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My Name Is Kim Sam Soon: Episode 16 (Final)

In a heart-wrenching turn of events that I totally did not see coming, Jin Heon did not come back. He didn’t come back! Against her better judgment, Sam Soon allowed Jin Heon to take Hee Jin back to America. Jin Heon hugged Sam Soon and promised to come back, but then nothing – he did not return. And now, for part 2 of the finale. It is with equal parts love and trepidation that we turn eyes back to Sam Soon. She’s going to make it, isn’t she?

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Episode 16 – Love Like You’ve Never Been Hurt Before

Maddeningly, Episode 16 opens with the mundane – a daily scene of Bon Appetit hard at work. It’s a single long take, with a lone tracking camera following members of the Bon Appetit staff as they move through the restaurant. None of the main characters are here, however. The implicit lesson appears to be that life continues to move regardless of whether we are there. Here, the camera follows the Kitchen Assistant Ki Bang, who creeps up on the Assistant Pâtissier In Hye and surprise-kisses her on the lips in the bathroom before running away. In Hye is first horrified and then extremely pissed as her romantic “first kiss” dreams have gone up in smoke. This too seems like a lesson. Sometimes, the dreamy fantasy kiss doesn’t comes true and instead you get a hairy Ki Bang ambush-kissing you in a restaurant bathroom.

While In Hye seems to be headed toward therapy, cute little Mi Joo has likely graduated from therapy and is back to her old self. She talking (a lot) and Mi Joo’s grandmother, Chairwoman Na, could not be happier. But then Mi Joo asks about Jin Heon, and when he is returning to Korea. Time seems to have passed, and Jin Heon has still not come back.

And in still more news, the catatonic assistant to Chairwoman Na, Assistant Yoon, is quitting after decades of service. Without warning, she lays off her resignation to her boss. She’s gone in a week, to see the world. It’s odd, but then again, it’s not really that odd. Everybody must live and keep on living, if not for others then for yourself.

Finally, we get to see what Sam Soon has been up to. In another voice-over, we learn that Jin Heon hasn’t called or written in two months. But Sam Soon is her own person and has continued to grow. Her piano ability seems to have improved ten-fold, and now Sam Soon can play the Elvis song “Can’t Help Falling In Love” without sheet music. Maybe this is Sam Soon’s anthem song – a person with such a heart that can absorb the pain and yet still thump and throb when love passes by.

And aside from the piano playing, Sam Soon goes about her life and her living. She goes from store to store, picking up sundries for her pastry shop and scouting the wares.

Sam Soon (VOICE-OVER): I thought I understood how hard it is for one person to understand another. I knew I was just kidding myself to think that I could understand that man, but this is beyond even that. Then again, since I don’t really know myself that well, how can I understand others?

Am I still waiting for him, have I given up on him – I don’t even know the answer.

Following the shopping, Sam Soon is waiting at the bus stop, her bus not yet arriving. She puts down her sundries and notices a billboard on the side of her bus stop booth.

Love, like you’ve never been hurt before – Alfred D. Souza
Dance, as though no one is watching
Love, as though you’ve never been hurt before
Sing, as though nobody else is listening
Work, as though you didn’t need the money
Live, as though today is the last day of your life
.

It’s enough to bring one to tears. For Sam Soon, hadn’t this been her life principle?  What is the result of all of the tears, the embarrassment, the sleepless nights and the waiting?  She is standing at a bus stop, alone, having been burned yet again, and this time by the person she thought would be her last chance at love. This has been Sam Soon’s deepest fear, that she would end up alone just like this, for the rest of her life.

Sam Soon: And sincerely, I wanted this to be true. To love as though I’ve never been hurt before. But in the end, it’s not like that. I want to change the sentence to read, ‘if you don’t want to get hurt, then don’t fall in love.’

Would this really be Sam Soon’s ending? No, I refuse to believe that. The essence of Sam Soon is that she holds her heart in her hands, waiting for love to fill it. If she withdraws her heart, then where can love go? What would Sam Soon be, if she gives up on love?

At that moment, a voice calls out to her, “Kim Sam Soon?” OMG! IT’S GOOD LOOKING BLIND DATE GUY! I love that guy! What are the odds! Oh, relief! Good Looking Blind Date Guy has a new ‘do and looks a little thinner, but other than that, he hasn’t changed or aged a day. Plus, he notices Sam Soon’s tears and immediately his face turns to worry. Good looking AND empathetic! Things are looking up! YAY!

And of course, Yi Young feels happy for Sam Soon too. Sam Soon is doing prep work at her pastry shop, and Yi Young is on the computer. Yi Young jumps up at the news and asks if Sam Soon rejected Good Looking Blind Date Guy. A noncommital Sam Soon says no, they have a movie date planned for this weekend. Yi Young congratulates Sam Soon, but Sam Soon is less than enthusiastic. Methinks she’s still hung up on he who shall not be named.

If only their pastry business were going well. Sam Soon blames the name of their shop – she was in favor of naming it Momo. They’ve been open for more than a month and not a single online order yet. But then suddenly, “ka-ching!” goes Yi Young’s laptop. It looks like an order for a honey cake!

Sam Soon and Yi Young go bonkers, and we get a shot of the outside of the shop. The name of the shop is Patissier Samsooni – still her name, but the way it is written in Korean has now changed to 삼수니 (Sam Soo Ni). Her name sounds the same if you say it quickly, but the meaning is now far and away different from before.

It’s date time! Good Looking Blind Date Guy drives up and gets out. Sam Soon is all dolled up and she looks good too. He asks Sam Soon what she wants to do, and Sam Soon has no answer really. Good Looking Blind Date Guy notes that he has movie tickets. Hmm, a little light on the excitement side, isn’t he? But, you know what? That’s okay. Not every guy has to be a barrel of snarky monkeys, right?

At least he’s not going to hurt her like that good for nothing Sam Shi-

HOLY SHIK! Speak of the devil. Good Looking Blind Date Guy stops short as a man blocks the road. It’s SAM SHIK! I mean, the cynics among you are probably like, “Yeah, he had to come back – it was unresolved, he’s a main character and this is the last episode” but seriously, this is a shock.

At least Sam Soon is shocked. And Good Looking Blind Date Guy is REALLY shocked. He cannot believe his bad luck. I mean, this guy probably woke up that morning, thought happily to himself, “It’s fate. After all this time and two extremely odd failed meetings, I get to go on a real date with Kim Sam Soon!” He would have bet his car that there would be no chance whatsoever that Sam Soon’s ex-boss would show up A THIRD TIME and ruin the date.

Jin Heon walks around to the passenger side and tells Sam Soon to get out of the car. But Sam Soon claims she doesn’t know this person. Then she tells her date to keep driving. The car drives off, leaving Jin Heon wondering what happened.

Sam Soon and her date are at the movies, and Sam Soon is staring off into space. But a flashlight shines in her face, and it’s Jin Heon again. He tells Sam Soon to leave, but this time Good Looking Blind Date Guy stands up in the movie theater and tells Jin Heon to leave – this woman doesn’t like you. But Jin Heon won’t leave. This is so unfair to Good Looking But Too Mild Mannered Blind Date Guy. To stop this pointless bickering, Sam Soon stands up. She bows and apologies to her really pissed date, who has now been torpedoed three times by Jin Heon. Poor guy!

Jin Heon thinks that everything is now back to normal, but Sam Soon doesn’t. She’s done with Jin Heon. Jin Heon tries to ask what’s gotten into her, but Sam Soon won’t listen. Not this time.

Sam Soon walks up the long hill to her house, and Jin Heon is there again. Sam Soon tucks her hands behind her back to quickly take off her couple ring (wow! she was still wearing it!). Jin Heon gets on his knees to apologize, but Sam Soon doesn’t accept his apology. Sam Soon gives Jin Heon an earful, telling him that it wasn’t just Sam Soon who felt betrayed, but her mom and sister too. Her mom, who wondered whether Jin Heon got into an accident, and prayed at the temple daily until they learned that Jin Heon’s family got a postcard. And even then, Sam Soon’s mom was more relieved that angry, since that meant that Jin Heon wasn’t hurt. And her sister, who always claimed she didn’t like Jin Heon but secretly wished for Sam Soon and him to be together. Jin Heon betrayed all of them.

Jin Heon has no words in response. And when Sam Soon goes inside, Jin Heon tries to reason with Sam Soon’s mom, but Sam Soon’s mom throws salt in his face and tells him to take back the dog that he had given as a gift. Jin Heon has no idea why Sam Soon and her family are acting this way – didn’t they get his postcards? Sam Soon doesn’t even laugh, she’s so angry at the lame excuse. But at the mention of the postcards, there’s hope that what Jin Heon said is true. What happened to the postcards?

That evening, Jin Heon is still camped out in front of Sam Soon’s house, together with the dog. From Jin Heon’s point of view, the (over)reaction by Sam Soon and Sam Soon’s mom just needs some time to be whittled down. Jin Heon doesn’t realize what has happened, but his decision to stay put within earshot until he is forgiven is both fortuitous and cultural (perhaps a more extreme version can be seen in Episode 21 of Goong (궁) when Princess Chae-Kyung messes up and goes on her knees near the throne room until the King forgives her – her formal action was called Seok-Go-Dae-Jwoe – 석고대죄). While Jin Heon may not be able to do Seok-Go-Dae-Jwoe, he’s not going to give up until he finds out what happened.

Luckily for him then, the missing box of postcards finally arrives at Sam Soon’s house that very night. It had been sent to the wrong address, and finally after weeks and weeks, someone delivered it. Sam Soon spends all evening reading all of the postcards that Jin Heon sent. I knew it, btw. I always liked Jin Heon better than Boring Blind Date Guy.

Sam Soon heads outside and brings Jin Heon in. Jin Heon finds himself in a similar suplicative position to the last time he was there. The postcards show that he had true intentions, but don’t explain why he took 2 months to do it. Jin Heon explains – since he has been in need of a greater understanding of the world, he set out to visit as many different hotels as he could, learning as he went. He didn’t call because he wanted to make sure that he finished what he set out to do – become a person who can provide for Sam Soon.

Sam Soon’s mom doesn’t quite look convinced, so Jin Heon asks if they should go back to the noh-reh-bang – LOL! That brings a cackle out of Yi Young and even Sam Soon’s mom can’t quite hold back her smirk. All seems to be forgiven! I would squee but I’m a wary of yet another set-back, even in this last episode. Can’t be too careful, especially with k-dramas.

Like Jin Heon, Chef Lee is ruined for other women. He’s got Yi Young on his mind, and not even “no no no no you’re a drag no no no no no no no no no no no no” seems to get him to reconsider. He calls Yi Young out again, but Yi Young keeps treating him like a stranger. Yi Young seems to just want him for the occasional tickle in the hay but nothing more, and won’t even consider using less formal language when speaking privately with him. That’s pretty harsh, but Yi Young has been pretty up front about everything. She likes her fun and doesn’t want the commitment of marriage or the potential consequences of a “let’s just live together” kind of dealio.

Chef Lee stalks Yi Young and zeroes in on her home. If Yi Young won’t see reason, maybe Yi Young’s mom will listen. Yi Young stops any further conversation between Chef Lee and her mom, however, ruining Chef Lee’s plan. Yi Young brings out Samsooki pig and shoves it into Chef Lee’s chest. Nice try trying to win me with this kid’s toy, Yi Young sniffs, and then waltzes back inside. An exasperated Chef Lee then scolds Samsooki, saying “You had TWO months to do your thing, what the heck have you been doing?!?!” Hehe!

Jin Heon has borrowed Sam Soon for the night and they are snuggling under the covers. Sam Soon shows her empty ring finger to Jin Heon but then shows the ring, explaining that she took it off because she had such anger toward him (but still kept the ring since she still loved him). Jin Heon flips the covers over their heads and there’s a giggle and some other kind of noises- but then Sam Soon reappears. Jin Heon hasn’t said he loves her! Jin Heon appears to have a mental block about saying things like that- he’s never said it to anyone. In response, Sam Soon literally squeezes it out of him. Hehe!

They go back under the covers, but a new problem appears: no thingamabob. Sam Soon doesn’t want to be preggers in a wedding dress, so she kicks Jin Heon out of the bed to go get pack of thingambabobs.Jin Heon tries one drugstore, but the shelf is empty. He asks the clerk if they have any, you know. The clerk has no clue, and inquires as to the function of the thing that Jin Heon is searching. Hehe! Jin Heon leaves, not wanting to be seen as a perv. A second store is closed. Jeez! The third place, he gets beaten to the snatch by another customer.

Meanwhile, Sam Soon is all hot and bothered and waiting, but Jin Heon is striking out all over town. But then Sam Soon gets a call on the phone and surprise surprise, it’s… Hee Jin? Hee Jin is calling from America, to say thank you for the jook, and letting Jin Heon go to America with her.

It’s an odd conversation, and finally Sam Soon just comes right out and says it.

Sam Soon: You know, um, I hope that you won’t call me any more in the future. I’m not actually glad to hear from you.
Hee Jin (the slightest of pauses): I feel the same way as you. There won’t be a reason for me to call you again. Nor to meet you again.

Interesting. Hee Jin didn’t have to call to thank Sam Soon for the jook and for allowing Jin Heon to go to America. It was unnecessary. But I do think Hee Jin called to thank Sam Soon for helping Hee Jin to become reborn again, to be able to live again. And it looks like, Hee Jin will be able to do that, with her new beau Henry. Henry has done what he said he would do, which is stick by her no matter what.

So grats to Dr. Henry for sticking with it and getting his woman, and a second grats to Dr. Henry for getting accepted into the Doctors Without Borders program (is there anything this guy doesn’t do)!

In one of the days that follow, Sam Soon and Jin Heon finally have their formal meeting with the elders of the Hyun family, including the patriarch, Jin Heon’s uncle. Jin Heon’s uncle is funny and adorable (a scene stealer, the criminally underused Kim Seong Kyeom). And despite Sam Soon’s age, lack of education, family wealth or background, Jin Heon’s uncle is far too human to let those things stand in the way of love. Since Jin Heon’s uncle is the oldest, Jin Heon’s mom has to keep her trap shut as Sam Soon graciously and confidently answers every question.

Still, Jin Heon’s mom tries to stop this before it gets any further by asking to see Jin Heon in the kitchen. Jin Heon’s mom tells Jin Heon that Sam Soon just won’t do. But Jin Heon is ready for that and offers a deal – him working at the family hotel in exchange for his mom’s blessing on marriage to Sam Soon. Jin Heon’s mom scoffs at that, so Jin Heon brings out his “but she’s preggers” card again. But this time, Jin Heon’s wily mom says, fine, then tomorrow let’s just visit a personal friend I like to call Dr. Oh Bee Gee Why En.

A frantic Jin Heon literally drags Sam Soon to his apartment for DEFCON 5 emergency unprotected sex, because Sam Soon has to get preggers like right now – their marriage might depend on it! Sam Soon protests though, she wants to be thin for her wedding but Jin Heon drags her into bed anyway. Hehe!

Hours later, both Jin Heon and Sam Soon are lying in bed exhausted – both with tissue paper stuffed up their nose to stop their respective nose bleeds. Now, k-dramas often depict nose-bleeds as being the result of extreme efforts to study (i.e., see Kim Myung Min as the gangster Oh Dal Gun in the last episode of Bad Family, trying to pass his high school exams (interestingly, Sam Soon’s dad – the actor Maeng Bong Hak, plays Dal Gun’s high school teacher)). But seeing as they can’t leave things to chance, they flip the switch and study some more.

Late that night, Sam Soon wakes up to the noise of a Korea-Nigeria U-21 soccer game on television. Without disturbing Jin Heon, Sam Soon creeps out to the living room and finds her dad sitting there with a beer and anju (snackies). Sam Soon freaks out because her dad is just chilling watching television in another man’s house, and asks him what he’s doing here! Her dad tells her to relax, since this is just a dream. Sam Soon’s dad asks if she’s happy, and Sam Soon nods.

But all of a sudden, Sam Soon starts to weep again, very much like she did back at the outdoor restaurant when she thought she could not handle any more pain. Sam Soon’s dad immediately notices the change and asks her what’s wrong. Aren’t you happy?

Sam Soon: It’s just that things are going so well right now. I am so happy right now… but… I am so afraid that everything will just disappear.
Sam Soon’s Dad: Sam Soon ah.
Sam Soon (crying): What if everything goes away? Daddy, I’m so afraid.
Sam Soon’s Dad: You dummy. Getting hurt, not getting hurt, why are you worrying about things that might never happen?

Sam Soon’s Dad: My dearest third daughter has to live her life to the fullest, okay?
Sam Soon: Yes, Daddy.
Sam Soon’s Dad (holds up a fist): Hwaiting?
Sam Soon (wiping away her tears): Hwaiting! Hwaiting! Hwaiting!

After all that she has been through, Sam Soon has realized what a monumental climb she has left to attain her goals. What if she never gets married? What if Jin Heon’s heart changes again? What if her business fails? What if, what if. It is like her whole life is still resting on the razor’s edge and even a single mistep can bring it all crashing down. But her wonderful and gentle dad, never leaving her side, gives her love, hope and a balanced way to live – without fear.

And so it is that our dearest Sam Soon, so strong to the world but so vulnerable to her heart, can find her way to live and love.

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Epilogue.

Sam Soon gives a voice-over which shows her dream of marrying Jin Heon and having three kids – two daughters and one son, and in the next scene, showing an expanded and upgraded Samsooni Cake, complete with outdoor seating and an in-house florist. In reality, those dreams haven’t happened, yet. But Sam Soon did manage to attain one small dream, to play her Elvis song, “Can’t Help Falling In Love” for her love, Jin Heon. Sam Soon’s technique has improved so much – her even tempo and the richness of her playing is evident, perhaps as a metaphor for how much this woman has grown.

And in the last scene, Sam Soon and Jin Heon are holding hands and talking as they stroll down the city block towards the stairs near the Nam-San Cablecar Station. Ahead, they see an enormous staircase they have to climb, perhaps a bit symbolic of the challenges that they have yet to face.

And Sam Soon says this:

Sam Soon (VOICE-OVER): Sometimes, the thought comes to me that we might one day break up, since that’s part of being in love. But I won’t be afraid of the future. I understand the things that I have to do now:  do my best to make my cakes and do my best at love, just as if today is my last day, just as if I’ve never been hurt, and to love myself, Kim Sam Soon, more.

Comments:

There are so many things to say. This was my first drama, and though I didn’t know it at the time, it would be and remain my favorite drama. Until very recently, however, I was a little bit upset at the ending. My thought was, where is the happy ending? Couldn’t the writers have given Sam Soon a happy ending? Would it have killed the drama? With monster ratings smashing the 50% barrier, Episode 16 could have been Sam Soon and Hee Jin playing Go Stop for an hour to determine who gets Jin Heon and ending that way. It wouldn’t have changed the ratings at all. The writers chose to end the series this way despite the fact that they absolutely knew that half of Korea was desperately rooting for Sam Soon. And by happy ending, I mean, they could have had Jin Heon and Sam Soon get married.

I mentioned this thought to Javabeans and to Girlfriday, about whether they thought that Sam Soon had a happy ending. Both had interesting responses, and I want to share them with you first before concluding.

Javabeans’ Comments:

I’m pretty sure I would’ve been happy had Samsoon and Jin-heon gotten their neat, happy ending. But that final-episode satisfaction would have chipped away a little at my love for the overall series, which comes in part because the drama steps outside of the mold of traditional Cinderella stories. Samsoon still bears a lot of the hallmarks of a conventional K-drama (and a conventional rom-com, at that), so I don’t think it’s necessarily groundbreaking in that sense. But historically speaking, Samsoon was the point at which the heroines got to be crass and rude and still lovable, the everywoman instead of the paragon, and I think giving her the fairy tale would have diminished what the drama so wonderfully achieved all series long. She doesn’t fit in that box, so she should get her own story, not follow the preordained footsteps of Cinderella and her ilk.

I think the point may be that times are a-changin’, and the mainstream ideal for a successful, beautiful woman now includes someone like Samsoon, whereas previously she’d be the cautionary tale, the loudmouthed spinster constantly told to lose ten pounds. And that the mainstream ideal for a successful, beautiful life as a modern woman doesn’t necessarily require marriage and husband and mother-in-law stamp of approval. I would have felt betrayed if Samsoon fell in the trap of all those self-sacrificing, demure, infuriatingly wan heroines of yore and got the same ending they got, too. She was a representation of what was there outside of the conventional trappings, so to leave her with nothing but conventional trappings? Ouch. She’s realistic enough to see her world and her place in it without feeling that she’s necessarily “less than” Cinderella/Candy. So her happiness isn’t necessarily “less than” theirs, either. I find Samsoon’s ending affirming and empowering much more than a marriage or a ring would have achieved.

Girlfriday’s Comments:

I think the series did a great job of giving both a satisfying and open-ended ending, which is frankly hard to do. Samsoon as a character was about breaking the mold. She was a heroine designed to break the heroine types of old, and I see the ending in the same light. It’s part and parcel of the same thing — the heroine need not be thin and waify, long-suffering and good, chaste to the old-school standards of purity, censored and demure. And her endgame need not be marriage. It can be part of what she wants, but the point is that it’s not the end all be all.

So then why would a writer back out of that, to satisfy traditional ideas of what a satisfactory ending is, based on the dramas that came before? If I had spent all that time writing a groundbreaking new kind of heroine, I certainly wouldn’t give her the same ending as every other Cinderella who came before her. That’d be lame.

Samsoon is certainly not the inventor of the open-ended finale, but the ending manages to be satisfying despite lacking a traditional happily-ever-after because it stays true to its themes. Personally, I don’t think not getting the pat ending isn’t a lack of happy ending. I think it’s part of what she has to discover about life, and the conscious choice to love somebody and give him her all, not knowing the outcome. Her biggest struggle throughout the drama is the decision to go headlong into love despite her fears of the future, and her triumph over that fear is her biggest victory. It’s not that marriage isn’t a part of that, but it’s the fact that she learns to put the endgame aside and love someone in the here and now. And that’s pretty awesome.

Samsooki’s Revised Comments:

I’ve changed my mind. Here are my new thoughts on MNIKSS.

While at first, I really did think that this drama was just a love story (an epic one, but still just a love story). But it’s not just that, it’s a lot more. The drama is a story of a woman who initially is determined to get married to a decent man, her reason being that she’s afraid of growing up and growing old by herself. Sam Soon’s problem isn’t that her dream is bad, but that her dream is ill-fitting with a woman who wears her heart on her sleeve and cannot help but be true to her desires. And she desires more than just a decent man.

The whole issue with her name is fundamental to this. I think Sam Soon’s reason for changing her name, long after school kids had stopped teasing her, was because she felt like she couldn’t get married if she kept her odd-sounding name. She wanted to be cool and special, and it wasn’t until Jin Heon showed up that she started to believe it. And so, when she finally decides to keep her name, at the end of Episode 15, this is her most important victory. It is a victory for self, for Sam Soon, who needn’t worry about what her name means in Chinese, or what others may think. She IS special, she IS awesome, she DOES rock, she IS beautiful, and she DOES kick ass.

I realize now that Sam Soon’s happy ending is that there is no ending. Her life will continue to have challenges, ups and downs. And her happiness will come from her ability to stay her course without fear, without regret, and with living life to the fullest. That’s why Sam Soon gets her happy ending. Her happy ending is the rest of her life – I can’t imagine a more fulfilling ending.

***

Finally, I want to thank Javabeans and Girlfriday for giving me the opportunity to come back and re-live one of the truly outstanding Korean dramas of all time.  It was a hoot to recap, it was a joy to watch and re-watch, and it was an honor to do it for dramabeans and for each of you. I treasure every comment by every reader, and hope that you’ve enjoyed this trip down memory lane as much as I have.  Until next time!  *wave*

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SPOILER weird thoughts. Has Hyun Bin ever had a character who ended up being happily (and family accepted) married at the end of the drama movie? Sam soon: Mother didn't approve, no marriage. Worlds Within: She didn't want to marry. Secret Garden: Married but mother didn't accept it. Millianaire's First Love: she dies. Seriously! No traditional happy endings for him.

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For Worlds Within, (SPOILER) I think Joo Joon-young (Song Hye kyo) doesn't mind marrying him, and even though she said she doesn't want to have a child because it would ruin her career, I still think that she still wants to do those things with him. (END SPOILER)

Worlds Within for me is a complex drama where the character needs to be dissected. It's the kind of drama for me that needs to be rewatched over and over again to understand the complexity of the characters.

Going back to the topic, you know we appreciate your work Samsooki. Thanks for the journey.

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Snow Queen: she dies too. :(

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Ireland: his wife left /divorce him.

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I discovered kdramas almost a year ago. MNIKSS and Coffee Prince were recommended as my introductions. Somehow, I stumbled upon dramabeans and was lucky enough to have the coffee prince recaps (my first k drama) to explain the cultural meanings as i watched! I was ecstatic! I was a new fan! When I was ready for kdrama #2: MNIKSS, there were no recaps! I was disappointed but watched it anyway. I absolutely loved Sam Soon. I soon discovered that it was one kdrama that was so well done, that it is a standard of measure for when writing, acting, casting and directing is exceptionally done. I rewatched with your recaps and enjoyed the story even more! Your recaps were of the quality that I expect from dramabeans and I thoroughly enjoyed them! Here's hoping that other well done stories will also find their way also to dramabean recaps! Great Job!

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I don't get such a thrilling adventure like Sam Soon all in the works for a name change. *sighs*

Thanks Mom, again, for keeping my name whether in Chinese, Vietnamese, English, or French it is about the same meaning. Haha! Dull. Pahehe~ My mother is the one like Sam Soon journeying different countries and places discovering roots.

Sam(Soon, Shik, sooki) Stay Happy! As so too DBland occupants.

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Thank you samsooki, jb and gf for the trip down memory lane. I laughed and cried while reading your recaps. I remember not just the kdrama but the friends that joined me when i first watched samsoon through a local channel. We will call each other while watching mnikss. We spend coffee breaks and lunch breaks going through the previous night's episodes and out latest hyun bin picture downloads. We got our dvd boxset together. It makes me sad that while we remain friends, we have gone our separate ways so no much lunch break kdrama discussions or coffee breaks with binnie.

Like the rest of the members of the samsooki fanclub, i will wait for your next project.

Btw samsooki, have you seen kim sun ah scent of a woman??? You have been very quiet about that. I remember you as a kim sun ah fan and an avid cityhaller. Not asking for recaps.... Just want to pick your brains about ksa's latest.

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thank you so much for recapping this!

it's a blast from the past, forever one of the (better) kdrama classics, and you wrote it in such a comedic way i couldn't stop laughing and reminscing.

<3

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"HOLY SHIK!" What an awesome recap!
Will your next recap even come close to this one? The depth and charm of MNIKSS + your insight were a total gift. Thanks so much! I love this drama even more after reading your reflections.

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samsooki thanks much for the clarifications! & u're list of suggestions. look forward to u're next recap!

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Thank you for the amazing recaps. When you started recapping MNIKSS I had just finished watching it for the 2nd time. It was wonderful to read about the show and get your thoughts on it. Your recaps made me want to watch this drama all over again. :)

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i've always loved MNIKSS's ending, precisely because it wasn't the typical "happily ever after." samsoon just gets to keep on living to her fullest, and loving to her fullest. yes, she's worried about not getting samshik's mother's approval, yes, she's afraid of breaking up, but she has learned to not let the fears get to her, and just love with all her heart. because she's samsoon and she's awesome like that. : ))

thank you sooooo much, samsooki, for giving us such fun and thoughtful recaps on this wonderful drama (still my fav everrr)!

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Thank you so much for the awesome recaps, Samsooki. <3 I enjoyed them very much, and discovered new insights not just into the drama but into Korean culture as well. You've worked hard. ^_^

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still my favorite kdrama of all time ... your recap made me go back and rewatch all over again. thanks for the step down samshik lane!

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wow! it feels like an end of an era.. upon reading the last of the recaps. thanks samsooki! you're a godsend! i never knew i could appreciate this drama more.

MNIKSS and SAM SOON Rocks! :) \m/

and samsooki, you're beyond awesome!

i can't wait for your next work.. i bet it will be equally superb!

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Samsooki...loved your recap... Being relatively new to KDramas, I watched City Hall while you were recapping it, and enjoyed it so much. Then you disappeared, and I went in search of other series with KSA and discovered MNIKSS. Glad you're back. This was fun for me and like love, lovelier the second time around. Thanks so much...

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A thousand thank you's, Samsooki!

I really loved My Name is Kim Sam Soon! It is one of the best dramas I've ever seen and the stories are hilarious and heartwarming, and the actors do such a great job! I really liked the open-ended ending and thought it was well deserved for the characters and the audience. It really couldn't have ended any other way.

Thank you for the recaps, Samsooki!

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dear samsooki,

thanks a lot for recapping this drama.
i fell in love with this drama a few years back, and have always loved it since then.

back then, i was like 'finally, a different k-drama, a break from the typical k-dramas'.
it had been the 1st k-drama that i introduce to my friends new to k-drama world, and it's been super hard to kick it down the stairs.

reading the recaps, re-watching the drama is really like a sweet cool walk down memory lane.
thanks again, for the recaps.

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MNIKSS was not my first K-drama but it has been my all-time favorite, it's one of the few of MANY dramas that have been released that I can rewatch and not skip over parts. I mean even knowing what's going to happen I am always re-captivated each time. Honestly, Kim Sun Ah is my favorite actress and my fave dramas of all time all star her. MNIKSS, City Hall, Scent of A Woman, she's amazing but this drama is still her best work in my opinion.

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Thank you for the recaps! Much appreciated.

MNIKSS remains my all time favorite Kdrama as well. The writing and directing are fantastic. There are so many superb lines and wonderfully orchestrated scenes.

Kim Sunah and Hyun Bin were obviously terrific. But I also want to add that the supporting cast was terrific too, every single character had their own personality... the waitresses at the restaurant, Chef Lee, Mi Joo, Chaeri, Sam Soon's mom and sister... Kudos to the casting director.

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I think the most important lesson that Sam Soon learns in this series is to love herself. Whether she's skinny or fat, happy or sad, she needed to learn to accept herself and improve things in her life to make herself happy, not to find a husband or seek other's approval. That is why this ending makes more sense for the series - if it had ended in marriage, children, and a successful business, it wouldn't have kept the true essence of the show, that is, you have to love yourself to be loved and life doesn't end when you find love. It doesn't just end happily ever after, but that's okay.

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Awwww... The last recap!! Thanks for covering such a wonderful drama, the best times of these last few weeks have been coming home and getting to read about sam soon. I look forward to whatever your next project will be!

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MNIKSS was also the first Kdrama I've watched. I enjoyed it so much that it jump started my Kdrama addiction. It has set a high standard for quality which sadly, half of the dramas are amiss.

Your recaps has once more made me enjoy a drama so coherently made that i don't have to crinkle my eyebrows to understand its content.

thanks.

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Thanks for the recaps, Samsooki! And to javabeans and girlfriday as well. I watched it in 2005 and it still remains my number one korean drama!

I'm curious though, how do you find Scent of A Woman?

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It's on my watch list. Hard to do more than a few things at once. =)

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After 16 episodes, I must say that I've enjoyed your recaps immensely. It was a recap where I felt the presence of samsooki as one of the characters in the drama. And I'm not just taking about the toy prop. It is truly awesome and once again, thank you for the joy ride.

How I wish we can download recaps.

And thank you JB and GF for commenting on the ending.

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thank you so much for doing this recap. i watched this drama years back when i was first starting to get into my kdrama craze... what a lovely trip down memory lane :) really enjoyed your comments on the drama. Well done and please do a recap of another classic soon!

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Thank you samsooki for helping me realize what a gem MNIKSS is in recap form! I honestly didn't like it while watching it, but now armed with your insight I think I'm beginning to get it. I confess I cried a bit during the 2 part finale (Jin Heon not coming back!!?? & her last chat with her dad) because KSA's crying always gets to me. It's like she is crying crying rather than acting it out, granted her characters are quite similar most of the times and in similar situations (ie. underdog ajumma). But it's just so cathartic to just watch her journey and feel for her characters.

Thanks again!!!!

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many many thanks Samsooki.. i rewatched this drama and your recaps actually made me see some angles that I missed before.oh, and you have a knack for writing..

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Thank you samsooki for those wonderful recaps!!

Looking forward to see more recaps from you..(preferably older). If I may make suggestions..Delightful Girl Choon Hyang?

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I was never bothered by the open ending of MNKSS... one of the popular theme of this drama is 'Happiness is a not a destination, but a journey'...

Thanks for the recaps samsooki :)

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hey, just thought about this again. i know at 1 time the networks here in the usa was thinking about doing a remake of my lovely sam soon, which never happened. but wasn't a cast put together? does anyone have any info on that failed venture. i was both excited about the possibility & a bit apprehensive about the casting of the parts especially of kim sam soon. thanks to anyone that has info.

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from the bottom of my heart, thank you, Samsooki for the wonderful and your witty recaps. my very first k-drama that i have watched. this will stay forever in our hearts and mind till the end of life in this universe. Kim Sun Ah's outstanding, effortless acting mesmerize my instinct not to love her, makes you happy after re-watching, it's like you are really with her, unnie. the rest of the cast deserved warm accolades not to forget Samshika. i own a copy of MNIKSS transaltion is bad. just to let you guys know that if you happen to be in state of WA., public library carry k-drama, only the famous ones, and MNIKSS is one of them. at least, we are able to use this service just to get your money worth after tax property due obligation. i'm off now to re-watch MNIKSS.

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thanks for the brilliant recapping. i got a lot of it that i didn't while watching it, which only increases my love of MNIKSS.

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Aww, it's over.
Thanks for the recaps and allowing me to relive the drama that got me back into my second wave of korean dramas after a hiatus (the first started because of Autumn in My Heart and the third after SKKS).

I loved this drama because it was different than the other k-dramas at that time (which was why I stopped watching it in the first place).

I loved the heroine in sam soon. I get seriously iffy with ji heon throughout the course of watching (and rereading) this, but I was rooting for sam soon the whole way. And it's so nice for her to get her version of a happy ending.

And as an older person (now) watching (reading) this again, I like her even more. ^^

YAY for the walk down memory lane!

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Samsooki, it's great to see you after your long hibernation. I was thinking before SOAW aired, that if it didn't bring you out of hibernation, I wouldn't know what would. But you went for MNIKSS instead of SOAW. Which is a surprise, yet not a surprise. Thank you for the recaps. MNIKSS will remain one of my most favourite dramas of all time.

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This is truly one of the best kdramas of all time! Every thing, from the storyline to the cast to the acting to the chemistry, was as close to perfection as it can get.

And now, with this brilliant recap, what else can one ask for?

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thanks for the recap. i don't understand korean but with you guys around, i now fully understand the writings that were not translated in this drama, i.e the writings on henry's book, the icing on the cake etc..thanks much!!!! <3

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I love this drama... I lost count of how many times I watched it and every time I do watch it over I find something new and interesting....I can never get tired of this drama...it's the best drama ever with two very talented and convincing actors!!! This drama will always have a special place in my heart.

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Thank you for bringing us on this wonderful journey. I've watched and loved MNIKSS and when I thought it couldn't get any better than it was, you made it better with your insights and observations. THANK YOU SO MUCH! I'm going to save these recaps!

I felt pretty bad for Good Looking Blind Date Guy. He was probably mentally shaking his fist at the Heavens going "why are you F$#@ing with me?!!" But I love the running joke of GLBDG getting his Samsoon stolen away by the dastardly Samshik!

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forever will be my favorite drama. mnikss jjang! :D

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Thank you for the recap! It is wonderful to revisit this.
Reading your recaps only not bring me to revisit it, but they also shed new light on this drama. I enjoyed it very much .Thank you.

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THX so much for e recap!I really enjoyed it!am a real fan o kdramas n your recaps on dramabeans are Awesome! I haven't luked back since stumbling upon your site wen I Desperately neede to knw wat happend next in Boys before flowers,wen JD goes to Macau...thx so much n I luk forward to more o yur recaps 4m all o yu!Fighting!!!

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Your recaps just make me want to watch this drama again and again. 3x already by now. For me, this recap is the best recap off all your recaps. I do envy you that you can do this kind of work. Beautiful work. Thank you.

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I was hesitant to watch this drama. But I did. I was reluctant to like this drama. But I did. I was in denial about the reason why I bought a DVD of this drama. I blamed it for being a "classic and popular drama that-I-must-have-it on my collection". I didnot want to rewatch the drama. But I did. without the FF button. I watch this drama now at least once a year. I denied about loving Samsoon but I defended her character when my mom said she did not look pretty.

You all are getting what I'm saying right? It's all easier once I've accepted the truth. The story, the dialogue, the music, the actors and directing. Everything together was perfect.

I was the reluctant Samsoon fan, but this ended up to be my favorite drama of all time.

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Please don't wander far from Dramabeans again samsooki. <3 <3 <3

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Thank you so much for the funny comments and reviews, drama beans has always helped me with my addiction to k- dramas, whenever I can't watch the episode I go to this wbsite to read the recap. Thanks 

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http://youtu.be/wbreSZ3SXQA i hope like this video ...have very nice pics about the drama enjoy!!

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I marathon watched this drama for the first time this week on the insistence of my Korean tutor. She told me it was one of her all time favourites and that I would love it. She was right, I did! I even liked the fairly open ended conclusion. And I thoroughly enjoyed the recaps too. I am finding that the more and more I explore Korean culture, the more I feel that they are so similar to us Irish in oh so many ways!

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I've also watched this drama a million times. It was the first Korean drama I saw and I've been hooked ever since. So I was ecstatic to see this recapping on the recap list. You did a wonderful job of recapping this series. Now I just want to watch it again <3

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I normally don't comment, but I just have to comment on this one. I've watched dramas here and there (usually family comedies) since I was a kid with my siblings, but I didn't get really into dramas until about 2007. Of course, My Name is Kim Sam Soon was one of those epic looming dramas that I needed to watch, but I never did. I heard that it was a bit of a roller coaster with a weak ending, and that's the one thing I can't take in a drama. A sweet, feel-good ending is the one thing I ask for. I get so into the dramas, if the ending is disappointing, it just brings me down.

I put it off until yesterday, and I watched the whole series in these two days.

Everything was going smoothly enough for me until the end of the 15th episode. I was sloppy, gross SOBBING from that point all the way into the 16th episode and up until the postcards showed up. Even though that made me feel terrible, I guess that just proves how great this drama is...convincing, sincere. Even though I hate to concede and admit that this drama is everything everyone says it is, it is. It so is.

Being the sucker for a happy ending that I am, I was disappointed with the way things turned out. Sam Soon is me and everyone else that's average and feisty and been through the ringer, and I can't help but want everything in the world for her. However, the actual ending didn't seem so terrible when I compared it to the way things seemed to be going at the beginning of epi 16.

I think part of the reason why the ending doesn't seem so great is because we're getting it from Sam Soon's own deep, inner thoughts. And that's where all the insecurities and what-ifs lie. Unfortunately, I think she has a way of keeping her own happiness in check...a lot like me. Which is why her father tells her to enjoy the moment she's living in and not worry about the future (which is so wonderful, and his character reminds me of my dear aunt).

So yeah....I finally watched the drama of all dramas, and I think I'll carry this one with me for a while.

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@ samsooki

You haven't been doing any recaps for a while... Will you be doing one soon? How about KSA's latest offering, I Do, I Do?

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hi all! i just started watching KDramas because of Hyun Bin's Secret Garden. And I really love the reviews you have made here. I read the reviews first before I watch the series... Can somebody help me? I really need to know the title of the song being played while Jin Heon was sitting in his car on Epi 16? While his waiting outside of Kim Sam Soon's house to be forgiven. I already bought the whole OST of MNIKSS but it's not there :( thanks a lot :D

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nothing beats this drama

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