In our final hour of pregnancy, Ji-an pegs us with some lingering questions: What is the right path to take? How will we know it’s the right one? Maybe we can rest in knowing that we’ll never know what direction life is taking us but remain assured that once we take that step, that’s where real life begins.
FINAL EPISODE RECAP
We backtrack to the previous night and Dad is looking through Tae-kang’s old photos. He’s surprised to see Tae-kang return from Ji-an’s place so early since he expected that the two would spend the night together.
Sitting down, Tae-kang starts, “Dad, loving Dad…” which makes Dad fidget. But then Tae-kang slowly grabs for the photo album…. and we hear crashing sounds and shouts of chaos in the background.
Dad finds it absurd that Tae-kang has chosen to stay than taking the shot to advance his career. It’s now just a matter of time before all three of them are fired.
But Tae-kang tells him that losing their jobs isn’t the issue, “To me, the worst is not being able to see you, Ankle, or Ankle’s mother.” In the same way that Dad doesn’t want his son to leave him neither does he want to be separated from his budding family.
Dad gruffly relents and storms out.
Tae-kang goes through the box Ji-an prepared for him and catches his breath at the sight of Ji-an’s first redesigned shoes. He heads to the company loggy after he gets a text from Ji-an.
He finds Ji-an staring upwards and asks what she’s looking at . The sky, she answers. He corrects her that it’s the ceiling but to her it was an unattainable sky. Making it would mean having the whole world in her hand.
She realizes that she’s been trapped inside the same well she’s dug for 15 years that facing the rest of the world frightens her. Tae-kang takes out the shoes and at her insistence that they’re his, he tells her that she can’t lose these or give them away. As soon as she does, the lid to that well will shut.
Tae-kang says, “Life is a do or die.” So they agree to face tomorrow head on together as long as marriage isn’t part of their solution. Question is, what now?
We’re back at the end of last episode and the entire company is abuzz from Ji-an’s staff to the higher ups. They tell Ji-an that no one will be any more forgiving for their public announcement.
She’s ready to face the public to handle the issue in her own way, taking offense at the President’s comments that they should just get married. “Marriage should be decided by the parties involved.” That gets a nearly audible laugh out of Na-ri who’s impressed with Ji-an’s balls of steel.
Once they’re out of the office, Na-ri asks if she should rip Ji-an’s resignation letter but Ji-an reminds her that she’s not trying to be bold but seeing how far she go without residual regret. Na-ri muses why she won’t see it to the end which naturally begs the question whether or not Na-ri will be at the other end of that battlefield.
Unsurprisingly, Na-ri retreats, citing that Ji-an’s too scary and gives her a little, “Fighting!” Ji-an’s got the the same look of What the? and wonders aloud, “Is she teasing me or supporting me?” Mm, hard to say.
The staff leer at the couple at the staff cafeteria, making them feel like outcasts. Then Bong-soo loudly declares that he’d like to sit here for lunch today and then they’re joined by Team Leader Ma and crew. Aww, it warms my heart.
Soon enough, the gossipers join in to encourage them and the entire cafeteria erupts in applause as Tae-kang soaks in the attention.
The news doesn’t save them a round of interviews of everyone from Ji-an to Bong-soo, asking everything from how they met, to their work environment and including Dad’s recent employment. Despite their best efforts, the Board puts Ji-an’s employment status on hold, much to Dad’s ire.
Madame Jang rips into Na-ri, marking up her interview draft in red. She’s displeased to hear that Ji-an’s resignation hasn’t gone through yet and scolds her that she should have taken the reins to control the situation. Na-ri meekly replies that she will.
As they go over next year’s projects, Team Leader Ma interjects that she’ll follow Ji-an out of the company. No matter where Ji-an goes from here, Team Leader Ma is confident that it will be enough to earn a living.
Ji-an is touched at her loyalty and gently tells her that she’s just begun to understand how the dedication to the team and her work and it would be a shame for her to throw away what she worked so hard for.
Rather, she would want to see Team Leader Ma to become a great designer that Ji-an will want to steal away for her own company. Tears in her eyes at the praise, Team Leader Ma agrees.
Packing up her things, she tells Tae-kang that she always thought she walked alone but there were actually a lot of people she’s grateful to: her staff, his father, and him. Tae-kang listens with a smile and then drops the bomb that he and Dad just handed in their resignation letters.
Before he gives Ji-an a fright, he admits that opening up their own store was something they had already been thinking about for some time. He’ll wrangle Jake as their investor, launching a line of shoes for mothers-to-be. And when Ankle arrives, baby shoes.
He asks if Ji-an doesn’t want to join them to launch their own brand. She asks if he thinks anyone can start their own brand but he assures her that they aren’t just anyone. Plus, a risk can become an opportunity.
Ji-an’s still apprehensive, so he takes her hand and places the same ring. This time he asks, “Will you become my business partner?”
Tae-kang and Dad get to work on the design and Tae-kang researches the ins and outs of setting up his own shop. It’s adorable how Ji-an watches over his shoulder and then plops in his lap. So freakin’ cute these two.
Tae-kang even goes around handing out surveys in Eun-sung’s office. The latter is legitimately surprised at Tae-kang’s decision to stay and to quit the company. Eun-sung worries about Ji-an who suddenly has nothing to do and says the shock could induce panic attacks.
Jeez, Doc. All this talk about how Ji-an is facing every pregnancy struggle ever is going to give me a panic attack.
Ji-an sits at home, watching TV and talking to Jun-hee about whether or not she should join Tae-kang to set up their own brand. Jun-hee asks, “If you told an elephant to go live in an ant’s house starting tomorrow, do you think he’d be able to?”
Unfortunately, they’re interrupted by one of the managers who tells Ji-an that she’s needed on the premises. Cut to Na-ri giving a half-hearted speech to the press about how her father always daughter that that success can only be achieved when you charge ahead and challenge yourself towards a goal.
Spotting Ji-an in the corner, Na-ri slams down her notes and declares that the previous quote doesn’t apply to her. She recognizes that she’s not standing here because of her own efforts which Madame Jang softly scoffs at on the sidelines.
Na-ri states that she does care for this company but that isn’t enough for a corporation. More importantly, she thinks that someone needs to have a strong and firm heart to hold herself up properly.
In the words of Madame Jang, “Just as you cannot see the world correctly when you’re standing on your hands, you must not be swayed by bias and know how to protect yourself.” Just like Ji-an.
Na-ri believes that Ji-an’s declaration as a single mother is an act of courage of her strong and firm heart. Thus, she’ll be declining her stake as the future CEO, recommending Ji-an for it instead, as per Madame Jang’s wishes. Ooh, nice – forcing your hand onto Madame Jang.
The news send the press into a flurry as they all crowd around Ji-an. Na-ri calmly steps down from the stage and pulls Madame Jang in for a hug, who’s forced to smile for the cameras. She asks if Na-ri’s crazy for pulling a stunt like this but Na-ri simply answers, “I always wanted to tell you this. I’m not stupid, Mother.”
Na-ri calls from the car that Ji-an needn’t be surprised – backstabbing is her area of expertise after all. She’s gotten rid of Ji-an resignation letter and she’s returned the business logs Ji-an lent her.
As for herself, she’ll be taking Tae-kang’s place to go overseas because it was always her dream to become a designer. When Ji-an asks what they’ll do when the Chairman finds out, Na-ri shrugs that he’s too busy of a man to be too angry with the decision.
Now leaving the company in Ji-an’s hands, Na-ri asks that Ji-an become the real mother of the company.
Before she leaves the country, however, Na-ri stops by at her mother’s resting place and apologizes that she couldn’t keep any of the promises that she made to her mother about being happy, receiving her father’s love or making a family. But she feels like she did the right thing for the first time since she came back to Korea.
She promises that she’ll become stronger and more mature by the time she comes back, “So that I can say that I’m your daughter with pride.”
Dad invites Ji-an’s parents into their humble abode behind the restaurant. Mom lends a sympathetic ear to their struggles and coo over Tae-kang’s baby photos.
Tae-kang has good news to share: Jake has agreed to become an investor in their brand. He’s even found the perfect place to set up shop. Ji-an delivers the news that she’s been offered to inherit the company which leaves him stunned at the sudden reversal.
He digs deep to congratulate her though his tone falls flat and does his best to mask his disappointment. Nothing is set in stone yet, though the reporters will have a field day. Until she comes to a decision, she tells Tae-kang to focus on building up the brand.
The men sit around in Choong-baek’s restaurant hypothesizing what their new roles will be in the new brand. They clock Tae-kang’s downcast expression and they remain optimistic that they’ll have to go ahead to launch their own brand without Ji-an.
Ji-an sits in her shoe closet caught between becoming the company’s next President or setting up shop with Tae-kang. She pulls out her sketchbook to list her reasons for either options. The ones for taking over the company come readily to her but she pauses to think about setting up a business with Tae-kang.
An ominous feeling of deja-vu washes over her and she heads back into the clinic for another ultrasound. She’s here to hear Ankle’s thoughts about the situation (Ankle says: “Gudoo/Gudoo”) and Eun-sung remarks that Ankle’s answer takes after her mother’s stubbornness.
Afterwards, Eun-sung teases that Ji-an sure is a bad friend since he had to hear about the news of her resignation and the offer to become the company’s next president via different sources. Ji-an admits that nothing has gone her way ever since she became pregnant.
Eun-sung tells her to think hard because it’s likely things didn’t go as planned when she wasn’t either. “If a life goes as planned, where’s the fun? As long as you don’t know where life will take you, you can concentrate on living it to the fullest.”
He reminds her of his favorite saying of how real life happens when you go off-tangent. But everything seems off-tangent for her and he tells her that it seems like a difficult decision because Ji-an thinks that she has to choose what’s best.
She asks if that isn’t obvious but Eun-sung argues that you’ll never know what’s best since clearly, Ji-an had no idea she would be offered to take over the company when she got pregnant. To be honest, he planned to leave their first date early for a fishing trip with the guys and then puts a smile on her face that he probably would have fell for another expectant mother.
He advises Ji-an not to try to plan ahead of time because life will try to slip and run away. “Instead, let’s trust this.” and he places his hand to his heart. Ji-an asks if anything good has happened in his life since they met. Holding back tears, Eun-sung swallows hard and answers, “Of course. I met Ankle.”
Tae-kang assures Ji-an that he understands if Ji-an wants to become President but she tells him that she hasn’t made a decision yet. He sighs that they’re differ on so many things from age to personalities but, “We have Ankle and shoes, which are both strong strings. No matter what choice you make, I believe those won’t ever be severed.”
With a smile, he tells her to follow her heart and reminds her that she told him that it was the best path to take.
She sits in her shoe closet, her choices set out in front of her: the collaboration shoes or the family of shoes. In voiceover we hear, “That’s right. Now I’m not deciding as a mother or a director, but what I want as a human. Because life doesn’t always go as planned. Instead wherever I go, I’ll be more cautious with more effort, and live diligently, Ankle.”
And slowly, she reaches her hand out for the shoes…
Five months later. We see a very pregnant Ji-an sit down with her staff members and Tae-kang pitching his brand “Tae & Kwang” to some investors. They turn it down and he sighs, thinking about his promise to Ji-an that he’ll work hard to set up shop. “Nothing ever goes as planned in the world.”
The others ask if they should plead to Ji-an for some help but Dad quickly stomps down that idea.
Ji-an struggles to get up after the meeting when a surprise guest nearly gives her a fright. It’s Na-ri, back in Korea and she points out Ji-an protruding belly which gets her a death glare. You don’t mess with a pregnant woman, hon.
She’s surprised to hear that Ji-an is planning to give in her resignation and that she wants Na-ri to preside over the company. Ji-an explains that she has no one else to trust and that all the preparations have been made for the collaboration. “This body… is ready to leave.”
It’s around Christmas time and what the –? Is Eun-sung Santa to all the expectant mothers? He meets a group of mothers-to-be and holds a mini Christmas party bearing gifts and a cake.
The air is tense as Ji-an steps through the door of Tae-kang’s shop. Turns out it’s her first time setting foot in it since it opened two months ago and her entrance is met with disappointment and sarcasm.
Once they’re alone, they remark the other must have been very busy not to call. She compliments him on the shoes he sent her that they were pretty good. Tae-kang’s still in a sour mood and she asks if they’re looking to hire a female employee… because she just turned in her resignation at the company in hopes to work here.
Tae-kang’s eyes grow wide as she asks, “You’ll hire me, right Mr. President?” and adds that he’ll need to give her a bonus because she’s quite competent in her work.
He looks to hug her but her belly gets in the way. So he’s like, Screw it, and just kisses her.
Looking into her eyes, he whispers, “Now I’m never going to let you go.” She whispers, “I think…I have to go.” He looks back at her, confused but then realizes that Ji-an’s water broke. Looks like D-Day for Ankle!
Oh right, Eun-sung’s the one who has to deliver the baby. He’s busy playin’ it up with the mothers-to-be but that party gets cut short when he gets a frantic call from Tae-kang.
The nurses wheel Ji-an in as she cries out in pain. She pelts Tae-kang, “This is ALL YOUR FAULT!” and Tae-kang stands by her bedside, looking helpless. When the medical staff advise Tae-kang to leave because Ji-an will need a caesarean, she grabs his collar and vows that she’ll have her revenge.
She wails that he has to treat her like royalty for the rest of her life and to be a slave for her and Ankle. He asks if she’s proposing to him but she demands an answer. He nods and before he’s dragged away, he tells Ji-an that everything will be fine and that he loves her.
Eun-sung arrives to the operating room and hears that Ji-an cervix won’t dilate anymore so they’ll need to do an emergency caesarean. And just like Dr. Jin, Eun-sung volunteers to perform it himself. He scrubs in and tells Ji-an that she’s going to meet Ankle soon so she needs to wait just a little bit longer.
The family rush in after the operation and are relieved to hear that it was a success. Tae-kang gives a silent thanks to Eun-sung and they watch as Ji-an recuperates peacefully.
There’s a knock to the door and the nurse gingerly places the baby in Tae-kang’s arms. He looks at his daughter for the very first time and calls, “Princess. I’m at your service.”
The parents look on with pride and even Ji-an’s Dad tries to sneak a look at the newborn. Tae-kang looks back at Ji-an who has a small little smile.
We pop into her dream as she walks down a hill lined with shoes, barefoot. Suddenly a voice cries out, “Mom!” and we see Tae-kang holding Ankle. She runs to Ji-an who gets on her knees to match Ankle’s eye-level. Looking at her daughter with love, she says, “So you must be Ankle.”
As the three of them walk hand in hand, Ji-an tells us:
“What is the right path? Where should I go from here? I’ll probably live But I’m no longer afraid. Life doesn’t always go as expected but it brings unexpected gifts. My love, my child… and the people I’m grateful to. I received such great gifts from them in a short timespan. What gifts will await me in the difficult future? I’m already curious about them. No, I’m definitely looking forward to them.”
What a beautiful and open-ended ending that leaves us wanting more – always a good sign in my book. Now that we’re at the other end of the road, it’s like we’re looking on with so much adventure in store for us, much like how life is. I Do, I Do has carried us the audience through stages always asking that same fundamental existential question: What is there to life? I loved that the question was posed in different contexts – is it our career, family, love, passion, our dreams? And what happens when it feels like when we have to compromise one for the other?
What I loved about this series was that it took a common romantic comedy premise and turned it into a heartwarming journey of one woman’s life to appreciate the life around her. The series brought up the issues of pregnancy, abortion, motherhood, and parenthood in a way I never expected at the start. The show examined the struggles and the implications of straddling between the love for a child and a career and a desire to be a mother to both.
I honestly wished we explored more in this area, to bring these questions into the spotlight because I don’t count one mention of a counter article to be a single mother as really addressing the issue. Kim Sun-ah did a fabulous job of letting us in to see her vulnerability under that tough exterior of an independent career woman and then later in the series, of a woman in love with a man who would chase after her own heart. Their relationship is such a healthy and open one (though it took forever for Tae-kang to know that he was Baby Daddy). But once they were on the same page, they were on the same team for every major decision because they knew it would affect them both. And what they truly wanted was what was best for the other. Can you ask for more than that?
As for our major opposition, I felt that we really didn’t have much of a rival nor anything that would stand in Ji-an’s way. Na-ri proved herself to be a fragile woman looking to fulfill her dream and fill her hunger for parental love and effectively harmless. Whether she was trying to bring Ji-an down or support her the entire time is a question that may never be answered.
Moving onto Eun-sung, I still have this quizzical look on my face how he became the Best Buddy Sage to everyone’s questions and problems when he clearly was Dr. Without Borders for most of the series. He definitely eased up by the end and though Eun-sung will forever give me questionable creepy vibes, I can certainly understand if you can forgive him for constantly butting in. I’m still not okay with him delivering Ankle himself because well, you literally have Ankle’s life in your hands, Doc. Just sayin’
I liked how the series introduced back the heart of the story by the end of series, though then it makes me wonder why the writers held out for so long. If you were going to take the series where I thought you were, you’re taking away my satisfaction of getting and making me tap my foot impatiently for a large chunk of the series. However, I will say that I breathed a huge sigh of relief once we got back on track and we saw what a magical combination Tae-kang and Ji-an can be.
We’ll never be sure how the choice we make today will affect our future but instead of worrying about the outcome, we can look forward to the gifts that lie ahead of us. Does that gift include Tae-kang? ‘Cause I’m okay with that.
- I Do, I Do: Episode 15
- I Do, I Do: Episode 14
- I Do, I Do: Episode 13
- I Do, I Do: Episode 12
- I Do, I Do: Episode 11
- I Do, I Do: Episode 10
- I Do, I Do: Episode 9
- I Do, I Do: Episode 8
- I Do, I Do: Episode 7
- I Do, I Do: Episode 6
- I Do, I Do: Episode 5
- I Do, I Do: Episode 4
- I Do, I Do: Episode 3
- I Do, I Do: Episode 2
- I Do, I Do: Episode 1