Both life and death have the ability to completely alter people’s lives, but it’s the juxtaposition of these two things that help people grow. So-hye and Joon-ki have learned through experiences like their peers, but being a terminally ill patient has taught them a shared perspective on life because now that death is so nearby, the commonplace has become the extraordinary.
So-hye walks into Hae-sung’s new management office, named “Hyesung Entertainment” after their names. The office is arranged exactly as it was before when So-hye used it, including the framed picture of Salar de Uyuni. Hae-sung notices So-hye staring at it, and proudly states that the trip for the drama crew will be there which makes her smile. Hae-sung then commemorates his business by making his first official act as head manager: paying his star writer. He presents her a blank check, and Manager Oh jokes that So-hye should write a reasonable amount since it’s her future husband’s business.
Hae-sung receives a call from Joon-ki, and goes downstairs to meet him. Joon-ki barely manages to ask Hae-sung for his medicine, and after laborious breathing, Joon-ki closes his eyes. Hae-sung yells at him to wake up, and luckily, Joon-ki is alive, even managing to tease Hae-sung for being dramatic. He then requests Hae-sung to drive him to the hospital quietly.
At the hospital, Joon-ki stares at his brain scans which reveal a new tumor. Another doctor notes how the tumor suddenly appeared, and Joon-ki tells him to keep this a secret from his sister for a couple of days because he wants to tell her, himself. In the back, Hae-sung listens with a heavy heart, and steps away to answer a phone call.
So-hye is calling him to ask about his whereabouts since he suddenly left and never came back. Hae-sung pauses for a moment, and lies that he’s playing billiards with Joon-ki. After hanging up, Hae-sung follows Joon-ki to his secret garden, and asks if he’s getting treatment.
Joon-ki tells Hae-sung a story about a time he owned a music box and would play it all the time. But one day, it broke, and even when Joon-ki replaced the parts, the music box remained broken. He compares himself to the music box, and contemplates that five years was a long time. Thus, his time has now come, and Joon-ki calmly states that he has a week left.
Hae-sung tears up, and Joon-ki asks if Hae-sung will grant him a wish. He wants to borrow So-hye for three days, but he’s only joking. His real wish is for Hae-sung to help him prepare his funeral. It’s the last item on his bucket list, and though Joon-ki originally wanted to plan it with So-hye, Hae-sung would be better to boss around.
So-hye works on her script when Hae-sung arrives home. She asks him who won, and it takes a second for Hae-sung to remember that he lied about playing billiards with Joon-ki. He says that they tied, and So-hye tells him that he should have let Joon-ki win since he’s the reason she persevered.
So-hye brings up their wedding, and Hae-sung tells her that they’ll have to push their wedding back a couple of weeks. He makes up an excuse that his hand-made Italian suit will take a while to arrive. She accepts his excuse, and asks if he told Joon-ki about their wedding yet. Hae-sung promises to tell Joon-ki after they decide on a date, and tries to convince So-hye to go to bed. She’s in the mood to write, though, so he leaves, looking anxiously at her when she coughs.
Joon-ki gives a small talk to other patients with So-hye and Mi-sun listening in the audience. He tells everyone that he has a free treatment for them, which turns out to be taking deep breaths. He explains that getting oxygen throughout the body is important especially since people tend to take shallow breaths when they’re stressed.
He then tells them a story about a believer who prayed to God to heal him of his cancer. In the end, the patient died and went to heaven where he asked God why he ignored his prayer. God then told the patient, “That’s why I sent you a good doctor. Did you not listen?” The crowd laughs, and So-hye waves to Joon-ki when they make eye-contact.
So-hye and Mi-sun meet Joon-ki in his secret garden to have a short consultation. He scolds her for not exercising, so Mi-sun offers to walk with So-hye to keep her company. However, So-hye wants to continue her walks with Joon-ki, but he advises her to walk with Mi-sun now because he’s busy. He then asks if she’s following her diet plan, and when she says that she’s trying, he rebukes her because trying is not good enough.
So-hye notices his odd behavior and wonders if something is wrong. Joon-ki deflects the question, stating that she’s just being a “bad” patient, so So-hye assumes that’s all. She invites him for lunch, but Joon-ki declines. He watches them leave, his face betraying the longing he hides.
So-hye thinks Joon-ki seemed weird today and mentions to Mi-sun how she only ever received from Joon-ki. Mi-sun suggests giving Joon-ki a present, and So-hye decides to bake him a healthy cake.
Arriving home, Hae-sung calls Joon-ki asking how he is, but their conversation doesn’t last long since it seems that Joon-ki hung up on him for being over-dramatic. Manager Oh notices a strange smell, and they notice the kitchen filled with smoke.
Hae-sung and Manager Oh run to So-hye’s side, and she explains that she’s baking a cake which cause Hae-sung and Manager Oh to exchange looks of horror. So-hye tells Hae-sung that it’s for Joon-ki, and tells him not to be jealous. Hae-sung tries to interject, but So-hye assumes he’s envious and promises to bake him one, too.
Jerk-face throws a bottle at the wall, and shakes in anger. Pictures of Sul and Sang-wook in a hotel lobby cover his table, and he yells at his secretary, asking him where Sul is. Elsewhere, Sang-wook sits in front of a convenience store with some cup ramyun, and thinks back to the time he had dinner with Sul outside a convenience store. At the same time, Sul does the exact same thing as Sang-wook, remembering how Sang-wook tried to link them together, but then suddenly recollects an item she left behind.
The item turns out to be the note Sang-wook wrote the day he brought her to a hotel room, and now it’s in Jerk-face’s hand. Drinking straight from the bottle, Jerk-face drowns his anger with alcohol, and chucks the bottle at the wall, again. He then shreds the note with his hand.
The next morning, Jin-sook and her mom discuss in the living room, and there’s a new house cleaner working for them. Jin-sook informs her mom that she found Sul’s mother who’s at a nice nursing home, and Mom automatically thinks Sul must have been stealing money from them.
In the back, the housecleaner mops the floor, and Mom reprimands her for not using a rag to clean the floor by hand. She insults the cleaner, calling her lazy and uneducated, and having heard enough, the house cleaner yells at Mom and quits. Once the lady leaves, Jin-sook tells her mom to tone it down because no one wants to come work for them. Unashamed, Mom simply orders Jin-sook to bring back Sul.
Jin-sook visits the nursing home Sul’s mother relocated to, and learns that Sul paid for a year’s worth to stay in advance. Just then, Sul arrives, and they move outside to talk. Jin-sook tells Sul that Mom forgives her for wasting all those expensive wine bottles and that she took care of the assemblywoman.
Sul doesn’t care about any of those things because she’s getting a divorce no matter what. Sul gets up and leaves, but Jin-sook stops her by bringing up Sang-wook. She asks if Sul had fun with him, but Sul knows she didn’t do anything wrong and isn’t afraid of Jin-sook’s threats. Thus, Jin-sook resorts to force and orders her secretary to grab Sul.
Just as Sul is being dragged away, So-hye and Mi-sun walk by and run to her rescue. Mi-sun tackles the secretary, sending him flying, and yells at Jin-sook who’s taken aback by the sudden intruders. Jin-sook recognizes So-hye and immediately jumps to the conclusion that she is the one orchestrating this entire scenario. She warns So-hye to stop meddling in their family affairs which only riles Mi-sun.
She takes a menacing step forward, and Jin-sook pushes her back. However, So-hye and Sul have Mi-sun’s back, and they bounce her back. Using that momentum, Mi-sun launches towards Jin-sook, and grabs her hair. So-hye and Sul pull her off Jin-sook, and Mi-sun warns her to not mess with her friends as she throws a chunk of Jin-sook’s hair to the floor. Furious, Jin-sook attempts to attack back, but her secretary stops her and drags her away.
Hae-sung discusses the final, legal details concerning his new company with Sang-wook in his apartment. Hae-sung is thrilled to have Sang-wook supporting him, and praises him constantly. Manager Oh asks Sang-wook if he also works on divorce cases, and he tells him that he can.
Right then, So-hye arrives, and the two of them are introduced to one another for the first time, though So-hye feels like she met him before. Following behind So-hye, Sul and Mi-sun arrive, and Sul freezes at the sight of Sang-wook.
Sul and Sang-wook move to a private room to talk, while the rest of the group stares at them behind a glass wall. Sul thinks that she always shows him shameful sides of her life, but Sang-wook argues that divorce isn’t shameful. He offers to help, but Sul doesn’t want him involved in her business, especially since Jerk-face suspects their relationship. She tells him that they shouldn’t even meet by coincidence in the future, and leaves.
Jin-sook meets Jerk-face in his office, and complains about the troublesome people around Sul. Jerk-face isn’t too bothered, though, because he has a plan, and from the evil look on his face, it’s going to be dastardly.
A blue car drives up to Joon-ki who’s standing on the sidewalk, and Hae-sung tells Joon-ki to get in. Their first stop is to buy Joon-ki new suits, and Joon-ki puts on a little fashion show for them. Next, they visit a record shop but can’t find what Joon-ki is looking for. The final task for the day is picking invitations for Joon-ki’s “final adieu party.”
After finishing all his party preparations, Joon-ki takes out his bucket list to cross off his final wish, and we see that Joon-ki has also crossed off adventurous things like skydiving, paragliding, and off-roading, but mundane things like watching a movie with a lover and shopping until the cart gets full are untouched.
So-hye finishes baking Joon-ki’s cake, and decorates it by drawing his face on it, including his trademark dimples. She calls him, asking where he is, and he tells her that he’s at the hospital. However, when So-hye goes to visit, he’s neither in his office nor secret garden. Thus, she leaves behind his cake with a note.
Later that night, Joon-ki sees the note, and is thrilled to receive a homemade cake from So-hye. Hae-sung warns him not to eat it, but Joon-ki assumes he’s just jealous and shovels a forkful into his mouth. Sighing, Hae-sung prepares a napkin, and Joon-ki promptly spits out the cake.
Hae-sung notes that he has a couple of hours before filming, and asks if Joon-ki wants to do anything else in the meantime. He actually would like to see the set, and when they arrive, Joon-ki films everything with his own camera. Hae-sung suggests being an extra to commemorate this experience, and Joon-ki asks for a minor speaking role.
Hae-sung reminds him that acting is difficult (that’s why he still “foot-acts” despite working for ten years), but Joon-ki easily acts out some of Hae-sung’s scenes. In the end, they pretend to fight and jump around the set like little kids. The day comes to an end, and back in his secret garden, Joon-ki makes his invitations. As he finishes them one by one, he begins to tear up.
Hae-sung is cornered by So-hye who hands him a cake. Thinking quickly, Hae-sung grabs So-hye and kisses her. He tells her that he doesn’t need cake when he has her. Smooth. He brings up that tomorrow is the broadcast of their first episode and suggests going on a date.
The next day, Hae-sung and So-hye are at the movies with Joon-ki. As they head into the theater, Hae-sung gets a call from Manager Oh, telling him to come quickly, but Joon-ki sees through his terrible acting and knowingly smiles. Hae-sung tells them to enjoy the movie and go shopping afterwards (that’s sweet of him), and sends a finger-heart to So-hye before leaving.
Hae-sung does meet with Manager Oh, but it’s to bring a turntable to Joon-ki’s secret garden since they found the LP record he was searching for. Hae-sung turns melancholy as he listens to the song, and when Manager Oh brings up the fortuneteller from before, Hae-sung promptly yells at him.
So-hye and Joon-ki finish the movie and go shopping together. He stares at So-hye for as long as he can, soaking in every aspect of her. They talk about love and how they now prefer an ordinary relationship rather than a passionate one.
Hae-sung calls Joon-ki to check in on them, but Joon-ki hangs, teasing that they’re too busy hanging out. Alone again, Hae-sung thinks back to Joon-ki’s bucket list, and remembers Joon-ki’s last remaining wishes: go to the movies, shop, and cook food for his lover and friends.
Still shopping, Joon-ki mentions a diet he’s on and suggests it to So-hye. She wonders if she gained weight, but he clarifies that she’s too thin. His diet turns out to be a pun (equivalent to saying I’m on a “see-food” diet), and then wraps his scarf around So-hye.
They return to Hae-sung’s kitchen, and So-hye joins Joon-ki in his puns. Hae-sung arrives and tells them the exact time, including seconds, that they were gone. He squishes himself in between them, and soon, the guests arrive.
Jerk-face visits Sang-wook at his home, and hides his true intentions behind a smile. Jerk-face shows Sang-wook the photos of him and Sul at the hotel, and tells him this is enough evidence to ruin Sang-wook’s career. However, Jerk-face trusts Sang-wook and Sul, and all he wants is to reunite with his wife.
Sang-wook is weary of Jerk-face and asks him to explain Sul’s injuries, then. Jerk-face informs him of the tense relationship between his mother and Sul, and adds that he’s moving out. He starts to cry and begs Sang-wook to help him.
Sang-wook seems to have fallen for Jerk-face’s crocodile tears since he leaves a message for Sul about discussing some things. Later, Jerk-face gets a call from Sang-wook, and agrees to meet him soon. Jerk-face arrives at the meeting place with another gentleman, and excitedly swings open the door. Putting on a surprised face at seeing Sang-wook with Sul, Jerk-face plays the victim role, and the gentleman grabs Sang-wook by the lapels.
Luckily, that all turned out to be Jerk-face’s imagination, and in flashback, we see that the other gentleman is Sang-wook’s father, and Jerk-face showed him the pictures of Sang-wook with Sul. Feigning concern, Jerk-face pleaded with the father to convince Sang-wook to stop his affair.
Back in the present, Jerk-face gleefully opens the doors, but only Sang-wook waits for him inside. He frantically looks around, but Sang-wook explains that he came as Sul’s stand-in. He’s then surprised to see his father walk in, and Jerk-face eagerly waits for the confrontation. Sang-wook’s father scolds his son, but it’s for working under filth like Jerk-face. Yeah for Dad!
Sang-wook explains that he recently quit, and his father encourages him in his work before departing. Staring Jerk-face in the eye, Sang-wook says that he’ll see him in court.
In Hae-sung’s apartment, Sang-wook meets with Sul, and she rebukes him for meeting Jerk-face. He tells her that he needs to know the enemy because this is his battle now, too. Manager Oh interrupts their conversation and tries to kick Sang-wook out, but Hae-sung invites him to the party, earning a glare from his manager.
Everyone gathers to watch the first episode of Hitman, and once it’s over, everyone praises So-hye and Hae-sung for a job well done. Hae-sung offers a toast, and the party starts in earnest. One by one, everyone gets up to sing, until the party eventually ends.
In his secret garden, Joon-ki watches the recording he made of his day and smiles. We see more of the party and throughout the night, Joon-ki kept smiling at So-hye while Hae-sung worriedly watched Joon-ki, knowing full well that there might not be another chance to be together like this.
The last ones to sing at the party were So-hye and Hae-sung, and they’re both adorably terrible singers. Joon-ki joined them, putting his arms around them both, and in the present, he slowly falls to the ground. Joon-ki closes his eyes, and the last thing he sees is the image of him, So-hye, and Hae-sung all together.
It’s another slow episode without much fanfare, but that’s what I love about this drama. If you look at the details, things look contrived and over the top. The second lead has a week to live, the crazy sister-in-law threatens the main character and her friends, the abusive husband orchestrates a plan to catch his wife in an affair, and these are all just from this episode alone. However, while the actual plot may seem dramatic, the delivery is the opposite. The characters’ reactions to these events are subdued and relatively quiet (though they’re loud when they need to be). They don’t wail every time a new obstacle blocks their way to a happy future. That doesn’t mean they don’t get depressed and mope. In fact, this entire episode was probably one of the gloomiest so far because it was preparing a farewell.
Slowly but surely, the show is wrapping up, and no longer can unbridled positivity effectively comfort our leads. However, I think it’s a good thing, because no matter how much we prepare ourselves for death, it’s something that can never be overcome. Once someone dies, their physical presence on earth will slowly disappear, and that fact will never change. Thus, rather than ignore the truth, I applaud the show for showing that grief is acceptable. Being sad is not a bad thing, and while it broke my heart to see Joon-ki cry while making his invitations, it was also a very poignant scene. The juxtaposition of a man writing his own funeral invitations creates a muddle of emotions, and that cacophony of feelings has been Joon-ki’s life for the last five years. Behind his jokes and adorable dimples, he faces uncertainty every day, unsure if any moment will be his last.
While the show has teased us concerning Joon-ki’s death multiple times, this time feels completely different. It wasn’t a sudden revelation like the previous two, and the show purposefully built up the moment, not with tension, but with restraint. Until he fell, Joon-ki was smiling, and if this happens to truly be his final moment, I’m satisfied, and I hope he is, too. I admit that I’m sad to think Joon-ki will finally leave us, but I was surprised by how much I didn’t cry. I credit the show for preparing me for that final scene, and creating a wonderful, one-last hurrah for such a memorable character.
Though Joon-ki’s scenes were cute and bittersweet, the show knew how to balance the episode with some other satisfying moments. The first one that comes to mind is when Mi-sun and So-hye came running to Sul’s rescue when Jin-sook basically tried to kidnap her. I love Mi-sun because she’s so caring and steadfast. While she might not be the friend who can solve your legal battles or handle all your financial worries, she’s the one who’ll cry with you when you’re down and fight next to you when you’re in a tussle. Also, it was awesome to see Mi-sun grab Jin-sook’s hair and call her a gangster. I cheered when I saw Jin-sook get tossed around like a rag doll because it’s finally time for her to get a taste of her own medicine.
The most satisfying scene was the one with Jerk-face and his disastrous plan to trap Sang-wook. It was especially delightful to watch his plan backfire because of the contrast with his imagery scenario. You could see his emotions play across his face as Sang-wook’s father not only failed to yell at his son but actually called Jerk-face “trash.” Though it was weird to see Sang-wook’s father suddenly enter and then promptly exit the scene, his pointed comment about Jerk-face and his trust in his son were enough to make up for his abrupt appearance. I can’t wait for the battle between Sang-wook and Jerk-face because at this rate, it looks like a one-sided pummel, and I have confidence in Sang-wook to use his wits like this time to see through Jerk-face’s ploys. Also, I’m sorry for doubting you Sang-wook. In the moment, I believed you fell for Jerk-face’s act, but I’m so glad I was wrong.
The sweetest person this episode was Hae-sung, which doesn’t come as a surprise as of late. It was endearing how he remembered Joon-ki’s bucket list, and helped him accomplish his final tasks without looking for compensation. I know that news of Joon-ki’s tumor also affected Hae-sung because the reality of losing his loved ones has become more prominent, especially concerning So-hye. However, he understands that the people most scared are the ones actually facing death, and he tries his best to comfort them by simply being present and willing to help. Though I wish he would be willing to share his fears with So-hye for his wellbeing, I also appreciate how he acts as a source of energy for her and Joon-ki that helps them cope with their illness and reifies their identities as humans outside of cancer. That, in itself, is an admirable task, and makes Hae-sung a winning lead in my book.
- Fantastic: Episode 12
- Fantastic: Episode 11
- Fantastic: Episode 10
- Fantastic: Episode 9
- Fantastic: Episode 8
- Fantastic: Episode 7
- Fantastic: Episode 6
- Fantastic: Episode 5
- Ji-soo’s Fantastic storyline reduced, but return to set eagerly anticipated
- Ji-soo takes sudden trip to ER, Fantastic storyline to be adjusted
- Fantastic: Episode 4
- Fantastic: Episode 3
- Fantastic: Episode 2
- Fantastic: Episode 1