Yumi’s Cells 2: Episodes 13-14 (Final)
As we reach the close of our tale, we end pretty much where we started: following our heroine on her journey, all with the feeling that though we’ve shared a few precious years with her, her story isn’t over yet. Somehow, we come to a solid ending that’s hard to be displeased with, but at the same time leaves me feeling unsatisfied.
EPISODES 13-14 WEECAP
This sort of drama — and its ending bunch of episodes — are the sort that I would normally sit on for a few weeks until they settled in and I was sure how I felt about them (much like with Twenty Five Twenty One). However, here we are, gathered to share our feelings on the ending of Yumi’s Cells. And at risk of sounding like a spoiled brat, this was my knee jerk reaction to the ending: it ended the way I thought it should, but for some reason I’m still not happy. I don’t love spending the afternoon sighing after finishing a drama.
It’s hard to judge the ending episodes (and by that I mean the last six episodes of season 2) without looking at both seasons of the drama as a whole, so I’ll do that at the end. But first, a quick recap of how our finale episodes went down.
We open up a bit after the tearful and romantic marriage proposal, not learning how it concluded until Ruby and Yi-da do: Yumi and Bobby are engaged! Much like their entire romance, it’s all magical and delightful, from Bobby’s sweet promise that they’ll be happy together, to the fact that they both want a small Hawaii wedding.
To make this engagement even more precious, Yumi finally meets Bobby’s tteokbokki-making father (cameo by Jeon No-min) sans the hilarious chaebol reenactments this time. In reality, his father is standoffish but kind; Yumi quickly wins over “Scrooge Jung” thanks to her authentic appetite — and an intentional projecting of herself as a sweet and doe-eyed young woman (which requires a hilarious Sailor Moon-esque transformation).
And the sweetness just continues! In our next vignette, Yumi has a cold, and we linger here for quite a bit longer than necessary (is it just me or am I saying that a lot lately?) as her cells fight the invading virus. What we really came to see, of course, is Bobby nursing her like a devoted husband. He’s so tender with her. They feel married already. I’m loving everything about this. Rinse and repeat.
In the same vignette, Yumi meets up with Woong again where he forces himself to congratulate her on her engagement. As usual, we see more of Woong’s cells than Bobby’s… and it’s making me mighty nervous. As does the fact that when she’s asked if she loves Bobby, Yumi literally can’t answer (because the cell that needs to reply is still lost in space). Oh no, what is this show even doing right now? I feel like I’m being toyed with.
And that feeling only continues when Yumi later sees Bobby’s phone ring, and it’s… Intern Da-eun. Yumi doesn’t bring it up (that we know of), but Bobby sees it and is visibly unhappy and deletes Da-eun from his phone forever. We even learn that Da-eun was drunk and horrified that she even called him. Still, it’s meant to show us the crack is still there in their relationship.
Here the story does a thing I hate, building up the tension of this wait-is-something-wrong-between-our-couple, but then not showing us a thing, and making us wait to figure out what happened. We then skip eight months into the future, which is enough to send any regular drama watcher into a full-fledged panic.
Sure enough, where we land at this point feels like an Answer Me-esque game of Guess the Husband. Our camera turns again to Woong, who can’t exactly bring himself to open the wedding invite Yumi sent him, and he’s visibly distraught when he sees her apartment being emptied and marches in there himself to see what’s up.
Yumi and Woong meet and he learns that — shocker — Yumi and Bobby have broken up. Again. She’s purchased and is remodeling her dear apartment. And the wedding invite? It was for Dae-young and Yi-da (make that make sense!). It’s about this point where I sighed sadly and said to no one, “I think I hate this show.”
I love a story that keeps me guessing, and that brings a unique lens, which is exactly how I felt during all of season 1. But I don’t love a story that feels like it put a choke collar on me and is dragging me around just for fun. And that’s pretty much how I felt from our time jump onward.
But wait, was all of that intentional? In our next vignette, we see Yumi struggling to complete her sequel novel, and the online comments play out in a way that’s fabulously self-referential. The online commenters complain: “Why did you even make a sequel? Just end it if you don’t have anything to say!” It’s as if the drama writers can read my mind.
And then, Yumi’s editor wisely says the comments are harsh because the story is ending and her audience is worried it won’t be a happy ending. At this point, I changed my mind — maybe I don’t hate this drama. Maybe they are going to pull it all together since they’re clearly poking at us right now. But that feeling didn’t last long, because even as the final episode ties up, we are still shoved into the guessing game of who Yumi ends up with.
When she loses her laptop with her manuscript (which she didn’t backup, which I can’t even imagine any writer not doing), she goes into a tailspin… but both of her charming and supportive exes are there to help her. Woong sends her a top of the line replacement, while it’s Bobby (whom we haven’t seen for eight months since the dreaded Da-eun call) who comes to her rescue, thanks to some serendipity.
Bobby’s contacted by the cafe where Yumi left the laptop, and the two go on a wild goose chase of trying to exchange the laptop — all while under the pressure of time, because not only is Bobby about to miss his flight to Singapore (where he’s now been stationed), but this dang drama is about to end and there is still not a pinch of commitment in sight from our writers. They just keep bouncing back and forth between Bobby and Woong, making both seem equally viable as end game. And so, if you’re like me, at this point you’re on the edge of your couch, waiting for them to land this plane.
Finally, we reach what feels like our final arc. Finally, our camera lingers solely on Yumi as we watch her struggle to write and eventually craft the perfect ending for her sequel. And the successful ending of her novel — and the year-end celebration party — is the mechanism that’s supposed to pull together the whole thing.
Yumi’s success and confidence is solid now, and as her cells host their annual Year-End Cell Awards, we see how much gratefulness and warmth Yumi has towards her two exes: Bobby (with whom she’s been sharing thankful texts) as the one who inspired her to dream and supported her; Woong (after she finds out he’s been commenting on her novel) as the other one that always supported her. So, they both win Best Cell awards lol. I’m pleased by this, so why do I feel so… flat?
Yumi muses that even though her relationships with both men are over, their history will always exist. While this is lovely, it also seems unrealistic because at this point Yumi has Woong tripping over himself to help her (quite literally), and Bobby still single but fibbing that he’s not so as not to pressure her. While I can enjoy the fact that both men cherish/cherished Yumi so much, it also seems to me that they would have moved on by now… because Yumi is about to.
After almost a year since Love cell disappeared, she finally finds her way back to Yumi’s village and is welcomed with open arms (especially after Writer cell abandoned his throne). We are promised that she will now be happy.
Simultaneously, Yumi is introduced to her new editor — a seemingly uptight dude by the name of SHIN SOON-ROK whose presence is only teased at. I don’t have to know the original webtoon to know what’s up here; the drama makes it more than clear. And with that, our drama ends.
And here is where I have to try to wrangle all my thoughts, because while I really like where we ended (theoretically) — with Yumi at our center and her cells adoringly supporting her — the path we took to get there makes less than perfect sense.
When Woong was reintroduced to the story a few episodes ago, and our drama started flip-flopping between Yumi’s two suitors, I questioned why. I said I’d rather have the story be about Yumi as the sole hero as was promised in season 1. Well, we kind of landed there in the end, so I’m happy in one sense, but also, why all the teasing and red herrings and time jumps and scene cuts, all which quite plainly forced us to focus on Yumi’s ending being about which guy she winds up with? If the heroes were supposed to come and go to help Yumi grow into an even more epic heroine, why didn’t we focus more on that? And if the drama instead yanked our hearts around from Woong to Bobby and back again a million times, finally deciding that the camera was only supposed to be on Yumi, why tease suitor #3 at the end?
Complaints and storytelling confusion aside, I don’t want to end Yumi on a sour note, because it really was a lovely and imaginative drama. With a little more cohesion and a clearer trajectory I think I could have loved it through and through, but unfortunately, the drama’s vignette-like format started to work against it.
All in all, though, the good outweighed the bad, and I’ll definitely take all the laughs, swoons, and wonderful metaphors with me to keep in my own cell village archive… once my Sensitivity cell gets over this finale week, that is.