A Couple’s World: Episodes 15-16 Open Thread (Final)
We’ve reached the conclusion of our tale, and it sure is an intense one! Our heroine embarks on her final battle, but learns that victory might not look like she thought. A Couple’s World pulls all the stops this week, and it’s a pretty remarkable tale of choices, actions, and consequences.
EPISODES 15-16 WEECAP
We ended with quite the explosive scene last week, and my oh my, but history repeats itself. Da-kyung confronts Tae-oh much in the same way as Sun-woo did a handful of years ago: both women ask him for the truth about his affair. He lied to Sun-woo (and spawned this crazy drama, literally and figuratively); will he change his ways the second time around?
A Couple’s World does not disappoint in its final week. It’s still doing things I didn’t expect, making me gasp, and really, when has the ring of a doorbell been so frightful? This drama is a master at tension, but what it’s even better at doing is getting under your skin. Making you doubt what you just saw. Making you wonder what’s lurking behind those smiles. And for goodness sake, did anyone else think that Da-kyung poisoned Tae-oh’s breakfast for a second?
Tae-oh admits his adultery to Da-kyung, who is determined (as Sun-woo was at the start) to put it behind them, to hold her family together, and to forgive him. Tae-oh’s pretty broken up for about ten minutes, and then presumes himself forgiven just a little too easily. I can’t say I feel even remotely sorry for Da-kyung. She continues to play the victim with her so-called second wife syndrome, when she’s actually the one that tore their family apart to begin with. Regardless, things get very interesting.
Sun-woo is still our phoenix risen from the ashes. She’s paid (very metaphorically) for her past wrongdoings with that near-death last week, and now she has gotten her son back. I was so relieved to see these two talking and communicating — I knew they could do it! And how lovely that the second Sun-woo talked to him, explained, and didn’t treat him like a child, he was able to open up too.
If you, like me, expected Da-kyung to be at Sun-woo’s throat after that reveal, things actually took a refreshing (and super satisfying) turn. Sun-woo joins forces with the Yeo clan, and before we even know what’s happening, it’s time for the Tae-oh takedown. Chairman Yeo was ready from Day One so it doesn’t take much — and Da-kyung finally comes to her senses.
Sun-woo’s repeated warnings and mockery of her finally get to Da-kyung; the women share some pretty great scenes where Sun-woo admits, and Da-kyung realizes, the extent of Tae-oh’s Shakespearean-level madness. The same perfume, similar nighties, fashion sense… and of course the infamous Sting proposal song that I’ll never be able to hear in real life without a cold sweat.
Although it’s rather fast, the whole sequence of the Tae-oh takedown is extremely satisfying. Declined credit cards. Office spy packing up Tae-oh’s things. Da-kyung, Jenny, and company leaving Gosan as suddenly as they arrived — and leaving Tae-oh behind, utterly destitute. It’s mighty harsh, though no one would argue that he hasn’t earned this suffering.
With Tae-oh defeated once a for all, Sun-woo has her victory. She returns to Gosan since it’s Joon-young’s wish, and they attempt normal life yet again. But the show’s not over yet, so this victory just feels like yet another temporary state on this never-ending rollercoaster. And so it is. Though Sun-woo and Joon-young are relatively happy and adapting, there is still a final act left in the drama.
By this time we know Tae-oh has nailed his stalking skills, so he goes at it again, pursuing Sun-woo and Joon-young. This culminates in another terrifying road trip for Joon-young, but this time the roles are inverted, and it’s Tae-oh that runs off with him to a clifftop. Gah, how much do I love stories that circle back on themselves? It’s delicious as a pattern, but it’s also important here because it’s signaling to us that things are adding up, culminating, and we are soon going to reach some sort of conclusion.
A Couple’s World has had me by the throat from the beginning, and it hasn’t stopped since. They wanted us to believe that Tae-oh has possibly drowned his son, and I fell right into that suspicion (willingly, of course, and that’s why this show is so magnetic). But instead of any violence, what really happens is that we meet a destroyed Tae-oh.
Sun-woo takes pity on him once she knows that Joon-young is safe, and the three go out to dinner. She’s faking normality in order to keep the situation under control and to get a read on Tae-oh as well. His suggestion that they get back together leaves both Sun-woo and Joon-young completely shocked, horrified, and going through the emotional ringer yet again.
Has Tae-oh not learned anything? Does he really think he can go back to the way things were? He’s still shameless, but at least to me, I see a bit of a shift in his mentality. Finally, he realizes he’s saying goodbye to both Sun-woo and Joon-young for the last time. He tells Joon-young, “Don’t turn out like me,” and tells him not to forget that “the most precious person is the one that stands by your side.” If nothing else, Tae-oh realizes his choices have robbed him of the things that were dearest to him.
After parting from his ex-wife and son, Tae-oh runs into the path of oncoming truck. While this is completely in line with my expectations for his character and character arc, it’s so completely harsh, especially with Sun-woo and Joon-young looking on from afar, that it shakes you.
It’s another tease, though. The truck has stopped short, and a broken Tae-oh is held by Sun-woo (much like she was held by Yoon-gi after her own suicide attempt — another example of this full circle/culmination idea). I just loved Sun-woo’s narration here:
The person who tore my heart into pieces. The enemy I killed. My other half whom I utterly resented… and also loved from the bottom of my heart. He was both my foe and comrade. He was both my best friend and archenemy. My husband.
It might not be the ending note of the drama in terms of its running time, but it’s definitely the culminating moment of their story, and it’s a powerful one.
The two must endure a final cost for their actions, though, and that’s the loss of Joon-young. It’s not a literal loss (thankfully and surprisingly), but that doesn’t make it any less painful. This boy has been pushed to the brink. After this scene in the street, he drops his phone and takes off leaving his parents pleading and searching for him.
It’s the ultimate agony for any parent, and it’s a suffering that they’ve brought on themselves and must endure. But A Couple’s World has always had a soft spot for Sun-woo — she is our heroine after all — so after a painful year of enduring Joon-young as a runaway, she’s rewarded. The doorbell rings one afternoon, and someone walks in. We don’t need to see who it is; it is enough to see is her reaction.
Man, I really liked this ending. It wasn’t what I was expecting at all — I was totally ready for a bloodbath and murder-suicide at this point, and the more they teased it, the more I expected it, and the louder I expected it to be. Instead, A Couple’s World makes yet another unexpected decision, and takes a more subtle turn. You could even call it slightly moralistic.
“Life is a result of your decisions.” That’s the thought we’re left with as we reach the resolution of our drama. Tae-oh has learned this all too well, and we’re left with no doubt that he’s going to struggle and regret for the rest of his days. Sun-woo, as well, is left with the consequences of what she’s done. She might have been the victim to start, but she was just as vicious as Tae-oh, and it fit that we had to see Sun-woo pay the price for that as well.
Humility is the end-game for both of them, and that’s somewhere I didn’t expect our drama to go. It’s moving, somewhat sobering, and is a cool nod to the Greek tragedy that this story was inspired by. If hubris was the force behind our story’s drama-coaster, humility is the opposing point that it ends on. And to that I say well-played, Show. Well-played.