My Spring Days Episodes 15 and 16 Recap

Facing Bom-yi and her family’s pain this week has not been easy, mostly because of how real life has colored my expectations. In the last two weeks, a close teacher’s husband died after a 6 year struggle with brain cancer, a younger colleague was diagnosed with colon cancer and a very good friend has spent the last month in and out of hospitals taking care of her ailing and elderly father. Everyone involved is exhausted mentally and physically. The machines, treatments, and side effects dehumanize the loved ones making it difficult for the caregivers to get close enough to offer comfort. Disease and death are messy, painful and it just plain sucks for all the people holding the sick person’s hand.

I got very upset watching Bom-yi’s journey. I hated that she was dying suddenly. That maybe she wouldn’t get a chance to adopt and raise a baby sister for Poo-reun and Ba-da. That her spirited back-and-forth teasing with Dong-ha was reduced to hushed, comforting tones reserved for dying heroines in 19th century novels. Watching Dong-ha, once again, torn to bits having to face a future without a loved one by his side? Man, that’s horrible to see. I was grieving a future that I had envisioned for them, that I needed for them to make me happy. Alas, this is not only about me, or maybe it is.

Episode 15 Summary:

Immediately after the proposal, Dong-ha suggests a nice wedding inviting all their friends and family after Bom-yi’s surgery, but Bom-yi isn’t interested.

Dong-ha and Dong-wook meet to talk about Bom-yi’s condition and care. Dong-ha wants all the research on organ transplants he can get. Samchoon offers to stay with the Kang kids while Hyung is at the hospital. Bom-yi Oma gives Dong-ha the night off so he can go home and rest.

Chez Kang, Poo-reun and Dad talk about Bom-yi. He tells his daughter the seriousness of Bom-yi’s condition.

She compliments him that he is the coolest ever and gives him a big hug, making him promise that he will protect her friend.

Dong-ha visits and leaves the paper bouquet his children made for Bom-yi. He kisses her forehead while she sleeps.

Bom-yi finds the bouquet and elicits Se-na’s help with a plan.

Dong-ha and Apa meet with an expert on mechanical hearts. There have been successful applications. One where the patient has survived seven years and counting.

Bom-yi watches Dong-ha as he researches more information about heart transplants online.

Apa says his daughter’s condition hasn’t worsened, but Bom-yi is not happy.

Dong-wook and Ji-won continue to warm up to each other. He talks her into eating lunch with him and chopstick feeding her some egg when Dong-ha interrupts.

After she runs out of the room in embarrassment, Hyung has more info on mechanical hearts to share with his brother.

Upon returning to Bom-yi’s room, Se-na and Park prepare him for a bad mood Bom-yi. When he goes in, however, he finds she has transformed the room into a romantic scene, and herself into a bride.

Dong-ha wants to give her a proper wedding, but she can’t wait that long. She doesn’t want to be a patient, but his wife.

“I know that you want to make me the happiest and prettiest bride ever but I’m so happy now. Please forgive me even if I’m not pretty.” He assures her she is pretty. “Even if I become your wife now, I won’t be able to do anything for you. I can’t make a delicious meal for you, find your missing socks and I can’t do anything for your children. Only thing I can do now is tell you how I feel about you. I’m sorry.”

She takes his hand, “I, Lee Bom-yi, take you, Kang Dong-ha the sweetest and nicest man in the world to be my husband. I promise to be true to you in good times and in bad in sickness and in health. Even though I can’t live for a long time whether I live a day or eternity I’ll love you and honor you all the days of my life.”

Taking her hand, he promises the same, and he kisses the bride.

(Let’s pretend it was passionate and warm and in that small gesture, he was able to communicate that despite her illness, he felt towards her how any man does with his beautiful woman nearby. That she reacted, and for the first time had a taste of what living as this man’s wife would mean – not just being mom to his kids.) Tears filling both their eyes.

Moments later, outside her room, Dong-ha shows his real reaction to the promise and heartbreak of their vows.

Fists clenched, bent over in pain, he holds back his own body-wracking sobs. Steeling himself, almost, for the battle to come.

Bom-yi tells Dong-ha that she wants to go to the windy hills of Udo for a honeymoon. With Dong-wook’s support, he manages to talk Apa into letting her go.

She needs something to keep her hopes up, otherwise her depression will overcome her. Apa’s arguments are hushed with one very expensive word, “helicopter.”

Gil-dong and Dong-wook’s doctor friend greet them when they land on Dong-ha’s field.

He makes a big show of being the newlywed groom by carrying a laughing Bom-yi over the threshold.

Gil-dong has been commanded to make the house honeymoon ready by Park.

Bom-yi calls her anxiously waiting parents, who show huge signs of relief hearing she is OK. Next is Meat Mom, who is delighted to hear from Bom-yi. Although Bom-yi calls her Oma-nim, they don’t tell her about their marriage.

Dong-ha and Bom-yi, from the back of his truck decorated to show their “Just Married” status, tour all of Udo.

They revisit all the important places and moments of their fateful relationship. Dong-ha suggests they rest for today, and they should go out to the windy hills the next day.

Song meets with Bom-yi’s parents and Dong-wook. He drops the bomb that they have no plans regarding an Organ Transplant Center, pulling out the contract Dong-wook signed to prove it.

They may be friends, but he can’t continue to invest money into a failing hospital. If Bom-yi Apa hadn’t been disciplined all those years ago, they never would have been in this hopeless situation. When Dong-wook confronts Ji-won minutes later, she admits that she forged Dong-wook’s signature on the contract without the organ transplant clause,

thereby making it invalid. This frees him from any responsibility to stay on. Smart girl. She is willing to fall on her sword as long as he is OK.

Dong-ha and Bom-yi share a meal he cooked. He thanks almost everyone without her prompting, which is cute.

We find out that in order to cut the line for transplants, Apa lied about how critical her condition was.  The Board disciplined him and suspended him as a surgeon, ruining the hospital’s reputation. They never recovered.

After dinner, Bom-yi is too tired to do anything but go to bed. We see the romantic honeymoon set-up in Dong-ha’s bedroom. Candles, petal hearts and couple PJs.

Very shyly, Dong-ha leaves Bom-yi to change. While he is out of the room, he hears a crash. Bom-yi has fallen down hard. He reacts calmly this time, giving her oxygen and breathing with her until she has recovered somewhat.

Dong-wook’s doctor friend arrives and administers an IV, commanding them to go back to Seoul first thing in the morning. Forget the windy hills, he tells them.

Since Bom-yi is feeling suffocated inside, Dong-ha takes her out to Shepherd Rock.

They reminisce of the times they were there together. Dong-ha says, “At first we sat here and talked about old stories. Then we sat here and talked about the future. So for now let’s just talk about the present.” Just in case, Bom-yi asks if she can say good-bye to him now. Reluctantly he agrees.

“Don’t come here again. I won’t become a star so don’t come here to watch the night sky. Don’t come here and drink alone, cry alone, or sleep alone. I don’t want you to suffer alone in a dream where I’m not there. It makes you too attractive. LOL  I’m worried you’ll find another woman that way.”

“Then don’t leave,” he replies, “Stay here with me like this forever.”

“If there’s a chance that I’ll be reborn, I’ll make sure I’m healthy in the next life. Then I’ll love you much more and much longer than I did in this life. Then I’ll be the one to protect you.”

Dong-ha listens stoically, putting his arm around her while staring at her the way he does.

(Soo-young’s song comes on the soundtrack at this point.) He tightens his grip on her shoulder and lets everything she said sink in. It is almost of full minute before a wave of sorrow overwhelms him, and he cries quietly looking off to the side.

(I have to interject something here that came to me out of nowhere. I don’t know if these writers are religious, and I have felt no specific reason to think they are, but all of Dong-ha’s actions keep pointing me to this: Psalm 23. There is actually something in the last episode that sealed it for me. I’ll point it out when we get there so as not to spoil now. Anyway, you can decide.)

They lie down face to face on the bed, and he kisses her forehead caressing her hand.

The next day, Dong-ha is preparing breakfast for his bride before the go out to the windy hills.

When faced with the small incline,  Bom-yi isn’t sure she can make it. Slowly, they go up, Bom-yi gripping Dong-ha’s arm tightly.

He tells her not to give up, and carries her on his back – memories of their fateful meeting and blossoming love flashing by as they go.

With about ten steps left, he puts her down and backs up to the top, encouraging her to finish on her own.

“Look at me. Don’t look anywhere else. Bom-yi. Now come to me. Come on. You can do it.” Step by painful step, she advances until finally he grabs her in a hug.

Her breath is short, but she is OK, and Dong-ha tells her “Good job. I knew you could do it.” As a reward, Dong-ha shows her the gorgeous view of the ocean she earned by her own effort.

Gil-dong takes their photos.

(End of 15)

Episode 16 Summary

Dong-ha takes her out to Soo-jung’s rock, leaving her alone for privacy. She makes a silent prayer.

Oma and Apa await the couple’s return to the hospital. Oma has gifts prepared for Dong-ha’s Mom and the newlyweds. 

We find out their dire financial straits have forced them to put up their house for sale and apply for a secured loan.

Dong-ha and Bom-yi arrive at the hospital to everyone’s relief. Dong-ha reports on Bom-yi’s condition to Dong-wook, who informs Hyung that she has far exceeded everyone’s expectations as far as surviving.

Dong-wook explains implanting an artificial heart it isn’t a simple matter of paying for the surgery, “No matter how rich the individual is they can’t pay the expenses. Since the mechanical heart transplant is still in a trial stage the hospital has to fund it.” The board has to approve it.

Oma holds Bom-yi’s hand and they talk until Dong-ha comes back. Oma points out the gifts, handing him his before she leaves.

Bom-yi’s is a beautiful hanbok. His is the gift of time – a watch.

Bom-yi decides that she is no longer going to take a pill out of the wish bottle when she feels sad. Instead, every time she is happy, she’s going to put one in.

Song meets with Ji-won and she apologizes. They seem to have forgiven each other.

Dong-wook shows up because he was worried about her, but she is fine. When she brings up leaving, he tries to convince her to stay

Se-na decorates Bom-yi’s room with photos from the wedding and the Udo honeymoon. Meat Mom arrives; Bom-yi decked out in her hanbok greets her.

Meat Mom just wants her to get better and gives her what looks like an extremely expensive diamond jewelry set of earrings, necklace and ring. PPL?

Meat Mom and Oma have a friendly cup of tea. Since Hanu Haon’s budget has money for social work, Mom offers financial support for the hospital.

In Soo-jung’s memory, she asks Oma to accept this donation.

The board refuses to fund a clinical trial for Bom-yi. She isn’t a good risk.

Bom-yi writes a quote from Pooh (love him!) for her bottle of wishes. “Not every day is good, but there is something good in every day.”

Oma sits and laughs with the Kang kids. Oma is impressed with Poo-reun’s maturity.

Apa arrives and Poo-reun and Ba-da greet him as “Haroboji” which makes him panic a little.

He gives them cash from his wallet. LOL

The Kang family sits and draws portraits of each other, which Dong-ha places on the wall with their names.

Bom-yi keeps filling up the bottle with new happiness quotes. Meat Mom, Oma, Dong-wook and Ji-won visit. New portraits appear on the wall with awesome names: Hospital Uncle, Uncle Dong-wook’s Girlfriend, My Grandmother, Pretty Grandmother, Director Grandfather.

Time passes happily with the family together at every possible moment. Dong-ha narrates, “It was a miracle. We couldn’t feel each other’s warmth even though we were alive but we could feel the warmth of spring when we were together.”

While working on knitting a pair of purple mittens, Bom-yi coughs until blood comes up.

The prognosis isn’t good, pulmonary edema, pulmonary hypertension and she pneumonia, too. Her chances of being a good candidate for any transplant keep dropping.

A conversation between Se-na and Park illustrate the problem SK has getting their citizens to be organ donors.

Korea only has one-third the number of donors compared to other advanced countries.

Bom-yi completes the pair of mittens, and writes a good wish for the happy pill bottle, hiding it from Dong-ha. He takes it from her, but it won’t fit, “Happiness overflows,” he remarks. (See earlier comment on the psalm.)

Suddenly, Bom-yi can’t breath and goes down.

The emergency call button brings Dong-wook rushing in. It is a repeat of Dong-ha’s nightmare watching helplessly as Dong-wook performs CPR.

He remembers grabbing Dong-wook by the collar and screaming at him, however, this time as Bom-yi flat lines, Dong-ha encourages his brother, “You can do it.”

Doctor Dong-wook zaps her, and her heartbeat returns so they can move her into the ICU.

Dong-wook and Apa come out with the bad news that both her heart and lungs are now failing.

Apa offers to do the transplant operation whatever the punishment. The board members refuse Apa again, even if Apa is willing to take responsibility.

Bom-yi is unconscious in the ICU. Dong-ha goes in to see her, and holds her hand.

She dreams of her climb up the windy hills of Udo, with Dong-ha encouraging her. Finally, it is enough to bring her around and she opens her eyes.

She is returned to her room, exhausted. “I don’t want the operation. If it fails, you’ll be in trouble too, Dad.”

He tells her it won’t fail. “Don’t do it. Whether it’s a mechanical heart or a donated heart you should give it to a patient who can live longer than me. I don’t think I should be greedy anymore.” Apa asks, “Hey, daughter. How could you say that to your parents?”  “I cut in line to get someone else’s heart so I’ve lived five more years for free. I’m okay because I’ve lived happily.”

They must see that this poor woman who has been through this before knows how hard it will be after the operation. Recovery, rehab, healing require a strong will and relatively strong body outside of the failing organ. It isn’t that she doesn’t want to live, but she is plum tuckered out. Dong-ha opens the last happy pill she wrote. “This is the springtime of my life because I’m with you who I love dearly.” The husband  smiles, seeming to understand her desire, and, as usual, wants what she wants, even though it hurts him.

He asks what she told Soo-jung at the rock. “I said thank you to her. If I didn’t have her heart, I’d blame the world and would have died five years ago wishing it weren’t me. If that had happened we never would have met and we couldn’t love each other like we do now. We wouldn’t be as loved or as happy as we are now.

Also, in the time that I have left, I asked her if she wanted me to do anything for her.”

Dong-ha reminds her of all the good she has done in a short period of time. “You’ve done it all, Bom-yi. If I hadn’t met you, I couldn’t have made up with Dong-wook. Poo-reun and Ba-da wouldn’t have such happy memories and my mother would still be avoiding her grandchildren. And I would still be drinking every day and having nightmares every night. I probably never would have been able to love someone again.”

Bom-yi’s sends a gift to Soo-jung’s mother.

The purple mittens with a note written from Soo-jung: “Mom. Happy birthday. Your hands are always chapped so I wanted to make this for you. Thank you for giving birth to me and raising me. Be healthy, mom. I love you.” OK that was just NOT FAIR, Show!

Dong-ha talks to his dead wife’s photo. “You can’t last any longer? Her time is up now?”

Getting up, searching for her slippers, Bom-yi finds Dong-ha has tied her shoes to his as we now realize she did her first return to his house on Udo.

Poo-reun finds Dad at home, which prompts her to ask him if he has given up on Unni. Dong-ha replies, “I haven’t given up, but I think I should let her go.”

Poo-reun figures out that Bom-yi is dying and wants to say good-bye. She has something to tell her.

Oma wipes Bom-yi’s hands and feet.

Bom-yi asks again that Dad does not take the chance and do the operation. The daughter asks her mother, if she has any love after she dies, should she give it to Poo-reun and Ba-da? Mom sobs.

Poo-reun goes in and sits with Bom-yi on her bed. Dad watches from the door. Tearfully, Poo-reun tells her, “I’m glad a have a chance to say goodbye to you because I couldn’t say goodbye to my mother. Don’t worry. Don’t worry about me and Ba-da. We’re okay.”

“I’m sorry,” Bom-yi says. Poo-reun shakes her head, “We’re just going back to where we were except, it’ll be very different from the time before I met you.” Poo-reun turns to look at the portraits on the wall, “I was really happy to meet you, Unni.”

“Me too,” Bom-yi says.  Poo-reun promises that she’ll explain everything to Ba-da later. “You told me that you’d be in my heart even if I can’t see you.” Bom-yi hands Poo-reun back the bottle of happy pills.

The young girl wants to return the heart necklace, but Bom-yi tells her to keep it and all the luck it has. Poo-reun and I cry. Bom-yi comforts her by patting her back.

Bom-yi wakes up and sees Dong-ha there.  She requests that he hold her while she tells him about her dream on Jeju. While she and Poo-reun picked tangerines, Ba-da played nearby. Dong-ha showed up bragging about the two fish he caught that day. “I’m busy because I have to be both a shepherd and a fisherman,” he teases.

“Thank you for being with me,” she says, so weary, tears falling. “I want to thank you, too, for being with me.” Dong-ha says.  “Sleep some more. I’ll stay with you.” He pats her arm, staring at nothing.

Apa scrubs up for a surgery.

Dong-ha accompanies Bom-yi to the main operating room. Looking at each other, Dong-ha takes her hand, and she reminds him that they said goodbye in advance. They tell each other, “Thank you,” “I love you,” and “Good-bye.” Dong-ha keeps his eyes on her as she gets rolled in behind the several sets of sliding doors.

The last one obscures his face.

We hear his voice over, “At the moment she left me she looked happy. It was as if she knew she’d provide a miraculous spring day for someone else.”

Inside the operating room, Soo-jung joins hands with Bom-yi, who turns and takes the next person’s hand in the chain. She smiles.

Dong-ha stands alone hearing Bom-yi’s voice, “This was the springtime of my life because I was with you who I love dearly.” His face seems to be at peace.

End

Thoughts:

To clarify the end for anyone who was wondering if they wheeled a living person into the operating room for organ donation – no, they didn’t. The peaceful goodbye took place at her bedside. Cinematically, it was more symbolic for her pass into the next life – as symbolized by the doors – with Dong-ha watching.  A grieving husband, yes, but much calmer than when he had lost his first wife. Despite her poor health, Bom-yi could have donated several organs, including corneas, which is why I think one of the final shots of the blind woman with her son. That is what the surgery her father was scrubbing up for.

I sobbed so much over these last two episodes, I know my family worried about me. At first I was angry that the writers didn’t give me the ending I wanted – that I needed. Pissed off that they went with the idealist vision that a life lived well can’t be too short. But, really, nothing should have been a surprise. Bom-yi’s heart didn’t suddenly wear out. She was dying before we met her, before she met Dong-ha and fell in love. Soo-jung’s literal push for Bom-yi, up towards the wonderful man she had loved, came at a perfect time.

While Bom-yi was vibrant and adorable and as irresistible as she joked and still had the fight in her to win the battle for Dong-ha.

In order to explain why the writers decided to take the story in the direction it went, I want to address a fundamental difference between the Asian and Western views of death. After I read the linked study, I watched Episode 16 again with a completely different perspective. In my own words, the Western culture regards death as a hard wall in front of them at all times. It is imminent, dreaded and the longer we live, the larger it looms in our psyche. Mentally, we dig in our heels facing this finish line, doing everything in our power not to be dragged over it against our will. The belief in an after life comforts or dismays depending on whether a person expects a reward or a punishment behind that divide. The Asian perspective is literally a 180° change. Death is an acknowledged part of life, but the individual turns her back on it, choosing to focus on being alive. She doesn’t ignore it, but respects it. Knowing time is limited enhances her experiences. In terms of supply and demand: what is rare becomes more valued.  Living a good life becomes the reward itself and earns her the added benefit of a peaceful death, without regrets, without unfinished business between family and friends. Comparing Soo-jung’s sudden and horrifying departure from this world, Bom-yi was indeed fortunate to have time to say good-bye.

That I could view mortality as a gift is an idea that has never occurred to me. I know learning this has profoundly changed my outlook. I haven’t ever been one to wish time away, but I know I will be even more mindful of treasuring all my interactions with friends and family because of this show.

Do I still think the writers could have pulled a miracle and saved her somehow with a fancy treatment nobody discussed before? No, I don’t. Two reasons, Bom-yi’s last five years of life were the miracle Dong-ha talked about in the opening narration. The sudden appearance of a heart back then was unexpected. Secondly, her survival guilt of cutting the line weighed on her too heavily on her to repeat it. She truly believed it was someone else’s turn, as she had been so blessed up to that point. The greed that Dong-ha mentioned was something she wanted to avoid, too.  Dong-ha’s view on things could never be as positive as Bom-yi’s, since he was the one left behind again. But I do think this experience – as painful as it was – has a much happier long-term outlook than losing Soo-jung. I was thrilled at the CPR scene where Dong-ha looked his little brother in the eye and forgave him for not saving Soo-jung  all those years ago. There will be a wound, of course, but the peace and love of Bom-yi’s passing will serve to heal it. My hope is somehow a new woman arrives in his life that he can truly love. I volunteer to be that woman.

Dong-ha will remain one of my favorite male leads, Bom-yi one of my favorite female leads, but it is Poo-reun, that I will never forget as the little girl who stole my heart within minutes of meeting her. I think that a drama around her would be awesome. A story told from her perspective – similar to the Amelia’s Notebook series – as she grows up and experiences the confusing life before her. Of course, that means we would get to see Dong-ha from time to time, and that would be fine, too.

Going into this drama, I had zero expectations. The beautiful, humorous love story caught me by surprise. The warmth of Dong-ha and Bom-yi’s seemingly impossibly love, surpassed all my hopes. I have one small quibble, and that is the lack of passion between them after they became a couple. The attraction that was there from the beginning was ignored completely.

I feel it emasculated Dong-ha towards the end, making him saint-like. I prefer him to have stayed a real man. It wouldn’t have been so bad if we hadn’t seen the BTS of how comfortable the actors were together. While marital relations between them were medically impossible because the patient would have to be capable of “a brisk walk around the block” to take part, a kiss, a real kiss could have happened. Let SK lose their minds over the age difference for once. Take a chance, network execs! Secret Love Affair did.

Thank you to Koala for giving me this forum to babble. To all the readers who loved this drama as much as me, thank you-jo! I will always treasure the time we spent together drooling over admiring Kam Woo-sung, and I look forward to the future drama where we can do so again. Hopefully sooner than later.  XOXO ♥♥♥

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Comments

My Spring Days Episodes 15 and 16 Recap — 38 Comments

  1. *Crying quietly*
    Thanks for this beautiful recap Koala!
    It was a painful but also hopeful ending, providing food for thought and emotional catharsis.

  2. Thanks so much Jomo for this beautiful labor of love.
    Firstly, I’m so sorry for your Real Life issues. We all need an escape in drama land to make us feel better
    Reading your recap made me feel a better but I am still cut up about the ending.
    It was however one of the best dramas I have seen in so far.

    And I also feel your quibble, we need more passion in ajeossi romances. It’s unfair the way it’s handled

  3. Thank you for the recap. I love this show. I love their relationship on screen. Like you my only beef is the lack of passionate kissing. I don’t know whose idea it was to have them kiss like they were in 2nd grade, but it did a disservice to the actors and of course the viewers.

    Dong ha got more mouth action in the first episode than he did the other 15. Remember that Scene he gave bom yi mouth to mouth after he rescued her. That is the closet he ever got to have her mouth open. That is a shame because their love was true love and it deserved to be a passionate one too.

    If I am lucky I will get a reunion of those two actors sooyoung and woosung soon, and they will have 5 bed scenes to make up for how we were cheated of seing their in screen chemistry make our monitors go supernova.

    My spring day is a keeper.

    • u know even that m/mouth scene may not be real if u recall we only saw full portion of his head bending down so he may not even touched her lips! i agree it did a disservice to us viewers coz come on she’s not a 16 yr old actress, she’s in her mid 20s right? it won’t hurt to have a passionate kiss & i myself was baffled with that why the direc did not go with that, we can only assume SY was not keen on that coz KWS is half her age but listen SY you’re bound to be kissed in other dramas even if the actor is your age, that’s one thing missing in this drama, it wasn’t realistic for them to just kissed as u said like they’re in 2nd grade :))

      • “assume SY was not keen on that coz KWS is half her age” – since she’s 24, that would make him 12, so I’m going to assume you mean twice her age. He’s not quite, but closer to twice her age than half.

    • I will watch that drama and all of the bed scenes!

      Kissing like a 2nd grader, indeed. What a waste of lips. Bad drama kisses make me angrier that evil second leads do.

      I forgot to point out that BY started wearing one of DH’s big wool sweaters. It prolly smelled really good, too!
      If anyone finds one like it, let me know. I will definitely buy one, making sure it is just about KWS’s size.

      • @jomo thanks for taking one for the team. Like others, I couldn’t watch the end. It was too painful and like you, it seems that in our every day life, we encounter stories of loss, illness and great pain. We (I) want happy endings in my dramas. Love, passion all of the stuff that helps me escape the vagaries of life. So, its often with trepidation that I open up and play roulette (gamble) with good dramas to see if they have outcomes that make me smile instead of cause me to blow snot bubbles and wear sunglasses the next day to work. I was a fan of this couple and wanted a happy ending. I appreciate your insight into Asian Culture in regards to views on death. It has always puzzled me, that when we most want a happy ending for our beloved characters, they meet with unfortunate circumstances. Sad endings don’t necessarily make me see my life in a better light. They just dim and shadow what could be a more beautiful and happy day filled with hopefulness. Anyway, my comment regarding the kissing. SY is practically engaged to Jung Kyung Ho….does anyone remember his hot scene in Heartless City. I don’t think 2nd Grade kissing is his style and further more…I thought that KWS was a pretty hot guy!

    • I watched the last scene from Sooyoung’s Dating Agency Cyrano which Minyoung, who is already in a relationship with SeoByung, kisses him lightly (like they were in 2nd grade) and smiled shyly to stop him from talking before the guy pulled her back to give her a real passionate kiss-a kiss from a long time loving couple.

      I think in this sense perhaps there is a cultural difference in it. The long ‘peek’ (standard) kiss is viewed as a kiss full with politeness and softness from each other without any sexual/lust intention from both. Usually, you’ll get to see this in Asian dramas in their first time kissing (depending on the guy’s character, the younger impatient ones tends to give a deep kiss right away even on their first meet). This is very different from people in Western World where these type of kisses are sometimes given to a close friends with no feelings attached.

      I have to point out about the scene. The ‘wedding ceremony’ that Bomyi created herself in her hospital room was a surprise for him because she wanted to be his wife as soon as possible. She made her vows, said to him ‘now you may kiss the bride’ and he followed. In Asian countries where kissing in public isn’t considered as appropriate, it’ll appear a bit unsuitable to kiss ‘way too much’ in front of their relative and friends (but some families nowadays doesn’t care much about this). Dongha’s standard kissing Bomyi is the type of kiss you’ll get in a wedding from very strict traditional families. And there’s probably another reason why the director decided that way is because Bomyi is a sick patient who is depress with her health state, and Dongha himself doesn’t really favor her impromptu wedding although he completely understands her reasons. His emotion was full with sorrow and weakness knowing that he couldn’t do anything to get her health back to normal when she vows in front of him. He loves her dearly but the moment caught him off guard and he ends up crying so bad alone outside the room before coming in again to check on Bomyi. In this sense, Dongha kissing her passionately doesn’t seems right.

      • I agree with your take on the wedding scene.
        But what about later? They were alone often in private.

  4. [Spoiler]

    While I understand that they couldn’t have just made a miraculous mechanical heart transplant to save Bom-yi, I was heartbroken that after spending so much time making the viewers feel complacent that Bom-yi was actually okay they suddenly brought up hints of heart rejection and colds and what not in the last 4 episodes. I was filled with a sense of foreboding soon after I read Kam Woo-sung’s letter to the viewers. To tell you the truth, I didn’t watch episode 16. I couldn’t.

    Totally agree with how Dong Ha was emasculated towards the end. The kiss was just…why even bother making a drama about a couple with an age-gap then!!!! People are physical beings! Of course Bom-yi and Dong-ha were physically attracted to each other, so show it!

    I understand that after already being through one heart transplant and all the pain that entailed, Bom-yi would well not want to go through another one. But! I don’t watch dramas to remind me of reality. I know how hard reality is and that life is a struggle. I feel like I’ve been burned for watching a melodrama with so many realistic touches. The finale just depressed me and I railed against death in my head. I won’t ever be okay with how this series ended and will choose to remember the earlier episodes rather than the latter half. I won’t ever be watching a melodrama again.

  5. thnx,u shed some light on how they showed fr epis 1 & last epis about the boy guiding her blind mother, so that answered my question on what the significance of those 2 scenes….wow she was an amazing young woman! i also agree with you that in the last scenes DH was more calmer than when his wife died, i can only assume that he was more prepared this time for BY since it gave him more time to reflect on what ifs than when soo jeong died it was very sudden & of course too shocking for him! likewise i cried too but reading a lot of comments as to why they came to accept this ‘unique’ ending as Mr Kam said so i guess one of the reasons would be that she died with dignity, it was not in vain! DH was at peace bc he knows BY won’t be suffering anymore than she should! i luv their story, a short time together but it seemed to have lasted as if she was still around bc of the memories she left behind, she was a very sweet unselfish young woman who only knew how to love unconditionally! she cld’ve fallen for a man her age but she was v blessed to have fallen for Dong ha!

  6. Awwww Jomo you made me go all emotional read this recap!!! I would probably be an emotional wreck if I had watched this drama, like the whole ugly-crying thing I did during Stairway to Heaven.

  7. Dear Jomo,

    You being MIA after the broadcast hinted at some type of devastation. After all had you not written in your previous recap: “If Poo-reun ain’t happy, ain’t no Jomo happy”?

    Somehow my inner urge to soothe your pain and grief has yielded to your mention of the Psalm 23 which says it all and points to the Comforter as the fittest Person to mend your heart.

    • Thanks for your soothing. It’s working.
      I am still so sad, but at least I’m not angry anymore.

      PR will grow up to be fabu, I am sure. She has her awesome father, and Pretty Grandmother and My Grandmother, not to mention Uncle Dong-wook’s Girlfriend to surround and love her. Her memories of BY were sweet, I really do believe that no Poo-reuns were harmed in the ending of this drama.
      Now that I have run this through my CPU, I can’t imagine an ending where BY lives.

  8. Thank you, jomo, for putting closure on this drama. I’m still devasted, but your explanation of the ending has helped. I probably would not have watched this drama if I had known how it would end, but there were so many clues from the start that I should have been prepared. The leads are separated even in the drama poster. Truly a beautiful drama, but heartbreaking. Thanks again, thanks for enduring the pain in order to write the recap. Hugs to all…

  9. You are my hero, Jomo! Three days later and I’m still a mess. I ‘get’ the ending and all, but I really, really, really like stories that tie up nicely at the end with everyone happy and healthy. It didn’t click for me that this was a melodrama for quite a few episodes, and by that time I was hooked (on KWS) and didn’t want to leave it half way through. Trust me, if I wasn’t happily married for 31 years, I’d ‘volunteer for the job’ too! 😉 This drama stands out among the very best. Beautifully written, beautifully acted, beautifully directed. Like the rest of you, I wanted a real kiss, for him to just lay one on her. He hardly even touched her. could he not have wrapped her in an embrace?!?! I know she was sick, but really? She didn’t want to kiss him? I know I’m rambling, but I feel like I need hours of therapy, and lots and lots of hugs. It’s so hard to say goodbye…

  10. Reading your recap makes me cry all over again, this drama is definitely a keeper and I am so so glad to have spent 16 hours of my life watching this masterpiece. The ending to me was peaceful and beautiful. This drama has taught me to cherish my everyday life, to live life to the fullest with no regret and meaning of true love. Well, it also introduced me to the ever hot Ahjuicy, KWS why didn’t I know you earlier? Please come back to our Tv or movie screen sooner. THanks Jomo for your wonderful recap , I have enjoyed reading them .

  11. Dear Jomo, thank you so much for the recaps. I’m glad you did both 15 & 16 together. I saw 15 and 16 again back to back and the journey was as heartbreaking but not as desolate as watching it singularly.

    I too thought that Bom Yi had passed away peacefully in Dong Ha’s arms. I agree that the OT scene was symbolic – in that Bom Yi was moving on and blessing others and Dong Ha was able to let her go knowing that Bom Yi was at peace. It only made sense that Bom Yi being blessed by a donor would herself want to be a donor.

    I also think that the ending was inevitable. Bom Yi was a heart transplant patient and rejection is a reality and can strike anytime. It is a constant battle for the host body not to reject the donor heart.
    I guess we all just hoped that Bom Yi and Dong Ha would be able to have a little more time together than what they had. I mean we have all watched enough kdramas which had a “what the heck just happened” ending and some implausible contortions of logic to serve the whims and fancies of netizens kinds of ending – But, I’m glad MSD did not go there but instead ended more ‘uniquely’.

    Personally, this drama has stayed in my heart and mind longer than most – when usually I brush off a drama and move on to the next. I think for me, this is because Bom Yi and Dong Ha became so real to me while watching them that their hopes and dreams and love and loss became mine. And so I grieve at the loss but I am heartened by the love and healing and hope.

    Kudos to Soo Young and Kam Woo Sung. The man is a tour de force!!

    • One more thing – about the wedding and all – my take is that Bom Yi had the wedding in this manner as she felt time was running out. Although Dong Ha had told her to recover and they’d have a wedding – I think Bom Yi knew she had very little time left. Thus it was a poignant moment and I bet Dong Ha could barely keep it together much less think of kissing her more passionately. That he should break down completely after kinda indicates how much self control he had to exercise during the wedding.

      Also later, we are not shown, but Dong Ha had mentioned to Dong Wook how often Bom Yi was collapsing and how much weaker she seemed to be as the days go by. So I think everyday was a battle to keep her alive and every breath needed to be fought for. I guess this might dampen ardor. I like that we got Dong Ha sitting or lying on the bed with Bom Yi, snuggling and such – especially after the wedding when he has more ‘licence’ to do so. And I think Bom Yi drew strength merely from his presence and nearness.

      oh my, I’m gonna cry again.

    • Yes, I did 15/16 together thanks to your brilliant suggestion to combine them!

      There weren’t a lot of events all told in both. It is much more interesting this way.
      Plus it would have been impossible not to hint at the end while writing 15 only.

      At first I thought that his helping her to the top of the windy hills was about him helping her find the will to survive. Later I realized it was to help her do whatever she decided she wanted to to. Whether it was live or die well. His encouragement got her through all the preparations, the saying good-bye, and getting her parents’ permission to move on.
      I worry about DH being able to face a world without BY and he only knew her months. The gaping hole she will leave with her parents is ten times larger. Having PR and BD will help them immensely.

  12. Hi jomo. Firstly, I am so sorry for your real life pain and loss. I have been quietly following this drama and your recaps all this time. I am not as enamoured with bom yi as you are but I do love the two men in this show and of course, poh reum.

    I love that you pointed out the difference in how Asians and westerners view death. I think there are fundamental differences in some deep issues that would be difficult for the western mind to grasp. I really hope that doesn’t come across condescending!

    As always, your recaps were able to capture the tone and soul of the drama perfectly. Thank you for your time and effort.

  13. Jomo, thank you for recaps. I don’t think DH was a saint but more of a father to BY during the last episodes. At least that was the vibe I got. She was trying to be a woman to him but his look told a different story; he was sorry for her and wanted to take care of the sick girl he loved. There was not much meat in the last episodes – mostly flashbacks and sorrys and good byes.

    I honestly cringed when he asked her to walk uphill – the dying heart patient on a brink of a fatal heart problem! But this is a drama, whatever. As someone pointed in soompi thread, with the heart and lung failure, the vital organs lose oxygenation and fail as well, becoming unsuitable for donation. Again, the drama is not grounded in the reality but wants to teach lessons.

    I am thankful that it’s finally over, the kids and grandmother were reunited, the little brother was disabused from the notion that a woman he loved left him because he was worthless, and BY’s parents stopped forcing their child to endure more suffering, instead they respected her wishes to let go. There was no villain identified, maybe TIME itself. If the time was measured in days or years, it was too short, if the time was measured in the depth of feelings and experiences, it was endless.

    I am with you on waiting for more project for KWS.

    • As far as the Windy Hills climb, I am quoting what Klnoona wrote on twitter because it made me laugh out loud when I was sobbing. “that honeymoon sucked, lol. There was one point on the hill where I thought he was actually trying to hurry up her demise.”

      KWS stayed awesome when the story went mushy. That is not easy to do.

  14. Thank you. Thank you, Jomo, for your end thoughts have alleviated somewhat, my heart break at the end of this beautiful show. Coming from ep 15, I had high expectations that the lovely BomHa couple will have a happy ending, TOGETHER. Bom Yoi’s conquest of Windy Hills at the end of ep 15 to me, was a metaphor of her overcoming her illness. Yes, illness makes her life difficult, it’s a struggle, but with the help and support (lots) of her man-lover Dong Ha, it can be overcome, to be rewarded with a life more beautiful than the scenic beauty from atop the hill, hinted at by their loving happy photos together, recorded by Gil Dong and screen-capped by you. GAAAAHH! Neither happy ending nor hot passionate kisses, did we get for this lovely couple. 🙁

    It felt like I had been strung along by writer nim, that ep 15 end. Until one consider the blind woman scene at finale’s end is the same scene at opening of the show – writer nim had the ending planned from the word go, confirming what others have posted before, that this is well-written, thoroughly thought-out show. Only I was too much the romantic optimist to ignore the ending hints.

    I have loved Bom Yi and Dong Ha, individually and together, and yes, I love Poo Reun too – that cool, level-headed, mature-for-her-age young girl and smart to boot, and I love the actors giving life to these characters. All the show’s characters and actors, in fact. Until 15, I’ve watched each episode at least 3 times, if not 4 or 5, so much did I love it. The Finale twice, the first impatiently RAW, leaving me dumbfounded and second, subbed, confirming my misery. After your recap, I may steel myself for a third viewing, coloured now by your perspective.

    And that last ‘Anyeong’ – the saddest goodbye EVER; simple, fuss free and oh, so heart-wrenching!

    Thanks again Jomo, for your recaps and the commentators, for sharing your views throughout the series.

    Am hoping that you feel well soon. Keep your chin up! Time heals.

    P.S. – Tying the shoes together, is it a Korean thing? 😀

  15. “Let SK lose their minds over the age difference for once. Take a chance, network execs! Secret Love Affair did”

    No it didn’t, not really. In the current K Drama environment, there’s a HUGE difference between a Drama about a woman in her 40s pairing up with a man in his 20s (wish fulfilment for every ahjumma watching) to the other way round. Those same ahjummas really don’t like the idea of men the same age as their husbands getting to be paired off romantically with hot young things in their 20s

    I actually think this Drama did a really good job of fighting that resistance to the extent it was able. Yes, I would have liked to see more, but given the reaction to PMAI, when a similar age gap was so widely resisted that the writers caved in and destroyed the Drama by bringing back the dead wife and killing the romcom, this Drama did show us them falling in love, and “marrying” A brave first step, perhaps, to shifting audience perception of ajeossi romance.

  16. Thank you very much for your beautiful recap, I was reading the recaps from your page and other pages too , I enjoyed them all and I learned alot from you. Some people may say this kind of love doesn’t exist?! Well, actually I think it is very rare but it does exist . My cousin struggled for 9 years facing all bad circumstances just to save his very sick wife , he prayed day and night for a miracle to happen , They have four children , I always said that this should be called true love doing what you can do for the person you love and share your life with , although my cousin’ wife died early this year He feels a little peace because he done his best to help her…
     I loved Dong-Ha and Bom-Yi for their pure love and that they chose to live together as husband and wife even if it was for one day … I will miss them so much and I will pray to find that kind of true love in my life someday wish it will be soon .. 
    Thank you 고맙습니다

  17. thanks jomo for the wonderful recap. I have not gotten to watch this show but come back weekly for your take on it. let me say that I cried ugly sobbing tears reading your heartfelt take on the story. it is so heartwrenching, this story and now i’ll go and marathon it.

    thanks for your labour of love in this!

  18. Thank you once again for your excellent recaps. I will admit it seemed like Bom Yi was wheeled into surgery for organ harvesting. The ending completely freaked me out, leaving me alternately stunned and horrified for days. I had no business watching this drama. My son’s close friend in grade school had a heart transplant at birth…it bought him 14 years before it failed. He survived a second transplant, only to be sickened by the anti-rejection drugs and he passed away 6 months later. My son lost all faith in God, it’s never returned.
    I do want to thank you for the article on Asian vs. Western views on death. It certainly explains why there is such diverse reaction to the ending of MSD. The real miracle was that BY’s death ended up bringing the families together. In my experience with a recent death in my own family, I believe the opposite is usually the case; a death further fractures and divides an already difficult family situation.

    • I am sorry about that boy. I can’t imagine the pain losing him after all that hope.
      I hope your son can find peace somehow. Poor baby.
      Thanks for your comment.

  19. Loved this drama! How did I miss it when it was airing? I would have voted it for melo of the year award! One of those dramas that stays with you. The chemistry between the two leads was wonderful and believable; I had never seen either before. Sooyoung was adorable. Kam Woo-Sung…well, wow and then wow! Restores my faith that Korean men can look good past their 30s. Hope to see more of him.

  20. Thank you Jomo for your excellent recaps.I´m still trying to get over to the sad ending. I’m still watching this drama over and over. I think is a kind of addiction to this couple… I even wrote a second part with a happy ending to
    overcome the sadness.Annyeong!

  21. I know this is very late but I’m watching MSD again(this time with my mother who guessed correctly that Bom Yi will die) and I can’t help but to feel sad again for BomHa.😢😢😢. At least for the second time around, I can accept the ending with more peaceful mind than last year 😧 (I cried watching the ending 😂😂😂😂) Just like Dong Ha. ahaha.

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