On the Way to the Airport: Episode 12
When watching a show that deals with such serious subject matter, I truly relish episodes like this. It’s a nice, breezy hour, with our hero being extra swoonworthy and our heroine being extra awesome. Su-ah has always been that strong, independent woman I love seeing in dramas, but the obstacles in her life have constantly held her back. And now is the time for her to really fight for what she wants.
EPISODE 12 RECAP
Our couple is together once again at the airport, and after confronting a very scared, hesitant Su-ah, Do-woo somehow convinces her to let him drive her back. They drive for a while until he pulls up to the side of the road to ask if she lives here on Jeju Island.
Keeping her gaze out the window, Su-ah asks Do-woo to keep driving so she can pick up Hyo-eun.
They arrive at the home of Hyo-eun’s babysitter, prompting Do-woo to ask where Su-ah lives. To Su-ah’s relief, she gets a call from Kevin before she has to answer the question. She lies to Kevin that she’d decided to take the bus back and apologizes for leaving suddenly.
Su-ah turns to Do-woo and tells him in a strained voice that she’s finally able to live comfortably, and that she can’t handle this right now. So she gets out of his truck without another word, and Do-woo stays behind and watches as she picks up Hyo-eun.
He turns off the headlights and quietly follows the two as they walk back home, which isn’t very far. When the two head into their home, Do-woo exits the car and recognizes the pathway as the same spot he’d lit for the woman walking alone at night. It now registers that the woman was Su-ah. He’s shocked to discover that she was so close, but a faint smile forms on his face.
Su-ah puts Hyo-eun to bed and, knowing he’s still out there, comes out to see Do-woo. She learns that he lives on the island now – just down the street, no less – and doesn’t know what to make of this situation. “I know very well what this is,” Do-woo says.
Do-woo hurries back to Grandma’s gallery to check in with the assistant who brought more of Grandma’s artwork. Do-woo offers to take the assistant to a hotel, but the man has no problem sleeping on the couch tonight. Before the assistant can ask for a blanket, Do-woo is already out the door.
He goes straight to Su-ah’s place again, getting her attention with his bike light. She comes out, surprised to see that he came back. Do-woo just smiles at her, calling her “my neighbor Choi Su-ah.”
He hopes to see her often as they come and go. Su-ah relaxes at his words and musters up a smile herself. She’s able to go inside a little more at ease, and Do-woo watches her every step, content to finally be in the same place. He’s still smiling as he rides his bike home. Oh, you.
We return to Seoul and see Suk confronting Hye-won with the recording of Annie’s last phone call. Do-woo may not have wanted Hye-won to feel guilty about this, but Suk is all for it. But rather than a threat, Suk sees this as some firm advice – to part ways with Do-woo cleanly and to let go of her hold on the old house.
Hye-won returns to her work and asks Suk to leave if he’s done talking. Suk’s eyes widen as he asks how Hye-won isn’t at all bothered by this recording. As Hye-won ignores him, Suk desperately tells her not to be this way. When Suk leaves her alone, Hye-won shuts her laptop and puts her face in her hands, overwhelmed with frustration.
The next morning, Su-ah sends Hyo-eun off to school, only to be left with a nudging curiosity. She heads down the street to the very last building and pokes her head in, surprised to see Do-woo standing right inside. The assistant points her out, making her panic and hide behind the door.
Do-woo happily invites her in. When the assistant asks who she is, Do-woo plays it cool and acts as if he’d expected her to come by as a customer. He asks what kind of furniture she’d like, and Su-ah goes along with it by asking for a dining table. Do-woo: “How many family members? Two? Or… three?” Su-ah: “Two chairs will do.”
Do-woo’s face lights up, relieved to hear that. Su-ah starts to feel mighty uncomfortably and starts to leave, but Do-woo insists she has to leave her contact information. He closes the space between them and takes out his phone, telling her he never changed his number since he was hoping she would call. “I waited and waited,” he says, looking into her eyes.
Though she still seems unsure about this, she calls his phone. As he saves the new number under “Han River Waterfront” again, he advises her to take her walks in the daytime instead of having to come home at night. He mentions the bicycle, triggering Su-ah’s memory of the man who’d lit the pathway for her the other night.
She looks up at him in shock. He merely smiles and says, “You ran far away, and yet you’re still this close. You really don’t know what this is?” The assistant cuts in, giving Su-ah the chance to breathe. She takes her leave and Do-woo calls out that he’ll call her. As she walks further away, Su-ah can’t help but smile.
Jin-suk and crew return from another flight. Mi-jin breaks away from the group, so Jin-suk bids everyone farewell and goes after her. He follows her outside and asks if she’s feeling okay. Instead of answering, Mi-jin asks where Su-ah is. Instead of answering that, Jin-suk asks who she keeps meeting up with lately. “Let’s see who’s more curious,” Jin-suk suggests.
Mi-jin tells him to play this little game by himself and saunters off.
Meanwhile, Su-ah keeps running into Do-woo – when she comes home from work, when she takes out the trash – and he just passes by, all “Howdy, neighbor” every time. You are so going out of your way to run into her, lol. Nonetheless, it definitely gets Su-ah smiling.
Joo-hyun and other flight attendant Sang-yeob find out that Jin-suk’s coworker – the one who’s been helping Su-ah adjust in Jeju – is in Seoul, so they call him out for a drink. We find out this coworker’s name is Kevin, and as the three talk about the crew, Kevin slips out that he often sees Su-ah these days. Sang-yeob feels bad for Su-ah, but Joo-hyun drunkenly insists that Mi-jin didn’t even do anything. All the while, Kevin just sits there in confusion, wondering what the heck they’re talking about.
Over dinner, Grandma Young-sook tells Jin-suk that her workout buddy was recently taken to the hospital, and when the woman’s child called, it made her realize how family is just as important as health as you get older. It also makes her think of Su-ah, which Jin-suk, of course, seems indifferent about.
Haha, Je-ah is still on guard duty at Mi-jin’s apartment. Since Mi-jin still isn’t feeling too well, she’s not in the mood and tells him to get lost. She then gets a call, and is instantly delighted to hear that it’s Kevin. As the two catch up, Je-ah eavesdrops until Mi-jin shoos him away. Upon hearing that Je-ah is there, Kevin mentions Su-ah.
Mi-jin finally learns that Su-ah is living in Jeju, though she tries to hide the surprise in her voice from Kevin. When they hang up, Mi-jin mutters to herself that it’s just like Su-ah to run away from her problems.
Mi-jin ignores Jin-suk’s calls, but when he shows up at her doorstep, she’s forced to let him in. He settles in with a beer, and it’s not long before they go into their usual bickering. He grumbles that he’s going to come and go as his heart desires, which fires Mi-jin up. She hates the very phrase “follow your heart” since it’s always sure to change, and she definitely regrets following her heart that night in Australia.
Mi-jin tells Jin-suk to snap out of it and take care of his family instead of basking in his freedom here in Seoul. She reveals that Je-ah saw Jin-suk coming into her apartment and that Je-ah has been bugging her ever since, and she wonders why it’s only Jin-suk who’s unscathed in this whole messed up situation. All Jin-suk hears is “Je-ah,” and he’s angry to discover that he’s the guy she’s been seeing.
Do-woo calls Su-ah to further discuss the table, but since she needs to go to work soon, he offers to drive her so they can discuss it on the way. It’s a bit of an awkward drive, so Su-ah breaks the silence by gesturing to the back and saying how she’s always wanted to ride in the bed of a truck. Do-woo asks if she wants to do it now, but she’d rather do it another time.
They make a quick stop at the wood shop where Do-woo asks her some questions about what kind of table she’d like. When he asks how long she plans on staying in Jeju, she can only shrug – since she came in such a haste, she’s still trying to sort things out. She looks at his smiling face, noting, “You’re a little different. For some reason, you seem more comfortable.” He nods in agreement.
They head back to the car and, like it’s the most natural thing in world, he takes her hand to help her inside. As he shuts the door and looks at her, he thinks back to Su-ah’s expression when Do-woo had scattered Annie’s ashes by the Han River.
Jin-suk and Kevin find the time to meet up for lunch, and Kevin panics when Jin-suk tells him he plans to fly over to Jeju Island today. Kevin immediately calls Su-ah to warn her and to offer up his place for Hyo-eun to hide out. Su-ah is so flustered that she can barely think out a plan. For now, she calls Do-woo to cancel the plans they’d made for later that day to talk about the table.
First, Su-ah tells Hyo-eun to stay at the neighborhood granny’s place, and then she rushes home to unpack and lay out Hyo-eun’s books and school supplies. Later, Do-woo catches a glimpse of Jin-suk riding in Kevin’s car just as Su-ah rushes out of a convenience store and back toward the house. Remembering Jin-suk from the café in Seoul, it dawns on him that Su-ah’s husband is now in town.
Jin-suk inspects the house, making sure to throw in a few complaints before asking Su-ah if she needs anything. And then, out of the blue, he brings up the time he’d asked if Mi-jin was seeing anyone. He says he found out Mi-jin was seeing Je-ah, and he looks at Su-ah, expecting her mutual disapproval.
“So?” Su-ah says. She tells him that there’s nothing wrong with the two meeting. After all, they could have a legitimate reason. Jin-suk nods, wondering why Mi-jin gives him side dishes then… (Whoops.) He realizes that Su-ah isn’t supposed to know he and Mi-jin are close and clumsily comes up with the excuse that he saw Mi-jin by chance and she gave him some food.
Su-ah laughs dryly (girl, I would too), at how the first thing Jin-suk asked about was Mi-jin and Je-ah. Jin-suk is caught off guard and quickly lies that he just happened to think of it.
“Do you see Mi-jin often?” Su-ah blurts out.
Now totally defensive, Jin-suk asks if Je-ah said anything to Su-ah. When she says no, he demands to know why she asked him that then. “I just happened to think of it,” she echoes his words from before. Jin-suk tells her not to have any strange thoughts – he’s sure she must have drinks with male colleagues all the time.
Do-woo’s coworker at the wood shop barges in, saying that Seo Do-woo wanted her to come check what size table Su-ah needed. Ack!
Thankfully, Jin-suk doesn’t seem to remember the name. Once the worker leaves, Su-ah just tells him she doesn’t talk to Mi-jin these days and ends the conversation there.
They go to a furniture shop, and Jin-suk tells her to buy absolutely everything she and Hyo-eun might need. Su-ah asks him if he’s saying this out of worry she might return to Seoul early, and he responds with a mere, “Yeah.”
Jin-suk argues that after ten years of marriage, seeing each other only once in a while like they do now is a blessing for them – it gives them the chance to long for each other. Su-ah asks if longing for each other is really what he thinks a marriage is. When they don’t even like living with each other, she wonders how they can be a married couple. “Is this still a marriage? What am I to you?”
Jin-suk continues browsing the furniture and blankly says that that kind of question should only be asked when there’s still something left between them. If there was something left, he’d at least consider answering. He goes back to admiring a dining table. Su-ah’s expression breaks for a brief second as she digests what he just said. Then it hardens, and she says that she’s already bought a dining table. He asks about the other furniture, but she persistently repeats that all she needs is that table. Nothing else.
Mi-jin visits Hyun-joo unni and they’re all smiles until Hyun-joo brings up Jin-suk. When she was still a flight attendant, Hyun-joo saw the two in the middle of a passionate fight, so she knows they were a thing. She tells Mi-jin to apologize to Su-ah. Feeling cornered, Mi-jin casually asks if Hyun-joo has any alcohol in the store, but Hyun-joo tells her to apologize and then come back if she’s still feeling wronged.
Wanting the alcohol now, Mi-jin meets up with Ji-eun. But since Ji-eun needs to be in a meeting soon, she has Mi-jin tie some knots to ease her mind instead. While they’re talking, Ji-eun’s intern approaches them and informs Ji-eun that Do-woo set up all of Grandma’s ornaments on Jeju Island. Mi-jin’s head snaps up, stunned to discover that he ended up in the exact same place as Su-ah.
Kevin finds Su-ah sitting on a bench at the airport, having just sent Jin-suk back to Seoul. Kevin asks her if she’s going to keep lying about Hyo-eun going to an international school. Su-ah isn’t sure herself – at first, she wanted to lie to run away, and now she wants to lie to stay on the island. She can’t figure out if she should continue lying or stop. Kevin smiles and pats an imaginary overhead bin, telling her to do her final check. She needs to finish it in order to go after what she wants.
Back at the old house, Suk is surprised to see movers taking all of Hye-won’s stuff.
Hye-won sits in a café, recalling the time she’d brought Annie to the same spot. Hye-won had written down a full back story for Annie, including her favorite food and dream job. However, Annie hadn’t understood why she had to act as this independent child who only wanted to study abroad. Hye-won had ordered her to just live that way.
“What was your dream?” Annie had asked. Hye-won had told her normal kids didn’t care about their parents’ dreams, so Annie told her to list it under her back story that she loved her parents then. And that her name was Seo Eun-woo. Hye-won had said that Annie had to go by the name Do-woo called her – Annie had no other choice, since Do-woo was way over her level.
Annie had wondered if Hye-won accomplished her dream by meeting Do-woo. Hye-won hadn’t answered, so Annie again asked what her mom’s dream was. Hye-won had coldly stated she didn’t like the word “dream.” It was then that Annie realized what her dad said was true: that Hye-won believed only pathetic people used the word “dream.”
“After I heard that, I understood why you didn’t look for me,” Annie had said. And for once, Hye-won had actually looked somewhat hurt.
In the present, Hye-won meets with Ji-eun’s mom to make an arrangement for the old house. She believes Do-woo is capable of protecting the house, so it has to be him to stay there and maintain it. And Hye-won is willing to let the house go to the foundation if there’s no successor after Do-woo. Ji-eun’s mom asks what to do about the alimony then.
Hye-won flashes back to that conversation with Annie. Hye-won had wanted to settle the argument by saying that this whole charade was for Annie’s sake, and Annie had said that she would believe that and would work hard to make sure Hye-won wouldn’t regret keeping her.
Hye-won looks back at Ji-eun’s mom and asks that she give her enough money to study and work the way that she wants. “That is my dream,” Hye-won says, handing over some papers with the details.
Suk lets Do-woo know that Hye-won is moving out, but Do-woo definitely doesn’t look as ecstatic as Suk does. Do-woo calls Hye-won, and they finally talk out their divorce. Before hanging up, Hye-won wants to ask Do-woo one last thing: “If Annie hadn’t appeared, would you have accepted me? It was because of Annie, right? You can tell me the truth now.”
Do-woo tells her that he’d been watching her even before Annie showed up. We flash back to Do-woo finding Hye-won still working late at night, and he’d smiled, appreciating her determination. He tells her now that he never would’ve married her if he didn’t really love her. And now, he only wishes for her to live at ease. He suggests that she also consider visiting Annie.
Hye-won says that she’ll think about it and hangs up. But we see that she’s already in front of Annie’s columbarium. She thinks back to Annie’s final words of the conversation that day: She’d wanted everyone to live happily as a family. Hye-won stares at her daughter’s picture, murmuring that maybe she should’ve just lived as Annie had said.
Gazing out at the water, Do-woo hopes that Annie is able to console her mother.
As she rides the bus back, Su-ah is flooded with the conversations she had with Jin-suk earlier. And as she steps down from the bus and walks along the road, the conversations stop at what Kevin said earlier – to finish what needs to be finished.
She stops walking and pats her imaginary overhead bins closed one by one. She shuts the last bin with purpose, telling herself, “Final check finished.”
Do-woo jumps up after getting a text and drives to a bus stop where Su-ah is waiting for him. As they drive the rest of the way to Su-ah’s house, Su-ah assumes that Do-woo must have many questions for her. Su-ah asks him if she can now ride in the back of the truck, and he, of course, nods yes. She hands him her phone, telling him that when she moved here, she always texted herself as a way to talk to him, and that all his questions will be answered there.
Su-ah climbs into the back while Do-woo reads every single text that was meant for him. He reads about how ever since they first met at the airport, she’s been having the same dreams and has been saying the same things. And we cut to just moments before when Do-woo met her at the bus stop. Before he approached her, she’d quietly said, “I missed you.”
After Do-woo reads her texts, he takes off again, with Su-ah enjoying the fall air in the back. The feeling is so great that she closes her eyes and spreads her arms, the biggest smile on her face.
Aw, what a lovely way to end the episode. This entire episode, actually, was a welcome breath of fresh air. There was little to no major drama and surprisingly, that aching guilt I’d felt throughout the course of this show has completely vanished. These two marriages felt very much over to me, and I was just so happy to have Su-ah and Do-woo together and smiling again. And it looked as if they could finally smile freely at each other without conflicting emotions weighing down on them. They know they love each other, they know they need to end their marriages, and they did end their marriages. I honestly can’t think of another episode of Airport that left me this satisfied.
I mean, Su-ah did decide to divorce Jin-suk in that last scene, right? Right? I noticed that as she spread her arms in the truck that her left hand was missing a wedding ring, so it has to be over with Jin-suk. And not a moment too soon. Well, okay, I was hoping for it to happen a lot sooner, but I understood that with Su-ah’s personality, she had a lot going on in her mind and she wasn’t quite sure how to handle it. So thank goodness Kevin came along and gave her that extra push she needed to once and for all shut Jin-suk out of her life. I really have to praise the show for tying in that small moment from Episode 8 where Su-ah shut the imaginary bins. I found the scene cute and funny, but I never even thought they could bring it back this way. I absolutely loved how the gesture was used as a way for Su-ah to finish one part of her life so she could start chasing after the next. It was beautiful, just like the rest of this show.
Another beautiful moment was definitely Hye-won’s small step down from villainy. She’s still the same person – I think she’ll always be the same person – but at least now I know there is some human quality within her. While trying to get the audience on Su-ah and Do-woo’s side, Hye-won started to feel like a cardboard cutout of a drama villain, and I knew the show was better than that. There are certainly bad people in the world, but I consistently found it hard to believe that Do-woo would’ve married this woman if she was really that despicable. I think the hard worker in Hye-won is admirable to an extent, so I do believe that Do-woo loved her, and that he still loves her despite everything that she’s done. Because Do-woo is a good person, and I trust that he saw the good in Hye-won.
But now that Do-woo is free from Hye-won, and Su-ah has just decided to be free from Jin-suk, I do wonder where the show will go from here. I’m sure divorcing Jin-suk won’t be a piece of cake, but still, eight more episodes is a lot of time. It’s a bit unnerving, but it’s also pretty exciting not to know what will happen next. I just hope that whatever happens, Su-ah will always find a way back to her “dining table.”
- On the Way to the Airport: Episode 11
- On the Way to the Airport: Episode 10
- On the Way to the Airport: Episode 9
- On the Way to the Airport: Episode 8
- On the Way to the Airport: Episode 7
- On the Way to the Airport: Episode 6
- On the Way to the Airport: Episode 5
- On the Way to the Airport: Episode 4
- On the Way to the Airport: Episode 3
- On the Way to the Airport: Episode 2
- On the Way to the Airport: Episode 1