Yumi’s Cells: Episodes 13-14 Open Thread (Final)
In the final week of our show, we meet our heroine at a crossroads. She’s put her heart and soul into her relationship, but the cracks that our couple have long been ignoring are starting to show. When they put their cards on the table, what will be their fate as couple?
EPISODES 13-14 WEECAP
The bad news is that our wonderful little show is over. The good news is that a Season 2 has already been announced. And the kinda-good-and-bad-at-the-same-time news is that with the ending we have this week, we need that second season more than anything. My heart was all over the place.
Woong’s announcement at the end of last week — that he was moving out from Yumi’s place — is as if he took an actual sword and swung it through their relationship. But as always with Woong, it’s not the action itself, but the lack of clarity and communication around the issue that becomes the true problem.
I’ve loved watching Yumi and Woong work through all their relationship hiccups, and have their love for each other keeping them marching forward, but our episodes this week take a realistic look at what happens in a relationship where issues aren’t addressed.
Woong is sorry to leave her house, but his pride gets in the way. There’s nothing wrong with his reasoning, but what makes it a disaster for their relationship is that he doesn’t explain it. I’m pretty sure Yumi would understand if he explained that he wanted to be in a better place financially before they married, or that he didn’t want to be seen as a freeloader. Instead, his whole “let’s talk about it later” thing is the kiss of death. And they both kind of realize it.
In Yumi’s Cell Village, this plays out with gourd-like punching bag where her cells “attack” when they’re angry over Woong. The bag has always held up, but this time, it cannot withstand the beating. And inside the broken bag lies the option to break up.
My heart feels like it was twisted and crushed this week; the slow erosion of their relationship is realistic and poignant and painful. When Yumi finally decides to tell him they need to take a break, Woong knows it’s coming (and so do his cells, busily assessing the data from Yumi’s word choice and tone of voice).
He agrees, which both breaks Yumi’s heart and relieves her — and it’s that war inside of her that makes this all the more real. The Love Cell is heartbroken and doesn’t want to do it, the Emotion and Rational Cells are in conflict with each other as much as ever, and we hear from everyone from the Pride Cell to the Lust Cell. It’s very sad and yet rings incredibly true.
Despite whispers of the original webtoon, I never expected our story to end with a breakup, so I was in denial until the very last scene. Surely Woong wouldn’t let her go that easily, especially after Yumi has finally shifted to the top of his priority list? Even his secret lunch date with Sae-yi — which should have been a giant red flag — didn’t make me think they would be breaking up. I was not ready when he announced that Yumi’s mention of marriage made him realize they were on two different pages.
Again, the most frustrating part of this breakup is that despite the pain they’re both feeling, neither really opens up about what broke between them. Woong and Sae-yi, Woong’s intentions around marriage, what might keep him from committing to Yumi — they never discussed these things, even in their final meeting together.
It’s tragic as well that they meet to break up at the same place where they first met for their blind date. But even this had me tricked – surely it’s as good enough a callback for a proposal? Why does it have to be a break up? Woong lays his card on the table, and Yumi is forced to follow his lead. They part ways. Yumi looks back at Woong as he walks away, but he does not turn around.
While Yumi and her cells are suffering through the break that’s inevitably leading to the breakup, we see a little bit more of Bobby. Either this drama is king at emotional manipulation, or the character of Bobby is that good: whenever he’s onscreen, I forget that Woong even exists. I like Bobby’s depth and insight, and his willingness to communicate about emotional things around Yumi. Could it be the story has been setting them up to be a better and stronger couple than Yumi and Woong ever were? (There have long been hints!)
Bobby senses Yumi’s distress, and is supportive and understanding — but also emotionally present for her in a way that perhaps Woong never was. There’s always a glimmer of flirtation in Bobby’s interactions with her, though. While he never crosses the line, it also makes me think that he’s open to pursuing a relationship with her as they both heal from their broken hearts.
I’m not at all used to dealing with seasons in dramaland, so the rather abrupt ending here really shook me. And while a part of me would have rather had a happy ending with Woong, and an end to the drama, I can admit that this ending does feel more authentic to our story (and life). In dramaland, couples are inevitably swept off their feet, face their challenges, and then earn their happy ending.
In Yumi’s Cells, though, we see that not all romances end with a happy ending, and that relationships and experiences are all a part of what build our life’s story — even when they’re painful.
Yumi’s Cells has done so many things well, but I think this aspect of the story is my favorite: that Yumi’s world, and the story of her life, keeps unfolding, and that the very ups are downs are what make it life. If ever I was willing to trade my cohesive single-series K-drama format for a multi-season format, Yumi’s Cells would be the reason, so despite the feeling of an extended intermission that we’re about to endure, I’m glad that the story gets to live on.