Radio Romance: Episode 15
Radio Romance’s penultimate episode delivers all the cute couple moments we could ever want, as well as a lot of answers to the questions that have been burning in our minds for weeks. But as secrets are brought into the light, the consequences must be dealt with, and it’s those consequences that pose the most danger to Su-ho’s newfound happiness with Geu-rim. We can only hope that their love is strong enough to withstand what’s to come.
EPISODE 15 RECAP
Su-ho comes home to find Geu-rim waiting for him, and he gives her a relieved hug. She asks him to explain why he told her his name was Woo Ji-woo when they first met, and at first he can’t say anything.
Finally Geu-rim says that she remembers there was another boy at the hospital, and she asks if that was Ji-woo. Su-ho works up the courage to tell her that Ji-woo died when he was sixteen “…because of me.”
We see it all play out as Su-ho explains that he met Ji-woo in the hospital. Ji-woo was terminally ill, but Su-ho describes him as strong and cheerful, and how he’d lived an amazingly happy life. The boys had followed Geu-rim around with lovestruck expressions, though Su-ho had kept his feelings from his friend.
Ji-woo had entered a music contest, and had decided to confess to Geu-rim after the semi-finals. When Geu-rim learns that Ji-woo liked her, she asks Su-ho who she used to talk to in the hallways. He says it was him, and that he didn’t let her remove her blindfold because he was scared.
He tells her about impulsively following her home one day and seeing where she lived, after which he started approaching her without Ji-woo knowing. Su-ho confesses that he was too scared to tell Ji-woo he was seeing Geu-rim, but that Ji-woo caught them kissing that day.
But Ji-woo had still texted Su-ho asking him to come watch him perform at the music contest, so Su-ho planned to go. Then he’d bumped into Geu-rim there, and he’d chickened out and run away.
Unfortunately, Su-ho ran into Ji-woo on his way to the competition, and when Ji-woo saw him across the street, Su-ho had turned and walked away. Ji-woo had followed him, and had accidentally walked into the path of the truck that killed him.
Su-ho tries to tell Geu-rim, “He died because of me,” but he can’t say the words. He admits that he didn’t even go to Ji-woo’s funeral — he just slept for weeks, and that’s when he began having trouble sleeping. He tells Geu-rim that he never wanted to see her again, but that when he eventually did, he couldn’t stay away from her.
Geu-rim quietly listens to Su-ho’s story, then leans over to hug him, murmuring sympathetically that she must have reminded him of Ji-woo all this time. Su-ho hesitantly asks if Geu-rim is okay with him after hearing everything. She just says, “You’re Su-ho, and Ji-woo was a friend that you loved. Right now, it’s Su-ho that I love.”
Over at his parents’ house, Su-ho’s mother warns his father to be prepared for Su-ho’s birthday party, since the press will be there. He’s pretty confident, until he gets a text from Da-seul threatening to tell the world that his family is fake.
Su-ho’s mother snaps that she’s done cleaning up after him, so he can just handle this himself. Dad tries to blame Mom for provoking Da-seul, and Mom shoots him the most perfect You have GOT to be kidding me face.
She reminds him that he brought Su-ho home on the same day she miscarried their baby, fighting back the tears in her voice as she says that everything is over if the press finds out. Gathering her composure, she tells Dad to make sure Su-ho shows up at the party tomorrow.
While Geu-rim frowns at the contents of Su-ho’s fridge, Su-ho tells his father over the phone that he’s not going to the party. He hangs up, and Geu-rim wishes him a happy birthday since it’s after midnight. Her bright smile coaxes a grumpy, reluctant smile from him.
She stays the night, but Su-ho lies in bed gulping and staring at the ceiling, ha. Geu-rim chatters at him until he finally snaps at her to shush. She teases him for being shy, so he flips over to face her. He drifts off holding her hand, and Geu-rim stays up for a long time, just looking at his beautiful sleeping face.
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In the morning, Su-ho’s father tries in vain to reach his son while Mom sets up the party venue. Suddenly Da-seul walks in, and she pitches her voice loud enough for Mom to hear her as she notes that they’re having fun after throwing her off a cliff.
She walks right up to Mom and says that since she’s powerful enough to cancel a press conference, then Da-seul plans to follow her around and pester her. She has the nerve to address Mom by name as she tells them both that she’s going to reveal her affair with Dad and the fact of their fake family, since she has nothing to lose.
Geu-rim calls her mom to ask for her seaweed soup recipe. Mom immediately guesses it’s for Su-ho, and Geu-rim looks hilariously guilty. She goes to wake Su-ho, who graces her with an angelic smile when she’s the first thing he sees on his birthday morning. She asks what he wants to do today, and he says that he just wants to spend the day with her, being lazy.
Geu-rim coaxes Su-ho to the kitchen for seaweed soup and birthday cake. She tells him that she felt like a celebrity because she had to hide her face to get the cake, promising to get Su-ho a gift later, while he struggles not to bust out laughing. Geu-rim asks accusingly why he’s smiling, so he tries and fails to look innocent.
He tastes her soup and makes noises like it’s not good. Geu-rim stomps to his end of the table, snapping at him not to eat it, but he snakes an arm around her waist and pulls her in close. Gah, the way he looks at her just kills me. He says he doesn’t need a gift, and she snuggles him happily.
Su-ho’s mother has been trying to call him from his party, where the room is full of reporters and fans. But he doesn’t answer, so she’s forced to tell the party guests that he won’t be there and play a video of him thanking his fans.
Meanwhile, Su-ho and Geu-rim brush their teeth together, and Geu-rim jokes that it feels like a scene from a drama. Su-ho grows serious and says he has a gift for her, then takes her to his room and gives her the box of letters from Ji-woo that he never delivered.
Back when Ji-woo first began asking Su-ho to deliver the letters to Geu-rim, he’d started out delivering them as asked. But eventually he stopped, and kept the letters himself. By the time Ji-woo gave him that last letter, Su-ho had a whole drawer full of them.
Geu-rim looks at the letters, then she asks Su-ho if he ever read them, and he nods that he didn’t. She tells him that they’re addressed to her, but they’re actually for him. She hands the letters to him, and he reads:
Hi, Su-ho. You must be surprised to see that I’m writing to you in my letter to Geu-rim. It’s because I know that you started to like her so much that you haven’t been giving her my letters. That’s why I decided to write to you instead. I wonder when you’ll actually read these?
Did you confess to Geu-rim today? It’s all over your face that you like her. I hope that you and Geu-rim, the people I like most, will be happy together. I don’t know when you’ll read this, but I hope you’ll always be happy even if I’m gone.
Su-ho is dazed by the letter, and Geu-rim jokes that she feels like she’s intruding on Su-ho and Ji-woo’s love. She says softly that Ji-woo gave Su-ho a wonderful birthday gift.
Joon-woo is with Tae-ri, who complains that he’s not taking her to Su-ho’s party. Joon-woo seems annoyed that she forgot what she said when she was drunk (when she’d asked why he hasn’t ever confessed his feelings to her), but he grumpily offers to listen if she wants to talk.
She starts to keep walking, but she’s nearly bowled over by a man on a bike. Joon-woo swoops her out of harm’s way, and when she gets over the shock of being in his arms, she jumps back. Joon-woo fusses at Tae-ri for falling off her high heels, and she snaps that he must like her if he held her that way.
She asks him again to be her manager, but he grumbles that he’s not nice to her because he wants to be her manager. HA, he’s so annoyed that she’s not catching his hints. But Tae-ri tells Joon-woo that if he won’t be her manager, then he may as well be her boyfriend.
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Pick one: manager or boyfriend?
She demands an answer, upset that he’s kept his feelings bottled up for years. In response, Joon-woo grabs her and kisses her, then leans back to gauge her reaction. She doesn’t object, so he goes in for a more thorough kiss. Finally!
Su-ho is ready to go on his birthday date with Geu-rim, but she tells him sheepishly that PD Lee called, and they need to go to the radio station to record a show. He’s grouchy on the drive, but when Geu-rim points out that recording in advance means more time for dates later, Su-ho can’t hide his happy grin. HA, he’s so easy to please.
They record the show, which is all about being free to love the person you love. After the show, PD Lee asks to speak to Su-ho privately, but Joon-woo runs in to get Su-ho and take him home. On the way, he tells Su-ho that his absence from the party is causing some media speculation.
He adds that he’s worried because he can’t reach Su-ho’s mother. Joon-woo also tells Su-ho that he thought Jason seemed strange so he did some digging, and found that he’s reporting to Mom.
Jason happens to be meeting with Mom right now, laughing at the way Su-ho’s missing his own party reflects the general messed-up state of the family. He says that the video of Su-ho felt fake, too, but Mom just glares at him.
He tells her of his confrontation with Su-ho at the columbarium, and how Su-ho got angry and hit him. He says that he saw the real Su-ho, which is why he accepted her request. But Mom retorts incredulously, “I asked you to make Su-ho sane. Do you realize you’re making him a mess?”
Jason seems surprised that she’s not happy with Su-ho’s progress. Mom tells him to go back to the house and report back on things like Su-ho’s schedule, how he’s feeling, and what he’s thinking.
After Joon-woo’s tip-off, Su-ho goes to Jason’s room, where he finds another stack of threatening postcards and Jason’s report on him. When Jason comes home, he finds Su-ho waiting for him. He at least looks ashamed of himself as Su-ho accuses him of using him as a case study and reporting everything to his mother.
Su-ho asks angrily if Jason is finished studying him, and when Jason asks him to stay calm, he wonders if that’s another emotion Jason is studying. He asks what Jason’s intent was in leaving the postcards and case study for him to find, but he doesn’t let him answer. He tells Jason, “What you did to me wasn’t treatment, but a wound. You gave me a new wound.”
Jason tries to defend himself, saying that Su-ho wouldn’t open his heart to anyone, but Su-ho lunges and grabs him. He asks why Jason thinks he’s angry now, then answers his own question: “I’m angry because the first person I considered a real friend after Ji-woo, you… you… you did this to me.” He tells Jason to leave his house immediately.
Da-seul follows through on her threat to talk to the press about Su-ho’s family. She even recorded her confrontation with Su-ho’s parents, and soon everyone is watching her interview that Su-ho’s family isn’t as perfect as they pretend to be.
Worried, Geu-rim calls Su-ho to tell him about the article. He goes to her house, where she lends him Plant Su-ho for support. Su-ho says that he envies Geu-rim for having a cheerful and warm mother, but she says he’s also cheerful and warm, and that he loves his mother.
She tells Su-ho that he shows his true feelings when he’s with someone he loves. She says she’s watched him with his mother, and that she’s sure his mother knows how he feels.
Su-ho goes back to PD Lee to tell him that he’ll be holding a press conference tomorrow to address the rumors about his family. He says that he wanted to tell PD Lee first in case it affects the radio show. PD Lee wishes him luck and says that he and Geu-rim will wait in the booth until he comes back.
When he goes to his parents’ house, Su-ho finds his mother morosely watching Da-seul’s interview. He tells her that he’ll fix everything: “If we have any chance to be a bit happier, this is it.”
He goes home to find his father getting drunk on wine. Su-ho pleads with his dad to go home and be with Mom, and to think of her first just this once. Dad whines that Mom never lets him close, and he looks shocked when Su-ho tells him that she’s a wreck whenever he’s with one of his women.
The next morning, Su-ho heads to the press conference. Just before he goes in, Mom stops him to ask what he’s planning to do, but he just squeezes her hand and walks past her. Joon-woo and Mom are there as expected, and so is Jason, all of them looking concerned.
Su-ho takes the podium, where he tells the curious reporters the truth: that his family is a fake. He admits that they manipulated the public sentiment, and benefited by using the family brand for their businesses. He also confesses that he’s not his mother’s biological son, and in the audience, his mother wilts.
But he’s not finished — he continues that this knowledge was traumatic when he was young, and that he feels like his existence hurt his family. He says that the lies his parents told were all for him, and that if he hadn’t been born, those lies wouldn’t have been necessary.
He says, “However, my mother raised me as her son until now. She may not be my real mother, but she did her best to bring me here. Honestly, I don’t know what a real mom is like since I never had one. But if you call someone who is with her child every moment of her life a mother, then Nam Joo-ha is my mother.”
Su-ho looks out into the audience at his mother, and she looks back at him with something that looks like pride and love.
On the set, Tae-ri hears a rumor that Su-ho will be removed from the drama because of his family’s lies. She snarls at the offenders that all families are like that, asking how perfect their families are. She snaps that her own parents cheated and got a divorce, furiously inviting them to criticize her father for leaving her at a young age.
She calls Joon-woo later, crying and wanting to see Su-ho. He reminds her that Su-ho won’t want to see her after she threatened him with the recording, and she wails that she would never have actually done it. She says she didn’t know how much Su-ho was hurting, feeling remorseful at how she made things worse. I love that Joon-woo doesn’t even acknowledge her histrionics — he’s going to be so good for her.
Geu-rim watches the press conference from home, and she calls Su-ho that evening. He’s hiding out at Joon-woo’s place, and he tells her that he’s fine as long as he has her. They hang up, but neither of them looks as okay as they say they are.
The next day, Station Manager Kang asks PD Lee if he plans to keep Su-ho as his DJ, considering all the scandalous news reports and rumors of lawsuits. PD Lee quips that it’s fine, because everyone is asleep at 4 a.m. anyway, ha. He says they all have family problems, and Su-ho is still the same guy he was yesterday.
The drama producers feel differently — they inform Su-ho that he’s being removed from the drama. They demand that he repay them for the damages, surprised when he easily agrees. They don’t notice his tiny smile, happy that he doesn’t have to do the drama anymore.
He heads to his parents’ house to find his father drunk again and his mother suggesting divorce. His father slurs that Geu-rim will be haunted by this scandal for the rest of her life, asking if Su-ho is okay with that. It hits a nerve, and when Geu-rim calls him later, Su-ho doesn’t answer.
She calls Joon-woo, who tells her that Su-ho won’t be home for a while. She calls Su-ho again, and this time he answers, but he lies that he’s at Joon-woo’s house. He’s actually at the overlook where Geu-rim first hugged him, and he says he can’t see her today.
After they hang up, Su-ho stands looking at the view for a very long time. After a while, Geu-rim walks up behind him and grabs him in a backhug, asking cheekily if this is where Joon-woo lives. She knows that Su-ho didn’t come to her because he was worried if she could be happy with him.
But she tells Su-ho that she decided to hold onto him anyway, just like he decided when it hurt to be with her because of Ji-woo. She says she’s not the kind of person who will only stick around when things are going well, and Su-ho finally turns to face her.
Geu-rim takes his face in his hands and says, “Whoever you are, I will stay by your side.” She kisses him, and Su-ho looks at her like she’s his whole world. He pulls her closer and kisses her back, and they stay that way for a very long time.
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Running to be with you
Now that we know the whole story behind Ji-woo’s death, it’s no wonder that Su-ho was still traumatized by it so many years later. Not only did he betray his friend by liking the girl he liked, he using his name to spend time with her, and got caught kissing her. Then Ji-woo still forgave him, and still wanted him to come to his competition. But Su-ho was too ashamed to face his friend, and because of that, Ji-woo died too early. It’s no wonder that Su-ho’s never felt safe enough to make another friend or date anyone, since the one time he tried that, it ended in tragedy.
But to find out now that Ji-woo knew all along, and that he still loved Su-ho and wanted him and Geu-rim to be happy, must give Su-ho such mixed feelings. On the one hand, he can let go of his guilt and self-loathing and know that Ji-woo understood that Su-ho had a future where he only had a few years left. But on the other hand, Su-ho wasted so many years that he could have spent with Geu-rim, because he didn’t read those letters. But they were so young, so it’s possible that they wouldn’t have stayed together even if Su-ho had read the letters. Even though it meant that Su-ho had to suffer for a while, this way they were able to confirm their love as adults and will probably have a more sure future together.
I knew that Geu-rim would handle Su-ho’s confession well, but she was so impressive — she never even blinked an eye. She understood immediately that it was never Ji-woo she liked back when they were kids, but that it was always Su-ho. And she doesn’t blame Su-ho for what really boiled down to a tragic accident, or for not telling her sooner. It was so sweet when he asked if she was okay after hearing his story, and she was just, “Why wouldn’t I be?” Su-ho’s been so busy slaying his dragons that Geu-rim knows that it wasn’t the right time for him to tell her the truth. I just love that she’s so unflinchingly open with her feelings and that she doesn’t expect Su-ho to be anything but who he is right now.
Speaking of their relationship, this may seem like a strange thing to be happy about, but I love that this show doesn’t skimp on the kisses, and that we even got a bed scene, innocent though it was. I’ve seen so many prudish portrayals of supposedly adult relationships in dramaland, and I’d worried that this would be a show where we got maybe one wide-eyed kiss and that would be it, mostly due to Kim So-hyun’s real-life age. So I’m enjoying very much that the writer has made the characters their own people, and is treating Geu-rim and Su-ho as the adults they are (and in that context, the chaste overnight scene still makes sense, since Su-ho has admitted that he hasn’t dated at all as an adult). I just like to see my drama characters behaving in realistic ways, so seeing these two being so affectionate with each other, sharing kisses that actually look like kisses and struggling with their desire for each other, just makes me superficially happy.
This episode finally made Jason’s intentions clear, which is a relief because I’ve gone back and forth so many times with him, I have whiplash. I think that his intentions were good, but he used some potentially harmful techniques on Su-ho without his knowledge or permission, so that even though Su-ho did make some breakthroughs, Jason only ended up damaging their friendship in the end. Jason forgot to honor his patient’s trust, both in his choice of treatments and in his betrayal by reporting to Su-ho’s mother, and I don’t blame Su-ho for kicking him out. I still hope they can reconcile because I’ve always felt that Jason genuinely cares for Su-ho, but he’s got a whole lot of apologizing to do first.
I’m surprised by the way Su-ho’s mother has become sympathetic, after all she’s done. I truly considered her one of the most heartless of antagonists, but the narrative was subtly turned around until we realized that her iron grip on Su-ho isn’t because she hates him for being her husband’s out-of-wedlock child, but because she had no control over her philandering husband. I still think that the way she told young Su-ho that he wasn’t her son was unforgivable, and none of it excuses the way she controlled every aspect of his life for decades. And I don’t believe she had Su-ho’s well-being at heart by hiring Jason supposedly to help him, because she wasn’t ever interested in Su-ho’s happiness and only wanted to know his whereabouts and plans. But it’s obvious that Su-ho loves her very much (he wouldn’t be so destroyed by her if he didn’t love her), and that she loves him in her own way. I hope they ditch Selfish Cheater Dad and find a way to rewrite their relationship, and figure out how to express their love in healthier ways.
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