Boyfriend: Episode 16 (Final)
What can a man do when his lady refuses to see that without her, he can never he happy? He can let her go and be miserable, or he can fight, and our hero has never been one to back down when he knows he’s right. The challenge will be getting her to see that they need each other more than anything else, and if there’s a way to do that, our Jin-hyuk will find out.
EPISODE 16 RECAP
Jin-hyuk walks right into Soo-hyun’s office and gives her his fiercest glare. He tells her that he understands why she wants to break up, and when she says nervously that Driver Nam is waiting for her, Jin-hyuk tells her to listen first. He says with determination, “I can’t break up with you. You can do what you want and leave, but don’t expect the same from me. I’m going to keep my promise. I’m going to keep every promise I made.”
She says she made a difficult choice, and he acknowledges that, but he repeats, “You can break up with me. But I’m still going to love you. Let’s make another bet. Either we’ll break up like you wish, or love will conquer like I say.” He notices that she’s not wearing her couple ring, but he just tells her to go home safely.
The next day, Jin-hyuk asks to use Mrs. Lee’s darkroom. She ask if he broke up with Soo-hyun like he said he would, but he says he doesn’t think that’s the answer. He develops the photos in his camera, then arranges them on a display board and takes pictures of his pictures.
It’s Soo-hyun’s mother’s turn to face the press as she arrives at the prosecutor’s office to give a statement about the illegal funds from Taekyung Group. Chairwoman Kim stays calm as her employee tells her the news, but as soon as she’s alone, she viciously sweeps all the pieces off of her chess board and onto the floor.
The news channels are buzzing when it gets out that Soo-hyun’s mother confirmed her husband’s statement that Taekyung Group illegally funded his political campaigns. Worried, Soo-hyun calls her dad and says she’s coming over, but he tells her not to worry because things are finally being put right. He hangs up, and turns off the TV when the newscaster starts talking about how he’ll likely go to prison.
In the morning, Soo-hyun’s mother serves breakfast that she made herself for the first time. She and her husband sit to eat, but soon the doorbell rings, and they can see on the monitor that it’s the prosecutor. Soo-hyun’s father quietly pats his wife as she starts to cry, then goes to open the door.
Driver Nam gets a call on the way to work, and he tells Soo-hyun gently that her father’s been arrested. Soo-hyun starts to cry, upset that she didn’t get to see him first. She gets a text from Jin-hyuk that says, “You must be scared. Don’t cry too much. There are people who love you, don’t forget that. I’m sure it will all work out.”
Soo-hyun goes to her parents’ house to find breakfast cold on the table and her mother frighteningly subdued. She says softly that she resents Soo-hyun’s father, but Soo-hyun just tells her to be strong, because things will get harder when the trial begins. Her mother asks if Soo-hyun resents her for never acting like a mother, and when Soo-hyun says she didn’t expect her to give a statement, her mom says not to be too impressed because she already regrets it.
Soo-hyun offers to get a room at the hotel so her mother doesn’t have to stay in the house alone, but her mom says that she doesn’t want people to see her like this. Soo-hyun says that she hopes her mother can someday say that it will be okay, even if it feels awkward, because it’s what people do for each other.
Still worried about Jin-hyuk’s lack of appetite, Hye-in asks him to be honest about what’s wrong. He tells her that he’s just upset about not being able to help Soo-hyun, and Hye-in says that supporting her is enough. Jin-hyuk just says sadly that he’d like that, and when Hye-in asks again, he admits that Soo-hyun wants to break up and why.
Hye-in shows him the red journal he chose for her years ago, confessing that she only said she liked the color because he liked it. She admits that she liked him, and that she wondered when he’d realize it, but then he got serious with Soo-hyun so she never told him.
But now she says she wonders if she truly liked him, or just the idea of liking him. Now that she’s seen him with Soo-hyun, she believes that she only liked him, but didn’t love him. Jin-hyuk thanks her, and she jokes that he’d better not apologize for not knowing (Jin-hyuk: “Augh, I was just about to say that!”). Hye-in says that she told him because she doesn’t want things with Soo-hyun to end this way, and Jin-hyuk promises that won’t happen.
The next time she sees Dae-chan, Secretary Jang tells him about the breakup. He says he didn’t know, and he doesn’t think Jin-myung does, either. He says it’s bad timing, but he hands her a pair of earrings, which Secretary Jang eyeballs like they might bite her.
She declines the gift, admitting that she has a certain standard in mind for a man, and that she tried, but she’s not someone who can get past her expectations. She says that dating Dae-chan was fun and exciting, but she’s just not that into him, and he accepts her apology easily. He tells her to keep the earrings anyway as a gift from a friend, and she does, smiling.
Jin-hyuk’s mom is waiting for him when he gets off his bus, and he takes her to a cafe to warm up. She says she needs to tell him something, but Jin-hyuk says that he heard her and Dad talking about how she confronted Soo-hyun. He says he was heartbroken, but he understood her position, and that he doesn’t hate her.
He says that she just doesn’t know how much he loves Soo-hyun, so she asks him to tell her. Jin-hyuk says that he loves Soo-hyun as much as he loves the rest of his family, and that he believes she only wants to break up because she was worried about Mom, and about breaking something as precious as their family.
Mom cries and says she’s sorry, but Jin-hyuk says that he knows both she and Soo-hyun acted out of love. He promises to protect them both, and that he’ll wait until Mom accepts them and Soo-hyun lets go of her guilt. Mom admits that she was scared, and she tearfully gives Jin-hyuk permission to hate her, but he just says sweetly, “I love you, Mom.”
When Jin-hyuk told Soo-hyun that he wasn’t going to give up on their relationship, she’d noticed that she was still wearing his couple ring. She hadn’t responded to his suggestion that they make another bet, but she hadn’t refused, either.
In a meeting, Eun-jin worries that Soo-hyun’s father’s scandal will negatively affect the hotel’s image. Hye-in says that they’ve actually had an increase in reservations, and Han-gil adds that he’s more worried about Soo-hyun herself. Director Kim changes the subject back to their employee event, and Jin-hyuk tells her that he’s been working on the music.
At lunch with Driver Nam, Jin-hyuk asks how Soo-hyun’s father is doing. He asks Driver Nam to tell Soo-hyun’s father not to worry about Soo-hyun, and to let him know that whatever he hears (about the breakup), it’s just part of the process.
Driver Nam tells Jin-hyuk that Soo-hyun would rather suffer than let others hurt, which is why she broke up with him. Jin-hyuk says again that it’s part of the process, and that he thinks it will work out in the end. Driver Nam chuckles that he hopes they all end up happy.
Jin-hyuk starts to say something else, although we don’t hear what he asks. But that evening when Soo-hyun gets in the car to go home, she finds Jin-hyuk in the driver’s seat. He says he’s only here to drive her home safely, promising not to try anything or cause her pain.
When they arrive at her building, Jin-hyuk gives Soo-hyun a plastic film roll case and tells her that it’s not a ring, it’s actually just film this time. He says they’re photos he wants her to see, photos that “contain a version of you that only you are unaware of.”
When Jin-hyuk gets home, he takes out the book he was reading when Soo-hyun returned to him after their temporary break. He has a picture of Soo-hyun tucked inside, the picture he took of her in Cuba before he knew her. She looks lonely in it, and he whispers, “She’s become like she was in this photo.”
In the morning, it looks like Mom has been up all night cooking judging by the mountains of food on the table. She packs it all up and goes to see Soo-hyun, apologizing if meeting again makes Soo-hyun uncomfortable. She tells Soo-hyun what Jin-hyuk said about loving them both and protecting his love for both of them.
She confesses that she shouldn’t have interfered, but that she made a mistake because she was worried. Soo-hyun says that she didn’t break up with Jin-hyuk solely because of what Mom said, or she would have been begging her every day to approve of their relationship.
She tells Mom that she broke up because she cares about Jin-hyuk so much that she didn’t want him to suffer the hardships she’s suffered. She says that breaking up with him is her way of loving him, and for Mom not to feel like it’s her fault.
Mom thinks a moment, then she says she heard that Soo-hyun liked her food and that she must not be eating well because of her father, so she brought her more of her cooking. She invites Soo-hyun to come over for dinner again sometime, leaving Soo-hyun touched.
On the bus ride home that night, Jin-hyuk sends Soo-hyun a text asking if she’s eaten, and that the moon looks pretty tonight. Soo-hyun looks out the window, and she and Jin-hyuk gaze at the almost-full moon at the same time, from different places.
Woo-seok is worried about his mother, who seems dangerously fixated on Soo-hyun. She says darkly that she always thought Soo-hyun was too obedient, and that she always hated that Soo-hyun didn’t seem impressed by Taekyung’s power, worth, or dignity. Woo-seok says that her hate was why he felt sorry for Soo-hyun.
He tries to talk about Chairwoman Kim’s upcoming investigation, but she just wonders if the Cha family did this in order to gain control of Donghwa Hotel. She says that Soo-hyun has changed, and that sometimes she even admires her. She finally looks at Woo-seok as she says that he couldn’t change Soo-hyun, and it bothers her that the son of a fruit stand owner somehow managed what he couldn’t.
Woo-seok tells her to worry about herself and let everyone go back to where they belong. She asks where he belongs, and he says that his place is to protect her and Taekyung Group. Secretary Lee comes in to tell Chairwoman Kim that the prosecutor is here, and Woo-seok says he’ll accompany Chairwoman Kim to the prosecutor’s office.
Soo-hyun visits her father in prison and tells him that she sees her mom often, but that she’s not ready to leave the house. He puts up a good front, saying that he’s eating well and reading all the books he’s always wanted to read. He’s heard that she broke up with Jin-hyuk, but she doesn’t respond.
She says that he probably had a harder time watching her struggle (while she was married) than she had going through it. He agrees that it was difficult to watch her lose her smile, and she says that she was worried Jin-hyuk and his family would end up the same way.
Her dad tells her that while he’s been in prison, he’s realized that he thought he’d tried to live a good life, but that it didn’t make him or his family happy. He says that he knows Soo-hyun wants to take care of the people she loves, but that ultimately, she needs to take care of herself first.
Jin-hyuk calls Mrs. Lee to see if Soo-hyun came to her darkroom to develop the film he gave her. She says she hasn’t, but promises to call him if she does. He looks at the shoes that he still has from when he met Soo-hyun in Cuba, and he takes out some paper and starts to write.
In the morning, Soo-hyun finds a box on her desk, which Secretary Jang admits came from Jin-hyuk. Inside the box is her shoes, and just the sight of them makes her tear up. She finds Jin-hyuk’s note, which says:
These are the shoes that brought you to me. I believe they’ll bring you back to me. These days, you’re walking on a rough patch. I hope you see these shoes and remember the times we walked happily. Soo-hyun, you are my one and only love. Don’t forget.
Tears stream down Soo-hyun’s face as she remembers Jin-hyuk saying that he’s going to keep his promises to her, and keep loving her. She leaves her office at a run, leaving the shoes behind.
That night, it’s snowing when Soo-hyun has Driver Nam take her to Jin-hyuk’s neighborhood. The street is blocked off so she gets out to walk, and we see that earlier, she’d gone to Mrs. Lee’s cafe to develop the roll of film from Jin-hyuk. The entire roll was full of pictures of her on the day he gave her their couple rings, and in all of the photos, she’s smiling.
She finds Jin-hyuk at his playground, where he’s sitting and watching the snowfall. She walks up behind him and asks what he’ll do if the playground is sold, and he slowly turns around, as if afraid that she won’t really be there. Oof, his hopeful expression when he sees Soo-hyun smiling at him just kills me.
Soo-hyun says that she saw her true feelings that she didn’t know about — that whenever she was with him, she was smiling. Jin-hyuk says that she should keep smiling like that, and Soo-hyun tells him, “I can’t smile without you. Let me stay by your side. I want to stay beside you and keep smiling like that. I’m sorry. I’m sorry that I said we should break up.”
That’s all Jin-hyuk needs to hear. He hugs Soo-hyun, both of them crying, and says that she doesn’t need to be sorry. He thanks her for being brave, tells her that he loves her, then kisses her for a long, long time.
They end up at Dae-chan’s restaurant later, where Dae-chan, good friend that he is, drags Jin-myung away to keep him from joining them. Soo-hyun says that they should have gone to her place for dinner, because her fridge is full of food that his mother made for her.
Jin-hyuk asks where her couple ring is, and Soo-hyun pulls it out of her purse in the film case, admitting that she carried it with her constantly. Jin-hyuk jokes that she’s loyal, but she protests that it’s love, not loyalty, as he puts the ring back on her finger where it belongs and makes her promise never to take it off again.
He asks if she knows why he made her a camera case, and she says that it was his way of saying that he wants to be like a house for her. He pouts that she broke up with him even knowing that, and Soo-hyun pouts back at his scolding. She says that she wants to make a camera case for him too, for the same reason, and when Jin-hyuk jokes that it will take a long time, she says that’s fine because he’ll be by her side even longer.
One year later.
The Donghwa PR team has a new employee, and when the kid says his mother doesn’t let him drink, Han-gil (who’s been promoted to Manager Lee’s old job) and the whole team tease that they’ll teach him to drink, one spoonful at a time. He gets his own back when Eun-jin flirts with him and he’s all I don’t think so, lol.
Chairwoman Kim is serving time in jail for her illegal contributions during Soo-hyun’s father’s political career, and every time Woo-seok asks to visit her, she refuses to see him. Woo-seok lives in that huge house all by himself, and he looks miserable.
Dae-chan hasn’t given up on Secretary Jang — he still drags her out of work to buy her coffee, and although she’s grumpy whenever he does it, he points out that she always comes with him. He says there must be a reason for that, and Secretary Jang can’t hide her pleased grin at the attention.
Soo-hyun’s mother ended up buying that art gallery, and she looks more relaxed than she ever has. Soo-hyun visits her dad and learns that Jin-hyuk visits him often, too, and they joke that Jin-hyuk is a good guy, but he can be kinda boring because all he ever talks about is books and restaurants. LOL, I’m glad someone said it.
Jin-hyuk’s mom is annoyed with her son because he brings Soo-hyun to dinner all the time, and she’s running out of dishes to cook for her. She jokingly threatens to make him take the whole family out to dinner one of these days.
Driver Nam takes Director Kim on a hiking trip, which mostly seems to involve dressing in hiking gear and drinking makgeolli at the foot of the mountain. They bicker over everything and nothing, like they always do, which is adorable.
Jin-myung and Hye-in run Dae-chan’s restaurant, complaining that he’s never there lately but they don’t know why. Jin-myung shows Hye-in a picture of a guy he served with in the army and offers to fix them up, but she refuses and beats him with a tray.
When confronted, Jin-hyuk admits to Soo-hyun that he’s been visiting her father. He defends himself against the “boring” accusation, saying that he tried talking about a few different subjects but they had nothing in common.
Now that the Cuba hotel is built, Jin-hyuk asks if Soo-hyun can spare him some time. She asks why, thinking that maybe he’d like to go on a trip to Santiago. Jin-hyuk pulls her close and asks, “Can we go as newlyweds?” Soo-hyun’s answer is a big, happy smile.
This is one of those rare cases where I’m actually glad that everyone got a happy ending and those who deserved punishment got punished. Boyfriend was so sweet and pretty from beginning to end, but there were times that I worried that Soo-hyun and Jin-hyuk wouldn’t be able to overcome the challenges to their relationship. Luckily, they proved me and everyone else wrong, and learned to take their happiness for themselves because nobody was going to give it to them.
Normally after a scene like the one at the beginning of the episode, where one person refuses to break up with the other even when the other has clearly stated their wishes, I’d be all up in arms about pushiness and not listening to what the other person wants. But it didn’t feel to me like Jin-hyuk was disregarding Soo-hyun’s decision, because Jin-hyuk has always had an almost preternatural understanding of Soo-hyun’s true feelings, and he knew, in his heart, that she didn’t want this breakup. I don’t think he was saying that he planned to pretend they were still together, just that he knew she wasn’t following her heart, so he was letting her know that he was going to keep loving her and that she could come back when she was ready. He was telling Soo-hyun that she didn’t need to be afraid he would move on, or reject her if/when she realized that this was the wrong decision, but that he was ready to pick up where they left off the moment she said the word.
In addition, I would generally be annoyed that it took Jin-hyuk’s mother’s apology to make Soo-hyun reconsider breaking up with him, but again, for these characters, it felt very in-line with what we know of them. I think that it was important for Mom to admit to Soo-hyun that asking her to break up with Jin-hyuk was selfish and borne of her own deep-seated fear of seeing Jin-hyuk hurt, and for her to see that Soo-hyun was afraid of the exact same thing. and I’m glad that Soo-hyun was aware that Mom’s fears triggered her own fear of watching Jin-hyuk and his family suffer the way she’d suffered, because knowing how hard it is to see someone losing their smile is what led her to recognize in the photos that Jin-hyuk actually gave back hers.
It was just more proof that Jin-hyuk knows Soo-hyun better than she knows herself, that he understood exactly what she needed to be free of her past — to see proof that their relationship had changed her for the better. It’s difficult sometimes to see the truth when you’re right in the middle of it, so giving Soo-hyun actual proof that being with Jin-hyuk made her a happier, freer person was exactly the right thing for Jin-hyuk to do. And I love that the show ended with as much thoughtfulness as it showed throughout — Soo-hyun had a valid, very personal reason for thinking that they needed to break up, but then she discovered an equally valid, even more personal reason to go back to him, something deeper than just “I miss you so let’s be together.” Because their reconciliation came about after Jin-hyuk proving how well he knows her, and Soo-hyun going back to him of her own free will and with a joyful heart, I’m not left worrying about their future — they confirmed for me as a viewer that this love will last.
I liked seeing everyone just living their lives, not changing much, but just appreciating each other. I’m a little disappointed that Secretary Jang and Dae-chan didn’t work out, but I have to admire Secretary Jang for knowing herself and being honest about the fact that she’s no Soo-hyun who can overlook what she wants. She just wants certain things in life, and Dae-chan is fun and cute and successful in his own way, but he’s not her dream man. It made me happy that she didn’t break Dae-chan’s heart or anything and that they are both happy to remain friends (but I’ll admit that in my head canon, they’re totally going to get together anyway in a few years, lol).
Boyfriend is one of those rare dramas that moves slowly, but never left me bored. I loved watching Soo-hyun and Jin-hyuk falling in love, then trying to keep that love despite the challenges involved, and ultimately realizing that they can’t make everyone happy, so they may as well take their happiness where they can. The drama was lovely visually (and I don’t just mean the actors), and had some beautiful things to say, but the artistry never got in the way of the true beauty — the love that two people can experience if they just make up their minds to fight for it.
- Premiere Watch: Clean With Passion for Now, Boyfriend, Memories of the Alhambra
- Dancing the Cuban night away for Boyfriend
- Fate turns to love in Cuba for Song Hye-gyo and Park Bo-gum
- Park Bo-gum and Song Hye-gyo explore Cuba in new Boyfriend teaser
- Jang Seung-jo joins Boyfriend’s star-studded cast
- Boyfriend sets premiere date and releases first stills of Song Hye-gyo
- Park Bo-gum, Song Hye-gyo in first script read for Boyfriend
- Song Hye-gyo, Park Bo-gum’s potential noona romance Boyfriend headed for tvN