Flower Boy Next Door successfully wrapped up its too short 16-episode run with a satisfying and meaningful conclusion to the journey. Lessons were learned, laughter and tears flowed aplenty, and by the end I was smiling from ear-to-ear even as I already felt a whift of nostalgia that this is the end. I’m glad I kept the faith because the drama never did lose its direction even as a few episode enders tried to raise the tension that it might. Dok Mi and Enrique, two vastly different soulmates that bumped into each other by chance, chose to hold on to their love with maturity and honesty, cherishing the road they took together even as the future cannot be predicted. The drama didn’t throw in the kitchen sink of resolutions, such as pairing up the second leads of Do Hwi and Jin Rok, or even repairing the wholly destroyed former friendship between Dok Mi and Do Hwi. It did allow some secondary characters to find happiness that was satisfying to see, but ultimately this drama was all about the growth through love that Dok Mi and Enrique found with each other. She became braver, he became wiser, and together they touched the lives of the people around them. Jin Rok lost the girl but found his path in love, and learned a little bit about love so we can all rest assured he’ll find that right girl for him somewhere down the line. Was this the best rom-com I’ve watched? No, and I can’t say I was all that addicted week-to-week watching it. But I do love it dearly and appreciated it’s simplicity and message of making little inter-personal connections in this wide wide world. The ending was indeed a worthy capper to a simple and lovely drama from beginning to end.
Episode 16 baby recap:
It’s a year later, early 2014, and Dok Mi sports a new sleek hairstyle and sits in a book meeting. She looks happy but wistful when she hears that Enrique’s book was a best seller last year on recovery from gamining addiction. When she walks out of the meeting, she sees a happy Jin Rok asking what they should do today since it’s the 1 year anniversary?
Rewind to Enrique taking Dok Mi to see the crazy gamers – he announces he will go back to Spain and work on the animation…….but not right now. He will go back because that is his dream and he knows they support his dream, but they don’t know what is in his heart. Everyone needs to pursue their own dreams and right now what is most important for him is this woman here, this woman who showed him love.
Crazy fangirl points to Dok Mi and says not her, she’s a two-timing bad influence on Enrique. He screams at her to grow up! Why is she wasting her time hurting others and not listening to what he just said. Dok Mi is the most important person in his life and he’s not going to leave her especially at a time when she’s been attacked by the world. He takes Dok Mi away. Jin Rok takes Dong Hoon to go see their editor. He is planning to stop this story on the webtoon and not add to Dok Mi and Enrique’s burdens by keeping their love triangle out there for readers to gossip about.
Enrique apologizes to Dok Mi for dragging her there but he wanted those people to see her face because otherwise they will bully her because they don’t see her as a person like them with feelings. Dok Mi is fine since she was able to let go of her baggage already. Enrique wants to her tell him how she really feels and let it out, but Dok Mi suggests they take that trip and leave this all behind. He doesn’t want to run away from the problem but she tells him it took a lot for a girl to ask a guy on a trip. He wonders where to? Dok Mi wants to be his guide today like he’s been her guide in the past and cutely grabs his sleeve to lead him off.
Jin Rok sits with his editor and Dong Hoon and suggests changing the story, despite how popular the webtoon is now. He can see Dong Hoon and the editor flirting with each other. His suggests changing it to talk about various aspects of love, to show others how to express love much like he didn’t know how in the past. The first story he wants to tell is about a sleepless girl and a part-time hard working guy, and they are each other’s support. Dong Hoon and the editor wonder if they are falling in love?
Dok Mi takes Enrique to the shore and they admire an architecture built by a man who put a figure of his wife underneath the awning. Supposedly she left him while he was building it so in anger he put her there to support the frame. Enrique suggests that it’s the opposite, he put her there to let go of his anger towards her, and his take makes Dok Mi more hopeful.
Enrique tells Dok Mi that his mom devised a game for him when they moved to Spain, a word game to help him remember Korean. The word game requires Enrique to rank the things she lists in order of like. They play but Dok Mi doesn’t answer the way Enrique wants. He then tells her to construct a sentence out of sorry, thank you, and I miss you. Dok Mi says sorry for pushing him away for so long, thank you for finding her, and because of him she learned to love. Enrique pouts that she doesn’t come straight out and say I love you.
When Dok Mi ask Enrique to construct his story out of those words, his words flow right out – sorry I didn’t find you earlier, thank you for allowing me to love you, and I love you, ahjumma! He tenderly kisses her forehead and they hug.
On the walk home, Dong Hoon assures Jin Rok that Dok Mi will be fine. Enrique met with his fans and stopped their rumor spreading. He also reveals that Do Hwi went online and posted comments that the high school rumor about Dok Mi was all false. Jin Rok laughs that newly in love Dong Hoon sees everything in a positive light. Do Hwi walks by and tries to avoid Jin Rok, but he speaks first and asks where her minions are? He learns they were friends with Do Hwi since high school and tells her that she now has good friends who have supported her this whole time. He tells her not to lose that friendship going forward.
Dok Mi and Enrique are sitting by a roaring fire outside. He sings for her and she shows him the writing in her phone where she chronicled that Enrique is her whole world and finally she says I love you to him. He teases that her confession is so amazing his pales in comparison.
Dok Mi tells Enrique that she will wait for him, he can go off and pursue his dream and she will wait for him because he’s her entire world. And in her world she might get weary or unhappy, but the world around her that is Enrique will never disappear. He tells her not to talk about him leaving at this time.
Dok Mi and Enrique are in a room and he’s sprawled on the grown writing a list per what she says. His writing is chock full of mistakes and Dok Mi tells him to write her handwritten letters when he’s away, which makes him grumble that she just wants to edit him. They tussle over the paper and get really close to each other.
After Dok Mi falls alseep, Enrique covers her and thinks about how far she’s come in learning to love herself and love others. After Enrique falls asleep, Dok Mi covers him and thinks about what a wonderful person he is in teaching others about love.
Fast forward a year and we’re back at the scene in the start of the episode. Jin Rok comes to find Dok Mi and they talk about the 1 year anniversary of the security guard and the pretty tenant lady dating. Turns out Jin Rok’s webtoon has been comissioned as a book to be published as this same agency and Dok Mi congratulates him on that. On their walk back to the building, Jin Rok reveals that Enrique IMs him several times a day from Spain, always chatting about Dok Mi. He is happy she’s writing a children’s book, worried about her eating well, grumbly that guys might be chasing after her while he’s not around.
They go attend a surprise party for the security guard and his girlfriend with Dok Mi helping Watanabe make the cake. The guard proposes to his girlfriend and she happily accepts. When asked why he doesn’t require a deposit for renter, he reveals that his poor past wants him to help people get started in finding a home, but then he requires rent to be paid on time always because that teaches responsibility.
The editor, smartly dressed and sans eye bags, shows up and asks to rent an apartment. She sits down next to her beau Dong Hoon and they smirk at Jin Rak. Watanabe reveals that he’s moving out as he’s going to Africa to continue his cooking enrichment. He gifts Dok Mi with a beautiful glass own figurine as a present.
Dok Mi goes home and sits down to read Enrique’s latest letter, which is just chatter about Spain and soccer and asking her to wait a little bit longer. She is happy this letter doesn’t have a single mistake but she grumbles about their year and 3 month separation which isn’t short at all. Does he want her to track him down in Spain? She calls her editor to request using her vacation days.
Dok Mi wanders to her window and spots a black-haired man in all black standing in Tae Joon’s window looking at her. She freaks out and ducks, wondering if she’s hallucinating now because she misses Enrique so much? She takes her binoculars and looks again, and it is indeed her Enrique. He looks angry and makes finger gestures of “I see you” to her and she rushes out of the apartment.
Dok Mi and Enrique meet between the two buildings and stare happily at each other. Enrique can read her mind as usual and asks if she’s well and tells her this is not her dream and that he misses her.
They walk forward and Enrique pulls her face in for a long camera-swirling kiss.
Jin Rok interviews a new illustrator for his webtoon and the girl (cameo by Park Se Young) avoids his eyes and asks if she can work from home. Turns out she loves to stay in and doesn’t much like socializing. Jin Rok’s eyes light up that he might have found his dream girl.
Do Hwi is at the bar with her friends, the same bar she once drank at and pretended to be drunk to get Jin Rok to walk her home. Her friends suggest that the cute bartender is a rich guy who ran away from home to pursue his dreams. Do Hwi preens and flirts with the bartender.
We see everyone going about their every day lives – the engaged couple feed each other happily, Dong Hoon and the editor bicker and make up, Watanabe packs his apartment. Dok Mi writes that love is reaching out for another and offering to lift their burdens and listening to their heart.
Enrique and Dok Mi run down the street holding hands and they are joined by the entire apartment gang. Enrique voiceovers that people can’t change the world but a person can become a happy bright world for another. And if we all continue to do that, then the world will change little by little. He is Enrique, Go Dok Mi’s entire world, and she is Go Dok Mi, Enrique’s entire world.