Search Query: WWW: Episode 16 (Final)
It’s finally time to wrap up this chapter in our heroines’ lives, both personally and professionally. We’ve only gotten a glimpse into what makes these amazing women tick, but it’s been a glimpse that shows how strong, capable, and resilient women can be. As we send them off into new adventures, it’s clear that they’ll keep making mistakes and learning lessons and becoming better for it, something we could all stand to learn from.
EPISODE 16 RECAP
Da-in returns Ta-mi’s piano workbooks, though she admits it’s just an excuse to see her. She apologizes for making comments about Ta-mi and Mo-gun’s relationship, but she’s not sorry for liking Mo-gun. She’s heard about the breakup, but Ta-mi says that’s not her fault.
They agree not to see each other for a while, due to their unresolved feelings for Mo-gun. Da-in says that someday she hopes they will feel better and can be friends again.
A very pale Mo-gun meets with his stepfather, who remembers him after seeing him at his mother’s funeral. He says that Mo-gun’s mother told him he’s her firstborn, and that his mother always wondered if his adoptive parents loved him a lot. Mo-gun says he was loved beyond anything he could have asked for, and his stepfather says he loved his wife the same way.
He gives Mo-gun the gifts his mother bought for him in Paris, which come with a hand-written note. She’d gotten him some writing supplies to celebrate his first day of elementary school, in the hope that he becomes a person who can express his thoughts with beautiful words. There’s pair of sneakers for his entry into middle school, so he becomes brave enough to walk an unfamiliar path.
There’s a wristwatch to celebrate Mo-gun going to high school, and so that he learns to value his time. Last is a pair of sunglasses for Ta-mi, and the note says that his mother thought she seems like a good person.
Her note concludes, “Even during those times when we were apart, I still loved you. Of course, I still love you, and I’ll continue to love you. I love you, my son.” Mo-gun drops his head into his arms and cries for the mother he’ll never see again.
Hyun and Ji-hwan stay up all night to watch the sun rise on the day he’s to leave for his army duty. Hyun asks Ji-hwan if he wants to pray for the world to end, but he says he’s already gotten his prayer, to be with the one be loves. Hyun sighs that she needs to look for a new actor and Ji-hwan begins praying fervently — for Hyun to stop watching dramas he’s not cast in, hee.
When they arrive at the enlistment center, Hyun is shocked by the number of reporters, but Ji-hwan shows her that they’re here for Han Min-kyu (Ga-kyung’s ex-fling), who’s also enlisting today. Hyun yells that Seol Ji-hwan is here, but nobody pays any attention, ha. So she takes advantage of the situation and kisses Ji-hwan goodbye, a long kiss that absolutely nobody takes note of.
Back at work, Hyun has scheduled a debate regarding the internet’s self-regulation for two days from now, and although she invited Unicon, she doesn’t know if they’ll show. Brian asks her to keep it under wraps until they’re sure that Unicon won’t take the government’s side. Unfortunately, Hyun and Ta-mi disagree on what they think Ga-kyung will do.
Ta-mi runs into Mo-gun while walking home, and he thanks her for helping him say goodbye to his mother at her funeral. He says that before she left for her trip, he told his mother that Ta-mi was his girlfriend, and he gives Ta-mi the gift his mother bought her.
He goes up to her place to get the things he left behind, but he changes his mind and tells her to throw them out, since that’s the last step of a breakup. She asks if he’s thrown out the things she left at his house, but he doesn’t answer. Ta-mi asks if he’s okay, but Mo-gun just says she can stop worrying about him now.
Ga-kyung doesn’t show up to the debate, citing personal reasons, though she sends one of Unicon’s directors. Hyun and Ta-mi outline the government’s offer to charge the industrial rate for electricity in return for access to their users’ personal information, and when asked for a suggestion, Ta-mi says that Barro wants to post the government’s offer on their front page.
The Unicon director is worried about retaliation, but Hyun says that she’s more scared of what the public will do if they cave. Ta-mi says that retaliation is a concern, but the government is already threatening them through their electricity bills.
Brian asks the Unicon director to tell Ga-kyung about their plan to put this on their front page, since it won’t work if only Barro does it. He states again that Barro won’t sit by while the government violates the public’s rights and freedoms.
Recalling Ta-mi’s statement that they disagree on Ga-kyung’s stance, Hyun nearly calls her old friend, but decides against it. Ta-mi goes to see Ga-kyung though, admitting that she wants to persuade Ga-kyung to help Barro. Ga-kyung asks what she has to offer, but Ta-mi says that she came with only her sincerity.
She says she has no expectations of Ga-kyung, but that Hyun still believes that nineteen-year-old Ga-kyung is the real Ga-kyung. She asks Ga-kyung not to disappoint Hyun… not because it’s her strategy, but because she just doesn’t want Hyun to be disappointed.
Jin-woo picks up Ga-kyung after work in another embarrassing rented sports car, to help her avoid the reporters. He asks sheepishly if this is enough of an excuse (to see her), and Ga-kyung says it’s not bad. On the drive home, she asks Jin-woo if he’d forgive her for doing something that would get a lot of people in trouble, and would eventually affect his family. He tells her not to worry about him or his family when making decisions, and that he would forgive her even if she killed him.
When Ta-mi gets to Barro in the morning, the entire staff has been emailed about the government’s plans to access their users’ personal information. She tells the team that things will get very busy when Barro posts the information on their main page, but she’s still unsure where Unicon stands.
With one minute left, they still haven’t heard from Unicon. They closely watch both sites, and at nine a.m. sharp, Barro’s main page goes live with a banner refusing to grant the government access to user information. Unicon’s main page doesn’t change. .
After three minutes, Ta-mi tells Hyun to stop refreshing Unicon’s site, but Hyun whispers that she trusts Ga-kyung and continues. Then she stops… and screams triumphantly. Unicon’s banner says that they object to the government viewing personal user information.
The news media latches onto the story, the real-time rankings are all about civilian surveillance, and President Seo is furious. At Unicon, the directors demand that Ga-kyung take down the banner, arguing that they can’t make political statements on the main page. Ga-kyung just says that defending justice isn’t a political statement, and ignores their demands.
Hyun hurries off to the internet self-regulatory board meeting, but Brian sends Ta-mi in his place, stating that he’s in no position to argue on ethics. Ta-mi and Hyun read the code of ethics for internet web portals to crowds of fascinated reporters, and even Ga-kyung reads it in front of a press conference.
Ga-kyung adds a personal statement — that she once violated this code of ethics, so she’s resigning as Unison’s CEO. Chairwoman Jang calls President Seo to do damage control, and he tells her to start with the reason Ga-kyung just resigned… that Chairwoman Jang pressured her into changing the real-time keywords to remove information about his presidential opponent in an attempt to get the other candidate elected. HAHA, busted.
Hyun rushes to see Ga-kyung and ask why she resigned after working so hard to become Unicon’s CEO. Ga-kyung says, “I lost everything, but I also gained that much. I couldn’t stay as CEO after reciting the code of ethics. It’s just too lowly and embarrassing. That’s why I was hesitant to upload the statement on the main page. I was three minutes late — I’m sorry I kept you waiting.”
She reminds Hyun that she promised to save her at least once, but Hyun sobs that she didn’t want her to give up her whole life. Ga-kyung says that Hyun risked her life back when she saved her, which is how saving should be done.
President Seo holds a press conference in which he blames this whole kerfuffle on a misunderstanding — naturally, he was interested in protecting personal information. Nobody believes him, and Ta-mi says that at least he’s learned who not to mess with.
Ga-kyung finds Chairwoman Jang waiting in her apartment with a plane ticket, which she says is to support Ga-kyung’s dream (of being invisible). Ga-kyung says that Chairwoman Jang must finally feel threatened by the evidence she holds, but Chairwoman Jang says it’s about not wanting to get obsessed with ruining Ga-kyung’s life. Ga-kyung tears up the ticket, snapping that she and her dream are none of Chairwoman Jang’s concern.
Chairwoman Jang gets up to slap her, but Ga-kyung stops her hand in midair. She asks if Chairwoman Jang is as willing as she is to ruin herself in order to take down her target, and for once Chairwoman Jang actually looks frightened. Ga-kyung says they have only one piece of business left between them — Ga-kyung’s alimony.
Mo-gun visits his mother’s grave, and on his way home, a little boy joins him on the bus stop bench. Mo-gun confides that recently he lost someone he can’t ever get back, and another person that he’d like back. The little boy says he’s not supposed to talk to strangers, so Mo-gun says they have a secret now, and they high-five.
At home, Ta-mi sighs at her, Hyun, and Ga-kyung’s names on the real-time rankings. When she closes her browser, Mo-gun’s face is still her desktop background, and she asks him if he wonders whether she’s okay. She still has his things that she hasn’t thrown out, though she frowns at them in their box by the front door.
Everything seems back to normal at Barro, though Ta-mi grows oddly quiet when she learns that the new game may be delayed. When Hyun snaps her out of it, she notices that Yoon Dong-joo’s name is trending above everything else, even BTS, and she asks why.
Oh, it’s because Dong-joo badmouthed BTS on her channel, which was apparently the plan since she’s thrilled to have her name at number one. Joon-soo finds her live-streaming on location and tells her to come with him before the ARMY (BTS’s fans) shows up.
Dong-joo says that she actually loves BTS, so she hoped to drag them down to her level and she could have them to herself. Joon-soo tells her that that’s not how that works and offers himself instead.
Jin-woo takes Ga-kyung to dinner to celebrate the fact that they are officially divorced. Ga-kyung thanks Jin-woo for keeping his promise, and he says she has nobody holding her back now. He says she should rest for a while, but that if she gets bored she could date him — something they’ve never done together.
She says she can’t, because she’s going to disappear, and she’s keeping her promise to tell him first. Jin-woo looks disappointed and admits that he’s left with a one-sided love.
Ta-mi gets sloppy drunk at home, and she topples over onto the couch and into a memory of lying with her head in Mo-gun’s lap, arguing over which of them is happier. In the present, Ta-mi drunk-dials Mo-gun and leaves a voicemail saying, “I can’t live without you.”
She hovers outside the game department meeting in the morning, hoping to see Mo-gun, but Sun-woo attended the meeting instead. Ta-mi asks why Mo-gun’s phone has been off, and she’s startled to hear that he went to Australia, and Sun-woo isn’t sure when he’ll return.
The team at Barro are so used to Ta-mi and Hyun’s arguments that by now they just indulgently ignore them, and Brian gives them a set amount of fighting time per day. Ta-mi is learning judo from Hyun, needing a hobby where she can empty her mind. Hyun asks what she’s thinking about, and Ta-mi says mostly Mo-gun and Ga-kyung.
Hyun says that at least she knows where Mo-gun is, though Ta-mi sighs that she can’t go to him. They wonder where Ga-kyung disappeared to, but neither has an answer. Even Jin-woo tells his assistant not to look for Ga-kyung, since finding her would mean her dream not coming true.
His mother isn’t so respectful, but there’s no record of Ga-kyung leaving the country, nor is she using any credit cards or bank accounts. Chairwoman Jang is worried that Ga-kyung will appear for her hearing (re: manipulating the keywords during the presidential election), and she tells her assistant to post guards and bring Ga-kyung to her if she does.
Hyun goes every day to see a movie that Ji-hwan did a one-line cameo in, and she adorably sends him a picture of each ticket receipt even though he can’t get texts. After the seventeenth day, she hears a familiar ringtone that sounds like Ji-hwan’s. Awww, he’s in the theater to surprise her, and Hyun ignores his shushing to screech and attack-hug him.
She requests four days off to spend with Ji-hwan while he’s on furlough, and Ta-mi can barely hide her laughter at Hyun’s excitement. It starts to rain, which reminds Ta-mi of Mo-gun, but his phone is still off when she tries to call him.
Her calendar notifies her that tomorrow is Mo-gun’s real birthday, and it’s nearly midnight. She tries calling him one more time… and this time it rings. Ta-mi panics and hangs up, but he calls back and asks where she is. She says she’s at work, and Mo-gun says he’ll be right there.
He’s actually at the airport, having just re-entered the country, and he looks stunned to have heard from Ta-mi. He leaves his luggage with Sun-woo and runs to Ta-mi, who wishes him a happy birthday. Mo-gun asks hopefully if she’s thrown out his things, and she says she couldn’t do it, since he said it’s the last stage of a breakup.
Not needing to hear any more, Mo-gun grabs Ta-mi in a hug, and they cling to each other happily. Ta-mi says that nothing’s been resolved and they’ll fight over the same problems, and probably break up over them again. Mo-gun just agrees to all of it, but he says he wants to try anyway, while he’s still young and cute enough not to care about the consequences.
The day of Chairwoman Jang’s hearing arrives, and she reaffirms with her assistant that Ga-kyung is to be allowed nowhere near. However, during the hearing, Ga-kyung goes on the news to make a live statement about the part she played in the keyword manipulation.
She makes it clear that Chairwoman Jang orchestrated most of the deletions in an effort to influence the presidential election. She even says that Chairwoman Jang supported the government’s bid to gain control of the web portals’ user information. She tells viewers to log onto any web portal and use the keyword “WWW” to find the written proof.
The keyword grants access to a database of every communication, text message, email, and conversation regarding keyword manipulation, helpfully compiled by In-kyung. She’d handed it over to Ga-kyung, saying that she’s wanted to bury Chairwoman Jang even longer than Ga-kyung has. Ga-kyung had uploaded it just before changing Unicon’s banner — the real reason she was three minutes late.
Chairwoman Jang takes a call from President Seo, her voice pathetically desperate as she accuses Ga-kyung of attacking a helpless old lady. She tries to call Ga-kyung next, but Ga-kyung ignores her call, sneering, “You should have just paid the alimony.” She exits the news building and walks through a sea of reporters, and when a fancy Maserati pulls up, Ga-kyung gets in without answering any questions.
A ways down the road, the car’s top comes off to reveal Hyun behind the wheel and Ta-mi in the backseat. Ga-kyung is embarrassed, but Hyun says that Jin-woo recommended the car (LOL), and said to tell her that he’s still doing as he promised.
Ta-mi asks what that means, but Ga-kyung says that they’re babies who wouldn’t understand. Ta-mi retorts that they’re babies who made Unicon’s market shares plummet, and Ga-kyung compliments her sarcastically on her pretty words. The ladies put on their sunglasses like the badasses they are, and drive off into the sunset together.
I LOVED that ending! Talk about playing the long game! They teased us with Jin-woo’s love of sports cars throughout the entire drama, only to flip it at the last second and have Hyun and Ta-mi be Ga-kyung’s rescuers… not that she needed rescuing. She’d finally stood up for herself and taken her life back, and I feel like she’ll be just fine after this, with her frenemies to remind her not to get too cocky, or forget that she’s a strong woman who needs no help to get by in life.
I really felt as though all three romances, though not the focus of the drama, were wrapped up in realistic ways. Ga-kyung and Jin-woo made a clean break, with Jin-woo respecting Ga-kyung’s desire to be alone, so that if and when they ever do see each other again, it will be because they truly do care for each other. I’m particularly sure about Hyun and Ji-hwan, who have a long couple of years of separation to get through, but they have a pretty solid — though short-lived — foundation, and I’m not at all worried about their longevity. They both have a tendency to say exactly what they’re thinking, so now that they’ve finally broken the ice, honestly is never going to be a problem for them.
I was the most concerned about Mo-gun and Ta-mi, who I know a lot of watchers didn’t care for but who I was very invested in. Maybe because they remind me a lot of a previous serious relationship of my own that broke up for a very similar reason, I know well that having life goals that are mutually exclusive can be the death of a relationship, later if not sooner. They dealt with it in a very relatable way… they love each other so much that they can’t be apart, and if one of them ever feels that the marriage-or-not issue becomes a dealbreaker then they’ll handle it then. There’s no reason to press the issue now when Mo-gun isn’t even ready for marriage yet, and in the meantime, they can love each other and be happy.
I love how everything came back full-circle to the code of ethics violation that started it all, and that this time, Ga-kyung did the right thing and resigned. I’ve been waiting and waiting for her to show some character that I could support, and taking responsibility for her actions finally did it. I even love that it was for such a small, personal reason when it came down to it — to retain Hyun’s good regard. Hyun is the only person who still believed in Ga-kyung… even Jin-woo admits that he loves Ga-kyung in spite of the bad things she does, but only Hyun truly believes that she’s not a bad person. It shows that no matter how far down a person goes, if just one other person believes in them, they aren’t beyond redemption.
If I had to think of just one word to describe this drama, it would be: classy. Search Query: WWW was pure class from start to finish, with its strong characters, snappy dialogue, and pitch-perfect directing. I love how women were front-and-center in each situation, both personal and professional, yet the show didn’t make a big deal out of it — it was just a fact of the universe the story takes place in. These women were soft and emotional and flawed, yet those things never subtracted from their strength and capability. And the show was cast so amazingly, again with women at the forefront and the men chosen to complement them, instead of the other way around. The drama was just a treat to watch both as a viewer and a recapper, and it’s been a special experience I won’t soon forget.
- Premier Watch: Perfume, Investigation Couple 2, Search Query: WWW
- Jang Ki-yong ruffles Im Soo-jung’s feathers in tvN’s Search Query: WWW
- Pondering the meaning of love, marriage, and work with tvN’s Search Query: WWW
- Im Soo-jung, Jang Ki-yong, Lee Da-hee, Jeon Hye-jin join tvN romance drama
- Jang Ki-yong up for tvN fantasy noona romance opposite Im Soo-jung