Mini-recap (text only): I Love Lee Tae-ri Episode 16

Happy ending? Or not…

Episode 16 (Final)

Turns out the Eun-dong Tae-ri sees is only an illusion (phew…I was wondering about the unbelievable coincidence of bumping into him in the middle of the road!). Tae-ri deflates visibly upon realizing that. Her phone rings – it’s Paul.

At the flash mob scene, where the crowd has dispersed somewhat, Eun-dong spots a guy putting on a necklace for his girl and recalls the sun pendant he picked up.

Paul shares his findings with Tae-ri. The breakdown of the Clock is related to a Double Moon Eclipse – where two eclipses occur 100 days apart. The Sun Clock was created based on this phenomenon so it would make sense that the current Double Moon Eclipse affects it. In other words, the coming eclipse in the weekend marks the second eclipse where everything will return to its original order.

Tae-ri is back at the ice-cream shop staring out at the streets and who else should pass by but Eun-dong. He wants to approach her but Tae-ri calls him on the cellphone, telling him to stay put. He asks if she’s doing fine and she replies that she is. What of him? He’s been very ill. In fact he’s still hurting now. Tae-ri apologizes and tells him how her wish must have turned him into an adult. But he feels sorry for being such a helpless 14 year old friend. Tae-ri insists it’s not his fault – he only feels that way because he’s around her.

She then proceeds to tell him that she’s discovered the way to help him change back to his old self. It would be the last thing she can do for him. She hangs up on him and Eun-dong remembers a similar scene way back, where a forlorn looking Tae-ri is brooding at the same spot (Ep 1). Tae-ri has gone when he looks again. He realizes the person he saw was Tae-ri and not some illusion.

VP faces a difficult decision. His counsel has advised that he allows the Sun Clock to be turned into a national treasure and reopens the museum. It’s their only chance to bolster the Group’s image again and stop the shares from plummeting further. Hah. I love that the situation has turned on him now.

The museum is duly reopened and Tae-ri is reinstated as the Curator. Secretary Hong updates Tae-ri on the situation. VP has created a non-profit organization for adopted children which also plans to arrange for working opportunities overseas. Tae-ri has doubts but Hong thinks it’s just a strategy to deal with the unfavorable public opinion resulting from Tae-ri’s expulsion from her post. Furthermore, the project is helpful in their efforts to turn the Sun Clock into a national treasure as it constitutes brownie points in the society contribution angle.

Hong concludes that VP would be wary to shut down the museum again for fear of public backlash and possible repercussions to the Group’s image and shares. So, Tae-ri should just accept the proposal gracefully. Tae-ri is persuaded but there is something she must do first.

Tae-ri pays a visit to Eun-dong’s home and finds mum praying fervently for Eun-dong’s safe return. Mum has read about her predicament in the papers and worries about her. Tae-ri explains that everything is solved and mum is glad for her. Now if only Eun-dong is back, then everything would be back to normal again. Tae-ri requests to see Eun-dong’s room, she’s curious how he’s like.

Eun-dong bumps into Soon-sim in the hospital where he was paying a visit to grandpa. He thanks her for showing up at the flash mob and remarks that she’s happiest when she’s with her fans. She pouts and says she’s happiest with him. But will she be happy with him if he turns back to his 14 year old self? He will not love her anymore even if he turns back but will she love him the same no matter if he’s 25 or 14?

Soon-sim gets all worked up. She doesn’t want him to change back. She wants him by her side as he is right now. Why? She craves for strong shoulders to lean on, a wide chest for her to snuggle in and his 14 year old naiveté and thoughtfulness – everything he embodies right now. Eun-dong gently explains that she doesn’t really want him. She needs a strong, warm real man who can protect her. And he isn’t the one. Eun-dong leaves and she starts crying. (I hope she really gets it this time…)

Tae-ri slowly goes through Eun-dong’s stuffs – his uniform, certificates, books. She removes the photograph she took of Eun-dong and replaces it on his table.

TR: This is where you should be. The 14 year old world – where you’re youthful and naïve. This is where you start experiencing precious moments in life until the time you become a real adult.

Seung-jae pays respect to Tae-ri’s grandpa. He intends to tell Tae-ri about the accident. He believes that he’s been punished enough all these times. He will honor his promise to protect Tae-ri so he needs grandpa to accept him – because he wants to be by her side.

Seung-jae and Tae-ri meets up on his request. He downs a glass of their favourite champagne and eases slowly into what he has to say. He shows her the photograph– the man in the picture is the driver of the truck who crashed into her parents’ car. That man is his father. Tae-ri’s eyes widen in surprise. He learned about it the day before he left her in Milan. This was also the reason her grandpa made him leave her. He couldn’t have the son of the man who made her an orphan stay by her side. That was why he left without a word, guilt-ridden. And the reason he helped her uncle was because VP promised to let him have her.

Tae-ri cries out that he should’ve left VP’s side and told her everything. Then things wouldn’t have progressed as such. Seung-jae admits he couldn’t say it then. Why now then? He’s afraid of losing her. He’s ready to give up on everything else now and start all over with her. Tae-ri avoids his gaze in silence. He doesn’t need her answer right away. He gives her an air-ticket to Italy. He wants her to join him and apologizes for making her wait so long.

Tae-ri walks alone in the night air, tortured by memories of Seung-jae’s previous confession and the truth he dumped on her tonight. At one point, she is tempted to tear the ticket. She couldn’t do it and break down in tears, frustrated by the turn of events.


Coach fusses over Eun-dong who hasn’t eaten all day long. Eun-dong explains he went to visit grandpa in the hospital. He’s feeling pretty uneasy, worrying over his family. He also informs Coach that Tae-ri has found the way for him to change back. Coach is all excited but Eun-dong is more subdued. Is his change really the best solution for everyone? Coach assures him it’s the right choice. But when can it be done? Eun-dong glances at the tv – where the coming eclipse is being covered. It’s tomorrow, the day he will change back…


Tae-ri is watching the same program and texts Eun-dong. Tomorrow they shall bid farewell before the Sun Clock.

Tae-ri invites VP for lunch. His guard is up but Tae-ri just wanted to have one last meal with her uncle. After all, he’s the only family she’s got left. He scoffs and that but she doesn’t mind. She brings up the Organization for Adopted Children but he promptly denies that it’s got anything to do with her. She understands he did it for the Group but she wants to repay him for that anyway. She passes him a large envelope which contains a document in which she relinquishes her claim to the inheritance as well as an application to hand over the museum to the government.

He doesn’t quite buy that she’ll surrender away the museum just like that. Tae-ri explains that it’s the best solution for them both. She plans to leave anyway. She might have begrudged him in the past but she never regarded him as an outsider. She yearns for a family but she never quite knew how to please him. There is something she’d like to know.

TR: Why do you hate me so much? I really did try very hard to please you.
VP: That’s precisely the problem. You tried too hard. And you did very well. I’m always playing second fiddle to your father. Yet, someone who’s not even related by blood to him has managed to inherit all his finer traits, just like a biological daughter. I hate that very much. I was afraid that once you grew up, my son would also play second fiddle to you, just like I did. I might have been my father’s second son but I would not allow my son to play second fiddle to you. You said this will be the last time…let’s have a nice meal then.

That is probably the first and last time he speaks nicely to her. Tae-ri is grateful for his honesty. It’s not the best excuse but at least she understands why he’s insistent on pushing her away.

Soon-sim’s grandma proposed to have the engagement cancelled. She realizes that they’ve been asking too much by forcing the kids to be together. Marriage is a lifelong commitment so the decision should be left in their hands. Grandpa is impressed by her understanding and grabs her hands in appreciation. Eun-dong’s parents are slack-jawed by grandpa’s bold behavior. His hospitalization has led him to conclude that everyone needs to find an understanding partner regardless of their age. Since their grandchildren’s engagement is called off, he’d like her to consider him instead. LMAO. Grandma shies away in embarrassment while Eun-dong’s parents look away awkwardly. Muahahaha. That was one development I hadn’t seen coming!

Eun-dong is packing his stuff and a worried Coach offers to accompany him. Eun-dong is calm and explains that he needs to go alone since it’ll be his farewell to Tae-ri. An uneasy Coach remains doubtful that he’ll go through with it. Eun-dong assures him that he is no longer that weak-willed. It’s not like he can run away anyway.

C: Eun-dong ah. It’s been a pleasure having you as my brother. You might be my best pupil but you’re also the best brother. Even though it’s only for a short while, thank you for coming into my life.

Aww….Eun-dong hugs Coach tightly in gratitude. Jeez, you’re trying to make me cry aren’t you?

Tae-ri is already waiting before the Clock, just like she did the day Eun-dong hugged her for the first time. Eun-dong joins her soon enough. Tae-ri asks if he’s ready. Instead of answering, he asks if she’s ready. She tells him that she is and he requests to hold her hands. With none of his hesitancy, she offers him her hand to steady his heart and resolve. She believes they can do this right. He agrees, as long as she promises him something.

On to our other lovebirds. Our dear Coach also seeks a promise from his beloved maiden on this special day, when the sun and moon becomes one, when his brother will return to his original life.

C: My place in the world is you, Na Hong-sil. Hong-sil ah, live with me! In truth, my situation isn’t all that good right now…but I had to go and meet you who knew nothing in this great big vortex of secret. My heart aches but even if I have to sell sprout beans, I don’t want you to be a singer anymore. Hong-sil ah, I will make you happy. I, Hwang Min-gook have the confidence not to let you starve or make you cry.

Hong-sil hugs him, crying tears of happiness and the two shares a kiss in the sunset. Aww….so so happy for them!

Back in the museum, Eun-dong removes the moon pendant necklace on her neck. He’d be taking care of that from now on because it symbolizes her. In exchange, he offers her the ring he made by melting all the medals he won in his 14 years of life (refer Epi 1). It was made for the woman he wishes to protect and cherish for life. And she is the owner of that ring. Will she accept it – the ring which represents his history? Teary eyed, she refuses the ring. Once he returns to his 14 year old life, he will have lots of opportunities to meet someone important in his life. If she is to accept it now, he will regret it later.

Eun-dong insists he won’t regret it. The thing he is most likely to regret is hugging her right now and changing back to his old self. To be honest, he doesn’t really want that, he doesn’t really want to be separated from her. That would mean not being able to see her again, listen to her voice again or hug her when he feels depressed. However, he doesn’t fear changing back because he believes in his heart – the heart that loves her. He places the ring in the palm of her hand and she doesn’t object this time.

Hardly able to restrain his tears now, he says with a finality that is heartbreaking that he will no longer be able to hug her again, even if he wants to very much. (Sob sob…this is so depressing). Tae-ri holds his hand comfortingly as tears threaten to spill from her eyes. The Clock glows. It’s time. Tae-ri wants them to bid farewell to each other with a smile, with courage, just like the first time they met. Eun-dong thanks her. People survive on memories, and he’s got tons of that. He will hold on to those precious memories and really become a great adult. But she has to promise him something : “You will definitely be with me again.” Tae-ri gazes at him, moved beyond words.

The ominous clouds spread across the sky and the museum black-outs. Tears flow now as they realize that the moment has come. Tae-ri:“Thank you. For showing up by my side.” Eun-dong: “I thank you too. For teaching me what is true love.” Tae-ri hugs him and he reciprocates reluctantly… (T.T Oh this heart hurts so bad.) The Clock glows brightly, blinding everything out of sight.

Seung-jae who is waiting for Tae-ri at the airport, realizes with a depreciating smile that she’s not going to show. He bids her goodbye and boards the plane alone.

Tae-ri watches the gate to Eun-dong’s school from her car. She catches a glimpse of him when he turns but winds up the windows before he sees her. Satisfied, she bids her own farewell: “Goodbye, my friend.”

Several years later, we learn that Eun-dong has just earned his instructor license after a month’s training. With his glorious swimming record, he’s now a world renowned sports celebrity. His next target would be to bag a record-breaking gold medal in the Milan’s Open. The whole nation backs him to break his record in the previous Olympics. O.O

He’s got a personal assistant now, who reports that he needs to grace some simple sponsorship event at the airport before boarding the flight through the VIP special passage. Oooo.. He wants to stop by somewhere first though – the museum.

ED: Tae-ri, happy birthday! I haven’t got you a present this time but I promise to win you a gold medal.

He kisses the pendant to seal the promise. It’s sort of like his good luck charm of sorts. He wears it all the time.

A plane lands and we’re shown a huge billboard where Soon-sim is now the Korea’s tourism ambassador.

Eun-dong arrives at the airport to a large crowd. Also at the airport is Tae-ri who’s just back from somewhere. She passes by him without noticing because of the huge crowd but thank goodness Eun-dong’s Tae-ri radar is tuned just fine. He races after her after realizing belatedly (quite belatedly I might add) that it’s Tae-ri.

He searches the corridor MV-styled and narrowly misses Tae-ri who has slipped into a taxi. She’s still wearing the Sun pendant necklace and his ring.

Her taxi stops abruptly and someone knocks on her window. She unwinds the window to find Eun-dong staring at her expectantly. She mutters “mammamia” in recognition. Eun-dong’s face breaks into a radiant smile as he whispers in his heart: “Tae-ri, I’ve missed you!” Tae-ri returns his smile in like.

The end!


Oh, it’s an open ending, albeit a pretty feel-good one for all the OTP shippers. I must say that I probably love this episode the most. The loose ends are dealt with without feeling rushed and everyone found their own peace. I still think Seung-jae’s secret is boring and he’s delayed it long enough. Still, it’s a good thing he’s finally learned to let go. The same can be said for Soon-sim. I never thought of her as evil, but her childish antics really got me exasperated for much of the drama. At least she’s entertaining, especially her showdowns with Tae-ri. Seung-jae on the other hand bore me to death, except maybe in this episode. As antagonists go, I am kinda impressed by VP. I never got why Seung-jae feared him so much but I love the part where he tells Tae-ri why he hates her so much. He remains haughty throughout the explanation, which is consistent with his character, but still I can somewhat relate to his reasons for opposing Tae-ri.

The best thing from this drama is probably the Coach-Hong sil pairing which is so unexpectedly cute and winning. And I’m so glad that they have their proper happy ending, complete with a sunset kiss. Heh.

As for Tae-ri and Eun-dong, I’m actually quite won over by them in this episode. Fancy that. Seeing them so upset over their impending separation actually made me care. And tears were shed. Sigh. That said, I think what made their separation so depressing was the thought that their farewell was truly forever. I always thought that 14 years is a big gap and I thought they would both move on in their lives, maybe just maintaining a platonic relationship. I guess after crying for them, the fact that they do meet up again after the time skip actually cheers me up a little. Well, maybe such relationships can work. Ashton did marry Demi. Wait, that’s a lousy example – they broke up right? Oh but that’s Hollywood, hardly the greatest place to draw examples!

Thank you everyone for reading as I wrap up yet another drama. The coming dramas sound so promising. No plans for recap yet because I think the ones I am keeping an eye on will surely be well-covered. Maybe one of the specials….


  1. OMG ! I loved this drama! *goes off to watch the last episode* thanks.