Fox Bride Star: Episodes 31-32 (Final)
Our bionic protagonist continues to ignore reasonable advice and use his prosthetics, disregarding warnings that he’s sick, and getting sicker, minute by minute. If he doesn’t make a decision soon, the choice will be taken out of his hands, one way or another. Luckily there are a lot of people who love him and want the best for him, even if he himself doesn’t even know what that is.
EPISODE 31: “We’re all just passing by”
Dae-ki confronts Director Jo’s men, who are trying to take Soo-yeon out of the airport through the parking garage. Team Leader Choi radios Dae-ki to let them go, but Dae-ki hesitates. Soo-yeon tells him that whatever is about to happen shouldn’t happen in the airport, so Dae-ki finally stands down, and the thugs and Soo-yeon load into their cars.
Dae-ki is furious, even though Young-joo reminds him that he’s the one who said that safety is more important than catching a criminal. He tells her that he knows, but he’s still angry, and he storms out of the locker room.
He runs into In-woo, who’s asking someone on the phone if they have Soo-yeon and saying he’ll be there soon. He borrows a teammate’s car keys and follows In-woo into the elevator. Meanwhile Yeo-reum stares at the vial of medicine that Bartender Jang claims will stop Soo-yeon, wondering if she’ll be able to do it.
Dae-ki follows In-woo to a remote warehouse, but the doors are locked. Nearby, the NIS agents sit in a car watching him in confusion.
Inside, In-woo confronts Director Jo about Soo-yeon’s whereabouts, but Director Jo just asks if Manager Kwon will go along with their plan. Soo-yeon is in a different part of the building, surrounded by henchmen holding blunt weapons, but Director Jo and In-woo arrive and In-woo says to let Soo-yeon go.
He says that it’s not worth risking their big plans for one employee, but Director Jo tells him not to worry, because he’s going to kill Soo-yeon without anyone knowing. In-woo threatens to give the missing hard drive from twelve years ago to the media, which would destroy everything Director Jo and the chairman have worked for over the last decade.
Director Jo grins, then punches In-woo in the face. That’s the signal for his henchmen to start beating on Soo-yeon, and Soo-yeon does his best to fight them off while In-woo struggles to get to him. He’s holding his own until In-woo’s screams distract him, and he watches in horror as In-woo is struck hard in the back of the head.
The henchmen try to hold Soo-yeon back as In-woo is dragged away. He’s taken outside and loaded into a car while Dae-ki watches from his hiding place. Director Jo gives the order to drop In-woo into the ocean, and the NIS men call the police then follow Director Jo’s car.
Stalker is left behind to take care of Soo-yeon with the henchmen, but he quickly realizes they’re in trouble. Soo-yeon is throwing them around the warehouse like they weigh nothing, desperate to go after In-woo. Stalker tries to escape, but he barely gets out the door before Dae-ki grabs him.
Soo-yeon rips the door right off its hinges, treating Dae-ki to a view of all the henchmen on the floor groaning in agony. Dae-ki jumps off Stalker so that Soo-yeon can slam him against the wall and ask where In-woo was taken, and Stalker gasps that he’ll find out.
Seo-koon’s team can sense that something is upsetting her, and the entire security team is on pins and needles waiting to hear about Soo-yeon. Team Leader Choi gets a call from the police reporting that they arrested almost an entire gang, but that there’s nobody there who works for the airport.
Soo-yeon and Dae-ki have followed In-woo to the docks (with Stalker in tow, now quite meek and obedient). The henchmen with In-woo grab their weapons again, and as In-woo watches from the backseat of the car, the situation reminds him of watching Soo-yeon chasing them on his scooter all those years ago.
This time, instead of just letting Soo-yeon get hurt, In-woo jumps into the driver’s seat, puts the car in reverse, and guns the motor. The henchmen barely get out of the way in time, and the car goes out of control, spinning around and sliding halfway off the edge of the dock.
Terrified, In-woo looks up to see Soo-yeon holding onto the front bumper of the car, preventing it from falling into the water. But he’s struggling, and the car keeps tipping backwards despite his efforts. In-woo screams at him to let go and save himself, but Soo-yeon refuses to give up. Slowly, painfully, he pulls the car to safety.
Relived and in a bit of shock, Soo-yeon grins at In-woo with tears streaming down his face.
Having heard from Dae-ki, Young-joo calls Yeo-reum to tell her that Soo-yeon is on his way home. Yeo-reum tells Seo-koon then rushes home, and Seo-koon goes straight to Team Leader Choi. After confirming that Soo-yeon really is okay, she slaps Team Leader Choi in the face and orders him never to put their employees in danger like that again, or she really will sign the divorce papers. Ooooh.
Team Leader Choi watches Seo-koon storm off, an indulgent smile on his face. His NIS friend calls to tell him that Soo-yeon is off the hook, because the gang members are all testifying that they got into a fight among themselves.
Dae-ki follows Soo-yeon home to make sure he gets there safely. Soo-yeon looks exhausted but he tells Dae-ki that he’s okay, then slowly shuffles away. Unsettled, Dae-ki follows him.
Eun-seob is waiting outside the building when Young-joo and Yeo-reum arrive, and he tells them that Soo-yeon isn’t home yet. Soo-yeon looks like he can barely move by the time he sees them, and he smiles at Yeo-reum, then slowly sinks to his knees. She catches him as he topples over, and he just hangs there in her arms, eyes open but completely unresponsive.
We flash back to Soo-yeon and In-woo talking by the water. Soo-yeon tells In-woo that in the three years they were brothers, In-woo made him more meals than his mother ever did, so even though In-woo acted cold, Soo-yeon knew he cared. In-woo expresses relief that Soo-yeon didn’t turn out like him.
Soo-yeon teases that In-woo is the one who followed him this time, and through another series of flashbacks, we see that In-woo kept in touch with Soo-yeon’s mother for years, even contributing to his college expenses and sending him anonymous gifts.
He’d been alarmed when she’d said she was remarrying, concerned that Soo-yeon wouldn’t be able to take care of himself, but his mother had said that Soo-yeon gets along fine on his own. It had only been two years since Soo-yeon’s accident, and In-woo had known from his mother’s expression that the remarriage was her way of running away from her disabled son. His own father had also put his own needs above those of his son, so both Soo-yeon and In-woo had never been taught how to love themselves.
Everyone gets Soo-yeon home and in bed, where Yeo-reum stays to care for him. On their way out, Young-joo asks Dae-ki if he’s okay, and he says he’s fine. Eun-seob worries about Soo-yeon and whether he’ll be okay, too.
At the end of the day, Manager Kwon tells Seo-koon that he’s decided to privatize the airport. He says he’s done nothing to be ashamed of, but when Team Leader Lee tries to argue with him, Manager Kwon yells that he loves the airport more than anyone.
He tells them both not to dare judge his life and efforts. Seo-koon says that if he’s decided to go ahead, then she’ll be forced to call the union and take legal action. Manager Kwon snaps at her to do what she wants and storms off, so Team Leader Lee promises to talk to him.
When he finds Manager Kwon, Manager Kwon says that he’s doing this because it will happen eventually, and he believes it should be done by someone who loves the airport. But Team Leader Lee thinks it’s the wrong time and that someone could get hurt. He says he doesn’t want that person to be Manager Kwon himself, and that he thinks their primary job is to protect the airport.
Soo-yeon wakes in the morning to find Yeo-reum lying beside him. She’s relived that his fever is gone, and when she starts to get up to get him some food, he pulls her back down to cuddle a little longer.
The doorbell rings with a delivery of breakfast, sent courtesy of Young-joo and some PPL. Yeo-reum heats up the food while Soo-yeon sets the table, and Yeo-reum remembers Bartender Jang telling her last night that Soo-yeon broke a component of his prosthetic and that it needs to be repaired.
He was more concerned about Soo-yeon’s infection, but Yeo-reum had been worried about giving Soo-yeon the medicine without his knowledge. Bartender Jang said that saving Soo-yeon was more important, and that he’d break down within a week without intervention. Yeo-reum had agreed with that, but she’d struggled with the moral implications of making a decision that will affect Soo-yeon’s life without his permission.
EPISODE 32 RECAP
Soo-yeon presents Seo-koon with a letter of resignation, but she already knows that Bartender Jang wants to take him to the U.S. for treatment. He says sadly that if he goes, there’s a chance he’ll never be able to return, so he’s resigning now just in case.
Seo-koon takes the letter to Yeo-reum, who’s dismayed to find her worst fears coming true. She cries to Seo-koon, unsure what to do and scared to lose Soo-yeon.
Over in Customs, the department manager works a counter, filling in for an absent employee. Soo-yeon is there helping and he overhears some employees sighing that it’s a bad day for this, because it’s his last day before retirement. Soo-yeon makes a point to say goodbye personally, and the manager tells him that they’re just like the passengers, passing through on their way to somewhere else.
Yeo-reum tells Soo-yeon that she heard he’s resigning. She asks if he can’t just stay by her side, offering to be his arm and his leg, and he thinks to himself that she doesn’t understand the enormity of what she’s promising.
She begs him to take off his prosthetics and get treatment, but Soo-yeon isn’t willing to subject her to the reality of his situation without them. In a voice filled with pain, he says, “Just let me pass by, Yeo-reum. To you, I’m just someone who passes by.”
She cries harder, pleading with him not to say that, and she hugs him tightly as she sobs that she can’t let him go. Soo-yeon cries with her, but his only hope is that she remembers him as someone who loved her very much.
Seo-koon meets with Team Leader Choi at a bar, feeling guilty that even after not being able to do anything for her own brother, she still couldn’t help Soo-yeon. Team Leader Choi can’t say much to make her feel better, but he pats her comfortingly and keeps her company.
Soo-yeon takes Yeo-reum, Dae-ki, Young-joo and Eun-seob out for drinks, and clueless Eun-seob asks Dae-ki and Young-joo when they started dating. They choke on their beers in unison, and Young-joo fusses at Eun-seob for assuming, but Dae-ki grins to hear that they look like a couple to others.
They spend the evening playing drinking games, and Young-joo refuses to let Dae-ki be her black knight when she loses, so she’s pretty wobbly when they finally head out. Dae-ki makes Young-joo sit, grumbling that she’s bad at drinking, and she whines that he discovered another of her lies. He tells her that he also knows she only pretends to be strong and doesn’t have a boyfriend, and she asks why he’s always finding her out.
She slurs that since he already knows that much, she should let him know a little more. Dae-ki braces himself, but she just falls asleep on his shoulder, and he looks like he might explode as she nuzzles into him sweetly. Aw, the poor lovesick guy can hardly breathe.
When Soo-yeon and Yeo-reum get home, Yeo-reum asks if they can spend the night together. She stops Soo-yeon with a kiss when he tries to tell her why they shouldn’t, and he forgets any arguments he may have had. That night he dreams that they have a life together, doing normal, every day things like shopping and cooking together, and waking every day in each other’s arms.
When Yeo-reum wakes up the next morning, she takes the medicine from Bartender Jang from her bag and prepares to inject him while he’s still sleeping. She cries as the hand holding the syringe shakes… then Soo-yeon’s hand reaches over to cover hers.
He doesn’t speak, and Yeo-reum says softly, “I know it’s hard, but can you please try living one more time just for me? I’ll wait for you.” Soo-yeon smiles at her through his own tears, and she leans down to kiss him as he guides her hand to plunge the syringe into his arm.
Soo-yeon remembers being in the Fox Bride Star restaurant and Yeo-reum’s father showing him her picture, and when Soo-yeon grumbles that she doesn’t look like him, her dad jokes that she’s pretty because she doesn’t look like him. Bartender Jang joins them and introduces himself, and Soo-yeon regards him suspiciously.
One year later.
Yeo-reum is much more settled in her job now, confidently assisting passengers as she makes her way across the terminal. Dae-ki and Young-joo are still partners, and when an old acquaintance of Dae-ki’s openly flirts with him, asking if he has a girlfriend, he slides his eyes to Young-joo as he stammers that he doesn’t.
The friend invites him to meet up sometime, but Young-joo informs her, “He has a woman. There’s already a woman he likes.” LOL, Dae-ki’s face. Young-joo walks away, attempting to recover a shred of her pride, and Dae-ki is grinning ear-to-ear by the time he joins her.
The new director of Terminal One, Seo-koon, finds Young-ran sitting at her desk, and Young-ran admits that she’s super jealous. Manager Gong, now Team Leader Gong, is late to the manager’s meeting due to a lost child in the terminal.
After returning the boy to his grateful mother, Yeo-reum stops to look around the terminal, thinking that it’s been more than a year since Soo-yeon left. Even the Fox Bride Star restaurant has been closed all this time, and Yeo-reum tells Eun-seob that she’s gotten no calls or even news.
Eun-seob complains that in this age of the internet and cell phones, there’s no excuse for someone not to contact a person for a year (lol, he must watch dramas). But he backpedals at the look on Yeo-reum’s face, saying that Soo-yeon must have his reasons.
She wishes him luck on a trip he’s taking to the Middle East, then turns to go. But he calls out to her, saying that he plans to stay by her side however she wants, whether it’s as a friend or something more.
Yeo-reum comes upon some terminal employees fussing over something — a tensabarrier that’s been impossibly bent. One of them saw a drunk man get out of control and swing it, and she claims that a young man appeared and stopped it with his arm.
Yeo-reum asks where the young man went, then runs off in the direction the lady points. She looks around the crowded terminal, growing more frantic when she doesn’t see a familiar face. But then she spots the dust robot, following a man in a suit as he nimbly tries to escape.
He turns around, and Yeo-reum breaks into a wide, tearful smile. She runs and throws herself at him, and he hugs her back… with both arms.
Yeo-reum narrates: “Numerous stars passed by today. A place where they keep passing by. To that fox bride star, he returned.”
Not far away, a hand turns the sign on the Fox Bride Star restaurant door from “Closed” to “Open.”
Aw, what a sweet ending! We never saw Soo-yeon’s face, but we know it was him, and that he returned to Yeo-reum healthy and whole. I was hoping that he would learn a lesson in accepting himself as he is (after all, that’s the lesson Yeo-reum learned) and not “wait long enough and the genius doctor will fix your superhuman prosthetics.” I even wanted Soo-yeon to be forced back into his wheelchair, even if temporarily, so that he could see that he was every bit as loved and respected by his friends a coworkers regardless of his physical prowess (or lack of it). But I can’t argue with a happy ending — what can I say, I’m a hopeless romantic.
Overall I loved Fox Bride Star and all of the employees of Terminal One, but that has more to do with the charm of the characters and the chemistry of the actors than an amazing story or excellent writing. I did like the story (especially the novelty of having a main character with a severe disability), and the writing was good, but there were a lot of little continuity mistakes and forgotten plotlines that kept this show from being truly great.
The main thing that held Fox Bride Star back was, for me, the way information was doled out. The writer liked to surprise us with details in moments when we least expect it, which worked really well in some cases (like Seo-koon’s reveal that she and Team Leader Choi are married), but also created expectations of answers when none were forthcoming, such as whatever happened to Yeo-reum’s dad or whether Young-ran ever dealt with her cheating husband. As a storytelling device, it can be a fun “gotcha” surprise when used sparingly, but if you’re too heavy-handed with it your audience just feels confused and disconnected, especially when no answers are given at all. Basically, I think that the more important the information is to the story, the sooner it should be revealed… Seo-koon and Team Leader Choi’s relationship wasn’t critical to the plot, so the fact that they’re married was a cute little surprise, but Yeo-reum’s relationship with her father doesn’t feel like something to withhold or joke about.
I knew that In-woo was going to get a redemption arc, and I’m not completely hard-hearted about the fact that he was willing, in the end, to give up his own life to save Soo-yeon. He even turned out to have been taking care of Soo-yeon from the wings all along (though I do remember him being surprised that Soo-yeon survived when he first saw him, oops). But there’s a part of me that feels like In-woo’s redemption would have landed more solidly if he actually had died, and had been allowed to go out like a hero. But since he survived, he ends up as just some jerk who deliberately and cruelly made Soo-yeon miserable when there were so many other, kinder options available. The whole “I’m cruel to you for your own good” line rarely feels genuine.
While I’ll never be a fan of the eleventh-hour forced separation, I do think that for Soo-yeon and Yeo-reum’s story, it was done well. For once the separation didn’t seem too casual, and the couple didn’t accept it easily — they cried and wailed and Yeo-reum, at least, fought it with every fiber of her being. But I can understand why Soo-yeon left, because living with such a severe disability is more difficult than most people can even begin to imagine. He didn’t want to drag Yeo-reum, a young, beautiful woman with her whole life ahead of her, into a life that he himself could barely stand. I still wish he’d stuck around and given Yeo-reum a chance to prove that her love doesn’t hinge on him appearing “normal,” but I’m glad that he was able to go away and heal and come back as (what he feels is) the best version of himself.
It sounds like I’m doing a lot of complaining about the show, but I’m really only mentioning these few things because in general, I felt that Fox Bride Star was a warm, engaging show. It had a lot of heart, and some important things to say about loving yourself and being content to be the best you that you can be. Soo-yeon’s struggle to come to terms with his disability and feel worthy of love had me invested throughout the run of the drama, and I loved watching Yeo-reum grow from an insecure mess into a mature, confident woman. Dae-ki and Young-joo were a pair of bright spots that never let me down with their adorable romance, and I even loved all the managers of Terminal One despite their flaws and shortcomings. I’m walking away feeling that they all got the happily ever that they wanted, and I very much enjoyed their journeys, which is really about all I can ask.