The Man Living in Our House: Episode 16 (Final)
It’s time to say goodbye to Hong Mandoo and all those who love the cozy little country restaurant. Relationships are cemented, dues are paid, and wrongs are forgiven. It’s maybe a little too pat for my taste, but it’s nice to be able to send Na-ri and Nan-gil off into their future without any worries, after everything they’ve been through.
EPISODE 16 RECAP
Nan-gil drives home from Seoul, and tells Na-ri that he belongs at Hong Mandoo, and has decided not to leave. When they get to the restaurant, Na-ri asks how many opportunities they’ve missed to share a kiss, and Nan-gil leans in to kiss her now, determined not to miss another one.
The next morning Na-ri sleeps in, and Nan-gil has to literally carry her downstairs to breakfast. The chefs take one look at her cranky expression and beat a hasty retreat, and Nan-gil suggests he and Na-ri go visit her dad after breakfast. Na-ri reminds him that Dad doesn’t like him, but he says he’ll just tell him how much his daughter loves him and change his mind (ha, Na-ri grumps, “I never said that”).
Sure enough, Dad complains when Nan-gil shows up instead of Deok-bong, and Na-ri tells Dad that she’s definitely not dating Deok-bong. Dad orders Nan-gil not to come visit again, but Nan-gil just politely says to tell him if he needs anything.
On the drive home, Na-ri asks Nan-gil why he clams up around Dad, and Nan-gil looks a little shifty-eyed. He finally says that he’ll just tell Dad straight out not to talk about Deok-bong in front of him, declaring himself Na-ri’s man in a hilarious booming voice.
Later Nan-gil goes to see Deok-bong, handing over the original ledger detailing the connection between CEO Kwon’s company, Greenland, and Dada Finance. He asks when Na-ri’s father will be released (so he can reclaim his name and Nan-gil won’t be Na-ri’s stepfather anymore), and Deok-bong mutters that Nan-gil should have given up on being Na-ri’s legal stepfather long ago.
Deok-bong peevishly refuses to help Nan-gil this time, but Nan-gil asks if he doesn’t feel badly towards Na-ri’s mother, since he knows exactly why they got married. He asks if Deok-bong is scared of going up against his father, and Deok-bong admits that he doesn’t want to give up on Na-ri. In a soft voice, Nan-gil says that they can stay friends, but he won’t allow more than that.
Na-ri is researching marriage annulment laws when she gets a message from Nan-gil asking her on a date tonight. He prepares for the date by taking a memory photo book he made to a book cafe, and leaving it on a shelf.
Nan-gil takes Na-ri to the cafe that evening, and she peruses the bookshelves and finds the handmade book. Nan-gil says that it’s a collection of messages she wrote to her mother while she was traveling, and that he titled the book “Hong Na-ri’s Footsteps” because he was reminded of the time they measured the footprints to discover who locked her in the storeroom.
Nan-gil says that the purpose of the book is to encourage Na-ri to go back to her job as a flight attendant, because he wants her to do what she’s good at. She’s been writing about travelling lately, but it’s not going well and she’s grumpy and losing sleep. But Nan-gil thinks the things she wrote while she was traveling are quite good, and he wants her to feel fulfilled.
Na-ri asks what he likes about her writing, and he says that even though he’s never been abroad, he could read her messages and imagine it clearly. Na-ri thanks Nan-gil for the moving gift. Later as they walk, Na-ri tells Nan-gil that she’s going to see Deok-bong, because there’s something she has to settle.
Deok-bong notices Na-ri’s unusual expression when she visits him, and she says she feels sorry towards him. She remembers their first meeting and says that she’s felt bad since they met, and they both remember times when they were cranky at each other.
Na-ri apologizes for not selling the land, and Deok-bong brags that he gave up like a man. Na-ri also apologizes for making him take up law again when he hates it, and that apology he accepts. He knows there’s something more, and Na-ri apologizes one last time, calling him “Neighborhood Friend.”
Deok-bong asks if she can’t just consider the idea of dating him, but her silence is his answer. He’s hurt, but he teases that he’ll just quit his job and asks her to go for a walk.
Deok-shim finds Young-gyu moping around the restaurant, missing the feel of the boss’s uniform. Poor guy, he did the right thing protesting Nan-gil’s leaving, but he can’t help but regret losing the opportunity. Deok-shim snaps at him not to disappoint her, calling him “Young-gyu-oppa,” and that perks Young-gyu right up.
A pair of lawyers show up with a report that the Hong Mandoo building is unlicensed — apparently the tent they use outside for to-go orders is an unauthorized extension. Nan-gil casually asks if the report came from Greenland, unconcerned by the newest complaint.
As Deok-bong drives Na-ri home, he muses that he couldn’t beat Nan-gil in her heart, even after she learned his whole sordid past in court. Deok-bong says that he doesn’t like revealing his own past that way, but his family’s secrets are about to be broadcast to the world. He asks Na-ri to remain his friend, and she easily agrees.
Young-gyu watches as Deok-bong drops Na-ri off, and Nan-gil sighs heavily. Young-gyu runs out to confront Deok-bong about Greenland bullying their store, and Deok-bong’s face grows stormy. He calls Secretary Kwon and orders her to send him the file regarding the illegal waste disposal (that caused the orphanage to burn down).
Deok-bong turns the files over to the authorities, and his father holds a press conference. He says all the correct words of sorrow, and Young-gyu tries to cheer up Deok-shim as she watches him on television. Young-gyu throws a little finger-heart without even thinking, and looks nervous when Deok-shim points it out. Cute.
Deok-bong brings a couple of bottles of champagne to Na-ri’s house that evening to celebrate having done a good thing. HA, Nan-gil’s face. Deok-bong suggests they all settle their relationship, offering to be friends with Nan-gil too, who scoffs at the idea.
They all get comfortably tipsy on the champagne, and Deok-bong mentions Na-ri’s negative points like arrogance and prickliness, while Nan-gil loyally spins them in a positive light. When Na-ri comes back and asks what they’re doing, Nan-gil says he’s bragging about his girlfriend and shoots her a big dopey grin.
Deok-bong stands to leave, unwilling to watch the two of them being all happy together. He barks at them to settle their relationship — they can’t stay father and daughter forever. Of course they aren’t happy either, and Deok-bong grumpily offers to help them fix it legally.
Deok-shim goes to Yeo-joo for help, and the two of them meet with Deok-bong at a cafe to talk. He asks if it’s about Deok-shim’s mom, and she does a dead-on impression of her mother’s whining, hee.
She leaves, and Yeo-joo levels a glare at Deok-bong. She tells him not to call her anymore, or to allow Deok-shim to call her. She tells Deok-bong that she likes him a lot, so she doesn’t want to be his friend anymore, and if he calls her again, she’ll consider it a sign of romantic interest. It looks like it’s killing Yeo-joo to be this honest, but she powers through.
Na-ri meets her father as he’s being released from jail, and he looks surprised that she came without Nan-gil. He even argues that Nan-gil runs Hong Mandoo well, and claims that he never said he didn’t like him. They head to the restaurant, and Nan-gil nearly trips himself to greet Dad. Dad says he wants a uniform, and promises to try learning to make mandoo.
Some time later, Deok-bong and Nan-gil head to court to annul Nan-gil’s marriage to Na-ri’s mother. Deok-bong speaks on Nan-gil’s behalf, explaining that he and Na-ri’s mother registered their marriage in an attempt to safeguard the land from Dada Finance’s pressure. The judge grants the annulment, rendering Nan-gil’s status as Na-ri’s stepfather null and void.
Nan-gil and Na-ri go to their bench by the lake, and Nan-gil crows with happiness that it’s all over. Na-ri thinks back on their first meeting and smiles, and asks Nan-gil, “So, who are you?” He says he’s the legendary Go Nan-gil, who’s loved one woman his whole life.
Na-ri asks what they should call each other now that they’re not father and daughter anymore, and grins at Nan-gil’s cutesy suggestions — but then we see that she’s only daydreaming. She giggles and walks off, with Nan-gil trailing behind her.
He stops her and turns her back to him, and she remembers all the times he was there for her when she needed him. She replays in her mind all the moments he told her how much she meant to him, and the bad times when they were separated, and the times they came back together.
Nan-gil tells Na-ri that he loves her, and they seal their long-anticipated love with… a hug.
One year later.
Na-ri is back at work as a flight attendant, and she brushes off Yeo-joo’s suggestion that they get their fortunes told together. Nan-gil comes to the airport to pick her up, and her fellow flight attendants note that he never misses a flight and he’s never late.
Na-ri mock-complains that Nan-gil dresses up too much when he picks her up, and he just gives her a goofy grin and says she’s pretty. That makes her suspicious of what he’s been up to, but he changes the subject.
CEO Kwon visits Deok-bong at the museum to complain that the company is broke because of him. But he’s not really upset, and even seems to admire Deok-bong for acting on his principles, which makes Deok-bong uneasy.
CEO Kwon says that he met with Deok-bong’s ex-fiancee and begged her forgiveness, and that it looks like the lady isn’t over Deok-bong. Deok-bong isn’t happy at his father’s interference, especially when CEO Kwon says that they’re merging with the girl’s family’s company with their marriage as the foundation.
Deok-bong realizes that this means their own employees will lose their jobs, but CEO Kwon says they need to recoup the money they’ve lost. Deok-bong snaps in desperation that he’s already dating someone.
Na-ri drags a very reluctant Nan-gil to a fortuneteller, who asks him to choose two tarot cards. The first tells him that he’s accomplished everything he’s in this world to accomplish, which excites Na-ri but makes Nan-gil scoff. The second card indicates that he’s expanding his business, and Nan-gil suddenly jumps up and drags Na-ri out of there. What are you up to, sneaky boy?
Before they go, Na-ri manages to reach out and touch one card. Once they’re gone, the fortuneteller looks at it and finds “The Lovers,” and says that those two are destined to be together.
At a cafe, Na-ri demands to know what all that expansion talk was about. He reluctantly mentions her father and Uncle, and Na-ri groans with dread. Nan-gil confesses that they signed a contract to make Hong Mandoo a franchise.
We see that a couple had come to Hong Mandoo, and been impressed with the huge crowd and incredible food. They’d met with Na-ri’s dad and Uncle, who’d spun events to make it sound as if Dad had been on a quest to find talented mandoo masters, and that the restaurant had gone on TV because they were desperate to reconnect with their mentor.
Dad even wore the chef coat he got from Nan-gil to convince them that he’s an expert at making mandoo. They’d signed a contract to open several franchises, and now Nan-gil is trying to make the best of the situation.
To his surprise, Na-ri is thrilled by the idea, and thinks that her father and Uncle did a great thing. She suggests they use “Flying Couple” as a marketing strategy, and Nan-gil sighs at her enthusiasm. But Na-ri is so excited, she even vows to learn to make mandoo herself.
Deok-bong reluctantly calls Yeo-joo to ask for her help, and she reminds him that she will interpret this as romantic interest on his part. He says they’ll discuss that later, but he needs her help in a revenge scenario. She shows up to dressed conservatively, and carrying a massive basket of fruit. She hands Deok-bong the receipt for her outfit, HA, and cheerfully asks what he needs her to do.
Deok-bong’s whole family shows up to meet his “girlfriend,” even Deok-shim, who’s grown her hair out attractively long. Their jaws all drop when Deok-bong walks in with Yeo-joo, his parents shocked at how much she looks like his ex-fiancee. Deok-bong asks his father what they should do about that merger, smiling triumphantly.
After the parents leave, Deok-shim asks if they’re really dating, and Deok-bong says no while Yeo-joo nods yes. Deok-shim stomps out, annoyed, and Yeo-joo tells Deok-bong that they may as well date since he called her. He suggests they become friends, first.
On their lake bench, Nan-gil tells Na-ri that he’ll be extremely busy now with the franchising. He seems disappointed when she’s not that upset about it, and asks peevishly if he can see other women, then grins when that gets a reaction out of her.
Na-ri narrates that she and Nan-gil had spent that previous year getting to know one another, and we see them having silly little couple fights and talking about the past. They talk about whether they want kids (yes), and if they should raise them here in the country.
On their way home from another flight, Yeo-joo says to Na-ri that Nan-gil seems awfully busy with the ladies lately. She shows Na-ri new photos on the Hong Mandoo website, all of Nan-gil posing for pictures with new mandoo chefs. Nan-gil has become a minor celebrity, especially among women.
Na-ri and Yeo-joo go shopping, and Na-ri says that she’s happy Nan-gil is so busy and is making friends. Yeo-joo claims to be worried that he’ll be so busy that more time will fly by, and tells Na-ri not to stay lonely in the country (in case Nan-gil won’t ask her to marry him).Yeo-joo hugs Na-ri, and thanks her for helping her to mature.
Nan-gil is teaching a new batch of mandoo chefs, who seem a little star-struck by him and totally ignore Young-gyu when he takes over their teaching. A surprise visitor shows up — it’s Wan-shik! He looks relaxed and happy, and Nan-gil is thrilled to see him. He asks if Wan-shik wants to work here, and Wan-shik jokes that he’ll never work under Nan-gil.
Na-ri gets herself home without Nan-gil’s help this time, and he feels bad about missing her flight and says he missed her. He makes them coffee later, and she says she’s thinking about getting a place in Seoul so she doesn’t have to go back and forth. He forbids it, and seems oddly interested in whether she drinks her coffee, but she says it will keep her up after her long flight.
Na-ri lays her head on Nan-gil’s shoulder and falls asleep, and he dejectedly downs the rest of her coffee. At the bottom of the mug is printed, “Will you marry me?” Aww, he was trying to propose! Poor guy, look at that pouty lip.
Some time later, he puts on a party hat and holds up his phone, which is scrolling the words, “Marry me.” He decides to use a different message, which is when Na-ri walks in, ruining the moment yet again. This is hilarious.
Another time, Na-ri walks into the restaurant to find Nan-gil kneading dough and a huge white teddy bear sitting on the table. Nan-gil pokes the bear over and over but nothing happens, and finally Na-ri leaves to go to bed. Nan-gil punches the bear, which starts to chant, “Marry me! Marry me!” Na-ri hears it and smiles to herself.
One day, Nan-gil takes Na-ri to their elementary school, and he remembers all the times he would watch Na-ri from afar without her knowledge, then the special moments that brought them together to this point. They go inside to her old classroom, and look at the children’s drawings on the wall.
One drawing catches Na-ri’s eye — a man and a woman dressed in wedding attire, and across the bottom is written, “Hong Na-ri, will you marry me?” Nan-gil says that the first time he told Na-ri that he loved her, he regretted it. The second time, he thought they would break up. But now, he’s promising to spend every moment of his life with her.
He takes out a simple, perfect ring, and asks, “Hong Na-ri, will you marry me?” Na-ri says yes, and he slides the ring on her finger. Nan-gil smiles, his lifelong dream finally coming true.
Everyone seems happy in their lives — the mandoo chefs joke and laugh as always. Yeo-joo visits her father in the hospital, and he seems to be getting better. Even Deok-bong is getting along with his family, and insists on continuing to live in the country.
Na-ri’s dad and Uncle are over the moon about Na-ri and Nan-gil’s engagement. Na-ri narrates that loving someone means loving the whole person, including their family and history, as Nan-gil teaches her to make mandoo. As it turns out, she’s a natural at it.
They go out walking, hand-in-hand, and Na-ri concludes by saying that loving someone means walking the path of your lives together like family.
Well, we leave Nan-gil and Na-ri happy and in love, with all their friends and family settled and looking toward the future. It’s a bit more perfect of an ending than I would have liked to see, with even CEO Kwon getting a fond sendoff without ever regretting his actions or apologizing to Na-ri for the way he treated her family (and still trying to manipulate his family for financial gain). But I’m glad to leave our characters with happy lives, at least, even if some of them didn’t pay for their bad behavior like I would have preferred. Also, I wish we’d gotten one last kiss between Na-ri and Nan-gil — it seems bland to finally be on the same page and not get a kiss, or even a mutual “I love you.” Not even when he proposed.
I guess I just wish the show had had higher stakes for Na-ri potentially losing the land, because I never really felt much urgency to save it, from anyone other than Nan-gil. It was Na-ri’s mother’s dream, but the land never represented any more than that to Na-ri herself — she never seemed to care much about keeping or losing it on her own behalf, because she never knew her mother’s dream for the land until after her death. Na-ri even offered to sell it a few times, just to rid herself of the hassle, and it was Nan-gil who stopped her. Keeping the land safe was much more important to Nan-gil, but once I realized that he was the only one who was working to carry Mom’s dream past her death, I sort of lost most of my interest in it as well. I kept waiting for Na-ri to have a lightbulb moment and take up the torch, but that never happened. So as a viewer, I was just left wondering why Nan-gil was willing to risk everything to protect this piece of land, even his lifelong love of Na-ri, when Na-ri herself didn’t seem to give a flip about it.
Deok-bong’s crush on Na-ri suffered the same way, in my opinion — Na-ri’s extreme disinterest took the claws out of any threat his feelings for her might have offered to Nan-gil’s love, so Deok-bong never came across as anything but a lovelorn semi-stalker and occasionally conveniently useful lawyer. I loved his character, but he felt woefully underutilized. It would have been more interesting to watch if Na-ri had been tempted by the handsome, successful, charming lawyer, and or even if Nan-gil and Deok-bong had been able to do their bickering jealousy thing more often. I would have even settled for the focus being on Deok-bong and Nan-gil going from enemies to reluctant friends, but even that never happened. For pete’s sake, even the relationship with Yeo-joo that was hinted at never really materialized — Deok-bong ignored her for a year and only called when he needed help, then still mostly ignored her (the show did the same thing with Deok-shim and Young-gyu, who I thought would be adorable together). And even though I don’t think many of us thought Yeo-joo deserved Deok-bong, at least it would have given Deok-bong something for the trouble of being in this show at all. Instead he got brushed to the side by everyone once he was no longer needed.
But the one bright spot in the show was Nan-gil and Na-ri’s relationship, and that I think was done pretty well. I enjoyed seeing the way they interacted with one another, mostly in the way that Na-ri was always direct and honest about everything, even the things that were scary and dangerous. She as never afraid to be forthcoming with Nan-gil, and that allowed him to trust her enough to eventually come out of his shell. Even though Nan-gil had condemned himself to a life of loneliness with his marriage to Na-ri’s mother, only allowing himself to love Na-ri from a distance, it was Na-ri’s persistence and constant gentle pressure that showed him that it was okay to love her in the open, and that she was right there with him every step of the way. I appreciate that they never separated (physically) when things got rough, but they both found ways to work together to make their relationship happen, both legally and personally.
All in all, I think that The Man Living in Our House told the story it set out to tell, and did it in an interesting way with compelling characters. It wasn’t as good as I felt it could have been, and I think a lot of that (as I mentioned previously) is because it tried to do too many things and dragged certain issues on for far too long. But the central love story was sweet and ended in a satisfying way, so for that I’ll call it a success. They were able to overcome their obstacles and make the family that Nan-gil always wanted. It’s not a show I’ll remember as being great, but it’s definitely one I’ll remember fondly.
- The Man Living in Our House: Episode 15
- The Man Living in Our House: Episode 14
- The Man Living in Our House: Episode 13
- The Man Living in Our House: Episode 12
- The Man Living in Our House: Episode 11
- The Man Living in Our House: Episode 10
- The Man Living in Our House: Episode 9
- The Man Living in Our House: Episode 8
- The Man Living in Our House: Episode 7
- The Man Living in Our House: Episode 6
- The Man Living in Our House: Episode 5
- The Man Living in Our House: Episode 4
- The Man Living in Our House: Episode 3
- The Man Living in Our House: Episode 2
- The Man Living in Our House: Episode 1