I’ll Find You on a Beautiful Day: Episode 16 (Final)
Life goes on in our little town. After the drama of recent events, we catch up with everyone as they try to make the best of their situations and live to the fullest. The finale gives everyone a proper farewell but makes it clear this is by no means an ending for our characters. It’s merely a chapter in their lives where they learned to better love, live and forgive.
EPISODE 16: “After a Long Winter”
While villagers work in the fields, Eun-seob brews coffee in the bookshop. He stares out the window and muses, “Hae-won, I think you’re doing well.” In Seoul, Hae-won goes to an interview. Eun-seob goes about his day as usual, but his mind is on Hae-won.
At Hodu House, Myung-yeo and Myung-joo eat breakfast together. Myung-yeo laments her sister’s cooking – guess neither of them have that skill – and tells Myung-joo she’s leaving in a week. Myung-joo asks if she’s coming back, but Myung-yeo thinks it’s better for everyone if she doesn’t. Hmm…
Meanwhile, Yoon-taek is interviewed about his success as a publisher. The interviewer asks him, off the record, if it’s true he’s dating Myung-yeo. He looks a bit sad as he denies it. They used to date, but their relationship now is just the type where they root for each other. Yoon-taek asks her to write a nice article about Myung-yeo who calls just as he’s leaving.
At home, Myung-yeo comes across the letter Myung-joo sent her from prison and hands it to her sister. She tells her to write a letter like this one. “To whom?” Myung-joo asks. “Your daughter!” Myung-yeo says exasperatedly. Hae-won doesn’t know why Myung-joo shut her out, and she’ll never know unless Myung-joo tells her.
Speaking of letters, Hwi writes one to Yeong-soo who’s in college now. As she bemoans her loneliness, a new transfer student arrives. Oddly, his name is also Im Hwi which the teacher notes isn’t a common name. Hwi looks at him with a smile and crumples up her letter. HA!
Hyun-ji can’t believe Hwi got over Yeong-soo so quickly – he left only a month ago. Hwi is sure he’s happy, and he’s got Jae-in there. She wishes her every happiness. Pfft. Hwi is determined to date this new guy no matter what. Hyun-ji doesn’t trust in her abilities, and Hwi wonders if she’s jealous since, if things work out, she won’t eat lunch with her anymore.
Hwi cuts Hyun-ji’s lecture about her being in her final year short to run after her new crush. She introduces herself as his destiny. Oh, how I love this child. She prattles on until Lim Hwi *Snort* does the “look at that!” trick and runs away. Heh.
A batch of books is delivered to the bookshop, and the delivery man notes that it seems a certain book is selling particularly well. Is it true the woman at Hodu House wrote it? Eun-seob confirms it and stares solemnly at “Sisterfield Maze.”
Myung-yeo packs while Myung-joo cleans and glances at the pen and paper Myung-yeo left for her. She sits to write but struggles to put her thoughts into words. We see Hae-won eating alone in Seoul as Myung-joo narrates the letter. She didn’t intend to share this, but Myung-yeo’s advice changed her mind.
She had Hae-won when she was in her early twenties, so by Hae-won’s age, she already was raising a six-year-old. Her husband, who she had believed to be the “sweetest man in the world,” had already begun abusing her. She couldn’t think beyond her own pain and was cold to Hae-won. But she’s always loved her, even though she’s not good at expressing it.
Myung-joo informs Hae-won her aunt is leaving and asks her to visit. “The weather has gotten so nice, Hae-won.” At their old house, Myung-joo smiles at a lone, blooming flower. Hae-won finishes the letter and stares out the convenience store window.
At night, Hwi comes bursting into the bookshop to ask Eun-seob for money which he unquestioningly hands over. She excitedly gushes over the new transfer who shares her name. Eun-seob suspiciously asks if it’s a guy. “Of course, it’s a guy. I really like guys.” Ha. She announces her intentions to date him.
Eun-seob starts to say she’s too young but changes tack and tells her to be careful. She stares blankly as he instructs her to call him whenever she’s about to go on a date. Has he gone crazy? Does she need to pilfer more money from him? Pfft. He watches her flounce away with a grin.
The following morning, Eun-seob sits with his head laying on the table and listlessly flips through “Love Returns Like Spring After Winter” by drama writer Noh Hee-kyung. Meanwhile, our book club members go about their days much the same as always. Soo-jung enjoys nature, Seung-ho chats happily with his grandfather, Geun-sang scares off customers, Hyun-ji swipes from her mom’s pharmacy and Hwi screams for people to get out of her path.
Eun-seob prepares a gift while his mom is at home complaining about her husband’s clumsiness that results in more laundry for her. Eun-seob comes over and hands his mom the gift. She’s confused until he reminds her it’s her birthday. She coos that he’s the only who thinks about her and remembered.
She opens the box to reveal a scarf with the words “To the mom I love, Yoon Yeo-jung” hand-stitched by Eun-seob. Yeo-jung gets emotional, so he leaves to give her space.
In Seoul, Hae-won visits Yeong-woo’s café. He named the café after the song she played on the piano that day, he claims. Hae-won laughs that he sounds like someone who’s liked her for a long time. He maintains he has, and she gives him a knowing look.
Yeong-woo asks how she knew he wasn’t being 100% sincere when he said he’s liked her all this time. Wait, what?! Hae-won thinks back to Eun-seob and says, “I know the eyes of someone who’s liked me for a long time.
At what looks like another reunion, everyone ribs Jang-woo as usual. They’re surprised when Eun-shil shows up and even more surprised when she shares the news that she quit her job. Everyone takes note of the new closeness between her and Jang-woo. Eun-shil smiles as Jang-woo nervously denies it.
They all eagerly share what Jang-woo said last time about how Eun-shil liked him first. Jang-woo loudly proclaims he misses Eun-seob who happens to walk in the door that moment. Conversation turns to the strange pair that is Eun-seob and Jang-woo, and Eun-shil reveals that they became friends after Eun-seob saved him from bullies.
Eun-shil enthusiastically recounts how Jang-woo was dragged into the mountain and beat up. Jang-woo stops her, horrified, and wonders how she knows that. “You told me,” she states. It was in the letter he gave her with that bouquet of roses. To his embarrassment and everyone else’s amusement, she begins reciting the letter. Amidst the laughter and lively conversation, Eun-seob smiles but his eyes are lonely.
Outside, one of the women wonders why Hae-won didn’t show. Jang-woo throws a worried glance at Eun-seob – who retains a smile – while everyone says how much they miss her. Jang-woo stops them from calling her and shoos everyone away. Eun-seob returns to the bookshop and sits dejected in the dark.
The following morning, Myung-yeo is shocked to see Hae-won at Hodu House. Hae-won observes her aunt hasn’t left yet; she came thinking she was already gone. Hae-won heads upstairs while Myung-yeo calls after her.
Over a meal with her mom and aunt, Hae-won says she plans to stay about a week. She failed her interviews, so she’s thinking about opening a studio with her former classmates. Hae-won says ruefully she’s only good at teaching.
Myung-yeo wonders what happened to her notion that she isn’t qualified to teach. Hae-won still isn’t confident, but she doesn’t think she’s so bad. Her stressful, lonely life made her hate her job. After warming up (as in heat, not practice) and starting over, she could see more clearly that it wasn’t all bad.
Hae-won asks if Myung-joo moved back. She did, and she even sold the old house. “That’s good,” Hae-won responds. Her mom confirms she was living there and fixed it up well before selling. “That’s good,” Myung-yeo echoes.
Jang-woo walks into the restaurant and is stunned speechless to see Hae-won. He recovers and, after speeding through topics like they’re side effects in a drug commercial, notes there are no empty seats (there are), so he’ll eat outside. He practically trips over himself as he tries to leave and tells her to call him later. Or he’ll call. After noting Myung-yeo’s cool sunglasses, he’s out the door. Ha.
Outside, he tells the waiting Eun-seob and a friend that there aren’t any seats. Ah, so that’s why he panicked. Hae-won looks shaken as she watches Eun-seob out the window.
The next day, Yoon-taek comes to pick Myung-yeo up. Myung-yeo and Hae-won say, “Goodbye.” Myung-yeo replies, “Okay.” Then, she heads to the car. Yoon-taek looks between them, confused. “That’s it?” Ha. By the car, he chides Myung-yeo for her lackluster farewell.
In the car, Yoon-taek asks if she’ll return. “No. I won’t come back for the rest of my life.” After seeing her aunt off, Hae-won can’t help but look over at the bookshop.
In town, Jang-woo spots Eun-shil on the street and abandons his colleagues. He tells her he was about to take the rest of the day off. Uh-huh. She lights up and asks if he wants to hang out. He runs through ideas, but all she wants to do is get ice cream from the convenience store. When he agrees, she squeals and hops in delight.
In the car, Myung-yeo thanks Yoon-taek for driving her. He grins and she asks in surprise, “You’re not going to cry?” Ha! He laughs that he doesn’t do that anymore. Yoon-taek asks if she’s really not going to come back even to visit. “I don’t want to,” she says with a relaxed smile.
As they sit outside, Eun-shil enjoys her ice cream and randomly asks why Jang-woo moved back after getting his prestigious degree. He claims he likes living in his hometown, and his parents suggested he move back rather than get a job at some big company in Seoul.
Eun-shil is surprised he’s not more ambitious. Jang-woo explains, “For me, it guarantees happiness.” Eun-shil goes off, wondering if he means he’s ignored his own desires and is saying he’s happy living the life his parents have set up for him from school until now. He stops her as she gets more worked up.
He enjoys the mundane. Jang-woo’s dream is to live an ordinary life with an ordinary job. He knows himself and what makes him happy. Eun-shil wonders why he didn’t write that about himself in his letter instead of a story about him getting beaten up. Ha. She would have liked him better.
Eun-shil calls him cool and remarks that not many people know what makes them happy. Jang-woo realizes what he said must’ve sounded charming. As she eats her ice cream, she comments, “I’m hungry.” Ha. Jang-woo is amazed at the size of her stomach and says she’s exactly his type.
“Ah, I’ve fallen for Lee Jang-woo,” Eun-shil sighs in resignation as he babbles. She stands right in front of him and repeats it, looking him dead in the eye. She smiles to see him blushing again. As she turns away, he spins her around and kisses her.
He rushes off stammering that she said she’s hungry. Eun-shil catches up and asks if this means they’re together now. Jang-woo agrees but reminds her of his mother’s plans to marry him off soon, which she’s probably not ready for. She doesn’t seem fully opposed.
Eun-seob puts a bouquet in his car and stops at the sound of Hae-won’s voice. Is he going somewhere? They stare at each other for a moment, uncertain. He tells her it’s his mother’s death anniversary. After standing silent for a few seconds, he says goodbye and gets in his car.
As he drives, he sees Hae-won running after him in the rearview mirror. Eun-seob slams on the brakes and gets out. She’s out of breath as she says, “I want to hold you just once. Can I?” He stands silently as she runs over and throws her arms around him. A montage of their moments together plays.
Hae-won lets go and steps back. She apologizes, explaining that she was going to pretend not to see him, but she couldn’t once she saw his face. Hae-won apologizes again and walks away. Eun-seob finally breaks his silence to ask, “How much longer are you staying?” Hae-won smiles, and he smiles back.
Hae-won roams the bookshop, full of nostalgia. Having only spent a winter together, she thought she’d forget him. But he’s different, and it was foolish of her to think otherwise. “You sit heavy in my heart like winter snow and never leave me.”
Outside the one and only café, Myung-joo runs into Park Hin-dol. After confirming he’s “the letter guy,” she asks why he sent her letters for seven years. He answers simply that reading something nice makes you feel good.
Yeo-jung buys some food for Eun-seob, and the ajumma thinks her daughter must be jealous of the favoritism. Yeo-jung claims she tried to show extra love since Eun-seob was adopted so he wouldn’t feel less, but it ended up working too well. She shows off her scarf and emphasizes the word “love” Eun-seob stitched on it.
Hae-won sits in the bookshop reading “A Piece of Your Heart Kept Until the End.” Eun-seob narrates that Hae-won once said it’s hard to notice happiness. Even if you do, it takes work to hold onto it. Eun-seob agrees. Everyone strives for it, but it’s hard to grasp.
Eun-seob walks in with a smile, and Hae-won’s face brightens. She runs over and jumps into his arms. He continues narrating that happiness isn’t guaranteed even if you work for it. Hae-won clings to him as he makes coffee. They kiss as Eun-seob narrates that it’s impossible to predict the future. We pan to a book on display: “Goodnight, Irene” by Im Eun-seob.
Hwi rides her bike up to Hwi (heh) who pedals faster with a look of fear. Bo-yeong smiles at a text that says, “The weather is really nice today, Bo-yeong.” Eun-seob narrates that if you try hard and keep living, he believes the day will come. Hae-won’s voice chimes in to agree.
Eun-seob sees Hae-won standing in the yard and calls out to her. She turns, and they smile brightly at each other, looking happy and at peace. Hae-won narrates that she believes the day will come. “Like this,” their voices say in unison.
Eun-seob’s Blog Post
I met Irene again after a long time. I waited and longed to see her again so much. But I tried to hide my feelings and stupidly turned away from her. When she ran towards me and came into my arms, she melted my frozen heart yet again. I spent days and nights blankly without being able to sleep. But I can’t believe I’m back in the past now. It’s late at night, and she has fallen asleep on my arm. She is light, and smells like the grass from a spring breeze. Guys, the scent of acacia is filling up this place again. Roger.
P.S. She woke up from her sleep and kissed me on my nose and fell asleep again with her head buried in my chest. I didn’t know kissing was such a nice thing.
I think we got a pretty decent ending, overall. We didn’t get answers to everything like where Myung-yeo actually went or if Hae-won gave up teaching, but I liked the somewhat open-endedness of it. I’m happy with where everyone ended up, although this episode did, at times, feel kind of perfunctory. All the loose ends were neatly tied up one after the other – they even brought back Hin-dol who I’d forgotten about – but it didn’t feel as emotionally resonant as I would have liked. I think since we’d already resolved most of the conflict and character growth, it lacked that emotional center and felt a little like going through the motions. All in all, though, I appreciated that even side characters’ stories were wrapped up. But where the heck was the book club?! I missed them in recent episodes, and I was hoping for one last meeting.
One of my favorite things about this drama was the great cast of diverse characters. I love that they all, including the side characters, felt like real people and not stock characters. Not only that, but I was pleasantly surprised that they frequently defied convention. Bo-yeong drove me nuts, but I appreciated the way she was utilized. She was set up like a conventional, jealous second lead, but in the end, it was all about her and Hae-won’s friendship. While Hae-won and Eun-seob’s relationship was at the center, this was a story about loneliness and the importance of connection in all its forms. This may not have technically been an ensemble drama, but the residents of our little town were integral to the story and not an afterthought.
Hae-won made a statement in an earlier episode about some people always being in shadow while others are always in light. While most of our characters fall into the former category with some serious trauma under their belt, Hwi and Jang-woo were like rays of sunshine. Easily my favorite characters, they brought fun and positivity. Jang-woo was endearing and sweet with an anxiously manic energy. Endlessly entertaining, he kept things simple. He worked to make everyone around him happy and didn’t ask for much out of life. I loved him from start to finish.
Then we have Hwi. Where to even start? She was a lot, and I’m not gonna lie, she irritated me at first. But she quickly joined Jang-woo as one of my favorites. Most people can only ever aspire to her level of confidence and self-esteem. She never let anything bring her down for long, bouncing back with a smile. Her exuberance for life was infectious. Hwi felt every bit a real teenager with her energy, intensity and even her self-absorption. And we can’t forget her boy-crazy ways. I cracked up when the mere sight of a new, pretty face made her instantly crumple up that letter and totally forget about the crush she’d been obsessing over for months. At least we know she won’t get hung up on her first love for decades. Kim Hwan-hee did a fantastic job in this role, and I’ll be looking forward to her future projects.
The acting was strong in general, but Moon Jeong-hee as Myung-yeo was a standout. I wasn’t familiar with her before, but I’ll certainly remember her now. She took a role that could easily have been too opaque or unlikable and played it with nuance and subtlety. And she did it while wearing sunglasses for 95% of her scenes. Despite Myung-yeo’s apathy and gruffness, she emanated a quiet loneliness and pain. Bravo.
I enjoyed our main couple’s quiet, supportive relationship. We get a lot of flashy, dramatic relationships in dramaland but fewer of the subtler variety. It was lovely watching them help each other heal and learn to be happy. The blog posts were a great way to provide insight into Eun-seob seeing as he’s not what you’d call communicative. I loved seeing him slowly come out of his shell and face the world. Nothing showed that better than his heartfelt gift to his mom; he finally directly said (or wrote), “I love you.” I was happy she got to hear that after all these years. Although he came a long way, I did hope for a little more growth from Eun-seob in terms of being more proactive. But I’ve already talked about that in previous recaps, so I won’t belabor the point. As for Hae-won, she finally learned to let go and forgive. She’s a harsh person, as is her entire family, with a tendency to be unyielding. Learning to be more understanding allowed her to let go of her anger and be happy. Her family became so much less tense once they all learned to communicate and cut each other (and themselves) some slack.
While I enjoyed the romance, the most touching moments of the show for me were surrounding family. We spent a lot of time exploring family ties in all their messiness and complexity. I especially liked the highlight on sibling relationships through both Hwi and Eun-seob – probably my favorite relationship of the drama – and Myung-joo and Myung-yeo. Eun-seob’s whole adoptive family storyline was touching and well done. Although I still don’t condone the favoritism Yeo-jung openly admitted to, her unshakable love for Eun-seob was lovely. I do wish we’d seen more of Eun-seob’s dad, though. He was completely backgrounded. Besides the actual families, we also had our wonderful book club family. I loved everything about that book club from its eclectic members and their support for each other to the way the readings were incorporated into the story.
Despite the later episodes being less sharply focused and some details of the backstory not being fleshed out (Myung-joo as a character and Hae-won’s feelings toward her father, in particular), the writing overall was strong. I haven’t read the book the drama was based on, but the drama seemed to benefit from having the entire story mapped out from the start. Everything felt intentional and developed naturally; the drama took its time and never hurried. The time spent developing not only the characters but the place aided in capturing the essence of this small mountain town. The slow pacing, unhurried shots, minimalism in dialogue and beautiful mountain scenery all helped evoke a melancholic and nostalgic vibe. Many dramas tout themselves as “healing,” but this one fit the bill. It may not have ended quite as strongly as it started, but it stayed a beautiful, warm tale about choosing to step out of the darkness and embrace happiness.
- Premiere Watch: I’ll Find You on a Beautiful Day
- A quiet moment for romance in new teaser for JTBC’s I’ll Find You on a Beautiful Day
- Melancholy new promos for JTBC’s I’ll Find You on a Beautiful Day
- Park Min-young plays piano in I’ll Find You on a Beautiful Day teaser
- Seo Kang-joon and Park Min-young bundle up for JTBC’s I Will Find You When the Weather Is Nice
- I Will Find You When the Weather Is Nice holds first script reading with Park Min-young and Seo Kang-joon
- Casting continues for JTBC bookish romance I Will Find You When the Weather Is Nice
- Park Min-young, Seo Kang-joon considering JTBC bookstore romance