Haeundae Lovers: Episode 16 (Final)
THE END IS HERE! It’s a pretty awesome ending for this lighthearted drama, as I can’t count how many times I’ve giggled at all the cute moments, just wishing I had a Tae Sung-oppa to call my own and save me when I’m in trouble! It started off sweet, and I’m glad it ends sweetly too.
FINAL EPISODE RECAP
So what is the court to do when Tae Sung requests them to investigate him of his crimes? It’s an unprecedented move, and Tae Sung plows on – while he was ‘Nam Hae’ he married Sora and helped President Son sign by steadying the old man’s shaky hand. But once he regained his memories, he was afraid of the consequences and signed a statement that said he did everything while mentally incapacitated. However – that’s not true; he was fully functional and knew what he was doing. Therefore, with no witnesses other than Sora and himself, he wants to be put on trial for the crime of forgery.
The Defense Attorney – enlisted by Joon Hyuk – interrupts. He has a very important, final witness for this case: President Son himself. YAY! Someone got this man out of the hospital!
Dramatically, the court doors open – and Joon Hyuk wheels President Son in. OK – my jaw is dropping over the fact that President Son made an effort to dress in a suit and stylish hat, but what’s funnier is he shakes his cane angrily at his son. Joon Hyuk gives Sora a happy wink; he’ll do anything for this woman!
The Defense Attorney begins his questioning, and (as my jaw drops even further) President Son SPEAKS! He says that he gave his shares to Sora and Nam Hae, pointing at her and Tae Sung for added certainty. He says they never forged it, and he signed of his own will – and that’s an automatic acquittal for both of them! YAHOO! The Defense Attorney even tells Tae Sung to put his robes back on. Ha!
The son cries foul, thinking this is all still a scam, but his father throws a white towel in his face and cries that his only son wouldn’t even give him a sip of water. He’s rewritten his will, and has disowned his son. Tam Hee can’t accept this ruling but it’s too late. The court is abuzz… the real gangsters are the wealthy “educated” folk!
After the trial, Sora and the uncles thank Joon Hyuk from the bottom of their hearts, and Joong Shik comes running with white tofu for her to eat after getting out of jail. Dong Baek wonders if Sora will go visit Tae Sung too, but with her dad begging to go home, Joon Hyuk visits Tae Sung instead.
Joon Hyuk thinks Tae Sung ought to say something to him, like, “Thank you for putting President Son on the stand at the crucial moment,” or “Thank you, now I can continue being a prosecutor.” Yunno – something cheesily heartfelt like that? Tae Sung scoffs – he’ll pass on the kindness. But Joon Hyuk thinks he ought to be grateful for one more thing: “Sora’s outside.” Tae Sung perks up. Joon Hyuk also wants to apologize: he admits to being a jerk to him because he liked Sora so much, but he did it the wrong way. He admits that exposing Tae Sung at the shareholders’ meeting was a bit cowardly of him to do. And, may I add, juvenile, because he was clearly trying to give Tae Sung and Sora a reason not to be together.
Tae Sung doesn’t find it sincere, but accepts it anyways, and he walks Joon Hyuk out of his office. They open the door… and Sora nearly topples in for having leaned her ear against the door. Tae Sung bids Joon Hyuk farewell, and tells Sora to come inside: “You’ll hear better if you’re in the room than eavesdropping out here.” Tae Sung then gives Joon Hyuk a mischievous smile and closes the door on his face. Joon Hyuk is all, “Yeah yeah, I get the hint. I’m leavin’…”
Joon Hyuk catches Se Na running up to the prosecutor’s office. She heard about Tae Sung disrobing and asking to be tried for the crimes, but never heard the outcome. He assures her that Tae Sung is safe – he’s still a prosecutor, and Sora wasn’t found guilty. Well that’s a relief, but Joon Hyuk stops Se Na from going into the office. Tae Sung’s with Sora now, and as a woman once told him, they should both stop going down the difficult, futile path.
Se Na doesn’t care – she’s still going to go up to that office.
Tae Sung is busy putting his signature to cases, which makes Sora think she ought to be quick with what she has to say to get out of his way. But he’s not really busy; he’s just faking it to keep her around longer! He bets that all she wants to say is “Thank you” for what he did in the courtroom, but she says, “I wanted to say… you’re an idiot! How could you do that and risk your career? Maybe my father was right – you really are stupid!” He apologizes for becoming irrational at seeing her branded as a criminal, but the next thing they know, Se Na and Mr. Lee are in the room.
Clearly they were interrupting an intimate moment, and it’s enough to make Se Na storm out. Mr. Lee dismisses Sora, but not before Tae Sung tells Sora that he’ll be at Uncle’s Fishery later. Mr. Lee is severely disappointed with his son, but he finally gives in and lets Tae Sung divorce Se Na… on the condition that he never end up with Sora. Nope – Tae Sung will not agree to that. He’s going to live his life for himself now.
Tae Sung visits his father’s ashes, the first time he’s been there as himself, Tae Sung. He thanks his father for actively searching for him, even though he was sick, and promises to visit every so often. Tam Hee is surprised to see Tae Sung there, but she continues her tough talk – no way is she going to accept the court’s judgment. She’ll take the case all the way to the Supreme Court! Lady doesn’t know when to give up.
He heads out to Uncle’s Fishery, where the uncles are all busy at the restaurant. They’re surprised when they see Tae Sung and are unsure how to regard him (Prosecutor Lee? Nam Hae?). But they won’t let him close to Sora just yet. First they want to know if he’s here as Nam Hae or Prosecutor Lee Tae Sung. (It’s Nam Hae, since he just referred to himself as such to the uncles.) Yong Do then is all, “Sora was in so much heartache after what you did to her!” to which Tae Sung replies that he’ll never hurt her again. Finally, they give him the task of starting to help out with the restaurant, since he surely quit being a prosecutor, right? Ha – not so fast. Tae Sung isn’t giving up his job just yet.
Oh – so if he’s still a prosecutor, then the uncles can’t force him to help out with the restaurant. Dong Baek then asks the most crucial question: how on earth did he come up with the name “Nam Hae”? Tae Sung points to a box of ‘Nam Hae’ Anchovies, and goes skipping away to Sora’s room.
He surprises her while she’s in the middle of curling her hair and putting on makeup. (Of course she wasn’t beautifying herself because he was coming over!) Tae Sung finds her very pretty even without make-up, and I love how he reverts back to his honest, dorky side – even though it’s a little weird when he’s dressed in such a sharp suit.
They take a walk by the ocean, and Tae Sung has her close her eyes as he has a surprise for her. Sora isn’t about to let him trick her again, but she’s just acting coy. Tae Sung takes her face into his hands and leans in for a kiss… except they’re interrupted by Joong Shik!
Joong Shik is so happy to see Tae Sung that he tells him he’s promised never to call Tae Sung an idiot or stupid, and gives him all of his prized ddak-ji so that they can play together. Joong Shik also made a special pin for Tae Sung to wear so that if he were ever to get amnesia again, someone could bring him home. Doesn’t matter that the pin isn’t exactly helpful (“Address: My home”) but Tae Sung and Sora act thrilled for Joong Shik, and they head home a happy family.
Tae Sung’s room is still intact, and he finds his custom-made baseball shirt with “Nam Hae” on the back. He loves the gift, but he doesn’t understand why his number has to be 33. Sora explains to him that on their wedding day, he had told her to walk three steps towards him, and then gave her three minutes to cry or laugh on his shoulder. She was really grateful that he was there for her.
So why not repay him with a kiss? Tae Sung leans in expectantly, lips pursed, but they’re interrupted once again – by Joong Shik. The father wants to play a round of ddak-ji with Tae Sung, but then notices them being all awkward and secretive. Immediately, Joong Shik demands to know what they’re hiding. Could it possibly be… they’re eating without him?! Ha!
The following morning, Tae Sung has breakfast at the hotel restaurant, and is joined by an unexpected guest: Se Na. He doesn’t even notice her until she is sitting right in front of him, which is quite sad. The reason for her visit is the divorce papers. She rips the one Tae Sung gave her right in front of him. (Nooo!) She refuses to sign papers that he didn’t even consult her about, and she believes he has no right to have disrespected her so. She’s done nothing wrong in her eyes, except letting herself be taken advantage of too easily.
So instead, with dislike burning from her eyes, she hands him divorce papers – ones that she filed first. She wants one thing clear: she broke up with him. And she’s not going to ask for alimony since she’s richer. Dang. Tae Sung accepts that this is how Se Na will preserve her pride. She doesn’t want to hear his apology or his thanks, so Tae Sung says, “I hope you’ll be happy.” Se Na’s eyes change into one of hurt and incredulity: happy? She would have been happy if he had stayed by her! His wish is more hurtful, because if he had been sorry or thankful, she’d have a reason to hate him.
She rushes out, tears streaming, and bumps into Joon Hyuk. He offers to drive her somewhere since she’s so emotional, but she says that she doesn’t like seeing him whenever she’s emotionally weak, and opts to leave on her own. Yes lady – be independent.
Joon Hyuk makes his way into the restaurant to meet Tae Sung, who called for an emergency meeting. Tae Sung wants the hotel matter resolved immediately. Sora arrives, having gotten a message from Tae Sung. Joon Hyuk’s face lights up at the sight of her. Tam Hee also arrives. Joon Hyuk’s face falls.
They gather in the meeting room with other shareholders, and Tae Sung says that as the biological son of Man Ho, he’ll preside over the meeting with Joon Hyuk’s friend/attorney’s help. Tam Hee and Min Shik oppose this, but since they have less shares that Tae Sung, they have to let him run the meeting.
Tae Sung wants it done simply: those who want the merger, raise their hands. Joon Hyuk, Tam Hee, and the shareholders on their side of the room all raise their hands, and the attorney calculates up their shares. Then Tae Sung asks those who oppose the merger to raise their hands, and he, Sora and the Yang gangsters all raise their hands. The attorney calculates their shares too, and comes to a tie: 49% for, 49% oppose.
OF COURSE it’s a tie!
Tae Sung asks who has the final 2% of the shares, and the attorney says that those shares were given out when Joong Shik was still president of the hotel. Joon Hyuk stands up – he knows exactly who has those final shares, and invites the person inside in the room. This was his secret… and his mother comes into the room! It’s Sora’s mother, Park Young Sook, the former wife of Joong Shik. Everyone’s jaws drop, and Sora stares at her mother with fear and confusion in her eyes.
Tae Sung asks what she plans to do with her shares, and Young Sook says: “I’d like to bequeath my shares… to my daughter Sora.” AHH! Now you come and save the day, Mama!? Suddenly the Yang gangsters cheer – they won’t lose the hotel! Tam Hee sputters angrily that Joon Hyuk should never have brought her here, even though Young Sook is a shareholder.
After the meeting, Joon Hyuk arranges for Young Sook and Sora to sit together and talk, while he waits outside. Young Sook apologizes for the suddenness of her arrival, but felt that if she didn’t surprise Sora like this, they would have never met. She was always sorry for having abandoned her daughter without another word. Back then, she was just a Korean-American visiting Busan for the first time, and she fell in love with Joong Shik. It wasn’t until after they married and had Sora that she realized she was in a dangerous situation. She was afraid she might not be able to handle Joong Shik and the gang, and so she left to pursue her dreams. She never contacted Sora again, for fear that the life she had so carefully built with Joon Hyuk and his family would be torn into pieces. She hopes that Sora will be able to take control of the hotel and guide it in the best way possible.
Young Sook leaves, without even bothering to visit Joong Shik because that would be the least painful way for the both of them. She sees her son outside and smiles: Joon Hyuk’s father will not be happy when he hears what happened to the merger. She warns Joon Hyuk to make sure he can earn a lot of money, because if she gets kicked out of the house, he’ll have to support her! Joon Hyuk’s all, “Meeeee?! Support you? No wayyyy – you won’t get kicked out at all!”
Sora returns to the fishery and helps her uncles load the truck for a delivery. She gets a call from Tae Sung – he wants to see her now. Despite her insistence of being busy, Sora heads out and promises to be back soon. Soon Shin clucks in disapproval at her shirking work, but Uncle Hello Kitty reminds him that Sora and Tae Sung are in their honeymoon phase. Soon Shin tells him to stop acting like he knows better: “I’ve already been down the aisle once. You’re still single!” (Speaking of which – where’s Kwan Soon!?)
Sora runs to meet Tae Sung at the lighthouse and tells him to be quick about it – she’s busy! He tries to be all poetic and serene, commenting on the sunset and beautiful Haeundae waters, but she has no patience for it. So finally he tells her to just help him up, and holds out his hand. Sora grabs it, and feels something unfamiliar… it’s a diamond ring. Correction: It’s a HUGE diamond ROCK on a ring. Sora’s eyes grow wide, and Tae Sung proposes what he says is the Busan style: “Have my babies!”
Haha! That’s hilarious, but with a huge rock, who’s going to say no? Wheee!
Se Na is off to a salon, as she wants a new hairdo to correspond with the new phase in her life. (Her hair ends up looking pretty much the same…) She goes for some retail therapy, and as she crosses the street, her heel gets stuck in one of the manholes. And who comes to find her in this situation but Joon Hyuk again! He asks if she’s stuck again, and then proceeds to help her up, grunting all the while. When he pulls it off, he’s broken her shoe again. Se Na smiles – meeting like this so often might not be coincidence anymore, but fate. She is ready to leave but then nearly walks right into an oncoming car until Joon Hyuk saves her. Whooosh – and he’s holding her tight against his chest. Not awkward at all! I can’t believe the drama is pushing for this couple to happen.
Tae Sung visits Joon Hyuk’s office and sees Joo Hee there. He thanks her for watching over Joong Shik when they were all tied up with the case, and he now understands why Joo Hee kept his identity a secret. She blushes, and he tells her that she can’t do that anymore – he’s taken!
Joon Hyuk enters the office and starts packing his things. He’s been fired by his own father for losing this merger. That’s why Tae Sung is here to offer him the position of hotel president. He will offer him a 20% raise and is the best man for the job, since Sora has the fishery and he has his prosecutor job. Joon Hyuk initially declines, but the raise is tempting…
Tam Hee bursts into the office distraught. Who told her son to sell off her shares and go to Antarctica to build a hotel!? Joon Hyuk and Tae Sung have no idea what she’s talking about, and she moans over her lost shares and her son’s idiocy. (Oh good – I was starting to wonder if she thought the Antarctica expansion was a good idea, but it seems she was humoring her son the entire time.) Tae Sung tells Joon Hyuk that his first act as president is to get rid of Tam Hee for good, and skips out of the room. He’s got a honeymoon to attend. Poor Joon Hyuk, he looks so constipated at the thought that his first task is to deal with the most annoying woman in the world.
When Tam Hee calms down a bit, Joon Hyuk breaks the news not-so-gently: 1) the bank loan she took out to buy out all the shops in Sora’s neighborhood needs to be repaid, or else he’ll sue her for misappropriation of funds, and 2) she’s going to have to move out of her house because that’s hotel property reserved for the presidents, and he’s now the hotel president. Tam Hee is outraged by this disrespectful treatment, but Joon Hyuk has another idea in mind. Does she like grilled eel, by chance?
And with that – Tam Hee is kicked out to the streets, and sets up a sad little stand selling grilled eel right next to Uncle’s Fishery. She’ll have to sell eel until she pays back the entire bank loan. She calls out for people to buy her eel, but they all bypass her to go to Uncle’s Fishery instead. Uncle Hello Kitty comes out and yells at her for cooking so close to their property, and they end up in this five-year-old’s game of insulting each other and hitting each other’s grill. Oh boy – if it were not for the fact that I know they hate each other, I would have thought they were flirting.
Back in the hotel, it seems Soon Shin has resumed his duties there as part of the housekeeping service. He cleans a room with the maid that used to work in Tae Sung’s apartment, and they get a little too close on the bed while fixing the sheets. New romance!
As for Joong Shik, he plays in the new Kid’s Land, a play area in the hotel for young children to help promote families visiting the hotel. He has the time of his life as Joon Hyuk and Joo Hee watch on, as this would have been what he wanted if he were still mentally sound. Joon Hyuk compliments Joo Hee on executing this, as well as organizing the fishing tour with Uncle’s Fishery.
Uncle Hello Kitty and Dong Baek lead a tour of tourists and fishermen to the best spots for fishing in Busan, with Joo Hee as their assistant guide. When they all board the bus, Uncle Hello Kitty offers a seat for Joo Hee next to him, but Dong Baek pulls her into the seat next to him. Outraged at this blatant interception, Uncle Hello Kitty pulls Dong Baek out for a talk. “You know that I like Joo Hee, why do you keep acting like this?!” Dong Baek flicks his hair as if he doesn’t care, and says the guests are waiting. But Uncle Hello Kitty would rather get down and dirty and fight him for Joo Hee… if only the bus weren’t leaving without them already!
As for Sora and Tae Sung, they have their honeymoon on that deserted island, this time with a tent and camping tools, and a boat. Sora hopes they’ll get a falling star again so that she can make a wish. Tae Sung reveals his wish will be about having a lot of kids with Sora and to live happily with the uncles and Joong Shik. Sora adds that she’d wish this all weren’t a dream.
Aww… that makes Tae Sung lean in close, and he puckers up immensely. Hee. But this time they’re interrupted again! Because Sora notices that their boat is gone. They run to the rock and Sora finds that the rope has frayed, so their boat has floated off into the distance.
Tae Sung and Sora bicker about boat tying, and Tae Sung finds her incredibly naggy. This is the first time ever he’s felt so upset. Sora: “You really like that phrase, ‘This is my first time,’ don’t you?” She points out all the other times he was just as upset, which makes Tae Sung walk away from the argument (because he so clearly lost). Sora yells at him to come back and be a proper husband!
She gets pulled in behind a huge rock and finds her face inches from Tae Sung’s loving expression. They still need to finish what they started… and he pulls her in for a deep kiss.
Well that was a sweet ending for our couple. To the end they’ll bicker about nonsensical things and everything, and yet still find themselves in love again and again. This drama was no doubt far from perfect, but it certainly had the best actors for the job. It was a heartwarming experience, and I felt that these actors truly got to enjoy their job (except for maybe Se Na and Mr. Lee, because those characters were pretty straight-arrow characters rather than over the top ones). They all had this camaraderie that was palpable onscreen, whether they were playing rivals or friends.
There are definitely flaws in this drama. Plot inconsistencies run amok, such as Kwan Soon’s sudden disappearance, but I think these inconsistencies are due to the fact that we as an audience know something is up, but the characters don’t. When these characters have side discussions, they speak so loudly that it feels as if the other side knows it already – and yet they don’t! The presentation and revelation of the secrets and the twists are done in such a manner that it’s more surprising for me that the characters didn’t know about it. What doesn’t help is Joon Hyuk’s expressions. Kudos to Jung Seok Won for his expressive portrayal… but it also confused me because he looked like he knew everything, but then didn’t. Characters had personality whiplashes for the sake of the story, which was kind of annoying because I would have preferred to see character growth than change in personality when it suited the situation.
But despite all this, the drama got many points with me too. It never took itself seriously, throwing one cliche after another at us tongue-in-cheek, and totally made references to present-day pop culture. (Psy galore!) I thought the over-the-top cheese was going to be the death of this drama, especially when it had such high ambitions in plot. But because the actors all kept at the cheese, and all were so serious about what they were doing, I was sold into this crazy world of Haeundae, Busan. The writer wrote up good cheese. The zippy pace of the drama helped, and while it did slow down when it had to to set up future plot points, it never felt like the series was losing steam. What’s good is that we started with a goal – a prosecutor gets amnesia while working undercover and finds out he’s the son of a gangster – and we completed it. The drama never lost its way, thankfully. I had characters I hated (Se Na and Mr. Lee), characters I was confused by (Joon Hyuk), and characters I loved (the uncles). It ran the whole gamut of emotions one usually feels in a K-drama, but it never really dwelled too long on the melodrama.
What’s important is that this drama left me with a happy, satisfied feeling. Despite all my concerns in the beginning of where this drama was going to go, I was satisfied with how it concluded and how it ended up being fun throughout. It’s the first time I’ve ever felt this way… for this year. 😉
- Haeundae Lovers: Episode 15
- Haeundae Lovers: Episode 14
- Haeundae Lovers: Episode 13
- Haeundae Lovers: Episode 12
- Haeundae Lovers: Episode 11
- Haeundae Lovers: Episode 10
- Haeundae Lovers: Episode 9
- Haeundae Lovers: Episode 8
- Haeundae Lovers: Episode 7
- Haeundae Lovers: Episode 6
- Haeundae Lovers: Episode 5
- Haeundae Lovers: Episode 4
- Haeundae Lovers: Episode 3
- Haeundae Lovers: Episode 2
- Haeundae Lovers: Episode 1