Love All Play: Episodes 15-16 (Final)
As our little drama comes to a close, our couple faces some final hurdles. But maybe it’s all part of a bigger plan, because somehow — given some time to heal and more chances to forgive — everyone finds themselves right where they need to be.
EPISODES 15-16 WEECAP
My cheeks hurt from smiling so much — that’s the reward this drama gave us in its final week, after pummeling our hearts (and Tae-yang and Tae-joon’s) for so long now. Happily, the drama took its time to bring everything full circle, and the gentle and natural route this took more than made up for the swift changes in Joon-young and Jung-hwan last week. In other words, I’m a happy camper.
We open up where we left off: Tae-joon’s worked up the courage to ask Tae-yang to be his partner (for now, just in badminton), and it’s swoonalicious. She rejects the offer, of course, because she’s Tae-yang. But rather than self-flagellation mode, Tae-yang has changed a bit once she’s been forgiven by Joon-young. She seems less burdened; her final arc is about learning not only that she’s allowed to be loved, but that she’s also allowed to be happy.
Tae-yang tries to do what’s right and respectful when it comes to Tae-joon and his family, but in her heart she’s dying to play with him. Joon-young, over the phone, gives Tae-yang the quick approval she seeks and while I’m still a little miffed at how someone so cruel could change her tune so quickly, I also like what it says about forgiveness. As Joon-young tries to explain to her still-terrible mother, once she chose to forgive, it was so much easier than she thought. Much to my satisfaction, Joon-young will even later act as the key that changes her mother’s heart towards Tae-yang — but we’ll get to that later.
After getting Joon-young’s okay, Tae-yang agrees to be Tae-joon’s mixed doubles partner after all. And the smiles are coming back, folks! There’s a tournament for our couple to prepare for, and cute dinners to have with Jung-hwan and Yoo-min (lol to the two girls saying their partner is cuter).
For Tae-joon, everything is riding on this tournament, and he makes it clear to Tae-yang that after it’s over, he’s going to confess to her. I love his directness; it’s the perfect match for that smile. But I digress.
Actually, so does the drama, because like last week, it gives a bit more attention to our supporting characters, and we get to enjoy Seung-woo coming back for a final match (partnered with Tae-joon; I love them together), and later, his sweet moments with Young-shim. I’m so happy the drama gave these two a happy ending; they’re great together. And speaking of great together, so are Jung-hwan and Yoo-min.
Everyone’s busy training for the tournament, but the drama takes the time to gives us cute bonding moments — like our
meteor shower thunderstorm. It’s too overcast to see the meteor shower, but Tae-joon and Tae-yang share a moment together away from the team. She asks Tae-joon what he’ll wish for… to win the tournament? Success? Happiness? But Tae-joon says without hesitation that his wish is to kiss her right then.
It’s storming instead of shooting stars in the sky, but Tae-joon boldly says that he’ll make his wish come true on his own, and this kiss is one of the most romantic moments our couple has shared. Squeeeee. It’s also a nice metaphor for Tae-joon, who used to be on autopilot, but now he’s got things to fight for.
Tae-yang even notices this change in him, and we get a callback to how easily he forfeited a game at the opening of the drama. Now, they find themselves in the opposite position. Tae-joon intends to play, and had been playing, with his knee barely recovered, and when no one is looking, he limps and winces. He continues to play despite his doctor’s orders (and common sense), but Jung-hwan’s turned into such a solid friend — we see him taking notice of Tae-joon’s knee and even trying to stop him before he injures himself.
Tae-joon refuses to forfeit the game, and is willing to risk his knee, but instead an accident decides the fate of the Park twins’ tournament finals for them. The pair is squabbling awfully near to the top of a staircase — Tae-yang has found out how bad his knee is — and sure enough, she loses her footing and falls down the flight. The game is forfeited, but she sits with Tae-joon in the back of an ambulance with the biggest smile on her face: I saved your leg, she says gleefully.
I’d say at this point going forward is when the massive grin found its way on my face, and just refused to leave until the credits rolled. The Park twins get a silver medal by default (and the ever-adorable Jung-hwan/Yoo-min win gold by default), but the biggest treat is both of them in hospital gowns and crutches, running around the hospital.
The team goes to visit them at one point, and in a hilarious reveal, Joon-young and Tae-joon both call out, “Mom!” at the same time — and just like that, the secret is out. It’s all fun and cuteness when the team realizes the truth, and I’m at the point where I could watch the team interact all day and never get bored. How dare you make me care so much for all these characters, Show!
Tae-joon’s parents learn that it was thanks to Tae-yang that Tae-joon didn’t bust his knee playing, and though it’s not enough to change their hard-as-rock hearts — yet — it sows important seeds. And here’s where Joon-young helps, outright telling her mother that she’s always been on her side and it’s time she took Tae-joon’s. Preach it!
We jump a month ahead, and Tae-joon’s completing his rehab and syncs up with everyone again. He’s dying to get back together with Tae-yang, but they agree to wait until he has a 100% probability for success.
And then it’s time for more fun. We meet up with Coach Lee and Tae-yang’s dad drinking together again — this time they’re not
complaining bragging about their daughters, but their daughters’ love interests. Hilariously, we replay what the two dads did last time, with the boys rushing to the bar, both trying to earn approval.
Jung-hwan’s situation is a little more funny, showering Coach Lee with gifts while the Coach love-hates him, but Tae-joon’s is more earnest — as it needs to be, since he’s the hero asking for the long-suffering heroine’s hand. He kneels before Tae-yang’s father to ask for his permission, and it’s so nice to see everyone wanting Tae-yang happy for a change.
The couple continues to be patient and wait, slowly winning over the elders as spring turns into summer. There was something about the way this played out that I really loved. Despite finding Tae-joon’s family absolutely impossible, I understood — and the story crafted it well — how much Tae-yang needed their approval before she could accept Tae-joon’s heart for keeps.
For Tae-yang, her journey was really learning that she was worthy of being happy, despite what had happened in her past. Though much of her growth was due to her situation changing, I liked that we saw her go from guilt and self-punishment to a point where she was willing to fight for her happiness and claim it.
Particularly touching was that moment during the tournament when a fan follows the Yunis bus to the stadium. Everyone thinks it’s a Jung-hwan fangirl, but when Tae-yang sees her… weep! It’s her little sister (who we saw briefly during Tae-yang’s visit to her mother’s shop), and she’s holding up a Park Tae-yang sign and cheering her on — even playing hooky to do so. It’s such a touching moment for the drama, and for our heroine, who went from isolated and ostracized, to loved and cheered for.
The Park twins have waited, and all that goodness and patience pays off. Tae-joon’s mother slowly relents, and maybe understands just a little bit how much bitterness she’s been bleeding onto everyone. Our couple meets up and shares some killer smiles and an even more killer embrace. Sigh, I will miss them.
As the drama ends, the Park twins get their second chance not only in love, but in badminton, and they’re off to play mixed doubles again (opposite our other couple) at the tournament the following year. But it’s not who wins that’s important – and the drama knows that. The real heart of the story is in what happened to get these characters to that moment on the court, playing their hearts out together.