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Fight My Way: Episode 15

After years of pining for their lost dreams, Dong-man and Ae-ra are discovering that getting what you always wanted isn’t necessarily a bed of roses. Big dreams require big sacrifices, and it might not be worth it to give up their adult dreams for those of their youth. And if they just pay attention, they may discover that their true dream is something they’ve had all along.

 
Round 15: “The clown always smiles at us”

After being injured in his fight with Tak-soo, Dong-man’s hearing slowly fades to nothing as he’s talking with Ae-ra. He pounds his head in a panic, screaming that he can’t hear anything, but there’s nothing that Ae-ra can do.

Surprised to find Seol-hee on his doorstep, Joo-man awkwardly invites her inside. Seol-hee orders Joo-man to lie down, and he misunderstands, wondering if they should talk first, hee. But she just wants to put medicine on his burned back.

The burn isn’t serious, but it looks very painful. Seol-hee asks why Joo-man threw himself in front of the flying coal, her voice quivering. Joo-man sits up and tells her softly that it’s not what he wants, but that he’s okay if she dates intern Chan-ho, and that he’ll wait for her.

Seol-hee asks if he really thinks she would date Chan-ho just to hurt him. Joo-man says that he’ll wait for her even if it takes until he’s fifty. Seol-hee says that she’s not the same person she was, and that she won’t fall for his tricks.

She states that in Joseon times, cheaters were branded, so she doesn’t feel bad about his getting burned. She says it’s just his punishment, and that her putting medicine on it means nothing.

Ae-ra and Coach Hwang accompany Dong-man to the hospital, where he’s put through a battery of tests. Ae-ra is told that Dong-man has a concussion that caused him to temporarily lose his hearing, and that he’ll heal and recover fully. But there’s some bad news: There’s a hairline fracture in Dong-man’s skull, in the temporal region.

Landlady Hwang finds Coach Hwang waiting in the hospital hallway. Coach Hwang admits that seeing the flip phone Landlady Hwang entrusted to him made him cry. Landlady Hwang says that the flip phone is the only proof of the truth of Hwang Bok-hee’s real life, asking him to keep it safe. Coach Hwang says that he thought she was a warrior, but now he knows it’s not true.

Feeling nostalgic, Landlady Hwang tells Coach Hwang that she was an assistant at a photo studio when she was younger, because she liked being in front of the camera. She gave it up when she met her husband, but she admits that she never stopped loving acting, which is why she auditioned for a movie. She had to hide the fact that she was married with a child, and she landed the role.

She says that that’s when her life started to go wrong, but Coach Hwang protests, calling her the “fairy in the posters” in his room. Still, Landlady Hwang sighs that the path she chose in life was thorny.

Ae-ra takes Dong-man home, where he does nothing for days on end but lie in bed. He ignores the food she makes for him and doesn’t even change clothes as Ae-ra, Joo-man, Seol-hee, and even Coach Hwang take turns looking after him. He does sit up once and turns on the TV, but when he still can’t hear the dialogue, he lies back down, looking infinitely depressed. Ae-ra refuses to give up on him, and she lies in bed that night, patting Dong-man’s back and singing softly.

In the meantime, Ae-ra’s MMA announcing job is going well, and she’s given a chance to host a television show. She’s speechless when she gets a look at the studio, this being the closest she’s ever gotten to her announcing dream.

At work in the tasting room, Joo-man gets a bit teary as they discuss marketing some lobster. He recalls taking Seol-hee to a fancy restaurant with his first paycheck, excited to treat her to her first lobster. But then she’d asked to go somewhere else, saying that she’d heard that steamed cockroaches taste like lobster, which had grossed her out.

She’d denied that it was about the price, then she’d served her whole lobster to him. Joo-man had said that it upset him when she did things like that, and it was the first time he’d complained that it made him look like the bad guy.

After work, Joo-man gets caught leaving another bag of food and a stuffed animal on Seol-hee’s door, and she tells him to stop doing this. Joo-man begs her to forget the couple of bad months they’ve had in favor of their six good years, but she says that although she misses those six years, she doesn’t want to go back because of the two bad months.

She says that he changed in those two months, but Joo-man snaps that she changed, too. He says that she was always pure and naïve, but that after she met him she became self-conscious, and he always blamed himself. Seol-hee starts to say it doesn’t matter, but Joo-man complains that he doesn’t want to break up.

He reminds her that she said she has no regrets because she tried her best, and he says that he’s going to try everything he can so that he doesn’t have regrets either. He shoves the food and toy at her and runs upstairs, calling back defiantly that he isn’t going to marry anyone else but her, and that he needs ointment on his back today too, or he’ll get an infection and die. Ha.

Before her first broadcast, Ae-ra does a short pre-interview with the fighter she’s going to be speaking with. She asks if he’s afraid to go back in the ring after a shoulder injury, but he says he’s lucky it’s not too bad, considering what happened to other fighters.

Later, Ae-ra goes back to Dong-man’s, speaking loudly to the prone figure on the bed. But today he gets up and embraces her in a backhug, asking why she’s yelling at him. He’s got his hearing back!

Landlady Hwang marches into an office to confront a man who seems very surprised to see her. He says that he’s searched everywhere for her, then gets on his knees in front of her.

Dong-man and Ae-ra go to a cafe, where Dong-man tells her that not being able to hear is like being at the bottom of the ocean. Ae-ra seems upset, asking if he can hear her now, and if his need for complete rest is over. He says he’s fine, so she breaks the news that he has a skull fracture. She says that the doctor told her that it would heal without any need for treatment, but that Dong-man’s fracture is near his cochlea.

If he receives another injury there, he could lose his hearing permanently, so this means the end of his fighting career. When Dong-man doesn’t appear to take this seriously, Ae-ra tells him of two fighters she learned about, one who died from a head injury and another who suffered permanent brain damage. Dong-man argues that injuries happen all the time in fights, but Ae-ra asks why she should watch that happen to him.

With a sigh, Dong-man says that he wouldn’t have started fighting again after ten years only to quit so soon. Ae-ra tells him to do as he pleases, but that if he fights again, they’re over.

Landlady Hwang tells the man kneeling before her that even after twenty years, she can’t forgive him. A flashback shows Landlady Hwang begging this man on her knees not to air a certain show, and him angrily refusing her. Now she and the kneeling man, who it turns out is a CEO at KBC, enter the editing room, surprising Kyung-ku in the middle of editing his footage of Dong-man’s fight.

Ae-ra holds firm to her decision as she and Dong-man head home, though he objects to her blackmailing him just because he loves her. He insists that he can’t choose between her and fighting, but Ae-ra makes it clear that if he fights again, not only will she break up with him, but it means the end of their friendship, too.

Kyung-ku is ordered to show Landlady Hwang the footage of the fight, though he protests that the show airs in an hour and it’s too late to change anything. Landlady Hwang asks if Dong-man agreed to this broadcast, mentioning that she heard that Dong-man and Kyung-ku were once suspect and victim in a legal matter, and she accuses Kyung-ku of airing this show to get revenge.

Finding Dong-man’s place empty, Ae-ra wonders suspiciously if he went to the gym without telling her. At a banging noise from upstairs, she marches up there, worried that Hye-ran is trying to hang herself.

Hye-ran tries to shut the door when she sees Ae-ra, but Ae-ra shoves her way inside. She sees the chair that Hye-ran pushed into the bathroom and her fear escalates, but a pale and tired-looking Hye-ran says that she was just trying to change the lightbulb. HA.

Seeing some bank notices on Hye-ran’s bed, Ae-ra mutters that the rumors are that Hye-ran got a pile of alimony. Hye-ran sneers that she refused her ex’s family’s money. She asks Ae-ra if she thinks she’s won, saying that since Ae-ra knows what she means to Dong-man, she’ll win him back.

After all these years, Ae-ra finally realizes that Hye-ran’s attachment to Dong-man is about her need to preserve her pride. She doesn’t argue, and just goes to the bathroom to change Hye-ran’s lightbulb.

After a call from his father alerts Dong-man to the show about to air, he goes to tell Kyung-ku that he doesn’t give his permission. Kyung-ku refuses to pull it, repeating what he told Ae-ra about not being the same old Kyung-ku, because he’s not that lame or sloppy anymore.

Another flashback takes us to the night that Kyung-ku waited for Ae-ra, soaking wet and holding a box splattered with red liquid. She’d been scared, even when he said that it was strawberries in the box, and she’d yelled at him for texting her constantly, telling everyone they were dating, and even getting her pulled from a show she was on.

Kyung-ku said that if he made Ae-ra an outcast, then maybe she would date him. Ae-ra had tried to walk away, but Kyung-ku had grabbed her. Suddenly, Dong-man had showed up, on leave from his military service, and punched Kyung-ku in the face. He’d warned that if Kyung-ku bothered Ae-ra again, he would desert the military and show up with his rifle.

Now, Dong-man asks if he’s still trying to get revenge, but Kyung-ku tells him that everything will be made clear if he watches the show. Dong-man thinks that Kyung-ku plans to make him look foolish, and all Kyung-ku will say is that without a story, nobody will care about an unknown fighter.

His face growing dark, Kyung-ku tells Dong-man that he caught the truth on video, and that his show makes Dong-man look good. When the show airs, Dong-man sees that from Kyung-ku’s angle, it’s glaringly obvious that when they went down to the mat, Tak-soo deliberately pulled Dong-man’s head down and head-butted him.

Still in the hospital, Tak-soo watches the broadcast and has the nerve to accuse the station of malicious editing. He orders Tae-hee to stop the media from talking, and vows never to fight Dong-man again.

Dong-man’s parents catch the broadcast, and though his mother looks frantic to see her baby getting hurt, his father actually looks pretty proud. Little sister Dong-hee asks their dad to take her to see Dong-man.

The show does make Dong-man look like a maligned hero, and Kyung-ku grins at him, satisfied. The two head to Nam-il’s restaurant, where Kyung-ku proudly shows Dong-man pictures of his ex-idol-trainee wife and beautiful daughter.

When asked why he’s been following Ae-ra around, Kyung-ku admits that his daughter was bullied by a boy who’d said that if he made it so nobody else liked her, she would only play with him. Kyung-ku feels like this is his karma, making his daughter go through the same thing he put Ae-ra through, so he’s been trying to set things right.

Leaving Dong-man’s apartment with a pot of soup, Ae-ra runs into Landlady Hwang, who fusses that she shouldn’t be taking food to men. But Ae-ra just follows her up to her apartment, saying that the soup is for Landlady Hwang.

Seol-hee comes home early from work to find Joo-man’s mom leaving his place. She asks Seol-hee why they broke up, worried that it’s because of herself or his sisters. Seol-hee reassures her, so she asks if Joo-man cheated, and she can tell it’s true by Seol-hee’s expression.

They sit to talk, and Joo-man’s mom tells Seol-hee that her husband cheated on her twice. She says that Seol-hee doesn’t deserve to suffer that way, but that she can’t help but feel defensive for her son, and she admits that she was jealous of how protective Joo-man was of Seol-hee.

She promises that if they get back together, she’ll never come to their house, or make Seol-hee come to family gatherings, or let Joo-man’s sisters call her. Seol-hee says she’s sorry, and Joo-man’s mom shyly confesses that she just doesn’t want to lose her.

Ae-ra serves Landlady Hwang the mackerel stew, full of foods that supposedly fight cancer (since she saw the cancer literature at her place earlier). She tells a story about how her mother made stew out of one mackerel, angry that her father wasn’t a better fisherman, and that her dad liked it so much he opened a restaurant.

Landlady Hwang looks like she wants to cry when she tastes the stew, but she just tells Ae-ra to stop talking so much while she’s eating. She grouchily sends Ae-ra home, and Ae-ra stomps off in a snit.

Once she’s alone, Landlady Hwang gives in to tears. Yet another flashback takes us back to the day when Landlady Hwang begged the man from KBC not to air a program. She’d discovered that he’d leaked to the newspapers that she was a single mother, then had found him watching home video of young Dong-man, Ae-ra, and Seol-hee in an editing room.

She’s screamed that he’d already ruined her acting career and made it impossible for her to be a mother, pleading with him not to air the program. She’d begged him to leave her Ae-ra alone and not to make it public knowledge that her mother became an adult movie star, but the man hadn’t cared.

Back in the present, Landlady Hwang takes the photo of herself and the baby out of the frame, and unfolds it to reveal the baby’s father — Ae-ra’s dad. She remembers going back to see Ae-ra once, asking to sing to her sleeping child before going to Japan. The song she’d sung was the same song Ae-ra sang to Dong-man when he was incapacitated by depression.

Kyung-ku had told Dong-man about Hwang Bok-hee coming to see him, so Dong-man looks her up and finds the old article revealing that she was a mother. He has a sudden flash of memory of her giving him a caramel and asking him to protect Ae-ra in her place. Stunned, he gasps, “Caramel Ajumma?”

Ae-a passes Nam-il on her way back to her apartment, and Nam-il gives an annoyed sigh and asks why she cares so much about his mother. He says testily that he believes people are inclined to be evil, so he keeps wanting to test Ae-ra to discover if she’s truly that nice and clueless. Ae-ra snaps that people are all the same: weak and insecure. She notes that he’s always prickly, like he’s going through puberty again.

Nam-il forgets to retort, remembering that Landlady Hwang once said the same thing about him when he got a tattoo on his arm. He’d yelped when she smacked him, and she’d said that brats with nobody to smack them are pathetic, and she’ll never let him be that pathetic. She’d declared him her son from that moment forward.

He goes upstairs and asks Landlady Hwang if she’s ever been as sad over him as she is over Ae-ra. He reminds her who was with her when she lost her business and got cancer, and asks her to go back to Japan with him.

Dong-man waits anxiously for his dad to bring Dong-hee to visit him. When they arrive, she doesn’t speak right away, but she allows him to carry her to her wheelchair. He notices that she’s wearing the sneakers he brought for her. He asks why she’s still not speaking to him, and Dong-hee grabs his wrist and tells him, “Don’t lose anymore. Why did you make me feel bad for ten years? You were mean.”

Dong-man says that it wasn’t because of her (that he threw the fight), and Dong-hee hands him a scrapbook that she made. She says nervously that she’s his fangirl, and Dong-man flips through the scrapbook to find photos and articles of every one of his fights.

Dong-hee says that it took her ten years to make the scrapbook, then repeats that he’s not allowed to lose anymore. She says that she hates seeing him unable to stand, even more than she hates herself being unable to stand. (Okay, is anyone else crying? Just me?)

A while later, a crowd of people are shown around the gym, and Coach Hwang tells Dong-man that he has several interviews, photo shoots, and a commercial booked. It’s all due to Kyung-ku’s program making Dong-man a celebrity.

Dong-man says that he may not be able to fight again, and Coach Hwang agrees that it’s scary to think about getting hurt again. But Dong-man says that it’s not about the trauma, but that if he wants to fight again, he has to give up something huge.

He goes to see Landlady Hwang that night, but we don’t hear what he has to say. Afterward, he goes up to the roof, where Ae-ra is waiting for him. With a sad smile, she says that she saw the article and that she knows he’s made up his mind.

In his interview, Dong-man told the reporters that when he couldn’t hear, what scared him most was that he might never stand in the ring again. A reporter had asked if he planned to fight again, and after a long pause, Dong-man had said, “Yes. I request a rematch with Kim Tak-soo.”

Ae-ra laughs wryly that this is certainly one way to get dumped. Dong-man takes her hand and says that they don’t have to break up. But Ae-ra says that when he couldn’t hear, she went to church and begged and bargained for Dong-man — not to get better, but to quit MMA fighting.

She tells Dong-man that her grandmother used to pray with her rosary whenever her father was out fishing. She says that even when her grandmother got dementia, if the weather was bad, she asked for her rosary. She tells Dong-man that her grandmother was trapped in that fear for the rest of her life, and that she doesn’t want to live like that.

Admitting that he’s scared of being hit and losing his hearing again, Dong-man says that what scared him most is the thought of going back to his empty life. His voice quaking, he adds that he doesn’t want to go back to not having a dream, and Ae-ra says just as tearfully that she knew he wouldn’t stop.

Dong-man says that it’s not just his dream, but that of his father, his sister, and Coach Hwang. He asks Ae-ra to trust him, but she interrupts to say this means they can’t be friends anymore. Dong-man stares at her for a long time, then agrees that he can’t be friends.

Gulping back tears, Ae-ra just says, “Okay,” and stands to go. Dong-man jumps up to stop her, barely holding back his own sobs as he asks her to stay by his side, but she says that she can’t bear to watch. She adds that she wishes they’d never started this relationship, then she removes his hand from her wrist and leaves.

After she goes, Dong-man collapses onto the bench and begins to sob.

Epilogue.

When he’d gone to see Landlady Hwang, Dong-man had asked her, “Please protect Ae-ra from now on. I don’t think I can protect her anymore.” Landlady Hwang tells him that she’s thankful to him, but he says there’s no need. He tells her that he didn’t watch over Ae-ra because of the caramel he gave her, but because, “I think that from the beginning, it was always Ae-ra for me.”

 
COMMENTS

Why does this show have to keep breaking my heart? Dong-man giving care of Ae-ra back to Landlady Hwang just gutted me. He knew what was about to happen, because he knew how she would respond to his decision to fight Tak-soo again. He knew he was making a decision that would cost him Ae-ra’s love and friendship, but there’s something compelling him to finally get his chance for a fair fight with Tak-soo, even if it means giving Ae-ra up. Dammit Moose, you’re killing me over here.

So, Landlady Hwang is Ae-ra’s mother after all. Kudos to the show for keeping it a pretty good secret until the actual reveal — I discounted it because I thought it seemed too easy. But it all makes sense now why she never came back… apparently something went terribly wrong and she was forced to become an adult movie actress, and she’d left for Japan, probably to make sure Ae-ra escaped the scandal. It was selfish of Landlady Hwang to choose acting over her family in the first place, and she’s a good example of how chasing your dream can actually be the wrong thing to do. There are no guarantees that getting your fondest wish will turn out well.

At first I was rolling my eyes at the hinted reconciliation between Ae-ra and Hye-ran, because honestly, I don’t think Hye-ran deserves any pity or redemption. She’s friendless and penniless as the result of the awful way she treats people, and has from the very beginning. But there’s a part of me that’s glad that at least it was Ae-ra who reached out to her and not Dong-man, because it was really always Ae-ra that was Hye-ran’s real problem. All of the years she jerked Dong-man around, it was her way of getting back at Ae-ra for being the one he truly cared for — I really think that if not for that, Hye-ran and Dong-man would have fizzled out naturally after a few months and that would have been that. Ae-ra knows that nothing will never happen between Dong-man and Hye-ran, so if she decides to leave Hye-ran this one delusion to preserve her pride, then I suppose I can live with that.

I’m so torn in regards to Ae-ra’s decision to break up with Dong-man, and even to dissolve their lifelong friendship because he won’t agree not to fight Tak-soo again. On the one hand, I’m very much not a fan of ultimatums, and she’s been saying “Stop or I’m out” for a while now, which makes me just reflexively disagree with her actions. I think that if Dong-man’s need for closure is so strong (and Ae-ra’s seen him fall apart at the idea of losing his chance to set things right, not to mention watching him walk around like a zombie for ten years) then what a true friend would do is to recognize that it’s his life to lead and support him, even if the decisions he makes are ultimately self-destructive. You can disagree with someone’s decisions and not completely abandon them.

But on the other hand, I also understand that as much as Ae-ra loves Dong-man, both as a friend and as the love of her life, she can’t just watch him fight, fearing that every fight will be the one where he gets himself killed. She has the right to decide that she doesn’t want to be there to see that, even if it means losing him. It would be one thing if this was her old “Don’t fight Tak-soo again” ultimatum, but now the stakes are much, much higher. And I don’t think Ae-ra decided to break up easily or in a fit of anger — she gave it thought, and she did what she felt she could live with. In a way, it even feels like she’s freeing him to do what he needs to do without worrying about her disapproving or being angry with him. So yeah — I’m definitely conflicted. I don’t think there’s an easy right or wrong solution to Dong-man and Ae-ra’s impasse.

We’re out of time for too many more major revelations, but I do hope that when Ae-ra finally meets her mother and discovers why she left all those years ago, she’ll realize that by asking Dong-man to choose between her and fighting, she’s asking him to make the same mistake her mother made. And I hope that Dong-man sees that pursuing your dream at the cost of those who love you can be disastrous. There’s got to be a middle ground, where Dong-man can follow his dream of fighting without having to give up the person he loves most in the world, condemning them both to a life of misery without each other.

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Why a break up at ep. 15 when there is only one more episode to go??? I understand Ae Ra's fear even as I acknowledge that her trying to strong-arm Dong man to do what she wants is selfish. It's hard to see Dong man suffer physical pain and injury while living out his dreams, but live out his dreams is something he must do in order not to live half a life, and be full of regrets. But I wish it didn't have to be all or nothing between them. Couldn't they meet in the middle and reach a compromise?

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I don't think it's necessarily selfish. It would be selfish if she thought, for example, that fighting didn't make enough money for the lifestyle she wanted to live. But it's not selfish to know your limits. And after that fight and what happened to Dongman, she knows (or think she knows) her limit. Some people have it in them to love someone who could realistically get killed in their line of work, and some people don't. Of course, I think in the next episode, she'll find that she has it in her after all. But it's not selfish to not want to live your life in constant fear of losing the person you love.

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"But it's not selfish to not want to live your life in constant fear of losing the person you love." Agreed. Isn't it selfish of Dongman to want Aera to stand by him even though he knows she is not happy and will suffer every time he goes into the ring? It goes both ways. She knows her limit, and she made herself clear. Many times we criticize female characters because they are weak and allow themselves to be unhappy because they cannot communicate with their partner. I've read it many times, "If they would only communicate..." She has loved Dongman for years and has stood by him every step of the way, but she realized that she could not continue if he constantly puts himself in danger. So she communicated her feelings loudly and clearly.

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I just wished the writer focused on how Aera is acheiving her dream because everything now seems so easy after she broke through the glass ceiling..the "novelty" of a woman being a host for MMA fight just seems rushed and convenient..i guess i would want to see more nuance since in real life it doesnt stop with getting "the job"... And she's way more cooler tackling that dilemma... and not just another "friction" for Dongman's dream.... on that point its a gray area --- i understand she has her "limits" with the knowledge of DMs temporal fracture and putting himself at risk of permanent disability. But i dont necessarily agree that breaking up is the best solution.. Dear i don't think you can "turn off" the love and concern you have for DM just because you formally quit in the relationship. Attachment and feelings does not disappear. Its just adding torment for both of you and probably a distraction for him as an athlete..

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In a new relationship it is possible, it's amazing how easy we get over people we once cared about, once we are able have some distance. However, Aera and Dongman have a much stronger bond not only as lovers but also as friends. I foresee she will realize she can never turn off her care for Dong-man, even if she moves to the other side of the world for twenty years.

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The feelings won't disappear, but if DM is going to continue this and they're broken up, at least AR won't have to feel tormented every time DM is in a fight. And she won't have to yell at DM to not fight. And DM won't have to resent AR for asking him not to follow his dream. Love is a strong emotion, but it really doesn't conquer everything.

I also wished that the writer focused a little bit more on AR's dream. I do like this new development in their relationship and wished it had come earlier since it is a serious and legitimate concern.

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I’m so happy to see someone else point this out? Everything about the way Aera’s dream was “achieved” rubs me wrong. Like how she showed no previous interest in the job until DM’s fight, how it’s conveniently in the same field as DM, how her story is just packaged away neatly & set aside with one attained job, etc. It just feels lazy & rushed? The smooth sailing feels plasticky & fake, & too focused on relegating Aera to the backburner.

& I’m not saying the job is necessarily Wrong for her, but I would have appreciated some more thought & time put into her “way of fighting”. It also just would’ve felt better if she started applying for jobs MCing festivals/such instead of following DM into MMA. :/

These last few eps are rlly making me fight to maintain the love I have for Aera as a protag. :(

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Yes! a hundred times this! I agree with Aera chosing to leave for her own sake. If it's selfish, it's just as selfish for Dongman to pick his dream over her. Its both ways, and neither of them are willing to give up their own happiness for the sake of their relationship... for now. Which is completely understandable, sometimes love doesn't conquer all.

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I like the way you looking at this on both point of view. Ae Ra's reaction make me remember a French movie scene when a young father took her son to a physiotherapist and he was told to go out by another mother who happened to be there for her child as well. Her lines resounds in me still; " We can never withstand the pain we see in our loved ones.."

Being in such a relationship of 20 years, all that is written in the script is only natural. Dong Man's know how to handle her. And if it happens to be real in this real life.. I think LollyPip end comment for the ep. 14 recaps is what to come true. Quoting her:

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...so much as it is about finally getting the chance to redeem himself in his own heart for throwing the fight ten years ago. But plot-wise, I do find it much more interesting that now Dong-man is going to have to ease his heartbreak over the two fights with Tak-soo in a way that doesn’t involve beating someone up, or getting beat up himself. If he can do that, he’ll come out much healthier emotionally in the end.

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You just made me realize that there is only one more to go! I
either forgot or hadn't realized that there were only 16 episodes. Those episodes flew by...I have a different perspective on the show now realizing it's wrapping up rather than thinking it'd go on til 24. A couple eps back I was like "Wow they're already together, what's the rest of the show going to be like?"

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What I like most in kdrama is the honesty of characters. For this drama, we really need to understand the characters. Ae Ra's character love to the fullest in her dominant way of loving someone. Need to follow her lead. Her concern is real and true. Although he understand Dong Man's ambition but having him safe is first. In real life, the one who love like a family kind of love will never let you have even a cut.

However, being the bf having such a gf, his utmost duty is never to listen to her (for good reason) while never letting her go no matter how many times she will try to end the relationship. Appreciate her concern but hold on to her tight! And so he did in the Final Episode last night.

Hope you enjoy the ending Adal!

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It is life and death decision. She is trying to remind Dongman how precious his life is to her. She sacrifice her relationship to beg him to live and remind him not to go overboard. Dongman is gambling his life. He doesn't know how to set the boundaries and does not know how to stop. Take how he let Hyeran back to him over and over again. He just kept hurting over and over again and AeRa had to be the one to help him to deal with it over and over again. Dongman did not realize it yet how much she loves him. He was her whole world.

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I think it is quite realistic...compromises are difficult to reach and in dramaland it is way too easy sometimes. The breakup at ep. 15 is another element that shows how this show is different and not following the traditional patterns of a drama. Or so I think...

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I love the show and I generally like Ae-ra but I think she is being incredibly selfish. While I agree that she has the absolute right to express her fears and she also has the right to walk away from the relationship if she is unable to deal with Dong-man decision, she has no right to try and emotionally blackmail him, present him with ultimatums or demand he gives up his dreams for her. While Ae-Ra is not selfish in deciding what is best for herself, she is selfish in trying to force Dongman to give up his dream by emotionally blackmailing him.

My annoyance with Ae-ra is also increased by her hypocrisy - in order to pursue her own dream she has taken a job in the very sport that she is demanding Dong-man give up.
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Ae-ra's mother was 'living her dream' when she abandoned her family to become a porn actress. Hye-ran was 'living her dream' when she dumped Dong-man to marry money. All of the creepy love-struck stalkers in the series were 'living their dream' in pursuing people who weren't interested in them. Dong-man 'living his dream' involves brain damage. Dreams are for sleeping.

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My heart just broke in the last scene for the both of them. I can see both points of view, and I don't think either is completely right or wrong. Love ends up being a choice, and there's different ways of loving each other.

Landlady Hwang also broke my heart with her choices. She lived her life out after making choices, but there's always room for redress and making up, isn't there? ISN'T THERE???

*hoping desperately against a time skip*

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I really did not see the break-up coming before this week. I firmly believed that they would work through everything... especially since we are in the last two episodes.

I liked that Ae-ra gave him that ultimatum already knowing his choice... because she herself just reclaimed her dream and she knows in her heart that she would probably make the same choice. So I liked that she didn't really have any expactations. That beeing said, I didn't like that she did it. Although we now understand why she made that choice. (Side note: I would have liked a flashback scene where Ae-ra is with her grandmother. Not necessarily in this epsiode but I kinda feel like it would have added another layer to her already complex character.)

I liked the after credits scene between Landlady Hwang and Dong-man. Him passing the torch of protection back to the mother while basically confessing his love for Ae-ra was heart-breaking.

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I usually hate those obligatory last-minute break-ups dramas are so fond of, but this drama pulled off the most delightful angst moment I've seen in a very long time in any medium. I'm firmly on Ae-Ra's side.
Though to be honest the only break-up I'm worried about is the one between me and this show - why must we part ways so soon? We both know it's a match made in heaven! :(

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That's the real separation that makes me sad. Goodbye, show!

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I can't believe that this drama is about to end. It's like just yesterday that we heard about the casting and all. It's a very good one and very entertaining. I just hope they will end it beautifully and smoothly. I want a not so predictable ending for this drama!

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I totally agree with u because I feel the last episode will be rushed up.
1)We are yet to see Jo man and Sul hee patch up
2) the mystery of Ae Ra's mother
3) the tak-soo bribing the match of 2007 being revelaed
4) Tak-soo and Dong Man match
5) Ae Ra and don't man patch up
6) Hye Ran standing up for herself (I thank the drama God's for not letting her be the reason of break up)
7) Ae ra's big break
8) marriage of at least one of the couple

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I have never wanted a S2 of a KDrama so badly! That list is too long for just 1 hour...

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Woah! You are right!!! Those list needs to be checked by the end of the show yet it feels like 1 hour isn't enough. Ugh.

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I'm happy Dong Man chose to continue fighting. When he found his dream, he found happiness. Imagine how hollow he would be inside if he chose to leave his dream and followed what Ae Ra wanted.

I don't condemn Ae Ra for pushing through with her promise, just like how I don't condemn Dong Man for choosing to reclaim what he lost 10 years ago.

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Even without the grandmother background... The doctor's words, and seeing him all bloody like that would have been more than enough. Who wants to live like that?

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I think AeRa is reminding Dongman that his life is more precious to her. He needed to be careful and set the boundaries when he gets into the situation. It Is not about winning. He can do what he loves but needs to set boundaries. He went too far when he refused to end the game when he was seriously injured. If he continue, it will be the end of his career and dreams. It is even more depressing when you regret. If Dongman gets permnament deafness, deadly brain injury or etc? It is the high price to pay to dream. AeRa is forcing Dongman to think about her when he fights. I believe AeRa is teaching Dongman because he doesn't use his head well. He is very emotional guy. Love is something Dongman could understand and remember what AeRa is sacrificing for him everytime she sees him fight. It is realistic to remind the person to keep them safe and careful. It is a cruel world.

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I think AeRa is teaching Dongman to control himself. He doesn't think well in his head. She had to use his love for her to remind him. He is a very emotional guy. He went too far when he didn't stop fighting when he got seriously injured. He need to stop and stay back. He wanted to continue all to relive his past and doing things for others. He forgot that his life is more precious than that especially people who love him especially AeRa. She was so angry when he wanted to continue to fight when he was seriously injured. There is a high price to pay for your dream. He is gambling his life on that. Dongman should stop and let himself heal for the next bout. He doesn't need to win every game. There are other games to fight but he cannot fight when he is seriously injured that will cause his career and even his dreams. His temporary deafness almost ended his career if he continues to fight while injured. It is important for Dongman to set his boundaries and remember people who sacrificed and love him. That is what AeRa is trying to get her message across. It will make Dongman smarter fighter and continue to dream and stay alive.

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I really wish we'd hit some of these beats 2-3 episodes ago. This feels paced for 20 eps, but we only have one more to go. I have faith that the finale will be good, but I would have felt more satisfied if the plot had hit its crescendo soon enough to give more time to catch its breath and wrap up loose ends.

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I thought this would be 20 episodes long and just started streaming it a week ago. The end of episode 15 absolutely gutted my soul and I'm looking forward to and dreading episode 16 with a passion. Fantastic show!

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I also wish we'd hit some of these beats 2-3 episodes ago. I think 16 episodes feels about right, since there wasn't much development 2 episoides ago except maybe for the JM and SH relationship. I'm glad episode 15 managed to pick things up before we head to the finale.

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This was a killer episode, and it satisfied me in ways the last few episodes hadn't. It could be for a few reasons-
1. TYING UP LOOSE ENDS, PREPARING FOR EPISODE 16- We see so much progress in this episode and it doesnt even seem rushed. Hwang Bok Hee's secret is out, we finally see a semi- reconciliation between Dong Man and Dong Hee, we learn what the creepy guy was all about, and thankfully- NO LASTING DEAFNESS.
2. The show maintains its realistic vibe- You see Ae-Ra being driven to give an ultimatum out of her sheer need to protect him, selfishly so, and not turning into some noble idiot. Sul-Hee still has not given into JooMans adorable attempts yet, and their little conflict is so much more realistic for that. The creep was not ACTUALLY a creep, which is also realistic because intuition isnt always correct and people can be nicer than you'd think they were. I was actually proud of them for not including a lovelorn weirdo for once, because we'd see Woo Bin play that role in a way.
3. DONG MAN'S DECISION- Another way they maintained the realistic flavour- an ambitious, skilled fighter who finally got a chance after suppressing himself for a decade would not be able to give up. Sure Ae-Ra is the one for him, but life really isn't a peachy rom-com where all dreams are forgotten to be in the arms of your SO, so kudos to that, because his decision didnt even make me doubt his love for her. I just made me believe more strongly in his ability and devotion to his sport.

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I knew it! For a moment there, i thought they wouldnt reveal that she is AeRa's mother. And the circumstances that cause her to leave her family was heartbreaking. I wonder how AeRa will find out and how she will react.

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Some additional thoughts:
* I was torn by the emotional blackmail that AeRa has put on DongMan. I understand her fears for him getting seriously hurt but why break up and end their lifelong friendship? I just couldnt get by that decision. DM has suffered for 10 years and understand his need for redemption and continuing his dream. Why give him that ultimatum? I think it was very unfair and selfish of her to do so.
* I am glad that DM has decided to pursue his dream. He understands the consequences but still willing to go through with it because he just couldnt give up his dream. I think he has a lot to prove and he couldnt stop after all those years waiting.
Also I think, He wouldve resented AeRa if he stopped for her sake.
* I am glad that SeolHee didnt get back to JM and standing her ground.
* Landlady Hwang has a lot to repay for abandoning her daughter. No wonder she has been doing a lot of things for AeRa and DM. As much as I understand why she has to do that, I do not like that she abandoned AeRa. That girl needed her mother especially growing up.

Awww the last episode. There should be a lot going on to finish all the arcs. I am sad to see this show end. I wish to see a happy ending.

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I don't think she completely abandoned Ae-Ra. I think she was forced out. Remember the scene before she left for Japan? Where Ae-Ra's dad basically said "What if my parents find out you were here?"
In that generation the inlaws held a lot of power over the women. It's totally possible they forced her out. Of course, she could have just chosen to act instead.
We don't know the whole story yet.

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The breakup was necessary, even if it'll accomplish nothing as they're still in love and AR will still worry about him. The pacing is still fine for me...if the drama was twenty episodes. Still looking forward to a happy ending, but it's gonna be rushed.

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Yeah that was my feeling too. I think the break up was realistic, and I understood both POVs, but Ae Ra is going to know about every fight and worry about every fight, regardless if she is in a relationship with him. If the worst was to happen, Ae Ra would be gutted either way. It's a difficult situation, and yeah, I fear the resolution will be rushed.

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I actually adored how for once I could easily sympathize with both without finding either one to be selfish from their standpoint. It's a rare thing. But, you know these two can't stay apart; they can't even stay apart as friends and AR is definitely always going to be concerned about him. Here's to hoping the resolution, even if rushed, is satisfying!

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I agree with you...I totally hate ultimatums. But it doesn't seem like she did it thinking he would quit for her...she ADMITS that she knew he wouldn't stop because of that. So she's doing it for herself, which I can completely understand. And he knew, even though he kind of acted like he hoped she wouldn't, that she would leave him if he did it. These are not people who are making decisions blindly in the hopes of manipulating the other person around to their side. I am very curious to see what happens here...in real life, they almost certainly would part ways. But it's a kDrama, so I still have hope for them. :)

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This episode was right back to the electric magic of this show for me.
Impressive writers. ?????? Can't wait for tonight.

The last scene was killer. They shot that beautifully. ??

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" i did not protect her because of the caramel , but because i knew from the beginning she was the one for me " ANYONE CRYING W ME and it was legit cute when Donghee passed Dongman the scrapbook !!! BRB CRYING AGAIN

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AeRa is actually Dongman first love!!!! Something he didn't confess to AeRa yet. Hehe. Hoping for season 2 maybe to focus on AeRa!!! Jooman and Seol Hee will get married and maybe they will also show the struggle of trying to have a baby. AeRa and Dongman, being married with challenge of their budding career. Both of them are making history but it will test their relationship. I love chemistry among the four!!! I love DongRa couple!!! May we hope to continue to watching their bickering and banter then make up with kisses! Seojoon and Jiwon have the best chemistry !!!! I can't think of anyone could replace their acting skills and chemistry on DongRa couple! The writer is also amazing!!!

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WAITING TO WATCH THE FINAL EPISODE! Its sad that FMW is ending but I guess that's just how life is :(

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When Dong Man called Ae Ra's name in the last scene, between crying and pleading, I am done for *crying in the corner*

I love this show because it keeps being realistic. This kind of problem is a real life problem between couples and I truly understand both parties' point of view. A dream is not something that you can give up easily especially if it's already within your grasp. And loving someone also means that you don't want them to get hurt by all means.

Hopefully, we'll get happier resolutions for the last episode. Please show. Please?

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The breakup was just heartbreaking. Especially because I see it from both POVs.

For Dong Man, this is his dream. And I think he was right to follow the path he wants to go on, choosing that over going back to the miserable life in his past, exterminating pests and whatnot. Years down the road, he'd just blame himself once again for being unhappy and stuck doing what he hates.

On the other hand, I don't think Ae Ra was being selfish either. It's self-preservation. She has a trauma about the people she loves getting hurt, and in Dong Man's case, she's had to watch him get seriously injured right in front of her eyes twice doing this sport. Not to mention, he has that crack in his skull!! That's no joke.

If you think that's no big deal, that Ae Ra should just deal with it and be supportive, do what Ae Ra did with Dong Man a few episodes ago -- During their conversation in the shop about what if DM had stayed overnight with HR, at first DM was like "But did I just stay over and do nothing? Then it's not a big deal..." But when AR flipped the situation around and said, what if it was me who had stayed out? DM immediately opposed to it. If AR was the one with a life-threatening job, would DM be okay with it? If she had a crack in her skull and could risk becoming permanently dead, would he just support her choices regardless?

This was just painful to watch because I found it realistic. I personally would not be okay with it. I'm just so sad/angry/annoyed that the writer chose the second last episode to flesh out this conflict!!! While I would have disliked this as a drawn-out conflict that spanned a couple of episodes, at least I'd have more faith that this would be resolved in a satisfying manner. But now that there's only one episode left, ???

(I personally could have done without the whole Hwang Bok Hee who's-your-child mystery and would have preferred if this story had just remained focused on the fantastic four going after their dreams and loves and dealing with the conflicts that come with that. I've become so attached to them and I don't want to say goodbye!)

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I cried a bit in this episode. Just a bit. MAAAAAN I love this drama. I find the break-up a bit unnecessary, but at least it was handled with maturity, respect and communication -- just like all other conversations in this drama. UGH. I'm not ready for this drama to be over. I fear it will be YEARS before Dramaland gives us characters that are as true-to-life as these!

I love this drama so much and it's had a big impact on me because I see myself in the characters so much! Late 20s? Check. A bit lost? Check. Feeling like you never reached your full potential? Check. I explain this better in a vlog I made, if anyone is interested: https://youtu.be/p1qOjTwLDwc

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Me watching the last scene:
"I can't bear to watch.
It's too hard.
It's really hard."
Cit. Ae Ra
???????

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I really want there to be some photos of Nam-Il on that flip phone, that proves Landlady Hwang sees him just as much as her son. He breaks my heart :(

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Oh, I TOTALLY agree with you. The situation with him is definitely not resolved yet.

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I'm trying really hard not to judge him just yet since we don't know his back story and I also don't blame him for being cranky with Land Lady.

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Same. I mean give the guy something. New family portrait anyone?

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Mine too. I would feel really sad if Nam-Il really did just end up as the temporary replacement kid in the Landlady's eyes.

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I have a feeling AeRa is going to be really upset that she is the last one to know that Land Lady is her mother. It seems as if she has been okay without a mother so it should e interesting how the next episode will play out.

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I was wondering how she'd react too. I'm hoping that her mom will be able to talk her through her fears right now.

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To me the breakup makes no sense (other than the fact they need some angst for the last episode). Why did Aera get into the relationship if she didn't want Dong-man to fight? She's know him a gazillion years, she knew he had an open wound and a dream to fight. If she didn't want to support his dream, she shouldn't have gotten together with him. I get her fear, I would get her not going to watch his fights... but really, why did she get into the relationship if she didn't want him fighting at all? Plus, is she actually going to worry any less not being his girlfriend? Or is she going to end their friendship too? And what she doing as an MMA announcer (she's okay with other suffering injuries? If someone else happens to die in front of her in a fight, she'll be all fine?)?

I'm not on board with Joo-man either. It's like he's trying to buy Seol-hee back (and his mother's comments don't make it better – there's no defense for your son cheating, and you having been cheated on and staying in your relationship is your choice, it does not mean Seol-hee should have a relationship like that). I really hope Seol-hee stays firm and finds herself the person that deserves her, because Joo-man really doesn't.

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Joo Man's mother didn't tell Seul Hee about her husband cheating to justify her son actions; in fact she clearly told her not to live like her.
And by the way, even if I agree that Joo Man made a mistake, this mistake is not completely unforgivable, so it's on Seul Hee the choice to accept him back or not, and I would personally understand both choices.

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Honestly I think her breaking up with him had a lot more to do with herself. Especially when she talked about not wanting to live in fear like her grandma. I think she needed to at least attempt to keep the commitment to herself to not repeat history. I don't think she's not going to stick to it though.
Ae-ra mentioned in an earlier episode that if she didn't love him as much she would be cheering him on to fight. So...I think she is fine with other people fighting. uh I'm not sure anyone is fine watching someone else die in front of them.

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Just some thoughts throughout this episode. Thanks to LollyPip for the recap!
-Well, he chose his passion. He chose to keep fighting. I kind of expected this from the moment Ae-ra asked him to choose, but the ending really hurt me. I know that this was literally just there to keep the story moving forward, but the fact that they can’t be friends anymore? After 20+ years of being friends? Plus that epilogue. I’m just a mess right now. I can’t handle the fact that there’s only 1 episode left ?? I don't what I’m going to do when it’s over… there’s going to be major drama withdrawal… for sure.
-I’m feeling bad for Joo-man. The only reason he was attracted to Ye-jin was because she reminded him of Seol-hee. He didn’t even cheat on her. Plus, you can’t say that only Joo-man changed because no person can stay the same for 6 years. It’s physically impossible because situations and characteristics change, even if it’s in the smallest way. I admit that what he said to Seol-hee could’ve been said better, I mean, that’s no way to treat your girlfriend. But, he just wants to apologize and go back to the way they used to be and that just makes me soft.
-Dong-man can hear again!!! I’m so glad that it was only temporary! If it was permanent and just another thing the writers added to the drama, I would’ve been so mad. But the fact that it could become permanent, makes me want to take Dong-man’s gloves and tear them up. I completely understand where Ae-ra’s coming from because she is also his future and if he keeps fighting and something happens, her life is affected majorly. Dong-man’s side to this is also evident because after 10 years he’s fighting again.
-Okay, my view of Gyeong-gu has changed immensely. He’s actually a decent guy, though he acted so sketchy and creepy whenever he talked to Dong-man or Ae-ra. Good acting and good writing on their parts.
-I knew it!! Bok-hee is Ae-ra’s mom! It makes sense with the way she acted around her but the show made it more confusing by including the fact that she could’ve been Dong-man’s mom. Though, the only way she could’ve been Dong-man’s mom was if she was his stepmom. Also, it made more sense with Ae-ra because she didn’t have a mother figure so that space needed to be filled.
-Yay!! Dong-hee and Dong-man are finally talking again! But, the thing I don’t get is how does one not talk to someone for 10 years, especially if it’s your brother? She can really hold a grudge LOL I have to admit, Dong-hee is the cutest sister ever and that scrapbook is the best present a guy can get from his sister <3

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I've been feeling some sympathy for Joo-Man too lately but the lobster scene was strange. Does anyone know when that took place? Was that from his first job & paycheck or from this promotion? I'd hate to think it was from his first job because although I like how clear and direct he was with his feeling I don't like to think he's been irritated with her for longer then the last few months.
I'm glad you mentioned how Ae-ra life would be affected if Dong Man received a injury. That's what I thought of too. She could be a nurse for the rest of her life.
Although really that's the risk in all life long partnerships. Life is unpredictable.

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"Although really that's the risk in all life long partnerships. Life is unpredictable."
Well... Let's say that if your man is a professional fighter, the risk factor is quite a lot bigger, and the probabilities of you having to nurse someone who is like vegetable.

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like "a" vegetable. Sorry.
(Why doesn't dramabeans have an 'Edit comment' function? Even if it's enabled only for five minutes after having posted something?)

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oooOO five minute timer edit button would be super helpful.

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"She could be a nurse for the rest of her life.
Although really that's the risk in all life long partnerships. Life is unpredictable."
Yeah nurse is a definite possibly.
Your risk factor is super high as a professional fighter (also as a commercial fisherman) but its still a reality we all have. siiigh this mortal coil.

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This show has been super super good. @lollypip i really love your comment on how Aera's mom is actually an example of how following your dreams may not necessarily end up well.

And also I don't know why but I really feel for the relationship between Jooman and Sulhee - maybe cos their relationship is really really realistic, from start to break up and post-break up!

Anyway just really wondering how this is all going to end, with just one episode left.

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Awaiting the subbed final episode... I think they will be successful in chasing their dreams and drift apart, only to find each other and realize they still love each other and that it's thrm ffom the beginning... That will be after an interview by the announcer and the mma champ... or during sulhee and jooman's wedding perhaps

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The break up is neccessary to me. I completely understand Ae Ra's stand, and I also understand Dong Man's need to keep on being MMA fighter. It's just breaking my heart to see these two have to go separate ways when they're still in love with each other. I don't blame Ae Ra this time for actually breaking up with Dong Man after the injury. All these while, she kept on threatening him that she'll break up with him, but she didn't really do it and still supported Dong Man and tried to understand him. But not this time, I don't blame her because let's face it, Dong Man had been shuting out people around him, didn't eat, didn't get out from his house and just stayed most of the time on his bed when he lost his hearing temporarily. Now that he might lose his hearing forever if he's not careful enough, he still wants to fight and Ae Ra just couldn't bring herself to face the situation again and this time, it might last forever.

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Things that bothered me in / after this episode:
- on one hand I didn't want Kyung Ku to be psycho (and landlady Hwang to be Dong Man's mom as they were leading us to think) , but tying up all the loose ends all at once seems like they were rushing to fit it into 16 eps. Not to mention they have to resolve the break up in one ep
- we now officially have only one hour left of Dong Man and Ae Ra ( even less than one hour since they've broken up ). Unless they too get married in the future, we may never see them together again.
- Dong Man not only not bathing but not changing for so many days . And no one even bothered to spray febreze on him or the sheets

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How do you know he hasn't bathed? Maybe in the course of these days his friend helped him bathe, and he changed clothes many times, eventually coming back to the original striped T-shirt.
Or maybe he didn't. So what? He was depressed. If it's winter time, you can skip bathing for some days without any problems.

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LOL AHjumma, I like your Febreze joke ?

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I've been so spoiled by all the kisses in the last few episodes that the lack of one in this episode really disappointed me, to be honest HAHA

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Instead of keeping our hearts fluttering the show decides to BREAK THEM INSTEAD ? HAHAHA

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It's the last week of the drama! ???
I'm gonna miss this drama so much!

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Somehow i anticipated a conflict Ae-ra and Dong-man's relationship. It was a tough decission for them and their reasons are understandably right. It's so sad

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I too am really conflicted with this episode. I feel like I cried through the whole thing. None of the couples are happy as couples (WHY AE RA WHY ?), although I'm glad to have seen all of the Fantastic Four grow as people. Somehow, everything everyone did here was heartbreaking. I guess on some days this is how life can turn out - faced with difficult decisions and circumstances, and the consequences of what we decide.

I hope what's in store for our finale will not disappoint. (I also hope it isn't this heartbreaking. I think I am ready to laugh and cry with these characters one last time.)

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I just wanted to clarify that "Okmaehwa", the movie with Ae Ra's mom, was not an adult film. If you read all the small letters in the newspaper article, It was an artistic film that even won awards at Cannes, but the media made Hwang Bok Hee to be an adult film star just because there were some scenes with exposed body parts. It's not even clear if there was full nudity. But in the process of translation, I think this point doesn't get across too much.

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That's what I understood too. It was also why she was so upset. They twisted her dream for their own profit and made her an outcast.

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Thanks for your clarification. I, too, didn't get that part. :)

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Thank you for the clarification- one of the many reasons I come to this site! :)

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Dong-man and Ae-ra may be my all-time favorite drama couple, right up there with WFKBJ. I feel like the writing on this show was sometimes shaky, but what it got right was the way this relationship unfolded. I cried more than once when watching this episode. I think this is a very realistic conflict. I can't say either of them is really right or wrong, and even though they love each other there is no easy way to resolve this issue. Honestly it's a little close to home for me. My husband is a cyclist who recently got into a semi-serious accident (he recovered, but we know of other cyclists who have not) so I understand Ae-Ra's POV. I don't think she's being selfish at all, because she cares more about Dong Man's physical safety than he does.

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Two of my favorite couples too.
Her concern for his physical health/safety and his concern for his psychological health/safety were both very much justified and like you said very realistic.

I'm sorry about your husbands accident and it's truly awesome he was able to recover.
This show seems to be touching a lot of beanies real live experiences hasn't it? From all the comments I feel like every episode has been able to make connection with different beanies.That's quality.

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This show really DID do a good job of hiding the birth secret well. I know there was speculation early on, but I just didn't buy it. Like you said, it seemed too easy. But I like how her back story will hopefully bring reconciliation to our lovebirds. I was hoping it really wouldn't come to a breakup, even though I knew it would. I'm not a fan of ultimatums either, but I can see both sides and feel conflicted. As long as I get my happy ending, this will still end up as one of my favorite rom-coms to date.

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Wait so is Nam-il her adopted son or biological son?

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Seems like an adopted son.

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While I understand where Ae-ra is coming from, I still think she is in the wrong. When she started her relationship with Dong-man, she knew he would be fighting. She KNEW. I can see if she didn't know at first and just found out and couldn't deal but she went into the relationship with full knowledge of what Dong-man does and what it entails. And I definitely agree that she does not have to stay but if she knew ultimately she was never going to be okay with Dong-man in the ring, she shouldn't have entered a relationship with him. Because her asking him to give up on his dreams is selfish. He wouldn't do it to her. This makes me so sad about their break up although I'm sure they will find common ground (it's only one episode left). I just hope they do it in a way that doesn't compromise Dong-man's dream or Ae-ra's feelings.

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I don't think she's selfish. Yes, she knew what she's getting into when she dated Dong Man, but I think all these while, she's just saying it that she would break up with him if he'd still be MMA fighter and fight Tak Su. But did she really do it? She did try to understand Dong Man's need and desire to pursue his dream. She did support him by accompanying him to the weight event and to the gym. But all her worries came true, Dong Man got hurt, and what did Dong Man do? He shut people around him down, he didn't eat, he didn't even get out from his house. He only came around and hugged Ae Ra when he regained his hearing. So what worries Ae Ra is that what will happen if Dong Man got hurt again and loss his hearing forever? She couldn't bear watching that and her threat to break up with him is her last chance to stop Dong Man even though she knew Dong Man would never give up his dream. So to me, both of them are selfish, but it's understandable which is why both of them agree to break up.

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IA. Aera wasnt deceived when she entered the relationship. She knew full well what his dreams were. She was selfish in asking him to give up his dream or her. Her ultimatum was the last thing he needed to hear at his low point.

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It was the voice of reason, but he valued his pride more than his health and physical incolumity. Just like a man would do. They are such children, really.

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It's one thing to know in theory what you're getting into and another to experience it. She did not know what his reaction would be, nor was she 'sure' he would get hurt that badly even though she was scared. She got a taste of what it was like, and decided she couldn't handle it, which is fair.

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I still think this is a situation where neither are in the wrong. I've seen comments on other sites saying DM is in the wrong for not taking his health more seriously and caring more about AR's feelings...but neither are in the wrong, they're just deciding what they think is best for them as individuals. They are both doing what they think they should do to give them peace of mind in the future, it's just AR is acting out of her past trauma and her high emotional state of him being injured. I think her ultimatum is pointless more than anything, but she's doing what she thinks is best for her. It's going to end up being futile anyway, since she loves him so much she'd worry about him fighting no matter if they're a couple, strictly friends, or pretending to be strangers.

I see where AR is coming from and sympathize, but I agree that DM shouldn't have to compromise just because she'd worry. I think the "breakup" was necessary (because let's be real, staying away from each other is something these two can't do) for AR to see how...unnecessary it is, if that makes sense?

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That scene...boy that scene - I already started tearing up before it began. There have been many comments in other places about Ae-ra being selfish and shallow with her decision, which I don't get the latter at all tbh. But LollyPip and a lot of the comments here really described well why Ae-ra did it. She's been there for him all this time and sometimes there is only so much support you can give until it really gets to your heart. I would get scared too if I saw something like that happen to a loved one especially when you are not use to that extreme of consequences.

I feel like they both need this space or either won't be able to move on and most importantly, forward. So, I am glad Dong-man is wanting to fight again because it's his dream.

Speaking of which, I never thought that Ae-ra's mom's backstory would also tie into the 'dream' theme. Because when it was starting to be hinted that she is one of the kid's mom, I just thought she abandoned her family because maybe she didn't want to be a mom at a young age or even that she was just pregnant and not married to Ae-ra's dad or something along those lines.

I like that it's not just the main couple or character having a tie to the theme, but basically almost every character brought on has a relation to the theme too. I can't wait to watch ep 16 :)

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yea it really confuses me when i hear she hasn't been supportive. She's been supportive for 20+ years and with the MMA fighting she's been vocal about her displeasure/worry but it the end she has been there. Remember she gave him taxi money as his first sponsor and swore she would never ever see him fight again? Then she told went to see him fight again.
She did things like that over and over.
It was actually a good thing that they broke up because how else were we going to get to the deep fear Ae-Ra had about being locked in fear like her grandma. It scared her that even with alzheimer's her grandma remembered her fear/worry for her son.
Anyways Ae-Ra is totally going to get back with Dong Man because she's been a goner for him for years.

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Wow, Park Seo Jin and Kim Ji won were killing it! I was so sad for them at the end there, and yet so impressed with the acting that I wasn't completely crushed. How nice to be saved from your show stomping all over your feelings by some spectacular actors!?

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I'd just like to say way to use this fight to heal your whole family Dong Man. Everyone will be able to move foward. <3

Also Nam-il's weirdness makes so much more sense now. She became his mom late in life and he really grabbed hold of that love and caring she provided. Then he spoke about their hard times together and his desire to return with her to Japan. He tells Ae-ra all people are evil till proven otherwise.
He's behavior and words are because both jealous and concerned.

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Sooooo at the end the land lady is Ae ra's mother! Ohhhhhhh

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Other thoughts:

I know everyone was all over how amazing the acting was when he thought he was going deaf, but it felt a little over the top to me. I can see a super intense character doing it (I guess Dong Man is an intense character?) but most MMA fighters are used to injuries and understand the possibility of things going wrong and might possibly be like..."Uh oh...gotta see a doctor to see what this is about!" He just really dramatically freaked the heck out. Not saying it's not possible, but not common in the world of MMA. I know of course everyone acts differently, but just having some knowledge of the deaf community and MMA fighting, it was a bit much. But hey, that's why it's a drama.

Speaking of being a bit much, Wasn't Nam Il being a little much as well? I get him feeling bad but wanting to run away with his momma, whoa! They make a point that she is significant to him, but he did get adopted when he was already a man. Be a little more mature, dude. I wish they did his character a bit more service.

Next, Ae Ra's announcing. This was actually in 14 but...what happened to her announcing Dong Man so theatrically as she practiced? LOL Her little announcement was a bit underwhelming.

Lastly, if she's going to continue to follow her own dream, she'll be announcing MMA fights, seeing people get hurt, and like it or not, still seeing Dong Man in fights even if she's not dating him or speaking to him...so...while I do get the choice they're both making for the sake of a true passion, and the sake of protecting a love, her protest certainly isn't going to protect herself from seeing DM in fights, unless she changes careers AFTER ALL THAT. Sort of pointless to break off a brief romantic relationship and a 20 year friendship, knowing they both love and care for each other, and knowing they will see each other "in the ring" anyway!

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But Dong-man isn't an experienced MMA fighter and he isn't used to injuries of that magnitude. You can understand the possibility of something going wrong and still be shocked when it happens to you. I didn't think his reaction was over the top at all.

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This may be an age thing, or just that I have kids... but I could completely understand, why Ae-ra wanted out of the relationship if Dong-man wanted to continue fighting. Her fears of him getting hurt came true. And then she heard the diagnosis from the doctor. So from her point of view, a little is enough to cause Dong-Man a PERMANENT loss of hearing... And then she also hears the tragic stories of other fighters....

I think Ae-Ra is just genuinely scared and realized that she is too weak to handle all those risks... and consequences if something serious happens. A serious injury affects a whole family, thier potential kids included. She could have chosen different words and give more explanation perhaps... but then it wouldn't be Ae-Ra I guess :--))

This doesn't mean of course that Dong-Man has to give up his dream. But I think Ae-Ra has right to set up her limits.

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Oh gosh I read your comment and my first thought was ddabong!!
Thumbs up because I think you had a lot of great things to say.
This also lead me to think that perhaps I've consumed The Best Hit to quickly....

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Does anyone know the name of the song that Kim Tak Su comes out to when he's coming to the ring? That one line stuck in my head but I can't seem to find the whole song. THANKS!

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Zero for Conduct by Block B Bastarz. I love it :)

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I'm emotionally corrupted and it's literally only one more episode remaining. I justwant happy ever afters and smiles...that is not too much to ask. (I'm too emotional to be analytical tbh)

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For AeRa, it is life and death decision. Dongman is gambling is life to pursue his dream and also relieve his painful past. She knew Dongman will choose his dream over her but she is warning him to be careful because he will never see her again if something happened to him. She didn't know Dongman is improving or now a better fighter. She didn't know how well John Karellas have been helping him to improve the ground fight. She just wanted to protect the man she loves. I think she is also trying to tell him to be careful and set the boundaries and not try to go overboard. She was so mad at him when he refused to stop the game when he was seriously injured. She is reminding him that his life is more important than winning. Dongman is gorgeous and protective. He is positive and happy to go guy. He is a great kisser. He always put things first for her. He makes her laugh and happy. They could not live without each other for 20 years. They followed each other. It was already a piece of heaven to her despite the challenges. Seeing him getting all beaten up and losing him is losing her whole happiness. She likes to own someone. Haha. She is a weird kid!

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I'm so glad the other Beanies have insightful comments, I'm just nodding here and clicking the thumbs up in agreement haha. This episode just brought on the feels, I can't even put into words what I want to say.

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Loved the episode...the heartbreak and all. I really enjoy this drama. I did not think I would love it so much.
Maybe the resolution of some storylines are a bit rushed...I would have enjoyed some more episodes.
Love AR's mom.

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Thanks for the recap, LP!

Glad we finally learned the truth about the landlady's identity. And it was good to see the PD being a good guy after all and catching such precious footage of the intentional head butt. I can't say I understand Aera at this point. Dongman needs her to be supportive of his dream and he has always shown his support for hers. It's not all about her since it's now also Dongman's dad, sister, and coach's dreams. Aera needs to face her fears and let Dongman soar instead of holding him back. Then, he can never be truly happy.

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Admitting to the savage violence at the heart of MMA was always 'the other shoe to drop' in this series. We went a dozen episodes without confronting the brutality of it. Dong-man is a sweet guy who happens to beat people half to death for other people's amusement. I don't blame Ae-ra for being appalled. But its the height of hypocrisy that she takes a job as an MMA announcer while at the same time being horrified by the brutality.

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