All the Ending Scenes: A Deeper Look

by @actionscript from the Soompi Forum

It’s a K drama trope to end episodes with cliffhangers, and My Mister used it with great effectiveness. For My Mister, not only were these ending scenes cliffhangers, but most of them were the highlights of those episodes as well. Looking at these final scenes per episode, we get a glimpse of how the show moved the narrative forward.

The first 4 episodes established how the fates of Dong Hoon and Ji An have become intertwined:

Episode 1: Dong Hoon being escorted by the audit team while Ji An, coming out of the elevator, ignores his calls.

Episode 2: Dong Hoon and Ji An have dinner and share a ride home, interspersed with scenes of Ji An cutting a deal with Joon Young.

These scenes at the end of episode 2 enclosed them creatively in various frames, foreshadowing a beautiful relationship that is to come:

Episode 3: Ji An steals a kiss with Dong Hoon as they are photographed by Ki Bum.

Episode 4: Ji An listens to Dong Hoon at the bar saying he knows someone who gets him, and he gets her, too. The steady transformation of how Ji An sees Dong Hoon has begun.

The next two episodes were about Dong Hoon finding out about Yoon Hee’s infidelity and betrayal:

Episode 5: Dong Hoon finds the phone booth and meets Yoon Hee coming out of her office, with Ji An parading in the background.

Episode 6: Dong Hoon goes to the campsite to confront Joon Young.

These two episodes were the only ones whose ending scenes didn’t feature both Dong Hoon and Ji An, or either one of them pining for the other. They were about Dong Hoon finding out about Yoon Hee’s infidelity, and upon confronting Joon Young, he learned about Yoon Hee’s knowledge of the bribe to fire him yet she didn’t do anything to stop it. At this juncture, the show has pretty much established that the marriage was practically over. What’s left to play out is Dong Hoon’s and Yoon Hee’s inevitable confrontation and on how they would struggle through to bring the marriage to an end.

With the infidelity issue tackled early on, the rest of the ending scenes were now focused solely on the story arcs of Dong Hoon and Ji An — their growing emotional bond, the subsequent pining for each other, their healing journeys and the trials they would face.

The next four episodes formed the foundation of their growing affection towards each other, specifically on how Ji An’s love for Dong Hoon has taken root:

Episode 7: Dong Hoon and Ji An share a laugh at their regular bar, after Ji An overheard Dong Hoon calling her pretty which prompted her to run to him.

Episode 8: Ji An finds and looks at Dong Hoon at the train platform with longing eyes, still grappling with the thought that her growing affection for Dong Hoon seemed mutual after all, thanks to the very astute yet clueless Joon Young telling her “Dong Hoon eating and drinking with you means he likes you.”

Episode 9: Hearing Dong Hoon fight Kwang Il, Ji An crumples to the ground as she finds out that Dong Hoon has finally learned of her dark past, yet was totally sympathetic of her.

Episode 10: Putting on an act for the spy trailing them, Ji An nevertheless reveals her true feelings to Dong Hoon.

The next four episodes were all about resolving key plot points, and these were all told through Dong Hoon’s and Ji An’s points of view:

Episode 11: Ji An assures halmeoni that Dong Hoon is doing fine, while recalling the painful outbursts of Dong Hoon, on how he felt being sentenced to death by Yoon Hee’s affair.

The highlight of episode 11 was the confrontation between Dong Hoon and Yoon Hee, yet the most excruciating details were told through the flashbacks of Ji An in the ending scene, showing her deep sadness on what Dong Hoon was going through. The show framed the confrontation through Ji An’s sympathy for Dong Hoon.

The next two episodes tackled  another key plot point of the show – the path to Dong Hoon’s promotion. Yet again, these were manifested in the ending scenes through Dong Hoon and Ji An’s bubble:

Episode 12: Dong Hoon and Ji An share a drink after Ji An’s subordinate interview with the executives, with Ji An assuring him he is a good person despite how Yoon Hee’s affair has made him feel. Ji An returns the favor from when Dong Hoon also assured her that she is a good person in episode 5.

Episode 13: After the panel interview for his promotion, Dong Hoon finds the slippers back and restlessly looks for Ji An, realizing she might have left for good.

Finally, the stoic Dong Hoon allowed his emotions to show — his longing, and his restrained yet growing feelings for Ji An, finally coming to the fore.

The next episode tackled the final key plot point – Ji An’s wiretapping:

Episode 14: Dong Hoon discovers about the wiretapping and reaches out to Ji An to call him.

With all key plot points tackled, what’s left to tie up are the tangled fates of our protagonists:

Episode 15: Ji An pondering that if she is to be born again, she wants to be born in that neighborhood. She already told Jung Hee earlier (in ep 13 before she ran away) that she liked that neighborhood, which Jung Hee took to mean she liked Dong Hoon. Here Ji An is just repeating the same message.

Episode 16: Dong Hoon and Ji An meet again after a year-long or so separation. We draw attention to their hands, among other things, to symbolize how two fated souls have now become irreversibly linked. 

Looking at the flow of these ending scenes, how they revolved solely around Dong Hoon and Ji an, it was evident how the show intended to conclude the narrative between these two kindred spirits – the thrust of their story arcs, having resolved all plot hurdles, would come to an inevitable union.

Prior to doing this exercise, I have categorized this drama as a healing drama, with the love line between the two leads thrown in as a sweetener. However, these ending scenes revealed the intentions of the PDnim by showing us a glimpse of his mind, on what he considered the highlight of each episode and how they weaved the narrative flow of the story he wanted to tell – apparently the love story of Dong Hoon and Ji An shaped the core of this story.

An afterthought:

In the English TVN commercial feature for this show, it described  My Mister as an intriguing age-gap romance and even compared it indirectly to Goblin, and mentioned the two leads as “the most unlikely and most exciting romantic duo in the history of Korean dramas,” (starting at the 2:53 mark of the attached clip). At first I thought that was some foreign studio misinterpreting the context of the drama, of them not getting the memo to tone down the love line. But their description of the show turned out to be perfectly accurate.

3 thoughts on “All the Ending Scenes: A Deeper Look”

  1. @actionscript I so love this post! It’s nice to see narrative arcs, as a whole, like this. It’s striking how all the ending scenes end with either Dong Hoon or Ji An in the frame, how they really are the center of the story. And your discovery about the end of Episode 11, how Dong Hoon’s confrontation with Yoon Hee is filtered through Ji An’s eyes and heart for him, is so insightful.

    Like

    1. Thank you @the_sweetroad! Yes it’s astounding to see how everything about the show orbits around Ji An and Dong Hoon. And just like how most K dramas have a second love pair, this show also has a second pairing in Ki Hoon and Yu Ra. But then, even this second pair was utilized by the show to enhance the narrative of the two leads, nicely expounded on by two other posts in this site about Yu Ra being a spokesperson for Ji An and Ki Hoon serving as a mouthpiece for Dong Hoon. While other romance K dramas have second pairs and other side characters that are practically fillers and serve no real purpose to the leads, this show packed a tight set of secondary characters that, in one way or another, fulfilled important roles in the journey of Ji An and Dong Hoon.

      Liked by 1 person

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