Do You Like Brahms: Episodes 15-16 Open Thread (Final)
We’ve reached the end of our tale, and that means saying goodbye to two characters that we have all grown to love dearly. We’ve followed them through their ups and downs in love and in music, and in its final week Do You Like Brahms ties it all together in a lovely and appropriate ending.
EPISODES 15-16 WEECAP
It’s been a bleak journey of late for Joon-young and Song-ah, and although breaking up is what needed to happen, neither of them are any happier for it. We watch them going sadly through their days as if they’re in mourning for something. Their heartbreak extends to their music too, and both Song-ah and Joon-young (separately, but still so linked) make it known that they’re going to quit their respective instruments.
It’s a bit shocking for both, but in different ways. Music is a part of both of their identities — that goes without saying. But for Song-ah, giving up the violin feels like giving up her dreams; and for Joon-young, he’s not only giving up his livelihood, but his entire world. I didn’t expect either of them to be so forceful about their desires to renounce their music, but it struck a chord as it played out.
That desire to get rid of, or denounce, something, whether it makes you miserable or happy, is such a compelling response to their pain. It’s as if both of them are trying to root out the source of their unhappiness. I hate seeing them in pain, but it also made me hopeful that they might find their way back to each other.
We’ve been waiting since the start of the drama for the moment when Joon-young and Song-ah would play together, and this week, it finally happens. Even though Song-ah intends to quit the violin, she follows through with her graduate performance — though she changes her performance piece at the last minute from the Franck sonata… to Brahms. Oh, the metaphors!
What a gorgeous scene this is — I felt like the wait was worth it, because their performance is packed with so much emotion, even the horrid professors have to recognize it. Our couple is still very much broken up and broken-hearted at this point, but they’re able to put all that into their performance. It’s a recognition of everything that’s happened between them, and it also feels like a final goodbye.
But I’m not ready for a goodbye — and either is anyone else, really. Young-in’s face when she finds out they broke up was pretty much my exact face, and I love how the drama captured that something is not quite right with these two apart. They’re trying to do what’s right, and protect themselves from pain, or hurting each other, but it’s not really working.
After the recital, Song-ah is looking gorgeous and ethereal in her gown, and the emotions between her and Joon-young in her dressing room are palpable. She turns to leave, sure she needs to say goodbye, but his beautiful confession makes her turn around. He’s so earnest, and so obviously lost without her, how can she not be moved? They come to an understanding here — Song-ah asks him for time, and asks if he can wait for her. It’s a great reversal of their first confession, and works to bring everything full circle.
Our finale week does such a nice job of showing the passage of time, without doing a big time jump, and without feeling rushed. The pace is such that you can feel the healing and maturing happening while Joon-young and Song-ah resolve the other conflicts in their personal lives. The death of Director Nah signals the end of an era almost, and though everyone is mourning her greatly, it’s as if the past that caught Joon-young, Jung-kyung, and Hyun-ho in a quagmire was gently put aside.
There’s an interesting subtlety in how the past tension between our trio is healed over. With time, maturity, and life experience, they’re slowly able to resolve their conflicts and move on, and even play together. Despite feeling stung by Jung-kyung again and again during the course of this story, I found I forgave her at the end; I liked the glimpses of the more mature woman we see at the end of our tale.
Do You Like Brahms has been a story that’s a lot about goodbyes — whether that’s to people, or chapters in our lives, or things that we loved and had to let go of. For Song-ah, this means saying goodbye to her precious violin. This part of the story is couched in a way that I quite like: just like an unrequited love, Song-ah says that she loved the violin more than it loved her. Because it’s time for her to move on, she’s able to let go of it.
I expected this to come, since we were never presented with a way for Song-ah to find success as a professional musician. Instead, she winds up where I secretly wanted her: working with Young-in at Kyunghoo. By the end of our story Song-ah seems content there, as with her decision, but there’s certainly something bittersweet about it. And bittersweet feels just right, since it was a love affair she had to chose to end in order to be happy.
The same sort of argument is used with Joon-young and Song-ah’s relationship — the trials they’ve been through make it bittersweet, but in the end they realize that the joy they received from each other out-weighed the hardships.
Song-ah has to mature and face her insecurities, but Joon-young also has things to learn before he can find his way back to Song-ah as well. It was satisfying to see him encourage his mother to divorce, to permanently break from Professor Yoo, and to choose not to compete anymore, instead focusing on performances that make him happy.
He creates a recital, the entire scope of which is basically a love letter to Song-ah. It pulls in all the things we know about Joon-young, and how he speaks through his music, and he bravely puts his heart out there on the stage. Each piece he plays is a huge metaphor for how he feels about Song-ah, and the Brahms-Clara-Schumann rhetoric confirms everything we need to know. Joon-young is now complete and whole enough to win Song-ah’s heart back.
Despite the fact that I can’t figure out why Song-ah wasn’t present for Joon-young’s entire love confession recital (why, story?), she catches the parts that matter, and her heart is so overcome that they’re ready to join hands again. After some heartfelt tears and kisses in the dressing room, that is.
Do You Like Brahms took us on a journey with our characters, and though at times it was a bit tormented, I like the way we’ve come full circle. The drama didn’t try to wipe out the pain and conflicts that our couple faced — problems weren’t quickly washed away and forgotten, and their past heartbreak still left scars. Instead, the message was that love was more important than all of these things, and I found this a rather poignant point to end on.
Our characters have changed a lot from when we met them in the summer, all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. At the close of our story, the season has changed as much as they have changed. What they’ve experienced forced them to grow (and endure a lot of growing pains), and also led them to each other in the end.
To the drama that made us look forward to months of Mondays — and that told us it’s okay to have baggage and make mistakes, and that there’s still magic out there — thank you, Brahms.
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