We’re at the end! And boy do I have plenty to gripe about (mainly because of the ending).
But on to the recap – it’s so important to point out that we did not get a High Kick Through the Roof ending. Yehay.
So we start with UEE’s “Sok Sok Sok” song going in the background while Hae Ryung goes about on her photo shoot, now a superstar athlete and fashionista. And who should come and visit her on set but Mi Soo?
And surprisingly, now the two of them greet each other with huge smiles on their faces. They’re friends. What the hell? Even Hae Ryung now expects a gift from Mi Soo after the latter won a lot of prize money.
But Mi Soo has to hurry off and meet someone in a cafe. As she sits staring into her coffee, she falls back into her memories of being in the hospital, taking care of Jung Woo at his bedside. He’s broken his arm and leg, and is bedridden, but that doesn’t stop him from taking advantage of his helpless position and getting Mi Soo to buy him some homemade pudding. Good to see that the crash didn’t kill his sense of humor and teasing. He’s even excited to see that she brought him a fish stick skewer… so he could properly scratch the leg hidden under a cast.
Oh you lovable cad.
Finally her guest arrives – it’s Pil Soo. Mi Soo has one objective – has he heard from Jung Woo? He hasn’t, and he told the same thing to Hae Ryung just a while ago. No one has heard from him for a long time.
Hae Ryung and her mother have moved into a nice apartment, away from the resort. Sae Hwa has taken on quilting as her new hobby with her daughter, and she’s taking quite a while with finishing her quilting homework. Danny arrives at their home to visit, and immediately nags Sae Hwa about not coming to the office anymore. Ehh!? A book has also come out about Hae Ryung and Mi Soo’s paths, and even Danny and Sae Hwa were featured in it a little bit. Hae Ryung immediately cries out, “That’s adultery!” Woops – spoken sooner than she meant to say out loud; she grabs the book to go read in her room.
They’re a nice family now!? That’s nice…
Hae Ryung goes and thinks about the day she visited Jung Woo in the hospital. She yells at him for stopping Mi Soo from going to the States, and he replies that he doesn’t want her doing something for other people. That wasn’t the path that she really wanted to take, even though she said so. Hae Ryung wants him to just admit to loving Mi Soo, but Jung Woo notes that Hae Ryung must not really love him since she’s not understanding at all.
Mi Soo goes to her old golfing school to sign some autographs. Her former teacher uses the opportunity to sell his school and get new memberships and lesson signups. He’s super thankful for her because she helped raise the image of his school. He boasts that she can find no coach better than he… except maybe Jung Woo. We find out that during the day of the accident, Jung Woo had consciously turned the wheel towards the right to swerve the car in a way that would protect Mi Soo rather than him. Usually, a driver’s instinct is to swerve left, thus protecting himself from the oncoming car, and placing the person in the passenger seat in greater danger.
Later in the evening, Mi Soo goes to pick up Hae Ryung, who’s passed out in a karaoke bar. Hae Ryung refuses assistance. She’s not that drunk, or so she says. She’s merely trying to deal with what’s happening to her emotionally, since it’s more difficult when sober. Mi Soo suggests they sing a song, but then Hae Ryung passes out on her lap.
This brings back memories of when Mi Soo had sat in her room, depressed over Jung Woo’s disappearance from the hospital. Hae Ryung visited her with a pack of beer and some food, being aggressive about getting her to eat. She’s more frustrated that Mi Soo just can’t hate her properly, and is just silently taking it all in. Mi Soo dares Hae Ryung to fix everything back to the way it was if she thinks it was all her fault.
Hae Ryung asks why Mi Soo just didn’t go if she knew that Hae Ryung was behind the plan in making her go to the States. Mi Soo: “Because what love means to me is his happiness. I’m not like you where I can fall in love to be happy. All I need is for him to be smiling.”
And that’s why Jung Woo said that Hae Ryung doesn’t truly love him – she’s selfish in her love. And that’s also why I say MI SOO IS SO MUCH BETTER!!!! GAHHH. Hae Ryung can be uncompromising, but that also makes her quite immature. Mi Soo is understanding, and while that can be frustrating at times, she gets to come out the better person.
Mi Soo rolls to her side on the bed, ignoring Hae Ryung and going to sleep. Instead of leaving, Hae Ryung sits against the wall, drinking can after can of beer. After a while, Hae Ryung finally apologizes. She asks that Mi Soo not quit golf, and that the two should become strong rivals again, like they used to be. Hae Ryung is sorry towards Jung Woo too, but she feels like she would die if both of them end up hating her.
Mi Soo isn’t really asleep, and I guess her heart softens a teeny bit for the girl sleeping on the floor.
Back to the present – and Mi Soo takes Hae Ryung back to her room to sleep on her bed.
The next day, Mi Soo meets up with Joong Ki. He wants to go on one date; though she doesn’t see him that way, he wants her to pay some fan service at least since he’s liked her for ten years. Aww. Go on a date!! He’s such a good friend to her, he’d probably be really good boyfriend material for someone else. He suggests they race like little kids again, but she suggests a walk instead. She has to meet a social worker afterwards to start volunteering at orphanages teaching golf.
The social worker Mrs. Kim has a placement for Mi Soo in Gyeonggi-do. Mi Soo heads on over to give some of them lessons on hitting the ball. As she helps one of the kids, she notices a ball marker on his cap. She takes a look at it… and it has JW on the back! JUNG WOO IS HERE!!!
She asks the kid where he got it from, and he says an ahjussi in town gave it to him as a gift. When he ran away, and then got lost, the ahjussi – or Jung Woo – found him and sheltered him. Jung Woo had told the kid to go back to the orphanage and become famous so he could find his mother.
Mi Soo walks around the town and finds an old, rough home with a lot of pottery and sculptures outside. There’s a fire burning, so someone must be home. Finally she sees a man with a cane and some firewood limping out of the house. His injured leg has become stiff, not having fully healed.
Jung Woo looks up and notices Mi Soo standing before him. He drops his firewood in shock. Suddenly Mi Soo reverts to a child, the tears streaming down her face, wondering, “What’s wrong with you Coach!?” Slowly, she makes her way to him and kneels down, clutching his injured leg, crying. He tries to comfort her by patting her on the head, but she continues sobbing, and brings tears to his eyes.
🙁 Saddest reunion I’ve seen for a while.
Over tea, she asks if he left because he thought she would feel burdened. Jung Woo responds that he just needed some time to sort things out – especially between him, Hae Ryung, and Mi Soo once he knew he wouldn’t be able to walk properly again. He doesn’t blame her for anything either. He just wants to see her smile for him, and yet she can’t bring herself to do it.
He also asks that Mi Soo not tell Hae Ryung where he is. He’s not ready for anyone to find out about him just yet. Heh – next thing you know, she’s having coffee with Hae Ryung. But Hae Ryung wants to know if Mi Soo wants to team up for a doubles play in an Australia tournament. Mi Soo is completely out of it, but she can’t bring herself to tell Hae Ryung the truth. She obliquely references to it by saying that she can’t stop thinking of Jung Woo, and asks how Hae Ryung can bring herself to smile – and basically move on.
Hae Ryung had come to the realization that she lived her life screaming for attention. Everything must come back to her, and everything must revolve around her. But thanks to Mi Soo’s example of simply enduring and continuing to live, she’s working hard at being more understanding. Mi Soo wonders if “enduring” is the smart path too.
Mi Soo goes back and visits Jung Woo. She updates him that she and Hae Ryung are now best friends, which he doesn’t believe at all. HA! Mi Soo insists that Hae Ryung has totally changed and is a more fun person now, but Jung Woo is hesitant to believe that. (I don’t blame him – years of seeing her immature, and then in two years BAM she’s a new person?!) But he does seem a bit sad, and perhaps regretful that he can’t see this new Hae Ryung. And Mi Soo picks up on this.
So when she goes back to the city, she meets with Hae Ryung again, and hands over a piece of paper with Jung Woo’s address on it. Hae Ryung’s hand shakes as she clutches the paper. She crumples it up – she doesn’t want to hold on to it, because she doesn’t want to see him. Even though she misses Jung Woo, she’s not ready to see him just yet. Look at them two – they miss each other, but can’t bring themselves to see each other.
Before I dismiss either as Noble Idiots, Hae Ryung explains herself: Doing what she wants (i.e. seeing Jung Woo) isn’t love. So she doesn’t want to revert to being immature and hurt him again. Valid reasoning – and one that I think is most befitting for Hae Ryung. Mi Soo tells Hae Ryung that Jung Woo is sick, in an attempt to make her go still, but it doesn’t work. Hae Ryung doesn’t want to go because she knows Jung Woo would not want her to see him in his state, even though it wouldn’t have lessened her love for him.
Mi Soo goes to a bridge and thinks back to her meeting with Jung Woo. He admits that he enjoys Hae Ryung’s company so much (really!?) that for him, that’s love. He also believes that every person has one great love (danggit!) and that he gave all his love to Hae Ryung before she was mature enough to receive it. I really feel bad for Mi Soo because she’s caught in between these two “destined lovers” and is trying to mend the bridge between them, even though it may break her heart in the process.
She gets into a cab and asks that he drive her to Gyeonggi-do and back: her mission was to leave a letter for Jung Woo at his door.
In the letter, Mi Soo tells him that she gave Hae Ryung his address, and that she wouldn’t take it even though she had been searching for it for the past two years. She said that Hae Ryung has chosen to endure not seeing him until he’s ready (and we see Hae Ryung collapsing at her mother’s lap crying that evening too). Mi Soo apologizes for breaking her promise to him, but she knows that it was for both Hae Ryung and his sake. She promises not to return to his home anymore, and wishes him well.
I’m so sad – this is her way of saying farewell to her love, to the past, and bidding for a future where everyone could just be happy and together. It’s so painful because she’s so mature and wise for her age, and I just want HER to be happy! I’m selfish for Mi Soo. I know that getting the guy does not equal happiness for life, but this is a K-drama, and so can’t I wish for the main girl to get the main guy?!
Hae Ryung heads over to another bridge and overlooks a river. It’s not Han River, since we’re not in Seoul, but I’m guessing this bridge is the substitute for the Han River side. Suddenly, she receives a call, and it’s Jung Woo. He tells her the story of two lovers who lived in opposite sides of the river. They promised to meet when the camellia flowers bloomed, but because of flooding, they couldn’t meet. He asks that they meet one more time… and next thing you know, she hears someone making his way across the bridge.
It’s Jung Woo, with his cane. With every step, he moves faster, but it’s not fast enough for Hae Ryung. She runs up to him, and cries at the sight of him and his leg. He takes out a small box with a huge engagement ring – this was the rookie award he wasn’t able to give her two years ago.
After he had purchased Mi Soo’s earrings, he had also purchased the ring the same time. He was considering giving it to her, and held onto it while she visited him in the hospital, but he was never able to. Hae Ryung, amid tears, hugs him – yes, she’ll marry him. She apologizes over and over, and they hold onto each other in a tight embrace.
Well. They’re happy.
And Mi Soo even sees this from a distance. SIGHHHHHH* She walks away with a small smile. (All I notice is that Jung Woo and Hae Ryung seem to be posing in front of Sailor Moon’s Crescent Moon Wand.)
On a new day, Mi Soo makes an early morning trek up the mountain.
Gong Sook comes running to Mi Soo’s parents, sobbing – Tae Gab just received notice to go to the military, and Gong Sook doesn’t know what she’ll do for two years without him. Heh.
Joong Ki is still being his old self – working at the restaurant.
Danny proposes to Sae Hwa by slipping her hand into his pocket, and putting on the ring. Damn he’s smooth.
Hae Ryung is staying with Jung Woo in his cottage at Gyeonggi-do.
Mi Soo tees up her ball at the edge of a cliff, where snow starts to fall softly around her.
“Some birdies were about a family with hardships. Other days, birdies were a selfless teacher. And a birdie from before, is my first love. Now I’m headed towards another birdie. Within those birdies is me, Sung Mi Soo.”
She aims, she swings, and she hits the ball into the distance.
It’s taken me a while to get used to the ending. I’ve watched it a couple times and STILL HATE IT, but I understand it. It’s one of those dramas where the focus is the growth of Mi Soo, not so much her romantic entanglements with her coach. That romantic tangent merely helped form her choices, which then formed the person she became.
I seriously think that Lee Yong Woo has better chemistry with UEE than with Lee Da Hee. Plotwise I can sort of see why he ends up with Hae Ryung, but through the characters’ interactions, I wholeheartedly believe that he should have ended up with Mi Soo. I don’t think it was an issue of miscasting (Lee Da Hee is quite strong on her own), but I do think that the way relationships developed wasn’t supportive of the Jung Woo-Hae Ryung pairing. It doesn’t really help that we see less of their friendship together developing, and that Jung Woo always seems like a distant friend and mentor to her. We see more of Jung Woo and Mi Soo growing to like each other and work together, and that for me is so much more substantial. Anyways – this romantic resolution is my one gripe with this drama.
Other than that, I really enjoyed it. I do think that having shorter episodes but a few more episodes helped the pacing. It felt like development after development, and we had everything packed into this series: melodrama, tragedy, intrigue, sports action, romance, and a healthy dose of comedy. It was a good mix of elements, and I never felt bogged down by the series one bit.
Again, I’m a sucker for character dramas, especially when the characters evolve in some way. Mi Soo goes from amateur to serious golfer, from a girl with an innocent heart to a girl whose heart becomes her strongest and most admirable trait. While she stays “good” all throughout, I do think that she’s matured without the histrionics. She realized that her heart can’t have what it wants without hurting someone else, and she reached that much more quickly and calmly than Hae Ryung. Hae Ryung on the other hand went from aloof brat, to pain-in-the-ass-for-everyone brat, to spoiled, happy brat, before finally becoming a mature woman on her own. She’s always depended on Jung Woo for his help and for his attention, and by the end she realized that it wasn’t possible. She’s gone through so many changes that in a way, I’m thankful for the two-year time jump so that I don’t have to see how she changes again. And as for Jung Woo, I see him as a cavalier player to a more responsible coach. While he may have been a responsible coach before, I think he was a little selfish too, wanting to coach both Hae Ryung and Mi Soo at first before realizing just how poisonous this arrangement could be for everyone. And even Sae Hwa changes.
The strength in this drama is that everyone grows, and the length of the drama helps each character add layer upon layer to their personalities. I feel like it helps pack a similar emotional punch as Shining Inheritance, where things move quickly, but relationships and feelings evolve, rather than happen out of nowhere. Some dramas go from “I hate you,” to BAM “I’m in love with you.”
I thought that the fact it wasn’t picked up earlier meant that it wasn’t any good. However, it was a much better drama than I had expected. Most importantly, I do think UEE has proven herself as a worthy actress. She definitely had Ojakkyo Brothers to help solidify her image as an actress, but since Birdie Buddy was made first, I’d call it her breakout role.