Translated by @justamom from DC Inside.
Subtly acted and thrillingly passionate ending
This scene, no matter how many times I watch it, is one of my favourite of all the classic scenes. Let me try to recreate it by taking us through their dialogue and expressions.
“He must have gotten a lot bigger. How old is he?”
“Fourteen in American age”
“Oh yeah, he’s in America now?”
“Eo.” (translator’s note: the sound Dong Hoon always makes)
“Wow, you must have to work very hard.”
“I’m torn. Is it better for him to return after finishing junior high, there’s also the issue of the army…”
“Lee Ji An where are you going?”
“I’m ordering an ice coffee for you.”
“The thing is, the kid and the kid’s mom, they want to stay there till he finishes university.”
“English? No, didn’t do it.” (translator’s note: pronoun unclear)
“No, we sent him because of his English.”
“Nowadays when we talk he looks down on me because of my English.”
“His pronunciation is nothing like ours.”
“It’s fine as long as we can get the message across.”
How much must Ji An’s heart have been fluttering as curiosity drove her forward in search of his voice. As Dong Hoon sees her the signal-like sound fades and the music takes over dramatically.
From his expression and very slight shake of the body, Ji An seems to hear the sound of his heart.
And so their reunion starts in this way. Ji An’s head trembles with a windswept smile. Having found him, Ji An’s smile is brimming with emotion.
“I wouldn’t recognise you if I bumped into you.”
“Is work going well?” Is she listening to me? Her expression is the same.
It’s a very brief moment, but through their great acting we get a glimpse of his surprise and curiosity.
“I heard from the Chairman. His friend says you’re doing well at work.”
“When did you arrive in Seoul?”
“Three months ago. I moved to the head office. Ah–a few days ago I was near Saman’s office.”
“I left that place. I’m the boss now. Come visit sometime, Manager Song, Assistant Kim and Hyeong Gyu are all there.”
The brief silence in this scene prompted many thoughts. A very very short moment where Ji An’s colleagues are almost there and the moment of separation is closing in. But in the warmth in both their eyes it is as though only one person exists in that very moment. Flashes of the past occupy both their thoughts. Both of them are unable to speak, overwhelmed by their thoughts. I thought this was a great insertion of quiet space.
“Lee Ji An, let’s go.”
“Let’s shake hands.”
With a sense of inevitability the time for her to leave has come…but evidently, neither of them are willing to part. Dong Hoon takes a huge breath and initiates the handshake (Thank you Park Dong Hoon).
“I’ll buy you a meal. I want to buy you something delicious for once.”
Ji An is the same as before. On their walks together, she would quicken her steps to catch up whenever he walked faster. It is clear she is the same woman who confessed to Dong Hoon in the subway even after getting hit (translator’s note – or ‘straightened out’). When it comes to her feelings for Dong Hoon she is always direct.
Knowing that it was no easy feat and must have taken great courage for him to extend his hand, in that handshake they connect and promise to meet again.
Not a cup of tea, but a delicious meal. Not simple a “bab”mal (translator’s note – pun on banmal) that they ate in more distant times.
This time Dong Hoon’s face breaks out in a really bright smile
But Dong Hoon still remains Dong Hoon. His Mark Darcy smile returns. Having tied the knot through their handshake, the audience’s heart follows their retreating hands, knowing the vow the two have made. It’s a wordless but absolutely beautiful scene.
“I’ll call you.”
This…how tight must he have been holding her hand to leave the imprint of his hand, you can feel everything from that. I really want to know if it was deliberately acted out that way.
Dong Hoon turns back
Ji An turns back
“Ji An, have you found your comfort?”
Even brighter than her first answer, her face lights up with a broad smile.
There are many interpretations: I found my comfort because I met you. OR I’m happy now that I can be with you. OR I can now stand in front of you as an independent person, having reached my comfort.
The final scene: the two of them, brimming with happiness.
But is this the end?
The ending scene totaled around five minutes, focusing on the attractiveness of their bright appearances, with their scars fully healed and the magnetic vibes of their healthy bodies.
Despite her initial nerves and fears, Ji An ignores her colleagues’ calls and goes in search of Dong Hoon’s voice, like she was being sucked into a black hole. It was really original. From her expression when she first starts looking for Dong Hoon in the cafe, it is clear that Ji An’s feelings for Dong Hoon remain unchanged.
Unlike the past, Dong Hoon initiates the handshake even while knowing her colleagues are standing there. You can feel his earnestness and regret at her departure, so much that he held her hand so tight he left his imprint on her.
Having made their promise, the two of them go their separate ways, clearly delighted.
If the two of them are together, they can overcome whatever typhoon crosses their path. They will reach their destination, turning the typoon into mutually beneficial winds.
And so I draw a close to this drama, remembering the fond images it left me with, I made these GIFs to thank the two actors.
May Ji An and Dong Hoon always be comfortable and may the two actors have many more projects together!
27 thoughts on “A Thrilling Ending, and A Promise of More”
Perfect ending for these two. The handshake and the promise to meet again and possibly start up something romantic. You can tell by DH’s body language (super sexy ahjussi-damn) that he is super attracted to the new, more mature and confident JA. And her feelings are unchanged for him. She seems ready for love too, with her confident and steady gaze as she looks him in the face now whereas before she always hung her head low! I think drama fever interpreted incorrectly as “wife” implying he’s still with his wife but you say “child’s mother” which means they are divorced. I don’t know how far the time jump is too-maybe 10 years? Love this ending! Thanks for the breakdown and analysis!
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Hi Pana, thank you for stopping by. Yeah, we agree with you that DH’s body language, his grin that splits his face in two, his gaze, all of them speak to his happiness at seeing this woman again, the one who has given him back his life. We hope to publish a post on the time jump analysis in the near future.
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The Fated Encounter. Fate or Lazy Writing? (1/2)
Part 1. “I WILL CALL YOU.”
Why Scriptwriter Park makes their encounter(s) a fate (nidana/ predestined relationship)?
The indecisive PDH could defer his life to fate. But LJA?… Sounds odd to me. More importantly, why do they completely avoid contacts during the time jump? Do they intend to be back together?
Friends would not avoid calling each other. It’s their deep feelings and controversial relationship stop them from doing so.
Remember their farewell drink and farewell hug? Very emotional (although subtle and restrained), and obviously deeply in love. Yet, the circumstances do not allow them to be together (except for in the form of an affair). At the time, PDH seems to be falling back to his “life as usual” mode which would eventually make everyone suffer (he wants LJA to be around while his broken marriage remains unresolved). A dead end, right? So, LJA leaves (not forcing him on anything). KYH also leaves (not taking his crap).
But, again, why don’t they stay in contact?
LJA tells him she’s leaving to start a new life with no history. That effectively blocks PDH from calling her.
Yet, LJA never calls. And why?… Self-sacrifice? She is not quite ready yet? Not in a position to ask for an update especially his marriage status? (her love too pure and selfless and she never asks something like that.) Still waiting for the right timing, and will call eventually?… I don’t know. The story never tells…. Yet, obviously she is not avoiding him. When she finally hears his voice, she approaches him right away, in deep breaths so full of emotion. Her love has never changed.
So what the hack is going on??? I don’t understand. Screenwriter Park gives no hint.
… Anyway, at the end, their fated encounter. PDH happens to be talking about the situation of his son and “the kid’s mom”. That coincidence is (not only for us the audiences but also) for LJA to get an update on PDH/KYH ie the last obstacle has been removed. Finally the timing is right. And she says, “I will call you”.
Fate?… or lazy scriptwriting?
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The Fated Encounter. Fate or Lazy Writing? (2/2)
Part 2. THE FATED ENCOUNTER
(Because of my own survivorship bias) I tend to assume that their story would be heading to a happy ending, so I keep looking for (logical) indications/implications that the two would be back together…. But there’s NONE,… not until the very final scene.
(Without the coffee shop encounter, the story could have simply ended after the hug. Still a complete story, but a sad one.)
The hard truth is, their circumstances has been so difficult that even the very brave and determined LJA ready to give up (while still helping PDH selflessly). Not only once but many times:
(1) The loanshark’s call to PDH about her stealing;
(2) Her suicidal confession which is part of her plan to have PDH fire herself;
(3) Her escape after KB’s arrest, and her farewell call;
(4) Her departure to Busan to start a new life*
Every time she’s facing a dead end. She simply does not know what else she can do. No options. She has to give up, although in tears and in pain… “Next life” sounds hopeless, right?
When they separate:
-LJA needs to become a new person and see the world.
-PDH needs a new life because of all his unresolved mess (broken marriage, no saving, and matters out of his own control like his career).
They also need a self-reflection of everything (their life, their love/relationship, etc.). Therefore, their separation and time skip a must.
However, at that point, they simply don’t know their future…. “Fighting!” That’s it. No promise. No plan. No nothing. Heartbreaking. Maybe they will have a future. Maybe not.
For those who have survived an equally difficult situation, you know what I mean. At that point, all you can tell yourself is that you are dying for a future with your loved one, and you will do everything you can. However, you can’t promise anything because you really don’t know what will happen down the road. While you wish for a miracle (and mercy), you also feel hopeless. It’s a fight/struggle that you don’t know the end game until you fight it through.
Taking a step back, I no longer dismiss their fated encounter** as a lazy scriptwriting. It’s just that hard.
And I finally realize, Screenwriter Park truly means fate. It’s their love***, loyalty and fate that lead to the new spring.
* She is desperate for a rebirth in Hoogye (ie to be together with PDH. LJA says she likes Hoogye = she loves PDH). Yet, she knows she has to leave, while at heart she does not want to (not moving a step after the hug).
** We can argue that, most of the time (and to a certain extent), fate is the consequence of a choice, just like Rebirth is a choice. Indeed, the headstrong LJA returns to Seoul in only a year and still wanders around SamAn. The indecisive PDH gets her updates from Chairman Jang, and hangs out around her office. Perhaps their encounter would be just a matter of time; or they would call later on…. But my point is, at the time they separate, everything remains uncertain and they simply do not know the future, no matter how deeply in love. Maybe they will have a future. Maybe not. Time will tell. Fate will tell.^
*** unconditional love and unconditional forgiveness, as well as complete acceptance
^ Hints foreshadowing their fated encounter:
-PDH and LJA say they will greet each other happily when bumping into each other in the future. The subject itself a hint of future encounter and I think it has been mentioned a few times: #1. PDH asks for new slippers, #2. Farewell call; #3. Farewell drink;
-Grandma says fate/encounter 3 times when she tells LJA the precious fate of meeting people in life. When LJA says farewell to grandma she cries out “we will meet again” (together with the sign language ‘encounter’) 3 times.
-Finally when LJA hears his voice in the cafe, it’s her third encounter with PDH (#1. her SamAn job, #2. at uncle janitor’s place, #3. the cafe).
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Now I think the ending, although subtle, is indeed very clear and promising. And it’s perfect for the drama to end at their coffee shop encounter.
[what I have in mind now is one particular scene: When PDH talking about rebirth and wrong home, and JH insisting “giving love without holding back” is the way to return home to the star. PKH jumps in saying it’s “super boring” there. … Does it sound like another PKH prophecy? (The new life will be loving, peaceful, and uneventful. … But way too boring a story to read/film.*)
As such, I think it’s just perfect for the story to end at their coffee shop encounter, with a foreshadowing dialogue that LJA answering PDH she has found peace.
(*) super boring and uneventful, but that’s probably their ideal life, given their personalities and pasts.]
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Thankfully, the MM script book says the time skip ended in May 2019 – so it was only one year. Great news! 🙂
with this ending I felt “can have season two?” until today I wonder about the end that was opened
They speak in codes. “I will call you” was exactly what LJA told PDH when their relationship/dinning started (ep2?). Back then it sounded like she’s in charge. Now it sounds like “I remember.”
Further to discussion elsewhere that some Koreans may argue “I will buy you dinner” could simply mean goodbye (well one can also argue Chinese say the same when wanting to end a conversation/encounter).
Pls note that when LJA says “I will buy you dinner” she takes a step forward, and then when she says “I will call you” she takes another step forward. Such body language reads that she means it and she is advancing. (Instead of politely saying goodbye.)
Another observation about LJA’s emotion before PDH turns around: her heavy breathing which is not shown directly: She finally finds PDH and the camera still shooting from her back. Look at her shoulders (deep breaths ie very strong emotions/feelings).
A parallel is that PDH also took a deep breath before he proposed the handshake.
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Two More: 1. LJA’s elec shock hand gestures when she finds PDH (the moment he turns back showing his face), 2. LJA’s finger movements (nervous) before their conversation starts
The hug and the handholding:
When DJY questions LJA with the photos from the private investigator. She pushes back saying “What’s our relationship? We didn’t hug or hold hands. How will you make it scandalous?”:
This exchange foreshows/parallels the hug as well as the long and irregular/scandalous handshake (handholding).
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