Sunbae, Don’t Put on That Lipstick: Episodes 15-16 Open Thread (Final)
Our couple promised to stick together no matter what, but the lengthy and long distance separation took its toll. In our finale, we learn what broke them apart, and then watch what happens when they come face to face again, three years later. Is the rupture in their relationship irreparable? Or will they be able to resolve the issues that pulled them apart, and earn their happy ending?
EPISODES 15-16 WEECAP
After a painful and perplexing bit of episodes last week, we get all the details filled in — what happened when Song-ah left for Europe, what happened to our couple during the time she was there, and why they had such a painful encounter when they met again in Seoul three years later.
It was pretty sad to see it play out, but also rather realistic when we think of the dynamics we had been seeing in their relationship. Song-ah and Hyun-seung keep their long distance love going, but every six months or so when they’re due to visit each other, Song-ah’s work responsibilities throw a spanner in the works. Hyun-seung is ever the understanding and patient partner, but eventually it’s Song-ah that feels so bad that she pushes them both into a teary, tortured breakup.
However, three years later, she has decided to leave her post early. She comes back to Seoul, later admitting it’s because she misses home — and misses Hyun-seung — and pretty soon she’s even back on the KLAR team. I love this crew of people, so I’m happy she’s back with them. Everyone has advanced in their careers, but they’re still the same bunch, and everyone is as concerned about how Song-ah and Hyun-seung will handle working together as we are.
In the beginning, it’s as awkward as can be expected. Hyun-seung is cold but polite, and clearly (and understandably) has a wall built up. We learn from his friend how hard he took the breakup, and it’s hard not to feel on his side of this… which is why their reconciliation worked so nicely.
Now, it’s Song-ah’s turn to pursue Hyun-seung, and she does it quite adorably. She’s open and honest about her feelings for him, she tries to “show her sincerity,” and she also deeply apologizes for how she treated him. It’s the recognition that Song-ah didn’t appreciate Hyun-seung fully, or make him her priority, that really lands this whole thing for me — and that makes their reconciliation so delicious. (Also, their chemistry continues to be the death of me.)
I liked this section of the drama much more than I expected to. Rather than feeling rushed or pat, I liked the balance it (eventually) brings to their relationship — i.e., that they are now reaching, yearning for, and valuing each other equally. Also, on a more shallow note, I could watch tortured Hyun-seung all day, from the tension between them at work, to the way he’s so obviously as attracted to her as ever, and trying to subdue it.
The Hyun-seung we meet three years later might seem cold, but it doesn’t take much at all for Song-ah to melt him back into his former marshmallow self. She does all of the things that he used to do for her — which signify she’s putting him and his needs first, whether it’s bringing him food when he’s working late, noticing when he’s feeling sick, or making sure he’s safe during a fire “emergency.”
She’s not shy that she wants to get him back, and Hyun-seung all but tells her to try to win him over. It’s sexy, yes — but it’s even more so because it’s full of forgiveness. It also hammers the point for me about how this drama really centered on the qualities of our hero. We saw early on how those qualities are capable of coming out too harshly and aggressively, but we also saw how they make him into someone of uncompromising character. His love of Song-ah trumps any pride or hurt or other negative emotions, and in his own time, he takes her back.
As for the wrap-up of our other storylines, three years later, Ji-seung and Jae-woon are getting married (aw!). They have their little spats, but these two seem to complement each other well, and both play the role of the mentor and confidant for the younger characters. It was lovely to see this play out with Ji-seung comforting her sister, and with Jae-woon and his new “hyung” relationship with Hyun-seung.
As for our previous aggressors, Jae-shin and Hyo-joo, both find themselves in a good place after our time jump. Old wounds have healed and they’re able to meet amicably and look back on their past after learning from it. It’s a nice healing moment, but it also paints a sad contrast for the conclusion of Yeon-seung and Woo-hyun’s story (and marriage).
Three-years-later Woo-hyun looks so happy and at peace. He’s more engaged with his family than we’ve ever seen before, and it made me feel so hopeful for their family unit. Alas, we soon learn that it was just a chapter for them.
Yeon-seung agreed to keep their marriage intact while Woo-hyun looked into his heart, and three years later he’s done that. He’s ready to accept that he’s gay, and to leave the family. Ugh, this hurts my heart, and seeing little Ha-eun sobbing in her bed all but killed me. This storyline was handled very gently, but I still found it quite sad, and it added a bit of bittersweet to an otherwise happy and healing drama ending.
But back to the happy, and our wonderful main couple, it’s rare that a dramaland couple affects me as strongly as this one did. The middle of the drama, when they were happily dating and in love, was the stuff that butterflies are made of — and it’s not because the drama did anything that other dramas haven’t done. Instead, there was just something in the chemistry, something in the tone, and something about the love that was depicted that will last a long time in my heart.
It’s as if Sunbae knew, too, and they gave us that delightful easter egg of an epilogue moment where Hyun-seung and Song-ah are in their wedding tux and dress, ready to seal the deal. (It’s also a nice callback to him offering his hand, and Song-ah gladly taking it this time.)
In short, it’s the perfect ending for this couple, and there’s nothing more I wanted from this drama than to see them happy and committed to each other as a married couple. Sometimes the most quintessential endings are the most delicious.
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