[Discuss Away!] Crash Course in Romance: Episodes 15-16 Finale

And so we’ve finally reached the finale. ‘Crash Course in Romance’ concluded its 16-episode run this past weekend where we bid farewell with our lovely family members and community members. Though there were a few bumps along the way, ‘Crash Course in Romance’ remained an entertaining, humorous, and heartwarming watch. This drama was a good one.

We wrapped up Dong-hui’s villain arc in episode 15 where he essentially was caught for his wrongdoings and murders by none other than Haeng-seon and Chi-yeol. His story ended when he jumped off the rooftop of the hospital building after a failed attempt to end Hae-yi’s life. Unfortunately, Dong-hui’s dangerous need to control Chi-yeol’s environment and life as well as fear of changes brought by Haeng-seon and her family led him to his limits and he felt like there was no way out. He died in front of Chi-yeol who he not only considered his boss but also his guardian and sister’s protector.

If you’ve been following my weekly posts for this drama, you would know very well by now that I wasn’t the biggest fan of this sub-plot and story. I did think Dong-hui’s death felt rushed and I would have liked to witness him suffer the proper consequences and punishments for his actions (he was a murderer and even had the audacity to show up to the hospital where Hae-yi was at in broad daylight! Plus, what happened to the police detectives and investigation? They just disappeared T_T). I also think it would have been nice to see more details of Chi-yeol’s reaction and grieving process to Dong-hui’s death. Though he learned Dong-hui’s true colors and the truth about his intentions, Dong-hui still was his assistant and the brother of a student he cared about at the end of the day. Plus, he was the last one with Dong-hui before Dong-hui fell to his death. It must not have been easy for Chi-yeol to take all of this in and I wished the drama didn’t gloss over it so soon. But with that being said, more so than being upset with how Dong-hui’s story ended, I guess I was just rather relieved that it wrapped up in the first half of episode 15 so that it could then hash out other sub-plots and storylines (also, not to mention, Shin Jae-ha was probably booked with filming for ‘Taxi Driver 2.’ Haha. He’s one busy busy man!).

The other storyline that the drama took some time to focus on and conclude was the sudden return of Haeng-ja, Hae-yi’s biological mother and Haeng-seon and Jae-woo’s sister. Again, if you followed my last post about last weekend’s episodes, you would know how much I wanted this particular storyline to be the main conflict in the third act of the drama. It’s unfortunate that the drama didn’t devote as much time and details into the storyline; I think it would have provided us with even nicer familial moments and interactions that plays to the drama’s strengths. I do think it felt a bit rushed with the aftermath once Haeng-ja left. It was probably the most mature and self-aware thing she’s done for the family, but it also sort of felt a little futile with the way that Hae-yi and Haeng-seon pretended as if nothing ever happened after. I felt a little underwhelmed because I was hoping that Haeng-ja’s arrival and departure from the family environment would have done a little bit more in terms of mending Haeng-seon and Hae-yi’s relationship and bringing them even closer together but the drama just never really developed things all the way through.

I also thought it was so fascinating but heartbreaking to watch Hae-yi and Haeng-seon’s reactions to Hae-yi’s initial decision to move to Japan with her mom. They fought and they argued and Haeng-seon was still worried for Hae-yi but Hae-yi refused Haeng-seon’s thoughtfulness. Their dynamic and relationship hadn’t been the easiest and there were a few times throughout the drama where the pair was not on the same page or wavelength. But with the way that Haeng-seon had to grow up fast to take care of Hae-yi and how Hae-yi was raised by Haeng-seon, one would assume that things between the two wouldn’t have exploded. Therefore, it was bittersweet to watch the two sort of argue it out in an effort to process their feelings.

Haeng-seon and Hae-yi obviously care about each other a lot. They have their own ways of showing that love and protection, but they also have trouble understanding these actions. Hae-yi didn’t want to be a burden to Haeng-seon and Haeng-seon was reminded of her role once again as Hae-yi’s aunt. Haeng-ja’s presence proved to be a disruption to the entire family. Haeng-seon, Jae-woo, and Hae-yi had been living together for so long and then Haeng-ja suddenly showed up out of no where and their environment shifted and changed. Combine that with Hae-yi’s sudden decision to move to Japan with her mother and it caused a whole eruption in the family.

If the drama had invested more time in Haeng-ja’s return to the family, I would have liked to see more interactions between her and Hae-yi and her attempts to mend their broken relationship. I never rooted for Haeng-ja in the first place, but I think there was something interesting in the way that she interacted with her daughter. I honestly thought the scene where Haeng-ja captured a few photos of Hae-yi as Hae-yi was heading out to school was a bit touching. Again, Haeng-ja isn’t a character who I have sympathy for, but there’s just something about being absent in your own daughter’s life for so long that you miss out on little moments like these (such as watching them grow up and sending them off to school) that got to me. Granted, Haeng-ja is selfish and self-centered; she didn’t have any consideration towards her daughter or her siblings but I just thought this particular interaction with Hae-yi was interesting and there was definitely some untapped potential there in their relationship.

In the end, we got happy endings for pretty much all our characters and the stories wrapped up in a nice way. Su-A’s parents will get a divorce after the husband’s cheating/affair and Sun-jae’s Mom was punished rightfully for her actions but she also recognized her wrongdoings and put in effort to bond with her kids. As for our lovely Haeng-seon and her family, Hae-yi and Sun-jae made it into college and the two also shared mutual feelings towards each other. The same went for Jae-woo and Yeong-ju who broke the news about their relationship to Haeng-seon unexpectedly while in Haeng-seon’s store (and who will also be parents!!). Haha. They are way too cute and funny.

And then, of course, we have our wonderful parents Chi-yeol and Haeng-seon. Where do I do even start? I do wish the drama spent even more time on our couple and developed different conflicts or phases where the two learned more about each other, learned how to problem-solve, learned how to communicate, and learned each other’s love languages. It’s crazy that I feel this way since they are our main characters and main couple, but I still wanted more. I wanted to see more of these two and I think it was great that the drama devoted a few episodes to primarily focus on the good, bad, and ugly sides to their relationship (episodes 7-10). But at the same time, it felt as if the drama took a hiatus on their storyline to do other things after they got together. Therefore, I was glad and relieved that the drama didn’t completely forget about the couple with the remaining two episodes and gave us our last few memorable and meaningful moments of the two.

I loved it when Chi-yeol knew that Haeng-seon was bothered by the whole Hae-yi situation so he suggested that they go on a walk and he offered her words of support and comfort. I loved seeing Haeng-seon be there for Chi-yeol and comfort him when he lost Dong-hui and was stuck inside of his place all day. I can watch these two do the smallest and most simple things together all day and never get bored. I’m glad that they got married and were even on the same page of proposing to each other (but also I feel like they maybe really should have talked things out regarding the coffee shop photo rumor first before proposing LOL). Throughout the drama, Chi-yeol and Haeng-seon were each other’s rocks, pillar, and source of support. For Chi-yeol, it started out with the food and the side dishes but it transformed to even bigger and better things from there. For Haeng-seon, it was Chi-yeol’s teaching and tutoring for Hae-yi which she was grateful for because she’d do anything for Hae-yi. And then after that, it transformed to even bigger and better things as well.

I’m quite active on my Tumblr account creating and posting a bunch of GIF sets and I think there was one user in particular who mentioned something about how they’re glad this drama included adult romance. This made me reflect on not only Haeng-seon and Chi-yeol’s relationship but also just about couples in K-dramaland in general. Haeng-seon and Chi-yeol’s relationship was refreshing and it actually was really nice to see an older couple as the main couple in a drama. That’s not to dismiss Chi-yeol or Haeng-seon at all (I’m not calling them old or anything haha) but rather to make the point that the main couples of a drama quite often are pretty young (also, there seems to only be a handful of dramas where the main character is a single mom or someone older). When you have characters like Haeng-seon who’s a business owner and “single mom” taking care of her family, it gives you so much more to work with in terms of content and it also makes the character multidimensional. You get a glimpse into multiple aspects of that character’s life including both their familial and romantic relationships and it just makes everything so much more interesting.

I loved that ‘Crash Course in Romance’ showed us many sides to Haeng-seon and her life. I loved that we got to see the type of person that she wanted to be for her family. I loved that we got to witness her fall in love and be in a healthy and happy relationship. I loved that we also got to just watch her for who she was. We got to watch her wear her heart on her sleeves and watch her love hard – whether that was for her family or for Chi-yeol. We got to watch her set goals for herself and then achieve them and accomplish what she set out to accomplish. If there’s one thing that I think ‘Crash Course in Romance’ definitely got right in the finale, it’d be the progress in giving us a preview into the next chapter in Haeng-seon’s life.

She expressed how she wanted to earn a sports instructor certification so we saw her study and eventually achieve her goal of becoming one. In the midst of all the chaos and commotion and craziness that was family and love and community, Haeng-seon always placed herself second. But I loved that once everything got sorted out and she felt like the timing was much more fitting, she took some time to focus on herself to achieve the goals that she set for herself. A grown woman can still dream and Haeng-seon definitely did that. She did things for her family and her partner but she also did things for herself (and I love that this was also a sentiment that was acknowledged by Hae-yi). While balancing a handful of characters and storylines throughout the drama, I’m satisfied that ‘Crash Course in Romance’ didn’t forget about our main character who was the star to all of this in the first place.

There’s a part of me that wishes there’d be a second season to this drama. I wasn’t satisfied enough with just this one season and I feel like I can watch Haeng-seon, her family (+ Hae-yi’s friends), and Chi-yeol forever. Some of my most favorite scenes in the drama actually were when Chi-yeol spent time with Haeng-seon, Jae-woo, and Hae-yi (like the camping scene or the first Chicken Day they had together or the foot volleyball match or the hospital visits to see Hae-yi). This group just made me feel so fuzzy and warm and giddy and the drama did an amazing job meshing all these characters together so well. They were hilarious, they were entertaining, they were adorable, and they were so fun. I’d love a second season (I wished we got a wedding scene with Chi-yeol and Haeng-seon) with more family and romantic moments (and please, no more metal balls T_T).

The writing was at its greatest and finest whenever it came to our family members and Chi-yeol. Haeng-seon and Hae-yi definitely made me tear up a few times and the hug between Jae-woo and Yeong-ju in episode 14 was so beautiful, heartfelt, and comforting. It also just warmed my heart to see Chi-yeol and Haeng-seon constantly be there for each other and show their love and affection for each other. The directing was also a huge contributor in the success of this drama and I would even argue that it elevated the drama even more. There were so many moments when the cinematography was so well-done and well-shot, the background music in the scene was the perfect little addition to enhance the scene even further, and the camera captured the smallest and most subtle hints that made you feel so many things. ‘Crash Course in Romance’ was such a simple and nice watch made easy on the eyes and the ears. That’s why a part of me don’t want parts of the the drama to end T_T.

‘Crash Course in Romance’ wasn’t a perfect drama for me (though it definitely could have been, had the potential to, and was sort of in the running for that recognition at one point during the show). But the drama did have great strengths that made it so good and solid and much better than other dramas out there. I might make another post about this topic if I get around to it, but there were some scenes and moments in this drama that just stood out to me. Sometimes, the interactions and scenes were small and didn’t seem all that important. Sometimes, they had a great impact and significance to the storyline or the relationship.

But if I had to choose one scene as my favorite out of the 16 episodes of this drama, it would definitely be – without a doubt – the camping scene in episode 6. You guys – I cannot emphasize enough just how much I loved and enjoyed this scene. The camping trip meant the world to me and remained one of the reasons as to why I never gave up on this drama even when it didn’t go the way that I would have liked it to. That scene gave us development on Haeng-seon and Chi-yeol’s relationship, gave us more insight into Chi-yeol’s stressful and overwhelming life as a star teacher, gave us more interactions between Chi-yeol and Haeng-seon and her family, and also was the scene where Chi-yeol recognized the special comment that Haeng-seon’s mom would always tell him when he was younger. Combine that with the camerawork and the cinematography and the directing and that scene was just so special. It was perfect. It meant everything to me and I perceived it as one of the highlights in the drama and I can go on and on about it forever. As for the other scenes in the drama that also stood out to me? Maybe I’ll gush over them in another post soon (this post alone is getting pretty long already).

I’ll never forget the way that ‘Crash Course in Romance’ made me feel with its first two episodes. I still remember where I was when I gave the first episode a try and wasn’t really feeling it. But I decided to give it some more time and sure enough, it captured my heart. It made me feel nervous and giddy and I got the butterflies in my stomach and it also made my heart beat over the smallest things. Whether it was the times in the beginning stage when Chi-yeol would repeatedly visit Haeng-seon’s banchan business or when their paths began to cross more and more often or when Chi-yeol agreed to privately tutor Hae-yi in exchange for Haeng-seon’s side dishes, there were so many moments in this drama that were magical and charming. Though it always didn’t remain that way throughout its run and there were some aspects of the show that fizzed out towards the end, I will always appreciate the special ways that this drama made me feel.

Through our characters, we learned that everyone lives their life at their own pace and that you can achieve your goals and dreams regardless of time and age. We learned the meaning of friendships and the beauty in having a strong and caring support system who will always be there for you – whether that’s one person or a group. We learned the pain in love and how difficult and tricky romantic relationships can be sometimes. But we also witnessed the beauty in love and how nice it is to have someone who you can lean on and go to during good and bad times. And most importantly, we learned the importance and beauty of family. Even when times are rough and things aren’t all that pretty and things aren’t going all that well, family is family and family is forever. Our characters in the drama loved and wanted to be loved and we saw them experience this whether it was through their family members or romantic relationships. ‘Crash Course in Romance’ may have gave us lessons in the course on romance, but I think we can all agree that it also provided us with a few other warm, meaningful, and beautiful lessons about family and friendships along the way.

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