Sunday, October 7, 2012

K-Drama Review: To The Beautiful You, Episodes 15-16, Finale

Read Episode reviews for:

To The Beautiful You--Episodes 1-2
To The Beautiful You--Episodes 3-4
To The Beautiful You--Episodes 5-6
To The Beautiful You--Episodes 7-8
To The Beautiful You--Episodes 9-10/2012/09/k-drama-review-to-beautiful-you_23.html">To The Beautiful You--Episodes 11-12
To The Beautiful You--Episodes 13-14
To The Beautiful You--Episodes 15-16

Contains Spoilers for Episodes 15-16

So here we are. Watching the final two episodes of To The Beautiful You, and I'm almost woefully incurious about what happens or how it happens.
 So after walking in on this scene, Eungyul now knows Jaehee's a girl:
An Embarrassing, But Necessary Event.
She apologizes to him for not telling him sooner, and he dejectedly asks her if she's been toying with him all this time. As her best friend, he confessed the depths of his heart to her and she didn't even  bother to explain her basic identity. He storms off and it occurs to me that I don't recall Jaehee ever even telling Eungyul flat-out that she could not return his romantic feelings. That needed to be said, gently.
Eungyul Will Now Sulk About it On His Lilo & Stitch Pillow.
Meanwhile, Taejoon is happily exchanging text messages with his recovering father, as well as having great high-jumping practices.
Jaehee sits with the dorm's dog and thinks about how she should just come clean to all her friends and then leave school. (Yes, you should, Jaehee! You and Taejoon can date long-distance--you don't need to duck, hide, and live a lie for three more years at an all-boys school! Yeesh.) Taejoon comes up to her and she tearfully confesses, "I have something to tell you. I am...a girl." Taejoon, who has known this for 12 episodes, wraps her in a hug.
It's Okay, Silly Girl. It's Okay.
 He says, "Thank you for coming to be by my side." When Jaehee is shocked that he isn't more shocked, he says that he has known for a long time that she's a girl, but he kept the secret bottled up in his heart. He closes with, "Jaehee, I like you." But in Korean, 좋아한다 (johanda) sounds a little sweeter than a flat I-like-you in English. Yay for honest confessions, at last.
At school Eungyul is still really hurt, and Taejoon asks him why he has stopped being buddy-buddy with Jaehee. Jaehee even apologizes again, but nothing's getting through to Eungyul.
There's a rumor circulating at Genie High that a girl is secretly attending school. Dorm 2 captain Seungri is told that his dorm is likely where the stowaway is.
You're Housing An Interloper, Seungri!
But Taejoon and Jaehee are oblivious to the rumors as they go out on a long date, then back to have a s'more-roasting session by a campfire.
Hand-Holding Ensues.
Eungyul asks Jaehee to spend a day with him, just to see once and for all if she has no feelings for him. They have a great time but, as expected, when push comes to shove she tells Eungyul that she doesn't return his affection, and she runs off to see Taejoon, who texted that he missed her.
Episode 16 opens with more happy couple moments.
Such as Jaehee Feeding Taejoon His Breakfast.
Oookay. And we may have another couple in the works because Hanna is now primping to prepare for a meeting with dorm captain Seungri, a guy she had previously rejected. It's clear that she's into him now.
But She Sure Doesn't Want Him to Know That!
 Eungyul asks Jaehee to come shopping with him, and he wears this horribly sad smile because he's trying to salvage their friendship. But Taejoon is just a touch jealous and offers to join their shopping trip. Eungyul is a little sad when Taejoon and Jaehee stand close together, and then Taejoon is a little sad and walks away when he sees that Jaehee and Eungyul have inadvertently worn matching "couple" shirts.
Best. Expressions. Ever.
 Taejoon is soon preparing for a major competition, and his former rival Hyunjae encourages him, telling him that he can win.
Yay For Rivals-Turned-Friends!
 Taejoon says that he doesn't intend to go to the Olympics alone--he expects Hyunjae to qualify and come with him. Then he gives Hyunjae a pair of new athletic shoes he bought for him! So delightful.
As Taejoon packs to go away for the big competition, Jaehee helps him get his stuff together, then surprises him with a kiss. It's a pleasantly shocking moment, because of the two or three kisses they've had so far, none of them were Jaehee's idea. It's kind of mind-boggling to see her taking a little initiative.
Taejoon is Rather Surprised, As Well.
He even drops his travel bag. It's cute. Then he has to leave, and it's all awkward, and for another shining moment, this show has charm.
At school, Jaehee is feeling fainty because her chest bandages are restricting her breathing as well as her bloodflow. She faints, then the guys unloosen her necktie and discover her bandage...
Cue the Disbelief and Consternation!
Jaehee wakes up in the infirmary, and the school Doctor encourages her--she's had a good run, and it's time to move on. Seungri stews over what to do about Jaehee, but as he asks the other two dorm captains to keep this a secret, he says that he personally will take responsibility for this disaster. Oh, how kind. He's being a good 선배(seonbae, upperclassman)!
Jaehee begins to tearfully pack her bags, to leave school quietly, as it's her only option at this point.
Is That Eungyul's Pillow She's Got, There?
 Eungyul hears that Jaehee is transferring. He asks if, no matter that she likes Taejoon, she couldn't just stay near him a little while longer? Jaehee embraces him and tries to get him to accept the goodbye.
But Goodbyes Aren't Easy, No Matter How You Cut It.
Jaehee goes to visit Taejoon in the place where he's scheduled to compete. He is ridiculously happy to see her. They go on another long date and renew their affection for each other, not that it ever went anywhere in the first place. Then she gives him a serious goodbye hug and he wonders what's up with that.
Jaehee heads back to Genie High to say one last farewell to the guys in her dorm. Seungri hugs her goodbye and all the boys wish her well. Eungyul comes running up out of nowhere, and their absolutely final best-friends-style goodbye is quite touching.
His "Trying-To-Smile-and-Be-Brave" Face Kills Me.
Before his competition, Taejoon gets word that Jaehee has left for America. Jaehee watches the competition live on someone's Galaxy Phone as a bus takes her to the airport. Taejoon laces up his shoes with the lucky laces Jaehee gave him. His slo-mo run toward the high jump bar is perfect, and he breaks his own record. Taejoon then runs up to the cameras and yells, "Jaehee, if you're watching this, wait for me!"
Timeskip to one year later, in California.
Eungyul sends Jaehee a video letter through email. He's doing well with his competitions. Two of their teachers are set to get married soon. Seungri and Hanna are dating (yay!), but Seungri is very much his girlfriend's servant. The school Doctor decided to move to Paris.
That's All Well and Good, But What About Taejoon?
But Jaehee needn't have worried. Taejoon comes to see her! They don't say anything more than hello and I've missed you, but it's still a lovely reunion. Hugs, smiles, more hugs, more smiles.
Series end.

Things I Loved:

1. Eungyul's Discovery of Jaehee's Secret.

Could This Kid Possibly Look Any More Surprised?

2. Taejoon's Love for Jaehee. These are two fairly shallow characters set in a show with next to zero innovation or originality, and yet the sweet, innocent puppy love?

Gets Me Right In The Heart.

3. Old Rivalries Mended. When Taejoon gives the formerly mean Hyunjae those shoes he bought for him, it's pure sweetness.

They're New Balance, By the Way.

4. Taejoon/Jaehee Reunion. 'Tis precious, no?



This is just the tip of the iceberg.

1.What Happened to Jongmin? Did we just write him out of the show, or was Kwanghee simply too busy filming for We Got Married?

2. What happened to Eungyul/Hanna, and why did we drop that belligerent pairing in favor of Seungri/Hanna (though I actually like that combination, too)?

3. Why did we only see the other two dorm captains in, like, three episodes?

4. Why did the school Doctor up and leave for Paris?

5. Did anybody ever catch that predator that hurt Jaehee in episode 4?

6. Did Jaehee continue her own running career, or indeed have any private pursuits of her own, ever?
7. What happened to Hyunjae, and to Hyunjae's little sister?

8. Did Jaehee's non-existent and criminally neglectful parents ever figure out what she was doing in Korea for that one semester?

9. What happened with Jaehee's Oppa Daniel, and her other Korean photographer oppa, who was played by Kim Woobin, but whose character's name I forget?

10. What happened to the sasaeng fans from episode 1?

11. Did Hanna manage to recover and become a gymnast again?

Episode/Series Evaluations

This was a show, and things happened in it. The boys were cute, the girls were cute, and the camerawork was totally pretty. I smiled and giggled a few times and was frustrated a few times before completely checking out of the show.

It's not a bad show--it just fails to feel like it counts for anything.

Why should the audience care if Taejoon regains his ability to high jump? We didn't know him before Jaehee met him, so we had no reason to be invested in his recovery. Why should the audience worry whether Jaehee's secret is discovered? She'll merely be kicked out of this school and sent to another school.

I thought it was an adorable little drama, and I bet that high school students would eat it up, but ultimately To The Beautiful You holds no big draw for me. I can't see myself ever rewatching an episode or having a serious, long conversation about the show with a friend, though it wasn't a bad way to pass the summer.

This is Tiger Holland, signing off and looking for a drama with deeper impact and higher stakes.


  1. I was REALLY enjoying this novel and then the end. BAM, ONE YEAR LATER? and they didn't even Skype or Facebook or message or even TWEET? i find that to be quite unrealistic especially during the 21st century.

    great review, I really enjoyed reading your recaps!

    - Juhina @ Maji Bookshelf

    1. So true--I think these longterm partings where the couple doesn't hear from each other at all /only/ works in historical settings. When it doesn't take more than 10 seconds to send your sweetie a text to let them know you're thinking of them, it just destroys all the reasons for a mysterious separation.

      Thank you! If you have any recommendations for what to watch next, I'd love to hear them! TTBY's end is leaving a gap in my viewing schedule. :-)

    2. exactly my sentiment. what happened within the year? a year is too long to have no communication at all.. anyway i think Jae hee should've just stayed in Korea and just transferred to a co ed or all girls school.. but having that aside, I loved the drama very much :)

      and btw you're review's great! i didn't even some of the flaws you've posted :))

  2. I loved how he showed up at the end the same way thy first see each other in the beginning. It was like it had come full circle.
    I wish they'd given her a wig or something, I mean it's been a year....
    Anyways. Though the show had about as much depth as a kiddie pool, it was still adorable and entertaining.

    Can't wait to see what the next teen romcom will be!

    언니 갈가. ^_^"
    - Shanise @ Camisado Mind

    1. "about as much depth as a kiddie pool"--best phrase ever!

      I'll be thrilled for the next teen comedy, too--though nothing this year will bear Shut Up, Flower Boy Band for me.


  3. Oh and I think doctor went to Paris to be a model. But everything else I was seriously wondering too!

    1. Doctoring and modeling, oy vey. Oh, and I totally forgot that the Doctor is Seungri's uncle! They established this in one episode, then never referenced it again or had the actors interact in any way. *flabbergasted*

  4. By ep 14 I was so bored with this show that I literally had to force myself to watch the last 2 eps. To me, it felt like the kind of show I'd've loved to pieces when I was like, 10.. It was cute and that's about it, putting it nicely. ;) Anyway, still enjoyed your reviews! :D

    BTW, if you're looking for another show to watch, not sure if it's a genre you're into, but Arang and the Magistrate is quite interesting in a very disturbing and creepy-crawly sort of way, lol. I'm not even sure how /I/ started watching cuz horror is def. NOT my thing, but imo the mix of seriously freakish mystery, horror, romance, and even comedy has been quite intriguing. It'd be fun to read your reviews on it, if you're interested!

    1. Oh, same here, same here. It was only my commitment to review the whole thing that kept me watching. Good assessment, there--in junior high, I would have flipped out over this show, kind of like I did ove Sailor Moon. I'm just 12-15 years too old to love it! :-)

      I actualyl tried Arang for 2 eps, and loved the acting (Shin Mina!) and mythology, but I decided I couldn't review it because of the horror elements you mentioned. Horror is just not for me!

      At the moment, my new show is "Nice Guy" and I'm going to start doing little audio podcast things to accompany it, I hope.

  5. I don't know if you check the comments on these older posts anymore, but I wanted to thank you for your awesome recaps that saved me about 12 hours of my life.

    I've recently become addicted to K-Dramas and I ran across this one on Netflix and thought it sounded cute. But after two episodes, I was completely frustrated by the stupidity of the heroine and some of the other issues you mentioned. There was no way I was wasting any more time watching the rest of the episodes, but I was mildly curious about what happened. Luckily a quick google search led me to your blog. Your concise and entertaining recaps allowed me to find out what happened with just a little reading. THANK YOU!!!!!!