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My Ajusshi: Episode 16 (Final)

It’s time to say farewell, but My Ajusshi reminds us that goodbye is never final, and that if you truly love someone, there’s always hope. Nobody is expendable, and every person is deserving of love. Nobody knows this better than Dong-hoon and Ji-an, who have found in each other a special relationship that will never break, no matter where life takes them.

EPISODE 16 RECAP

Dong-hoon takes Ji-an to visit her grandmother, and they watch the cherry blossoms floating down around them. Grandma asks Ji-an what sound they make, and Ji-an says, “A nice sound.” Grandma signs that she feels happy and peaceful for the first time in her life.

Grandma sends a smile to Dong-hoon, who’s waiting a respectful distance away. She signs something to Ji-an, and they both look over to Dong-hoon, who joins them. On the drive home, Dong-hoon asks what Grandma said. She tells him that Grandma is thankful for him.

They arrive at the police station at the same time as Yoon-hee, who’s offered to be Ji-an’s lawyer. Yoon-hee leads Ji-an into an interrogation room, where she apologizes, and thanks Ji-an. Ji-an asks why everyone is thanking her, saying that she’d hate her if she were them, and admitting that she hated Yoon-hee because she was jealous.

Dong-hoon heads to Jung-hee’s bar, where he finds Gyeom-duk waiting outside. He takes Gyeom-duk to buy flowers, and as they walk back, Gyeom-duk tells Dong-hoon about Jung-hee’s visit to the temple and how she threatened to start a fire. He admits he’s uncomfortable walking around in the neighborhood that made him feel like he’d committed a crime, where he defied expectations and cast aside his lover in an act of betrayal.

He confesses that instead of banishing his thoughts all these years, he should have banished his feelings of guilt. Dong-hoon says that he was relieved when Gyeom-duk ran off to be a monk, because he’d always felt second-best next to his friend. He’d watched Gyeom-duk having his head shaved and thought, “I’m going to lose to this bastard,” and he’d felt scared and run home when it was over. Gyeom-duk says there’s no winning or losing, because everyone has their own life to live.

Dong-hoon tells his friend about the most pitiful girl in the world, who said that he’s the most pitiful person in the world. He sighs that he didn’t live his life right, and definitely lost. Gyeom-duk just tells him to win now.

Jung-hee is shocked to see her old flame standing in her bar holding a gigantic bouquet of roses, and she wonders if she’s losing her mind as Gyeom-duk sits. She serves him tea and notes that he left as a young man, but came back middle-aged.

Gyeom-duk’s smile starts to slip as he stares at something, and he confesses that he’s wondering why he could never come here in the last twenty years. He tells Jung-hee that something was weighing on his heart, and she says that she always hoped that weight was her. Jung-hee asks what’s left for her to look forward to, and Gyeom-duk tells her to live happily and comfortably.

While Dong-hoon hangs out at Mom’s house, she secretly slips him some money, but Ki-hoon pipes up that they saw that. Mom says it’s just money for new clothes to go with his new job, and Sang-hoon offers to spring for a new black suit. Dong-hoon asks Mom if she thinks he’s pitiful, but she says she just worried because he’s the quiet kid.

Sang-hon asks why Dong-hoon is here instead of at home. Dong-hoon says he’s waiting for Yoon-hee to call him, but she’s still with Ji-an at the police station.

Ji-an tells the entire story, starting with her noticing that Joon-young had a burner phone and only ever called one person with it, and how she realized it was the same number listed as “Wife” in Dong-hoon’s phone. She says that’s how she knew why Joon-young was trying to get Dong-hoon fired, confessing that she agreed to help get Dong-hoon and Director Park fired in exchange for money.

Joon-young also goes to the police to tell them his version of events, blaming Ji-an for blackmailing him with knowledge of his affair. He says that he only found out about what Ji-an did to Director Park after the fact, and that he was afraid of her so he didn’t give her any money. He’s asked why he didn’t report her then, and he says that he’d done something wrong that he didn’t want to admit to himself.

Ji-an reluctantly admits that she learned about Director Park’s important meeting through the wiretap she installed on Dong-hoon’s phone. Joon-young is asked if he directed Ji-an to tap Dong-hoon’s phone, but he scoffs that she did that on her own. He denies Ji-an claim that he told her to keep listening to Dong-hoon, and to try to start a scandal with him.

Unfortunately, Joon-young paid Ji-an in cash, and the recordings are gone, so there’s no proof that Ji-an didn’t act all on her own. Yoon-hee tells the detective that she’s requested the records from Joon-young’s burner phone, and when his lawyer says no such phone exists, she insists that it does.

In private, Yoon-hee asks Ji-an why she deleted the audio recordings on her phone. Ji-an murmurs that there was information about Yoon-hee on there, information that made Dong-hoon suffer. Joon-young is brought in since they’re telling such different stories, and he sneers that Ji-an and Yoon-hee live interesting lives.

He accuses Ji-an of drugging and kidnapping Director Park and only telling him afterward, which she admits is true. Joon-young gloats, until she adds, “It’s not like you had the mental capacity to think of a plan that would work. The only thing you could think of was using a subcontractor to create a bribery scandal.” Damn.

Joon-young fires back that she’s doing all this because he gave Dong-hoon a hard time, and that she likes him. Ji-an asks why he keeps saying she likes Dong-hoon as if it’s an insult, scoffing that he must get petty when he likes someone.

She looks him dead in the eye as she asks, “Do you even know what it means for a person to like someone?” Furious, Joon-young orders his lawyer to sue Ji-an for blackmail, defamation, and anything else he can make stick. He stalks back to the office, thinking about Kwang-il’s partner demanding money for all the recordings.

Alone again, Yoon-hee asks Ji-an if she’s trying to punish her, and Ji-an asks why Yoon-hee cheated on a man like Dong-hoon. Yoon-hee says there were a thousand reasons, but probably not one real reason. They call Dong-hoon when they finally leave the station. Yoon-hee tells him that this would be easier if they had the recordings, but they don’t know who has Ki-bum’s computer.

Luckily for Ji-an, Dong-hoon convinced Director Park not to press charges. Yoon-hee explains that to Ji-an, who says that one of the kindest things she heard Dong-hoon say when she was listening to him was, “Do you want me to buy anything on my way home?” when he was talking to Yoon-hee.

Yoon-hee drops Ji-an off with Jung-hee, and as they’re getting ready for bed, Ji-an asks why Jung-hee doesn’t ask what she’s doing with Dong-hoon and Yoon-hee. Jung-hee says that all she cares about is that Ji-an comes back, and Ji-an teaches her the sign for “thank you.” Jung-hee asks if she should have Ji-an’s old neighbor bring her things over, but Ji-an says that if she stays at the bar, Dong-hoon won’t be able to come here.

Kwang-il frantically copies all of the audio recordings from Ki-bum’s computer, as his partner yells that they could get a lot of money for deleting those.

Ji-an calls Dong-hoon (whose team is hanging out in his office just because they miss him, so cute) to tell him the bad news — Grandma has passed away. He goes with her to identify Grandma’s body, and when she can’t bring herself to look, he looks first.

When she finally looks at her grandmother’s face, Ji-an hugs her and cries her heart out. She signs, “Grandmother, I was so happy that I had you by my side. Thank you for being in my life. Thank you for being my grandma. Thank you. Let’s meet again, okay? Let’s meet each other again.”

Dong-hoon and his brothers come to the funeral, as does Jung-hee. Sang-hoon grows fidgety, likely thinking of his own mother’s eventual funeral. He calls Mom and sends her on a scavenger hunt for his hidden money, directing her to deposit it into Ki-hoon’s bank account. Next he calls Jae-chul for a list of their soccer club members.

Soon Jung-hee is laying out a lavish memorial table full of food, and the funeral hall fills up with condolence wreaths from Jae-chul and the soccer club members. The entire soccer club shows up to pay their respects, along with Dong-hoon’s old work team, and Yoon-hee and Ki-bum arrive last.

Ki-bum tells Ji-an that he and Yoon-hee are on their way to the police station. Ji-an says she’s sorry, and Ki-bum gives her a slightly forced, but sweet, smile and tells her to hang in there. He stops on his way out to thank Dong-hoon.

Dong-hoon offers to pay Sang-hoon back all the money he spent, but Sang-hoon refuses to take it. He says he’s never liked himself as much as he does right now, even if it means he’s broke tomorrow.

Dong-hoon takes issue when his coworkers pour shots and clink glasses as if they’re in a bar. They’re curious about how Ki-hoon is with a semi-famous actress like Yu-ra, and ask what Ki-hoon does for a living. When Dong-hoon doesn’t reply, Ki-hoon asks him why, then sighs and says he’s a cleaner. Yu-ra says it’s only temporary, but Ki-hoon grumbles, “Who says?”

Worried that Ji-an isn’t eating, Jung-hee fetches Dong-hoon. But when Choon-dae arrives just then, he goes to see to Ji-an first. He looks at the room packed full of mourners, then tells Ji-an that her grandmother is blessed.

Later, the guys play soccer in the parking lot, while the ladies look on indulgently and Dong-hoon arranges for cremation of Grandma’s body. Jung-hee asks Ji-an her New Year’s plans, and if she wants to meet up twice a year at New Year’s and Chuseok. Ji-an actually smiles and says she’d like that.

Dong-hoon tells Ji-an when and where Grandma will be cremated. She asks why he’s being so nice to her, and if he plans to leave her when this is over. He informs her that it was Sang-hoon who arranged all this, giving her a tiny smile when she stares at him incredulously. Ji-an says that when he told her to call him when Grandma passed away, it was very comforting.

As he goes to join the soccer game, Ji-an remembers the last time she saw Grandma. She’d told Ji-an (about Dong-hoon), “What a wonderful relationship you have with him. And so precious, too. If you think about it, each and every interpersonal relationship is quite fascinating and precious. You must repay them. Live a happy life. That’s how you can repay the people in your life.”

Looking around at all of these people who have transformed her life, and the man who started it all, Ji-an she finally loses the last bit of hardness in her expression.

Joon-young tells Detective Hong about the caller who demanded money to delete the recordings, and how he sounded like a young man. Detective Hong immediately suspects Kwang-il and rushes to his office with several police officers.

Kwang-il stuffs all the copies of the recordings into a bag and tries to flee carrying the computer tower. He runs into Detective Hong in the hallway, but he narrowly manages to escape, snarling that he won’t lose the recordings to him.

The cops chase him down to the parking lot, where Kwang-il violently smashes the tower into smithereens on the pavement. He runs, still carrying the bag with the recordings. He leads the cops through a maze of alleyways, eventually managing to lose them and get away.

Most of the mourners show up again for Grandma’s interment. Ji-an rests her forehead on the beautiful urn for a long moment before setting Grandma in her final resting place, along with many pictures of her with Ji-an.

Dong-hoon gets annoyed when Sang-hoon thanks Ji-an for letting him have the most wonderful day of his life, given that it was due to her loss. But Ji-an says it’s okay, because it was the most wonderful day of her life, too. She promises to repay Sang-hoon, but Jae-chul says it isn’t necessary.

On the bus back to the city, Dong-hoon watches Ji-an thoughtfully. Ki-hoon gives him a pair of sunglasses, saying they should wear them later and take a picture, because it’s Sang-hoon’s wish.

Back at the office, another envelope arrives for Dong-hoon with no sender listed. He opens it in front of the team and finds a bag… the bag Kwang-il filled with Ji-an’s recordings and rescued from the police. While he was running, he’d stopped in a delivery store and had it sent to Dong-hoon.

As we see Kwang-il walking away, we hear Ji-an’s voice: “He used to be a good person. And he used to be nice to me. Back then the look in his eyes wasn’t the same as it is now.” Aww, I knew there was still a good man in there.

Dong-hoon delivers the recordings to the police, who play them for Joon-young. Gossip of Joon-young’s affair with Dong-hoon’s wife quickly makes it back to the office, and Dong-hoon’s former teammates are too upset to even talk at dinner that night. Suddenly Ji-an is a hero, and the team asks Dong-hoon to arrange a meeting so they can properly thank her for her loyalty.

Dong-hoon gets a text from Ji-an: “Buy me food. And alcohol.” He finds her at his friend’s restaurant, talking with the owner, and she smiles to see him. She tells him that Chairman Jang bought her lunch today and introduced her to a job opportunity with a friend’s company in Busan, and that he put in a good word for her so they’re willing to overlook the fact that she’s on trial.

She says she wants to go far away because she feels pathetic wandering this neighborhood hoping to see him. She reminds him of his promise to be happy, half-joking that a person who can be happy without her holds no appeal. She says she wants to start over and reinvent a new life for herself.

She continues that she’s glad that they’ll be happy to see one another if they run into each other later, because when she was on the run, she thought that Dong-hoon would avoid her if he saw her. She thanks him for being so good to her.

He replies, “You must have been sent to his neighborhood in order to save me. I was on the verge of dying, but you were the one who saved me.” Ji-an looks at him tenderly and tells him, “I truly lived for the first time because of you, Ajusshi.” Dong-hoon holds out his glass and proposes that they be truly happy now, and they toast.

Not only does Joon-young lose his job, but Director Yoon as well. Director Park is reinstated to his old position, just as Chairman Jang promised.

The neighborhood pals are sorry to see Ji-an moving so far away. Jung-hee offers to walk her around the neighborhood one last time, and the brothers follow them as usual. Sang-hoon and Ki-hoon turn off at their corner, wishing Ji-an well, and Ji-an offers them a bow in gratitude.

When it’s time for Dong-hoon to head home, he looks at Ji-an wistfully, and she asks him if she can hug him, just once. This time he nods, and hugs her tight. They stand that way for a long time, then back up, but when Dong-hoon tells Ji-an to go, she stands there stubbornly until he walks away. She calls after him, “Fighting!” and he returns the salute with a smile.

Yoon-hee calls Dong-hoon, who asks if she wants him to buy anything on his way home. She remembers Ji-an saying that it was the kindest thing she’d ever heard, and she asks him to bring home some beer.

Some time later, Dong-hoon goes to visit his mother after taking Yoon-hee to the airport to visit their son. He says that she’s going to look into some schools for herself while she’s there, and when Ki-hoon says Dong-hoon should move home, Mom nearly throws dirt in his face, ha. She reports that Sang-hoon may be reconciling with his wife soon.

While watching TV, Ki-hoon asks about Ji-an, but Dong-hoon is evasive, just saying that she’d have no reason to call him. Ki-hoon talks about a movie he couldn’t watch about a mother who abandoned her children. He wondered how he could direct a movie when he can’t even watch one, so he watched it the following day, and he was glad because the kids had their own inner strength.

As Dong-hoon eats at home alone later, he starts to get emotional and loses his appetite. He fights back tears, but no matter how hard he tries, they get the better of him. Eventually he lets himself sob out all of the feelings he’s been bottling up for years.

Ki-hoon yells at Yu-ra over the phone, angry that she keeps asking if he’s going back to movies and accusing her of being ashamed of him. He vows that he’s never going back to that, telling her to break up with him and date a guy in the industry.

As the seasons pass, Yu-ra keeps calling Ki-hoon even though they’re broken up, and he cries when he hangs up. One day, Sang-hoon slows the van when he sees Yu-ra’s face on an ad. He fusses at Ki-hoon for breaking up with an A-list celebrity like her.

Dong-hoon has quit his job and started his own business, bringing all of his old team with him. He’s CEO Park now, and his desk is covered in pictures of Yoon-hee and their son, along with one picture of himself and his brothers partying in their expensive sunglasses.

Ji-an is thriving in her new job, and she even socializes with her female coworkers outside of work. She teaches sign language in her spare time, and she smiles and laughs freely.

One day, Ji-an walks past by the old office building, but she only pauses for a moment.

Ki-hoon goes to one of Yu-ra’s movies, and he smiles when her character says the line, “I love you” repeatedly. He slumps over to Jung-hee’s afterward and sits at the bar alone. He ignores Jung-hee when she tells him that Yu-ra came by last night, but later, he goes home and starts to write his next screenplay.

Ji-an visits a coffee shop with her coworkers, and she hears a familiar deep voice. But she looks around and sees nobody she knows. She hears the voice again and this time she sees Dong-hoon outside with a colleague. He spots her and stands, and they smile at each other.

Ji-an looks so different, in a good way, that Dong-hoon jokes that he wouldn’t have recognized her. He says that he heard through the chairman that she’s doing well at her job, and she tells him that she recently transferred back to Seoul. She asks about the old company, but Dong-hoon says he left and started his own company.

Her coworkers beckon to her, so Dong-hoon offers to shake hands. They do, and he thanks her. Ji-an offers to buy him a meal, saying that she’ll call, and Dong-hoon fairly beams at her.

She joins her friends, and he turns back just once to watch her go. Ji-an also turns back, but Dong-hoon is already walking away. He thinks, “Ji-an, were you able to find some comfort for yourself?”

Ji-an’s voice answers, “Yes. Yes.”

COMMENTS

One of my favorite things about My Ajusshi has always been the visual artistry — because cinematography like this can’t be called anything less than art. Early on I would get frustrated because it seemed like every scene was shot with no lighting, but I eventually came to understand that the lighting was a character in itself, informing the audience that Dong-hoon and Ji-an were living in (emotional) darkness. I began to notice that the happier they became, the lighter and brighter their lives (and those scenes) were. So as soon as this finale started and I saw Ji-an and her grandmother sitting in the bright sunlight, wearing light colors and surrounded by soft pink cascading cherry blossom petals, I knew that everything would turn out okay. Still, it nearly broke my heart when Dong-hoon and Ji-an finally parted for good, even though I knew they were both moving on to better lives.

I think it’s incredible how sometimes one person can change the lives of so many, and Ji-an was one of those people. She didn’t just change Dong-hoon’s life, but Yoon-hee’s as well, inspiring her to be a better woman and a better wife and to appreciate what she has. In a very short time, Ji-an had the love and support of the neighborhood soccer friends, so much so that they dropped everything to give her grandmother a huge send-off at a moment’s notice. These people all profoundly changed Ji-an’s life for the better as well, showing her that she doesn’t have to do anything more than just be herself to be worthy of love and support. It started with Dong-hoon, but in the end, Ji-an was able to carry on on her own, and have friends and a good job, all because one person bothered to know her and love her.

Her effect on Dong-hoon was the most pronounced, and I love that, even though her life was literally in danger daily before meeting him, he gave her all the credit for saving him. He may have seemed to be living well, but he was dying inside, living a life that was unhappy and unfulfilling. Ji-an showed him that there’s something more important than having a good job or the perfect-seeming marriage, and that’s to love someone, purely and unselfishly. And he loved Ji-an just as purely and unselfishly, although, as I’ve said, their kind of love isn’t one that can be (pr should be) defined. It just is, and they know it, and that’s enough.

It cannot be overstated, how masterful the acting performances were in this drama. Each and every actor, no matter how large or small their role, had moments where they moved me in some way. IU may as well have been Ji-an, she so perfectly embodied Ji-an’s misery and loneliness which eventually gave way to acceptance and peace. The way she let go of her unhappiness after Grandma’s funeral was so subtle yet so powerful, I had to stop and collect myself before I could go on watching. Jang Ki-yong as Kwang-il made a similarly deep impression on me, somehow making me care even for a violent loan shark, even if it was mostly to mourn for the loving man he could have been under different circumstances. I believe that both of them have very bright futures ahead. And of course, Lee Sang-hyun, Lee Ji-ah, and the rest of this amazing cast gave what I would call performances of a lifetime, each bringing something special to their characters that made me fall in love with each and every one of them (Okay, maybe not Joon-young).

It may seem overly dramatic to those who haven’t seen My Ajusshi, but I think that those of us who have been graced by this beautiful show will understand when I say that I feel like this drama is a precious gift. It reminds us that what’s important in life isn’t material things, or appearances, or even whether we find perfect happiness. It’s the relationships we share with others, whatever shape they may take, and how we treat those around us that gives our lives meaning. As Grandma said: “If you think about it, each and every interpersonal relationship is quite fascinating and precious. You must repay them. Live a happy life. That’s how you can repay the people in your life.” I don’t think it can be said any better than that.

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I haven't even watched the drama yet and your comments at the end still made me cry. Sounds so beautiful, thank you.

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So beautiful. So perfect. This is one of the few dramas I've watched where I genuinely loved every minute of it. I thought every element was utterly perfect, from the sparse script and excellent performances to the off-kilter direction, cinematography and the pensive, haunting OST.

Straight to the top of the best drama list.

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This is what I wrote on my fan wall yesterday. I don’t have time to write more now, but I might later. Sorry for being redundant!

I’ve largely stepped away from the My Ajusshi discussions. I’ve been a passive observer, reading the comments without actively engaging. The main reason is that I find it very difficult to put into words how I feel about this drama, and I know I will never do those feelings justice. But something that has touched me so deeply deserves to get a few words from me, so I’m going to try now.

My Ajusshi was an unconventional, complex drama that had a conventional, simple message at its heart: be kind to others. Be a decent person.

That’s really what it came down to, and as seemingly trite as that message seems, it’s something everyone needs to be reminded of. Especially during days as hard as today.

I was awestruck by how Dong-hoon’s decency and kindness so deeply affected Ji-an. This show demonstrated the beautiful way in which our actions and words can bring about change in others. We always hear about the “chain reaction” of kindness, and I think it’s more than a cliché. It’s true.

Ji-an was a character that so many others deemed insignificant, as disposable, and was never truly given a chance. A chance to show the goodness that she was capable of, a chance to show the cleverness that she possessed. Through Ji-an, I thought this show did an excellent job at showing us that we should give others the benefit of the doubt and to not judge them harshly because of their appearance, or their background. We hardly ever know the whole story of someone’s life or their situation.

Again, these are simple messages. We have all heard these things since we were children, but it’s clear just by looking at the world today that we tend to forget them.

So I want to thank My Ajusshi for allowing us to witness Ji-an’s story. I want to thank Dong-hoon for giving the stoic, quiet girl that others thought of as invisible the attention that she never received before. I want to thank him for showing that kindness truly is a virtue, and that we will eventually be rewarded for the good deeds that we do, although that is not the reason why we should do them.

Just... thank you.

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Beautiful your comment, @mindi, very very beautiful. And you said it right. Kindness and loyalty are actually very powerful principles not everybody has. Like Ji an said, some people had been kind but no more than four times, because they are truly not kind inside. Maybe many did these acts of kindness in order to show off, or because of a guilty/pity feeling. But not Doong hoon. He was really kind all the time. And his character made me fall in love with LSK.

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LSK is one of those actors where I forget about how truly great he is until I see him on my screen again, and then I’m just like, “How did I possibly forget how great he is?!”

I kind of wanna rewatch This Week My Wife is Having an Affair.

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With that title, I never wanted to watch it. But maybe... Maybe after withdrwals, I would watch it. Any good? Don't spoil it for me though... 🙄

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It’s great! It was probably my favorite of 2016! It handles the tough situation of their marriage and family with a lot of humor and heart. The secondary characters played by Lee Sang-yeob and BoA are delightful as well, as are the netizens who comment on his posts. The only thing I didn’t like about the show was his sleazy friend. It’s only 12 episodes, too!

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It's very very good. It's so good that it made Javabeans' top 10 dramas of all time. It was the best drama in 2016. And it was not just about affair, but the internet and its impact.

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@mindy
Apologies, but "Be kind to others" is too simplistic and diminishes risks in this offer of kindness.

This is "Be kind to others" in a system that not only discourages, but actively punishes those who do.

Those who wish to do kind deeds have to be prepared to risk everything. That is another level of sacrifice altogether...and in reality is one step too far to ever take for many.

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But it was the very simplicity of his initial kindness that is the impetus for Ji-an's turning point. And isn't the point of some narratives and art to show to society the cruelties inflicted by cultural/political/economic norms? My Ahjussi does just that.

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Agree, and what started with an act of kindness,, which could have been random, ended up with changing her whole life. For me, it is realistic and happens in real life too. Small steps will cover eventually a great distance. I love this drama!!!!!!!!😍

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@mindy @javinne
Apologies if the short post didn't carry the full intent.

Yes it is an act of kindness. However, in this system it is not simple. Sadly, it is epic. Just as the energy to leap is simple. The energy to break earth's orbit is exponentially more and more risky (+ no amount of individual leaps will ever allow you to break orbit).

The effort and risk in kindness was separate to any comment on the drama's underlying premise. I so agree, the drama's unpacking of the contradictions and limitations in SK social/moral framework is heartbreakingly well done. It never flinched and yet remained warm. These are some of my favourite Dramas (I love "The Devil" for this very reason).

P.S. This drama found epic in the simple - it is the only drama I have found where a fan video has used Beyoncé's "Halo" and the song does not overpower it...in fact at points the song is not enough....I think i got something in my eye's just now as I think about it.

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@Mindy, really appreciate your thoughtful comments. So nicely stated.

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Thank you!

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What a masterpiece of a series! What I got out of it was life isn't perfect and you shouldn't try to make your life perfect but deal with each other in kindness. Even the smallest inkling of kindness can warp someone else's life.

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A beautiful ending for a beautiful drama IU saranghe.....

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BEST DRAMA EVER!!

I wish I could articulate my love for this drama. For Jian. For Donghoon. But I can't. Or at least not in a way that will give it justice. I was literally drenched in tears throughout the entire episode, even the final scene, albeit with a huge grin on my face. Unfortunately, it's past midnight on my side of the world (🙊) and I have to sleep. I'll catch up on comments here first thing in the morning though!

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Sang-hoon's gesture to Ji-an and her grandmother was soooo nice. He spent so much time worried about sending off his own mother well but he realized there was someone else who needed it even more and he delivered. Such a great contrast from the Sang-hoon at the beginning of the drama who was taking money from wedding donations for himself.

This show really captured my heart and I can't say enough amazing things about it. <3<3<3

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OMG yes, Sang-hoon's spontaneous generosity was so touching! In addition to the huge difference he made, I loved the humor of him making his exasperated mom run around the house looking for his hidden stash of cash; I loved how proud he was of himself for doing the right thing and even felt that it was the best day of his life; I loved how he got his wish of hanging out with his bros wearing designer shades and didn't seem to mind that it was in a funeral bus instead of a fancy sports car. And like you said, it was such a great full-circle moment.

It's hard for me to imagine Oh Dal-soo as Sang-hoon.

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She they panned over to SH wearing his shades and the look on his and KH's face, I laughed. It was perfect.

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it's great writing also, that Sang-hoon's character came full circle, his preoccupation on earlier episodes of having people on their mother's funeral is like wish fulfillment for Ji-an's grandma...

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This drama was perfection - from the acting to the directing to the soundtrack to the cinematography.
I feel privileged to have been on this journey for 9 weeks and I know this drama will always be in my heart <3 My Ajusshi is such a rare gem and it's a masterpiece where I will always be grateful for being a part of this journey.

My Ajusshi family - thank you for everything and let's be happy!!!

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I’m sure I’m not the only who was struck by how well the central message of My Ajusshi dovetails with the sermon that was given by Bishop Curry at the royal wedding earlier: ” There’s power, power in love. Not just in its romantic forms, but any form, any shape of love. There’s a certain sense, in which when you are loved and you know it, when someone cares for you and you know it, when you love and you show it, it actually feels right… There is power in love to help and heal when nothing else can. There’s power in love to lift up and liberate when nothing else will. There’s power in love to show us the way to live… Love is not selfish and self-centered. Love can be sacrificial and, in so doing, become redemptive. And that way of unselfish, sacrificial, redemptive love changes lives. And it can change this world.”

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That is a wonderful connection.
Thank you for writing out this part of the sermon. It dovetails perfectly with our drama.

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Oh wow! Thanks for this! I heard the sermon, but never tied it to the drama, but it is basically what my ajhussi was about: the power of love and kindness to heal and to change lives.

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Reading your comments @lollypip made me cry again. T_T I love this show so much!

It's hard to put into words as to how awesome this drama is and how it made me feel. So thank you for an amazing run!

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I will say it again: this show breaks my heart and then puts it back together bigger and shinier than before. 💖

Our Jian finally learned to live and not just survive; and our Ahjussi finally learned to let go and allow himself to cry. That it’s OK to be happy and not just endure. When Dong hoon let it all out, I was crying along with him cos it felt as cathartic for me as well. And I felt as happy that he finally did it!

To be honest, at first I was apprehensive about Jian going away because I wanted her to be with the gang. I mean, all she needed was to say yes to Jung hee’s offer to live together and she will be taken care of. So I was sad that she and DH went their separate ways and that the last scene kinda felt bittersweet. But as I thought about it, it actually made sense for Jian to go so she can get back on her feet and rediscover herself BY HERSELF. No one was going to do it for her. And she needed to do it away from the people and the place where all the things she associated with her being a ‘terrible person’ was. And that closing scene of meeting Dong hoon again was proof that she had succeeded in building a new life for herself and hopefully, she is also ready to rebuild a relationship with DH and the neighborhood gang on her own terms: as a new, successful, confident Jian and not the child they all pitied. When that clicked and I re-watched the episode, I was blown away by the whole thing again. I guess I was having my own separation anxiety. Lol

I love what Sang hoon did for grandma’s funeral. And one of my fave scenes was the football game: as Jian was remembering grandma’s words about precious relationships, every line was interspersed with the camera panning to the people those words apply to. From the brothers to Jung hee and Yura, and to Dong hoon. Such a heartwarming moment, marvelously directed.

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Also, we already know that Dong hoon has a big heart and therefore a big capacity to love and forgive. It made sense for him to forgive Yoon hee and try again and I could get behind that now that Yoon hee has through Jian, realized how fortunate she is to have DH. Plus I love the Misaeng-like ending for DH’s career!

I love that scenes throughout the drama keep going full circle: the ‘it’s no big deal’, the running, the ‘buy me food’ - where we’re looking at the same scenes or hearing the same dialogue at different times and we see how they were used during the bad times and then used again in the happy times.

Ultimately, this drama was all about getting through life, and of FAMILY and EMPATHY and most important of all, KINDNESS and LOVE in all forms. All that was symbolized so aptly by the inhabitants of that wonderful neighborhood.

Such great production and great acting. I have never noticed the directing or photography style in a drama ‘til this show. The amazing dialogue that sometimes transcended the screen to speak to me on a personal level and make me relate to the life lessons being dealt out. I am now an avid fan of Kim Won-Seok PD and shall henceforth watch all his works. All 3 of his last dramas are in my all-time best list.

Apologies for the long post and thank you so much Lollypip for your wonderful recaps! I so enjoyed reading yours and the other beanies’ thoughts! I am actually a serial marathoner so I rarely watch dramas live and thus, I don’t often get to join discussions like this. I am a big fan of the PD and LSK so this was practically begging me to start watching live and I’m glad the drama lived up to my expectations and so much more! Til the next awesome drama to lure me out of binge-watching! 👋

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We can actually see the development of Dong Hoon's character in this ending. He knows how to empathize and understand what other people feels. He knew that there are people around him who trully care. That's why even though he was on the verge of crying in some of the scenes, he never did it because he wants to show to those who love him that all the challenges that he had been through doesn't matter to him. He doesn't want those who love him that he is sad because he knows, they will be sad, too.|

However, the moment he cried means he already accept the fact that he's just an ordinary person who has emotions. He finally acknowledge that it is okay to be break down into tears and sometimes feel so sorry for himself. His emotions flowed smoothly, and we can see it with how perfect he cried during that scene.

I just love how Lee Sun Kyun portrays such role with perfection. Whenever he cries, I am not seeing him as an actor, but a a character in the series. I am eager to see more from him. God! I am sold with the way he acts, and I am now his big fan!

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Yes, he is an amazing actor! Everytime I see his work, I'm amazed at how he becomes the character, not just an actor acting it out ❤ If you haven't you can catch his previous drama This Week My Wife Will Have an Affair. It's just 12 eps so its a fast watch 🙂

That crying scene was really something else! I loved the ORDINARINESS of it too: he was just eating and then Kihoon's words just suddenly got to him and he remembered everything. I loved that it starts as him crying and then trying to control it... and then it all just came out.

It resonated so much with me the way the scene was setup. And perfect timing too. Sometimes when you've been through something difficult, people around you will keep telling you the same thing to get through it. But it won't make sense and you won't be able to heed their advice until your heart is READY to HEAL and then some random person will say the same thing and suddenly it just clicks and makes sensw

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When JA said the kindest thing she heard was DH asking if he could pick up something on the way home.....such simple words and so true.

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Your explanation of DH and JA's parting scene gives me hope! I was a sobbing mess when she had to go and the fact that she never contacted him to let him know how she's doing.. Watching this final episode left a lingering sadness to me lol. That the precious bond between JA and DH and his friends will end. After reading your comment, I feel more at ease. Your explanation clears my doubt and that she will eventually reunite again with DH, JH, and the hoogye neighbours when she finally finds her standing in life and society without their help. Thank you!

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Yes, that was the same feeling I had too when I first watched it so I can relate to the sadness you felt.

But I'm holding on to Jian telling Dong hoon that she will buy him a meal - her chance to be the one to give back to him. That is what gave me hope that she could eventually, be back with the neighborhood 🙂

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I'm tearing up again just remembering that scene. Thank you @jaderjy!

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I love the ending. I think, this drama has one of the most reasonable and logical endings out there.

Also, kudos to Lee Sun Kyun for the outburst scene! The last time I saw him cry is when he was in "My Husband is having an Affair this week". He really nailed the perfection of crying that I always want to see him crying! (LOL). That man deserves to get an award!

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Yes! I remember his crying in This Week too, snot and all. Lol ❤

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I finally finished this drama and I am both happy and sad it is over. Every once in awhile a TV show comes along that just knocks you off your feet. That stands light years above all the rest. This was one such drama and who knows when another one like this will come around. This was a simple story but told so beautifully and with strong performances by the cast.

A straight drama like this is usually not my thing. I usually like shows with some action or some mystery and intrigue. But I am so glad that I decided to watch this one. Everyone in the entire cast stands out and deserves an award. Like others have noted, this is definitely a breakout performance for IU.

One problem with a show like this is that it turns the other television shows I watch into garbage. Though I am glad it was only 16 episodes. It was the right length for the story and it did not overstay its welcome. Now I just need to figure out what to watch next.

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You can rewatch it again! 😜

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LoL. It'll be awhile before I rewatch this drama again. I don't want my sinuses to get all stuffed up again. :P

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One problem with a show like this is that it turns the other television shows I watch into garbage. ✅

Well, the other shows possibly were already garbage, it becomes obvious once compared to a gem like this show.

This had excellent writng, cast, director perfect trifecta. Most shows fail in writng or basic storytelling. Good characters brought to life by talented actors, shot by a director with an eye for the story, wonderful when it all comes together.

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This thought coming to me after I watch Just Between Lovers and Wise Prison Life. That's my firts drama slumps before I watch My Ajushhi. I drop many drama and clean my folder just to save some of drama that actually so wonderful to me.
Thanks to My Ajusshi, many kdrama fans know about how amazing IU is and LSK become the hot Ajusshi once again after coffee prince 😍

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If you loved smart prison and just between lovers, and now you have loved my ajusshi, you have to watch Mother as well... these are the best of the best out there in between 2017-2018

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I want and I will. I've plan to watch it one by one in next month :)

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10000xxxx agree.
As brilliant as My Ajusshi is, this show has totally destroyed my drama watching experience. The bar has been set too high.

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LoL.. I discarded so many dramas recently just to wait Wed and Thu to come while re-watching latest episode of "My Mister"....

I'll be so doomed if all dramas are well-written, because all I do will be watching dramas, LoL.

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yup, agreed. this show is perfect! writer gave life to characters that loved/cared for each other... they showed empathy and vulnerability. the director was good in a way that the neighborhood also became a character of the show, the lighting and musical background or lack thereof was spot on. and the actors/actresses were gold! no weak link, they gave life to these characters by living their dreams, hopes & aspirations...

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I agree! I watched Mother before this and I thought that was incredible. Then this came along and set the bar even higher. TvN has been really leading the pack in terms of quality. Now I have nothing to watch, everything else looks awful by comparison!

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I usually like shows with some action

Well, at least this one had lots of running....

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Like shows with action. Have you seen Heartless City or My Beautiful Bride ?

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Those two are on my list to watch but I have not got around to watching them. I just noticed Netflix added Live so I may start watching that. Plus, I might start watching Lawless Lawyer. And I just saw a recommendation for Mother so I guess I will add that to the list as well.

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I haven't seen My Beautiful Bride, but I second Heartless City!

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My thoughts exactly. I keep replaying scenes from My Mister coz I couldnt resume watching other recent dramas yet. They now seem bland, petty, and poorly made compared to this drama.

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Pulled myself together enough after watching to read this and now I'm crying again. This was just so beautiful and masterfully handled. Like you pointed out, that softening of Ji An's face while she watches all these loved people in her life, who crept in without her even noticing--it was so subtle, and yet so huge. IU really did just a spectacular job with this role, and the chemistry shared with LSK was incredibly moving--it went so far beyond our typical romantic device and became something almost spiritual for the two characters, and for us watching, I think. This show deserves all of the accolades. It was a truly marvelous experience.

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IU should be getting some calls from some movie directors.

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I have waited long for this recap and now I don't know what to say. This show is so beautiful, so remarkable!

@lollypip, great insights about the use of lights in this show. When I watch it again, I will pay more attention to it. The brighter it gets, the happier. And yes, I could feel they were really happy at the end. Not this kind of dreamy "happy ever after" from fairy tales. Happiness doesn't also mean to be jumping joyful all the time... It is an inner consciousness of being content with what you are and what you have. Doong hoon asked her if she got some comfort, and maybe that is the word I am looking for: be comfortable with yourself and people around you. It is not a "fancy life" and it doesn't have to do with money. It has to do with feeling lighter because you are comfortable first of all with yourself. And both of them reached that stage, so yes... It is a happy end for them, or at least a happy continuation of their lives, where also happily they are meeting again and again and again.

I don't know you, beanies, but for me it was totally implicit they would end up together as something better than a couple... simply as soulmates sharing the greatness of being with each other.

This drama, really... It killed me. It was spectacular from beginning to end.
Thank you, Ajusshi, for making me cry like I have cried. 😍
I will miss you! Really I will miss it soooo much.

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Maybe knowing that she doesn't need to worry anymore about Ji-an was why Grandma finally left, and so peacefully too. And how very like the show to made Grandma's funeral as a celebration for life! Felt so happy for Ji-an, when she was sitting on the stair and just drinking in all the things she can only hear before, but now she's a part of. Totally sobbed my eyes out when she ran to the bus, she seemed like a new Ji-an who is light and free.
Am glad he gave her at least a hug, and so so glad we have that scene where they meet again!

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And thank you @lollypip for the recaps! Watching drama is always doubly fun with recaps and discussions here in DB ^^

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Second that! Remember the time Ahjusshi and Jian took grandma to the facility together. Grandma wrote, "With a person like you in Jian's side, I finally can rest in peace...."

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My heart is still in ache after this drama ends... knowing that there won't be any touching interactions between the characters again makes me upset but at the same time I'm very satisfied with the ending. I can't begin to describe how I feel about this drama but let me pour it here hehe

Jian and her new life, Dong Hoon finally be freed from his troubles, and the possibility of them to meet again in the future is so realistic.

Even though Grandma's death is quite sudden and shocking because she's been happy and healthy, I think that is necessary to make Jian realize that she won't be suffering alone anymore, that there are people who know little about her but care for her so much. I cried when Jung Hee asks Jian to meet twice a year, they finally found someone to celebrate something with.

And Grandma's last words to Jian perfectly describe Dong Hoon and Jian's relationship. You don't need to ponder upon how can a person be this kind to other person, when you just need to be thankful and appreciate it.

And Dong Hoon finally sobbed out all those tears after holding it in for so long gave me great relief, because everything will be feel easier after that.

And The Team 3's reactions after knowing Jian's loyalty is priceless for me haha I hope they can meet Jian again and see how well she became.

I truly enjoy every second of this drama. The characters with their own issues, their warm interaction, is something so precious that we can learn from. The actors and actresses really gave their best in portraying their character that even a side character can give so much feels and gain our sympathy, which is something I never felt for other dramas.
I feel a little bit ashamed that I remember myself thinking this would be just another ajusshi-romance drama, but I'm glad I'm wrong because my guess is so superficial and this drama is far more than that.

In sum, this drama will be something that warms my heart, touches me deep and reminds me what it takes to be kind human being.

Thank you the director, the writer, actors, actresses, cameramen, editors, music directors for this brilliant, beyond perfect masterpiece.

I'm gonna keep replaying this drama's OSTs for the next couple of weeks.

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What a beautiful drama from start to finish! I can’t praise it enough! Ji An and Dong Hoon love each other: fact. Does their relationship defy labels? Yes: fact. There’s no need for labels. It’s enough to know that they care for each other deeply and wish each other well.

Dong Hoon and his wife couldn’t resolve their differences, it seems. They found a socially acceptable way to split up and end their marriage. Her going abroad to study was enough of an excuse so no one would question why they split up. I feel this way because of Dong Hoon’s reaction. I mean, you could tell he was struggling intensely when he broke the news to his mom. Later he broke down, threw up and cried. All in keeping with a man who knows his marriage is over. I like how understated the drama kept it, though. He still has pictures of her and their son in his office. That’s just the kind of man Dong Hoon is.

IU solidifies her reputation as a good actress with this drama. She held her own with a veteran cast and became her character. I wish her only the best going forward. I’ve been consistently impressed by her performances, even though their were some sub par editing in her last drama, but I’m glad she was able to regain public perception with this one.

It’s an outstanding drama from start to finish. I’ll rank it as high as Misaeng, Tunnel and Signal in my book.

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I had also thought that Yoon Hee went to the States on the pretext of further studies but in reality, she and Dong Hoon split up. However, the conversation Dong Hoon had with his friend in the last scene threw me off. He was talking about his wife, studying English overseas and laughing alongside with his buddy. Dong Hoon is not one to lie and definitely not laugh if it's made up. What do you think of it?

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This comment by Sam on kissasian helped me understand that scene better:

At around the 1 hour 25 minute mark, the translation is going to say "wife". However, that is not what the character says. He says "my kid's mom". There is no ambiguity whatsoever. He says "my kid's mom", NOT what he normally says to mean "wife". Also, the subtitles say "having my wife around versus not". He does NOT say that. All he says is "my kid and my kid's mom" then the sentence gets cut off. The subtitles also say "she wants to stay until college", "she's learning English", etc but that should be about the SON.

Yeah, it's common to use that to refer to a wife in Asian cultures. However, that is the only time in the entire drama where the character calls her by "my kid's mom" (ae-umma). Every other time it was chib-saram (she's even saved on his phone as chib-saram). It's a very subtle but extremely significant detail that a lot of people on Korean forums have pointed out. Keep in mind, there are many many ways to say wife in Korean. There's a-nae (아내), chib-saram (집사람), bu-in (부인), manura (마누라), waipu (와이프), cheo (처), and "my kid's mom" (애엄마). However, out of all of those, the only single one that is appropriate to refer to an ex-wife is "my kid's mom". None of the other ones are appropriate for an ex-wife. Only "my kid's mom" is. Does it mean 100% that he is divorced? No. However, it's a very important detail that implies something significant.

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That is interesting, thank you for the explanation. It shows the subtlety that can get lost in translation. Makes me want to re watch th he scene now.

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Wow! This makes sense. Thank you.

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Glad you brought it up. The series is adressing a subject that people from different countries, cultures can absolutely relate to. However we can’t put aside that it remains a Korean story with its own subtleties in the language, behavior, way of life.

The ‘kid’s mom’ expression used by DH, YH’s departure abroad, the intense crying scene of DH -in his empty home in front of the family photo- caused I think by both the relief and sadness of his breakup from his wife, his young brother’s questions about JA and comments on the movie about the resilience of children, adults when in tough situations, all these details point to a definite break up between DH and YH.

However as the photos in his new office seem to indicate it, DH and YH are staying in good terms as their son’s happiness prevails. Let’s note that the family photo with the 3 of them is gone, a subtle message they are no longer a family of 3 per se. It’s OK. Though they separated they happily moved on which is comforting.

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Thank you so much Lavendercity for the enlighment regarding this completely-heartstopping-last-scene ♡. Btw, im totally agree with you and Sam's comment. I've replayed the last 4 minutes and 16 seconds scene for almost 50 times and now i'm completely sure that the translation of this last scene is totaly wrong.

First things first the highlight is on the scene where Dong Hoon's having a conversation with his friend (or whatever he is) at the coffee shop and named Yoon Hee as "애 엄마/ae omma", it means "mother of the baby/child".

Like what u've said before, all of us know that Dong Hoon had always been naming Yoon Hee as "집사람/chib saram/jib saram" ANYTIME and ANYWHERE, it's another word for wife in korean and it's a word that emphasizes on family ties. While, "애 엄마 /ae omma" has a less or even no emphasize on family ties at all when mentioned by the ex-husband in a conversation. And as far as i know, korean's divorcè who has a child frequently named their ex-wive as "ae omma" when they are mentioning the ex-wive in a talk about their child's story to someone else (well please correct me if i'm wrong hhe)

And lastly as we all know, Dong Hoon has a super stoic personality with a strong perseverance towards almost everything, so this little change absolutely TELLS A LOT..

Secondly, the highlight is on the main subject of the conversation between Dong Hoon and his friend at the coffee shop. After replaying that scene for almost 50 times now i'm sure that i'm on the same page as you and Sam, the main subject is absolutely the son. And what i've heard from Dong Hoon is that he/the son wants to stay until college, and that one of the reason why he sent his son to study abroad is to polish up his son's english skill, because nowadays the demand of a good bilingual is higher.

Afterall it's absolutely an open ending for a new beginning... ♡♡♡

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I replayed the scene and tried to listen carefully because his voice is sooo distant. Yes, he said "ae umma".

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Thank you so much for explaining this! It makes a whole lot of difference! Yes!!!

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thanks for the explanation!

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Also, aside from Dong Hoon calling Yoon Hee as "my kid's mom", which is totally different from what he usually calls Yoon Hee, for me the biggest indication that they are separated was the removal of their picture together... on top of Dong Hoon's desk before in previous episodes, he has a picture of him and Yoon Hee together, now he doesn't have that picture, the pictures on his desk are more to tell us that Yoon Hee continues to live separately from him and she is now with their son, with the son wanting to finish college abroad. Dong Hoon & Yoon Hee, I believe, have gotten a divorce as you never really see them resolved why their marriage sucks or actually see them fall in love with each other all over again... Dong Hoon was more focused on Ji An and making sure that she will no longer have to be on the run... I don't see any scene at all where they really talked about them still in love with each other or knowing that their marriage can be saved....all I see is Yoon Hee wanting to make right any wrongs because it was because of her having an affair that all of these things happended... the scene with the pictures is more to show us that they still continue to live separate lives and just continue to be parents to Ji Seok. If the writer thought that it is their marriage that needed saving, we would have been given a scene of a reconciliation and a hug from them but what the writer's point was that Dong Hoon needed saving and Ji An also needed saving... The way for Dong Hoon to be saved is to finally lived in the truth and engaged with life and honestly it was not with Yoon Hee... hence, separation for them and Dong Hoon doing the things he has always wanted to do... While Ji An needed to live a life that is also in the open and not be afraid that people will reject her because she knows now that people can accept her after her experience with Dong Hoon and with the neighbourhood friends....

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Agree with you and @leeeunji0311 said and thanks for bringing it up for those of us that don't know korean. I am relieved my interpretation was right. Open end but hinted that they would start a new relationship, DH and JA. So well deserved!!

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My pleasure @javinne 🤗🤗

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I think one reason Yoon Hee went overseas was because her relationship with Joon Young was made public and she didn't want to face the aftermath (we saw how difficult it was for her even with only Dong Hoon's brothers and Ji An). I am glad she is gone but in away it makes me angry because that meant Dong Hoon who is blameless in her betrayal was the one who was left alone to deal with pitying looks and the gossip of the other employees etc. But I wonder her disappearance would save face for him a bit? It's such a different culture that I don't know which one would be better for him.

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I think that both made this decision about the overseas trip for the sake of both his mom and their child.

Right after he drops YH he goes to his mom’s place. He cannot tell her upfront. Slowly she will come to the conclusion.

And it is best that YH is by her son when he will be made aware of the situation. Best that she stays with him also after he learns about it. The only scene we have with him is at the grandma’s birthday party. Judging from the comment he made to his uncle, I think he has resilience in him :) and in any case both his parents love him.

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 Thank you very much for wonderful recap. This drama must have given much trouble to convey the atmosphere and unsaid words.

Anyway, I found that many wonder if DH and his wife are still together in other thread. During the conversation of him and his friends(?) at the cafe mistranslated Yoon-hee as 'my wife' when he referred her but in fact he called her something like 'my son's mother'. This is a big change because he always called her his wife( I think so) til then and this slight change of calling her their son' mom hinted that they are divorced or separated. This drama is quite ambiguous in many ways but I am certain that their relationship as their son's father and mother remains in tact but their relationship as a couple ended.

I think the company's chairman is like a Santa Claus. He was willing to keep DH despite of the situation and also willing to help JA despite of her spy action. Probably he realized that their love is deep and precious and in order to help them to have a happy ending, he knew that JA needs to get out from the company and reestablish herself somewhere. The chairman is not a fool. I bed he even did not mind that DH ended up leaving the company and probably helped him establish his own company somehow while they maintain a good working relationship. Indeed the chairman is an ideal leader.

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What you said about Doong hoon "calling Yoon hee their son' mom hinted that they are divorced or separated" is soooo true! And it is another reason to believe he is free and now able to start over with Ji an. For me is super clear and implicit... And I love it!

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I'm glad for the clarification because the smile on Dong Hoon's face as he walked away surely looked like a man in love.

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In love indeed. DH wears the same smile when JA repeatedly said that he is a very decent man in episode 12.

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He fell for her! And who under the same circumstances wouldn't?
To know that only one person can mean so much to you, and that very one person cries for your happiness even in detriment of her own... !???!!!😱
That is to fall hard hard in LOVE for her. And as we all have said before, it is not even the common complicated kind of love that make people marry to each other, pursuing a sense of happiness, no. It is having the love of your life, the air that you breath in front of you!
I am really in love with the two of them. I don't care about age.

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Thank you for the clarification "wife" vs "my son's mother" have vastly different meanings. The subtleties of language are so often lost in translations, but then so are the meanings much to our detriment.

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There are hundreds of thousands of words in the English language and yet I'm at an utter loss to string any of them together in a way that adequately describes the impact of this drama. All I can say is that my heart is overflowing with love and gratitude.

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"Ji-an was able to carry on on her own, and have friends and a good job, all because one person bothered to know her and love her."
This drama is a reminder of how much influence 1 person can have on another persons life. That 1 person is all it takes. And by allowing just 1 person into your life, you open up to the possibility for other people and opportunities to enter your life, hopefully for the better.
Like the Hoogye neighbourhood ahjusshi's and JungHee who all opened their arms to embrace someone like Jian without question and offer friendliness and compassion as though it's an easy thing to give someone you've just met.
It gives me great relief knowing DH most likely separated from Yoonhee, indicated by him calling her not wife but "my sons mom" at the cafe, that little detail (applaud to the writer, seriously). What they had going on for years, that unhappiness over him being who he is (a bottled up man pretending to be devoid of all emotions that make us human), that wasn't a sustainable love. Both people want love displayed in forms they can't provide each other.
- It surprises me just how perceptive Ki Hoon is as a character, very rational and raw in emotions, and how perceptive he is about DH and Jian's relationship, particularly how DH feels towards Jian. It's almost like he's a bystander in their relationship and he knows there's something there beyond the surface that other people can't see, yet he doesn't question DH about it because he understands that what they have is really something special. Junghee too. She knows but doesn't probe. That scene on the bus when DH keeps staring at Jian and KiHoon gives him a pair of sunglasses - brilliant double meaning behind the sunglasses being a prop for Sanghoon's wish or as a device to tell DH to, at the least, hide that he's looking at Jian.
KiHoon and DH watching a soccer game on TV, yet neither of them really look like they're watching, but just looking at the TV while they're thinking, and KiHoon asks "how is she", without mentioning a name, and DH just knows who.
KiHoon's talk about that movie about inner strength was so powerful. How he said he couldn't watch it at first because he felt so bad for the kids but he realized he needed to see it through to the end, only to be really glad that he had watched it. A direct reference to DH being afraid to take the next step to attain happiness because of the fear of the unknown and breaking the seemingly "happy" life and family that he has. A child with inner strength - Jian, and DH, a grown man needing to feel that he has that kind of inner strength to move on in his life.

Think this drama could not have ended any better. I LOVE this open ending. Both are happy living their own lives and perhaps now instead of gravitating to each other only because of their pitiful lives, they'll gravitate to each other with happy, fulfilled hearts.

Finally, I'll end this with the most amusing line of this ep:
...

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"Jian slapping me in the face, that was a true honor. Opening drawers with her feet?...Very sexy." LOL

Getting a surprise slap in the face by how magnificent this drama is, a true honor. I'll remember this drama forever. Until you find healing, cheer up!

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I totally agree with you about the stuff about Ki Hoon!! I love their bond!

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That side story with the 3 male colleagues, that bromance from beginning to end, so endearing, so precious. Loved it!

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I had a hard time understanding the message from Ki Hoon when he talked about the movie. Thanks for your clarification.

And just to add up to your parting line.... I will forever miss that vibrant iconic neighbourhood chanting "Hoogye! Hoogye! Hoogye!"

Group hugs to all of us who really appreciate and forever emotionally transformed by this masterpiece, work of arts.

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Awww man, I love Ki Hoon, too. His love for his hyung is so endearing. I especially loved the sunglasses scene in the bus. How can the writer think of these minor details?

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Indeed the scene in the bus was incredible. I laughed so much. However I also loved the imaginary scene of the 3 of them by the pool!! 😂

I found it quite a relief that throughout this painful story, the director inserted here and there rays of sunshine, heart warming moments without which life could be totally unbearable. There were fortunately so many of them even if they were brief.

I also loved when JA caught on the meaning of these sunshine moments that she grasped here and there, and joined the group running to the bus after the funeral. That was something ...

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A less well written show would have had someone (probably DH) grab her arm and pull her into the run, but it is much more meaningful that Ji-an did it on her own. She finally sees herself as a worthy member of this community. I loved this moment.

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Exactly, like when Jae-chul told Sang-hoon about a time when his grandpa died, then Sang-hoon told the same time, and how he wanted the family to held a longer funeral so he didn't need to go to school, LoL.

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"KiHoon's talk about that movie about inner strength was so powerful. How he said he couldn't watch it at first because he felt so bad for the kids but he realized he needed to see it through to the end, only to be really glad that he had watched it. A direct reference to DH being afraid to take the next step to attain happiness because of the fear of the unknown and breaking the seemingly "happy" life and family that he has. A child with inner strength - Jian, and DH, a grown man needing to feel that he has that kind of inner strength to move on in his life."

I'm glad you pointed this out. I couldn't say it any better.

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I didnt even catch that he didnt reference JA in any way when he asked if DH if he'd heard from her.

The opening drawers part made me laugh and the looks when the one said he wanted to give her a friendly hug.

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Lol. And Dong Hoon gave Chief Song a warning gaze when he mentioned about the hug, it's like telling him to back off.

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Thank you Lollypip for all of the recaps and esp this last one! You are so right, this drama is a precious gift.

In the beginning I had no expectations. By the end it is one of my favorite dramas. The deep feelings and thoughts provoked by these characters and their stories has been an extraordinary unveiling process. I have treasured watching Dong-Hoon and Ji-an's relationship. Going to miss them.

I really think IU and Lee Seon Kyun were casted for their abilities and also their voices. His so deep and trustworthy. Hers so soft and yet serious; like an old soul. These last episodes have had some really beautiful conversations. All of the episodes have had amazing amounts of thoughtful detail and connections.

Some of my favorite moments fron 16:
1. Grandmother's love for Ji-an and her advice was so heartwarming. After all that grandmother had been through she was still positive and thankful. I laughed seeing Dong-hoon watch respectfully from a distance. We rarely get to see him so cutely being shy.
2. Ji-an eating with Dong-hoon telling him her plans to leave and start fresh. He saying she saved him. The honesty between these two is everything.
3. Ji-an leaving the neighborhood and saying goodbye to everyone. That look on Dong Hoon's face knowing his turn was coming soon. She asking for a hug and him finally giving it 😭!!! Oh my heart.
4.Dong-hoon telling Ji-an to leave twice and she not moving. (I secretly felt she wanted to hear his footsteps for the final time) DH walking away and Ji-an giving the last Fighting!.
5. When DH is all alone, everything hitting him... His inability to control the emotions.
6. And then the last... hearing DH's voice in the cafe. OMG the voice! How perfect that Ji-an heard him before she saw him again. Happy at last! The look on his face when he turns around, whoosh! I had goosebumps. Fate brought them together again to see each other happy and light. Less burdened. How gorgeous do both of them look!! Love love love. This ending, like the rest of the drama was perfection.

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I love that initially it's his voice that draws her nearer, and not the sight of him. We could say that "Well duh, it's The Voice, you can't not notice". But Ji-an has spent such a long time listening in to Dong-hoon, and she admitted that she liked every single sound he makes and it was a source of comfort for her. So it makes perfect sense that his voice is unforgettable and ingrained within her that she will easily recognise it from across the room.

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Yes to everything! Also, I felt Ji-an could have been subconsciously seeking it... now that she was back in Seoul.

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And in that single hug scene, it was PDH who went to JA and it was him who pulled her close. I think there are so many subtleties in this drama that helps tie in the devt of the characters in our subconscious. We just say the scene is warm or sad or something felt. Its because of these small things. Even Ki Hoon who is unexpectedly traditional about relationships asking his Hyung about Ji an seems to suggest that PDH is already separated from his wife. It isnt explicitly said but because characterization in this drama is so perfect and tight, it is what you immediately think subconsciously as a viewer who has closely tuned in to all the past episodes.

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Everything said and done holds so much more weight and its takes multiple views to catch it all. I think thats why we love it so much, the details. Also reflective of the two main characters. They only say what they mean. As Kihoon has said, if his brother says something it is actually more than what he exclaims. The scenes have more meaning than what we are seeing.

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If I can summarize the moral value of this story to one sentence, it's "Be kind to one another and yourself."

If you think about it, if Dong Hoon was not kind to Ji An during the early stages of her attempts to sabotage him, (one moment that stood out for me is when he told her "You're a good person") this My Mister story wouldn't even unravel in the first place! JA would've not changed plans, DH would've gotten fired and left by his wife without much knowledge of what truly happened, and stayed miserable for life.

JA did save him from the verge of dying, but the true catalyst that made it possible in the first place was his simple act of kindness to her. And it broke my heart how the only person that he hasn't been kind too all this time, is in fact, himself.

That's why DH's crying scene right before the time skip is the climax of this story for me. For the first time in the entire series, he finally let go, cried himself to the fullest, and realized that he needs to be kind to himself to truly be happy. And he finally did.

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And to think that this wonderful story started with a spelling error: 박 동 rather than!

Spring at last!

I love how bright and light the opening and closing scenes were. Not only is Ji An wearing light colored clothes, but so is our beloved ajusshi. Not only that, but it’s finally SPRING in the show. With all the bleakness, it felt like a perpetual winter.

It would be difficult to express concisely what perfection My Ajusshi was on so many levels. I’m so happy that most of our characters got an appropriate resolution or at least peace in their lives. The writer never fails to amaze me with how each detail is important, yet they come together to form a cohesive whole. Not a word is wasted.

Living happily and comfortably
I’m glad that Gyeom Duk finally met with Jung Hee so they could reconcile and leave the painful past behind them.

I’m really happy that Ki-Hoon finally felt released to return to his true love, the film industry, and that Yu-Ra became an A-list actress.

Much as I make fun of Sang-Hoon obsessing over his mother’s funeral, it was healing to see him step up and provide - to be the man - for the funeral of Ji An’s grandmother. We could see him gaining back confidence and a bit of self-respect. It was really sweet. The hint that he would reconcile with his wife was also touching.

The two women
I’m also really happy that Ji An had a heart-to-heart with Yoon Hee. I felt like their confrontation was in the making for several episodes, and it didn’t disappoint. It was cutting to hear Ji An say how envious she was of YH. It was also important that Ji An ask the all important question: why YH did it. Ultimately, in her selfiess way, she helped Dong Hoon and Yoon Hee to reconcile by pointing out how DH expresses his love for his wife.

Living happily and comfortably
But, of course, the final scene was appropriately between our leads. It was wonderful to see Ji An’s total transformation, as well as Dong Hoon’s new life as his own boss, with his work posse supporting him, and being reconciled with his wife. The ending was so perfect: for Ji An to offer to buy DH a meal was indicative of how well she is doing. Not a trace of guilt, soul-crushing burden or pain from the past. But, I think what was loveliest was at the VERY end when he (mentally) asked her if she was able to find some comfort, and she replied “Yes.” Without a wiretap, they truly were kindred spirits and soulmates, able to say what is in their hearts, how ever silently, knowing the other heard them. So beautiful.

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I don't think he was reconciled to his wife in the sense that they were able to repair their marriage. They remained in contact for the sake of their son, but at the very least they were separated, and possibly divorced.

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MapleSilver,

I think the ending is ambiguous enough that it could go either way. Personally, it doesn’t make sense that he would have several photos of Yoon Hee and their son if he were separated or divorced. Also, it doesn’t sound like she’s over with their son permanently.

Lastly, what made me sway towards their marriage being in tact is when Ji An gave Yoon Hee the insight into her husband that when he was asking what she needed, it was his way to express his love for her.

In what I believe is the last scene with her in it, he asks her the same question, and this time (as opposed to episode 3), she responds and reciprocates.

The question of the marriage and what the infidelity meant was probably the only unsatisfactory narrative arc in the finale for me, if only because the *reasons* for determining whether it was in tact or not remain obscure.

I think most viewers who express moral indignation to the point of seeing nothing good about Yoon Hee or the marriage would naturally sway to say it was dissolved, but I’m less convinced. If anything, I think the director and writer couldn’t quite figure out how to resolve it satisfactorily while finishing the more important arc of Ji An and Dong Hoon, so they did another ambiguous ending.

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You’re right. And the handshake at the end testifies to it.

A handshake that is not a mere handshake -check the impressive finger marks that DH leaves on JA’s hand-, I would call that a strong embrace.

A long handshake in broad day light in Korea between a man and a woman. A physical contact initiated by DH in public!!! That man, DH, is free and clearly indicates it to JA who doesn’t hesitate to reciprocate by immediately inviting him to a meal. DH doesn’t let go of her hand until she promises to call him. The joy all over his face ...

In my book, there is no misunderstanding at all.

The last episode throwed at us so many subtle messages about his break up with his wife (the words ‘kid’s mom’, YH going abroad, his young brother’s comments in front of the TV, DH’s crying scene expressing both relief and sadness in front of the family photo in his empty apartment, ...). It’s nice to know DH made peace with his hurtful past, he is staying in good terms with YH because they love their son. It’s comforting that they moved on without the hateful grudge. Which is why he can have photos of them 2 in hisnew office. However the photo of them 3, reinforcing the idea of them as a 3 member family is not in his new office, it has disappeared. That story has ended.

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I agree with everything you said about DH and YH. Another way that would help the viewers to understand would be the conversation of DH with the cafe/restaurant owner about his own wife cheating on him and how they decided to divorce because he could not forget about the cheating. He also said that if he survived the divorce, he has every confidence that a man like Dong Hoon will be able to survive a divorce too...

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Did he put the photos of 3 in his Director's office?

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@lemoncello,

Great question. So, on his manager desk, he had a photo of him and Ji Seok.

When he became director, he had two photos: one with all three of them (DH, YH and Ji Seok) on holiday somewhere. And I believe the second one is the same one from his manager's desk.

So, it is interesting that in the shot of his CEO desk, there are THREE photos of Yoon Hee and Ji Seok together, and one with his brothers in the celebratory Hong Kong style that Sang-Hoon wildly imagined. HA!

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He still had their group family photo in the director's office, as he was still technically not decisive over parting with yoon hee. The breakup didn't spiritually happen until the last episode when yoon hee left for good. So I think it only makes sense that they have separated now. Also the very fact that there is no photo of the 3 together. If the photo isn't there, that's also a hint, that viewers are supposed to take. The fact that yoon hee is there in the photo with the kid rather ensures us that dong hoon is still in good terms with yoon hee. So it will make him happy to know that his kid's mother is there with the kid taking care of him.
I also thought it was interesting that dong hoon called yoon hee chibsaram even during the beginning of episode 16, and it changed significantly at the end. Seems like an indication to me once again.

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@pineapplegongzhu, @fay17, this vague and implicit ending really gives us a hope to continue Jian and Donghoon in our minds.

One thing that’s a little strange to me is when he met Jian again, he said “Thank you” while shaking his hands, rather than “It’s good to see you again” like what they’ve mentioned long ago. He thanked her for what? Living happily? 😍

I guess both writer and PD are the happiest persons right now because we keep asking what’s really the ending. 🤣🤣🤣🤣

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@lemoncello Thanking her for living happily, yes and also giving him the motivation to change and be happy himself too? But most importantly for coming back in his life? Haha shipper heart wants what it wants. 😍😍😍

this vague and implicit ending really gives us a hope to continue Jian and Donghoon in our minds.

Haha ikr. All the hints indicate to them staying in each other's lives for me, and I can't help falling for them and want them to be happier together. His face literally lights up when he sees her and vice versa. And it has been that way for a while and even dong hoon himself isn't aware of it. Hopefully this is like the new beginning, with happier dong hoon and ji an.

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It's clear that Dong Hoon still keeps in touch with JH judging by the pictures on his desk, but only as the parents of their son. It's 100% clear that they're no longer in a romantic relationship. He even refers to her as "my child's mother". In the scene at the cafe, the English subtitles say "wife" but that's not what he actually says. Anyway, I'm glad that they're on good terms.

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Rem, actually I would respectfully disagree. Referring to your spouse as the parent of your child is a typical Korean semantic trope, if you read some of the previous comments (I think it's in episode 12).

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Realistically no one in their right mind put a picture of their ex on their desk at work!! I know fan-girling and imagination can have no limits... but some of the logic to divorce DH and connect him romantically to JA are on obsession level... writer emphasized many times tha this drama is not about romance but healing relationship... Grandma expressed JA and DH relationship beautifully... I hope people understand platonic relationship between men and women could be more precious than a mere cheesy romance between 40 something ajusshi and 20 something girl...

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Thank goodness there's someone with me who talks sense. *thumbs up*

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I obviously am not a fan of the marriage for DH. But if I take him out of it I'm not a fan of it for YH either. I think being with her son, and from the picture, she may be more happy, but it seemed part of her unhappiness in her marriage was a lack of connection with DH.
It seems like they are now physically living and building 2 separate lives combined with the emotional separation.
IDK, maybe she is content with that where before she wasn't, but if he is free then so is she to find a new partner in her new life.

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We were given a kind of final feedback on the main characters except for the wife until we saw the photos. We do get the feeling that she found comfort abroad near her son. That’s nice too for after all she helped Ji An whatever her feelings were.

Gone miss this incredible “human” series. Amazing acting from our 2 main characters. The directing, script, the whole acting team, the music ... the realistic tone, the gripping emotions ... Simply Beautiful :)

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“... when he (mentally) asked her if she was able to find some comfort, and she replied “Yes.” Without a wiretap, they truly were kindred spirits and soulmates, able to say what is in their hearts, how ever silently, knowing the other heard them. ...”

I’m having a hard time with this psychic capability. Plus the fact that for the first time ever DH calls JA by her 1st name: Ji An (not Lee Ji An Shi, not Lee Ji An), it leads me to think that DH asks JA the question face to face when they meet later.

Anyway to everyone its own interpretation. But the question is too specific so ...

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I think for Sang Hoon, change occurred when he thought of another person other than himself. In an early episode where he and Ki hoon are talking in the bar, he declared quite unabashedly that he only loves himself. That may be the thing that he needed to break away from in order to have resolution from his troubles (and regain his family)

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What a beautiful way to end this drama. To think DH's small talk in the office, asking what JA's name meant turns out to be the ending statement of this show.

Ji means Reaching and An means Comfort.

Ji An has finally lived up to her name after all. I loved how she said "Yes" 2 times. Exquisite writing.

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Oh my! I didn't make the connection. Thank you!!! Makes the ending even more perfect.

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Thanks for the enlightment.

I was actually hoping for her to finally utter the words "Let's be happy, My Ajusshi". It's a waste that JA never once said that because I actually feel regardless of whoever walk into her life in the future, DH will forever be her ajusshi.

And a bit upset that they missed out the slippers. It would have been nice to see DH walking around his new office wearing that slippers which is so symbolic to their relationship.

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I miss the slippers too! It was such a significant item (for me at least) in their relationship. I remember that one episide when DH had a lot going on in his life that he went to JA on their way home and he was so upset that she threw away his new slippers. That's also the same episode when he first told her that she should call him when Granny passes away and that when they see each other years from now they will greet each other warmly.

Now that I think about it, all of their promises to each other came true! I'm so happy!

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Also, from the "buy me new sleepers" I understood he was ok with her liking him, as if

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He approved?? Of course, since then many things happened and he ended up loving her too, so... everything is fine. With or without sleepers, they end up together 😍

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Thanks @LollyPip for your amazing recaps. It is such a precious gift this Kdrama that combines the best of a well written story that was superbly directed and portrayed realistically by an amazing cast. Kudos to all! It's about the ordinary moments in our lives, our relationship with others and how we treat them that can turn into extraordinary memorable occasions. Grandma's words of wisdom "You must repay them. Live a happy life". 😍

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I’m going to miss this show. I’ve been in a drama slump for a while but I never dropped My Ahjussi. The only thing I didn’t like or found uncomfortable was the mention of ‘when my mum or your grandma dies, we’ll be there at both funerals!’ Or ‘when Mum dies, who’ll come?’
I get that the focus wasn’t on the death but their level on the social ladder and connections. It was often mentioned by Sang Hoon during his lamentations of his lower social level in life and to represent just how low he’d fallen. And for Donghoon, it was for Jian to know they’d still run in the same social circle no matter what happened and they should be there for each other but still. It made me very uncomfortable by how much they kept referencing the death of their parents/grandparents. I can’t even finish the thought process of thinking about my mum’s... Everytime they did, I was wide-opened, wondering why it was so easy for them to keep mentioning it. Apart from that, it was lovely all in all.

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I didn't like it when they kept talking about how the funerals need to have many people attending either, because I feel it doesn't have to be. But at the same time, I understand that once you reach a certain age and your parents reach a certain age, you do need to be prepared mentally about what will happen. It doesn't mean anything bad, it's just being realistic about practicalities. I think it's healthy to accept the fact that everyone will die eventually. It will hurt and we'll never really get over it, but we can and should learn to cope and be more or less at peace.

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I think all the talk about funerals and dying wasn't really so much about morbidity and the seeming insensitivity to losing a loved one.

The focus on how many people will come is actually a symbol for how well a person has lived: the number of people moved enough by the dead person's existence to come for his/her funeral. And I think that sort of provides comfort for the remaining relative, that their loved one was recognized for dying and hence, for having lived. And that is a blessing in itself.

That is why the old man janitor, when he saw how many people were at grandma's funeral told Jian that grandma was blessed.

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Oh I got that. I understood its symbolic purpose but I still felt very uncomfortable. I’m just at the point in my life where death has become very real to me. A lot of people around me, starting with my grandma to people I was barely acquaintances with, passed away last year. So I guess I’ve become so hypersensitive to the word, I was freaked every time it was mentioned.

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For your comment on the mentioning death part, as a person who has lived through fair share of family and friends' passing, mentioning a funeral becomes... idk not so morbid. Its the natural course of life. DH saw her halmonis condition and it was only natural for her impending passing. I feel like when someone has lived through their share of sadness (ie DH and JA) mentioning death is not necessarily so out of the line. Oh gosh, they way i said it sounds so harsh but i hope you get what i mean.

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I get what you mean. In terms of being affected by the passing of family and friends, my adaptation seems to be the complete opposite of yours. I’ve, instead, become very sensitive and easily triggered because of a new acquired fear of the remaining close ones passing. As I said, Death was just a foreign but real concept to me till recent (being early last year) so I’m rather pricked when I hear of it. It’s a new development I’m currently battling but trying to think of death as a natural course has, in a way, made me, personally, less scared of dying but does nothing to absolve my crippling fear of a loved one passing.

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I think it is an Asian thing to think of funerals in a practical way. Chinese and Korean wakes are a few days with relatives and friends visiting every day and the family staying by the side of the deceased for those days until the final big send-off. It is very very important in our cultures that we send off our parents/grandparents well, i.e. there should be many people attending the wake and many flowers etc just like in the drama. It shows not just a life well-lived for the deceased but that they have raised their children well as many of the visitors and the flowers will be from friends and co-workers of the children. I can completely related to Sang Hoon's worries about whether they would have enough people coming to their mother's funeral etc. It requires a lot of planning and thinking ahead to ensure a well-attended wake and funeral.
I also think about that with my parents now and we talk openly about how we should attend the wakes and funerals of relatives and friends to ensure they will reciprocate when the time comes for my parents.
I guess it may seem morbid to westerners but it's quite natural for us! :-)

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this is true for Asian culture...

i remember when i attended the wake of a friend's father and somebody commented on the fact that there were a lot of people. somebody chimed in that it was due to my friend, she knew a lot of people, eventhough she's very soft-spoken.

for me attending somebody's wake, is a sign of respect and sympathy... eventhough you don't know the deceased, you're commiserating and consoling the loved ones who were left behind...

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I’m actually West African. I think we also share that quality in my culture. Actually, death of an old person, in my culture is celebrated. The older you are at the time of passing, the bigger the celebration is (if you can afford it) but people often go bankrupt because of funerals. You’d often hear some people say ‘I don’t have money now, my mum can’t die!’ I think the major difference is that the family of the dead person spend a lot of money and all the guests need to do is show up in their fancy clothes with empty stomachs and be ready to dance. In fact, when my grandma passed, the whole funeral process lasted almost a week! Rather than funeral, we call it ‘celebration of life!’ We had people coming from different parts of the country, (but I couldn’t attend cause I’m a continent away and had school) yet it doesn’t change my reaction to it. I, personally, am in a place or time in life where I find the mention of a living perosn’s potential death morbid especially when they’re a loved one.

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Beautiful, beautiful, beatiful.

What I really appreciated from this drama is the way the writer unfurl all kind of possibilities for each and every character. It doesn't matter whether they are the villain, the supposedly antagonist, the leads, or even those side characters. The writer never cut off certain paths simply because of who they are. We can see their paths toward forgiveness, lifetime change, love, loneliness, or more destruction. It just takes meeting the right person at the right time to turn them toward either way. That's exactly why every redemption and change felt organic and earned, and that's also the very reason we can respect whatever choice they made at the end, whether we agree with it or not.

In fact, everyone did a very great job that I can easily imagine these people continue living in their version of this world, continue changing people's lives around them while living happily. Once in a while, they'll meet in Jung-hee's bar, reminiscing about their life and failure, and also sharing love and acceptance with each other. Maybe they'll also adopt another "stray cat" into their midst and have another precious journey as beautiful as this one.

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I agree. The culture that the neighborhood has is wonderful, the kindness that seems so natural for each of them. I'd like to believe too that they will continue to meet at Jung hee's bar, even Jian. And that yes, they will extend that same kindness to someone else in need.

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The neighbourhood "IN" has the same issues of the society that pushed JA to the margins.

The beauty of this show is that it always revealed the dystopia in every utopia. This warm embracing community also collectively expunged the name of one of their own for 20years, ejected Yoo-Ra, and following the behaviour shown I suspect they all followed Dong-Hoon's mother's rejection of his wife (because she was embarrassed).

This drama seriously unpacks how a community and society that defines "IN" by extension creates an "OUT".

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Did DH reconcile or split with his wife?

I saw this question a lot in different discussion forums.

I don't think knowing the answer matters. The show has left subtle clues here and there and it's up to the viewers to interpret it. YH finally answering DH's question to buy her something, DH calling her with the term "My son's mother", KH's movie reference, the photos of his wife and his son on his desk, YH staying in US.

They could reconcile, he could be a goose father (korean term for dad who stays in Korea while his wife and son are abroad), they could be separated, co-parenting, or even divorced.

I don't really care. What I care about is DH now has the right mindset, to truly pursues what makes him happy. So I'm sure whatever decision DH and YH ends up with, it's for the best.

This show has always been about ambiguity since the very start. So it would make sense for the ending to be that way too. And I think that's the beauty of this show. Truly a masterpiece. 10/10.

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My impression was that they were separated, but on good terms.

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Same. When YH answered "beer" to DH's question of what he should buy on his way home, many people saw that as YH wanting to discuss something serious. That's because in an earlier episode, the only time the two drank beer together was when YH was about to bring up something serious (divorce?) and DH kinda chickened out to go watch soccer on TV. Even the way YH said "beer" was all business. After separating, DH vomited and broke down after looking at the family portrait... It's pretty clear that the separation wasn't a mere long-distance relationship... Even the photos of JH and his son on his desk don't include him...

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He refers to Yoon Hee as Ji Seok's mom when talking to his mom instead of the usual Yoon Hee. And Ki Hoon hinted for Dong Hoon to move in with them.

My take is they are separated. She pursue her studies, stays with the son and it's an amicable separation.

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Ki-hoon's comment on DH moving in with them was also one of my clues that DH and YH separated. I really love Ki-hoon's perceptiveness!

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So many things to say yet don't know how to say it. I'll just note that I love it when Ji-an asked Joon-young why he kept talking about Ji-an liking Dong-hoon as if it's an insult. Their relationship is certainly not one to be looked down at.

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Actually I don't think that they were parted at the end. If you watch the last scenes, it may feel like they are going separate ways but the details shows that they may start a new life together with no baggage.

The details:
- Dong hoon shakes her hand and not letting go until her friends call her.
- Doon hoon saying 'Thank you' after the handshake (Not sure why he said that but it could mean something..')
- They agreed to meet up again and Doon hoon blushes.
- When they released the handshake, Doon hoon's hand doesn't really seem to fully let go at all.
- Both of them look back.

I could be over analyzing the whole thing but I remember that the casts mentioned that the director is particularly strict with showing the details.

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I agree with you. I can still somehow understand if some people think of DH's smile as something fatherly, but that hand grip that was so strong it even left an imprint on her hands..? He's definitely being overly excited over their reunion..

Either he took his promise with JA (to greet her warmly if they ever meet) too seriously or there could be something more.

I'm not surprised by how ambiguously the PD directed the last scene. Especially at the part where they look back at each other.

Scenes that involve DH and JA's eyes filled with longing to each other have been repeatedly shown throughout this drama. From that scene where JA missed the subway stop and then when she finally arrived they stared at each other across the road on episode 9, and when DH was staring at JA from the car on episode 12. Not sure why they inserted those subtle scenes if they wanted to keep their relationship purely platonic.

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I am in the same ship. I have been seeing signs of even a romantic love everywhere since ep 9

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I agree, his expressions in those instances have not been fatherly, but rather something more intimate. Ji-an's feelings are being returned; however, he was upholding his moral code because of his marital status, and Ji-an's precarious emotional and social circumstances. To have begun a relationship with her before she stabilized would have meant she would probably become dependent on him in a way that would be burdensome for both of them in the future. Waiting was smart, and the healthy joy on their faces in the last scene makes that clear.

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Yes! It was for the better. And having clear that he is not romantically involved with YH anymore, but she is simply the mother of his son, well... It is there. They love each other already, they will start creating happy times together since that date when she buys him something yummy! I die of envy!!!
But she deserves happiness. Poor girl used to eat left overs from restaurants 😖
Really, their smiles at the end are so beautiful for us! I am so happy for them!!! 😍

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To have begun a relationship with her before she stabilized would have meant she would probably become dependent on him in a way that would be burdensome for both of them in the future. Waiting was smart, and the healthy joy on their faces in the last scene makes that clear.

Well said! Couldn't have made that connection myself.

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I think the thank you was for fulfilling his wishes. Being happy. He knew she was thriving from the chairman's info but now he could tell her. Dong hoon got to the place he needed to be, but without Ji-an doing well it would be less than.

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Once upon a time there was a soul which got split into two and the two halves got separated and suffered from a deep inner pain... But then one day they met and recognized each other... and finally the pain could get healed...

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Great drama. Cried buckets.
(You think they parted for good Lollypip? I saw the ending differently, I thought it was a new beginning...)

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I think what LollyPip meant by "parted for good" was the farewell scene between DH and JA before she moved to Busan. Correct me if I'm wrong.

I, too, see the ending as a new beginning. That JA feels free to interact with DH and his neighborhood friends, as she's finally found her happiness and place in the society.

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Count me in. I also see a new beginning for both.

In the final voiceover, Dong Hoon addressed her simply as "Ji-An" instead of the usual and more formal Lee Ji An or Ji An-shi. And the handshake is longer than the usual with that shy smile plastered on his face when she offered to treat him for a meal someday.

I consider that now, they are in a better emotional footing. They have no more weights to carry around, so every decision and action will be of a sound mind to reconnect and pursue a relationship either a platonic or romantic one.

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