Big Episode 16 Recap

Big appears to have been a Big Disappointment for many drama viewers, but for me it’s been a Big Pleasure. I loved it, flaws and all, for the entirety of its run. Episode 1 was iffy for me on first watch, but subsequently I found it pretty much pitch perfect in setting up the entire journey of Kang Kyung Joon and Gil Da Ran. The fantasy body switch happened only to Kyung Joon, but the path towards growing up emotionally and mentally was one he took alongside Da Ran. This drama could not fully handle all of its weighty source material, with the final episode 16 barely resolving anything before our eyes. But it did two things perfectly.

It chose to focus the entire drama on Da Ran and Kyung Joon, so in the end I was completely attached to their story and cared about their ending. So the lose threads didn’t bother me, because the one thread that needed to be tied up was. It also chose to remind us that things work itself out with time, even if we don’t see it. I loved that the ending wasn’t fanservice at all, instead taking all that happened between Da Ran and Kyung Joon and telling us that the heart remembers what the mind might have forgotten and the ending of one journey is merely the beginning of another one. Gong Yoo and Lee Min Jung were magical together, and really the drama rose and fell on their able shoulders. I’ve truly enjoyed this Big roller coaster ride with them, and it’s with a satisfied heart I bid farewell to this drama that turned out to be a curious little affair rather than the Big deal people anticipated it would be.

Episode 16 recap:

Da Ran announces proudly to the entire table that she’s in love with KKJ, turning around to beam at Kyung Jae for good measure. He stares at her in stunned shock, his eyes welling up. Da Ran twists the dagger in some more by taking off her wedding ring and placing it on the table. Da Ran’s mom starts to berate her but Kyung Jae steps forward and asks to speak with Da Ran alone. If anyone has a right to demand answers from her, it would be him (Yoon Jae).

After Kyung Jae drags Da Ran out, Da Ran’s parents apologize profusely to Yoon Jae’s parents. Yeah, that’s definitely warranted. At this point I’m sure Yoon Jae’s gonna wake up and be pretty sad he lost Da Ran while he was sleeping. Kyung Joon’s aunt and uncle gossip about how Da Ran cheated on Yoon Jae.

Kyung Jae drags Da Ran outside and asks if she’s gone crazy, how could she do this? Da Ran says that she loves him, and she doesn’t want to live her life pretending that all of this didn’t happen. Even if it hurts, she won’t change how she feels about him. The love she feels for him is real and she will continue to cherish it even if he forgets.

Da Ran shows Kyung Jae the watch she fished out of the lake. I hope the watch was waterproof. Kyung Jae asks if she’s crazy, and she admits that she is just that crazy of a woman. He touches her dirty face, calling her smelly and gross. But then he hugs her, and she hugs him back. She vows that she will bring back his memories even if he has forgotten their love. When he wakes up, she won’t let him go.

In the hospital, Kyung Joon’s monitor starts beeping and the doctor runs inside to check on him. At the restaurant, Da Ran’s dad apologizes profusely for what his daughter did. They wonder if Yoon Jae got sicker because of what Da Ran did? Yoon Jae’s mom is rather calm and says that Da Ran already told her that she was planning to let Yoon Jae go, but she never imagined it would be this way. The Seo parents are done talking and leave. Once outside, they receive a call from the hospital about Kyung Joon’s condition.

The Seo parents rush to the hospital and find out from Se Young that Kyung Joon’s body appears to have a sudden elevation in vital signs but has stabilized now. Both parents decide to stay and watch over him, deciding not to let Yoon Jae know about it.

Kyung Jae and Da Ran are walking hand-in-hand down the street. Da Ran decides to make up for all the things she didn’t do for Kyung Jae, starting with picking flowers from a planter and running to the middle of the street to sing the Pororo song for him. The ahjusshi tending the flowers is upset until Kyung Jae explains that this lady is crazy, and by her actions the ahjusshi believes it.

Kyung Jae walks over to Da Ran and notes that it’s a shame he’ll forget all of this, otherwise he’ll hold it over her for the rest of their lives and tease her. Da Ran confesses that she was scared to do things for him for so long, and now she regrets it.

Kyung Joon’s aunt is trying on the wedding ring left on the table when Mari comes back and asks for it back. She reveals that she bought the ring to perpetuate a lie. Mari asks Uncle to tell the awakened Kyung Joon that she was always by his side taking care of him, and Uncle admits she was indeed.

Da Ran’s parents are back home and still trying to digest the shocking news their daughter dropped on them. Mom fumes and wants to know who this KKJ is?

Da Ran and Kyung Jae sit across from each other in the kitchen. Oh, their time spent in this kitchen has been some of my favorite scenes. Kyung Jae wants to know when Da Ran started liking him, and she confesses it was when he showed up at the movie theater. Da Ran felt her heart beat faster for him, and later when he showed up at the park, she knew she was waiting for him and not Yoon Jae.

Da Ran is sad it took her this long to tell him how she really feels. She even did the needle work to try to take her mind off him. Kyung Jae asks Da Ran to show her feelings directly from now on and she agrees. They stare at each other and he notes that when she’s looking at him, hearts are shooting out of his eyes. They smile at each other and Da Ran puts her hand on his cheek.

Back at the hospital, Yoon Jae’s mom appears to realize she does have a heart. She sits by Kyung Joon’s bedside and notes that when Yoon Jae was sick and she tended to him, her heart was filled with worry. Now sitting besides Kyung Joon, her heart is once again filled with worry. Oh lady, so little, so late.

Da Ran informs Kyung Jae that she’s going home to face her parents and tell them she’s leaving Yoon Jae. Kyung Jae suggests they run away but Da Ran doesn’t want to run away from anything anymore.

Back home, Mom goes to Da Ran’s room with a pair of scissors. She reveals that her own mother cut her hair off when she wanted to be with Da Ran’s dad. Now she will do it to Da Ran for daring to do something like this. Da Ran is unafraid and tells her mom to go ahead and cut her hair, she’s not changing her mind or how she feels. Da Ran’s mom breaks down and leaves without cutting the hair, having no heart to chastise her own daughter for being as courageous towards love as she was in her youth.

Mom goes back to her room and sobs while Da Ran’s dad tries to comfort her. Mom cannot believe she is saying the same things to her own daughter that her mother said to her year ago.

Kyung Jae talks with Se Young in Kyung Joon’s hospital room and she mentions how she thinks Yoon Jae and Kyung Joon are connected in unexplained ways. Kyung Jae remembers how he woke up in the morgue during the first switch, and wonders if he can shock this body into dying and trigger the switch back. Yoon Jae’s mom walks with Se Young and discusses the family plans to all go to Germany for Yoon Jae’s treatment and Kyung Joon’s recovery.

Mari announces to Kyung Jae her plan to follow him to Germany, but he tells her no. He reveals that even if he loses his memory, Da Ran intends to remember it all and find him again. Mari thinks Da Ran is crazy, and Kyung Jae admits she is.

Da Ran leaves school and heads to meet Kyung Jae, who is waiting for her outside. But sadly Choong Shik has been tasked with keeping on eye on her so she doesn’t meet with KKJ, so Da Ran has no choice but to go home.

Kyung Jae sneaks into the front door of the restaurant and tries to beckon Da Ran out. She tries to make the excuse she needs to go buy something but her Dad isn’t taking any of it and prevents her from leaving, sending Choong Shik instead.

Da Ran sits in her room and thinks about how to run away to meet Kyung Jae. He calls and reveals he’s outside her window. He tells her to jump out, spreading his arms in the 10:10 position and offering to catch her. Before Da Ran can jump, her Mom shows up and warns her not to think about going to see KKJ. Mom reveals that Yoon Jae cried at the restaurant when she talked about KKJ, not knowing it was Kyung Jae crying tears of happiness.

Kyung Jae is waiting outside for Da Ran when he hears a thump and turns around to see Da Ran has jumped. He helps her up and they hide behind some planters. He wonders why she jumped and she explains that he’s like fish who needs water/affection so she’s here to give it before he perishes.

Da Ran gives him back the watch and puts it on his wrist. She explains that this marks him as belonging to her. Da Ran kisses Kyung Jae on the cheek and goes back inside. Kyung Jae sits there with a goofy grin, wishing Da Ran has poured more water/kisses on him.

Kyung Jae discusses with Yoon Jae’s mom about going to Germany and Kyung Joon’s body here in Korea. Mom wants to stay with Kyung Joon, and will bring him to Germany after he wakes up. Suddenly a call comes in that Mari has taken Kyung Joon’s body. What complete lack of security this hospital has.

Kyung Jae calls Mari and finds out that she’s taken his body and plans to hold onto him until he wakes up. Mari says that she is even crazier than Da Ran. No shit. Kyung Jae threatens to withhold treatment unless she brings his body back, so finally Mari relents rather than risk Kyung Joon’s soul dying.

Kyung Joon is placed back in the hospital and Yoon Jae’s mom actually looks worried as she holds his hand. So why is no one pressing charges against Mari?

Mari wants Kyung Joon to be with her after he wakes, and Da Ran to be with Yoon Jae. That is the way it was supposed to be. How could Da Ran and Kyung Jae mess everything up? Mari shows Kyung Jae the wedding ring and speaks some hard to accept truths. She reminds him that Seo Yoon Jae does like Gil Da Ran, even if Kyung Jae wants to ignore it. When Seo Yoon Jae wakes up, he’ll be upset that he lost her.

In the hospital, we see Kyung Joon’s monitor blip again. Teddy Bear and Rabbit discuss how the Miracle angel picture tore in half. They wonder what will happen if a Miracle doesn’t occur the way it was supposed to?

Mari confronts Da Ran about the ring, which Da Ran left on the table. Mari says she threw it away in the dumpling filling since Da Ran didn’t seem to want it (Seo Yoon Jae). Da Ran frantically goes to search for it, even chasing after a delivery of mandoo and taking it from customers to check inside.

At the hospital, a tear falls from Kyung Joon’s eyes accompanied by Da Ran’s voice from episode 1 asking Yoon Jae if he loves her and Yoon Jae promising to tell her when he sees her. Dude, I genuinely feel sorry for you, but damn, you snooze, you lose. If you had bothered to tell her you love her ANY SINGLE DAY before the accident, then you’d have a fiancée today. Seriously? You proposed to her and didn’t even make this woman feel like you genuinely loved her with expressions of affection or words? My sympathy for you only goes so far.

At the hospital, Kyung Jae sits besides Kyung Joon’s body and talks to Seo Yoon Jae. He holds Kyung Joon’s hand and promises that he won’t be with Gil Da Ran until she can settle things with Yoon Jae after he wakes up. Since time stopped, then he will wait until things can be resolved properly once time starts again.

Da Ran and Kyung Jae walk on an empty darkened street and then realize they are across the street from each other and call each other to talk. Da Ran explains she went to look for the ring Mari threw away, but Kyung Jae shows the ring. Both realize that until Da Ran ends things right with Yoon Jae, they cannot be together yet.

Kyung Jae bemoans that they don’t have much time left together and wishes he could be with her. He worries again about losing his memory of this time and losing his chance to be with her and hold her hand. Da Ran promises him that her heart will swell to include his love for her. She will never let go of him and will hold onto him in her heart.

Kyung Jae asks Mari to leave, once and for all. She’s always chasing him and he’s sorta let her be even though he’s never encouraged her. But now she needs to finally put an end to her feelings towards him because he doesn’t reciprocate. Mari cries but realizes this is indeed the end. He holds out his hand and she tearfully walks forward so that he can tap her on the forehead one more time.

Choong Shik sends Mari off at the airport as she returns to the US. Before she heads off, Choong Shik stops her and grabs her bag to write his name on it. She says his name in shock and he tells her to remember that name Gil Choong Shil. For writing on this expensive bag, she’ll have to deduct more pans from him going forward. He turns and walks away all cool. Mari smiles and leaves.

Kyung Jae sees Yoon Jae’s mom reading and hears that Da Ran handed her notes about Kyung Joon’s likes and dislikes so she can be a better mom to him once he wakes up. Kyung Jae explains that Kyung Joon will be difficult at first and Mom agrees to try hard. Kyung Jae gives a little smile to hear this.

The Vice Principal gets a wedding invitation from Ae Kyung and Teacher Na, who are not only tying the knot, but may be expecting a baby as well. The VP bemoans how the young people rush into relationships so quickly these days.

Ae Kyung sits with Da Ran and asks about what will happen. Da Ran puts her wedding ring in a box and explains that she will wait for Yoon Jae to come to her from Germany. And when he does, she’ll tell him that she fell in love with someone else and no longer needs to hear his answer to her question.

Kyung Jae stands in front of Kyung Joon’s hospital bed. He flashes bck to the underwater fantasy sequence. Kyung Jae thinks to himself that he will be able to meet Seo Yoon Jae soon.

Kyung Jae walks through the hospital and meets with Se Young. She wishes that he will get better soon and Kyung Joon will wake up, hearing that the entire family is all headed to Germany. Kyung Jae confesses that Se Young was quite sexy when she touched his arm back in episode 2, and for her to do that again the next time she sees Seo Yoon Jae. He’ll like it. He smiles and walks away.

Da Ran walks through a park and goes to drop some change off for a bum sleeping on the park bench. She sees her long lost umbrella beside him, with her name tag still taped on it. She takes the umbrella to get fixed.

When Da Ran comes home, Kyung Jae is watering the lawn. She asks if he remembers where they first met? Kyung Jae says on the bus. Da Ran reminds him it was raining that day and asks him to make it rain now to bring them back to that day. Kyung Jae sprays the hose over her and Da Ran takes out her umbrella and opens it.

Kyung Jae is surprised to see she found her umbrella. Da Ran explains that she found something she thought was lost. Kyung Jae admits he chased after her that day. She didn’t take the wrong umbrella, he switched it so she grabbed the wrong one. Awwwww, I love this little reveal. Totally making me teary already.

Kyung Jae and Da Ran take the bus together, sitting in the same seats as that first time. He explains that she was so amusing that day, listening to the radio reading her own love story and being so obviously happy about winning a rice cooker. Da Ran thinks he liked her at first sight, but Kyung Jae scoffs that it wasn’t that much.

Kyung Joon merely switched the umbrellas because it looked so much alike and lo and behold, Da Ran took the wrong one without even realizing it. Da Ran explains that boys like to play tricks and tease the girl they like. Since Kyung Joon was interested in her from the first time he saw her, then when his memory goes back to pre-accident and they meet again, he may still have the same bit of interest in her.

Da Ran and Kyung Jae take a walk. Even though it is not raining, Da Ran opens her umbrella and puts it over them. Kyung Jae asks her to hold on to him if there is a miracle and he appears before her again. Even if he doesn’t remember her, even if he is rude and doesn’t care about her, she needs to cling onto him and never let go.

Da Ran promises to do that. Kyung Jae wants her to sincerely tell him how she feels when she sees him, that will be the magic to transport his memory back to this time. Da Ran asks him to look at his watch, and when he hears her sincerely telling him how she feels, that will be the magic spell she cast on him to make him remember.

Da Ran and Kyung Jae realize he needs to go and agree to say their farewells here. Kyung Jae starts to cry first, upset at his memories of her disappearing. He tells her “Gil Da Ran, I love you.” He puts her hand on the umbrella handle and then tightly grasps it. He reluctantly turns to walk away. Da Ran stands there watching him leave.

Time jump of one year coming up. Da Ran walks through the same school and looks around. Mari types up an email and Da Ran receives it. Mari reveals that Kyung Joon and Yoon Jae’s souls have switched back and both guys are awake and no memory of anything after the accident. Kyung Joon has never asked about Da Ran, and Mari will never say anything to him since she promised Kyung Jae that she wouldn’t. Da Ran tells herself to keep remembering as she vowed to do.

Rabbit and her mom gets a happy update from the doctor that she is recovering well. Teddy Bear is thrilled and hugs her. Ae Kyung and Teacher Na are expecting a baby and very happy. Da Ran walks through the school and sees sunflowers and smiles.

Choong Shik is dicing up mandoo filling and looking like a chef. The parents are happy he’s doing so well. Choong Shik comes out bearing a box of mandoo for Mari, and the parents know he’s been sending mandoo to her for the past year. When Choong Shik walks out, he is stunned to see Mari outside.

Choong Shik and Mari take a walk where she explains that she’s back in Korea because she won a photography contest. Probably as a result of her paparazzi skills stalking Kyung Joon. Choong Shik asks to take a picture together and Mari agrees. When Choong Shik asks how she likes his mandoo, she says her dog eats most of it, but she ate some and would give it 1%. This gives Choong Shik hope and he promises to keep sending her more.

Da Ran walks by Kyung Joon’s house and peeks into the courtyard to see a woman watering the lawn. She explains that she used to live here and it still looks the same. As she walks away, the little boy tells his mom that a hyung came by earlier and said he used to live here alone a long time ago…..

Da Ran stands under her green umbrella in the rain. Da Ran sits in the bus and listens to the radio, which says today is June 24th, so Da Ran smiles and wishes Kyung Joon a happy birthday. She checks the time and sees that it is 10:10. which is when the radio says it’s 10:10 as well. She looks down on the aisle and sees two green umbrellas there which makes her smile.

Da Ran gets off on her stop and walks out. Suddenly she hears someone call out “Gil Da Ran”. She turns around and we see a man duck under her umbrella just like when she first met Kyung Joon.

He puts his hand on her hand the same way he did before, and we see that he’s wearing the watch Da Ran bought for Kyung Joon.

Da Ran stares at him. His face is not shown, but a flashback to the final conversation with Kyung Jae happens and we see Kyung Jae ask Da Ran to hold onto him when he returns to her. It’s easy to tell which is past and present – presently its raining, and the man is wearing a plaid shirt, in the past its sunny out and Kyung Jae is wearing a grey shirt. Back to the present, Da Ran says hello to Kang Kyung Joon.

Present day Kyung Joon calls her Gil Teacher and says he came to see her because he was curious. Da Ran smiles and says she knew he would come. Kyung Joon says his trademarked uh oh and tells her not to project too much about how he feels. He asks why she’s standing so close to him, before taking the umbrella away and walking off.

Da Ran turns and stares at him with a smile, before running after him. She remembers Kyung Jae asking her to endure when he comes back all rude and doesn’t care about her.

It’s Da Ran’s turn to run under the umbrella and grab his hand. She stares at Kyung Joon. We see that his watch reads 10:10.

Flashback to Kyung Jae and Da Ran standing under the umbrella. She tells Kyung Jae that she loves him. Kyung Jae says that when she tells him that, his heart will swell like a miracle.

Da Ran and Kyung Jae smile at each other in the flashback and the camera pulls away.

Thoughts of Mine:

I have to start off by thanking all the fans of Big for taking this journey with me. This drama wasn’t the easiest to love, and certainly liking something not enjoyed by the majority can be hard to swallow on off-days, but for me the experience was thoroughly a joy from beginning to end. I loved this ending, cognizant of its less-than-stellar execution and room for vast improvement, but fully able to appreciate what it was intended to convey and how it tied the entire story together. I hope its clear that (1) the two guys switched their souls back, (2) both are alive (for now, who knows if Yoon Jae will get sick again), and (3) the complete Seo family reunited, both sons are back with Mom and Dad. So no one gets their comeuppance, not Yoon Jae’s mom, not Kyung Joon’s uncle or aunt, and not even Mari. But you know what? I really don’t care about tying all the lose threads because this story was never about the side characters and none of them ever did anything to derail the narrative.

At the end of the drama, we go back full circle to the beginning. Not to the literal beginning, which was how Yoon Jae and Da Ran’s love story started. At some point in the one year time jump, we know that Da Ran ended things properly with Yoon Jae. Maybe he did come back to Korea and she sat down face-to-face with him, or maybe she wrote him a Dear John letter. The method doesn’t matter, it happened because both Da Ran and Kyung Joon intended for that to take place before they could be together. The Miracle turned out to never be fully explained, but I’m certain it wasn’t at Yoon Jae’s election or behest. Perhaps the professor’s explanation was the best. It was Kyung Joon’s surrogate mother’s prayer turned into a miracle for her son to find his real family. With the soul switch, Kyung Joon found his parents and older brother. The truth was hard, but family is family.

This leaves poor Yoon Jae really one of the most peripheral second male leads ever in a drama. He never gets to share his side of the story, but ultimately that drives home the point that it doesn’t really matter. It’s already too late and love isn’t something that can be forced. I never cared what his reason was for behaving the way he did in episode 1, because that has no bearing on what happened later. It’s sorta like missing the train, it doesn’t matter if you had a good reason or a bad one. When the train leaves the station, it’s too late. I’m so so happy that he didn’t die in the end, and that the drama leaves open his own story. Maybe he’ll get back with Se Young, maybe he won’t. Perhaps he stays in Germany with his dad and creates his own life there. He experienced a heartbreak, but so did Kyung Joon in learning about his own life story. But we see that Kyung Joon has taken the first steps to forgive his parents even before the switch back, and Yoon Jae will surely heal from his own romantic disappointment in losing Da Ran.

I know there are a bajillion things never even touched upon in the end. The big pink elephant in the room beyond whether Kyung Joon will remember loving Da Ran is what to do afterwards if he does. He’s now Yoon Jae’s younger brother, and even if Da Ran never registered her marriage to Yoon Jae, to the world they have been married before. Will either set of parents accept this new pairing? I think if the drama shows anything, it shows that even the hardest to stomach realities has a way of being accepted. We might not see it onscreen, but my heart tells me eventually Da Ran and Kyung Joon will get their happy ending, one that comes complete with family acceptance. It’s not easy, but their love never was.

So let’s talk about that ending, shall we? This was not a bittersweet ending for me at all. It was a happy ending, a beautiful ending that really showed us how a love story could make its own ending. Episode 16 showed us how strong Da Ran and Kyung Joon have become, how they never wavered or feared their impending separation and memory loss. They cried, they promised each other, and then they courageously walked towards their own future. They held onto faith in the strength of their love. Da Ran knew she wouldn’t forget Kyung Joon or lose her love for him. Kyung Joon knew he would forget Da Ran but prayed in a miracle that his heart would be able to remember her. In the end, we saw with our eyes that he did, so how could this ending be bittersweet?

If post switch-back Kyung Joon’s memory stayed at pre-accident, why would he go find Gil Teacher again? Why was he wearing the watch she gave him? Why did he follow her off the bus when she was carrying her own umbrella? Why did he take her umbrella and walk off? Why did he use the same teasing tone with her? It’s because his heart remembered her and he wanted to see her. He may not know exactly why, hence his excuse that he was curious about her, but indeed a miracle did happen. His heart remembered what his mind forgot, and the rest is up to Da Ran to make him fall in love with her all over again. Who could doubt he would do just that.

I know the final sequence is totally confusing because the camera never shows us post switch-back Kyung Joon’s face, but one would have to blind not to see that it’s clearly Gong Yoo playing that scene. Now unless Kyung Joon took some steroids and growth hormones, there is no way in hell Gong Yoo’s physique could believably be passed off as Shin Won Ho after one year. But the final scene isn’t meant to be taken literally. We know that the drama is not saying Kyung Joon magically grew up to look like Yoon Jae. The camera doesn’t show us his face precisely because that’s not the point. The point is that in the past year, Kyung Joon believably did grow, probably an inch or so and add a bit of bulk. Perhaps evil Mom is really doing as she said and feeding her second son well and taking good care of him.

So the Kyung Joon who came back to Da Ran is not exactly the Kyung Joon who laid in a coma for a year, nor is he Kyung Joon in Yoon Jae’s body. The use of Gong Yoo’s body and hand to play that scene is for some continuity to the viewer’s comfort with seeing Kyung Jae with Da Ran, but shielding his face is to affirm that Da Ran isn’t going to be with a Yoon Jae’s doppelganger in Kyung Joon. She’s going to get her love story with Kyung Joon who is now 21 years old, a bit older, bigger, and mysterious. Who is he? What has he done in the last year? Da Ran smiles at him because it doesn’t matter. He may not look like Kyung Jae, the face she saw when she fell in love with him, but inside is still the same soul.

While Big deviated significantly from the Hong Sisters’ normal style, that actually worked for me. I loved the slow pace, the emphasis on the leads over the situational comedy and angst, and the devotion of time to really building up and resolving the love story. Not everything made sense, and the bouts of noble idiocy and stupid actions popped up here and there, but in the end those were blips and didn’t have any lasting repercussions. The whole Kyung Joon needs to save Yoon Jae again issue was not milked for makjang, and once Kyung Joon decided it was the right thing to do and something he wanted to do, it was accepted and people moved on. I always thought that was made too big a deal of, since Kyung Joon’s blood or marrow is hardly asking him to donate a kidney or some eyeballs.

I really had no problem with the drama electing not to openly address many of the viewers questions. But the drama is from Da Ran and Kyung Joon’s perspective, and really they have answered all the questions that matter to them. Da Ran no longer cares about Yoon Jae’s answer to her question, so we never hear it. I’m sure he was going to tell her he loves her. But like any sad sap of a poor second lead in every single K-drama, it was just never going to work out. The hows and whys of the soul swap remain illusory, and that is just fine by me. At least it didn’t invert itself and require random magical gymnastics to get the boys back to original form.

Ah yes, some might complain that original flavor Kyung Joon, aka my preciousssssss Shin, was never shown onscreen again in the present timeline after he went sleep happy. If I can get over it, you can get it over. It’s pure artistic license on THS in how they want to show switched back Kyung Joon. They wanted us to see him having grown a bit, fine by me. It’s hardly a short shrift for a newbie to claim he lacked screen time. I would argue seeing him asleep every episode was plenty good screen time. He looked great in pink PJs. I like to think he’s pleased as a peach that technically his character got the girl (see him smiling at me!), and he got to collect a paycheck while napping. I’m kidding! This drama is a fantastic launching pad for his acting career. It’s not everyday a fresh-faced young actor can say “Gong Yoo and I played the same character and we both rocked it.” Nice.

So in the end I probably read more into it than the story intended. The miracle was about Kyung Joon finding his family, a wish of his dead surrogate mother come true. Yoon Jae both gained and lost, he gained a brother, another chance at life, and lost the woman he likely loved. Kyung Joon grew up, realizing that family is both blood and nurture, and he had both in his life, warts and all. Da Ran grew a backbone, conviction, and courage beyond my expectations, contravening societal expectations and accepting familial censure to choose the man she loved. Against all odds, even knowing he will not remember her, she still choose the harder path in life. I acknowledge this drama wasn’t the easiest to watch, aggravating at times because I knew it could be so much better, but ultimately it was more than good enough for me. I love Big because the drama made me feel the love.

© 2012, ockoala. All rights reserved.


Big Episode 16 Recap — 181 Comments

  1. reading comments from dramabeans for this episodes makes me sick as it is full of negative comments on the finale episode..hahaha..that is because im part of the minority who likes the finale episode.. :)

    this episode made me cry, particularly the part when GDR and KKJ said their was so heartbreaking! :(

    and yes, i have watched the ending part of this finale several times just to understand how it as per my understanding, KKJ and SYJ did indeed switched back..for me they didnt show KKJ face to show (though we all are sure that it is GY) that he is now matured and grown in both in body and mind since his 21..using SWH body will not show it, as of course he still looks so young and does not have a body like GY..i can feel that it is indeed KKJ since the smile on GDR’s face shows how really happy she is..

    i think the reason why when in the last part GDR rushed to him when KKJ took her umbrella and she was all in smile because that is the start of her letting him remind her of their memories and holding on to him and never let him go..GDR just did what KKJ told her before they parted ways a year back, that is to be sincere to him, hold on to him and endure him even if he pushes her away and make him remember all the memories they had..

    remember KKJ told GDR before they parted ways that if she tells him everything they will go back to that time and will be indeed be a miracle, which i assume did really happen since they did go back in time..the scene where in they went back to the time past where in GDR told KKJ iloveyou proves it..for me this, means that GDR made KKJ remember everything and that they indeed live happily ever after all..which made me happy! :) that is why for me i loved the ending especially this drama! i love KKJ and GDR and LMJ and GY! :)

  2. hahaha strangely I came to love this episode too. It’s just something about the story appearing on screen that made it beautiful, despite the aggravating lack of narrative logic in many places. what triumphs in Big isn’t a logical story (narratively), but emotions… LOTS AND LOTS OF IT– through the directing, through the actors, and then honestly, besides the core of the storyline, what of the heart it intended to discuss– not much else in the writing haha a BIG heart this drama has (sorry for the pun) and for that I love it.

    we’d sigh over what it could have been, but we’ll love it for what the actors and directors salvaged from messy writing… and so I’m surprised… messy writing CAN be salvaged by good actors and directing… as long as it has a big-hearted premise

    … Ok, I’ll give the Hong’s some credit… at least they didn’t give wacky endings like in MGIGMH or My Girl or watnot haha… this one was tasteful, if you could appreciate it

    KJ’s constant giving and D’s strength towards the end of the story will be tucked in a special place in my heart… so KJ still has a place up there as best male leads with Boong Do hehehe

  3. I feel cheated, they took the easy way out, sigh. It’s like I asked for food and was given cotton candy.

    I can’t believe the swap that everyone (well me) took place off-screen! I wanted to see the fall-out and see KKJ and DR find their way back together.
    So I really hate the time-jump which I also hated in Best Love. It would have been more memorable that way!

    I would have loved to see YJ and KKJ get aquianted with each other. I would have loved to see his family make amends to him. I would have loved to see Daran pursue KKJ and get him to remember her. I know he remembered her a little by wearing the watch but I would have loved to see the recognition come to his eyes, like a lightbulb lighting up. Or a feeling of deja vu. Or (if they hadn’t mentioned he was attracted to her pre-swap) she would have recreated the dates they had to remind him. Convince him the little things she knows about him like doesn’t like mushrooms. I wanted to see him learn to walk and talk again with her help since he has been in a coma for years.

    I always thought YJ was a silent character in KKJ and DR’s relationship. I wanted to see his character have resolution. I wanted to have a scene where DR explains everything that happened (too cruel and impersonal to do this in a letter, he deserves a face-to-face!). I would have loved YJ to tell her if he really loved her or he was having second thoughts. I also wanted to know what he was going to tell her that day at the park before the accident. I wanted to see YJ come to terms with KKJ and DR’s relationship and give them his blessings.

    I feel like the Hong Sisters took easy outs where they shouldn’t but surprisingly did the hard way something they should have gone using the easy way. At the end of ep 15, when Daran gave her confession, she should have explained exactly why she felt that way. She should have laid everything on the table. How KKJ’s soul was in YJ that is why he started behaving differently than before. Why the Hong Sisters are content in letting everyone think she is crazy, I will never understand! This could have been great fodder for the rest of episode 16.

    Last but not least, I really wanted a recreation of the Shin Daran scene from episode 1 showing Shin’s face and not GY’s. (I still think they took an easy-out. Sorry am not buying the sudden 1-yr growth spurt as Shin has looked the same for the past few years and he was in a coma.) What they should have done is show Shin’s face 1s then the next GY’s, interchanging. Or they could have shown DR and Shin reenacting a scene she did with only GY (not umbrella scene)and showing them side-by side. To show tthat she still loves the soul irrespective of the shell.

    Question if KJ never lost his memories when in the 1st swap, why would he loose them now?

    I am just itching to rewrite this drama! I’m sad that what started as an ambitious project just whittled away to fluff. Le Sigh.

    • Same feeling there
      I like the see the details of how they get back together n carry on probably to a wedding n stuff
      Details like how the address their emotions(it’s so detailed emotions)
      But looking at the rating they received in Korea for the amount of viewers watching the show
      It’s probably the reason y it turn from 20 to 16 episode

  4. I try really hard to feel better about this drama and your recap is one of a kind!

    I love this drama, but the ending is not satisfying enough. I really hope HS wake YJ up before the last minute ending and the BIG event was never showed <- disappointment no. 1

    I know the story focused on KJ-DR love story -and I looovveee the couple, but its unfair to get rid of YJ until the very end. He was there for God sake. He has story to be told and the mean HS just never give him a chance to tell. Whats the point of the cute encounter, engagement and the planned wedding?
    I don't want to assume what happen, I want a nice settlement of that relationship given to the story. You owe that Hong Sister!

  5. You recapped the episode nicely and my feelings about the drama are the same as yours. I loved it, “flaws” and all.

  6. U r definitely right
    Mari told her they swap back
    N when GDR alight the bus n kkj caught up
    N GDR first response was (hi kkj) in Korean
    So if the body is GY then she won’t say that instantly

    As for the use of GY body
    Is like being said
    Its a perspective of GDR that kkj is of that form(thru out most of the episode)
    But they blur out the face so that u will have to think hard
    Or rather fill in the face u will like to have

    Haha but nice job on ur breakdown
    Very detail n accurate

    • and I have to add that the little boy said that just before Daran a HYUNG came to see the house if KKJ were to be in SYJ’s body the little boy would have said an ajhussi.

  7. Well as for lost memory
    U can choose to believe that kkj din lose memory
    Cos Mari also make lie
    It could b her lie

    Well u can choose to fantasize any ending u want cos there are too many things not told clearly
    Well that might be one of the script writer plot
    Cos miracle is of any possibility even if it is logically impossible(e.g. Soul swapping)

    Fantasize any happy ending u want n feel good abt it
    That’s Ur miracle in BIG

  8. I got my lost memory ending, which I actually thought was beautiful, but Gong Yoo playing grown up Shin was pretty awkward for me because I don’t think they look anything alike. I thought that the ending was pretty slow for a drama that started out so fast paced and it did leave a lot questions unanswered, but at least Yoon Jae did not have to die and the main couple, Ma Ri and Choong Shik, and the two teachers all got together so although I don’t think it was a fantastic ending, at least it was a happy ending.

  9. I love Big but the ending didn’t do enough justice to the front eps.
    Why did Kyung Joon only return to look for Da Ran after a year? Shouldnt he feel something speciel and return earlier? Maybe the timeframe doesn’t really matter but it really does need to take alot of love for the show to swallow down this ending.

  10. Disappointed and indifferent to this drama except for the brilliant acting of GY. How is it possible to blame an actor for changing the course and perception of the drama and overshadowing the plot, other actors, implied morals, etc? Ridiculous.

  11. people are asking what happened to yoon jae. if yoon jae really loved da ran he would have come back for her immediately after his recovery. but he didn’t. this considering that he had not lost all his memories since he was in coma. now if yoon jae did lose all his memories they were still not fated to each other. he never came back. it was kkj who returned.

  12. if they showed shin won at the end, some people might not like it because they do not see a connection with da ran. because all through out the series, all the good stuff shown of gil da ran and kkj were in goo yong’s body or yoon jae!

  13. Can I just say Thank you!!!!!!!! :)
    This is pretty much what I was thinking. I thought it was a pretty good ending. I’m not sure why people are so confused. It’s pretty obvious that it’s KKJ. He was wearing the watch, the green umbrella, and he said uh-oh. Those were the biggest hints.

    I really liked this drama. It was definitely something different. I don’t think the Hong Sisters were really focusing on what the fans wanted but they focused on what they wanted. They did a pretty good job!!!! :)

  14. the main substance of the story is focused on KKJ (on yoon jae’s body) and gil da ran. yoon jae’s part of the story was only second to KKJ and gil da ran’s romance. yoon jae’s story with gil da ran was only a prologue.

  15. Thanks for your recap. Reading it is like finding rest after a looooong, tiring journey. I think Big will eventually be like Playful Kiss….not so stellar rating, lots of bashing, but it will have its own cult following. Sometimes, you just have to sit, watch and be entertained. Set aside analyzing every scene, character or dialogue. Although, I wish it was a straight up Lee Min Jung and Gong Yoo pairing, rather than characterwise Da Ran and Kyung Joon pairing.

    Oh, well….does anyone know the title of that crazy music they play before something funny/outrageous happens? anyone?

  16. I forgot to say, thanks Ms Koala for you’re wonderful recaps and your work on your thoughtful insights. I still don’t like the ending. It didn’t make any sense to say they switched back, and not show KKJ back in his real body. It would have at least made more sense to say they didn’t switch, and have the ending that they did. There were too many unanswered storylines, and it was just sloppy. But I’m glad some people enjoyed it. Thank you!

  17. You are way too good at recapping. Thanks so much for posting so quickly after episodes air and for providing your insight.

    This is the first Korean drama I have ever watched. (No, I am not twelve)

    I don’t watch very many dramas and I usually jump on bandwagons some time after the drama is over. This is simply because I do not have the patience to wait for new episodes. Instead, I try to find episode recaps for a few episodes first and if i get hooked I start watching it. I stumbled upon your site a while back when I was looking for episode recaps for Startling Each Step and really enjoyed your recaps so I check back once a week or so to see what you recommend. You started recapping Big but I didn’t read those articles because I was bias towards K dramas. I have never watched a K drama before and i think it was because I was under the impression that a lot of them were too similar (I don’t even remember where I got this idea from). I finally decided to read a prediction article just to see what the hype was about. I was instantly hooked!

    Big’s ending wasn’t conclusive and I am the kind of person who doesn’t like open endings. I am so thankful for you and the commenters here for bridging the gap for me. Because of the language gap for some viewers like myself, we might have missed out on some details when we were busy reading subtitles had it not been for you. Reading your recap after watching the episode really enhanced the experience. I don’t think the ending for Big was that bad and the more I think about it, I don’t think I would have been happy regardless of who played KKJ in the end. I grew attached to Gong Yoo but using him outright would have been too much of a cop out. Big is right up there in my top five favourite dramas.

  18. what i’ve done was to watch ep1 again….and it’s truly given me the satisfaction of putting the ending pieces together…all into its places. thank goodness the ending didn’t go according to what netizens been speculating…but…i guess the retelling of the ending could have been done in a bit better way just to shush some.

  19. those who claimed ‘confused’ are just quite in denial…..this drama requires some of your great minds to work out the hidden ‘messages’ within the script and body language in between scenes. SHW was never a main cast….i am thankful that i see KKJ in GY’s form as i bid farewell to them..

  20. i wish Hong sister would come up with Special Edition via youtube like “playful kiss” for BIG.

    With this, perhaps all BIG fans would be satisfy and able to know what happen to YJ, MA RI and why KKJ suddenly grow up just like YJ in a year :)

    anyway , the miracle to me was when i see Gong Yoo smile.. he’s an angel.

  21. First of all thank you for you miss Koala for your very supportive comment in BIG…(i start stopped reading other recap because of their negative comment)..for me BIG is one of Kdrama that keep me stay until the end..some drama getting lost of my attention in the middle so I need times to finish it..
    With this drama finished, I understand how far the character goes..with mature KJ and independent DR..which I say LMJ is soo good although many people said that her acting is bad..luv luv GY-LMJ…
    I really satisfied with ending….I realized it will be fast ending when the time in my computer show almost 3/4 of the episode but they still not switch back…
    Some people argue that it will be better if many thing get solved properly..but I think Hong sister already put that things in previous scene, although maybe implicitely..such as asking forgiveness from YJ, the hard path that they will overcome, the sadness of YJ of losing DR (we can see Shin crying in this episode with YJ soul), rejection from parents….so in my opinion if they make those scene after the should involve SWH or another actor who is older..but as someone said before..maybe it will be awkward if we literally watch LMJ with SWH in love…while in this long journey KJ is in Gong Yoo think this way is the best( the crew, HS, director and the actors must have discussed about this many times too for the best thing)
    I love big with many of its flaws..hehehe..did anybody recognize that in the last scene the KJ watch should have late time compare the other..because DR watch and the radio already said 10.10 few minutes before his watch..hehehe
    For know how many people watch his group Cross Gene despite of their silly dance (sorry just in my opinion..becoz I am fans of Kpop too..and find their dance is so nooo..) including me…(I am listening their song in my laptop while writing this comment..hahaha) SWH get his popularity too..and while he was sleeping, he still can go promote his boyband album..hehehe
    I am looking forward his new project, becoz i think his acting is promising..(imagine..I am Ji Chang Wook fans..but I watch Bachelor Veggie just for SWH part..sigh..)
    I think I will re-watch Big again and again…Gomawo BIG….

  22. as it’s happy ending i didn’t cry but i did cry coz of the Kkj in SYJ that i enjoyed watching is gone after the switch..and thinking of how sad he was prior leaving Da Ran with the umbrella..i’ve been in similar situation where we have to part because that’s the only option..and it’s painful!you have to be really strong to survive the hole left for you to fill up…that’s why i can be quite connected to the emotions project in this drama…

  23. personally I love the way you recap and ur honest view about this drama.. Thats why I prefer to read ReCAP from you and not from Dramabeans a.k.a JV or girlfucsday… They are so immature and bash this drama.. I dont understand why.. U are a better person.. i love how u talk bout this drama. Love u !! hahaha! hope u will review another drama and cant wait to watch To The Beautiful You with MsKoaLA!! looking forward for that..

    • Seriously! Did you just come here to bash other recappers? They spend hours recapping you should appreciate their effort and not bash and degrade them?
      Not everyone has to agree with what you think or your opinion.

    • Did I just read DB bosses are immature? BWAHAHAHAHAHA!
      No. They are biased, like we all are at one point. But they are the first to acknowledge a quality in a drama, even if there is just one.
      This drama is bashed almost everywhere for your information. I guess you must be a young fan of Ms Koala: You’re not helping her much there. :)

    • Hi BigLover

      I’m glad you like the drama and want to talk about it, but I greatly appreciate if you refrain from denigrating other bloggers. I respect JB and GF, the two ladies have raised the bar for K-dramas the world over and I love them regardless of whether my views on any drama coincide or differ from theirs. You can share opinions, but I like to keep the tone of comments positive if possible. I appreciate your positive thoughts about my writing!

  24. Koala,

    Thanks for another recap and your wonderful thoughts.

    I didn’t like how the Hong Sisters delivered the story, many things were kept unanswered and that was disappointing because some side stories became consideraly important and demanded closure.For example, I wanted to see some brother interaction, since YJ survided, and some family time between KJ and his parents. The funny thing is that some shallow stories like the two teachers and Mari’s relationship with DR’s brother had an ending, but why other more important characters hadn’t?

    But one thing I have to agree with you – the umbrella scene was so B-E-A-U-T-I-F-U-L, it was the visual link between the past and the present, very cinematographic. I LOVED THAT!!! And I loved the fact that KJ said that he did it on purpose, he deliberately took her umbrella. That was so adorable. That scene made reminded me of an episode of jdrama called “marriage simulator”, it had a scene with an umbrella too and the guy said to the girl that he didn’t forget his umbrella on the day he met her, he just used that as an excuse to meet her and that he was sorry that it wasn’t fate encounter as she thought.

    I like this idea that love isn’t fate, but choices we make. I think BIG tried to tell this message through KJ and DR’s love story.

  25. I am a big fan of sisters hong’ve watched all these dramas and watch them just because they were written, but in Best Love despite having enjoyed the drama especially the actors and their characters, for me it was missing something, I do not know explain exactly what it was, despite phenomenal highlight several scenes the plot of the drama is not arrested me for nothing, so I was not so excited to see the drama as his previous. Big And unfortunately the same thing happened I started to see the drama so excited with each release accompanied by reading the recaps in several different places and indicating to everyone I know, but over the episodes I thought it was all gone and despite the often repeated scenes cute in episodes compensate, I lost all the magic I felt the drama that butterflies in my stomach every scene. And then the final disappointment was only increased to understand all points of view put by you, but they only made ​​me accept the end, but not like it. The drama is not bad far from it, but it’s not what I expect the Hong sisters.
    Now hoping that next year they bring a Guminho that exceeds that for me so far is the best one.

    The: Thank you for the recap read them makes me feel inspired even when they do not totally agree with what does not happen very often! ^ – ^

  26. I’m nicely surprised to have someone share the exact same point of view on this drama with me. I really enjoyed your recap…and I’m glad I’m not the only one who understood this ending this way^^

  27. The loose threads will always bug me, because it’s like wasted time in the drama. For example, why doesn’t GDR’s mother remember that one Uncle who kept spying on her (and vice versa for the Principle spying on GDR’s father)? They never explained that mystery.

  28. Koala,

    Thanks you a lot for your recap. I share the similar opinion of the ending as you. I was pretty satisfied with the last part and I liked how it was solved. Frankly it took me some time to accept this drama and main characters but during the last episodes I quite enjoyed this show.

    (And my heart truly jumped up with joy when Da Ran declared her love for KKJ plainly in front of everybody.)

    Both leading actors did a great job. Will never have enough of Gong Yoo.

  29. Great recap! I really enjoyed this series as well and I interpreted the ending almost the same way. But though I do agree that it wasn’t an “unhappy” ending, I have to disagree that it wasn’t bittersweet. It was in my mind, anyway. I’m not upset (anymore ;) ) that they didn’t show Kang Kyung Joon’s face. I’ve come to accept it and, ok, can see reasons why they didn’t show him. But what I am still saddened by is that it appears Kang Kyung Joon did in fact lose all his memories of Gil Da Ren and the time they spent together falling in love. I was holding on to a tiny bit of hope that he might suddenly remember after all. Yes, it would be a bit of a fairytale ending but I wanted the fairytale ending for them.

    I know he has the watch, and that he came to find her, and the scene with the umbrella indicates that he still has her in his heart (even if he doesn’t yet know why) and that he will eventually come to love her just as much again. But somehow, his memory loss makes me feel like it taints their long, emotional journey. The WAY in which they fell in love for the first time was, to me, what was so special and beautiful a discovery to both of them. The WAY they grew closer was unique to them at that time. And even moreso because it occurred naturally when they were thrown together in such a situation. The bickering, the tears, the nagging, the anger, the laughs, the moments – they all added up and blossomed over time. But as it stands at the end of the series, with only Gil Da Ren remembering their past, doesn’t sit well with me. It just… won’t be the same. Even when Kyung Joon does fall in love again, it won’t be the same. The way I see it, the same heart-wrenching emotions won’t have a need to surface now because she already knows she loves him. Falling in love is full of ups and downs but only Gil Da Ren knows the extent of that now. Neither of them will ever need to feel real jealousy or fear the possibility of losing the one they love forever. Though it won’t matter as much to Gil Da Ren seeing as she’s already been through it, I don’t like that Kyung Joon won’t be experiencing that angst or those ups and downs. She won’t LET it happen because she has already discovered that he is the one she truly loves. Therefore, she wouldn’t LET him go – whereas before when they were both unsure about each other and their growing feelings, it was a path of discovery they were both walking together. Now it’s like she’s already at the end of the path and he has to run to catch up – but this time without any of the circumstances or issues that they had to overcome in the first place. And further, I hate the idea that Kyung Joon will never know the way Gil Da Ren stood up and declared her love for him in front of the families. Or the elation he felt when he found out she called him her boyfriend. Or the way he felt when they first kissed etc, etc. I’m probably being silly because I suppose at the end of the day, love is love. But I find it depressing that there was a time, feelings he felt and things they went through on the way to his realization that he loved her that she remembers and he does not.

    Thinking about it, I would have actually preferred that they BOTH lost their memory of their time together and THEN reunited at the end, suggesting that they always come back to one another (even without knowing it) and will walk down that same path that had already been tread once before. It would still be sad but at least this way they would be doing it all again TOGETHER and at the same time. But alas, that did not happen.

    The series was still quite good but the ending casts a shadow on it that I wish didn’t have to be there.

    Anyway, I’ve rambled enough for one post. Thanks again for your recap! I enjoyed reading your thoughts.

  30. Thanks for this blog, Koala! I’ve used it many times for clarification or to catch up. I’ve never been more thankful for it until Big. I liked the first episode but was left wondering if I wanted to continue on after the second. I decided to read your thoughts and recap of episode 3 instead of actually watching it. Your enthusiasm was what made me give it another chance and since then Big has become one of my favorites.

    I couldn’t agree more with your final thoughts. I’ve read so many complaints on different sites about the ending. A lot of people were confused, they wanted to know what happened to Yoon Jae, or they wanted something happier. It didn’t confuse me so I can’t relate to that. They should read your recaps! Like you basically said, Yoon Jae didn’t really matter after a certain point, but his possible future was foreshadowed into the drama nicely. Finally, the wanting of happiness. We as viewers knew Kyung Joon would lose his memories. We also knew Da Ran vowed to keep at him once he came to her in his “new” state. Their reunification was happiness enough for me. We didn’t see their ending, we saw the beginning to the second part of their story.

  31. Best explanation of the ending that I’ve seen to date. Dramabeans really has a poor explanation and as someone else said a lot of negativity. Other sites really also didn’t seem to “get it.” Glad someone did and was able to help others enjoy it as well.

  32. For me I felt it was overly drawn out, and the heroine was a little too naive for her age, I know it is common for kdrama heroines but its annoying. My biggest issue and for many people was the copping out and not showing Shin with her at the end. It was very cowardly.

  33. Thanks for sharing your wonderful insights about the ending. I love this Korean drama. I’ve finished watching it lately. Though I am very much disappointed at first because I just want to see the face of the young actor. :/ But it all made sense. I don’t care about the questions left unanswered, in love, in maturity, in life – it’s like that. Maybe, I just really want to be satisfied with the idea that the two lovers really ended together. But, just like the theme of the drama: MIRACLES, we just have to believe- have faith even if it doesn’t make sense or we can’t see it with our eyes. Thanks, your thoughts ease my heart actually. :D

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