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Age of Youth: Episode 12 (Final)

It’s a funny thing, our youth. It’s a time when we feel virtually everything – when we’re thrown into each and every day and expected to start shaping the rest of our lives. It’s a time when everything can seem possible one minute and then pointless the next. Like the five girls we’ve come to know and love in Age of Youth, our hearts beat with excitement and exhaustion. With hope and fear. With fullness and emptiness. It’s always a lot to take in, and at this certain age, it can almost feel like too much. But if there’s one message this drama has left with me, it’s that we have plenty of time to balance it all out. After all, our youth is only one part of our lives.

 
EPISODE 12: “Even so, life still goes on #aftermath”

Ye-eun is at an appointment with a therapist, where she lets out all of her shocked feelings over Ji-won’s lie. Ye-eun never really believed in ghosts, but she tells the therapist that the lie affected all the other girls in the house. She wonders why Ji-won did such a thing.

Ji-won comes home to find Eun-jae by herself. Ji-won considers apologizing to Eun-jae with the reassurance that she won’t blab about the Dad secret, but decides against it. But it seems like Eun-jae might actually need that reassurance, because she’s filled with worry. “They’ll all find out when the autopsy results come out. What will they say?” Eun-jae thinks.

She notices Ji-won eyeing the apple she’s cutting, so she holds up her knife, asking if Ji-won wants some. Ji-won flinches at the sight of the knife, which Eun-jae notes sadly. She lowers her hand and asks a different question: “What would you do if someone said you only had a few days left to live?”

Her voice eerily calm, Eun-jae elaborates that she was just wondering what people would do in that kind of situation. She walks past the shaking Ji-won and takes her apples to her room.

Eun-jae looks at her journal and jots down “Things I have to do,” and then pauses before writing, “Things I want to do” right underneath. Oh God. Just when I thought all my anxiety from the last episode was gone.

Eun-jae goes out with Jong-yeol for dinner, and she tries parsley for the first time. She tells Jong-yeol she wanted to try it at least once, making Jong-yeol look at her oddly. He’s even more surprised when Eun-jae suggests they drink some soju. He complies and pours her a drink, asking if she’s worried about something. She mumbles that she is.

Eun-jae doesn’t exactly feel like elaborating, and since Jong-yeol knows by now not to push her into talking, he just encourages her to drink her worries away and says that he’ll take care of her if she gets too drunk. Fast forward to four bottles later and Jong-yeol’s the one drunk as a skunk. Still fairly sober, Eun-jae hesitantly tells Jong-yeol not to hate her too much when he finds out the truth about her. Jong-yeol’s head drops to the table with a garbled “Okay,” and Eun-jae just stares at him.

Ye-eun continues telling her therapist how worrisome Eun-jae’s been acting. She moves on to talk about Yi-na and how she’s trying to start anew by becoming a designer. Yi-na’s even taking drawing lessons with younger kids. At home, Yi-na practices her shading, and, frustrated with the results, she wonders if setting this objective was too far-fetched for her age and if she should just quit.

Right then, Jin-myung comes out to leave for her job, and Yi-na quickly hides her artwork. Once Jin-myung’s gone, Yi-na sighs, feeling like she’s too embarrassed to quit. She flips back to her drawing and starts again. Attagirl.

The next morning, Ji-won walks over to the fridge and… hears or feels something. She turns around, getting a bad feeling, but nothing’s there. The second time she turns around, she gasps, startled to see Eun-jae right in front of her.

Eun-jae nonchalantly grabs herself a glass of water, and Ji-won asks when the autopsy results will come out. Still a little too calm, Eun-jae responds that they’ll be out next Wednesday. “If you…” Ji-won starts to ask, only to get interrupted by Ye-eun and Yi-na’s entrance. They’re all wearing black, about to leave for Jin-myung’s brother’s funeral.

It’s pretty empty at the brother’s service, and Jin-myung’s surprised when her four housemates walk in. She welcomes them in with a grateful smile, though it immediately gets awkward once the girls face the brother’s picture.

It seems like Eun-jae is the only one who really knows what to do, and the others follow her lead, though they all goof up with the formal bow. Jin-myung stifles a laugh, and the other girls soon follow suit. They turn to bow to Jin-myung next and they’re all trying so hard to contain their laughter that it sounds like they’re sobbing.

Jin-myung leads them outside and they all laugh freely, figuring everyone inside must’ve thought they were crazy. Jin-myung realizes that her mom will be coming soon and tells the girls to go ahead and leave. Now that the laughter’s subsided, the girls look at Jin-myung, reluctant to leave her alone. “I’m really okay,” Jin-myung reassures them. They start to leave, but Ji-won hangs back.

Ji-won nervously asks Jin-myung about the day her brother passed away. Ji-won: “If your mother hadn’t done that…” Jin-myung: “You’re wondering if I would’ve done it instead?” Jin-myung says she probably would’ve.

Ji-won voices her worry that Jin-myung only developed those thoughts after the lie about the ghost. And it’s true – Jin-myung admits that before the lie, she only thought about whether her brother was alive or dead. She never thought about her brother’s soul, how he felt, or what he’d want.

“So… thanks for lying to me,” Jin-myung says, patting Ji-won’s arm to let her know it’s okay. Ji-won responds by pulling Jin-myung into a tight hug and then rejoins the other girls.

The four girls walk to the bus stop, feeling bad for leaving Jin-myung alone. Yi-na points out their sunbae probably needed some time to herself anyway. “I wouldn’t want to be alone if I were her though,” Ye-eun says, almost to herself.

Yi-na brings up the fact that Eun-jae knew what to do at the funeral, and Eun-jae explains she saw it all before for her dad’s funeral. The other girls admit that they were pretty nervous back there since it was a first for them.

It dawns on them that, like Eun-jae, they could get used to going to funerals. “That could happen,” Yi-na muses, “There will be many people I know who will die. And we’ll die someday too.” Ji-won puts a stop all the depressing talk.

Jin-myung heads back into her brother’s hall to see that her mom has arrived. Mom stares at the picture of brother Soo-myung for the longest time, and she continues to stare at it outside on a bench. Jin-myung takes a seat beside her and asks why Mom won’t meet with the attorney.

Mom replies that she’d rather just receive proper punishment for her sins. Tears form in Jin-myung’s eyes as she raises her voice at Mom: “If you’re remorseful, then why did you do it? Why? Perhaps, because of me? Because you thought I might…”

Mom’s head snaps up. She tells Jin-myung that her sin is feeling too lighthearted after what she did to Soo-myung. She begins to say she knows she shouldn’t feel this way and then starts rocking back and forth with sobs. Jin-myung looks away, letting her own tears fall.

Some time later, Jin-myung does some homework at the school library, but something stops her. She leaves her studies and browses the shelves until she finds a certain book (Demian: The Story of Emil Sinclair’s Youth by Hermann Hesse).

Jin-myung then heads to the convenience store for work, where she gets a pleasant surprise visit from Jae-wan. He sits her down and asks why she didn’t tell him about her brother’s funeral. Jin-myung smiles gently, saying it wasn’t exactly good news, so she didn’t want to bring it down on him. She tells him not to worry, since she didn’t tell anyone about it.

“Am I just ‘anyone’ to you?” Jae-wan asks. “I thought I was a little more special to you.” He gets up to leave when Jin-myung’s hand shoots out and grabs his. She apologizes, saying she’s just been feeling weird lately – it’s like she’s lost her way, but she doesn’t even know where she first took a wrong turn. Jae-wan slowly sits back down, squeezing her hand back. So sweet.

It’s cleaning day at the Belle Epoque house, and as the girls busy themselves with chores, their minds are flooded with their individual worries. Ji-won is feeling uneasy about confronting Eun-jae about her lie. Eun-jae is feeling dread as the date for the autopsy results grows near. Yi-na is feeling exhausted from working so hard toward a new career path. And Jin-myung is feeling pathetic after her realization that she’s lost her way.

Ye-eun watches all of them, thinking they’re weird. She wonders if she’s the only normal person in the house, only to change her mind when her phone starts beeping with texts asking about the kidnapping incident.

The girls are still preoccupied with their thoughts as they take a snack break, and they all sigh in unison.

On her way out, Ji-won finds Eun-jae sitting outside watching a neighbor’s dog. Eun-jae brings up the dream she always has with her dad saving her from a dog. “Why do you think my dad saves me?” Eun-jae asks, “Maybe because the dream and reality are opposite?”

Ji-won tenses at first, and then says that all Eun-jae did was switch the thermoses. Whether there was poison or sleeping medication inside has nothing to do with Eun-jae, since it was her father who poured it in. In Ji-won’s eyes, Eun-jae was simply protecting herself and her mom, so she’s innocent. “So don’t feel guilty. Everything will be okay,” Ji-won says.

However, Eun-jae doesn’t see how anything will turn out okay.

Eun-jae believes the investigators will eventually find out the truth, and then her worst suspicions will be confirmed – about the car accident, the house fire, and her brother’s death. She remembers her father treating them so well up until that fire.

“So I have to tell them how scared I was,” Eun-jae explains, “I have to tell them I haven’t been able to sleep since then. I have to tell them that the day my brother died, the first thing my dad did was to wash the cup my brother last drank from. In order to expose the fact that I’m not a murderer, I have to say that my dad was a murderer.”

And to Eun-jae, that isn’t an “okay” outcome. She says it feels like Russian roulette with a fully loaded gun – there’s no way things will turn out okay.

Eun-jae slips back inside, and as she shuts the door, the landlady comes out from another door, muttering that Eun-jae was acting so serious. The landlady waters her plants with a smile and says that if Eun-jae is playing Russian roulette with a fully loaded gun, all she has to do is not shoot. Why is this lady so awesome?

At school, Ji-won clings onto Sung-min, begging him to get in contact with a sunbae they know to dig up some information concerning the autopsy. Sung-min won’t budge, so Ji-won has to put on her best aegyo by shaking her shoulders at him. Sung-min finds the sight so repulsive that he agrees if she’ll just stop, lol. Though when Ji-won skips off, his hand goes up to his beating heart. Kyaaa.

Eun-jae lets her bus to the campus drive off without her and she goes to visit her mom instead, who’s busy picking apples in their orchard.

Mom is ecstatic to see her daughter, especially since it gives her an excuse to take a break from working. Eun-jae suggests they work together then, making Mom pout like a grumpy child. Eun-jae’s face grows serious and she tells Mom to be strong. It seems like she’s going to bring up Dad’s case when Mom screams bloody murder.

“It’s a snake! It’s a snake!” Mom cries, suddenly frantic and cowering behind Eun-jae. Eun-jae quiets her down and says it’s just a tree branch. Mom sighs with relief and says that she’s absolutely terrified of snakes, squirming at the very idea of them.

Eun-jae’s gaze toward her mom turns cold as she says, “I’m scared of snakes too.” Her voice grows louder as she says that Mom always hides while she has to do the protecting.

Mom doesn’t understand where all of this is coming from, but it doesn’t stop there – Eun-jae is tired of being the only one filled with worry and doubt while Mom gets to roam around carefree. She calls Mom the worst and storms off.

Back at school, Sung-min gives Ji-won the documents she asked for and she sifts through them, her eyes filling with more worry with every turn of the page.

Ji-won rushes home to look for Eun-jae, but Jin-myung’s the only one there. Each time the door opens, Ji-won bolts to the door, only to be disappointed when it turns out to be Ye-eun, and then Yi-na. The girls ask why Ji-won is so on edge when the doorbell rings. It’s the landlady, and she’s here to let them know Eun-jae went home instead of school only to run off, and now her parents can’t reach her.

It’s not clear where Eun-jae is, but it looks like she’s lying somewhere outside on what must be a roof. Oh God. Please, oh, please don’t be a roof.

Jin-myung stops Ji-won from walking away and urges her to tell them what’s going on with Eun-jae. Ji-won hesitates, feeling like it’s not her place to tell, but with the situation so dire, she decides to tell them everything.

Now knowing the entire story and knowing that the results of the autopsy are coming out tomorrow, the girls fear what Eun-jae might do. They can’t just sit around and do nothing, so they all go out to search for her, with Ji-won hanging back at the house in case Eun-jae returns.

Ye-eun and Yi-na search the neighborhood while Jin-myung takes the school campus. As they check every possible place Eun-jae might be, they flash back to when Eun-jae had first moved into the house – when they’d initially pushed her around and she silently took it all in until she finally exploded.

With no sign of Eun-jae anywhere, the girls retreat back to the house, now more scared than ever. Ye-eun’s panic even has her in tears, and she cries that she feels terrible for not understanding Eun-jae till now.

We go back to Eun-jae, now lying in the dark, and the camera pans over to reveal that she is on a roof – the roof of the Belle Epoque house. Her blank expression is so haunting as she remembers the events before and after her brother’s death.

When she was young, Eun-jae had noticed her dad watching her brother sleep, an unreadable expression on Dad’s face. Dad had brought home fried chicken to her brother’s excitement, and the next thing she knew, her brother had dropped his glass of milk and collapsed, choking.

Just as Eun-jae said earlier, the first thing Dad did was wash up the milk on the floor and clean the brother’s cup. At the brother’s cremation, Dad looked as devastated as any father would in front of Eun-jae and her mom, but then we see that same scene with Dad and the thermoses, his face, again, unreadable.

The memories are too much for Eun-jae, and she lets out a shaky sigh, tears streaming down her face. She doesn’t move from her spot on the roof all night.

The other girls are up all night too, unable to do anything but wait and pray. They all jump at the sound of the door opening, all eyes waiting for Eun-jae’s face to appear. When it finally does, relief comes pouring out of everyone. Yi-na screams at Eun-jae for worrying them to death, while Ye-eun straight-up bursts into tears.

Eun-jae looks up at everyone with shock. “I’m sorry,” she says innocently. Jin-myung’s crying too, and she immediately embraces Eun-jae, telling her it’s okay now that she’s back. The rest of the girls join the hug one by one, grateful to have their friend in the safety of their arms.

Please excuse me – I need to get a new box of tissues.

Eun-jae tells everyone where she was and even holds out her arm with a weak smile, saying she got bit by a ton of mosquitos all night. Jin-myung asks her in all seriousness if she went up there because she was having suicidal thoughts.

“Yes,” Eun-jae admits, crying again. She had thoughts that she had to die and that dying was the only option. “But,” she says, “no matter how much I thought about it, I didn’t want to die.” The girls tell her to live then, which only prompts more tears from Eun-jae. She’s so scared of what will happen if she does.

“We don’t know what will happen, but don’t worry in advance. You can deal with it when it comes,” Jin-myung tells her. And in the meantime, they’ll all have Eun-jae’s back. Eun-jae cries even more at the sound of that.

Ye-eun tries to lift the mood with breakfast, but it only comes crashing down again when the doorbell rings and the insurance investigator’s face shows up on the monitor.

The timid investigator must face all of them this time, since the girls refuse to leave Eun-jae. Jin-myung tells the man they already know the full story. The investigator confirms that he has the results, and Jin-myung takes Eun-jae’s hand. Eun-jae takes a breath and… the investigator apologizes. Heads turn.

According to the results, there was no foul play involved. The investigator apologizes again for going to such drastic measures. But I don’t think Eun-jae’s even listening anymore – her eyes dart back and forth, trying to make sense of all of this.

After the investigator takes his leave, the girls try to figure this out. Jin-myung asks how old Eun-jae was at the time of her brother’s death and of her father’s death. Eun-jae answers she was in fourth grade and then eight grade. Jin-myung wonders if Eun-jae misunderstood something, but Eun-jae isn’t sure — maybe the autopsy wasn’t detailed enough?

Ji-won thinks back to the autopsy files she read through, where it said if there was no reagent, you’re not guilty – so she realized that even the autopsy can’t reveal a lot of details. However, she tells Eun-jae that when she looked into it, she found that there are no chemicals that go undetected by an autopsy.

Eun-jae still seems pretty shocked, so the girls tell her she must’ve misunderstood, and they call her a dummy for worrying over nothing. They give her reassuring smiles until she smiles back.

On campus, Sung-min spots Ji-won staring off into space on a bench. He looks her up and down and thinks that she is pretty, and they do get along well. Omg, is this really happening?

He takes a seat next to Ji-won and asks her what she’s thinking about. Ji-won wonders out loud if she did the right thing. Sung-min urges her to go on, but for once, Ji-won doesn’t feel like talking. That worries Sung-min, and he even checks to see if she has a fever. Ji-won tells him to lay off. Starting today, she’s going to be more silent. Sung-min insists that she’s the prettiest when she talks, though.

“Really?” Ji-won says, finally looking at him. And then she picks her wedgie. HAHAHA. Sung-min just sighs and gets up, totally done with her before he barely started. Back to her peppy self, Ji-won chases after him. Ah, this couple, seriously…

Meanwhile, our next cute couple, Eun-jae and Jong-yeol, take a stroll, with Eun-jae talking about memory really being an untrustworthy thing while Jong-yeol’s plans an entire romantic getaway in his head and smiles to himself. When she asks him why he’s so smiley, he responds that just looking at her makes him smile. Real smooth, this fella.

They run into another boy who Jong-yeol calls Yool-bin. *double take* Whoa there. Is this really who I think it is? It is! It’s Eun-jae’s oily ex-crush, Yool-bin. I was wondering where you went. I’m a bit sad to see your luscious locks gone though.

Yool-bin totally checks Eun-jae out, which doesn’t get past Jong-yeol. He suggests Yool-bin run along. Yool-bin does leave, but not before giving Eun-jae one last cheesy wink. Jong-yeol scoffs that the dude did get better looking, and then waits for Eun-jae’s input. Eun-jae smiles brightly at him and says she doesn’t care for looks, which he soon realizes isn’t exactly a compliment. Hah.

On to Couple #3: Jin-myung and Jae-wan. Jin-myung tells Jae-wan her plans to go to China for a month. She’s not sure what she’ll do after that, but right now, she wants to do something unpredictable for once in her life. In his head, Jae-wan is saddened that she came up with this decision out of nowhere, but he encourages her out loud.

Jin-myung says she’s glad he’s on her side, otherwise she would’ve felt alone in this, which gets Jae-wan’s hopes up that she does see him in her future. And sure enough, she asks for his address so she can write to him. He’s so adorably excited that he starts blurting it out, and then stops so he can simply show her on his phone.

Next up is Dong-joo and Yi-na. Dong-joo quickly hides the picture of Yi-na he’d been looking at when she shows up. “You cut your hair,” he notes right away. She asks him what kind of gift a man would like. Dong-joo asks if she’s getting something for him, but she says it’s for another man. Gah, that sad smile Dong-joo gives her.

It turns out the other man is Jong-gyu. Yi-na presents him with cologne, proud to be giving him something she bought with her own money. She asks if he notices anything different about her, but Jong-gyu remains clueless.

Ye-eun receives a letter from Doo-young telling her that he cherishes all the time they spent together and that she doesn’t need to forgive him. He’d just like it if she were happy…

And then we see Doo-young writing another heartfelt letter in prison, with a woman telling him exactly what to say. He groans and asks how long he has to write these letters. “Until the victim writes a positive response,” the woman says. Doo-young curses in annoyance.

On Jin-myung’s last night before heading off to China, the girls celebrate with drinks. Ji-won suggests they all toast and spill some juicy secrets. Ji-won goes first, declaring, “I still haven’t dated anyone!” The girls scoff, having known that already. They all burst into laughter and raise their glasses, toasting to Belle Epoque.

Ye-eun goes to another therapy session and starts babbling about her housemates again when the therapist cuts her off, asking for Ye-eun to stop talking about others and talk more about herself.

“Me? There’s not much to talk about,” Ye-eun says with a smile. She’s eating well and sleeping well – all in all, she’d consider herself doing fine. In fact, she thinks she doesn’t need to show up for therapy anymore.

Still smiling, Ye-eun is on her way home when a man sneaks up on his girlfriend to surprise her a few feet away, also managing to scare the grin right off of Ye-eun’s face. Ye-eun starts to hyperventilate, the crowd around her moving about while she’s stuck in place.

Meanwhile, Jin-myung sets off for her trip to China. A worker at the airport ticket counter watches Jin-myung walk away, expressing jealousy that she gets to travel like this. Hearing this, the biggest smile forms on Jin-myung’s face.

And back at the Belle Epoque house, the landlady listens to her epic French music while getting ready for yet another day.

 
COMMENTS

Huh. Well, there’s a bittersweet ending if I ever saw one. It left me feeling incredibly uneasy – much like the entire run of the show did – but it also left me with juuust the right amount of hope. None of the storylines were really tied up, but the show gave us just enough space to imagine all the possibilities ourselves.

Right now, I want to be pissed that Ye-eun’s last scene had to be such a negative one, but deep down, I know the show included that for a reason. I think if Age of Youth wanted to piss us off with a half-assed ending, it could have, but it’s not that kind of show. It’s much smarter than that. So when I watched it again, this scene with Ye-eun seemed totally well-calculated. Rather than an implication that Ye-eun was doomed for unhappiness, the scene serves more as a reminder that there are many roadblocks we face in life.

The scene is “the end” for us since it’s the last we see of her, but for Ye-eun, it’s just one moment in her life that feels a little tough. Could the kidnapping trauma ruin the rest of her life? It’s possible. Could she eventually get over it like she eventually got over her love for Doo-young? That’s also possible. It could go either way. And though we may be dying to see it resolved onscreen, we really don’t need to. I think we’ve already got enough evidence from our girls that they can be crying with despair one minute and then laughing hysterically in the next. They’ll be fine, guys. Maybe not right way, but in time.

Another reason I praise this drama’s ending is because of the final moments dedicated to Belle Epoque’s landlady. I thought she was a wonderful presence in the girls’ lives, silently protecting them and silently caring for them. And at times I was beginning to doubt she was even real because she was the spitting image of a guardian angel (but that was when I still believed the ghosties in this drama were real). I don’t know, there was just something about this woman I found extremely comforting. The show’s last scene with her getting ready made me realize that what made her comforting was simply being there all this time, showing that life indeed goes on. She could’ve been a young girl just like the five heroines – just like any of us, really – with her own strange issues, but she grew up and ended up perfectly fine. For me, this character was the example that I wanted the girls to follow, and she’s the example I think a lot of people should follow. Who better to have as a role model than an independent woman just living her life?

This drama has etched itself a special place in my heart and it’ll definitely stay there for a long time, but that doesn’t mean the drama is getting off scot-free. I’m all for the ambiguous ending, but the drama still failed to answer questions that we deserved to know. Why did the ballerina ex-housemate from Episode 1 move out? Why were the girls so sketchy at every mention of her? And then the big question: Can Ji-won really see ghosts? If the whole thing was a lie, then what was with that high-pitched noise? Who is this “Hyo-jin” Ji-won called out to? These questions keep the drama from being a perfect show to me, but it doesn’t make me like the show any less. If anything, I guess it plays with the idea that not everything in life can be answered. I won’t complain since I got answers to the rest of my long list of questions. Along with that, I got five more strong drama heroines to admire. Here’s to those five girls who told us it’s okay to be shy, to be unique, to dream late, to fall in love, and to simply live for ourselves.

 
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i thought the ending was very good... i think we all know someone who has ye-eun tendencies... and they are not always so good, to "try" to be okay all the time.

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One of the Brightest point of the show is its genuine comedy. No insults,taunts,forced expressions and actions,forced Laughs and music.

So maybe trying to be ok works out because the atmosphere around you. But as soon as you leave your secured and comfortable circle it become completely different world.

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I read the Ye-eun happening as hopeful. She was in a state of denial when she insisted that she was ok and didn't need help. And she was probably convinced of that, until being re-triggered. This aids to her self-awareness and tells the audience that she's growing more in-touch with her self, that she is starting to see how her traumas in life have affected her etc.

I love this drama and the pacing. The mysteries added to the show, but the best and main focus for me was the relationship between the girls.

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What a great slice of life show (with a bit of mystery thrown in).

I really like the open ending the story gave all our girls. The one that was upsetting was Ye-eun. Clearly she suffers from PTSD but is too afraid to talk about it or maybe even admit it. I wish she hadn't told her therapist she wasn't needed anymore. Then, I could assume she would continue to go and maybe find some piece, as it is I see her going through life slightly scarred. It's sad, but realistic I guess. Not everyone gets a happy ending and some lives are easier than others.

I like the lie Ji-won tells Eun-jae regarding the autopsy. This time her lying helped heal instead of being destructive. Eun-jae lived believing she killed her father, now she can think of it as a faulty memory-not truth. Even though, we the audience, know that foul play could have happened, or it could have been just as she was told, her misinterpreting the facts. I like that know one knows for certain.

Overall very pleased with the show and our girls, boy have they grown!!!

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I agree that Ye Eun's non growth is really what upsets me the most. She just doesn't seem to move forward even with all the stuff she's gone through and witnessed around her. She still continues to talk behind people back constantly with "I'm hollier than thou" attitude.

BUT, that's pretty much the only thing I have a problem with. I love, love, love this show! And the other four heroines, can I just hold them deeply as my own friends? Gah! This and My Dear Friends will continue to haunt me long after they're finished.

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I actually think the ending proved that Ye-eun has grown. She wants to deny it, hide behind her bubbly exterior, and turn to her old habit of gossip, but she knows deep down that she is not done healing.

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I agree totally. A really really good show.

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As one great friend of mine once said, I would like to say again, I definitely ship the story, it's the writer who stays in the limelight taking all the cookies for the uniqueness, the different,and totally individualistic flavor of it's own. I watched white christmas, a while back,and though I still have not gushed about how much I loved that drama, the same way this one would hold a special place for me,not for a long time,but always in my drama life.,lol. And what's incredible is the writer totally has some different zones in her mind for creating a whole another atmosphere, a distinct offbeat kind of world unlike her previous creations. It's definitely quality of a class story teller, and this sets her position poles apart from some other writers for kdramas. So while other drama writers has certain trademark to their dramas..by which we can identify whom it is from, that's not the case with this writer at all. Hope we get to see more and more character driven dramas like this. Everyone from the quirky landlady to the psycho boyfriend delivered.
Oh but the one who lighted up my screen the most has to be song ji won. God who laughed out loud when she called her friend at the hospital lol. I can relate to her in so many embarrassing way that it's not even funny at all. Buut song ji won's strength lies in the fact that the girl thinks she can't get any boy to go out with, while she has got one just by her side lol. My girl crush of the year haha.

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*lightened up.

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FYI, the final song is a very famous French song called "I regret nothing."

ALso, about the landlady, I love that she's a single lady, and that she's the protector. It gives another push to the idea that you trust your ladies, they're the ones that will be there for you. She's living a happy life, alone, with her girls.

I'm an introvert, and I love the landlady living her best life, alone, being without regrets, and looking after her kids, albeit from afar.

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Haha. Inception ruined that song for me. Everytime I hear that French song, I remember the loud bwah afterwards.

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But we did get the answer to ballerina ex-housemate, she got pregnant and her parents made her move out. Out of respect, the girls decided not to mention it.

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Really? When did they mention this? Cos the ballerina part is still a mystery to me as well, an explanation including episode number would be helpful.

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It's mentioned very briefly in one of the episodes (I can't remember the ep number right now) But it's a pretty fast reference and scene, and very easy to miss.

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I can't remember either, but I think it must've been episode 2 or 3...Eun-Jae sees the ballerina ex-roommate in the school's cafeteria and gets curious about what happened to her, and finds out the whole story at the end of the episode.

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Ohhhh, okay. *embarrassed* Well, I feel terrible for missing that. Fail on my part!

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It was in the end of episode 1 when they were drinking.

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The thing is when you watch that scene again and know the JW was the one that answers you can't help but wonder if it is indeed the truth or there is something else going on.

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Yeah but it felt really fishy especially since Liar Song said it and the others gave a weird look

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I thought and I still think it was a lie to cover a bigger story. The girls didn't seem to want to mention this in front of Yoon sunbae who seemed particularly affected and angry because of this girl.

Plus I don't think when seeing the girls that they would blame her for just moving out because of her parents.

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I really liked the funeral scene. In my opinion it pointed out the main purpose of the show: Bad things will happen in your life but it shouldn't stop you of laughing.

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I think they're laughing because they realize her brother is a Christian and perhaps Christians does not get the formal bow at the funeral. I don't know :D

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Overall I was really happy with the drama and I think ye eun not being 100 percent okay is a good ending. What happened to her what traumatic so of course she won't be okay after a month or so. I feel like ji won total got the short end of the stick in the show. Her story line was always in the back. She had no real growth or momentum and I guess that's fine she served as the glue and catalyst for the girls but I really wanted more from her story other then she's a compulsive liar. Why does she lie? What was the noise? Who's hyo Jin? Arrggghhh I need more Ji won

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I read a theory on her hearing things was because her lying really bothered her this time. When she finally came out and told the truth, the ringing stopped.

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I think Ji won DID grow. She realized how she could really hurt people with her immaturity. Yet she also realizes how her words could be used to comfort and heal people. Her main problem was always her glib-ness. Though she doesn't lose her personality, I think she has come to really think carefully about her words more vs. previously--when she just said anything that came to her mind.

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Maybe all of these questions weren't answered and wrapped up neatly in order to pave way for a second season??? Please oh please

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fingers crossed!

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That's what I thought too.

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please, make it happen! I actually feel a bit frustated about Ji won and her guy friend. I want moore story of them please. And there is some scene in the preview ep 12 about them that didn't air at the actual episode. so It make me super curious. Please surprise me with a special episode jtbc *fingers crossed*

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Overall I liked this drama. I'd been wanting for a good friendship focused drama for a long time, and I have to say that overall this drama followed through on that.

I agree that there were some threads and plot points that seems to have just been dropped. Especially in regards to the ex-housemate. The "she got pregnant and had to take a leave from school" excuse sounded a bt vague with the way the others reacted.

As for Ji-won and the noise in regards to the ghost: I read a theory (can't remember where) that it could be a very physical representation off her own guilt for lying. And when looking back at the times it does appear, this is a theory I can get on board with.

As for Ye-Eun's ending scene I do think it sends quite a powerful message. This is a person that tried to bury all the hurt and pain and scary stuff under a very cheerful persona. I've been there, done that. The belief that if you don't admit to yourself that something is wrong will make it go away. Even if it doesn't.

At the same time it sends out the message that even bubbly, cheerful and smiley people can have secrets and things they are afraid off. And it works as a contrast to Eun-Jae whom you could always tell had something that worried her.

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My instinct was to be really angry at Yeeun's ending - how dare they leave her with such deep trauma, with no resolution in sight? But upon reflecting I realize that though I would tweak it a bit, it's very fitting.

Age of Youth is about the hurts that haunt us. Wounds don't magically get better because we stitch them up, it takes a lot of time. Sometimes they leave scars. We might forget what those scars are from but we know we went through something painful to get them.

Yi Na was able to overcome her guilt and shame of living by meeting Jong Gyu, another person deeply scarred by the same incident. That doesn't mean her life is perfect, she's still figuring out what to do with her future. Jin Myung started opening up and letting out her grief and anger at an unfair world and now she's going to try living for herself.

Eun Jae had to face a past where her father might be a murderer and the answer is left ambiguous. Was he a killer or a healer? Did he wash the cup to conceal a crime or because he feel the impulse out of grief? We don't know and Eun Jae doesn't know, but she's found a satisfactory answer that lets her live without the burden of false (?) certainty.

And Yeeun...poor, sweet Yeeun whose crime was loving too much, is now facing a gaping wound. She survived something terrible and ugly and personal and it will haunt her. Age of Youth leaves us with that sharp, cruel reminder that traumas aren't overcome in days. It can take years, it can take lifetimes. But we've seen how healing comes with love and the people around us. We leave Yeeun on a terribly bitter note but we know from the other girls' stories that eventually we can overcome. After all, Yeeun isn't the same as she was in the beginning of the show. She isn't alone. None of us are.

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I completely agree! The ending was perfect for me because of how (some might say painfully) realistic it was. Life isn't going to be perfect for these girls just because the hidden drama cameras stopped running, it simply goes on with all its ups and downs. I just want to add on to your comment as well that this is exactly why the ending with the landlady and the song "Je ne regrette rien (I regret nothing)" was so perfect. The landlady reminds us that the girls will continue to live, grow, experience happy times and sad times, but will ultimately be okay. Whether times are happy or sad, life goes on. We can only move forward.

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I think the ex-housemate story was answered wth her pregnancy. for me, the sound jiwon heard was her conscience "calling her out" for lying. hyojin tho... I've no idea lol this drama was a bit hard to get in the beginning with the shift in tones, but when the girls' friendship took off, it was SO GOOD. every single moment with them was a pleasure.

if there's one thing that I could complain is that jiwon didn't get her romantic moment. my rational side thinks it was a good thing to left the "who knows" between her and sungmin and I like the message about a woman not needing a boyfriend to be happy. BUT THEY WERE SO CUTE. I just wanted a little bit more fanservice lol.......

all the actresses did such an amazing job with their characters. I expected han yeri to nail it, but park eunbin was such a good surprise (and please, keep this hairstyle! lol)!

I'LL MISS THESE GIRLS SO MUCH! <3

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That detail about the adult diaper made me tear up a bit. (I hope this comment doesn't offend anyone.) It's one of my fears about growing up: losing control of my body/mobility/health.

The landlady was always in the background doing normal everyday stuff (picnic at the rooftop, watering plants, going on vacation) and she was being awesome at it too. So when they showed that tiny detail like it was really nothing, it's like they're telling us: look, it's all a normal part of growing up and getting old. It will happen in the future but it won't define who you are (if you don't let it). It's just another way of them telling me life will be okay.

Thanks chocolatte and SailorJumun for your recaps! I hope we all find another show as precious as this one. :D

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So many good comments here that i am left with too few a words.

This is the same thought that appeared in my mind after watching Beautiful Mind.

My Mother always says A person must be healthy in all of their life. Independent. This is what i fear too. Being dependent on others for every little thing. Body is such a treasure most of us take for granted.

Landlady is the coolest Eldest person i ever saw in a kdrama.

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Mary--

I've always known my mom as the epitome of independence...I mean, she's this woman who my DAD called to ask for help in changing HIS tires. You know...that kind of mom. I visited her just this past summer and saw some signs of dementia, which I was afraid to be signs of alzheimer. My biggest fear for her was that, that she'd lose that independence, losing her before losing her. So yes...I choked too when I saw the landlady putting the adult diaper on.

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Yes the adult diaper thing moved me too. And these girls were busy with their own lives they didn't realize there's another person silently looking out for them - protecting them against stalkers, etc. She's one cool ahjumma and potentially Ji-won in the future? (No, I want Sung-min for her!)

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Every single part of this drama left us with things to ponder. A very good story.

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The scene didn't faze me at all. I didn't think much about it because she wears it effortlessly.

As a caregiver to my mother, I often wonder if my mom is depress that she depends a lot on me, but she is appreciative most of the time.

Sometimes you just can't help but to get sick.

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Age of youth is the definition of "IMPERFECT PEFECTION". I never realised how much I needed a drama like this. Love love love

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I'm gonna miss this drama so much :(

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I feel like the ending was left open because we might get a second season (I truly hope so). While the endings weren't that satisfying it truly left some hope that there lives got better, they are still young and life is long and I agree that the landlady was an example of that. That scene with the landlady was my favorite. Despite the fact that she even uses an adult diaper that doesn't faze her and she wears makeup, perfume and lives her life to the fullest. I saw the last episode on Saturday and Yesterday I encounter a real life example of her. There was this lady in the bathroom yesterday at a clinic, she was using a walker she was already older but that wasn't getting in her way. She was putting on makeup and lipstick and I couldn't help but smile and remember that scene when I saw her :D.
The ending kind of promised a second ending but at the same time it had a double meaning I think. When they show the "Rule of Belle Epoque" it says "Once more to Belle Epoque" which I sincerely hope is kind of a promise for season 2. It also can mean "Once more to the Beautiful age" or "Once more to your youth" which is a rule the landlady practically lives by. I LOVED this show it right up there with Dear My Friends which is also one of my favorite shows this year and I hope they continue making shows like this. Somebody was asking for a boy version and I would definitely watch it, just to see both points of view. Somebody did mention this already the song the landlady listens to is "Non, Je ne Regrette Rien" "No, I regret nothing" from Edith Piaf which by the way if you haven't seen "La vie en Rose" (the french movie) you should. I watched it in french class when I was in high school and her life was so bittersweet. Here are some translation of parts of it:
"With my memories
I've lit up the fire
Of my troubles, my pleasures,
I don't need them any more!

Wiped away the romances
And all their instabilities
Swept away for eternity
I restart at zero

No, nothing at all,
No, I regret nothing
Not the good things they did to me
Nor the bad -- may as well be the same to me!

No, nothing at all,
No, I regret nothing
Because my life, because my joys
Today, I begin with you"

This song is pretty much perfect for this show and for life. Thanks for the recaps SailorJumun, see you in the next one :).

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Thank You also Chocolatte and see you in the next one :)

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This drama will leave a beautiful mark on my heart. I dont know why, maybe because the well thought and layered character or maybe because it made me feel something different than the typical drama. This is by far my fave one together with Reply 1997.
Can You guys suggest another good written with a little romance drama?

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If you haven't watched my dear friends, I think you'd enjoy it as much as me.

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Mixed Up Investigation Society (Evasive Inquiry Agency) is an earlier drama by the same writer as Age of Youth, and is my personal favorite of her works. Like AOY, it combines quirky humor with thoughtful characterizations and an unusual plot. It's an absolutely lovely piece, although it's a bit hard to find.

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I'm all for ambiguous/open endings, but I felt they were dropping way too many hints/openings so that they could produce a second season if they wanted to.

Mostly about Ji-won, because although they explained that she's a liar since high school, they failed to provide any backstory to it (correct me if I'm wrong).

They could also show how Ye-eun is living with PTSD, as they only showed that one scene near the end. But going through daily life with it, and recuperating is an perspective I'd like to see.

What is Jin-Myung gonna do when she gets back from China? She used up all her savings paying off her mom's debt and used her deposit for the trip itself. Did she at least graduate? Is she gonna come back at all? There was a "Work Abroad" poster that was shown when she failed to get the job so you never know.

Although Eun-jae and Yi-na have me asking questions too, the 3 above are more important lmao.

Overall, I know asking these questions is selfish as an open ending is fitting to the drama (IMO).

I JUST WANNA KNOW MAN

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Hahaha I share your feeling. I really wanna know so much more. This doesn't feel like an ending at all. It feels like you just cut all contact with five friends and now you don't know what happened to them and whether they're doing alright.

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I loved the first 8 or 9 episodes of this show, but I felt the final ones became both really heavy on the melodrama and failed to deliver promised payoffs. I don't mind shows dealing with serious issues, but cramming kidnapping, date rape, euthenasia, and possible serial murder into three hours is a whole lot of drama in a very short time span. I also don't mind open endings if they feel open for legitimate reasons, but in this case, some of the plot threads felt more forgotten than intentionally unresolved. While I'd be all for a season 2, I felt the series didn't always finish what it started. On the plus side though, I absolutely loved the final image of the landlady literally putting on her "big girl panties" to go out and face another day.

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I'm so sad this drama ended! I really was hoping for a more happy ending (even though it might not be as realistic as this one)... but you can't really blame me for wanting more romantic stuff with the girls!
I mean, COME ON! They all had such beautiful love thingies going on, with someone or with themselves!
I really anticipated the ending, and I hate to say I was kind disappointed, probably because I wish the girls had more time with their male counterparts. Sorry, sorry, I know it ain't realistic, but who WASN'T rooting for all the girls' love stories (except for Ye Eun, she was better by herself)... especially Ji Won's and Yi Na's?!

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I liked this show. Yes it had its own mysteries and unanswered questions, but it is alright because that is what life is. Most dramas are too melodramatic and extend over years and ultimately provide us some hope that maybe the characters and prootagonists lived a happy life or afterlife. In this respect this drama is so different. It just depicts a phase or just a teensy part of their lives. It does not end in hope or despair. The way it ends just strengthens my belief that its your life and you can either make it or break it.
Loved this drama!!!

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The ex-ballerina moved out due to the fact that she got pregnant and the girls skirted the issue because it's still a taboo thing in South Korea. Eun-jae assumed that it was due to bullying until she found out the truth. Side note: I think it was hilarious that it was Hwa-young's character who asked if Eun-jae thought they were bullies. It was a small meta moment, since Hwa-young was the 'ballerina' in rumors about T-ara's bullying.

A big theme in this drama seems to be misconceptions and false assumptions. The wrap around in episode 12 was Ye-eun making false assumptions of her roommates and Eun-jae trying to figure out if her memories were reliable. Even after everything, Ye-eun still doesn't see past the surface stuff and Eun-jae still isn't sure if her dad was truly trying to kill his family. Throughout the series, we would see events play out from the perspective of one character. Then, later we would find that things were much different than it seemed.

Eun-jae thinking the girls were bullies, Yi-na being adrift since her near-death experience vs how ppl like Ye-eun seeing her as a carefree prostitute/mistress, Jin-myung's sexual harassment being seen as her sleeping her way into a comfy position, even at the end with Ye-eun thinking Doo-young's letters were genuine and heartfelt but were actually court-mandated and he seemed to have experienced no remorse.

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I don't follow kpop, though I've heard some of the stories of T-ara. All I know is, Hwa Young is truly made for acting. I've seen her shine here as well as my ex girlfriends or something like that with Ji Hyo, and she shined there too.

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I heard a bit about the T-ara thing, but when I saw Hwayoung in Ex Girlfriend, I was surprised to find out later that she was actually that girl from T-ara. She was good considering she's a rookie and all.

Her story arc as Yi Na is also one of my favorite. Aside from how she dealt with the near-death experience, her growth after (finding out what she wants to do in her life at that age) is different from what I normally see in Korean drama.

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I think at the end of the day, this show was a lovely, thoughtful exhortation to embrace life and just live, no matter what crimes you've committed in the past, and no matter how much death and/or the dead call out to you. It sort of reminds me of More Beautiful Than a Flower in that way, another show that was adamant that if you survive you need to live your life. A lot of kdrama are very fanatical about the idea that you need to pay for past sins one way or the other, so it was interesting and rewarding to see a more forgiving approach here.

I think everyone that disliked Ye-eun for constantly criticizing and judging other people can rest assured that the writer was completely aware of the character she was creating. Ye-eun presents herself as normal and fine compared to her roommates because she can't deal with not being seen as such, but her therapists words combined with the ending scene, where she has a panic attack (I think that's what it was?) and feels totally alienated in a crowded street, tells us she needs help learning to live with and loving herself. If this were Persona 4, she'd be one of the kids who wasn't able to accept that their shadow was part of them, and maybe wouldn't have any friends to save her. (Sorry, RPG nerd here, the analogy fit so well I couldn't resist XP).

I'm definitely going to miss this show every weekend. It wasn't perfect, but it was very special to me.

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I'm very thankful you 'made' me watch this show. It was the positive reviews that made me check it out and I am So glad I did. One of the best shows I've seen writing wise. I have no problem with the ending. All the cable channels seem to be a fan of this type ending so I was prepared for it. Actually find it more realistic than dramas that tie everything up in a pretty bow. It's real life. Nothing 'ends'. And to think Ye-Eun was going to walk away from kidnapping, rape, and betrayal of this degree without deep emotional scars that she will struggle with for months and, probably, years would be naive. But like you said. I think all the girls have grown strong with the support they learned to accept from each other, and she has the basics to move forward and one day find the help and peace she needs.

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I'm so SAD to say good bye to this show!

And Dong-joo totally broke my heart the way he looked at Yi-na.

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You know you love the show when you hear the OST and you cry, and when you read the recap you cry.

I'm really missing this show now, and I think that feeling will never stop.

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The OST is so wonderful it gave me a lot of tracks to add to my playlist.

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The fact that the ending left unanswered questions is actually my favorite thing about it. A show such as this would seem wrong if it ended with everything wrapped up in a neat bow, all the characters happy, and all questions answered. The ending was perfect because it captured the idea that just like real life, we don't always figure out all the answers to questions we once had, and sometimes it takes a long time for wounds to fully heal. The girls' lives haven't stopped since the show ended, we simply can't see them anymore. They still have healing and growing to do. Heck, this might not even be the most important or eventful moment of their lives, but this just happened to be the stage that we got to witness.

I completely loved this drama and its ending. While it might be disappointing to some viewers, I love that the writer didn't give in to the idea that endings have to be complete and perfect just to please viewers and instead kept with the feel and theme of the drama. I loved that all the characters grew in the end, but no one left the show having perfectly fixed all their flaws. Ye-eun's ending was particularly perfect in my opinion because it was so in character for her to act like she is the one who is perfectly normal only to be reminded that she still has scars and healing to do herself. I think it would have ruined it for me if Ye-eun or any of the girls had an overly happen ending after all that happened. Life still has challenges and just because this one is over doesn't mean it will all the sudden be perfect.

To me, the show is absolutely beautiful and touching as it is. Not overly sad or depressing, but not unrealistically happy or hopeful either. It just leaves you will the feeling of moving forward and living on.

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I absolutely agree. this drama was a slice of life drama, and to have it neatly ended would have felt off for a show like this. Life is expansive and it hopefully drifts on past this moment of youth. The show has never promised anything less or more.

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Everyone's got such beautiful words for this show, showing how worthwhile those 12 episodes were.

My take on everything is that Age of Youth showed us the power of CHOICE. These girls are faced with life's crossroads and it's up to them how they will continue (or change) their lives.

They all have some flaw or scar or some other burden that haunts them, but it's choosing to write your own path that frees them. It's so easy to blame your circumstances for everything, but the beauty about being young is that you have time to fix what needs fixing.

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"The beauty about being young is that you have time to fix what needs fixing"

I absolutely love how you put that! Well said! This drama truly touched my soul.

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It's bittersweet indeed to part with this show. And I'm a little sad that my favorite Ji-won remains to be a puzzle for me.

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Does anyone remember if they ever had inner voices for the guys in the other episodes? That was one of my favorite parts of this finale. It made me wonder if the writer was going to pen a male centric drama in the future. Ahjussi's and that college sunbae's thoughts were hilarious.

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Sungmin ah, don't give up on Jiwon! Why isn't Jiwon taking the hint at "prettiest"???? Yool Bin look good with the haircut.. which kinda reminds me that Kang Kyun sung also had a haircut. Don't they look a bit similar?

I notice Yina did like the ajusshi (forgot his name) but I'm still hoping her with Dong Joo.

I'm sad that tomorrow can't be looking forward to Age of Youth but Fantastic looks promising.

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Forgot to add.

Belle Epoque landlady is life goals. I want to live like her. Full of elegance but you know she's a badass.

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Age of Youth has a special place in my heart. I don't think there's been a drama which I have felt so incredibly attached to. Whilst there seem to be some untied ends, like the ballerina and Jiwon's random yelling. It might just be Jiwon trying to make things more mysterious and dramatic yet again.
Anyway, there is definitely potential for a second season continuing with these storylines or maybe in the Reply style with a different group of tight knit but mish mash of housemates tackling a different set of issues. I'm going to miss this sooo much...

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I love everything, even that ending. The storyteller in me is satisfied that we ended that way with Yeeun and Jiwon. After all, this is slice of life, and what is it if not being plucked and then deposited into these girls' daily lives, then snatched away again? We were given little pieces and scenes and I for one am happy with it. ❤

But then the romance hoarder in me wanted the resolution to Dongjoo's unrequited feelings for Yina, seriously, that expression! And of course, Jiwon and Sungmin! I have a feeling that they'll continue in this vein for a while, Sungmin waffling between liking her and being utterly exasperated with her (but dude, I think you do, otherwise why would you even stay around her), and Jiwon oblivious with his struggle until it all comes down to a head. Haha. Excuse me as I just indulged my imagination there. ?

All in all, I'm satisfied but also not, but it's okay because it was the good kind of unsatisfied. ?

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The ending left me wanting for more episodes. I do feel a little bit unsatistified but this is due to watching dramas that gives us a happy ending all the time. So looking back and watching it again it left me a lot of things to think about.

Thank you Age of Youth for telling us that we can overcome the ghosts in our lives.

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I totally missed oily ex-crush Yool Bin! He looked totally different in short hair, gaaaaah...that scene plus Jong-yeol's crest fallen face at the end had me in stitches. Can they get any cuter?

I really like that AOY didn't try to wrap everything up nicely like most dramas do. Take Eun-jae for example, we still do not know the true facts of her father and brother's deaths. Ji-won told another lir, one which let Eun-jae step out of the darkness that has overshadowed her life ever since those incidents happened. That't the thing about life, isn't it? Some things are better to be buried forever.

I can relate to Ye-eun at the therapist. It's much easier to talk about everyone else except yourself. It's similar to morbid curiosity about other's unfortunate affairs other than taking care of our own problems. I have seen a few dramas tackling PTSD but that scene of her at the end was done very well. Not overly dramatic but very to the point.

I have been saying that this drama simply does not handle things the way most do. Look at Yi-na and Ahjussi. I'd imagine that most dramas would have Ahjussi and her happily chatting over a meal and Ahjussi talking as if he cared for her. Here, we get to hear his inner thoughts about the present she put so much thought into buying for him, not to mention that now, it's all hard earned money. I do not know why he agreed to meet her and yet show nonchalance. But it does seem more realistic to me than if he's suddenly a caring or naggy father figure.

I love that Jin-myung finally gets to live her life. It wasn't poverty that was the yoke on her shoulders but rather the specter of a brother who was neither living or dead.

For the first time, I feel that Sung min is the one who had an interest in Ji Won that goes beyond friendship. He might be cool towards her, rude even or totally unresponsive to her calls for help but there were these indications that he sometimes felt attracted to her. Never mind that she was often the one who pricked the bubble. I see Ji-won desperate to have a boyfriend but I don't see her attracted to Sung min. I don't know why it took me so long to see it but in the finale, the fact that she could pick her wedgie in front of him told me that she doesn't see him that way.

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I agree with you re Sungmin and Jiwon! I think that she really does see him only as a friend, and that's why she's so comfortable around him, and tells him everything. He's her best friend, for all intents and purposes. All jokes about her asking him out were really just jokes, and such is consistent with her character. Any romantic overtures would have to come from Sungmin, who has finally begun to see her as a woman.

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If Sung-min won't make a move on Ji-won kaybe Greasy Sunbae will! Gaaaah!!!

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*maybe

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What an interesting show. I picked it up because of the comments here on DB since it's not usually my thing (not flashy enough), but I found myself really drawn into each of the girl's stories.

...and that's what makes this drama so odd for me. There was this atonal quality to it where it kept veering into different genres with each girl's story. What I realized when we came to the end at just 12 episodes (at least two too few) was that each of the characters represented her own drama and genre and we were mashing them together into this one house/show. You literally ran the gamut from sexy gangster vibe with Yina (I had flashbacks to Cruel City at times) to bubbly college comedy (Jiwon), to psychological thriller (Eun Jae), to workplace drama (Misaeng style - Jin Myung), to bubbly romantic drama (Ye Eun) right up until that big curveball in episode 11.

Each of these girls' stories could easily have been the main plot for its own 16 episode run because this show barely touched on the details in some of them.

Let's talk about Ep 11 real quick: I applaud the show for going there and I applaud the scenes of the girls celebrating, but there if there was a flaw in this show, it was the definite mishandling of this plotline. You don't drop a date rape/kidnapping scenario one episode before the end and expect to have the aftermath to be neatly dealt with in your wrapup episode with all of 5-10 minutes of attention. As annoying as YeEun was for a large part of the show, she got very short changed here as a character. if that's the route you wanted to go, the kidnapping should have happened 3-4 episodes earlier and we would have watched her deal with the ramifications of it. Instead, all of that was compacted and left us all, and YeEun, really feeling brushed off by it.

Back to the show in general, this show ought to be serialized with a new cast every season as girls move out and new ones move in. The one constant ought to be the House - because as every Star Trek fan knows, the Enterprise is as much a character as the crew - and the landlady.

Oh, and did anyone else spend half the drama wanting that multicolored cabinet in the living room? Why is that not on overstock.com?

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One thing I'd like to note is the fact that the writer sure does show off her background's richness.
The literature references (read by Jinmyung) were pretty awesome. Demian, and then Bartleby.
I was wondering how someone could be so brilliant until I saw that she's also the writer behind White Christmas. Scary skills!

Then the songs they used for background music, some of them I knew well - Clara C (Art in my heart) ; Edith Piaf (Non, je ne regrette rien) - which kept reminding me of inception, dammit ; Mary Hopkins (Goodbye)
- they all hit me in the right time, right feelings.

The drama is definitely worthy of so many praises. It's just beautifully written, honest, and amazing.

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Love this show from beginning to end. I have nothing more to say except that I will truly miss the cast and crews. I'll be waiting for your next drama writer Park <3.

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Love, love, love this this show! It was generally a very intelligent and insightful, yet easy, series to watch.

I appreciated the open-ending. I mean really, these girls are just in their 20's...what issues get resolved during this period of time (in real life) anyway? If anything, life has just started for them.

Ye-eun's ending was even realistic, IMHO. Something as huge as PTSD won't get resolved in a matter of weeks or months. As mentioned in a previous comment, it may take a lifetime. Different people process their traumas differently. Her reaction, denial, is more common than we may think. Hopefully, with the help of her friends, she would be able to fight her battles, in time.

I will definitely miss all the characters, and I mean ALL. Kudos to the drama-writer for making us care about each one, enough to want to know what happens to them after the drama has ended.

Saying goodbye to the show feels like i'm saying goodbye to a friend. *sigh*

Oh, and thanks to the recappers! Good job!

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I just wanted to say, can we get a spin-off series with Ji-won as a reporter? My favorite character was Yina, but Jiwon deserves another show!

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I really love this show it made think that not all problem have an answer but all we have to do is live for tomorrow and have hope
I will really miss this show
FIGHTING ???

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Sad that this show already ends.
Hopefully the way it end open up the possibility for second season?
I'm happy Jinmyung finally take some risk and do something to experience life and seeing her smile makes me smile too.
I'm happy Yina works hard to carve a future for herself and not easily giving it up. Even tho not giving up probably because she was embarrassed. hahaha.
I'm not angry at how Yeeun still traumatize by the kidnapping but I'm angry at Dooyoung. I thought he really did loved her and but that letter is just some kind of therapy session (??). After that scene, I'm back at cursing him.
But I understand Yeeun situation tho. You cant recover just with a couple of therapy sessions. Those kind of trauma will last longer than you realized. It takes little trigger those feelings and it require a lot of efforts to bury it. Long time ago, my friend and I got robbed and that robber put a knife to my friend's neck and asked us not to scream anymore. Luckily we got very good and attentive neighbors. He didnt had any chance to hurt us. But it traumatized me so much I barely sleep thru the night for 2 3 years after that. I went for therapy for nearly a year and stopped cause I move away. After that, I just dont felt like opening it up again for the start. Fortunately things get better and I'm healed. But, it changed me. I still double checked everything before I went to sleep, install latest security system and live at hi rise building (he broke into our house from the rooftop). So, I understand Yeeun's situation very much.

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Sad that AoY is finished - really should have been a 14 or 16 ep show (finally, a show that actually deserves an extension and doesn't get it).

It's a tough 1-2 hit w/ PU38 recently having finished its run as well.

Not too many K-dramas were I enjoyed the story-lines and will really miss the characters.

These 2 have joined "Joseon X-Files" and "Coffee Prince" as my all-time favorite K-dramas based on the strength of the story-line, characters, acting and production (directing, music, cinematography, etc.).

All the actresses should get a shout-out for their work in AoY.

Knew Han Ye-ri by her film reputation and she lived up to her reputation (simply one of the finest K-actresses of her generation); hopefully, she continues to do more drama work and this time we get to see her smile more often (and those dimples).

From the very beginning, took note of Ryu Hwa-young's totally believable portrayal of Yi-na. For a relative newbie to the acting world, she already has command of expressing her character's emotions via slight changes in facial expression. Think PDs/writers took note of her talent and she should getting plenty of offers (hopefully, she doesn't get pigeon-holed into "sexpot" roles, esp. those w/o depth of character).

Park Eun-bin was just so natural as Ji-won; having a tough time coming up w/ another actress of around the same age who could have played Ji-won as naturally.

Park Hye-soo is also another newbie to the acting world - having started off as a singer on "K-pop Star 4" who impressed w/ acting range already at this stage of her career. Like RHY, should have the notice of PDs/writers.

Han Seung-yeon - was, imo, the weakest of the group, but still did a pretty good job. Also tough playing the least likable character (man, the writer really did a great job in pulling the strings in how we were supposed to feel about Ye-eun).

Thought the best/strongest eps were 3, 4, 7, 8 and 9.

Have mixed feeling about the whole Doo-young kidnapping turn.

Felt a bit "out of place" - going from a self-centered jerk/cad w/ mommy issues to a psychopath (and a dumb one at that), but at the same time, was instrumental in setting up the moment where we get to see how much in despair Eun-jae was in not being afraid to die (as she felt that she was deserving of that fate) and the moment of disparity at hospital btwn Ji-won (alone) and the other 3 girls.

Could have used more time to set up Doo-young as the type who would kidnap - usually really possessive BFs who try to shut off their GF from contact w/ others (here, DY seemed perfectly fine when he was out w/ his friends or when Ye-Eun was out w/ hers and aside from sex, didn't seem that interested in being w/ Ye-Eun).

Like how the writer didn't feel it to be necessary to cover/show everything (such as the decision to allow Yi-na to move back into the house) and leaving numerous things open-ended, instead of having pat endings for all the...

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Much more realistic that way and leaves room for a sequel (or maybe making AoY into a series like AM/Reply, INRomance or "Let's Eat" w/ maybe Eun-jae being the holdover housemate w/ glimpses of the lives of previous housemates via cameos).

Also have mixed feeling about Yi-na and Jong-gyu meeting up again. Their previous understated goodbye was perfect.

But maybe they are eternally bonded to each other due to their shared tragedy; tho am getting some strange "daddy-vibe" on Yi-na's part towards JG (due to her getting him cologne as a gift and not something that a daughter would get him).

Knew that Dong-joo had feelings for YN (even for a really good friend, DJ went way out of his way to be her errand boy, snoop/detective, etc.); not sure if YN is clueless or just playing clueless.

Jin-myung makes it tough for Jae-wan, but he's so smitten that can see them having a long relationship (if not more).

Same for Eun-jae and Jong-yeol.

Ye-eun and Ji-won not being in a relationship (or for that matter, Yi-na) was the way to go - would have been too trite if all the house-mates were in the same stages when it came to relationships and really, Yi-na is her own worst enemy (hard to have romantic feelings for someone who repeatedly gives you wedgies).

Seems like there really wasn't more to the previous (dancer) roomie moving out other than getting pregnant which is perfectly fine.

Don't know why "slice of life" dramas get a bad rap by some.

The friendships and romances seem more real and the humor is usually heck of a lot better (Eun-jae telling Jong-yeol that she didn't care about looks and then his delayed reaction was so much funnier than the asinine attempts at humor in OHYA).

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Whew. Finally finished watching!

I didn't like the ending as much. The last 2 episodes felt like there's so much going on but actually, nothing much got resolved. The show kept on trying to be mysterious but the reveals were too simple. That could just be me and my high expectations though.

Overall, I enjoyed the drama a lot. It got its really good parts and the acting is on point. The transitioning was a bit difficult to follow.

Hwayoung is amazing in this role and I look forward to more from her. Thanks so much for the recaps!!

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This show is such a treasure. I loved every moment, character, and all the time spent watching it. I could have spent even more time with these girls going about their lives.

Cheers to the writer. I related to these girls. I cried and laughed. I'll miss them and hope to see them again.

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What a gem of a drama - thank you to all the beanies in the OT and What We're Watching threads who loved it so, I wouldn't have watched it without your recs!

It may not be perfect, but to me it's the best drama of 2016 so far - I love our Belle Epoque girls (including the landlady) and I love that we ended with a sense of continuing life and purpose for them. I wish we could see them go through a season 2, but we got the perfect slice of life right here.

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Also, I can't remember the last time I ugly cried over a drama so much. Hats off to the AoY team, you were all great!

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The endin is perfect. I don't get why people still think there was any mystery to the ballerina story. It was said already that she was pregnant and left and since it's a taboo, they didn't want to talk about it.
Ye eun's ending was also perfect. Of course she can't heal in such a short time, especially with her denial. But her last scene showed that she finally realised she is not okay and needs help. That's the most important step in healing. That means she will be fine. As for Ji won, she will have her love story. Her friend has already started having little feelings of attraction for her. It will grow. It didn't even feel like such an open ending to me. Oh, and the funeral scene had me in stitches. It was so funny. I can't rememebr when I laughed so hard while watching a drama.

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(It was cilantro/coriander, not parsley.)

I loved this drama. Thanks for all your recaps!

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Haha, yes! I'm glad someone caught that! As a cilantro hater, I identified all too much with Eun-jae and her sunbae in that scene.

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