[Fix That Ending] HEA for Na Hee-do and Baek Yi-jin
by Guest Beanie
By @kathystrobos (Kathykat)
What I didn’t like about Twenty Five Twenty One’s conclusion: the present-day storyline, 2009 interview, and breakup. In my rewrite I would take out the present-day storyline altogether, and also the 2009 interview. I would keep the story lines of Yoo-rim and the others, but revise certain scenes with Hee-do and Yi-jin. Here’s how I’d fix the ending.
First, I would start by revising Hee-do’s conversation with her mother about Yi-jin and the friction with his career. Here’s how the scene would go:
MOM: I’m asking if that’s okay.
HEE-DO: Yes, because it’s different. You never said you were sorry. You didn’t even explain. I had to figure out on my own, as a child, that a newsflash meant you wouldn’t be at my father’s funeral. And when you “reported” on my gold medal, you didn’t come home and say “I’m sorry.” You yelled at me. I’ll take Yi-jin’s sorry, because Yi-jin believes in me even when he’s not there. And when he is with me, he shows me so much love. And because Yi-jin tries to find the truth, not the slant that will create more news. So, I’m going to have to live with him missing important events. I don’t need him physically by my side at all times. I can stand on my own two feet, because his love and belief in me is by my side.
MOM: I had to put my career first to have a career.
HEE-DO: But you didn’t have to put me last.
MOM: I’m sorry.
Next, I would keep the rest of Episode 15, but revise the final scenes. Yi-jin stays in New York for another month, and Hee-do watches him on TV. When it’s just his voiceover, he calls her because he knows that she will miss his face. Yi-jin is depressed and has the conversation with his senior about hope.
Then, I would move up these two scenes from Episode 16: Yi-jin reads the letter from the woman he interviewed, who thanks him for his reporting despite her colleague not surviving. He talks to the firefighter, who tells him that life goes on through people doing their jobs despite the circumstances.
The late-night conversation with Hee-do starts the same, until the point where Yi-jin says that his senior says there is no hope in this world.
HEE-DO: Where are you finding hope?
YI-JIN: In telling the stories of the people who died. In making them live on in words. And in sharing their last heroic acts. In finding the heroes.
HEE-DO: So, don’t get too sad. There is hope and you’re finding it. You’re doing important work. I’ll come visit you.
YI-JIN: Don’t come. I don’t want you to experience this. You can’t ask me to make you share this.
HEE-DO: I’ll come visit. I told you I was going to share this with you.
YI-JIN: Don’t come. I promise I’ll be back by New Year’s Eve.
Then the last scene of Episode 15 would be New Year’s Eve, when Hee-do returns to where they spent last New Year’s Eve, alone. She tries calling him, but he doesn’t pick up.
First Scene: Yi-jin shows up to join her for New Year’s Eve, with the red suitcase in hand, having just flown in from New York. They hug and have their usual fun together that night.
(Side note: I lived through 9/11 in NYC and I don’t understand why he was still there four months later. There was no new news about it by that point. The realization that there were no survivors happened within that first month. And then it became about telling their stories. It was deeply traumatic, so the trauma he felt was realistic. Also, there was survivor’s guilt, but the other lesson was to hold your loved ones close and appreciate them all the more because life is precious.)
Next scene: Yi-jin wakes up with a nightmare, unable to sleep. Hee-do comforts him.
Next scene: Yi-jin has vacation because he’s just returned from New York; they go on a short trip with red suitcases. He cooks at home for her while she trains. They meet up with the gang.
Next scene: To me, Yi-jin should have character growth. Yi-jin feels very deeply, and his line that resonated with me is when he’s upset about the crane incident – he says, “this shouldn’t be happening anymore.” So, Yi-jin becomes a local investigative reporter, uncovering corruption and working on longer, more in-depth stories, having learned in New York that he couldn’t realize those goals in his current position.
The next few scenes would show Yi-jin reporting on corruption and making a name for himself as a reporter who cares. Because these stories are in-depth, his schedule is more his own than if he is reporting on immediate crises.
After a time jump of a few years, we see Hee-do and Yi-jin each make their own plans for proposing to each other in the tunnel.
Hee-do wins more gold medals and is interviewed and says the toughest match was with Yoo-rim. Hee-do retires, as in the existing scene with Yoo-rim and the press except Yi-jin is there too. Yi-jin’s brother meets Seung-wan. Yi-jin brings his family back together.
Final scenes: Hee-do and Yoo-rim run the fencing training center together. Together, they train new athletes and have fun, with the coach stopping by periodically. They celebrate their athletes winning medals by ordering from the bakery of the fencer who quit.
To be faithful to the fleeting nature of youth theme, the gang, in the present day, tries to get together, but it’s difficult to plan with everyone’s family and work commitments. That spontaneity of youth is gone.
Hee-do suggests a date for a dinner with the gang. Seung-wan says she has a shoot that night. Hee-do suggests another date, after looking at a calendar filled with her schedule, her children’s school events, and Yi-jin’s schedule. They arrange a date at the restaurant. And finally, they all arrive, one after the other. The three couples hug each other and eat, chatting and laughing.