Recap: What's Up Episode 18

It’s a crier. So for those who cry easily, prepare to weep.


The ahjumma explains how a friend of Tae-hee’s came looking for her with that piece of paper, which he claimed was in the possession of Tae-hee’s dad at the scene of the accident. The ahjumma claims to be a friend of Tae-hee’s mum, but judging from her overwhelmed reaction to Tae-hee, I’m betting she’s really her mum. Tae-hee is less skeptical and just nods to her explanations.

Meanwhile, Jae-hun speaks to mum through the door, slipping in a letter for her. He reminds mum not to engage a lawyer, many of whom may claim to be free of charge. Struggling to keep himself from crying, Jae-hun apologizes and promises to be a better son in future. *Sob sob. He bows formally and leaves quickly.

Back to Tae-hee and ahjumma, who’s unable to take hot drinks as well, just like Tae-hee. Ahjumma didn’t want to make excuses for Tae-hee’s mum but Tae-hee is keen for some explanation. Mum was a rich man’s daughter who fell for her dad when she was very young. She eloped with dad and gave birth to a beautiful daughter. But life was difficult, so when her family came for her, she took the opportunity to escape. Tae-hee remembers how dad used to say that mum suffered a lot, like a princess struggling to live in poverty.

Ahjumma is keen to reassure Tae-hee that those three years meant the world to her mum, she has never been happier since. Mum has since remarried a rich man and gave birth to two kids, living well unashamedly. And she probably won’t see her because she’d committed such an unforgiveable sin – abandoning her young child so she could live in luxury. What right has she to meet her? Ahjumma keeps insisting that mum is a terrible figure, as though she’s trying to gauge Tae-hee’s reaction. Tae-hee is not bitter, understanding it’s probably better that mum knows not of her existence, especially since she’s got a family of her own. She harbours no ill-feelings towards mum, because no matter what, she is her mum.

Jae-hun shows up before the police station, hesitating for the longest time. Meanwhile Tae-hee sends ahjumma off, tearing up as she watches her drive away. Did she know?

Talking to her father’s picture, she tells him that she can’t take hot drinks too. Could she be mum? (Ok…so you’re not so slow after all). Dad springs up behind her, asking why she hadn’t confirmed her suspicion. Tae-hee is pleasantly surprised that Dad is showing himself to her again. Dad asks why Tae-hee never asked if she’s her mother…why she left her…why she never came searching for her? Tae-hee sheepishly realizes she should’ve been angry. But what matters more is mum came for her, even though she pretended to be a stranger. Mum must’ve missed her, it must’ve taken much courage and resolve for mum to seek her out.

Tae-hee is not thinking about mum at the moment, Dad aka her conscience continues to probe her into considering the other strange aspect of her reunion with mum. The note.

Jae-hun sits before Officer Jo in the interrogation room, recalling the accident in detail, honestly for the first time. Park fell in the path of the oncoming truck, because he wanted to avoid his motorbike. Jae-hun tried to find out his condition later and was told by the employee at the convenience store that no one died. He chose to believe her, because he wanted to believe that is so. Jo asks if he feels wronged, since he didn’t exactly hit Park. Jae-hun admits his fault. What fault? To be found out under the current circumstances? Yes, because he felt like dying every day…living like the walking dead.

Tae-hee finally pieces everything together with dad’s help. Still she could not accept that Jae-hun might be responsible for Dad’s accident. Still she makes excuses for him, no matter how flimsy it sounded. She also realizes something else – Dad was looking for mum the night of the accident. But she could not account for Jae-hun’s presence at the scene of the accident. Dad no longer has the answers. He tells her to ask Jae-hun for the answers, because she’s all grown up now. She should decide for herself what she wants to do…it’s not the time to start crying. Tae-hee is scared, scared of the answer she’ll get. Dad assures her it’s okay to be scared, because all grown-ups live in fear. She should meet him, and find out what’s scaring her…

Officer Jo summarizes the situation; he was young during the accident plus he surrendered himself…so as long as he’s able to achieve a settlement with the victim’s family, he will be spared from serving sentence. So why hasn’t he appeal for forgiveness from the victim’s family?

JH: “Because of me your father died. So can we reach a settlement over this?” Those words…how can I say them?

But for once, Officer Jo is trying to help Jae-hun. He calls up Tae-hee, and explains that her father’s accident has been re-investigated in light of a new witness. The witness is not so reliable because the accident occurred in the dark, but the other involved party has confessed. That other party appears to be her schoolmate. He asks if she’s willing to meet him, and if she does to do it before 9am the next day, because he’d be arrested before the prosecutor. And so, her worst fears are confirmed…now what’s left is what she intends to do about it…

As Doo-ri predicted, the first years’ interests are piqued by her script and a bunch of them convenes in a light-hearted atmosphere. The students hilariously take turns imitating the lecturers….while Prof Yang watches from the door. Even Chae-young is present.

Sun and Prof Jang are having a blast reading the script and musical score from Sun’s musical when Prof Yang barges in, insisting for a talk. The organizers from NYMF competition has decided it’s inappropriate for one school to come up with 2 musicals. So, she wants Sun to tell the students to stop preparing for his musical. Sun correctly points out that she was the one who called up the organizers insisting on only one participating musical team. Furthermore, she can’t just cancel their performance; his kids have to be given a chance for a fair fight.

S: Just once, please read our students’ script. And listen to the musical score they composed. It’s a story about our students, made by our students. […] If it’s fine with you, I would like you to be in charge of the musical. […] Wasn’t it your dream to create history by helming South Korea’s first original musical? I thought I heard you say so 10 years ago in a celebratory speech. Try it, with our students.

Prof Yang’s loses patience with him and strides off. But Sun collapses in pain, alarming Prof Jang. He has been withholding his pain all this time…you can see his winces and how he hides them through forced laughter. How he struggles through his conversation with Yang.  Yang initially thinks he’s fooling around but when Sun shows no sign of getting better, Prof Jang finally yells at her to call an ambulance.

I knew he was going to collapse…and in a way, I’m glad that Yang is there to witness it. Maybe now, she’ll awaken from her cynicism and re-embrace her previous youthful passion for musical. Because at the rate Sun is deteriorating, he’s going to need her help in guiding those students. L

Sun is wheeled off in an ambulance. Byung-gun and Doo-ri run to the ambulance where Doo-ri tries to force herself into the ambulance. The medical staff deny her entry but she keeps running after the ambulance, tears streaming down her cheeks. Soo-bin drives by and offers her a ride…

Byung-gun is still clueless about Sun’s condition and asks Prof Yang about it. She snaps out of her reverie and dismisses Sun’s condition as a result of him turning to the bottles again. *Sigh. What will it take to melt your ice-cold heart?

Do-sung plays on the piano, alone. Meanwhile, Tae-hee made it to the police station but Jae-hun refuses to meet her. Tae-hee is just here to meet him, it hasn’t yet crossed her mind that to achieve a settlement means she needs to forgive him. Officer Jo now poses that question to her, “Do you want to forgive him?”

Back to Do-sung. He’s still engrossed in the piano when a voice interrupts him…

G: One sent to the hospital. One crying. One playing the piano…

It’s the ghost! And he speaks!!! In a roundabout way, the ghost directs him to Ji-eun, who is singing the song “Fame” in tears, alone.

Do-sung is reluctant to invade her private moment and chooses to sit quietly in the room. When Ji-eun stops mid-song, he continues singing. Startled initially, Ji-eun is encouraged by his smile and the two of them sing along…gradually rebuilding her confidence.

With them singing Fame in the background, we see that practice for the musical Fame continues. Tae-hee is writing something…a letter of forgiveness? Soo-bin brings a drink for the inconsolable Doo-ri in the hospital.

Dad appears beside Tae-hee again while she’s writing. Dad reminds her of the time she asked him if he ever hated mum. He never did, because she gave him his daughter. Tae-hee asks if he’s forgiven mum. Dad replies, “What is there to forgive, if I never hated. I can’t be hating her just so I can forgive her can I?” Ok dad is awesome. Oh wait, Tae-hee’s conscience is awesome. J

Tae-hee writes pages of a really long letter. Officer Jo flips to the last page.

TH: Because of that, I do not wish Jang Jae-hun to be punished. In exchange, I want him to come back to school and prepare the musical with all his heart. My dad wouldn’t have wanted it any other way…

She signs off as daughter of Park Young-soo, Park Tae-hee, complete with a thumb print.

Prof Yang derives no pleasure watching the rehearsal for the musical. She appears distracted. Dare I hope she’s melting? She shows up at the hospital, knocking repeatedly at Sun’s door but receiving no response. She turns around and finds Sun right behind her, scaring her silly. LOL. Sun smiles cheekily.

Sun chides her for leaving just after two knocks. She comments that he looks well enough and Sun pretend-sulks that he feels hurt at her disappointed tone. She asks hesitantly about his “illness” but he’s more candid, asking if she’s regretting treating him badly because he’s got cancer. He nags her for coming empty-handed, so in return, he wants her to do him a favor – bring her home! And the camera pans to Doo-ri sprawled by the side of his bed.

Yang thinks he’s manipulating Doo-ri feelings but Sun quickly corrects her. Doo-ri is not a girl, she’s his genie. That doesn’t sound any less ridiculous to Yang who thinks he’s being cheeky again. Sun thinks it’s strange that everyone else is dying to fulfill his wishes…while she keeps reprimanding him. Heh. It’s morbid but he’s got a point.

She offers to grant his wishes. Before she changes her mind. One wish only. Something other than the students’ musical performance. *Chuckle* She keeps modifying her offer. Finally, Sun asks for her to play the drums, she used to play in her performing days. Woah. Really? She tries to refuse, since it’s been years since she’d played but he wields his impending death like a weapon, so she could hardly refuse his dying wish, could she now? Doo-ri awakens from her slumber and volunteers to join in. This I gotta see!

Well, Sun’s wish is immediately granted. He returns to school, weaker and supported by Byung-gun and Do-sung while Doo-ri waits for him with a radiant smile.

They’ve prepared a performance for him. Doo-ri sings What’s Up by 4 non Blondes while Prof Yang who’s sporting a rockier hairdo plays the drums. Byung-gun and another male student play the guitar.

While Sun enjoys the performance, we’re treated to flashbacks of everyone from the very beginning….and I don’t know about you, but I found these flashbacks to be surprisingly poignant, perfectly complimented by the song. Through the flashbacks, it’s even more glaring how far everyone has come…how much everyone has grown and bonded. And sometimes a smile is more moving than tears. Although everyone is smiling, I can’t help but cry…. T.T

Extra footage:

Chae-young is bitching to her assistant about the arrogant junior who slapped her in the previous episode. What’s worse, her luxury car is being replaced too. No prize for guessing by whom.


The preview looks great. The musicals are being combined and Jae-hun is back! And perhaps it’s finally time for Chae-young to grow up too, because from the preview, the pesky reporter is after her!

Tae-hee forgiving Jae-hun is expected, but I can see how making Tae-hee the way she is helps resolve the issue a little easier. I mean she even forgives her mum for abandoning her…so easily. It’s a little simplistic but she has never been a complicated character so I guess it makes sense. Imagine if it was Doo-ri! I’m sure Jae-hun would have to go through heaven and hell before she ever forgives him. That said, I’m just glad it’s over for Jae-hun, it can’t be easy haunted by all that guilt.

In fact, at the moment, everything else has been somewhat resolved. But no other issues are more important that Sun’s cancer and the upcoming musical. I’m ready for the finale, bring it on!


  1. I had no idea they extended the series, I was so sure that episode 18 was the last one. And of course, silly me was watching episodes 17, 18 and thinking at the same time how are they going to solve all the problems with such a little amount of time. And then I'm shown the preview for the 19th episode, felt pretty dumb. But I am glad they extended it. This is actually one of the few dramas that need those extra episodes. Many dramas lose their charm already by the 10th episode, luckily that was not the case with What's Up.
    Now the only thing I need is a great finale, I so hope it will not disappoint.

  2. So, I'm not so sure bout Tae-yi being simplistic. It's an outlook on life. The reason I say that is my mother is that way. She's not quite that naive, but she is very willing to easily forgive. I am NOT. But that's neither here nor there. I'm afraid it might be the last draw for her, but most probably she'll forgive him and they'll have to go from there...a very rocky place.

    I'm ready for the finale too. I really like how you bring out the key moments so well in your recaps. You're doing a fab job!