Radio Romance: Episode 16 (Final)
With Geu-rim for love and support, Su-ho has managed to take control of his life. In turn, he’s helped her realize her own dreams, and now they can move forward together with nothing in their way. Life is never perfect, but so long as they have each other, they’ll never lack for love.
FINAL EPISODE RECAP
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Sleep with me
Geu-rim and Su-ho walk together, and Geu-rim asks if he’s ever walked hand-in-hand with anyone this way. He says she’s the first, and that she’s also the first person he cried with. She tells him that he can crash at her place while the reporters are camping out at his house, but when he worries about reporters stalking her, too, she thinks of another place he can sleep.
She takes him to the sleeping room at the radio station and says that she can work on the script while he rests. He’s not content with that, so he convinces her to stay with him. They snuggle up in the same bed, and when Geu-rim reassures Su-ho that she won’t be fired if they’re caught, he asks her to sleep here until the show starts.
When PD Lee arrives at the booth, he asks if Su-ho is okay after his dramatic press conference. They decide to do the show live, though PD Lee says that Su-ho will have to lead since they have nothing planned. Like a pro, Su-ho just says that’s radio.
PD Lee admits that when they first started, he just wanted to benefit from Su-ho’s popularity. But now his popularity and image don’t matter, and he just likes Su-ho for who he is. Awww. And HA, Su-ho just asks dryly, “Why are you telling me this?”
When they’re on the air, Su-ho openly addresses the fact that people are talking about him and his family lately. He says that coming clean has given him peace of mind, and that since he took off his mask, he’s been doing things he’s never done before.
Inspired by Geu-rim’s questions earlier, he continues that it’s his first time loving someone, and his first time being loved. He also cried and laughed for the first time, and slept deeply for the first time. It was his first time being brave for someone, and his first time learning that when someone hugs you, they’re willing to embrace your life.
He concludes, “That’s why I want to say this for the first time. I’m also willing to embrace her life.” He looks over at Geu-rim, and she smiles.
Jason is leaving the house when Su-ho comes home, and they sit to talk. Jason explains that he was worried about Su-ho’s fake smiles, and he wanted to free him from his past and help him feel real emotions. He says that he thought Su-ho should face his trauma, and that he genuinely wanted to help as his friend and doctor.
But he continues that what Su-ho really needed was sympathy, like Geu-rim offers him. He apologizes, and Su-ho says that he can go. Before he does, Jason adds that Su-ho’s mother felt the same way — that she just wanted to know the real Su-ho, and to understand him.
SM Kang brings PD Lee in for a meeting, but PD Lee already knows that the Korea Communications Commission is upset that Su-ho spoke about his personal issue on-air. He offers to do meet with them, and SM Kang advises him to just stay calm and be respectful. I have a bad feeling about this.
Su-ho goes to see his mother, who’s finally presented her no-good philandering husband with divorce papers. Su-ho says that he knows it must have been difficult for her to look at him all these years, but he’s thought about why she never threw him away, but instead turned him into the celebrity he is now.
Mom remembers that she told him he wasn’t her son on his birthday. She admits that after saying that, she lived in pain every day, but he still called her his mother. She says that no matter how much she denies it, he’s always there, and she gives him a tiny, hopeful smile.
Not long after, PD Lee turns heads at the station when he struts by in a suit, on his way to talk to the Korea Communications Committee — damn, he cleans up nice. Before he goes, Geu-rim questions him about it, and he says that their program has caused a lot of trouble. He tells her to focus on her writing, then leaves, because PFFT, Su-ho is lurking behind a pillar glaring at him again.
He breaks his promise to remain calm when the committee accuses him of planning broadcast accidents to make his show more exciting. PD Lee rants that they know nothing about radio so they should just keep their mouths shut. Yikes.
Geu-rim can’t focus on her writing that afternoon, which worries Su-ho. He hovers so much that she finally snaps at him and retreats to the bedroom for some peace. Su-ho hates being left out, so he makes her one of his sad egg rolls, then a plate of fruit, trying to get up the nerve to go in and see her.
Her anguished wail finally has him rushing in to see what’s wrong. Geu-rim gives him the saddest puppydog face as she shows him that her laptop died, deleting all of her work. He promises to fix it, but when he comes home later from the repair shop, his expression is morose. She says she can just rewrite everything, but then Su-ho grins and says he fixed it. Aww, he’s so happy that he got to come to her rescue.
PD Lee goes back to SM Kang, who’s beside himself — the committee is demanding he fire PD Lee. SM Kang managed to commute it into another extended leave of absence, but so long as Geu-rim, Su-ho, and Hoon-jung still have their jobs, PD Lee is happy. He asks if he can do one last show for closure.
Of course, the others aren’t happy about this, but there’s nothing they can do. PD Lee says they’ll be getting a new PD after today, and they head to the booth for his final show. While they’re prepping, Su-ho catches PD Lee grinning at him several times, and he looks utterly creeped out, hee.
Su-ho reads Geu-rim’s script, which brings to mind everything they’ve gone through together: “They were all necessary moments. Even when I cried, laughed, was in pain, and was sad, they were all moments necessary to me. If all of these moments were necessary to make me who I am right now, then I’ll enjoy my happiness here, with these people.”
At the end of the broadcast, Su-ho goes off-script to announce that it’s their PD’s last day. He says that they aren’t close, and the PD is strange, but that he’s sad that it’s their final show together. He dedicates their last song to PD Lee (appropriately titled “Go”).
Geu-rim and PD Lee share one last stairwell conversation, where Geu-rim cries over his leaving again. He says that her writing today was good, and that he’s always been able to feel her love for others in her writing, which is why he insisted on her as his main writer.
Geu-rim tearfully admits that she liked it when he called her “Maknae” and yelled at her, and she thanks him for turning her into a good writer. PD Lee replies that he didn’t make her into anything — she just became a good writer.
That evening, Tae-ri cooks for Joon-woo for the first time, but he just stares blankly at the food. Then he smiles at her and says he’s afraid to waste it, but he finally tries it. It turns out she’s a pretty good cook, having had a lot of time to practice during her years of not acting.
Su-ho goes to Geu-rim’s for dinner with her and her mother. Mom rats out Geu-rim for bragging about Su-ho’s good looks, saying that they make a cute couple. As they start to eat, mom asks Su-ho if she can call him “son-in-law,” giving him a choking fit, hee. But he says shyly that he plans to take Geu-rim (Geu-rim: “Take me where??”) and he looks happy when Mom calls him “son-in-law” again.
Geu-rim tells her mother sadly that PD Lee is leaving again, and later, in her room, Su-ho asks jealously if she still likes PD Lee so much. He wants to know if PD Lee comes into her bedroom, and she assures him that he’s the only man who’s allowed in here.
There’s a knock at the door, and when Geu-rim answers, PD Lee waltzes in like he’s done it a thousand times. HA, Su-ho’s face. PD Lee drops off some books for Geu-rim, and invites them out for one last drink together.
He gets pretty drunk and proceeds to remind Su-ho and Geu-rim of how awful they were to each other at first. He tells Su-ho that Geu-rim is annoying, but Su-ho argues that she’s not annoying at all. Then PD Lee informs Geu-rim that Su-ho is stiff and emotionless, and she says she likes him anyway. LOL, Su-ho’s facial expression goes That’s right! Wait, what?
Su-ho is surprised to learn that PD Lee is leaving for Tibet tomorrow. PD Lee leaves Su-ho a message from the airport, saying that Su-ho will always be his DJ, and expressing disappointment that he never got to hear Su-ho say, “My PD is Lee Kang.”
Su-ho listens to his message, and he bitches about how annoying PD Lee is all the way to the airport. When he finds him, he complains that PD Lee isn’t his first love, to make him come running like this. OMG, this is the cutest thing.
He barks angrily, “Fine, you’re my PD!” Both men admit that this is super-cringy, then they’re all gruff again (“I said go!” “Fine, I’m going!”). PD Lee gives Su-ho the keys to the building where Geu-rim lives, tells Su-ho to use those keys to protect Geu-rim, then he leaves.
As Geu-rim waits for Su-ho at the studio, she peruses DJ Moon’s wall of postcards, and she finds a picture of young Su-ho with his friend Ji-woo. She asks DJ Moon about it, and he remembers Ji-woo, who made it to the finals of the radio station’s singing contest.
Seung-soo and Writer Ra discuss the fact that PD Lee is gone. Writer Ra asks with feigned disinterest how Seung-soo’s recent blind date went, and he admits he didn’t go. He asks about the flickering lightbulb that Writer Ra keeps complaining about, and she stammers that it’s always flickering and invites him over tonight to fix it. Yeah, I never believed they were talking about an actual lightbulb.
When Su-ho arrives, Geu-rim shows him Ji-woo’s picture on DJ Moon’s wall. She marvels that all this time they’ve been doing radio together, Ji-woo was with them, listening. DJ Moon gives Su-ho a recording of Ji-woo calling in to his show. He remembers that Ji-woo had a voice that could make your heart ache, but that he never showed up to the finals.
They play the recording, and Su-ho remembers being there with Ji-woo as he’d excitedly told DJ Moon that he liked a girl who listened to DJ Moon’s show. He’d promised to confess to the girl if he won, and Su-ho had held the phone up for Ji-woo as he sang. The song was about someone searching for his love, and it brings back happy memories of Ji-woo as Su-ho listens.
Next Su-ho takes Geu-rim to Ji-woo’s resting place, where she thanks Ji-woo for liking her, and for introducing her to Su-ho. They go walking, and Su-ho reminds Geu-rim that she still owes him a wish, and that she’s not allowed to refuse.
That night, Geu-rim sits in bed next to Su-ho, working on a script about love. She writes: “Because of love, we get broader, crumble, shrink, become satisfied, become weak, and become strong. Because it’s not complete, and because it’s not perfect, we cry, and make the person we love cry. Perhaps love is something you have to do even if you fail. Today, I love yet again.”
She looks down at Su-ho, who’s dreaming about Ji-woo again. But instead of a nightmare, this dream is a happy one, where he plays again with his friend. Geu-rim wonders what has Su-ho smiling as he sleeps, and calls him cute.
Three months later.
Geu-rim and Hoon-jung face off with Writer Ra and Seung-soo, Geu-rim telling off Writer Ra for copying her show. Writer Ra grumbles that Geu-rim is awfully full of herself, and Geu-rim proudly points out that she’s the main writer of a prime time show now.
Su-ho is busy with his acting schedule, and he’s also letting his mother manage his career again. But now she defends his decision to do a lot of shows in the public eye, arguing that an actor needs to be accessible to his fans.
They have dinner with Geu-rim for Mom’s birthday, and Mom affects her old judgmental attitude as she reminds Geu-rim that she promised she would never, ever get romantically involved with Su-ho. Geu-rim replies cheerfully that everyone says things they don’t mean, and she asks Mom to accept her. Mom tries to keep from smiling, but she’s obviously charmed.
Later, Su-ho brings Geu-rim some medicine for the indigestion brought on by dealing with Mom. He offers to prick her finger, but she chickens out when he confesses that he’s never done it before. He complains that she did this for PD Lee when he was seasick, obviously still wildly jealous.
Geu-rim runs from him, but Su-ho catches her, then grows serious and tells her that he wants to marry her. Geu-rim blinks up at him in surprise, as he says, “I want to prick your finger for you, and chase you as you run away. That’s how I want to live. With you, forever.” Geu-rim just stares, but she doesn’t give him an answer.
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I want to marry you
Tae-ri and Joon-woo have a very loud, very public argument, which ends in Tae-ri threatening to break up. She’s angry that Joon-woo doesn’t want her to go to a friend’s birthday party, but he snarls that that “friend” is a guy who confessed to her, and who she went clubbing with.
Tae-ri screams again that if he can’t trust her, she’ll just break up with him. Joon-woo calls her bluff and walks away.
After Su-ho’s semi-proposal, Geu-rim heads home to find Hoon-jung waiting for her. Over drinks, he begs her to ask Su-ho to guest on their show because they need the ratings, but she doesn’t want to do it.
She caves and calls Su-ho, but when she asks him to guest on the show, he fires back, “What about my proposal?” Geu-rim says she doesn’t know, so Su-ho snaps, “I don’t know, either!” and hangs up on her. Ha, he’s so petty.
Later, an interview for Su-ho’s next drama is interrupted by a sudden rainstorm. Su-ho starts to lead his costar to a dry spot, but a voice barks his name and he sees Geu-rim standing there, glaring at him. He releases his costar and joins Geu-rim under her umbrella.
Geu-rim asks Su-ho again to guest on her show, and he asks her again if she’ll marry him. He tells her what an attentive, affectionate husband he’ll be, but she’s still not convinced. Su-ho asks if she likes him or hates him, and she finally relents. They kiss behind the umbrella as the whole interview crew snicker.
Tae-ri intercepts Joon-woo on his way home, angry that he hasn’t called her even though he said he wouldn’t. He turns back to his car, but when Tae-ri shrieks that he’d better not leave, he turns and hands her a ring. She’s not mollified, saying that her mother got three of these and she’s single anyway, so Joon-woo leads her up to his apartment.
There are candles and balloons everywhere, and Joon-woo says he wanted to do this big, but they can’t go anywhere without being seen. He offers to be Tae-ri’s manager for the rest of her life, and she falls into his arms.
Su-ho has special plans for an evening with Geu-rim, but they’re interrupted by a call from her latest spoiled-rotten idol DJ. They take a detour to meet with him at a pojangmacha, where the DJ complains that his singing career may be over and the radio show is humiliating. Su-ho starts to object, but Geu-rim takes over.
She tells the idol DJ that she once worked with a DJ who wrote a slave contract giving him control over her, and that he made her do everything for him, then didn’t even read her script on-air. The idol DJ says that the guy sounds like a huge jerk, and Geu-rim agrees that he was. PWAHAHA, the best part of this scene is Su-ho’s incredulous expressions.
But Geu-rim also says that the DJ did his best on the radio show, no matter what. She adds that writers feel lucky to meet a DJ like that, and she asks the idol to be that kind of DJ.
Of course, he doesn’t even show up the next day, forcing Geu-rim to fill in for him. Annoyed, she says on-air that she doesn’t believe that he’s sick, and she threatens to go catch him herself. She snaps at Hoon-jung during a music break, and he snaps back that it’s no good having a top star boyfriend if she can’t get him to guest DJ.
Su-ho walks in just in time to help, though he and Geu-rim are still irritated with each other. He looks over her script and pronounces it lacking, accusing her of writing things that sound like she likes the DJ. He starts to walk out, but Geu-rim yanks him right back into the booth.
She pulls him into the corner where Hoon-jung can’t see, and asks what he wants. He says simply, “You,” and kisses her. He tells her to make some time later, because he needs to propose to her.
He sits down and starts the show like nothing ever happened, then accidentally says the name of his old show, ha. He quickly recovers, but instead of reading Geu-rim’s script, he starts to ad-lib.
Geu-rim gapes at him as he finally says the words she always wanted to hear on a show of hers: “If you are outside right now, please look up at the sky. It’s time for the blue sky to turn red. This beautiful sky is ours, so go and love someone.”
After the show, they go up to their hideout. Geu-rim asks Su-ho how he remembered those words, and he says that of course he remembers, because she became a radio writer just to hear them. He continues that a lot has happened between them in a short time, then without fanfare, he slips a ring onto her finger.
Holding her hand, he asks, “Walk with me from now on. Hold my hand, and cry only in front of me.” He says he wants to use his last wish, so Geu-rim asks what it is.
Su-ho kisses her, and as she smiles up at him, he says, “I’ll do that forever.”
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A wish for infinite kisses
Aw, I just loved getting to see Su-ho and Geu-rim’s “normally ever after,” where life isn’t so perfect and you bicker and get irritated with each other, and sometimes you just hate each other’s faces. It makes sense that they didn’t skip off into an unrealistically blissful future — they just continue on as we all do, doing the best they can. True romance isn’t always being in perfect sync, but fighting and criticizing and sometimes just needing space, but continuing to choose each other each and every day. What keeps Su-ho and Geu-rim real, as Geu-rim wrote, is that no matter what happens, they’ll always choose each other.
This show was strongly character-driven, which is something I very much enjoy, even when the basic plot remains simple. I loved the explorations of the different players and what motivated them, and the way the characters grew and changed throughout the show. Su-ho was fascinating from the beginning, but I also loved PD Lee and his quirky personality, Jason’s wrong yet well-meaning attempts to help Su-ho access his feelings, and Joon-woo’s painful yet steadfast loyalty to the boy he once betrayed. Su-ho’s mother was a great example of a woman put in the worst of circumstances, who made all the wrong decisions, and deeply regretted her actions (and she was so beautifully acted by Oh Hyun-kyung). Even Tae-ri was interesting, although annoying, and I think it’s great that she found the one guy who wouldn’t put up with her shenanigans or condone her bad behavior. Not everyone’s journey was finished at the end of the show, and that’s how it should be — we all grow and change through all points of our lives.
I appreciate how realistic this drama was about what it’s like to want something badly, but to not necessarily get what you want. Su-ho had always come across professional success pretty easily. But when things didn’t work out, it was healthy for Su-ho to experience what it’s like to actually struggle for what he wants, which was what made it possible for him to fight for the one thing that mattered the most — Geu-rim. My favorite thing about Geu-rim as a heroine is that she responded to situations like a mature adult, which is a breath of fresh air. It didn’t give her much of an arc in terms of learning and growing, but I think we got plenty of that with Su-ho. This was really Su-ho’s story, and his character was so broken that he needed a woman who was already just fine the way she was to understand and support him. I had faith that Kim So-hyun could play this role well, but even I was impressed with the mature air she brought to Geu-rim.
I know that many may disagree with Su-ho’s decision to forgive to his mother, but I think it’s a sign of how far he’s come and how much Geu-rim has positively influenced him. Forgiveness isn’t for the person who wronged you — it’s for yourself, so you can move on without holding onto old, harmful emotions. Su-ho forgiving his mother doesn’t mean that the things she did were okay, it just means that Su-ho chooses to understand how she must have felt, losing her own child then raising the child her husband had with one of his mistresses. It must have been very difficult to love that child, yet she still raised him, gave him a career, and made decisions she believed were in the best interest of the family. She admitted she was wrong and suffered for it, so Su-ho decided to release the negative and focus on the fact that she did the best she could under the circumstances. He chose compassion over anger and resentment, and that’s always a good thing. In this case it spurred his mother to change for the better, but even if it hadn’t, Su-ho was right to forgive her.
One thing I really loved about Radio Romance was that it never tried to be anything it wasn’t — it promised a solid little love story, and it completely delivered. Su-ho and Geu-rim are now one of my favorite drama couples for the fact that they just loved each other no matter what happened, and they never let things like parental or societal pressure keep them apart. It was never even a question — when problems popped up, they just carried on, with no noble idiocy or wavering about whether they could make it. Su-ho’s emotional issues were a surprise that weren’t even hinted at in the pre-show promos, and I thought that his phobias were handled respectfully and with sensitivity. He wasn’t even “healed by love” — although Geu-rim was there to support him and give guidance when needed, and her example definitely influenced his ultimate decision to forgive those who harmed him, he did all his own healing.
Radio Romance had some fundamental issues, such as some pretty glaring continuity problems, occasional clunky writing, disappearing characters and situations (Whatever happened to Tornado and her growing jealousy? And DJ Moon’s daily hikes?), and a tendency to lean on too-familiar tropes to tell the story. But I feel that those problems are somewhat excusable for a green writer, and that what the writer got right, they got very, very right. The characters were wonderful from the start… they always felt like real people, with real motivations and valid explanations for their behavior. The childhood backstory was never presented as “they met as kids, therefore Fate,” but served as a strong foundation for Su-ho and Geu-rim to build their new relationship on. You could even tell that the writer tried to give the tropes a twist whenever possible. I definitely think that this was a solid first attempt for this writer, and I look forward to their future work.
- Premiere Watch: Radio Romance, Cross, Misty
- Tears, friends, and love in Radio Romance character posters
- Matching frequencies for Radio Romance’s first teaser
- Yoon Park considers joining Radio Romance as a PD
- Kim So-hyun offered Radio Romance opposite Yoon Doo-joon
- Yoon Doo-joon signs on to KBS’s healing Radio Romance