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A Moment at Eighteen: Episode 16 (Final)

The summer break means the end of another school year. It’s been quite a year for the lonely boy who was forced to transfer and thankfully, he’s no longer lonely. The transfer student made friends, fell in love and discovered what he wants to study. With everything falling into place, what can go wrong? Everything’s gone wrong for the former class president but his crisis gives him the chance to finally step out of his brother’s shadow.

EPISODE 16: “This Goodbye Isn’t Forever”

Joon-woo sits in his empty classroom and ponders Mr. Oh’s news, “Hwi-young is leaving today.”

In the counseling office, Hwi-young thanks Mr. Oh for all that he’s done and apologizes for the rude and disrespectful way that he and parents treated him. Hwi-young even apologizes for everything that he did to Joon-woo.

Mr. Oh gently counsels Hwi-young that he’s made it through the worst part of his ordeal and urges, “…don’t resent anyone. Just stay strong and live your life of your own accord.” When an emotional Mr. Oh confesses that he’s sad to see him go, Hwi-young has to fight back tears.

Joon-woo is waiting outside of the office and he follows Hwi-young to the school gate. There, they find Soo-bin, who asks Hwi-young if he’ll be all right. Before he leaves, Hwi-young tells Joon-woo that dropping out of school was the only option when he considered the students who studied honestly. Hwi-young thanks Joon-woo for forgiving him before walking away from the school for the last time.

Joon-woo offers Soo-bin a ride on his bike to cheer her up. As they ride through the park, Joon-woo thinks about Hwi-young’s humble apology while Soo-bin remembers the afternoon that she spent playing arcade games with her childhood friend.

On the day of the art competition, Soo-bin races to the hosting university to wish Joon-woo luck but she’s out of breath when she gets there. Joon-woo waits until Soo-bin can tell him, “You’ll do great,” before going inside.

Joon-woo is entered in the watercolor competition and after finding his assigned seat, he puts on the apron that Soo-bin gave him and calms himself with a deep breath. As Soo-bin leaves the campus, she passes some students and imagines herself and Joon-woo as university students.

Hwi-young exits a taxi at the psychiatric hospital where his older brother is now a patient. When they meet, Hwi-young assures his brother that their parents are doing well even though they’ve haven’t been able to visit.

Hwi-young informs his brother that he dropped out of school but he just gets a blank look. The sight of a handmade craft that announces, “I love you, son,” helps Hwi-young to continue. Hwi-young confesses that he idolized his older brother who was good at everything that he tried. Even though their parents wanted Hwi-young to be like him, he’s decided, “I’ll be as good as I can be…I’ll find what I should do on my own.”

At the art competition, Joon-woo puts the finishing touches on the painting that’s a tribute to Soo-bin, his hands held up as a shield from the rain. Soo-bin wonders how he’s doing when she leaves her academy and finds her mother waiting for her.

Soo-bin and her mom go out for lunch and Soo-bin’s mom apologizes for the way she reacted when she discovered Soo-bin and Joon-woo together. Soo-bin takes it in stride when her mother explains that she still won’t allow her to date Joon-woo.

Since they’re having an honest discussion, Soo-bin asks her mother to stop caring about her dad so that she can live her own life. Soo-bin’s mother doesn’t know what to say when her daughter urges her to focus on being the cool career woman that she’s always been.

Joon-woo walks outside after the art competition and gets a call from his mother. She’s calling from a stairwell and when Joon-woo asks about the echo, his mom lies that she’s at the supermarket. Joon-woo wants to visit her but his mom orders him home to rest.

After they hang up, Joon-woo recalls his mom saying that Aunt Hae-young was sick. Confident that her son did well, Joon-woo’s mom gets back to mopping some stairs.

Joon-woo calls Soo-bin but she’s with her mom so he texts that the competition went well and that he’s on his way to visit his mom. When Joon-woo reaches his mom’s restaurant, he finds that it’s closed and he realizes that something is terribly wrong.

On the bus ride home, Joon-woo calls his mom and she lies that she’s still at the restaurant. When he gets home, Joon-woo tries calling Aunt Hae-young but her phone is turned off so he calls another friend of his mom’s to ask about the restaurant.

Joon-woo is in bed when Soo-bin texts and he asks if they can talk. When Soo-bin calls, she can tell right away that something’s wrong and Joon-woo’s eyes fill with tears when he claims that he’s just tired. Soo-bin sings Joon-woo a lullaby about a mother and her baby while tears stream from Joon-woo’s eyes.

In the morning, Joon-woo watches his mother run to catch a ride in a waiting van and he’s nearby when she’s dropped off at the end of the day.

Joon-woo calls his mom and when she says that she’s busy with customers, he walks into the restaurant. Joon-woo asks for the truth about their situation but his mom insists that she has everything under control. Joon-woo is just as insistent that he has a right to know what’s going on.

Joon-woo’s mother finally tells Joon-woo that Aunt Hae-young disappeared with the money that she’d saved to remodel the restaurant. Joon-woo’s mother adds that it was a large sum of money that took years for her to save.

Without the money for the restaurant, Joon-woo’s mother decided to take part-time jobs. She wants Joon-woo to focus on getting into an art school while she works to save more money but her eyes fill with tears when she looks at her son’s worried face.

When Joon-woo returns home, he calculates his monthly expenses, including the art academy fees, and sighs when he sees the total.

Our final glimpse of Hwi-young is at work at a gas station, pumping fuel. In between customers, Hwi-young has lots to think about.

Joon-woo surprises Soo-bin outside of her place and taking her hand, proposes, “Shall we run away?” As they walk past the spot where they were caught in the rain, Joon-woo confesses, “I felt as if getting soaked in the rain with you was washing away all the hurtful feelings I had inside my heart.” When Soo-bin asks Joon-woo about his summer plans, he hesitates before answering, “I’m not sure.”

It’s time for summer break and as Mr. Oh looks at his class, he tells himself that he did a good job. Sensing his students’ excitement, Mr. Oh tells them to enjoy their break and announces, “I’m off!” Chan-yeol suggests a celebration, including Oh-je and Joon-woo. When Pil-sang reminds Ro-mi about her promise, she invites him to join them.

Mr. Oh is still on school grounds when a tearful Ji-min runs up and hugs him. He assumes that she failed another job interview but Ji-min announces, “I got in!” Mr. Oh hugs Ji-min in his excitement before suggesting that they should move their celebration elsewhere.

Ki-tae is still at school on trash-duty when Sang-hoon asks him about Hwi-young. Ki-tae is hopeful that Hwi-Young will get in touch with him after he pulls himself together. Before Sang-hoon can tease Ki-tae about picking up trash, So-ye sends him away.

Soo-bin and her friends have gone bowling and everyone, including Ro-mi, is surprised by Pil-sang’s skill. Pil-sang explains that he’s good at everything except studying and he reminds Ro-mi that he’s especially good to her.

Ro-mi finally agrees to go to a movie with Pil-sang if their friends join them, so Pil-sang offers to buy everyone’s tickets. Joon-woo watches Soo-bin wistfully as she laughs with her friends.

Mr. Oh sits in a restaurant by himself, wondering why Ji-min hasn’t come back from the ladies’ room. Wearing a huge red bow, Ji-min returns with flowers and balloons while singing, “I love you, I love you, I love you.” Ji-min thanks Mr. Oh for waiting for her and when she asks, “Please be my boyfriend,” he happily agrees.

On Joon-woo’s rooftop, Oh-je asks if something is bothering Joon-woo. Joon-woo confesses that he’s thinking of living with his mother because she’s going through a hard time. Joon-woo remembers how lonely he was before he met Soo-bin, Oh-je and Mr. Oh and he realized that his mother must be even lonelier. Oh-je asks Joon-woo if his indecision has anything to do with Soo-bin.

The next day, after Soo-bin leaves for the academy, her mom gets a phone call. She meets with Joon-woo and assumes that he wants permission to date Soo-bin, but she can’t agree to that.

Joon-woo asks Soo-bin’s mom for a favor, “Please allow me to hang out with Soo-bin for just one day.” Joon-woo explains that he doesn’t want Soo-bin to feel bad when they spend time together before he moves away to be with his mother.

Joon-woo asks Soo-bin’s mom her to keep the news from Soo-bin so that he can tell her himself. Before she leaves, Soo-bin’s mom apologizes to Joon-woo, “Thank you so much for comforting Soo-bin back then. And I think I reacted too emotionally. I’m sorry.”

After she’s done at the academy, Soo-bin calls Joon-woo, who’s busy at the art academy. She sighs that she misses seeing him every day at school but urges Joon-woo to keep working hard so that her mother will allow them to meet freely. When Soo-bin gets home, her mother surprises her when she suggests, “You’re on vacation now. Why don’t you meet him (Joon-woo) once?”

At the art academy, the teacher hands Joon-woo contact information for an art teacher in his mother’s area. Joon-woo is painting when Soo-bin texts, “…will you go on a date with me? All day? I have my mom’s permission.”

Joon-woo gets back to work but he’s interrupted again when Mr. Oh shows up at the academy. Over a meal, Mr. Oh exclaims that Joon-woo has improved so much, which is why he wants to know why he’s leaving the academy.

When Joon-woo explains that he needs to help his mother, Mr. Oh realizes that he’s moving away. Mr. Oh offers to help, arguing, “To me, it seems like everything is finally in place.” Joon-woo explains that’s why he’s able to leave, because he’s now confident that he’ll do well wherever he goes.

Mr. Oh thinks back to the day that he accused Joon-woo of running away and how happy he was when the boy returned to class. Realizing how much Joon-woo has changed, Mr. Oh agrees, “Go to your mom and be with her. I think you can do that now.” Joon-woo gets emotional when Mr. Oh confesses that without him, he’ll feel a bit empty.

At home, Joon-woo dresses carefully for his day with Soo-bin, careful to mask his sadness with a smile. As Soo-bin leaves to meet Joon-woo, her mother thanks her for giving her the courage to move ahead with her life. Soo-bin and her mom share a tearful hug and tell each other, “I love you.”

When Soo-bin walks outside, Joon-woo is there to take her hand. Their first stop is a movie and when Soo-bin rests her head on Joon-woo’s shoulder, he looks happy. Their next destination is an art museum where Joon-woo snaps cute photos of Soo-bin before they take in an exhibit.

Pil-sang, Ro-mi and friends get seated in the movie theater. Pil-sang is dressed to impress in a suit and Ro-mi carries the flowers that he gave her. Ro-mi watches the movie while Pil-sang stares at her and he’s not sure that he heard her correctly when she asks, “Do you want to go out?” When Ro-mi repeats herself, “Let’s go out,” Pil-sang jumps up, startling their friends.

At a park, Joon-woo and Soo-bin lay on a blanket looking up at the sky. Joon-woo sits up and when he explains that he has something to tell Soo-bin, she confesses that she already knows what he’s going to say.

Soo-bin sensed that something was wrong after Joon-woo visited his mother, so she called Joon-woo’s mom. His mother was sorry because she wasn’t able to talk Joon-woo out of moving in with her.

When Joon-woo apologizes for not telling her sooner, Soo-bin shares what she told his mother. In a flashback we witness Soo-bin’s tearful reaction when she learned that Joon-woo was moving away but she knew that he made his decision after much thought.

In the park, Soo-bin repeats what she told Joon-woo’s mom, “No matter where Joon-woo lives, what’s important is for him to feel at ease. He can keep studying hard and focus on his art studies…I’ll stay in touch with Joon-woo, so don’t worry.”

In spite of what Soo-bin told Joon-woo’s mother, she tearfully admits that she’s worried and Joon-woo hugs her as he admits, “…you’re the one that worries me the most too.” Joon-woo wants Soo-bin to know, “Even if I go live with my mom, it’s not like it’s over between us. We can…wait a little longer.”

Joon-woo gets a text with the art competition results and Soo-bin exclaims, “You came in second place…Congratulations!” Joon-woo pulls Soo-bin into a hug as they cry happy tears.

Joon-woo walks Soo-bin home and before she goes inside, he lets her know that he doesn’t want her to be there when he moves. Realizing that they won’t see each other again before Joon-woo moves away, Soo-bin nods in agreement and holds back her tears until she walks away.

On moving day, the truck drives aways with Joon-woo’s belongings while Soo-bin studies in her room. When her mother suggests that Soo-bin should say good-bye, she continues to study as tears fall on her schoolwork.

Joon-woo gazes at the view from his rooftop one last time and smiles when he remembers being there with Soo-bin — the meal that he prepared for her, his eighteenth birthday celebration and their first kiss. Downstairs, Joon-woo walks away with Bumbi.

Soo-bin heads for the academy but she stops when she sees Bumbi with the bikes parked outside her place. Soo-bin finds some drawings in the basket with a note from Joon-woo, signed with his customary pea pod.

Soo-bin scans the drawings, Joon-woo’s most precious memories of their time together — the day that she wrote his name on his school uniform, his hands shielding her from the rain, their first kiss and Joon-woo wobbling away on Bumbi after Soo-bin confessed that she liked him.

Her face wet with tears, Soo-bin races to Joon-woo’s place but he’s already gone. Next, Soo-bin runs to the bus station where she frantically calls for Joon-woo among the departing buses. When Joon-woo hears Soo-bin’s voice, his eyes fill with tears.

Soo-bin hangs her head when Joon-woo’s bus pulls away until she sees that he stayed behind. Soo-bin runs into Joon-woo’s arms and she holds him tightly as her tears soak his shirt. Joon-woo comforts Soo-bin as he narrates, “Even though we’re facing this moment of farewell now, this goodbye isn’t forever…the moments we shared are still shining so radiantly and the dazzling moments that I experienced at the age of 18 were truly beautiful.”

COMMENTS

I should have been better prepared when I saw this episode’s title but I honestly didn’t expect it to end in a puddle of tears, Joon-woo’s, Soo-bin’s and mine. I haven’t shed tears like that in a long time and I think what made it so emotional for me was the fact that Joon-woo and Soo-bin are high school students. Their emotions are so raw because this is their first experience with love. Of course they’re worried about the separation, but realistically, it solves some serious problems.

Even though Soo-bin’s mother has calmed down and apologized to Soo-bin and Joon-woo, she’s not going to allow them to date in high school. They both have a year of hard work ahead of them, especially Joon-woo, to get into good universities. Yeon-woo’s crisis (kudos to @abirdword for predicting that) actually allows both Soo-bin and Joon-woo to focus on their studies. But that doesn’t lessen the anguish of a separation, especially after everything that they’ve endured together.

I appreciate Joon-woo’s predicament when he finally learns the truth about his mother’s situation. After his father’s rejection, his mother’s devotion is even more meaningful and Joon-woo can’t ignore her plight. Joon-woo pledged to be someone dependable for Soo-bin’s sake and of course that includes his mother. Soo-bin understands Joon-woo’s loyalty towards his mom because she overheard his conversation with his father. Soo-bin doesn’t fault Joon-woo for making the decision to live with his mom, but it doesn’t make it easier for her to accept. In spite of the fact that Joon-woo is moving away, there are strong hints that he and Soo-bin will make it.

Ji-min asked Mr. Oh to be her boyfriend, so clearly his patience wasn’t in vain. Ki-tae and So-ye are well on their way to a reconciliation, so it’s possible to come back together after time apart. What about Pil-sang and Ro-mi? Obviously Pil-sang’s persistence paid off, no small feat with someone like Ro-mi. Her willingness to date Pil-sang is serious since she knows that his mother wants him to marry as soon as he graduates from high school. We were treated to a glimpse of Soo-bin’s and Joon-woo’s future, both as university students and as a couple. It’s a good sign when a couple’s future is just as realistic as their past and present.

With such a poignant ending to work towards, there wasn’t much time to deal with Hwi-young or his family. All we know is that his brother is in a psychiatric hospital and that his parents seem to be unavailable. Since Hwi-young got a job at a gas station, does that mean that he’s living by himself, like Joon-woo? I can’t imagine that his Dad would allow his son to take such a menial job if he’s still living at home. Is Hwi-young’s dad still a CEO? Hwi-young and his brother are obviously very damaged by the abuse from their father but hopefully Hwi-young can follow Mr. Oh’s advice to live without resentments and find his path. Hopefully, Hwi-young’s good-bye isn’t forever either.

Joon-woo learned to cherish the people who were precious to him — his mother, Soo-bin, Oh-je and Mr. Oh. Joon-woo’s memories will sustain him through the hard days ahead while Soo-bin fills her days with studying to keep her promises to her mother. Their efforts will be rewarded when Joon-woo can reunite with the girl who’s his inspiration.

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AHHHHH, I loved this drama more than words. It was almost perfect. IT was well written, acted, and directed. I felt everything. This is a precious gem of a drama and one of my absolute favorite youth dramas. Just excellent.

My only criticism is that some of the excellent side characters didn't get the love and character development they deserved. My Oh Je and Chan Yeol and Da Hwin as well.

I just thoroughly enjoyed this drama and I am sad it is over.

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agree. OJ's character is quite unique in K-youth drama history and should be developed more... maybe in a spin off drama with OJ as lead with Da Hwin, Hwi Young, Sang Hoon and Chan Yeol. Moonbin can act well and should be leading his own drama now like CEW. The Math genius Sang Hoon is also an interesting character full of wit & guts and he can sure spike things up unexpectedly. Mr Oh should continue as their teacher / mentor / counsellor, I always enjoy Kang Ki Young's performance. JW and SB can return as cameos as we hope for happy ending as a couple.

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The moment this episode ended I found myself wanting more and asking so many questions. What about Hwi-young and his parents? What about the future of the kids in this show? What happens after Joon-woo leaves? And then it hit me that as the title suggests, this show is all about the moment of Joon-woo's life when he was still 18 and it will not go beyond that. Joon-woo, as well Soo-bin's story, were really well written, but I wanted to see more of Hwi-young's story and his growth because although he had a very short redemption arc, I found that what he did in the end is basically running away like his parents did. Maybe that'll happen in the future (*ehem* A Moment At Nineteen *ehem*) and not when he's still 18.

The issue with A Moment At Eighteen would be time and episode constraints since the second half of the show basically focuses on romance (that I'm not complaining about), but the show as a whole is still well written. The secondary characters had growth, especially Mr. Oh, Ro-mi, Sang-hoon, Pil-sang, Da-in, and Ki-tae, and even both mothers of Joon-woo and Soo-bin had a well deserved growth. The cute and happy moments of this show made me happy as well, but it was on the sad moments of the show that it shined brightly, as if telling its viewers to get hurt like the characters, and this show honestly hurts so good.

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perfectly pegged!
Alas, 'twas indeed a Moment at 18, and not more, unfortunately for us eager viewers.

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This drama made me think about when I was 18, how my parents were and how my friends parents were and illustrated everything I have read about tiger parents and expectations from kids and the pressure that comes with that....And drama did all this in a way that tugged at my heartstrings every week and then had me weeping for 2 full hours in ep 15 & 16.

I do believe there was space in this drama for at least two more episodes. There was enough story in there. But, whatever we got was memorable and emotionally very satisfying.

More than anything, it has launched Ong Seong Wu in acting and what a launch it is!! Looking forward to his next project....

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I, too, felt there could be two more episodes.

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It’s over 😢. This last episode nearly killed me. Sheesh. I did not expect to cry that much.

I am so glad I picked this show for my first live watch. It immediately grabbed my heart and didn’t let go ❤️.

Many thanks to @teriyaki and @abirdword for the recaps!
Also, shoutout to all my fellow watchers. I really enjoyed reading all your comments and interacting with you guys!

Congratulations to the actors, writers, directors, and crew for putting together such a lovely little show. It’s been such a pleasure to journey along with these characters. I’m really going to miss them.

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Now that drama is over, I do want to kinda talk about things I wanted a bit more on...

Subin's mom growth was interesting to me because I feel lot of it happened off camera. I wonder if it was Jw's mom's conversation that first made her rethink her views, or that Subin's conviction that hot her change her mind and perhaps Subin's strength gave her the courage.

But in the end, she changed quite a bit. I would have loved to see at least a few minutes with her somehow to understand what else would have happened there.

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I actually liked that she stood by her decision to not allow Soo Bin and Jun Woo to date. It would have been completely out of character for her to do so. However, her softening was very much welcome, especially in light of losing the beautiful budding friendship she had with Jun Woo's mum. It clearly must have struck a chord (off screen) and made her consider her daughter's feeling a teenie bit more.

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And this part I do think needed definitely extra time. I almost feel they ran out of time to tell a complete story. That is Hwi's parents story. I would have really liked to know how did they deal with it in the end? Can a student just drop out? Why was he always compared to his older brother when his older brother was in a mental institution? One more episode might have give us a little bit more on that. They gave enough hints with limited shots that their eldest son was not in US or was winning any awards ...they were making things up. But still, it came with no context.

The thing is, I would not have compromised the time our main couple got for these things either. I loved the progression of that relationship. Everything felt very real to me and we needed that much to feel that much. And to me, it was just the right ending too. They are just 18. I am sure they will be fine.

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Yes, I wanted Hwi-young and his parents’ story to be fleshed out more too. But like you, I definitely wouldn’t have wanted any of the other scenes cut. So basically, I wanted a longer show 😀. A couple more episodes to really flesh out the side characters would have been nice.

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Interesting, I personally would've cut back on the romance, and made it more understated, because I felt it dragged in the last third, and that in the same amount of episodes or even less, we could've got more side character development and JWXSB development.
I think it would've been possible to achieve the same thing in Subin and Jinwoo's arcs with less focus on it, and in less amount of time. I fear if this were longer it would drag even more.

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Yeah, I do see what you're saying. I guess what I mean is that I wouldn't want to take away from the development that JW & SB's relationship gave. There were some things (esp the HY text message misunderstanding angst) that probably could have been condensed a little. I did notice that the second half of this drama wasn't as tightly executed as the first, but when I'm really invested in the characters, I tend to be lenient.
Sometimes when I really love a drama, I think I want more episodes because I'm so attached and not ready to say goodbye. However, I realize that in reality this is rarely a good thing. Better to finish a show with a feeling of wanting more than a feeling of, "Thank goodness that's finally over." :D

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No, and I wouldn't take anything away from it either, because I loved Junwoo's arc, and for that reason still rate this drama quite highly despite its issues.

Better to finish a show with a feeling of wanting more than a feeling of, "Thank goodness that's finally over." :D
Beautifully put and very apt.

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As soon as I saw that the title of this episode was “This Goodbye Isn’t Forever,” I tried to steel myself for what was in store, but man…so many feels. Some scenes that really got me:

-Teacher Oh looking at the school trip picture and empty classroom
-Teacher Oh & JW in the café - both tearing up, flashbacks, how far JW has come
-JW trying to kill us with his crying on the phone again
-JW saying goodbye to his rooftop room
-SB’s tears falling on her schoolwork
-JW leaving Bumbi with SB

As sad as I was about Joon-woo having to leave, it felt right. It brought the show full circle and fit it’s name. We started with a moving van, and we ended with a moving van.
I respect his decision to go to his mom so much. They have been apart for so long; it’s time they live together for a while. What Joon-woo told Oh-je was so poignant. All this time he felt so alone, but he now realizes his mom must have been even more lonely.

My main disappointment with the finale was not seeing more of Hwi-young’s arc. I wasn’t expecting him to leave like that, but I guess I can understand why he did. I wanted more of a friendship development between him and Joon-woo, but the air was cleared between them at least. Also, what happened to his parents?? They were weirdly absent these last two episodes. I expected them to put up a fight against the investigation. And the abuse that went on in that household was never addressed. We didn’t get to see his brother’s backstory either. Oh well. The show wasn’t perfect, but what show is? I had some minor quibbles throughout, but it’s definitely not enough to take this show off my favorites list.

So long, A Moment at Eighteen. Thanks for all the sweet little moments.

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With Hwi's arc, with only two episodes to go, they had to prioritize which story to tell and complete. So, they definitely focused on completing jw and soobin story. JW's story definitely felt complete in all respects and very hopeful. Soobin also had her goal reached of getting out of her mom's control. But with HY, I felt we needed his parents shown a bit more. That felt just like a background story and it should not have been after making it a big story earlier. But, ep 15 actually felt more of a closure to HY's actual arc of emotional growth. Rest of it was school, parents and what happens to him now kind of questions. Perhaps PD kept them open ended. But not sure why they added random brother story though.

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EP 15 was only closure on HY's emotional arc with Jinwoo and apology/forgiveness. It wasn't, in my opinion, closure on the rest of his arc, in that it never his toxic home life and we didn't get any closure, emotional or otherwise about that, when that had been such a big driving factor for why he acted the way he did in the first place.

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Hwiyoung's brother is in the psych ward. Did anyone see this coming? I can't believe the parents didn't think of changing their parenting style or something like that with the second one. If Hwiyoung didn't drop out he'd probably end up just like his brother.

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Hwi Young had to leave just to survive. It's good that he was able to acknowledge that.

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I didn't see it coming and I didn't appreciate that random turn of events. at all. So I'll act like it never happened and instead focus on hoping that Hwi Young lives a good life, going forward.

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Thank you @abirdword and @teriyaki for your good recaps and reviews!

It was truly a lovely, slice of life youth drama. So real, it felt so right without the over-the-top dramatics. What a great show, to showcase the young actors in. They had to be seriously good, precisely because there was no high drama to hide their acting skills behind.

What I really liked was that appropriately, we end with lots of hope. When a drama ends at age 18, it must end with lots of possibilities for growth and improvement all round. I really liked that Joon Woo was so clear (so mature of him!) that precisely because everything had fallen into place for him, he was prepared to move on (NOT to stick to what is comfortable and easy!!!) because he knew that he'd be able to succeed anywhere. What a wonderful acknowledgement of his self-confidence! Gone is the boy who was so self-effacing that he had no name or was called by the wrong name for several episodes!

I feel that he made the right decision. His family, just being his mum and himself, had to depend on each other and to build up the family savings again. The best way was to stop paying extra rent and travel expenses, and live at home. It would save on the time and expense that his mum had spent on going so often to see him as well. I applaud JW for being able to not put his own interests first.

I agree with all comments on the lack of time and story arc given to everyone else. Show has made them so real that we are not satisfied with just Joon Woo's arc anymore. But I agree that as we were promised only a moment, we just have to be satisfied with that, and imagine all our characters getting on in the normal course of their lives.

Thanks also to all Beanies for sharing your thoughts on this forum! Read ya again! 😄

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Yes to everything you said! Well put.

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I loved the ending. It was realistic yet hopeful. The drama's name kinda spoils that we won't get a happy conclusion because eighteen is just the beginning of our lives. I know people are disappointed that they didn't get closure for other characters but they are all 18 and this drama was only focusing on 18 moments of junwoo's life. Its left open ended for us to fill in what happened to them afterwards and there are so many possibilities.

The only disappointment i have is that they didn't utilize the episodes in an effective way. Ma hwiyoung redemption arc should have started in the middle of the drama. Unlike others, I liked junwoo and subin's romance but wasting two episodes on the message misunderstanding was too much. They could have focused on hwiyoung and sides characters in the beginning of second half instead of totally neglecting them for romance. I didn't expect ma hwiyoung's arc to have any closure because like i said before the drama is about 18 moments. He can't redeem and improve himself in a such a short span of time. He needs time to heal and that's where the drama left us. The only problem i had was the disappearance of his parents. The drama involved them so much in hwi young's storyline but suddenly they were no where to be found? All we needed was one scene to show what happened to them or even telling us in a conversation between characters would have been enough. I just wanted to know if they got any punishment or not for abuse and grades manipulation.

I loved junwoo's character arc the most as it felt complete. I felt like a proud mother watching her son grow up to be fine adult. I guess i was too attached to junwoo and subin that i didn't mind that the last episode focused solely on them. I cried throughout the episode. The ending was less tragic as i was expecting. I thought they would break up and then in the epilogue they'll be married to different people while they still cherish their 18 and first love moments. I'm glad junwoo and subin didn't break up and we have hope that they'll reunite in the future.

Despite its shortcomings i love this drama. I will miss junwoo and subin. T.T

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One of the my favorite relationship in the drama is of junwoo and his mother. I haven't seen any drama before that gave me such a loving mother and son relationship especially a son loving his mother so much. In the beginning, junwoo didn't run away because of his mother and in the end he moved away (when he had everything settled in its place) for his mother. Junwoo realizing how he only thought about his lonely before, not realizing his mom was even more lonely than him T.T Its just beautiful.

I also loved his relationship with teacher oh. The scene where he thanked his teacher and the teacher holding back his tears was very touching.

I know a lot of people didn't like the romance but i thought junwoo and subin had a very healthy relationship that some adults should learn from. How they comforted each other, helped each other to grow and improve, their understanding and communication level etc. If i found someone like this when i was 18, i wouldn't want to get go of them either.

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I so agree with everything. I feel sad if there are those who did not love the romance. Because I loved every adorkable moment of it.

I think mostly people wanted two additional things. I think everyone expected OJ's arc to be more dramatic than was shown and Hwi's arc missing some pieces like his parents.

But missing out on romance? No WAY! Jw's only strength came from this one bean who trusted him and give him unconditional strength. And ofcourse his teach but teach is not the same as your first love. Removing any moments from first love I think would have been a bit worse.

So, between this vs that, i will take this any day. :-D

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I can't speak for others, but for me, I did like the romance, I thought it was very well done and very sweet and very important.
I just felt it dragged in episodes 11+12 specifically (and bits of 13+14), and that those episodes were cute or angsty filler, and often not active script and character development through the relationship.
I would not take anything out of the show that would harm Junwoo's development arc ever, but I think it would've been possible to get the same ending for both of them with no more focus on the relationship than necessary. 11-14 dragged for me and we spent so little time on Hwi Young; and we could've, we really could've spent more time on him at no detriment to the relationship.

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This drama fell a bit flat for me. It felt almost like the writers had a checklist of problems they needed to include because it's a highschool drama and then they never explored any of those problems fully or fleshed out the characters that had them. Why introduce side stories if you aren't going to go anywhere with them?

They also completely threw Hwiyoung under the bus. So he drops out of school and is working at a gas station...doesn't really make sense to me. Would his parents have really been okay with that? Did he run away from home? Why wouldn't he just transfer schools? 36th isn't really that low and he has a whole year and a half left to bring his grades up. His parents were the ones at fault, Hwiyoung has actually been working really hard for his grades and he was punished for the tampering, so he has no reason to feel guilty for it. Also, why was his brother in a mental hospital? If we had known that earlier this scene might have worked better, but it seemed completely out of place at this point in the show.

I did enjoy both Joonwoo and Soobin's individual story arcs. It was refreshing to see two main characters who are on the shy side and behave like actual teenagers. That being said I had to keep reminding myself of their ages during that dramatic goodbye. Korea is an extremely small country and Joonwoo will be a three hour train ride away at most. Bus tickets are only about 15 dollars and seeing how often Joonwoo's mom went to see him, they can't be that far away. Soobin's mom might even be more lenient about letting them see each other since he won't be around often. I was also confused about how he will be able to go to school when he goes back. He was forced to transfer so will his old school let him enroll again? If there are other schools in his hometown, why did he transfer all the way to Seoul instead of going to one of them?

I really wish they had taken out some of the filler scenes (or Mr. Oh's entire loveline) to answer some of these questions...

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omg same. The ending fell flat for me because Joonwoo and Soobin were being so overdramatic over his moving while i was like ... kids, there's still internet/phone, it's not like he's moving overseas and they won't contact each other during the next 3 years. plus like you said, his mom often went to see him, even if she has no money, so she can't possibly live that far away *facepalm*. I still don't understand why he had to transfer in a school in Seoul in the first place???

Still love this drama, but i have to admit i was a bit disappointed by the 2nd half and the ending, there's too many unanswered questions and things that don't make sense ...

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Don't take it the wrong way but...@snowbird @chouc , neither of you must have lived the life of a long-distance relationship. Or if you did, you forgot how painful it is to separate from someone you truly treasure. Their pain was all too familiar for me, especially when you add in that, being so young and living under their respective mothers' home (and rules, for some), their relationship will have to take a major backseat and for a whole year! And who isn't insecure about what could happen in a year? Especially at that age? I've cried buckets over moving away from friends; how much more when moving away from love.

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No worries! I completely understand how hard it is. I've studied abroad in two separate countries and am currently living abroad, and saying goodbye to close friends, host families, and coworkers is devastating, especially when you know that you will never see many of them again. It's just hard for me to be sympathetic when a simple 90 minute bus ride is all that separates them when I'm an entire ocean away from my family. That's why I have to remind myself how it was at that age, everything seems so much more final because you just don't have as many life experiences yet.

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re: living abroad - same! :-)

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@kSKAlways totally Agree. Let's remember that this is a new and budding relationship for the two young lovebirds... plus the fact that it's their first love. They are on this stage that feelings are still at peak and they can't get enough of each other and they want to get to know each other more by being together every single minute of their young lives.

I remember when I was a lot younger, I quit literally everything and chose love over everything else: school, part time job, and even friends. It's foolish, I know. But that's part of being young, I guess. LOL.

Internet and video calls are a thing right now but it's waaay too different if you are actually feeling, holding, touching and seeing him/her face to face effortlessly everyday.

So I totally with you! I completely understand how they acted during the last part of the show.

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❤️❤️❤️

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I guess I'm the only one who thinks we had exactly the right amount of time (if not a tad too much) to deal with everything but the middle of the last third wasn't focused enough?
Then again I am a huge advocate for shorter shows, that tell their stories in the least amount of time possible (because I detest filler and fluff and drag no matter how cute) and think 12 episode shows need to be used more because of this. Sassy Go Go did both the romance and a better redemption for the "villain" arc in 12, so I think this one could've too.
Don't get me wrong our couple was cute as heck and their relationship important to both their developments, but when you have so much side stuff to deal with too, and the main focus of your show was never solely on the romance, the answer isn't always more time, it's just better focused time.

Anyway I think I've said most of my thoughts on the fanwall already: Ong, Kang Ki Young, Junwoo's arc, the character motivations- fantastic. Everyone else's arc- some bad, some average, some ok to good. Hwi Young's arc- left so, so much to be desired, especially given how strong this show started and its predecessors in the genre.

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First I agree we could have spent more time on Hwi young and his family, and seeing his redemption sooner. regarding his brother I got feeling something was not right in their story about him living oversees and studying when we never witness his family talking to him on the phone. Especially when Hwi young said "do you want me to end up as my brother?" It remind me about another drama where parents had made up a story about where their kid where doing, when in reality he was in a psychiatric senter. So meeting his brother again seems to indicate Hwi young starting to face reality and finding peace within himself to start his atonement. this family has allot of issues that need more time to flesh out, so seems like writer choice to focus on Hwi young arch in the final two episodes.
In the end many side character could have been fleshed out more, but like this drama name it was about a moment in their teenage life. They have a long life ahead of them where they face new challenge as they reach new chapter in their life. I really smile on how far all the kids have come tough!

I really feel proud on how far Joon woo have come from the no name reserved boy we meet in the start of the drama. Also proud of Soo bin. Even though her growth have not been as loud as Joon woo. She finally manage to tell her mother about her feelings and standing up for herself. we can see that she is starting to find her confidence and strength. I am sure she gonna find her dream and path in her life as she now have a breathing room from her mother.

I really gonna miss the the kids and teacher oh.

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I loved this show. I didn't expect to cry so much in the last episode but I did.

Soo-bin's mom reminds me so much of my own. It hurts. Seeing HY's brother in the psychiatrict ward broke my heart at the thought of such parenting's impacts , which hot close to home too.

But I know these kids will be fine.

The close up shot of JW about to cry in the bus got me. Wow.
I thought they will show us the future, but stopping at the temporary goodbye was perfect.

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Also, what a great teacher and mentor, Teacher Oh is... Love him!

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Why do I feel like there will be a spin-off on Hwi-young’s story? Just the way the writer opened so many questions on his background and left hanging. Or is it just me? Haha.

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I liked this drama but for me, it was pretty much like the other youth kdrama.

I think the last issue with his mother was not necessary. She could find a job in Seoul now that her son found new friends, a girlfriend, a good teacher, an art academy and overall what he wants to do.

I'm sorry for Hwiyoung's character whose story was cut for a Romeo and Juliet love story instead...

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yes, it shouldn’t be difficult to find a cleaning job in Seoul. The ending seems forced.

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Thanks for the recap @teriyaki - this was certainly a sweet show from beginning to end.
My only complaint with the ending is the lack of information and resolution with Hwi Young and how he ended up at the gas station. Like you I wondered what happened to his parents.
Also I would have liked to see more of Oh Jae and his story - but 16 episodes isn't quite enough with writing that wasn't quite as tight as it could have been.
Overall, I did enjoy the show from beginning to end, and the whole cast was marvelous!

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The ending of the main couple reminds me of how the anime Bokura ga Ita ended, which is one of my favorite anime of all time! The story continues in the manga, which is also one of my favorites!

Looking back, this drama reminds me a lot of Bokura ga Ita...the slice-of-life, the mundane-but-not-necessarily boring feel, the perfect expression and explanation of what we all went through (or will go through for our young viewers) as youth...

The Japanese movie version of Bokura ga Ita was okay, but this drama is what I would consider the better live version even if it isn’t officially based on the material...

While I respect those opinions saying that the drama is flat and boring, I think the PDs and writers pursued the most realistic storytelling. This drama is what life is about - small exciting moments mixed with many mundane events. Perhaps for those who watch dramas for the love of fiction and over-the-top stories with no care whether the story is realistic or not...surely this will not even be half-interesting.

That’s why I love this drama! Many storylines within this drama is possible to happen to any of us...heck, probably many of the events reflected what we went through in our own lives for sure!

I consider two main reasons for why writers make stories - to entertain us (rom-com, fantasy, saguek) or to reflect/magnify real life (youth stories, slice of life).

But going back to the drama, stars and love and applause and congrats to the team and the cast!

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I may have to check this anime out! Thanks for mentioning it!

I agree with what you said about the style of this drama. Not all slice of life stories hook me, but this one certainly struck the right chord.

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Please do check it out! The animation isn't clean cut (it was from 2006 after all), but I also think the prod house was trying to mimic the manga drawings as part of the reason why they animated it the way it is animated. I honestly find the animation cute even if it's not detailed ^_^ The OST of the show is also great <3

If you have the time, read the manga as well after finishing the anime. If the anime hits all the right feels in you, you will want to know what happens next because (as mentioned in my post above) the main couple's ending here (not the whole storyline, just the ending and its circumstances) is basically a mirror to Yano and Nana from Bokura ga Ita.

Basically anime = youth life / manga = "adulting" life. The manga is finished, so no painful waiting hehe ;)

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I remember that anime!! wow! that takes me baaaaack !
thanks, Otaku ! lol

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Now that you mention it, Bokura ga Ita is the anime (and the beautiful OST) that made me cry in almost each episode just like this drama. Both male leads have heavy emotional baggage but unlike Jun-woo whom I love a lot, I love-hate Yano lol. Nana is the best.

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I read the manga so many years back i must've been like 10 years old or something haha, i never watched the anime so i think i might have to look into it again

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I have a hard time articulating my love for this drama and the magic it brought every time i watched it. This drama was perfect from start to finish. Not a single scene was a waste of time and it's such a rarity to find a drama that was gripping from start to finish. It's strength, besides the tear-inducing OST's and incredible acting, was the script. The writer manages to create such realistic and relatable characters, from our main characters, jun-woo, soobin, and hwiyoung, to their friends, their parents, and of course the best teacher in kdramaland. Every character's story was poignant which got me wanting more from them. This drama was beyond what i expected it to be and i'll miss it so much, it's been days since it ended but i think a re-watch is needed, i can't get enough

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Saranghae JTBC-M' of 18 ~ Mabuhay🇵🇭

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Agreed to y'All's far-stretched Analyses... All's Well That Ends Well 👍👏☝
*Exemplary & Redemptive Youth-roles presented;
*T.Oh Kan Yeol~Goldmine of a Support-person (he deserved his bit-of-happi ness) &Education-formations Advocated; *Regroup/ReGrowth of some Adults, like Soobin-Ma & Pa, Ma-family, some School -Authority/s|Champion Jun'Ma⚘;
*Overall Social-standards tackled such as Elder-Deference given despite seeming Restrictiveness, Boundaries Upheld esp.in Youthful-relationship/s, Consequential aftermaths, Economic Upheaval...
*First Love-Nostalgia, pure & simple inputed w/ Life's ideosyncracies...
💐Saranghae JTBC-M'of 18~Mabuhay🇵🇭

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Oops...I forgot about Jun's dad Cop(ping)-out of his 1st-Family...that's why I'm Cheering on Jun &Ma-Yeon~ Team Woo? (Vs. Team Choi-my Mistake)💕&🙏, including Soobin.

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I was hoping to see a "One year later" scene with SB and JW both attending uni in Seoul...but I guess this drama is more realistic without it.

Not sure how HY will progress in his redemption arc...but this show only focused on 1 year in the life of these kids, so we will probably never know.

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Like an Epilogue...we glimpsed a bit w/ Soobin's vision of them-2 in College? ~outside Jun's Arts-contest venue...there's the Jap."Itazurana" -manga? of "Playful Kiss" w/c is a 3-period Progression --- could be something like that but it'll be a Stretch..uhm..wishful thinking, huh✌

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I haven't finished the last episode because I don't want to let these kids go yet. The story definitely has some flaws and was uneven in execution, but I love these 18-year-old kids. At the beginning with the casting of Ong, I couldn't imagine that he would pull off the lonely, reserved Jun-woo the way he did since Ong is so witty and animated in real life. But along the way, I forgot he was the famous OSW and just thought of him as Jun-woo. So kudos to him, and Shin Seung-ho for pulling off very different characters than we have seen from them before.
I wish we know more about their future, simply because we viewers care for these kids so much. But maybe the "ending" should be for us to determine. I'd love to see Soo-bin to find her dreams, Hwi-young to find his footing, and Jun-woo to continue the path that he wants to pursue.

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I am trying to process the lack of parents in ep 15-16 for HY's investigation. Practically speaking, why were they not part of the picture. I could only think about 2 reasons.

1. Actors did not sign up for those schedule. The drama did take 5 full months to complete. So, they had to write last few episodes without them'
2. Writer felt most audience appears to be invested in Junwoo's story and we will give time for his story.

I definitely think a 5 minute scene with parents would have made the drama a bit more complete.

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The ending is leaving a bitter sweet in my heart. I don't know that the ending would be like that even though there's hint in the title but I don't know that they would make it as a beautiful goodbye.

The one that I'm not satisfy enough is about Hwi Young, we only know a little bit about him but over all I love this drama. I finished a box of tissue just for he finale episode. If I need to rewatch again maybe I'll need a truck of tissue :D

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Please do...I intend to because I'm following up on the OST, a mixed repertoire of Pop & classical-sounding music ~ just attesting to their match-up for overall appreciation... Saranghae to co-Fans of this artwork on youthful love...Mabuhay🇵🇭

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So this ended and I can't still move on. My first Monday without this drama was totally bland.

I was actually hoping for at least an hour of happiness for Jun Woo on this final episode but then, they still made us cry. TT_TT It's now up to my imagination how can I make the characters lives happier.

Well, because of this episode, I saw how Ong Seongwu's eyes can quickly be filled with tears (bus station scene, when Soobin's calling her like crazy)... like, man. He's so damn good at this and the camera captured it perfectly.

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I was also impressed by his instant tears.

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Im still confused about the ending, did jun woo still left to his mother side? And how about hwi young, how's his parents react when he work at gas station? I hope they would have 1 or 2 episode more to tell us.

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