True Beauty: Episodes 15-16 Open Thread (Final)
In its final week, True Beauty throws us a few curveballs along the lines of noble idiocy, fan service, and some manufactured drama. But, since the real substance of our story was beautifully concluded last week, our final episdoes wind up feeling more like filler than actual wrap-up.
EPISODES 15-16 WEECAP
All in all, I really enjoyed True Beauty, so I don’t want to let my annoyance over the two final episodes take away from that. So, let’s briefly talk about why these episodes were disappointing — but without letting it detract from the drama, since overall it really was fun and sweet.
As mentioned above, the main storyline was wrapped up last week, and quite well. This begs the question, why not end the series around Episode 13/14, with a nice solid and satisfying landing? We might never understand the true reasoning, but the drama’s final week seems purely for the sake of filling space, alluding to source material for fans, and — oh yeah — giving us the full-fledged second lead agony we didn’t get to experience at maximum force during the previous fourteen episodes.
The downside of these final two episodes is: a two-year jump, an incomprehensible breakup between Joo-kyung and Soo-ho, and major heartache for Seo-joon. The bright side, though? More Seo-joon.
But is that enough to make it worthwhile? For me, it wasn’t. I would have rather kept the future in the future, and enjoyed a good wrap-up. Instead, we take a final turn with our characters, our love triangle, and see where they land as young adults.
The cliffhanger last week made it look like Seo-joon and Joo-kyung were dating (or, it did to me). I got played. They’re not dating, but they’re very close. Seo-joon is a fixture in the house, sleeps over, is comfortable with the family… and he’s still very much in love with Joo-kyung.
After our two-year time jump, Joo-kyung is single, and here’s why: Soo-ho was delayed in the States due to his father’s grave illness, and he decides it’s better for them to have a painful and nonsensical break-up rather than have her “wait for him.”
I’m not against all expressions of noble idiocy, but this instance was not well-received by yours truly. This couple is, and has been, adorable and committed. They’re heartbroken to part. It makes no sense why they can’t have a long-distance relationship for a little bit instead.
But logic be damned. Soo-hoo pulls radio silence for about two years, and when he finally turns back up in Seoul (looking more mature and also hotter, I might add), he’s got a one-track mind: Where is Joo-kyung. Why is he looking for her now? Why was it okay to leave her for two years, but now that he’s back, it’s okay to find her again? I don’t know.
The two have a fateful first snow meeting at Namsan Tower, but Joo-kyung nurses her broken heart and tries to avoid Soo-ho for a bit. She’s also a little confused, because this re-meeting is exactly at the same time that Seo-joon finally works up the nerve to confess to Joo-kyung. Two years this boy waited. Now he makes his move. It’s the second leadiest of moves, and I’ll never get tired of the “just three dates” concept, and the self-sacrificing sweetness of our textbook second leads.
Indeed, Seo-joon really outdoes himself here. He’s being swoony towards Joo-kyung, but he can tell as well as we can that she has no romantic feelings for him. He also knows that once Soo-ho is back (and so is their adorable bromance!) that he has no chance at all. So, rather than duke it out, he tells a fib that serves to bring Joo-kyung and Soo-ho back together for good. Sigh.
Joo-kyung and Soo-ho getting back together is the crux of the final episodes, and really the only story left is just the fun of learning where everyone landed. Joo-kyung is working for Selena’s make-up company and showing promise, Seo-joon and his group are about to make their big debut, and Soo-ho patched things up with his father.
In addition to this, there’s our cute side stories. Hee-kyung gets married to the homeroom teacher (and it’s as redonkulous as you can imagine), Go-woon finally gives in to Joo-young, Soo-ah and Tae-hoon get back together as twenty-somethings, and Soo-jin (having earned redemption) is back with a kinder heart but an even fiercer side kick.
I love the characters in True Beauty so I’m not sorry to see more of them, even if it’s tangential. However, something about these final episodes felt unnecessary, and (for me anyway) it took away from the richness of the story that preceded it. I’m not against filler and fluff, but I’m against filler and fluff that pretends it’s essential when it’s not.
All in all, the drama does stay true to its color and tone, even through the ending episodes. And it’s always fun to have a story that doesn’t forget its characters, and gives them all a happy ending — much like Joo-kyung and Soo-ho’s little moment at the close of the drama, together at the manhwa shop choosing their next read: Happy Ending.
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