

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