The Liar and His Lover: Episode 16 (Final)
There is no one right way to create music, and our liars and lovers finally understand that they all have to choose their own paths to find their happiness. We say goodbye to our favorite bands (who are totally real!) as they start their individual journeys afresh. New beginnings come with new obstacles, but with their friends by their side, Han-gyul and So-rim have all the support and love they need. It’s a sweet farewell for us because our darlings have grown up, and they are determined to live a life where they can be honest with themselves.
FINAL EPISODE RECAP
After admitting the truth of using proxy players for their albums, the Crude Play boys bow in apology to the press and their fans. Then they walk out as the reporters clamor for more information. Han-gyul pauses for a moment to look back at So-rim, who is standing at the back. She smiles at him in support.
The boys come out of the conference to face a second hurdle. CEO Yoo calls them to her office and announces that she’ll be suing them for revealing trade secrets. She keeps the punches coming by telling them that even if they manage to stay in the music industry, they’ll never be able to use the “Crude Play” name again. This hits the boys the hardest.
Later, Jin-hyuk tells the boys that CEO Yoo was deliberately being harsh and won’t go through with everything she threatened. He assures them that even if Sole Music ends, she’ll bring them into Who Entertainment. Yoon points out that she’ll want them to use proxy musicians again, but Jin-hyuk wants them to focus on minimizing damages first.
Jin-hyuk’s concern is how to manage the legal consequences of the boys’ actions. If they get entangled in court cases and disappear for years after their confession, they’ll never be able to make a comeback. So, his last advice as their producer is to come to a compromise with CEO Yoo to keep their options open. The boys look grave, and Han-gyul says that they all need time to think.
At home, So-rim pecks at her food, and Grandma asks if she’s worried about Crude Play. She’s heard about the proxy musicians and asks So-rim if Sole Music has made Mush & Co. do anything bad. So-rim denies it.
Han-gyul visits CEO Yoo alone and asks if she would promise not to force them to use proxy musicians if they sign with Who Entertainment. He argues that even if they hadn’t confessed now, they would have been found out eventually. CEO Yoo seems genuinely befuddled that the boys didn’t accept her help in hiding the truth.
When she sees the expression on Han-gyul’s face, she sneers that he just wants to preach about how lying is wrong. Han-gyul thinks of In-ho risking his life to protect that lie, and Yoon admitting that the deception stole his pride in his hard work. He tells her quietly that some people can’t be happy when they’re lying, no matter how cushy their lives are.
CEO Yoo gets up in frustration and tells Han-gyul to leave. On his way out, Han-gyul stops and asks if instead of helping them, she would like to make a deal. “Tell me what you want, and I’ll do it,” he says. Oh no. I don’t think you should be handing her that weapon.
Mush & Co. visit a store and overhear a couple of teenagers talking about the proxy musician scandal. Their faces fall at hearing them talk about Crude Play as if they’re finished. At Sole, Soo-yeon asks if she can close down the band’s fan page since fans are posting vitriolic comments, but she’s told that Jin-hyuk wants to hear the fans’ opinions.
Jin-hyuk talks to So-rim and the boys and straight-up tells them that when Sole is no more, So-rim will be signed by Who Entertainment, while Mush & Co will be disbanded. At Jin-woo’s disheartened question — “Do we have no potential at all?” — Jin-hyuk explains that an agency is concerned with selling an artist to the public, whereas the three of them don’t have to prioritize business over music.
As Sole Music’s CEO, Jin-hyuk advises them to think about how to do music for a long time and not how to rise quickly. Then he adds that as their producer, he has one more piece of advice.
We don’t hear what it is, and the three walk out of his office looking thoughtful. Seeing her friends’ long faces, So-rim puts her arms around their shoulders and says, “Let’s go have some fun!” The trio end up at a gaming den, playing arcade games and dancing to a karaoke machine.
For a while, the three forget about their worries and enjoy their time together. Later, they walk by the Han river, and Jin-woo observes that most people on the street still don’t recognize them. So-rim says that they’ve only been on TV a few times.
They reminisce about their old busking days, until Jin-woo asks if she has something to say to them. He explains that he had taken up the guitar for his friends, but he loves playing it for himself now. Gyu-sun adds that if they aren’t good enough to play professionally yet, they can get together and form a band once the two boys are better.
They want So-rim to go ahead with Who Entertainment, if that’s what she wants to do. In answer, So-rim starts laughing. She tells them that she just wants to have fun while singing happily, and for that, she needs her two best friends. So-rim reminds them that Jin-hyuk told them to think about how they can make music for a long time, and that they’ve all been scouted together.
We see in a flashback that Jin-hyuk asked to work with them if they chose not to sign on with Who Entertainment. “This time, I want to work with a band I can grow with.” With a grin, he’d promised not to let them starve, at least.
In the present, So-rim points out that she’d be a terrible girl group member anyway, what with her lackluster dancing skills. Gyu-sun admits that her dancing is quite appalling, which makes So-rim pout at the boys. Heh.
Han-gyul has dinner with In-woo, who tells him that he did well by admitting the truth. Han-gyul asks him if he never regrets giving up the rights to his music. In-woo says that he does, every single day. Han-gyul wonders if he’ll become like his dad, then. With a self-deprecating laugh, he admits that he’s also found something he wants to protect more than his music.
Han-gyul starts a new file for Crude Play’s next song. Then, sitting with his metronome, he comes up with a tune and begins to work.
CEO Yoo and Yoo-na meet for lunch. She asks if Yoo-na has decided to join her company and tries to tempt her by saying that Han-gyul will be joining Who Entertainment. Just then, So-rim arrives, and CEO Yoo calls the two her favorite artists.
CEO Yoo starts talking about So-rim’s career as part of Who Entertainment. When So-rim mentions her band, she dismisses them. Under Yoo-na’s amused eyes, Yoo uses Han-gyul this time to coax So-rim, implying that Yoo won’t allow him to compose for So-rim unless she joins her company.
Yoo-na observes that CEO Yoo is being childish. “Are you really holding the guy she likes as hostage?” she asks the older woman. “If you want us, treat us like real singers and not as women.” *Slow clap*
CEO Yoo apologizes and laughs it off. So-rim speaks up then, saying that she wants to be in a band, effectively turning the woman down. Yoo doesn’t take it well and leaves without saying a word to So-rim. Yoo-na gives So-rim a ride back home in her van.
So-rim thanks Yoo-na for speaking up for her. Yoo-na makes it clear that she didn’t do it for her, she had simply experienced too many threats like this before. She adds that she hates So-rim, since she changed Han-gyul. “When I look at you, it makes me feel like I’ve failed in love.” With genuine confusion, So-rim asks what “failing in love” means. Yoo-na laughs to herself.
After So-rim gets home, Han-gyul texts and asks to meet with her. He comes and waits under her balcony, but when So-rim looks out, it starts raining. They sit in her grandmother’s shop downstairs, and Han-gyul imagines what she was like as a child. He figures that she hasn’t changed from the singing child, and will not change much even when she’s much older.
So-rim asks him if he regrets what happened at the press conference. Han-gyul says that he does a little when he hears people bad mouthing them, but all he truly needs is to keep creating music.
So-rim tells him about refusing CEO Yoo and staying in Mush & Co. She hesitates as she talks about them being under different agencies, but Han-gyul smiles and tells her: “So-rim, it’s not that I want you to sing my song. I just want you to sing a good song.”
Referring to what she had once told him, he adds, “I want you to sing to be happy.” So-rim smiles that he still remembers, and Han-gyul promises to support her in whatever choice she makes.
In-woo asks CEO Yoo to meet at a lounge bar they’d visited once before. He says there is a favor he wants to ask for, and she plainly tells him that if it’s about Han-gyul, she’s done all she could. In her mind, the band refused her help when they told the press the truth.
In-woo tries to explain to her that even though they are young, the boys have a right to live their lives the way they want. CEO Yoo asks if he wants Han-gyul to end up like him. After a long pause, In-woo asks what she thinks is wrong with his life.
She says that no one listens to In-woo’s music and he only lives for his own contentment. In-woo remarks that her choices aren’t the only right ones, and she shouldn’t laugh at other people’s choices.
She feels insulted by his tone, but In-woo just says that while he may seem too far below her, she seems dangerously high to him. Yoo’s frustrated by his words but looks at him sharply when he says that it’s too late for the two of them.
Shi-hyun and the boys arrive at Han-gyul’s house to wake him up and take him to Sole Music to talk to Jin-hyuk, who wants to talk to them after a week’s silence. At the office, Jin-hyuk has good news for them: CEO Yoo has agreed to Crude Play’s terms to sign them on. They can have a break and enough time to prepare to play for themselves in their next album.
The boys are quietly pleased at this development, though they all understand that there will be many more hurdles for them to cross in the future. But optimism soars in them anyway. As the others head inside to practice a little, Han-gyul stays to talk to Jin-hyuk.
On his way inside, Shi-hyun sees a box of Crude Play posters and CDs that have been left like trash by the door. Soo-yeon walks out of a room just then and notices his expression. She pulls him away from the box and hugs him. “It’s okay. I’m sure people will eventually see your sincerity,” she tells him.
He says that he knows, and he calls her “Noona.” This causes her to wriggle out of his arms and point out that he’s always called her “Sunbae” before. He retorts that he’s her boyfriend now and kisses her.
Yoon’s singing a mournful ditty about not wanting to go home cause there’s nothing to do, until Chan-young hits a drum to surprise him into shutting up. Yoon moans about being stuck in the house because of the reporters, and Chan-young tells him that they had better get used to it, since it’ll last for a while.
Yoon complains to In-ho about their bad luck with bassists, who all give them a hard time. They tease that this newly positive Chan-young — who talks about facing criticism together — is annoying, and they laugh at his mock outrage at being made fun of.
Jin-hyuk asks Han-gyul if he doesn’t regret signing on with Who Entertainment, when the terms include signing over the rights to some of his songs. (Oh! So, that’s why he said he might end up feeling like his dad.) Han-gyul seems to be at peace with his decision and asks if Jin-hyuk is all right.
Jin-hyuk says that he has to pay the price for what he’s done. At Han-gyul’s expression, he promises that they’ll certainly meet again, since he’s taking Mush & Co with him, and CEO Yoo has agreed to let Chan-young continue to produce them. “I’ll surely be successful. The singer both Chan-young and K would die for is with me!” he tells Han-gyul with a grin.
As he packs up his office, Yoo-na comes to ask him if he’ll take her with him. He tells her no, because at this point in her career, she shouldn’t be taking a break while her new agency finds its footing. Yoo-na is hurt at his rationality, wanting him to keep her by his side.
Jin-hyuk hugs her and says that she’s a woman who has to sing good music and should stay with the agency that can support her. In his mind, we see the memory of Yoo-na telling Shi-hyun that what she needs most is music. They stand holding each other now, their relationship at a bittersweet crossroads.
So-rim stands in front of the jumbotron outside Sole, which plays a video of Crude Play, now with an unmasked K. When Han-gyul comes up behind her to surprise her, she says that he feels like a dream. Han-gyul promises that no matter what happens, he’ll always be by her side. He asks if it’s better now that K is unmasked. When she says that it is, they both laugh.
Some time after, So-rim is still working at her grandmother’s shop, when she’s recognized by some fans. They ask if they can have an autograph in exchange for buying a big box of produce. She smiles and does it for free.
Han-gyul watches this from a distance, until the boys ask to shake her hands. Once they leave, he pouts that she shouldn’t touch strange men. He offers to work in her place, or buy everything in the shop. Grandma overhears this and calls his bluff, telling him to buy everything so that they can close for he day. Hehe.
Crude Play has a party at Shi-hyun’s bar to celebrate Mush & Co.’s members turning twenty. They pour drinks for the new adults, and Shi-hyun tells So-rim to try all kinds of drinks to find out what she likes. Turns out So-rim is a beer girl.
Yoon tells the kids that the real drinking games only begin once Han-gyul is asleep, and Han-gyul takes that as a challenge. Jin-woo tsks at hearing that Han-gyul can’t hold his liquor, but after a few glasses, he’s just as drunk as Han-gyul.
When So-rim leaves the table for a minute, Jin-woo declares that he gave her up for Han-gyul, who drunkenly yells that So-rim belongs to him. Then, both boys pass out to the amusement of the rest of the gang. Lol.
The girls in the group turn out to be better at drinking than the rest, and the boys are impressed by So-rim drinking up Soo-yeon’s special cocktail without batting an eye. They try to get her to tell them how she met Han-gyul, and she promises to tell them after one more drink, clearly trying to get them too drunk to grill her about it.
The next morning, Han-gyul makes breakfast for his hungover friends. He laughs when he notices Shi-hyun texting ”my woman” (d’awwww), and Shi-hyun grabs his phone to check what Han-gyul calls So-rim. Turns out he has her saved as… Yoon So-rim. Hahaha.
As Han-gyul runs off to shower before a meeting, the boys decide to change the name, since it’s surely wrong to not have a nickname for a girl you’ve been dating for a year.
Mush & Co listen to Chan-young’s next composition and love it. They chant his name, making Chan-young laugh.
At his meeting with Yoo-na and her team, Han-gyul gets a call from “My Girlfriend, Ddo-rim.” Ahahaha. He cringes as Yoo-na deadpans: “Han-gyul… you’ve changed a bit too much.” Pfft.
So-rim tries to startle Chan-young as he sits quietly in their new practice room, but he hears her first. It’s the same place he’d brought her once when she was upset, and he tells her that he would practice the bass here alone.
So-rim asks why he likes the sound of a band, and Chan-young says that in a band, all instruments are equal. He looks around the room and says that maybe it’s time to bring the other Crude Play members there.
Han-gyul has finally bought a car, and when he comes to pick So-rim up, Chan-young warns him to drive their vocalist carefully. Han-gyul protests that he’s a good driver, but he ends up missing a turn on the way to the picnic he planned for So-rim.
After much teasing, they end up at a beautiful spot in a park. So-rim observes how empty it is, and Han-gyul admits that he went through hoops to find it. (Did you buy out a park this time?!) So-rim wishes they could do this more often, and Han-gyul sighs that that’ll be difficult once she’s famous.
She points out that he’ll be a well-known face too, once he starts playing with Crude Play again. But Han-gyul calls himself a “guest member.” So-rim teases that that makes sense given that Chan-young is a better bassist.
Han-gyul says easily that it’s Chan-young’s fault for being too good, but he asks her not to call Chan-young “oppa,” especially when she calls him “Han-gyul-ssi,” which is much too formal between lovers.
So-rim explains that she likes calling him that because he’s the first man she addressed that way. With him, “Everything was my first time, and every moment was special.” Han-gyul tells her that she’ll always be the most special person to him.
As So-rim teases him some more about what to call him, he tells her he loves her and kisses her. We leave them in the park, as Han-gyul asks why she’s blushing, and So-rim comments on how it suddenly got hot around here. Hee.
After a photo shoot with an interviewer, CEO Yoo asks Yoo-na if she’s enjoying working with K. Her new single will be out in a few months, and Yoo wishes her good luck. She then asks if Yoo-na has heard about Jin-hyuk’s new office and if she would like his number. Yoo-na smiles that she’s all right.
In-woo is still busking on streets to the admiration of passersby. One of the people who listens to him from a distance is CEO Yoo, who smiles as she hears him singing.
Jin-hyuk talks to Chan-young over the phone as he waters a little plant pot in his new office. The pot is a gift from Yoo-na and comes with a picture of her attached.
Soo-yeon talks to a concert hall owner about booking the place for three days. He asks who will be performing and is surprised to hear that it’ll be a mini-concert held by Crude Play. He asks if it’s the famous band with four members, and Soo-yeon answers with a grin that with a second bassist, the band now has five members.
All the Crude Play boys practice in Shi-hyun’s bar, just as they used to as schoolboys. Han-gyul frowns to see Chan-young in intense conversation with So-rim. Chan-young teases that Han-gyul shouldn’t have lied, or he could have been her producer right now.
Han-gyul scoffs that there are only eighteen months left in their exclusive three year contract, and he’s clearly counting down the time to the minute. Shi-hyun gets a call from Soo-yeon about the concert hall and announces the date to his friends.
Han-gyul asks if they can pull it off, and In-ho just tells him to worry that there won’t be enough space for everyone. The boys start talking about how their looks and charm will have fans clamoring for them, and Han-gyul laughs that they haven’t changed a bit since high school.
As Shi-hyun sings “It’s Okay,” both bassists play together, and So-rim joins him on the stage to sing with them. Soo-yeon comes in, and Shi-hyun instantly lights up and reaches out to touch her face as he sings.
The boys now hang out at Han-gyul’s house. He comes in to find his friends laughing over how he met So-rim. They finally found out the story and laugh at how the two of them fell one coincidence short of being fated lovers. Chan-young gives a particularly evil chuckle.
Han-gyul bursts their bubble by saying that unknown to So-rim, they did meet three times by coincidence. The very first time was when he’d lent her his umbrella on the way to Sole Music. That umbrella has since made its way back to Han-gyul’s house again.
He warns them not to tell So-rim, and they agree, even though they don’t understand him.
Memories of their past are intercut with the present as Han-gyul meets So-rim for a date. He says in voiceover, “Sometimes we got closer, sometimes we drifted apart. We misunderstood and hurt each other. Every step we’ve taken towards each other… To say that it was predetermined, it would be too boring.”
When Crude Play has their concert, Mush & Co. is there to play with them. And even Yoo-na makes an appearance. Finally, they wave goodbye to us from the stage where Crude Play’s journey began.
Watching this show has always been like snuggling under a warm blanket in deep winter — there is a quiet contentment that seeps through to your bones. The lives, loves, quarrels, and triumphs of the people in this drama seem very real to me. The shades of gray that pervade the arcs of each individual seem very true to life. So, it’s fitting that the show didn’t give us a happily ever after — it gave us the hope that the characters we’ve grown to love have simply understood how to find their happiness.
I’m amazed at how well the threads of all the different subplots came together in this final episode. The story was so well-paced that nothing felt rushed, and no one felt left behind. When the curtains closed, the two bands were both on their way to slowly struggle to the top. This time, they were going to do it the right way. Their optimism is infectious, and I completely believe that Crude Play will win back its fans while Mush & Co. will soar high, creating songs that make the musicians and their listeners happy.
It’s also characteristic of the show that Han-gyul doesn’t stop being the one to make sacrifices for his friends. It’s no small thing for him to give away the right to some of his songs to CEO Yoo. But instead of being bitter about it, he now appreciates that sometimes you make compromises so that the ones who care about you can be happy. His willingness to change was as influential in softening CEO Yoo’s stance, as was his father’s argument that her path wasn’t the only right one. In the end, Han-gyul changed a lot for the people he loved. He stopped obsessing over So-rim’s voice once he realized that he loved her more than he loved creating music for her. He stopped asking his friends to lie for the sake of his perfect music, when he understood how deeply that deception had hurt the ones he wanted to protect. And while there are many things Han-gyul can still hold against his father, he can no longer rage at In-woo for not fighting for his songs. Growing up is painful, but Han-gyull can finally see the people beyond the music.
So-rim has been a surprisingly levelheaded character for a teenaged singer with a crush. She was adorable in her determination to win Han-gyul’s regard, heartbreaking in the way she coped with her disappointments, and admirable in the way she stood up for what she believed in. Even when she was crying, her bright smile was never very far away. Without her unwavering support and understanding, Han-gyul could never have come out of the unhealthy head space that had been his residence for five years. As a character, So-rim may have been uncomplicated, but she was also refreshing. Throughout the story, we saw repeatedly that she had a well-defined sense of right and wrong. And she didn’t spend time regretting her decisions. Once she’d promised to work with Chan-young, no amount of emotional pressure would make her change her mind. No matter the wisdom of that promise or the intentions of the one who extracted it, So-rim’s integrity has always impressed me.
The second leads in the story were in turns infuriating and amazing. Yoo-na had my complete support in the beginning, because she was right to dump Han-gyul, but then her pettiness towards So-rim killed my goodwill. I thought she was unredeemable, but she gave CEO Yoo such an epic set down in this episode that I’m Team Yoo-na once again. Chan-young went through a similar seesaw of being snarky, pathetic, and finally, an adorable puppy. I love that when his worst fears were realized and Jin-hyuk cut him down to size, he didn’t lash out like he’d done before — his real self began showing again.
He’d had too much bitterness coiled up inside him, and while it’ll take years for that to completely wash away, he now knows that he’s loved by his bandmates for himself and not as a replacement for Han-gyul. I also liked that Chan-young took time to come up with his second song for Mush & Co. It confused me when a first-time composer was held up and compared to a pro composer like Han-gyul, but if we accept that as a natural consequence of standing next to Han-gyul, then his decision to do better the second time speaks well of his future efforts.
Halfway through the show, I was convinced that Crude Play would have to break up while So-rim became a solo singer to resolve the many festering issues among the characters. But every issue was dealt with and every quarrel addressed so well that it now seems inevitable that this bunch would end up friends. Han-gyul and Chan-young will still bicker and still compete, but there’ll no longer be the old hurtful suspicions between them. Shi-hyun, Yoon, and In-ho finally have their old friend back, and their two bassists can now play for them together. With the lies eating away at their friendships removed, the boys can now truly be there for each other.
Yoo-na will always prioritize her music over Jin-hyuk, but there is some kind of love between them, and maybe over time, they’ll find a way to be together. Jin-hyuk has seen the error of his ways, and I’m happy that he’s decided to be a musician instead of a businessman in the line of CEO Yoo. In-woo and CEO Yoo might yet find their way to each other, but I think the friendship they share now is what they both need the most. And, Shi-hyun and Soo-yeon turned out to be just as amazing together as I’d hoped.
If there is something missing from this episode, it’s the song we saw Han-gyul working on for Crude Play. Till now, all of Han-gyul’s efforts have been to bring forth the perfect music in his head. I wanted to hear what he would create when he based a song on the strengths and weaknesses of his friends. Other than that, this was a near perfect finale, giving us a final glimpse into the lives of these characters while leaving the door open for future possibilities. It’s the ending we’d all hoped for, and it was delivered in the best way possible: with kisses and teasing laughter.
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