Kdrama ‘Secret Love’ Episode 16 Recap (FINAL)
YJ is furious- how dare she says San’s name? YJ begins to cry.
DH’s mother brings out the pictures of San, alive, healthy, and well. YJ’s hands shake as she looks as the pictures, and even DH can’t shake that expression off his face.
“There’s no way I wouldn’t know that San was living,” YJ cries, still half in denial. DH’s mom says that it was all for YJ and DH, that it would’ve been impossible for YJ to raise San, that it would’ve been impossible to do anything for San with that red string (indicating YJ’s criminal record) around her ankle. She says San is growing well, but YJ doesn’t want to hear her excuses.
“For someone who loves her own child so much… how could you do this? So what if he was born in jail? Can a mom still not love him? Can a mom not raise him alone?”
DH’s mom looks, for once, embarrassed.
“So what if his father is a murderer?” YJ screams. “Give him- give him back! Where is San? WHERE IS HE?” DH tries to hold YJ back, and it’s so familiar the way he does it. For all of YJ’s tears, DH has surprised spelled across his face.
YJ goes to find San, who has his own family and lives comfortably. When she hugs him, the little boy cries out for his mother, and for a second, it sounds like he’s crying out to YJ. She closes her eyes and revels in that feeling, but San means his new mom.
San goes by Jung-Ahn now, and YJ insists that his name is San. She tries to chase after the boy, but DH appears and holds her back again.
YJ: “Look! LOOK WELL! LOOK AT WHAT YOU’VE TAKEN FROM ME!”
DH: “I didn’t know- I really didn’t know.”
YJ slaps him.
Don’t say you didn’t know- you could’ve known! When San was supposed to have died, didn’t you go see him? DIDN’T YOU WANT TO SEE HIM? While your mom was doing all of this, you just turned a blind eye. DON’T SAY THAT YOU DIDN’T KNOW!
YJ hits DH with all her might and he can’t muster up any willpower to fight back. I both disagree and agree with YJ on this- judging by DH’s expression (and the rest of the episode), he really and honestly didn’t know. I think he couldn’t believe anything like that and didn’t want to because that meant his mom was a horrible person and that he still had ties to YJ. Remember how he said he couldn’t handle these ties he had with YJ still, holding him back? I think he really did love San, and that’s the saddest thing to me- that he realized it so late when San was already gone.
Back at YJ’s home, the unnis and Hye-Ri all know now about what’s happened. YJ tells them that San couldn’t recognize her, that she has to find him, that she has to bring him back, and the curlyheaded unni agrees readily, getting ready to go after the boy, but the English-speaking unni stops her. What does she plan on doing, going after the kid like that and planning to ruin everything?
The English-speaking unni takes control of the situation readily and remembers that old lady that was in the cell next to them- she could help them!
Meanwhile, DH’s dad is yelling readily at DH’s mom. She keeps saying that it was all for DH, but DH’s dad says this is what’s ruined DH.
DH comes rushing into the house, demanding that his mother explain the situation to him.
DH: “Do you even know what you’ve done?”
Mom: “There was a customer at the sauna whose niece didn’t have a baby…”
Mom: “I did it all for you! Do you think I would just do something like that? Do you think it was easy for me to cut connections with my own blood? How were you going to raise him? Isn’t it better that he grows up in a good household and-”
Another voice rings from behind the door. YJ has reported the situation to the police- and they’re here to take DH’s mom away. DH tries to stop this all from happening, but DH’s mom tries to explain herself, like it would help her in any way. She says she was trying to do it all for her son, that she was trying to help her grandson live well, but the man is uninterested. He says everyone has a reason- doesn’t change what she did though. They take DH’s mother away and DH’s father tries to go after her.
Dad: “Are you going to throw away your mom like that? You have to do something about this!”
DH: “Do what? WHAT MORE CAN I DO?”
What more can he do- he’s done everything to save his own skin, but what more can he do? DH knows it- and I think a part of him has given up. Meanwhile, DH’s dad is all bark and no bite. Sure, he can yell at his wife and DH and say he’s so sorry to YJ. Sure, he can lecture them, wallowing in this own righteousness he believes he seems to have for not directly committing these acts himself- but he’s a coward. He never did anything when he could have.
GS reports to MH that YJ has found her son. MH looks stricken.
At the police station, YJ has come to see DH’s mom.
YJ: “If you tried to make San dead, then I would leave. Did you think that if you brought back my dead son like this that I would thank you and forgive Do-Hoon oppa so easily?”
Mom: “That was the best I could do then- your future wasn’t looking bright and-“
YJ: “Be tired like my dad was. Watch your son Do-Hoon rot away in jail.”
Mom: “Yoo Jung-ah, Do-Hoon didn’t do anything wrong! I did it all!”
YJ: “For someone who cares so much about her own child… shouldn’t have done something like that to me.”
DH’s mom continues to make excuses, to try and alleviate YJ’s anger. She says San is living in a good household and San knows that she’s his grandma and-
YJ stops her. What, because she couldn’t have done all those things for YJ?
“The pain a person feels from not being able to see her son when he’s alive… try experiencing that yourself.”
It’s not an invitation- it’s a threat. DH’s mom recognizes that and calls after her, afraid for her own son. For all her sins, she loves her son so much that she’d be willing to ruin other people’s lives for him. It’s a sin- but it’s a kind of love. It’s her way of loving, and I can’t hate her for it. I think the forum liked to label people as evil and others as good, but the characters of this drama are a lot more complicated than that. DH was never just evil- neither was SY nor DH’s mom.
San (Jung-Ahn)’s adoptive mother has come to find YJ, to beg her not to take away her son from him. For the first time, we see YJ being selfish. The mother says she’ll explain it all to her son when he’s older because he won’t understand it now, but YJ’s response is that if he doesn’t understand it now, it’s not too late (for her to take him back). At this, the mother begins to cry.
“No, no- please, not our Jung-Ahn, please, no-“
She holds YJ’s hand and sobs, and YJ kneels down too.
“Me too- I can’t just let this go. My San- I can’t let go of him either.”
The mother continues to cry, saying no, and YJ cries as well.
DH’s father, in the meantime, drinks himself away. He’s weak, he’s a coward, and I actually dislike him more than I like his wife or his son or anyone else in this drama. It feels like he’s whining, bemoaning his life- like oh, poor me, my son did something bad and so did my wife, oh poor me, DH is blaming this on me so poor me, I’m a horrible person boo hoo hoo hoo poor me pity me etc etcet c
GROW UP. There are a lot of better things you could be doing with your life.
DH is just as annoyed as I am, and asks his father if he plans on drinking and wanting to die again.
His father asks him why he and his mother are so strong, and DH replies that they had to be because he was always weak. DH leaves, frustrated.
Meanwhile, GM has come back from jail. MH’s stepmom is horrified to see MJ running to GM like that, saying that the Chairman has to see GM first, but MH is adamant that GM sees HER first. After all, it was GM’s birthday while he was in jail!
Her birthday present is a table of cup ramen. GM is amused, and she’s thrilled that he likes the presents of ramen she’s gotten for him. He quietly tells the story of why he likes cup ramen so much- when he was just a kid with his brother waiting for his father, he began to cry when his father wouldn’t come out. The Chairman got cup ramen for him back then, and it was delicious.
MH’s stepmom is horrified to see them eating that, and offers to get real food, but MJ is again stubborn.
“You still have to lose 2 kilograms! Do you want to look big in your graduation pictures? Don’t eat that ramen, Min-Joo!” MH’s stepmom says. MJ scoffs playfully, and tells GM that her mom sometimes seems like the evil stepmother. GM’s face falls as she says that, and MJ tells GM that she’s known since middle school that that isn’t her actual mother. She used to be angry about it, but any time she jokes about her mother being an evil stepmother, it amuses her to see her mom acting like some drama actress and reacting so strangely. She still loves her- even if she isn’t her birth mother.
YJ’s gone to San’s new home and looks at his room. She asks about the star and moon blanket, and San’s mother goes to get it for YJ.
“When I first brought San back home, he couldn’t sleep without this blanket.”
YJ asks to keep the blanket.
Jung-Ahn/San comes back home with a tummyache, and the sweet moment he shares with his mother is too hard to watch for YJ. He refers to YJ as an ahjumma and comforts his own mother, saying that he can punish that ahjumma if she made his mother cry. The mother says no as she cries, saying that YJ never did anything wrong.
YJ leaves, but not before saying that next week that she’ll see her at the hearing next week in court for custody of San/Jung-Ahn.
As she walks out of the apartments, we see MH watching her leave from his car. DH walks up to YJ and MH drives away- the scene echos when YJ came out of jail, DH walked up to her, and MH drove away. This time, there are no hugs between YJ and DH though.
YJ: “I made this blanket for him… but now he can sleep without it.”
DH looks ashamed.
YJ: “When he eats crabs, he gets an allergic reaction. When he doesn’t like something, he rips paper up. On the weekends, he goes bike riding with his dad. Did you know these things?”
DH: “Yoo Jung-ah-“
YJ: “I don’t know anything either. It’s San, I know it is- he’s my son, but I don’t know what he likes or how he’s grown up.”
DH: “What can I do for you now?”
YJ: “Do you still not know?”
At SY’s old home, she works. MH walks in, drinks water, and asks if she’s not coming home today (so it looks like they’re married and live in one home together??)
SY says no- she’s busy with a picky customer for her gallery.
MH: “That gallery business… don’t do it anymore.”
SY, surprised, looks up.
MH: “Art business doesn’t suit you.”
SY: “If my work doesn’t suit me, what am I supposed to do?”
MH: “When you’re drawing, you look most comfortable.”
SY falters, but puts that wall right back up.
SY: “I’m busy. Can you leave?”
MH walks over to the table she works at.
MH: “Se Yeon-ah… when I was miserable, is this how you felt too? You want to do something for that person so badly, but you don’t know what to do. I don’t want you to be miserable because of me anymore. We were… good at one point. We used to ignore everyone else and always go places together. We had a lot of fun together.”
Tears wallow in SY’s eyes, and we see those walls starting to come down again.
SY: “Stop it- I’m trying so hard not to like you anymore, so stop it.”
MH cries as well, and he walks over to her to hug her, finally. She begins to cry even more as he says sorry to her again and again. I appreciate this scene so much because HONESTLY if MH had been half as mature as he finally is now before he could’ve reached out to SY like this, had a real heart-to-heart, and things could’ve gone so differently. Now, they’ve come this far. Sure, SY seemed mean and coldhearted and evil, but honestly if someone had just spent the time to give her attention like that and have a heart-to-heart guh
YJ walks to the park and sees Jung-Ahn/San and his new family. His mother notices YJ and walks over to her with Jung-Ahn/San.
YJ crouches to get eye-to-eye with her son, and we see DH appear as well, looking on.
Jung-Ahn/San calls her ahjumma again, but YJ says she’s not just any ahjumma! She’s… his aunt. His mother’s very good friend and his aunt. Jung-Ahn/San seems to be okay with this and manages to not look so disgruntled. YJ tells him to along and play, and finally calls him Jung-Ahn.
His mother nods gratefully to YJ as the meaning of the scene isn’t lost on her- YJ’s decided to give up trying to get San back.
Jung-Ahn/San’s new dad bicycles with him, and when he almost falls, DH grabs onto the bike. The boy politely thanks DH, and DH looks at him with such an expression on his face that my heart just absolutely breaks for him.
“Look at what you’ve taken from me. Look at what you’ve left behind in your life,” YJ says quietly from behind. “After throwing away something so valuable… just look at how far we’ve come.”
DH watches the happy family and falls onto his knees, crying. He slaps himself, over and over, and guise this is a real crying scene just look at him he has snot coming out of his nose, and he sobs, sobs to YJ, apologizing to him. He’s so sorry, he did it all wrong, he’s so, so, so sorry, and this is the only scene I ever need for DH. I honestly don’t even care anymore whether or not he goes to jail after this because this scene shows, finally, DH at his lowest. He won’t ever fall lower than this. Trying to win a fight to get him into jail would’ve sent him to jail but he never would’ve really faced the consequence of his actions, but here, in this now, as he watches his son who he’ll never be able to father, he finally knows what he’s lost and that’s the lowest he can ever sink. I cried watching this scene- and I hadn’t cried for any other scene before, but watching DH like this doesn’t really give me any sense of yes wow finally he got what he deserved because the consequences of his actions were bigger than the actions themselves. We see that good in him finally, I think, in this scene.
At YJ’s home, her unni is furious that YJ decided to give up her son, but YJ knows she’s made the right decision. She just wants San to be happy. She thought she’d do what the unni would say if anyone took her son- even if she had to chase someone to the end of the world, she’d take her son back, but she couldn’t do it. Taking away San like that would’ve made San hurt too much. When that family first brought San to their home, San cried so much, looking for his mother, YJ. If YJ took San away now, she’d be taking San away from his mother- and he’d hurt again. How could she ever do that to her baby?
The unni knows she’s right, and they both cry.
SY walks into MH’s office and tears up the marriage contract.
SY: “I thought that even if you didn’t see me while we lived, I would be fine with that. But I can’t seem to do it. Let’s just end it here.”
MH: “Se Yeon-ah-“
SY: “Jo Min-Hyuk. Don’t worry about me. I’m Shin Se-Yeon.”
MH tells his dad he’s given up some kind of property to SY, and his father is mad. What if SY turns her back on him? MH says that he’s given it not just to SY but to the ShinHwa company. He’s also given up his sajangnim post, not as his father’s son, but for the good of the K Group.
His father thinks it’s all just so he can go back to YJ, but MH shakes his head. He can’t go back to YJ again like this. He has this guilt that he has to pay off first, and he requests that his father sends him to work where employees hate working the most. He’s going to work incredibly hard.
Meanwhile, GS hands over the contract giving YJ back the bakery. YJ refuses it, but GS says to take it or else he’ll get in trouble. As for the debt, pay it back little by little… slowly… GS emphasizes that last word.
“There’s no other way he’d hear from you- this is the only way the Sajangnim can live.”
YJ understands the significance of this. GS has one last thing to say.
“Sajangnim… is going away to Armenia today. He won’t be back for a while.”
YJ goes to find MH at the airport, driven by emotion, just emotion. Despite the circumstances of which the two separated, she goes to find him, and when they see each other, the best they can do is look at each other. The two brush shoulders as they walk away, and YJ can’t help but cry.
At SY’s gallery, drawings are being put away. It looks like she’s getting ready to leave, and sure as sugar, SY says she’s getting ready to leave and wanted to see DH one last time.
DH: “I’m sure you heard about what happened. You still wanted to see me? The news goes out next week. Yoo-Jung didn’t kill Seo Ji-Hee… I did.”
SY: “That’s why I wanted to see you. I thought I should tell you- the person who killed Seo Ji-Hee wasn’t you. It was me.”
Dramatic music goes on and lawd above I’m throwing papers up I KNEW IT MY FAMILY WATCHES THIS DRAMA TOO AND MY DAD WAS LIKE NO U CRAZY AND I WASL IKE DAD I THINK SY DID IT AND HE’S LIKE NO BUT I WAS RIGHT HA HA HA HA I KNEW IT GOING TO RUB THIS IN HIS FACE HARDCORE
SY: “I told the Chairman I’m going to marry MH. I’m only going to let you go this far with MH.”
JH: “I have a child.”
SY: “The only people who are ever going to have a child are me and Min-Hyuk.”
JH: “Excuse you-“
SY: “That child- do you think the Chairman would accept it?”
SY hands over an envelope (probs filled with monies)
SY: “Take it. The Chairman doesn’t know you’re with child yet. Should I go tell him myself?”
Tears begin to fill JH’s eyes.
SY: “Disappear- get out of Min Hyuk’s sight forever until you die. This is my last warning- next time, there won’t be a warning.”
FLASHBACK ENDED YO
“I didn’t know she’d die. I’d wished so hard she would… and she did. I thought that I could be happy with Min-Hyuk, but I guess our fates weren’t ever meant to be.”
SY turns to DH.
“I’m so sorry. You were just caught in the situation that I made. You were just in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
Hm ok well SY that doesn’t really mean you killed JH because you willed for her to be dead you’re kind of making this bigger than it needs to be but ok
DH: “I’ve thought a lot about why things turned out this way. I’ve thought about it over and over. If I just hadn’t been there that day, if it hadn’t rained, if the truck just hadn’t been there- I was so angry. I was so angry that all these things were always happening to me that I let things happen this way. I was so worried that I would lose everything I ever had, and now… Yoo-Jung, my son, my family… I’ve lost it all.”
SY: “Do-Hoon ssi”
DH: “I’ve killed Seo Ji-Hee. It was my fault. Thank you for everything. I hope you have a good vacation.”
SY: “I heard about it… that the ShinHwa company files were safe. Thank you.”
DH: “Your drawings… I’ll miss them.”
DH walks away, and both know what he meant by ‘your drawings.’ SY watches him go.
DH walks to the place where he first found work. He removes his pin and drops it on the stairs as he walks up to the building that looms over him in the dark.
As promised, MH’s friend tries DH for his crimes. When the man asks him if he accepts that he let YJ take the blame when it was he who killed JH, we have a flashback of that day.
DH asks to borrow the car, and we see a happy family together eating breakfast. His mom, ever so proud of him, tells her prosecutor son to have a good day. The mom suddenly remembers after DH leaves that the wipers were broken- were they fixed? DH’s dad waves away the problem- the TV said that there wouldn’t be any rain today!
We see the whole scene again, everything happening, driving away from the scene. The next day, before the police arrive, construction men remove that barrel that YJ said they’d hit.
Back to today, DH smiles wistfully and says yes. He accepts that he did that, and thus his redemption begins- he’s finally facing his problems instead of running away from them.
Theeeeeeeeen time skip guh I hate time skips they’re so rarely done well in kdrama world
YJ opens the bakery back up again and revels in the familiarity of the bakery.
GM is the new sajangnim, and MH arrives to see GM in all his glory. He smiles to see GM, and then his sister arrives, walking away with GM. It appears that they’ve started dating in the time MH was gone- and it looks like our GS is taken too! He’s dating Hye-Ri now, and MH watches, amused.
MH’s stepmom and father talk about GM’s new position. MH’s father wants MH to have that position still, but his stepmom says that it’s time for MH to do what he wants now (uh like he didn’t before????? I mean yes he couldn’t at times before but I say that he’s gotten a lot of what he’s wanted but this is just me complaining about privilege)
DH is now in jail, and he gets a postcard from SY. It’s a drawing she’s drawn- and DH smiles as he looks at it. In a strangely eerie scene, he looks at the mirror in front of him as he smiles. I don’t really understand the song choice though?????? Like what are they suggesting idk I think DH’s come really far
At the bakery, YJ is trying to get everything ready again with her friends. Curlyheaded unni is no more! Her hair is straightened. The English-speaking unni is now married and PREGNANT and of course, our Hye-Ri is dating Gwang-Soo now.
The unni calls her baby Alexandra and coos as she eats the bread, but then suddenly she makes this weird sound that makes it sound like she’s pooping but no SHE’S ABOUT TO GIVE BIRTH
Everyone rushes out into the car to get her to the hospital. YJ gets them out and runs back to the store to close it properly before she leaves, but she falters, having seen someone, and we know there’s only one person YJ would ever look at like that.
It’s MH. He eats bread and complains that he doesn’t like sweet things. He’s looking at these pictures YJ has on the wall, and if you look closely, you can see picture of YJ and San!
MH: “I didn’t come to see you, you know. I came because I was curious about something.”
His tone is playful as he speaks.
MH: “Remember how you prayed at that temple that one day? What did you pray for?”
YJ: “It’s a secret!”
MH: “There’s no secrets when everything’s finished!”
YJ: “It’s no fun just to let you know for the sole reason that it’s all finished! You don’t like things that aren’t fun anyways, Sajang-nim.”
MH picks her up spontaneously and places her on the table, a smile on his face.
MH: “That’s no fun. I’m curious, so tell me.”
YJ: “I don’t want to!”
YJ: “I have to have some kind of secret so you can keep chasing after me!”
MH: “I’m not a sajang anymore.”
MH: “Yes- so call me by my name now. You still have a lot of debt left you know, so do what I say. Say my name.”
YJ: “Min-Hyuk ssi.”
He inches closer to her.
YJ: “Min-Hyuk ssi.”
He inches even closer to her.
YJ: “Min-Hyuk ssi.”
For a moment, it looks like he’ll kiss her, but he draws away playfully and tells her to say his name again. YJ’s had enough though, and takes things into her own hands. She pulls him in and kisses him, and so the drama ends.
We got a happy ending! Tbh I wanted more of an open ending for a drama like this- and maybe not so happy. It just feels like it falls flat somehow after we had so much melodrama that I wanted an ending that maybe somehow felt a tinge nostalgic, a tinge sad, a tinge melancholy as well.
I have to say that my favorite character is Do-Hoon, and that I wish him the best. I hope he comes out of jail and finds himself again- the person he used to be, who dreamed big and wanted to do big things for good people. I have to say that he was my favorite character out of the entire drama, and I loved the storyline that was written out for him- he was incredibly complex. He was never just evil- and like he said to SY, he was afraid he would lose everything. He had what felt like so little. His family had never lived a luxurious life and YJ was even always scrambling to try and support him, and the moment the car accident happened, he thought he would lose everything. It was wrong for him to leave JH there, it was wrong for him to do what he did to YJ, to her father, to everything- but I don’t hate him for it and I can understand his reasoning for it. It always felt like the world was against him, and he was always having to work harder than everyone else to become a prosecutor. I hope he gets his happy ending in his future- like I said, I could care less whether he went to jail or not. The scene where he cried- that was what mattered. That was what showed that DH had finally understood the magnitude of his decisions.
As for Se-Yeon, she was just as lost as MH. I hope she finds herself as well, but more importantly to me, I hope she stops being so crazy elitist and thinking she’s better than people lower class than her. Maybe knowing Do-Hoon can show her otherwise. I don’t ever see the two together just because of how horribly their fates clashed, how all of their fates clashed together, but I hope they keep in contact with each other.
Min-Hyuk and Yoo-Jung got their happy ending, for which I’m happy.
I am a little peeved though that yes, the ones who committed wrongs are thrown in jail and the ones who haven’t are just fine, but on a different parallel, basically it was the poor who were thrown in jail and the rich who were just fine. We KNOW for a fact that Chairman Jo committed his own crimes, that MH wasn’t all that great of a person at the beginning, that MH’s stepmom is soooooooooooo elitist it’s something horrid, but oh it ok those things don’t matter bc MH is a lead character and the lead character has to have this nice ending now ok company all good all fine the rich still get what they want and oh SY tried to ruin JH’s life no big deal just let her go on this vacation as she runs away from her problems and let both K Group and ShinHwa be as corrupt as before and wow I sound so bitter but UGH IT’S SO ANNOYING
Anyways IT WAS A GOOD RUN WITH YOU ALL I actually haven’t watched a Korean drama since forever and only happened to watch it since my parents were watching it and it seemed so interesting! I’m all about the melodrama and tragedy and horrible things (heh), so it was hook, line, and sinker for me. I don’t think I’ll be watching any other Korean dramas for reasons that are shown very clearly by dramas like the one that’ll air after Secret with Jang Geun Suk and IU (like omg WE GET IT YOU’VE BEEN HITTING US ON THE HEAD WITH THIS SINCE FOREVER KOREAN WRITERS AND DIRECTORS AN D PRODUCERS HANDSOME RICH GUY DUMPTY POOR GIRL UWUWUWUWU WOWOWOWOWOW
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