All That We Loved: Episodes 7-8 (Final)
Our high school drama has come to an end. Triangles are broken, tears are shed, but ultimately all is well, and the mystery of our present-day doctor is solved. While the story is thin and not much is explained, at least we get a romance thrown in for good measure.
We left the boys last time in the middle of a bully fight. When we reunite with them, they’re getting pretty roughed up. The scene is just another example of how Joon-hee is becoming more and more like Yoo — even starting fights and throwing the first punch.
But that’s not all. To add to our list, Joon-hee also develops Yoo’s lethal allergy to nuts and starts having the same recurring nightmares as Yoo. Joon-hee believes this is all due to cellular memory syndrome — the theoretical phenomenon where an organ transplant recipient gains the preferences, memories, and other habits of the donor.
When Yoo learns about this, he thinks that Joon-hee must like So-yeon because of cellular memory too. The boys have been bickering a lot lately because Joon-hee keeps taking So-yeon’s side and getting closer to her. When Joon-hee notices So-yeon about to steal one day, he takes her by the hand and leads her out of the store. But when Yoo sees them “holding hands,” he gets jealous.
Yoo tries to convince Joon-hee that he should stop hanging out with So-yeon because she could get them in trouble. Joon-hee says it’s none of Yoo’s business and tells him to back off. He also admits that he liked So-yeon from the moment he saw her, just like Yoo, so that part has nothing to do with cellular memory.
When a rumor starts at school that So-yeon is a thief, Joon-hee confronts Yoo and asks if he started it. Yoo is a total jerk and says — in front a crowd of classmates — that it’s not a rumor if it’s true. Then he asks if Joon-hee is going to date her anyway, and it’s pretty clear that Yoo’s problem is mostly that he still likes So-yeon. If Joon-hee dates her, he loses them both.
Yoo takes it a step too far and Joon-hee uses his newfound aggression to punch him in the face. The boys grapple on the floor until a teacher breaks it up, and Halmeoni has to come drag them both home.
Unfortunately, it’s the last time they’ll see Halmeoni because she suffers a stroke later that night and collapses in the rain. At the hospital, as they wait for her to wake up, they get over their differences and realize they have bigger problems. Yoo confesses that he’s had a hard time with love (likely because he’s so conflicted about his parents), but he had no trouble loving Halmeoni. Both boys are heartbroken when they have to say their final goodbyes.
Now that Joon-hee is alone (poor kid lost his brother, both parents, and now his grandmother), Yoo’s mom invites him to come live with them. Joon-hee accepts the offer but then suddenly disappears, leaving only a note behind. This is the reason that he and Yoo have been separated all these years — not because of anything so dramatic as So-yeon or jealousy, but because Joon-hee decided to up and leave without warning. (I’m a little confused.)
And if you haven’t guessed it by now, that leaves Yoo to be Dr. Go. In our 2023 timeline, he and So-yeon are spending a lot of time together — now that she’s staying at his apartment due to her scandal. Since media people are crawling all over the place, she can’t go home.
One night, as they’re out walking, Dr. Go holds her hand and says he’s been wanting to do that for a long time. So-yeon is over the moon because she’s always liked him too. And once they start, they’re holding hands all over town (which somehow gave me the feels, even though I’m not really invested in these characters. Totally the power of Jung Yoo-jin and Song Jae-rim).
For the final number, So-yeon sets up a meeting so Yoo and Joon-hee can be reunited, since she’s evidently been in contact with Joon-hee (this whole time?). In the last scene, So-yeon and Dr. Go walk through a park where a man is waiting by the waterside. It’s Joon-hee (Bu Bae), and he and Yoo hug and smile.
After all the potential of the premiere week, this one disappointed me. It had great cameos and production quality but the story was half-baked. I couldn’t help but feel like the cellular memory bit was thrown in solely to make Yoo and Joon-hee so similar that we wouldn’t be able to figure out who Dr. Go was. It felt like a lot of events were to serve the mystery, but lacked emotional weight or relevance on their own.
About the mystery, I had the hunch that Yoo was Dr. Go all along, but it was more based on logic than on any clues the show threw at us. The drama put its hardest work into tripping us up on Dr. Go’s identity and, if that was its aim, then it succeeded. But I found it hard to care much about the characters when everything seemed like it was just there to keep the mystery afloat. By the end, all I could think about was So-yeon and Dr. Go getting a spin-off.