Bubblegum episode 16 recap – finale!

Side dish: I had some time on my hands, so I baked cheese biscuits today. This recipe from Fine Cooking isn’t the one I used, but it’s probably better.

Episode Recap

Ri Hwan (Lee Dong Wook) meets Haeng Ah (Jung Ryeo Won) outside of the radio station where she works, and tells her that his test results came back clear. She hugs him with tears in her eyes as the snow falls around them.


Cranky producer Tae Hee (Kim Ri Na) is forced to drink a shot by her ex-boyfriend, Ji Hoon (Lee Seung Joon), for being wrong about Ri Hwan and Haeng Ah ever dating. Ji Hoon called Tae Hee, because having seen Haeng Ah and Ri Hwan settled together, he wonders what he’s been doing with his life, obsessing over his old feelings for Tae Hee. She makes him drink for being wrong, then when he theorizes that she must hate him, she makes him drink again. Tae Hee doesn’t say a word, but when Ji Hoon guesses that she’s embarrassed, she takes a drink. Finally, he wonders if she’ll ever believe that nothing happened that time he was drunk, and Tae Hee finally says that she wants to believe him. Ji Hoon pours the rest of the bottle into his glass and chugs it. Tae Hee, in response chugs the other bottle. I have no idea what’s going on, but isn’t Ji Hoon an alcoholic?

The next morning, Ji Hoon gets a text and bursts out laughing, followed by Aunt Gong Joo (Seo Jung Yeon), Joon Soo (Ahn Woo Yeon), and a rough-looking Tae Hee. It turns out to be the pictures of Sun Young’s birthday party.

At the traditional medicine clinic, Ji Hoon is in rough shape, but treasures his hangover as evidence of the conversation of the night before. When Ri Hwan insists on treating him with acupuncture Ji Hoon initially resists, but then demands that Ri Hwan carry him to the treatment room.


At the radio station, Tae Hee still looks rough and is a little annoyed to be working with the guy who just rejected her, Dong Il (Park Won Sang). The radio show’s sponsors are taping the episode, and the planned guest is a tteokbokki lady. She doesn’t show up, but when diva DJ, Se Young makes her appearance, she has her mother with her, who happened to be a tteokbokki vendor. In a pinch, they invite Se Young’s mother to make an appearance.


It’s an unmitigated disaster as Se Young’s mother spills the beans about Se Young’s overeating and fat butt as a child, then proceeds to mention brand names at will, and give away her secret tteokbokki ingredient; MSG. Finally, Se Young’s mother tries to convince Joon Su that Se Young is perfect for him, unaware that they’re already dating. In the producer’s booth, Tae Hee and Haeng Ah commiserate over what a train wreck the show is, doubly so, because it’s Dong Il’s last day at the station. Watching the show, Ri Hwan texts to ask where Haeng Ah is, since Dong Il is sitting in for her, but she tells him to wait and listen to the last song instead.


The song turns out to be the one from when they were kids, and in the midst of talking about their middle school memories, Ri Hwan tells Haeng Ah that he was the one that sent the confession letter that everyone thought was from her to him. Haeng Ah isn’t sure whether to laugh or be appalled, but Ri Hwan is too amused to care.


Former superstar radio anchor, current television personality Suk Joon (Lee Jong Hyuk) walks into the building where he works and into the president’s office, to find the new president, Dong Il. When Suk Joon asks him if there’s anything he wants to know, Dong Il’s first question is whether the cafeteria is any good.

Back at the restaurant, Ri Hwan comes to pick up his mother, Sun Young (Bae Jong Ok), and bratty teenager, Dong Hwa (Ko Bo Gyeol) to take Sun Young to a flower arranging class. Sun Young is happy to go, but Aunt Gong Joo can’t stop fretting over her.


Gloomy dentist, Yi Seul (Park Hee Von) is off on another meeting with her blind date from last time. Since he doesn’t have a name, let’s call him Alex from Clazziquai, because that’s who the actor is. Alex is in a lively mood and feeds her ice cream from a convenience store, while teasing her about her good looks. When they sit down to tea, Yi Seul’s sad face returns when Ri Hwan happens to walk by, but she perks up again when Alex points out that their arguing has actually stopped her from looking at her watch. He suggests that they carry on arguing until they both feel better. It seems Yi Seul agrees, since they go right back to arguing.


Ri Hwan, meanwhile, meets with his mother’s friend and doctor, Sang Gyoo, who wants to congratulate him on his test results. Ri Hwan is more interested to ask him what Sun Young had been like in medical school, since he’s started seeing sides of her he’d never seen before. Ri Hwan is surprised to hear that Sun Young was popular, and that she liked to dance.

Meanwhile, while Dong Hwa fumbles with her bag then drops it, Sun Young follows a nurse into an elevator, and out of Dong Hwa’s sight. In a panic, Dong Hwa calls Ri Hwan, who comes running in a taxi. Meanwhile, Dong Hwa runs frantically through the streets until a woman takes pity on her and sends her to the security office. The security guards figure out that Sun Young left the building and start looking for her, but in the meantime, Dong Hwa has sent out the red alert and everyone comes running.


When she’s found to be at the police station, they all show up, including Se Young and Joon Soo; Ji Hoon and Tae Hee; Aunt Gong Joo, Uncle Gangster and Dong Hwa; and finally Haeng Ah and Ri Hwan. The police officer comments on what a large family they have, and Ri Hwan agrees. Afterwards, they all split up to go home, and Tae Hee and Ji Hoon are alone again, in front of a police station. Ji Hoon invites Tae Hee out to eat soondae stew, and is surprised when she agrees.


Meanwhile, Se Young drops off Joon Soo at his mother’s restaurant. Joon Soo finally proposes a solution to their problem, that they ignore other people’s words and just love each other. Se Young likes Joon Soo enough to give it a try, but not enough to hug him in public. When Joon Soo’s mother comes out of her restaurant, Se Young and Joon Soo spring apart like guilty teenagers.


At the TV station, Suk Joon puts the screws to a shady chaebol guest on his talk show, while Dong Il gets nervous in the background. Afterwards, Dong Il questions Suk Joon’s aggression towards the guest, but takes Suk Joon out for dinner anyway. Frankly, I’m too distracted by how much better Lee Jong Hyuk looks with his hair up to pay much attention to this conversation.


It’s morning at Ri Hwan’s place, and time for Haeng Ah to make breakfast for Ri Hwan and Ji Hoon. It turns out that Haeng Ah is a terrible cook, and the two men play rock, paper, scissors to get out of eating her food. Finally, Ri Hwan gives in and takes her aside to tell her that her food is terrible. In the spirit of honesty, Haeng Ah replies that his singing is also awful, and they reconcile.

At the restaurant, Dong Hwa suggests playing Go-Stop as a way of slowing the progress of Alzheimer’s, but is flabbergasted when she loses to Sun Young. Sun Young proceeds to clean out Aunt Gong Joo next, then spots Uncle Gangster’s cheating. When Dong Hwa chases Uncle Gangster off, Aunt Gong Joo asks Sun Young to live like this and be happy for a long time.


Ri Hwan treats a patient with acupuncture, and instructs him to keep a lid on his anger and bad feelings. The scene abruptly shifts to Ri Hwan flipping out at Haeng Ah for crashing the car while he was teaching her to drive. They proceed to argue until they’re done with driving, at which point they sit by the riverbank and congratulate each other on their progress.


As they walk home, Ri Hwan reminds Haeng Ah about his wish, and tells her that he knows what he wants now. It’s too scandalous for us to hear, as he whispers it in her ear. She laughs in surprise and as they walk on, Ri Hwan in voiceover says something to the effect of happiness being something that comes when you’ve been through something difficult, and that small happiness, like chewing bubblegum, is the same as any other kind of happiness.



Let me get my negative comments out of the way quickly, so we can move on to the good. I found myself a little impatient with the repeat explanations that we need to appreciate our small joys in life. Frankly, I signed on to this show to see some of life’s little joys, and not be told how much I should appreciate them. It’s probably the height of irony to fault a K-drama for being heavy-handed, but here we are.

Regardless, this final episode provided me with a lot of the humour and cuteness that I’d been missing (and yes, show, I did appreciate it). The scene with Se Young’s mom was nothing short of hilarious, as was the scene where Ri Hwan was trying to teach Haeng Ah to drive. The breakfast scene where they couldn’t stomach Haeng Ah’s food was supercute, though a surprising highlight for me was Yi Seul arguing with Alex. He was so obnoxious that somehow it crossed over into funny. It’s true that fighting is better than dying, especially if it gets me out of looking at Yi Seul’s gloomy face for another episode.

The one thing I know I’m going to miss from this show is Lee Dong Wook and Jung Ryeo Won’s easygoing chemistry. In the last few episodes, at least, it really seemed like the actors were having fun with the roles and in bouncing jokes off each other. Just me?

Stay tuned for our series review!

Bubblegum (풍선껌)


 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16 || series review

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