We finally reach the final chapter in Yeon-soo and Choi Woong’s journey together. It hasn’t been easy nor has it been smooth, but it’s safe to say that the couple has come out of everything so much stronger and better. They’ve been through a lot individually and together, but it was all worth the work and effort. Together, the two can be at peace with their past and look forward to a greater and brighter future. What started during one beloved summer back in high school has transformed into something special and meaningful for the remaining seasons in their lives.
Note: I’d like to thank everyone who joined me in my recap journey for this drama! Those who read my original post about ‘Our Beloved Summer’ knew I wasn’t the biggest fan of it at first, but eventually fell in love with the show soon afterwards. It’s been a while since I’ve also done my last recap so I hope I wasn’t too rusty with this one. I’ll be taking a short break from recaps, but I might pick another project up that interests me along the way. With that being said, enjoy this final recap to the last episode of ‘Our Beloved Summer’ and take care.
Our Beloved Summer Episode 16 Recap: Our Beloved Summer
After the harsh conversation with Nu-Ah at his exhibition, Choi Woong reflects on his life. Since he was a young child, he was satisfied with his life. A part of that was due to being the son of a successful and wealthy family who never placed expectations on him. Another part of that was due to him feeling as if he was living a borrowed life as an adopted son to wealthy and successful parents. Afraid of being worthless, he pretended as if he didn’t know the truth. Choi Woong could simply just pretend as if he didn’t know anything. However, his biggest fear ended up coming true and he felt as if he was worthless in the end.
In the present, Choi Woong shows Yeon-soo the brochure to the school of architecture that he had been eyeing for a while. He would like it if they could go together. He needs Yeon-soo with him and he won’t be able to do it without her. Yeon-soo understands where Choi Woong is coming from, but she needs some time to think about it. She places her hand over Choi Woong’s while holding the brochure in her other hand.
It’s as if the universe wants Yeon-soo and Choi Woong to be together forever. Yeon-soo finds out quickly from Mr. Jang that she’ll have the opportunity to work at their headquarters in Paris. He’s moving there for work and has to create a new team and the first person he thought of to help him was Yeon-soo. Yeon-soo is uncertain as to how to process the information or whether to accept the opportunity. When she approaches Mr. Bang about the news, he encourages her to take it. She should put herself first and live her life.
Eun-ho cries to Sol-yi while at her restaurant. He has a hard time accepting this new chapter in his life and no longer being around Choi Woong. To no longer be his manager and not be invited to go abroad with him? Eun-ho is heartbroken. He’s even more heartbroken when he receives a notification from his bank about the severance pay that he got from Choi Woong. It’s a lot more than he expected or wanted and it crushes him even more. Sol-yi on the other hand? She’s interested in the money. Haha.
NJ visits Choi Woong one last time before his leave and they chat about his drawings in his studio. She shares the reasons as to why she was such a big fan of his drawings and how comforting they made her feel. Before leaving, she learns from Choi Woong how Yeon-soo will be accompanying him abroad. She’s quite surprised and fascinated by the news. Yeon-soo must love Choi Woong so much that she’s willing to choose his life over hers. Of course, this gets to Choi Woong and he becomes self-conscious.
While walking back home together, Yeon-soo and Grandma converse about their living situation. Will Grandma really be okay with Yeon-soo leaving? Will she really be okay living by herself? Grandma reassures Yeon-soo that she will be fine. She can take care of herself and spend time with the other elderly ladies in the neighborhood to keep herself busy. She once again encourages Yeon-soo to do whatever it is that she wants to do. So that night, both Choi Woong and Yeon-soo ponder and contemplate over what they’ll do next. What are their next steps? What is it that Yeon-soo wants to do in her life? She gives it a thought.
Ji-woong meets up with Mr. Park at a restaurant for some drinks. He encourages Ji-woong to film the videos of his mother. Ji-woong can’t get himself to do it; he doesn’t understand why he should do it especially after all that he’s gone through because of his mom. His mom was never present in his life and now she asks him for a favor once she’s back. However, Mr. Park reasons that Ji-woong should still do it. Does he even have a photo of his mom? He can either choose to resent or forgive his mom at a later time. What he shouldn’t do is stay silent. He might regret it later. After all of this is sad and done, Ji-woong will be the one who will have to live with the memories.
Yeon-soo and Choi Woong make plans to meet up later on that day at Sol-yi’s restaurant. When Yeon-soo arrives to work, she shares her decision with Mr. Bang. Choi Woong stops by Mom and Dad’s restaurant to have some food. He and Mom have a heartfelt conversation with each other. She can tell that he’s not feeling and doing so well. A mother knows her son well enough even without being told anything. It turns out that Mom knew all along that Choi Woong was aware about his adoption. However, that never changed anything. Choi Woong has been and will always be her son. Unlike what he thought, Mom and Dad has never been disappointed with Choi Woong. They’re grateful that he’s their son. The mother and son share a few tears together. Mom hopes that Choi Woong will finally be able to sleep in peace (omg, I’m going to cry).
And so Yeon-soo and Choi Woong meet up that night at Sol-yi’s restaurant. Yeon-soo’s made up her mind and she shares her decision with her lover. When Yeon-soo arrives back home, she snuggles into the same bed as Grandma and expresses her honest feelings and thoughts on her life. She was told to live her life, make friends, and do whatever it is that she’s wanted to do in life. But now that Yeon-soo thinks about it, she’s never been alone. She has been living her life boldly and following her heart. From Sol-yi to Mr. Bang to the rest of her staff members, Yeon-soo realizes that she enjoys this moment in her life. The only person who made it seem dull was herself. But she’s always had everything going for her.
And so we rewind to Sol-yi’s restaurant when Yeon-soo announced her decision to Choi Woong. She’s decided that she won’t go with Choi Woong to study abroad. She’s satisfied with how things are going in her life at the moment and would like a little bit more time for things to stay this way. Choi Woong’s also had plenty of time for self-reflection and to collect his thoughts. He still plans on going abroad which Yeon-soo fully supports. He should go. He should do what it is that he desires. They’ll be okay. Everything will turn out fine. Choi Woong asks that Yeon-soo wait for him and he also reassures her that he won’t change. After all, love conquers all.
Ji-woong visits his mom at the hospital. He maintains a distance from her to represent the distance that she’s always kept with him his entire life. Ji-woong has a hard time comprehending why his mom would suddenly come back into his life. She was never present in his life; she was never a mother figure for him. He needed her. His mom reasons that she left because she didn’t want Ji-woong to become like her. She was afraid that by being with him, she would just drag him down with her and they would both be miserable. But Ji-woong isn’t convinced. He can’t and won’t forgive his mom. But it can always change in the future. He might change his mind one day so his mom should live to fight for now. Maybe they can one day start anew and live an ordinary life like everyone else. Ji-woong and his mom shed tears.
And so Choi Woong gives us updates as to what happened to everyone for the next few weeks. Dad isn’t so happy upon receiving Choi Woong’s news about studying abroad. Eun-ho still clearly misses Choi Woong and sends him emails. NJ causes outrage once again when a 30-minute unedited interview is broadcasted. Once an observer, Ji-woong is now the observed as he films a video with his mother with Mr. Park behind the camera. As for Yeon-soo and Choi Woong? They enjoy the last few days of their time together with each other.
Before leaving for the airport, Choi Woong has one last thing that he wanted to do. He visits his biological father at his father’s workplace and the two exchange glances at each other for a few seconds. Although no words are spoken, Choi Woong hopes that his surprise visit and presence is enough to convey to his father that they both can let go of each other. They no longer have to be in pain and hurt. They can let go of their guilt and move forward with their future. And so Choi Woong leaves the country at the end of winter.
From Yeon-soo’s perspective, she was fine.. for the most part. There were times where she might have missed Choi Woong a little too much and gotten drunk at Sol-yi’s restaurant with Choi Woong on her mind, but she was thankful to be able to communicate with him via video call. They made sure to communicate with each other while also focusing on their own lives. Of course, there were times where they would bicker with each other such as the night when Yeon-soo was chatting with Choi Woong on the phone while walking back home.
It’s just like any other phone call that the couple has with each other, but this one is different for one particular reason. Yeon-soo stops in her track upon hearing Choi Woong voice the 3 words that she had been yearning and dying to hear this entire time: I love you. She’s in disbelief upon hearing him say the phrase and she wants to cry. How could it take him so long to finally say it? He should tell her in person if he wants to say such a thing. And so Choi Woong shows up to say the same exact 3 words in person. Yeon-soo was not expecting to see Choi Woong face-to-face, but she’s glad to see him. The two share a kiss and embrace and it’s magical moments like these that makes everything so much worth it. Just like Choi Woong promised, it didn’t take him too long to finish school and eventually come back home.
Two years later, Mom and Dad host a book donation event that Ji-woong, Chae-ran, Sol-yi, and Eun-ho help out with. Sol-yi and Eun-ho make some dinner plans together and Chae-ran confesses her feeling for Ji-woong on the drive to the event. Ooh, love is in the air. While Dad is filming an interview with Ji-woong, Choi Woong and Yeon-soo join them shortly afterwards and carry some books upstairs to put away. Being at the library reminds them once again of when they were in high school. It feels like it was just yesterday. They also joke around about who had a crush on who first. Even though they claim that the other person had the crush first, it becomes clear that it was love at first sight for Choi Woong.
While putting away their books, Yeon-soo catches Choi Woong staring down at one book in particular and she goes over to investigate. It turns out that high schooler Choi Woong drew in one of his books a drawing of Yeon-soo from their high school entrance ceremony. There are certain memories in life that you can’t just forget about and this was one of them. So with that, Choi Woong grabs Yeon-soo’s hand and asks her to marry him. Their year hasn’t ended just yet. This is the happy ending to their never-ending story.
The documentaries never seem to end. Now as a married couple, Choi Woong and Yeon-soo might just have to film another documentary because people just can’t seem to get enough of the two. Though they originally complain about the idea by Ji-woong, they eventually give in and film the documentary and introduce themselves as a married couple. From high school to college to now adulthood, Yeon-soo and Choi Woong has been and will always be together.
IT’S DONEEEE. We are done! It’s bittersweet to reach this chapter in Yeon-soo and Choi Woong’s lives, but I’m also satisfied with where we concluded. Of course, this isn’t the end for the two lovers and I’m sure their marriage life will be another adventure on its own. My heart is full knowing that they will happily and hopefully spend the rest of their life with each other. They will never be lonely ever again.
In terms of this episode alone, it was the standard wrap-up that we see quite often for rom-coms in K-dramaland. The drama ties up loose ends and plots, but rushes up the ending to tie up these loose ends and plots. The drama really wanted to show that everyone got their own happy ending so it sort of sped things up to give us that happy ending for the characters. Although it’s a small irk of mines, I could live with the way that this episode ended because we already were sort of leaning towards this direction anyways the last few episodes.
I appreciate that we got to witness Yeon-soo and Choi Woong make decisions for themselves in this episode as a way to demonstrate that the two have grown individually since they’ve reunited. Although I think the drama might have dropped the ball just a tad bit with Yeon-soo’s characterization, I liked the way that it executed Choi Woong’s decision. We saw him struggle as an artist, a son, and a lover throughout the duration of the drama. We saw him revolve his life around Yeon-soo even until the very last minute until he realized he could no longer do so. We saw him open up about his adoption story and how lonely he felt growing up. We saw him draw as a source of outlet to express his emotions, feelings, and experiences. We saw so many sides of him that his decision to still study abroad even without Yeon-soo’s company made sense and felt gratifying at the same time. You could understand why he made the decision that he did and you felt proud that he 1) finally felt more confident about a trajectory in his life that he wanted to embark on and 2) could fulfill this dream of his without relying too much on Yeon-soo to be there with him. A part of this decision stems from the fact that Choi Woong’s confident in their relationship and that they would make it. The other is the fact that he is more confident in himself and his ability to take full advantage of his skills and talents.
I do think we could have gone without the whole daddy situation in this episode with Choi Woong as it seemed a bit rushed, sudden, unnecessary and random given that the drama never really touched upon it much until this last episode. Still, I’m glad with how the drama focused on Choi Woong’s story and how things wrapped up for him overall. What I appreciated the most about his character was just how expressive, emotional, and strong he was. He wore his heart on his sleeves and was never afraid to just tell it like how it is and say what was on his mind. Choi Woong was unapologetically himself (just like how Yeon-soo was which is why they made such a great pair) and he had to do a lot of digging and self-reflection to get there. He was still doing that digging and soul-searching even in this final episode, but that’s what I loved about him. Life is full of lessons and you learn new things about yourself everyday. The learning never stops just like how the journey never stops.
With Yeon-soo, it wasn’t so much the decision to stay behind that was the issue. I liked that she put herself first and chose not to go with Choi Woong. I liked that she too felt confident enough in their relationship to stay behind and stay home. I liked that she came to this realization of how good and enjoyable her life was. However, what I wished the drama did more of was show us more of Yeon-soo coming to this realization. I wished we got more of Yeon-soo enjoying her life and her surroundings and her environment with Grandma, work, and etc. We got more of Yeon-soo with Choi Woong which I loved and am grateful for. But I also wished we could have gotten more of Yeon-soo the character and not just Yeon-soo the lover.
In the beginning of the drama, we saw Yeon-soo sort of complain about her work life and how she wished she was as passionate about something as Choi Woong was about drawing. She didn’t think too much about work and didn’t seem to enjoy it all that much. She sort of was just doing it so that she could make money to support her and Grandma. We saw her in the first episode being embarrassed while putting on a presentation. Yeon-soo never felt too thrilled and excited about her job so what exactly was it that prompted her to feel differently about it? What happened along the way that made her think that she enjoyed her life as is and not want to do something different or not want to work abroad with Choi Woong? She had the chance to live abroad with Choi Woong, but chose to stay behind. It’s comforting to know that Yeon-soo enjoyed her life as is, but what exactly happened along the way that made her feel that way? Or did she merely use that as an excuse so that Choi Woong could finally go abroad like how he should have back in college and so that she wouldn’t feel like he was being held back by her?
The way that Ji-woong’s story unfolded throughout the drama was so interesting, but a part of me also feels a bit shameful with how it went down. I wished the drama had more in store for him. I wished the drama could have been less obvious about how clueless it was about Ji-woong. Although Ji-woong was the third most focused and important character in this drama, it also felt like the drama never really knew what to do with him. Although we saw him all the time in this drama, it also felt like we didn’t really see much of him. He went from being the typical second male lead with the unrequited crush on the female lead to sort of suddenly being pushed to the side once the female and male lead issues were resolved.
I don’t think I would have as much of a problem with this if the drama just carved out his story a little bit better in the beginning. Episode 5 was refreshing in that it was told from Ji-woong’s perspective; it was a nice switch up from the typical back and forth we were observing of Yeon-soo and Choi Woong’s relationship. Then from there, the drama went back to resorting Ji-woong as the second male lead with a crush on the female lead. Then once Yeon-soo and Choi Woong made up, the drama shifted from focusing on Ji-woong with his unrequited love to Ji-woong with his mom. I liked watching Ji-woong navigate his complicated situation and relationship with his mother. I just wished we got hints throughout the drama sooner rather than having it shoved down our throats in the second half of the drama and especially towards the end. ‘Our Beloved Summer’ didn’t really know what to do with Ji-woong the character and that’s unfortunate because he had such an interesting arc with so much potential. Not to mention, his ending felt rushed as well.
Another part about the drama that I wished it could have focused and expanded a bit more on was the the importance of the documentary. We see that documentaries played a big part in bringing Yeon-soo and Choi Woong back together and merging their worlds once again. I was hoping that the drama would expand a bit more on why the high school documentary was such a huge hit and maybe even play more clips from the documentary that explained its success. What about the high school documentary was so great that they needed to do a follow-up documentary on Yeon-soo and Choi Woong, who at the time, didn’t want to be affiliated with each other? I get that the drama was trying to use the documentary as a device to get the two back together and was successful at doing that, but it felt a bit shallow at times to me. I get that the drama sort of gave us some reasons as to why it was relatable to viewers, but I needed more. I needed to be sold on the high school documentary since it was the catalyst to everything, but I couldn’t help but ponder the entire time why the high school documentary was so special.
Then we watch Yeon-soo and Choi Woong film the second documentary for pretty much most of the drama and yet we never really saw the final thing. We were witnesses to the process, but we didn’t see the results and that was a bit unfortunate. At the end of it all, the documentaries were merely used as a reason to have Yeon-soo and Choi Woong come together again. In doing so, they were able to make amends, forgive each other for their hurtful past, and love each other differently in the present. It was well worth it and I’m happy that the couple got a happy ending. I just could never really wrap my head around why the documentaries were such a big deal. And maybe one could argue that what mattered more was the end result and not so much the process, but the process played such a significant role in this drama. It was pretty much what the entire drama was about.
Moving on, something that I definitely had to get used to and ended up enjoying were the internal monologues from our characters. The intimate moments when we were in their heads and got to know how they were feeling internally or what they were thinking on their mind. It was actually quite difficult for me to get accustomed to it at first. I actually disliked this choice from the drama in the beginning. I just wanted more dialogue and less internal thoughts and monologues from our characters. However, I came around to warming up to it as the drama progressed and I especially appreciated it during episode 5 when Yeon-soo and Choi Woong were going through that awkward phase in their relationship.
I will never forget the scene in Sol-yi’s restaurant when the two were filming for the documentary and they sat alone at a table and Yeon-soo was worried when Choi Woong acted differently around her. He was a little stoic, a little indifferent, a little cold and she panicked because he felt like a stranger to her. That was the moment in which I came to appreciate these internal monologues because we finally got some insight on how Yeon-soo felt about Choi Woong. The quiet and reserved and tough Yeon-soo finally shared how she felt internally and I loved seeing this side of her and hearing these thoughts of hers. Though not the biggest fan of how they were edited and cut because the drama loved mixing and intertwining the internal thoughts in between the dialogue which made it hard for me to follow along and not get confused, it was an overall interesting choice that I warmed up to.
One of the biggest strengths about ‘Our Beloved Summer’ that made the show such an enjoyable watch was definitely the angst and yearning between Yeon-soo and Choi Woong. The ending was cute and it was adorable watching the two be lovers, but I loved watching episodes 3 to 11 in particular. From when they reunited again for the first time and sat in Choi Woong’s living room to talk about the Soen Shop collaboration to that moment at the restaurant in episode 11 when they admitted just how much they missed each other, everything in between was so magical and bittersweet.
There were a few things I wasn’t the biggest fan of (such as episode 7 which felt like a filler episode, NJ’s one-sided crush on emotionally unavailable Choi Woong, or Choi Woong’s cold behavior towards Yeon-soo once he wanted to explore), but for the most part, the angst and yearning and unspoken words made for such a great watch. The way that Yeon-soo and Choi Woong wanted to work things out so badly with each other, but refused to because their pride was in the way. The way that Yeon-soo was in pain because she knew that she took Choi Woong for granted and was afraid that he would slip away and that things would never be the same. The way that Choi Woong wore his heart on his sleeves and was always so real and raw with Yeon-soo about how he felt about them two. While it was so worth it to see the two eventually make up and fall in love again at the end, it was even better to witness the process and see how things came about. They loved each other just a little too much and a little too hard and it was hurting the both of them. Eventually, Yeon-soo and Choi Woong learned from their past mistakes and were able to finally get on the same page in the end. The end results were worth it and the process to getting there was meaningful.
Overall, my relationship with ‘Our Beloved Summer’ is humorous and sweet in that it sort of reflects Yeon-soo and Choi Woong’s timeline as a couple. It was mainly a hate relationship at first, but it didn’t take long for that hate to turn into warmth and now all I got for it is love. I wasn’t the biggest fan of the directing and I definitely had to get used to it. But eventually, it slowed down for me and I was able to enjoy the drama for many reasons. One of those biggest reasons being our cast, especially Choi Woo-shik and Kim Da-mi. Like I mentioned in an earlier recap, ‘Our Beloved Summer’ would not be ‘Our Beloved Summer’ without these two. Yeon-soo and Choi Woong would not work if you got any other two actors to portray the couple. The push and pull and secret yearning and long eye contact could not be sold if it wasn’t for Kim Da-mi and Choi Woo-shik who have great chemistry with each other. They made Yeon-soo and Choi Woong’s story work because they made it work as actors. They were incredible with their portrayals of their characters as well as lovers and they sold me on their story and relationship.
I will also always have a soft spot for Kim Sung-cheol who played Ji-woong and he’s definitely someone who I will keep looking out for in future projects. I also want to give a small shoutout to Mr. Park who shined especially bright the last few episodes by being that anchor, source of support, guide, and mentor for a lost and resentful Ji-woong. He was always there for Ji-woong throughout Ji-woong’s life and proved exactly why Ji-woong looked up to him as an older hyung and mentor. Mr. Park is a real one!
I usually get a bit emotional and sentimental as I finish the last few minutes of the final episode to a drama. That’s that sentimental attachment I, time and time again, give to a drama that I just can’t seem to stop myself from doing. But for some reason, I didn’t necessarily feel that way about ‘Our Beloved Summer.’ I didn’t really feel as sad watching the final few minutes of episode 16 which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Maybe it’s because we had already been getting so many feel-good moments and scenes with our characters with the remaining episodes that I wasn’t as sad when the drama wrapped up.
And I am going to miss Yeon-soo and Choi Woong who make such an adorable couple that have definitely learned from their past to be much better now. But I’m also satisfied with how much they have grown and where they are currently in their life. It wasn’t easy to get to this point and they had to put up a fight, but it was well worth it in the end. Some things take time and Yeon-soo and Choi Woong’s relationship is a testament to that. What started off as a beloved summer for the couple has and will transform into many more beloved summers, years, and seasons together. You couldn’t ask for more. To Yeon-soo and Choi Woong. To beloved and beyond.
Extra photos from the episode~