Was It Love: Episode 15
Drawing closer to the end, our main couple realizes their love for each other, but things are not quite simple now that more people are involved. As for our thoughtful middle school student, the hunt for her dad may be over, but the answer to her search is more complicated than expected, especially since her choices affect her mom’s happiness as well.
EPISODE 15 RECAP
Ae-jung jumps apart from Dae-oh as the doctor enters the room, but Ha-nee already saw the kiss. Grandma, on the other hand, missed it, so she asks the doctor why Dae-oh looks flushed. The doctor tells her that his symptoms are normal for the “activities” they did and assures her that her son-in-law is fine. Pfft.
While Hye-jin and CEO Wang laugh at the doctor’s misunderstanding, Ha-nee excuses herself, followed quickly by Yeon-woo and Grandma. Left alone with the couple, Hye-jin and CEO Wang wonder why the two are acting awkwardly, and belatedly realize that something is going on between them.
Yeon-woo finds Ha-nee in the hallway, holding her bag of snacks that she forgot to give her mom. She mentions how happy her mom looks with Dae-oh by her side, so Yeon-woo asks if it upsets her. Ha-nee says that it doesn’t, though she doesn’t look particularly pleased about it either.
Right then, Bo-hye runs up to Yeon-woo and announces her intentions to ruin Ae-jung. While Yeon-woo silently seethes, Grandma calls from behind, asking who she is. Bo-hye introduces herself as Yeon-woo’s mom, flashing her business card, and Grandma nods her head, looking unimpressed.
After sending Ha-nee away, Grandma listens to Bo-hye brag about her son’s prestigious background, but none of it matters to her. She and her family like Yeon-woo because of who he is. Her praise puts Bo-hye off-guard, but Grandma isn’t finished: Though Bo-hye might think Ae-jung is just a single mother, her daughter is an amazing woman from a “famous” family, too.
Yeon-woo walks away from Bo-hye, who chases after him and defends her actions. Facing his mother, Yeon-woo tells her that she acts out of obsession rather than love, unlike Ae-jung. When he was suffering after his dreams were shattered, Bo-hye celebrated while Ae-jung shared in his misery. That’s why he loves her and wants to return the favor.
Flashing back to the past, Yeon-woo prepared a bouquet of flowers and wrote a letter confessing his feelings for Ae-jung. When he entered the bathhouse to see her, he overheard Grandma and Ae-jung arguing about her unplanned pregnancy, and hid when Ae-jung ran out of the building.
Yeon-woo found her crying in the street and confessed that he heard their conversation. He offered to help, but Ae-jung begged him to pretend that he misheard. Holding back her tears, she told him to go home and never come back.
In the present, Grandma regrets being too mean to Bo-hye, but when Yeon-woo comes home, he apologizes first. He thanks her for her earlier comments about liking him for who he is. Like Grandma, he was happy while living with them, but now it’s time for him to move out.
At the hospital, Ae-jung inserts coin after coin into the vending machine, lost in thought, until Dae-oh snatches a drink from her. Annoyed at his teasing, she pushes past him, and he yelps in pain when she bumps him. Ae-jung immediately fusses about his injuries, and Dae-oh laughs at her sudden show of concern.
Now that he has her attention, he stops joking around and mentions Ha-nee. Ae-jung tells him that they could start dating again but that doesn’t automatically make him family. Dae-oh agrees since becoming Ha-nee’s dad isn’t that simple, but he plans to keep trying calmly and patiently.
Pa-do struggles putting on his robe until Dong-chan comes to help. Looking at his son, Pa-do sits him down for a chat and apologizes for not having this conversation sooner. He thought knowing the past would only hurt Dong-chan, which was why he couldn’t say anything before.
He tells Dong-chan that even in her last moments, his mom thought of him, and apologizes for not protecting her to the end. Dong-chan holds Pa-do’s hand and thanks him for protecting him in place of his mom and being his dad. Pa-do places his hand over his son’s and smiles at him.
Hye-jin eats dinner with CEO Wang, still shocked about the history between Ae-jung and Dae-oh. CEO Wang thinks Ae-jung has struck gold, but Hye-jin berates him for minimalizing her struggles and waving aside Dae-oh’s earlier, mean behavior. As Hye-jin excuses herself to use the bathroom, CEO Wang runs back to the office to steal the bankbook.
Ryu Jin drives Ah-rin to their promotional event and wonders why she’s here if she quit. Ah-rin says that it would be too unfair to pay a cancellation fee after her first love failed, and tells Ryu Jin to keep her identity a secret in exchange for keeping his secret about Ae-jung’s rejection. Ryu Jin acts as if he’s fine, but Ah-rin sees through his lies and suggests they should at least be honest with each other.
While Ryu Jin and Ah-rin pose for pictures, Manager Myung notices his actor’s stiff behavior and wonders if Ah-rin threatened him again. After the shoot wraps up, Ah-rin and her manager spot CEO Song confronting Ryu Jin, who looks perturbed by the encounter.
CEO Song comments on Ryu Jin’s appearance, noting how he looks fine despite recent events, and wonders if something bigger needs to blow up to shake him. Her threats leave the two men speechless, but Ah-rin comes to the rescue, ready to ruffle some feathers.
She acts friendly towards Ryu Jin, and CEO Song grits her teeth, wondering how they got close. Ah-rin says that they’re friends now, and changes the topic to CEO Song and the false rumors she spread. Ah-rin rebukes her for delaying their filming schedule, and Ryu Jin finally cracks a smile.
Ah-rin invites her costar to lunch, but before she leaves, CEO Song warns her to watch out since people are whispering about how she’s fake. This time, Ryu Jin interjects and defends Ah-rin. He tells CEO Song that Ah-rin isn’t just an angel but a tenacious person who rose to stardom because of her merits.
Once the group safely gets away from CEO Song, they sigh in relief and laugh. Ryu Jin thanks Ah-rin for earlier, and she thanks him, too. He looks startled by her words, but Ah-rin teases him for looking stunned. The stars’ change in behavior confuse their managers, especially Manager Myung.
CEO Song yells at her employee for telling her that Ryu Jin’s new movie is doing well, but finds consolation in knowing that filming was pushed back due to an accident. As she wonders why both the director and producer were caught up in a gas leak accident, Reporter Na appears and asks if she wants to seek revenge with him.
At a temple, Pa-do pays his respects to Tan Zi-yi, telling her to rest well since Dong-chan is in his care. An unknown number calls him, but this time, it’s good news. The man tells him that the traitors were taken care of, and offers him a place back in their group. Pa-do declines since he’s happy where he is.
Dong-chan jumps when Ha-nee calls his name, and she apologizes, understanding how scared he must feel since she still gets nightmares about the event, too. He says sorry for getting her caught up in his mess, but she tells him that he isn’t the one at fault.
Deciding to share what he knows, Dong-chan shows her a picture of his mom, and Ha-nee is surprised by the resemblance. She mentions how he’s the son of a boss, and since Pa-do is also a manly man, that means Dong-chan will grow up to be a manly man as well. She praises Pa-do for risking his life to save him, and Dong-chan says the same about Dae-oh, especially since he doesn’t look strong. Hahaha!
The school bullies find Ha-nee and Dong-chan, and ask why they didn’t show up to the sports event. They mock Ha-nee for lying about her parents, but Dong-chan stands up to them, ordering them to quit it or get crushed by his dad. The bullies ask who his dad is, and Dong-chan smiles as Pa-do walks up to them with a glorious slow-motion entrance.
Pa-do takes the kids out to a restaurant and tells them that he was stabbed, shot, and even axed. However, even more painful than those are words, and he asks the bullies if they understand the message. The bullies nod their heads, and Pa-do exchanges smiles with Dong-chan.
At Sukey, Ha-nee tells her pup about Dong-chan’s mom and marvels at Pa-do’s romantic story. Listening in, Sook-hee agrees but points out that someone similar is in Ha-nee’s life as well. More importantly, Sook-hee adds, that person seems to make Ae-jung feel young again.
Speaking of our romantic hero, Dae-oh whines about Ae-jung getting discharged a day earlier than him and wonders how he’ll pass the time. He decides to get one last look at her before she goes and squishes her face in his hands. While they joke around, Ha-nee enters the room and closes the door loudly to make her presence known.
Taking Dae-oh out for a private talk, Ha-nee hands him a checklist for becoming her mom’s husband and offers to give him a chance if he meets all ten requirements. She tells him that she doesn’t need a dad but since he makes her mom laugh, maybe he can be her husband.
After being discharged, Ae-jung walks home with Ha-nee, and her daughter asks if she isn’t curious about her conversation with Dae-oh. Ae-jung admits that she is but won’t ask since she’ll understand Ha-nee no matter what.
Ha-nee stops walking and tells her mom to live her own life. Though she’s still angry at Dae-oh for achieving his dreams while Ae-jung raised her alone, she saw how worried she was about him and how happy she looked when he was next to her. Ae-jung wonders when her daughter grew this much and hugs her.
Ae-jung and Ha-nee find Yeon-woo’s boxes when they come home, and are shocked to learn that he’s moving out. Sharing a drink on the porch, Ae-jung apologizes for not treating him to a proper meal, and tells him that he’s always been a huge source of support for her—past and present.
Back when she was pregnant, their class note helped her through her fears, and she feels lucky to have met him again. He shares her sentiment, telling her that he was happy to have loved her.
In her room, Ae-jung reads Yeon-woo’s confession letter. Though words can’t describe how thankful he is, those are the only words he can say, but even more than that, he wants to tell her, “I like you.” Ae-jung places the letter back in the book and closes it, as if saying goodbye to that chapter in her life.
CEO Wang is kicked out of an illegal gambling den and beat up when he talks back to the gangsters. While he lies on the ground, Reporter Na and CEO Song walk up to him. The reporter threatens to write an article about the CEO embezzling funds and going to jail, causing the movie to flop. CEO Wang begs them to save him, but Reporter Na kicks him away since he ruined their lives.
The grubby CEO grabs the reporter, blaming them for spreading false rumors when the director is the real dad, and his last comment piques CEO Song’s interest. Back in her office, she watches the video of Dae-oh’s book concert and puts the pieces together.
In their car, Manager Myung asks Ryu Jin what’s bothering him, convinced that Ah-rin is threatening him again like the poop incident. Ryu Jin denies it, instead defending Ah-rin, and Manager Myung looks even more bewildered.
Dae-oh goes through Ha-nee’s checklist, and having found clarity, he begins editing the script—starting with the title. Ah-rin drops by to see him, but clarifies that she’s no longer interested in him. Dae-oh understands and promises to get better and make her into a world-wide star.
Ah-rin vows to really ignore him when she becomes that famous, and her words remind him of Hyo-shim. Once she leaves, Dae-oh smiles, happy to know that his old student grew up well, and outside his room, Ah-rin holds back her tears and walks away.
Ae-jung gets a text from Dae-oh, telling her to check her front gate, and asks her to dress up for tomorrow. Opening the box he left, she approves of his first-date present, though she gets embarrassed at the thought of a date.
The next morning, Dae-oh waits outside her house and gapes when Ae-jung comes out. The world moves in slow motion as she walks up to him, but he tells her that her clothes are weird… because she’s too pretty. He worries about the others thinking she might be a freshman, which leads them to their date: their alma mater.
He calls it his grand “Back to 2006” project, and they hold hands while walking around campus. Dae-oh snaps pictures of Ae-jung just like he did before, and she scolds him for not taking the photo with his left eye. He asks his sunbae if that’s why his heart is fluttering, and Ae-jung runs away in embarrassment.
On their walk, they come across some students filming, reminiscent of their first meeting, and to relive all their glory moments, Dae-oh even steals a patio umbrella. Unsurprisingly, an employee yells at him for stealing, and the couple runs away laughing. Students stare at the crazy duo, but Dae-oh just poses for their pictures. Heh.
Ha-nee puts away her notebook and Ae-jung’s old phone, officially concluding her dad-finding mission. Dong-chan asks if this means Dae-oh is her dad, but Ha-nee shakes her head since the ending isn’t that simple. Though Dong-chan approves of Dae-oh, Ha-nee doesn’t think his opinion matters but retracts her statement. She decides to let him have a say since he’s her number one agent.
Happy to have her acknowledgement, he shares his research on Dae-oh and tells her to read his books to learn more about her mom. While Ha-nee checks online, she clicks on a forum and is dismayed by the newest post claiming to reveal the writer’s secret. The poster claims the debut novel is a lie, spinning the tale so it looks like Dae-oh dumped his pregnant girlfriend.
Dae-oh takes Ae-jung into an empty theater on campus and disappears for a second. She finds him in the projection booth, but he turns her attention to the screen and plays her graduation film. As Ae-jung watches, Dae-oh sits next to her and tells her to enjoy the graduation she never had. He wanted to do this for her ever since he fell in love with her again, and Ae-jung says that this all feels like a dream.
He explains that this is his 37-year-old self fulfilling everything the 23-year-old him couldn’t do. He wants to be by her side until he dies and become a good dad to Ha-nee. He asks, “You were my first love, so be my last, too?”
Epilogue. The patio umbrella owner scolds the two of them for stealing and orders Dae-oh to return the umbrella. Ae-jung whispers to him that she’s scary, and he agrees, giggling.
With only one week and one episode left, the show is reaching its finale and tying up a couple of loose ends in this penultimate episode. Though I’m not expecting any last-minute changes in terms of storytelling, I still thought some of the conclusions in this episode were too neat. For instance, Pa-do’s mystery was resolved along with his relationship with Dong-chan, but everything felt too happy and healed. While I still find the father-son pair adorable—even if some of their exchanges felt stilted—Dong-chan’s acceptance of his father and his past felt rushed. Though Dong-chan got most of the answers he was looking for, the show doesn’t really give him the space to process everything that happened (he got one throwaway line about being traumatized by the kidnapping), so the audience only sees the end result: Dong-chan is grateful for Pa-do and realizes that his dad loves him. Their story concludes with them reaffirming their love, and Pa-do’s past as a gang member is mostly romanticized as being “manly.” Unfortunately, neither Pa-do nor Dong-chan are the main characters, so it makes sense for them to get less screen time. I just wish the show could have developed their relationship over a longer period of time rather than rely on one big moment to give them their happy ending.
The other ending that I found too neat was Ah-rin’s first love. In her roundabout way, Ah-rin says goodbye to Dae-oh, and he finally realizes who she is. For the most part, I’m glad she was able to move on, but her arc feels unsatisfactory. My problem with Ah-rin and Ryu Jin is that neither of them seem remorseful about what they did to Ae-jung and Dae-oh. While the couple’s relationship was already breaking before either’s involvement, both second leads’ intentions were malicious which is my issue with them. However, it doesn’t seem like the show will make Ah-rin apologize because the hospital scene felt like the closure to her crush (though I could be wrong). Repeating her past vow, Ah-rin leaves Dae-oh a second time, and while it served its purpose to make him recognize her, it doesn’t highlight her growth as a person, instead emphasizing how much she hasn’t changed. With that, her crush ends, being a mild nuisance in the present, and the show just moves on to the next problem.
Another major conclusion this episode was Yeon-woo’s crush, and unlike with Ah-rin, I actually liked his ending. As a character, I found him harmless at his best and overbearing at his worst (selena aptly pointed out how similar he was to Bo-hye in that regard), but with his last farewell (on the caveat that the show doesn’t do anything drastic in the last hour), I’ve come to like Yeon-woo as a friend to Ae-jung. I particularly enjoyed his interactions with Grandma this episode, and it made me realize that he probably wanted a loving family more than anything. Though he always called her “mother,” that last one he said hit differently, especially after his argument with Bo-hye. Even if it was only for a little while, he was able to experience the warmth of a mother, and it seems like Grandma recognized that longing he kept secret in his heart. I also thought his last comment to Ae-jung was sweet since, for the first time, he wasn’t trying to push his feelings onto her. He isn’t bitter about having a one-sided crush, which allows Ae-jung to move on and stop feeling apologetic towards him. Rather, she can remember him as the sweet kid whose unadulterated devotion helped her through her darkest period.
The last “ending” I want to talk about is Ha-nee’s dad-hunt. From the beginning, Ha-nee has been the real heart of the show, stealing scenes left and right. Even when I grew frustrated with Ae-jung, I wanted to believe she would be a good mother because Ha-nee loves her so much. More than any adult, Ha-nee has shown thoughtfulness and kindness to those around her, and has even learned to open up and let people into her life showing real character growth. As she ends her search, she realizes that the answer isn’t simple, and for me, that’s the main message the show should be about. Relationships aren’t simple, families aren’t simple, and emotions aren’t simple. Even if the show might neatly tie endings into a nice bow, reality isn’t as clean. Though I loved watching Dae-oh and Ae-jung being a cute couple on campus, they still have a lot of work to do if they want their relationship to last this time around. Hopefully, they can learn a lesson or two from Ha-nee because at the end of the day, I still want an overly-saccharine ending for our sweet middle school student.
- Premiere Watch: Men Are Men, The Good Detective, Was It Love, Graceful Friends, Train
- Song Ji-hyo’s four suitors come to save the day in new teaser for JTBC’s Did We Love
- Song Ji-hyo to be romanced by Sohn Ho-joon, Kim Min-joon, Gu Ja-sung, and Song Jong-ho in JTBC’s Begin Again
- Song Ji-hyo courted for upcoming JTBC romance drama Begin Again