Big: Episode 16 (Final)
Well, it ends. Listen, my mother said that if I don’t have nice things to say… waitaminute, my mother never said that. Let the ragefest begin!
This show is basically a lesson in math. Turns out you can have great parts, but the sum can add up to less than those parts. I know! I didn’t know it worked that way either! But math is wily like that. And apparently, so are dramas.
SONG OF THE DAY
Big OST – Gong Yoo “Because It’s You” [ Download ]
FINAL EPISODE RECAP
Da-ran makes her big confession (handy to have the whole cast rounded up) that she’s in love with KKJ. She takes off the ring and leaves it on the table. Kyung-joon drags her away, and her parents are left to apologize to the in-laws.
Kyung-joon calls her crazy—he’s going to lose his memory and she’ll be all alone and hurt. Da-ran: “I’m going to remember. Even if it hurts, I can’t pretend you weren’t here.”
He stammers, “You’re not going to pretend it didn’t happen?” Is the question you’re really asking, Then was the last episode all for nothing? Because that sure is MY question.
Da-ran: “No. Because I said that my feelings for you were real. The you that I like is there. He’s there now and will be in the future.” He looks at her, dumbfounded—but he might not remember, and he might call her a crazy person!
She says through her tears that it doesn’t matter. She’s going to remember and protect their love, and she’s going to tell him everything. She’s crazy now, so why not go with it? He agrees that she sure doesn’t appear sane.
She gives him the watch she fished out of the lake, and he decides she’s officially crazy. He cups her face in his hands, sighing that she’s all dirty and smelly. She says it again—that even if he can’t remember her, she’s going to remember for the both of them, and that she won’t let go of him.
A tear falls as he hugs her tight.
Little Kyung-joon’s vitals spike, and his heart rate gets dangerously high. Se-young calls the parents, who run over and stay up with him that night, worried.
Kyung-joon and Da-ran walk down the street hand-in-hand, and he asks if she doesn’t want to go home and shower first. But she says she’s going to have to learn to be seen as a crazy person by the entire world, so she may as well steel herself now.
To that end, she decides to pick some flowers out of a planter on the sidewalk, to make up for the time she threw out the flowers he gave her. She runs across the street to wave them about and sing the Pororo song, and she successfully gets called crazy.
Kyung-joon runs over and sighs that he’d hate to forget this—it’s fodder for a lifetime of mockery. She says in turn that there are so many things she didn’t do for him when she thought he’d remember, and now that he’s going to forget she’s just full of regret.
Mari comes back to the restaurant to retrieve her fake ring and asks Aunt and Uncle to be a witness for her when Kyung-joon wakes up, to say that she’s the one who was by his side the entire time.
They nod that she’s right about that, and she sighs that she’s the only one who has the right to be by his side, and not lying Gil Teacher who goes back on her promises.
The Gil family waits on pins and needles for the fallout, and Choong-shik worries—if Yoon-jae and Da-ran left like that, the air must be frosty between them right about now…
Cut to the happy couple shooting furtive smiles at each other across the kitchen table. Kyung-joon starts in on his interrogation: “When did you first start liking KKJ?!” He slams his hands on the table for emphasis.
She retraces her steps, like the time she felt something when he showed up at the theater, or realized in the park that she was no longer waiting for Yoon-jae, but searching for Kyung-joon.
She argues that they should be going over his half of the story since his is the memory they have to recreate, but he counters that his part is just full of pain, like the time he confessed he liked her and she called him a blood clot, and on and on ad infinitum. Well, when you put it like that, *sadface.*
She wonders why she didn’t find the courage to confess her feelings sooner, and he tells her to just do well from here on out, because he’s going to write it all down from now on. And then they just make moony eyes at each other in an explosion of cuteness.
Mom and Dad sit by Kyung-joon’s bedside all night, and Mom says it feels just like when Yoon-jae was young and sick all the time. She wonders how it feels the same now, watching over Kyung-joon.
Da-ran heads home to face the music, telling Kyung-joon that they can’t exactly see each other out in the open anymore. He asks if they should just run away to the boonies and she vows not to do any more running.
She steps through the door cautiously to find the whole family waiting for her. They send her upstairs right away. Mom comes in brandishing a pair of scissors: “Even when my mom cut off all my hair, I still liked your father.”
She tosses Da-ran a wedding photo, and in it Mom’s hair has been chopped off. She asks now if Da-ran wants to end up the same way. Da-ran says it doesn’t matter, because if she has to pretend her feelings aren’t real, then she’ll never be able to smile like Mom in this photo.
She closes her eyes and braces herself, and even when Mom grabs her hair and puts the scissors to her head, she says nothing in protest. Mom stops when she sees Da-ran’s resolve, sighing, “You’re really crazy, aren’t you?”
Mom sobs in her room, as Dad comes to pat her back. She adorably calls him Teacher, and cries that she just said the same things to her daughter that her mother said to her. She wonders now how much she broke her own mother’s heart. Aw.
Kyung-joon stops by the hospital to check on his coma body, and is alarmed to hear about the near-heart attack. Se-young remembers that he first woke up in the morgue after the accident, after being declared dead.
He confirms it. Oh noes. This is going to an ominous place.
He sits with Teddy, blowing balloons, and tells himself the body swap will be fine—just like inflating a balloon, deflating it, and then inflating it again. But next to him, Teddy over-inflates his, and it pops, jolting them both. Kyung-joon grabs his heart in fear.
Meanwhile Mom happily tells Se-young to wait for Yoon-jae to return to his old self. Mari tells Kyung-joon that she’s going with him to Germany, but he says they’re not going anywhere.
He tells her that Gil Teacher will stay by his side when he wakes up and Mari gapes—you mean by your side, the little brother of the man she just cheated on? She calls Da-ran crazy, and he affirms that she is with a goofy grin.
Kyung-joon spends the entire next day trying to see Da-ran, but the Gil Family is on high alert, taking shifts to watch her every move. He finally has to romeo his way to her window late at night, and puts his arms out to 10:10 for her to jump.
She’s about to when Mom stops her, reminding her not to do something as despicable as keep all her options open (ie. play both Yoon-jae and KKJ), a phrase that means in the literal sense, to “maintain your fishing pond.”
Da-ran grumbles that her pond only has the one fish, and then worries, “What if it dries up and dies?” She decides to jump, to water her fish and save it.
She gives Kyung-joon his watch, newly fixed, and then leaves him with a peck on the cheek. He watches her go with a swoon, muttering that if she was going to water the pond, she should’ve splashed him, not given him one little drop. But then he goes right back to swooning.
The next day Mari stomps into the hospital with a team of bodyguards in tow, and declares that she’s going to take Kyung-joon away. Um… are we adding kidnapping to your ever-growing list of crimes? Because you can’t just steal people’s coma bodies and get away with it!
Kyung-joon goes to see Mom to tell him that he’ll go to Germany with Dad, and they should leave Coma Kyung-joon here. To his surprise, Mom says she’ll stay here with Kyung-joon then.
But they’re quickly interrupted with bad news: Kyung-joon is gone. WUT. She really took him? How does a person just walk away with a coma patient? SIGH. Whatever.
She answers Kyung-joon’s call to announce that she’s going to hide him away till he wakes up, and keep him from ever seeing Gil Teacher again. “You said Gil Teacher was crazy? Well then I’m double double double crazy!” Um… were you waiting for someone to argue?
He tells her that he’ll just stay in this body forever then, and not get treated. She starts to panic that he’ll die that way, and Kyung-joon calls her bluff: he’ll meet her tantrum for tantrum, and he’ll just die in this body if she keeps going. She breaks down and tells him she’ll stop.
Kyung-joon tells her that being with Da-ran is what he wants, and Mari can’t force things to go her way while ignoring his feelings. She counters that he’s doing the same, ignoring her feelings and Yoon-jae’s.
She puts the ring on the table to remind him that when Yoon-jae wakes up and finds Da-ran by Kyung-joon’s side he’ll be as heartbroken as Mari. Yeah, but I doubt he’ll resort to kidnapping to argue the case.
At the same time, Little Kyung-joon’s vitals spike again. Teddy and Rabbit worry that they yanked too hard, and we see that the Miracle picture has been torn in two.
Mari continues on her quest to meddle, and why this character is even still trying to run interference at this point is beyond me. She goes to the mandoo restaurant to lie to Da-ran that she hid the ring in the mandoo filling, just to send her digging for it.
Da-ran bursts all the mandoo to look for the ring and then chases after the delivery guy to steal other people’s mandoo dinners, all the while feeling terrible that she ignored Yoon-jae’s feelings.
At the hospital, Yoon-jae-in-Kyung-joon’s-body cries a tear, and then his heart rate goes shooting up again. But Kyung-joon shows up to hold his hand, and he comes back down to normal. Kyung-joon says he’ll wait until Yoon-jae’s stopped time gets cleared up too.
He finds Da-ran trudging along in the street, looking for something. He guesses right away that it’s the ring and he says he found it. They stand across the street from each other, talking on the phone, and Kyung-joon sighs that it won’t work for them to hold hands right away, will it?
The blinking red light and her silent pause confirms that he’s right.
He wonders how long it’ll be before they can be together, hoping that it won’t take too long. He worries that he won’t remember and they’ll be apart for so long that they’ll miss their opportunity.
But she assures him that she’ll remember. Kyung-joon: “If my heart has grown enough to be able to look back at someone else’s heart, if my heart has grown just a little… then won’t I wake up, not as a child who knows nothing, but someone who can remember Gil Da-ran, just a little?”
She says that her heart will grow too, every day as she remembers him. She promises to keep growing her heart, so that it’ll be impossible to ever let him go.
Kyung-joon finally (FINALLY) spells it out plainly for Mari, that he’s not going to wake up by Da-ran’s side right away, but he’s not going to stay by Mari’s side either. He tells her to stop running after him, because no matter how much she does, he’ll never go to her.
Just think of all the felonies that could’ve been avoided had you done this sooner! He says he ignored her feelings completely in all this and did as he pleased, but now he feels sorry and can’t keep letting her do this.
He says he’ll put up a very clear signal for her, and puts up his hand, “Mari-ya, stop coming.”
She looks up with her puppy dog eyes and cries, and then steps forward, just until her head meets his outstretched hand. Aw, that’s kind of heartbreaking. She goes literally as far as he’ll let her, and stops there, resting her head against his palm. He drums his fingers on her head one last time.
And then Choong-shik sees her off at the airport with a long face, as he watches her approach the gate. He calls after her at the last minute and runs up to write his name on her purse.
Mari: “Gil Choong-shik!” Choong-shik: “That’s right! I’m Gil Choong-shik! This will probably take about ten years to repay via pizza. I will pledge that time to you. You wait, Jang Mari!”
And then he walks away, finally getting his cool exit down just right. She smiles after him.
Kyung-joon meets with Mom to go over travel plans, and finds her studying a notebook. He asks what it is, and she says it’s her Kyung-joon notes, gathered from Da-ran and Mari, so that she can learn as much about him as she can.
She worries that he’s a picky eater and that she isn’t the best cook, but Kyung-joon tells her to do her best, and prepare for a cold response since he’s not the most well-behaved child. He grins to himself, touched at her effort.
Ae-kyung and Na Teacher pass around their wedding invitations, and Ae-kyung asks Da-ran what she’ll do next if Yoon-jae heads off to Germany. She says that he’ll return someday to give her an answer.
She says that she’ll tell him then, that she’s no longer waiting for his answer, but has come to love someone else, even more.
Kyung-joon watches over his body and says that he’ll meet Yoon-jae soon, and by now I’m just screaming, You said that eons ago. Can soon be now?
He runs into Se-young and apologizes to her for acting so immature lately, and says that when she touched his arm after the accident that was kinda sexy. She should do it again, when Seo Yoon-jae returns. He walks away with a smile, leaving her confused.
Da-ran walks through the park and stops to drop some money for a homeless man sleeping on a bench, and is shocked to find her green umbrella sitting right there, still with her name and number on it.
Wait… did you just steal from a homeless man? Er…
She takes it to a shop to get it fixed and finds Kyung-joon watering the lawn. She tells him to make it rain and opens the umbrella, asking if he remembers the day they met.
He remembers, and confesses now that he followed her off the bus, not because she stole his umbrella, but because he swapped them on purpose. Ha.
They ride the bus together now, remembering that day, and he says how funny she was, giving herself away with the radio story. He saw that their umbrellas looked similar so he slid his over to her, and she picked his up without even looking.
They wonder that if he liked her enough to do that, maybe when he wakes up, there’ll still be a little of her in his heart.
They get off the bus and she opens her umbrella, and he puts his hands over hers just like that first day. She hopes that if she remains in his heart, he’ll come after her again. He asks that if he does, for her to hold onto him, no matter what, and tell him about their love.
Kyung-joon: “Then we’ll come back to this time.” She takes his watch and says that the moment she tells him her feelings, Kang Kyung-joon will return to this instant, and says he’s now been hypnotized.
They get ready to part, and she starts to cry but smiles through the tears. He ekes out that he’ll be going, but then stops to say one last thing. “I didn’t want to say this. I wanted to say it to you when I returned, but… Gil Da-ran, I love you.”
A tear trickles down his cheek as he says it, and then he puts the umbrella back in her hands, and walks away.
One year later.
Da-ran is a teacher at a new school, and Mari sends her an email to say that both boys have returned to their rightful places, and that neither remembers anything after the accident. Wait… the big finale body swap happens offscreen? @&*#$T#*#KK!
Kyung-joon hasn’t asked about Gil Teacher, and per her promise to Kyung-joon, Mari won’t tell him.
Da-ran says to herself that per her promise, she’ll continue to remember.
Rabbit gets better and even gets to go home from the hospital, and Teddy gives her a big hug. Ae-kyung and Na Teacher are pregnant and happy. And Da-ran still stops every time she sees sunflowers.
Choong-shik slices and dices as the new chef at the mandoo restaurant, and Mom and Dad say that Da-ran is due for a visit, after stopping by her old school. Choong-shik heads out to send Mari yet another package of mandoo, only to find her standing at his door.
She’s here to accept an award, having turned her stalker photographer skills into an artistic pursuit instead. Well that’s lemonade out of lemons if there ever was. Choong-shik asks hopefully if she’s been eating the mandoo he’s sent, and she says her dog enjoys them.
She admits she’s tasted at least one, and he asks her how many points she’d give them. She judiciously says, “One.” Choong-shik pumps his fist in the air, to have finally made it out of zeroland.
At this rate it’ll actually take you a hundred years to get your girl. He asks if they can take a picture together and eagerly awaits the day he’ll get to two points. Aw.
Da-ran drops by Kyung-joon’s old house and sees a mother and her son living there now. She says she used to live here and just dropped by, and as she leaves the kid says that the hyung who was just here said the same thing…
It starts to rain, and Da-ran hops on the bus. She hears her letter being read over the radio, wishing the person she loves a happy birthday this June 24. Da-ran whispers on the bus, “Happy birthday, Kyung-joon-ah.”
The radio message continues that she’ll be going next month to see him, and though he won’t remember, she’ll tell him everything that she remembers. She looks down at her watch and it’s 10:10.
The message concludes, “I’m running towards the time right now, 10:10.” She looks down at the aisle, where another green umbrella lies next to hers, and she smiles.
She gets off the bus with her umbrella, and then suddenly a voice calls out to her: “Gil Da-ran!” Wait, that’s still Gong Yoo’s voice. Urg, and though we only see him from above as he runs under her umbrella, it’s still Gong Yoo. WHY. Why Show, why.
It’s supposed to be Kyung-joon back in his own body, but they refuse to show it to us. This is so lame. I waited sixteen episodes for them to reunite like this?
He puts his hand over hers and she looks up. And then the scene is intercut with Kyung-joon’s farewell scene, earlier in the episode. If we were going to do that anyway, would it have killed you to have Shin playing the present-day half of his own character?
Past Kyung-joon tells her to hold onto him if he comes back. Da-ran looks up and smiles at him now, “Hello, Kang Kyung-joon.”
Kyung-joon plays it cool, saying that he just came around because he was curious how she was doing, and she says she knows the real reason (his little crush). He walks off with the umbrella and an, “Uh-oh, you’re overreacting.”
Back to Past Kyung-joon, who asks her to hold on, even if he’s mean and cold and bristly in the future. She runs after him now, returning that gesture and putting her hand over his under the umbrella.
Past Kyung-joon says that when she tells him her feelings, they’ll return to this moment. She smiles up at him now, and his watch reads 10:10.
Back to Past Da-ran: “I love you.” Past Kyung-joon: “The moment I hear those words, my heart will grow, as big as it is now. Like a miracle.”
They beam at each other, and then we end, on Past Kyung-joon and Past Da-ran, under the umbrella on that day they parted.
What? Huh? What? What? Was that just in her head? What? How did he get his memory back? What? What was the point of the year? Did Yoon-jae get over his sadface? What?
I have no more words for you. Drama, you don’t deserve any more words. Go sit in a corner and think about what you did.
THE FUCK? We don’t even get ONE measly glimpse of Kyung-joon in his own body, even when they meet again? BAH. So. Disappointing. I know it’s jarring, but you’re the one who stuffed the hero in the wrong body for the entire goddamn series; own up to it and let us see the couple who’s supposed to be together, TOGETHER. If that’s the line you’re playing, you have to see it through!
It’s not like Shin has to appear 30 for crying out loud; he’s just 21 so how hard is it to let us see the 21-year old hero in his own body, finally getting the girl? I was so ready to say that despite some unnecessary episodes and senseless prolonging of plot points, that they managed to salvage a satisfactory ending. Until they didn’t show the swap. And then that last scene… where they didn’t give me my ONE moment, of Da-ran with the real Kyung-joon! Aaaaaaaaargh.
That’s just… plain mean.
Siiiigh. So many ways this drama went awry, and sadly, I think it began at the roots. They should’ve stuck with the original Big concept of a boy who rapid-grows into his own 30-year old body, because then at least it would’ve been HIS body. Having him stuck in Yoon-jae’s shell (even till the final moments of the show, dangnabbit) just kept me at arm’s length the whole time, knowing that she was having to look past his shell. Sure, it’s admirable that she can, and I went along because I expected that we’d get the final scene with Kyung-joon in his own body to say yes, Da-ran still loves him completely, as himself. IS THAT SO HARD? Why must you take that away from me? How can a story culminating in a body re-swap… not show the swap??? I. Don’t. Get. It. And did Yoon-jae just never come back to see his fiancée, or did that happen offscreen too? Why do you need a drama if all your most interesting narrative payoffs are going to happen OFFSCREEN?
Okay, calming down now. Truth be told, I might be angry now, but I was pretty checked out emotionally for most of the show’s run. There were definitely things that kept me invested, like Gong Yoo’s fantastic performance. But a showcase for one actor does not a drama make. And despite my love for Gong Yoo as the teenage Kyung-joon, my heart is always with the story first and foremost. That’s why I needed to see Shin playing the character in the end, because to me, telling me that they re-swapped offscreen is not enough. If I’m buying into the idea that he’s one character, no matter whose body he’s in, then you have to trust that I’m going to buy it till the very end. It shows a lack of trust in the audience, and for that, I feel betrayed.
I certainly don’t think that it was all bad, because there was a whole lot of cute and some good coming-of-age stuff in there amidst the confusing. But one thing I constantly asked all series long was: Are we there yet? I feel like somehow every step of the way, the show never got a step ahead, never surprised me. I held out hope that the boys would swap back sooner than the final hour (because honestly, I think the fallout is FAR more interesting than the lead-up), but that didn’t happen, and then to top it off, we didn’t even get to witness the big moment. No heartfelt first official meeting between the brothers, who saved each other’s lives? No my-hand-was-warm-because-you-reached-out-to-save-me-first? No wonder twins, activate? Nuthin’?
It’s really too bad that the whole drama failed in the writing department, because the Hong Sisters have penned some of my favorites over the years. I don’t love all their works before Big, and neither am I going to just write them off because of this one drama. But I’ll call a dud a dud, and this one just sailed right into the crapper. It turns out you can’t shape a whole drama on one big premise and leave things like logic and character motivation and emotional payoffs at the door. We kinda like that stuff. It’s sorta why we live here, in dramaland.