Time to look into the kimchi vat and see how well our batch has fermented. Or how much it didn’t ripen at all. There’s nothing unexpected in this finale and I can safely say that although it’s not the most unique or delicious kimchi I’ve ever tasted, it doesn’t leave a bad taste in my mouth either.
FINAL EPISODE RECAP
After Gun-hee’s departure the kimchi ajumma finds Kang-jae completely dazed and immobilized. “Are you him? The one they say to be Gun-hee’s husband?” But she muses that she must be mistaken since Gun-hee’s husband-to-be wouldn’t stand there looking so lost
She turns to leave but Kang-jae stops her at the last moment to ask for a favor.
Mom approaches her husband’s urn with caution. She crumbles, “Gun-hee is sick because of me.” She resolves that she needs to let everything go so that their children don’t get sick because of her.
Raising a hand to the glass, she admits near tears, “To be honest… I’m scared. Until I go back to you, can you hold my hand?”
Outside, Dad extends his apologies and gratitude. He vows to protect Chinjung and regard the Yoo daughters as if they were his own, “Gun-hee too. She’s my daughter.”
Gun-hee continues to work tirelessly to recreate Chinjung Kimchi’s taste. Sun-hee drops by, concerned that the restless pursuit will affect her health.
Sun-hee assures her that she needn’t put up a front; she can admit that she misses Kang-jae. She can confide in her unni for that much right?
Gun-hee’s reply surprises her, “There was never a moment that I didn’t consider you my unni.” She kept her unni at arm’s length for fear that she’d need to depend on someone but it isn’t the case anymore.
As Gun-hee slaps on a smile to say that she’s fine, we hear Sun-hee think, “You’re not fine. You’re sick. My poor dongsaeng.” For now they lay the issue to rest but a slight hesitation before they sip their tea betrays their words.
At Sangcharim, Kang-jae slams the report on the table, “Is this the best you can do?” Heh – thanks for the meta joke to Secret Garden, drama. He snipes that people must have left him to his own accord because of his high position and throws the file to the ground for added emphasis.
…and then he cracks up, finding his own pompous chaebol act amusing. Something is definitely not all right up in the head for ya, Kang-jae.
Thankfully, the general manager sees right through the act and gets to the point – does he miss Gun-hee that much? Staring into space, he confesses, “Yes. I miss her. A lot.” He pops out of his chair to go see her right away. But those are empty words because he slumps back into his chair in the same stupefied state.
Jang-won runs in after he gets a call from Sun-hee that she can’t marry him. Min-jung follows close behind that their wedding is her greatest venture thus far. However, Sun-hee is amazingly calm and explains that she can’t go through with a wedding when Gun-hee is stuck in the pits because of their parents’ past.
He nods, getting a grasp on the situation, and agrees to put a pause button. Min-jung scoffs, baffled.
Back at home, the sisters approach Mom about Gun-hee and Kang-jae – isn’t there a way for them to be together? Mom shares that there’s no bad blood between the families anymore and adds cryptically that the decision is up to them.
Min-jung asks to clarify if that means she and President Lee settled on a resolution and Mom answers that they’ve come to an understanding. She doesn’t say anymore on the subject and the sisters derive that Mom has finally conceded.
In excitement, Sun-hee calls up Jang-won to initiate Plan B. I’m pretty sure no one in this drama understands what Plan B is. Maybe they think it’s sequential or something.
Gun-hee continues to measure out ingredients when a sudden voice surprises her. The kimchi ajumma berates her for spooning out the exact tablespoon and cups. They share a warm hug which warms my heart and we see Kang-jae by the gate, his favor answered.
Kimchi ajumma frowns, giving Gun-hee a sharp rap on the back when she throws away another reject batch. Gun-hee defends that they can’t sell it and Ajumma lectures about how much work it takes to make one batch at all. The best ingredients don’t fall from the sky, she continues.
Ajumma demands to bring the reject batches and Gun-hee says they’re already thrown out. But the employees didn’t have the heart to trash ’em and Ajumma says, “The person who makes kimchi can’t throw it away. But someone who sees kimchi as a product can.”
“Kimchi is about the heart. The person who makes kimchi can’t sleep at night. They worry about if the weather is cold or hot; they worry if the kimchi will ripen well and worry if the batch will freeze. Haven’t you dated anyone before? Your heart flutters, you miss them, you constantly think about them. Make kimchi with that heart. Don’t think of anything else.”
Then Ajumma says it’s time for her to leave because she’s finished with her lesson. Pfft, oh Ajumma. Once out of earshot, she says aloud to Mom that Gun-hee is finally maturing.
Ajumma’s words resonate with Gun-hee and she stops mid-measuring. After she tastes an original batch made by Mom, she lets the taste linger in her mouth. Happier memories with Kang-jae flood her mind as she sits on the kimchi vat where Kang-jae professed his love for her.
What she doesn’t know is that her younger sisters are capturing her brooding on film in the distance.
Jang-won meets with Kang-jae and asks if he’s really going to let Gun-hee go. Kang-jae’s question baffles him: “Do you know what the Earth revolves around?” The answer? Gun-hee. “The Earth revolves around her. And for me, until the sun rises and sets, I’m living in hell without Gun-hee.”
He feels like he lives in a dream all about Gun-hee. Ha – and even in those dreams, she still curses and beats him up, but that’s why it makes it so sweet. Aww.
So Jang-won fills him in that both sides have come to an understanding and that Mom is ready to accept their relationship. With a smile, Jang-won encourages him to go after Gun-hee.
The words that kimchi should be made with the heart still ring in Gun-hee’s head. This time, she does things the old fashioned way adjusting the batch as she goes. She tastes the end product as Director Park waits, unable to read her expression.
They nearly burst in tears that Gun-hee has been able to reproduce Chinjung’s original taste and excitedly ask if she can remember the recipe. But Gun-hee shakes her head, “It’s not a recipe. You have to remember the taste.”
The sullungtang restaurant approves the batch and Gun-hee worries about their other consumers. Director Park pushes away her worries and ushers her to take the rest of the day off. Gun-hee relents.
Her mind finally free of any business woes, she mutters while driving, “Kang-jae.” At the same time, Kang-jae receives a video message…
Gun-hee trudges home and stares at the lamp post which is now broken again. Leaning on it, she closes her eyes for just a moment when Kang-jae appears, grabbing her by the shoulders.
Her voice slightly shaking, she orders him to let her go or… and Kang-jae interjects. “I know. You have a taser and a gas gun.”
But he isn’t afraid. “I have nothing to fear anymore. The thing I was most afraid of was you in this world but now that I know how you feel, I have nothing to be afraid of.”
She asks if he knows how she feels and he replies, “How I feel. Your heart is just like mine.” Now we see the video message from earlier which is basically a montage of Gun-hee brooding from place to place.
Gun-hee’s eyes grow wide when Kang-jae tells her that their parents’ past has been settled. He challenges her to come up with a reason that they shouldn’t be together. She flinches as he closes in on her, warning him about the taser.
He calls her bluff and decides that he’ll do the opposite of everything she says. She tells him to go away (“Then I’ll come closer.”) and not to kiss her (“Then I’ll kiss you”) and he ignores her protests…
… and she tases him. AHAHAHA. He shakes on the ground, reeling from shock. Gun-hee runs to his side saying that she warned him and whines at the taser that it worked so well. He continues to flail.
Gun-hee resorts to piggybacking him inside and the best part is that every time one of her sisters opens their doors she literally chucks him into the wall. Poor guy can’t catch a break.
At least the sisters are sharp enough and Sun-hee relays the news to Jang-won so they can continue with their wedding. Anxious fiancé asks if that means the two are alone in their room, sheepishly admitting that he’s jealous. Jang-won suggests if he should come upstairs too… but she quickly shuts down that idea.
Meanwhile the two younger sisters snerk that the two lovebirds are in Gun-hee’s room.
Now safe in her room, Gun-hee turns to get him some water when he grabs her hand. She looks back apologetically and Kang-jae tells her to check if he’s fine by pointing to his lips.
He admits, “I missed you.” Gun-hee confesses to the same and Kang-jae smiles that it confirms that their hearts are alike.
Kang-jae invites her into bed and gives her a kiss. They both exchange that they love each other. In each other’s arms, he mutters, “To be honest I’m scared. That I won’t be able to tell you that I love you again. That I won’t be able to kiss you again.” They share another long kiss.
He gazes at her and gives her one final chance to run away in a count to three. In the manchild Kang-jae-like manner he rattles off the numbers and presses her closer to him, “I’m won’t ever let you go. I’m never going to let you go. I love you.”
Kang-jae heads downstairs for a glass of water and the cup nearly spills out of his hands when Mom approaches. Mom stares wide-eyed and asks if he forgot something else this time. It takes him a second and he stammers that he’s forgotten something extremely important – his life. HA.
Mom just stares back and he clarifies, “I forgot Gun-hee.” She glances towards her daughter’s room and looks back at him, indignant, “Did you…?” Kang-jae raises his hands in defense that it’s nothing like that but that they just kissed today. Not like it makes it any better and he blubbers, “We d-d-dit it just once…wait…” It’s pretty adorable and hilarious.
Mom shakes her head and finally turns to him. She drills him if he can protect Gun-hee. He vows that he will with confidence. That’s enough for Mom and she tells him to protect her daughter.
Before the tears well up in each other’s eyes she barks that Kang-jae should call her ‘Mother’ from now on. Aww, Mom.
Wedding Photoshoot Day. As Min-ji affixes Jang-won’s bow, he tries to address their recent falling out but she interjects that she’s not interested in married men. Plus this small gesture is her way of settling her feelings for him so that she can treat him as a brother-in-law.
Calling him ajusshi for the final time, she asks for one last hug. He grants it and informs her that he’s hugging her as her brother-in-law.
Gun-hee assures nervous Sun-hee that they’ll make it on time. But a jerk cuts them off forcing them to an abrupt stop and Sun-hee comes out with a bruise on her forehead. Gun-hee’s temper flares, determined to catch the jerk and guns the accelerator.
Needless to say they fail to catch the culprit and Sun-hee pouts in the car. Gun-hee clocks her expression and steps on the accelerator again to make it to the shoot.
A surprise suitor introduces himself to Min-ji who insults her childish wardrobe. She barks who the heck he is then and he replies, “The man who fell in love with you at first sight.” He curtly explains that he’s not lying. She wouldn’t know how it feels to walk in the shadows and then suddenly confess their feelings to someone else, right?
He admits that he’s super nervous and she drops to banmal that she knows, so he can quit joking around. Well her new guy wasn’t stuck in the end of the series or anything.
Sun-hee nervously approaches Jang-won in her dress but she smiles when Jang-won tells her that she looks beautiful. He leans in close and whispers in her ear, “I love you.”
They continue their photoshoot as both Sun-hee and Jang-won grin from ear-to-ear and Min-ji receives a text from her new boytoy.
Nearby, Kang-jae catches up with Gun-hee, teasing her about her driving earlier. She tells him to cut it out and resists when he reaches over to give her a foot massage. He sets her foot down and faces her, dropping down on one knee. Revealing a small box from his jacket, he asks, “Will you marry me?”
Gun-hee replies, “Kang-jae, you nutjob.” He adorably teases her with the box like You want it? You don’t want it?
The family looks at the spread of food in awe. Min-jung notices the rock on Gun-hee’s finger and points it out as Kang-jae just sits with a smug look on his face. Gun-hee tries to explain to her mother, but Mom simply cuts her off.
She places food on top of both of her future son-in-laws. Mom shares a silent conversation with Kang-jae that she’s leaving her daughter in Kang-jae’s care and Kang-jae answers, “Yes Mother. Don’t worry.”
Which is when Soon-dol holds up his bowl to be fed too.
Wedding Day. As expected, the car gets stuck in traffic and Sun-hee has to literally tell Gun-hee to hold off her temper when another person cuts them off. She resolves to run to her wedding on foot the exact moment Jang-won comes running towards her.
Before their big entrance (which takes place at the action school, natch), Jang-won tells her not to let go of his hand and Sun-hee retorts, “If you let go, I’m going to kill you.” Friends and family happily look on as they enter.
The family assembles to ready themselves for the wedding portrait. President Lee gives a nod to Mom and she looks at her eldest than her other three daughters in turn with love. The photographer calls for everyone’s attention and snaps the photo.
Back at home, Mom gently folds up her hanbok and lays down to sleep with a content sigh before she closes her eyes. The music and fade to black let us know that Mom has finally passed.
Gun-hee walks in to wake Mom so that they can go for a walk together. She notices that Mom doesn’t move but continues to call her name in an attempt to accept the reality before her.
But it does finally sink in and the tears fall as Gun-hee squeaks out for her mother through her silent sobs.
During the funeral, the family mourns as Jang-won carries Mom’s portrait. Suddenly, a few visitors lay flowers on the ground who wanted to pay their last respects. The line goes out the gate of longtime Chinjung kimchi consumers who felt the exact same way.
Moved, Sun-hee comments that even their mother’s death is beautiful. She wonders if she can lead a life like their mother, having touched so many lives. The flowers lay out a natural line for the processional to follow.
We fade in and out and Sun-hee and Jang-won enjoy their honeymoon. She apologizes that they brought the entire family with them. He shrugs it off; they should live their lives being thankful instead of being apologetic.
Min-ji scoffs when her boytoy asks to call him oppa (turns out SHE’s the noona).
Elsewhere, Min-jung fumes to hear that Soon-dol is indeed a chaebol in the States (in Los Angeles for that matter). It’s a matter of principle for her – she gave up chaebols to date Soon-dol so how can he say that he is one now? They resolve things and he scoops her for a kiss.
Kang-jae and Gun-hee walk by the shore, hand-in-hand, and he tells her that it feels like Mom is with them on this trip. Gun-hee agrees that it feels that she’s watching over them.
Gun-hee calls his name and Kang-jae cuts her off, “I know. I’m thankful too that you’re by my side too.” The rest of the family joins them as they look out into the sea.
The camera pans back and we see Mom looking over all her children with a tender loving smile.
In terms of this particular episode, there were a few things I loved about it. I loved how Gun-hee had to learn that making kimchi (or any food) isn’t a cold calculated science. It’s more about the heart of the dish and literally the hands that make it. Call it corny but I’ve found that food always taste better when they’re made from love. I wish that the Chinjung kimchi she made turned out to be better than Mom’s in hopes that her love of her family and Kang-jae would shape it to be a more delicious batch but then again, maybe replicating Mom’s kimchi is a connection that is greater than blood.
I also loved how delicate Mom’s passing was, that Gun-hee was the one to find her first, and that her family saw how many lives she touched by making something so iconic that was loved by all. Her (literal) watching over the family was fairly cheesy but since she was such an integral part of the family, I can accept it.
The conflict in this drama was fairly simple: will you or will you not have a merger? The attempts to recreate Chinjung kimchi was glossed over and you almost forgot what the Kimchi Team’s To Do List for the day. We really didn’t have anything to root for apart from Mom vs. Dad and The Past. Even when we were told what happened, I wasn’t surprised and felt the feud could have been settled long ago.
Lee Kyu-han really sold the show from a whole range of emotions from crazy happy to crazy in love to crazy depressed. Or maybe he’s just crazy. I had to gulp down a huge pill to buy into our main couple because it seemed so lacking on Gun-hee’s end. I think it’s safe to write it off as a writing flaw since heroines often get the shorter end of the character stick.
I do feel cheated by this drama because we never got any hijinks to live in a boardinghouse. No forced living situations or hilarious face-offs apart from an early challenge between the men vs. women. I was a bit annoyed with Min-ji as well, not only as a character because she acted like she was 5, but since they stuck a man for her at the end. Then there’s nothing about Su-ho or Se-won, either. Not like they really added anything to the story that much.
Overall, this was a fairly well-executed finale. Our plot points were tied with a neat little bow and there weren’t any real negative outcomes in our pairings either. To its credit, after an abysmal episode in its last weeks, things took an upturn and I was glad to see that the show was still willing to make fun of itself. It would have benefited the drama to call it something else than Marriage Plot because there was simply no plotting to be had. Thanks for the kimchi ride, drama but you’re not quite ripened yet.
- Marriage Plot: Episode 15
- Marriage Plot: Episode 14
- Marriage Plot: Episode 13
- Marriage Plot: Episode 12
- Marriage Plot: Episode 11
- Marriage Plot: Episode 10
- Marriage Plot: Episode 9
- Marriage Plot: Episode 8
- Marriage Plot: Episode 7
- Marriage Plot: Episode 6
- Marriage Plot: Episode 5
- Marriage Plot: Episode 4
- Marriage Plot: Episode 3
- Marriage Plot: Episode 2
- Marriage Plot: Episode 1