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Thirty But Seventeen Episode 16 Recap (Finale)

All sorts of good feels for this finale, which wraps up our sweet drama nicely.

The episode opens to show Seo Ri’s aunt feeling conflicted, especially after receiving such a sincere call message from Woo Jin telling her that Seo Ri just wants to know what happened to her uncle. He doesn’t want Seo Ri to start blaming herself for what happened to her uncle, especially since he himself knows how scary that can be. Blaming yourself.

When the couple went to the flourist, the aunt actually saw them and was about to get off the car, but drove off purposefully. At night, she finally finds them at the house, bringing us back to the end of last episode. She almost immediately breaks down in tears and apologises, but Seo Ri’s first words are, “Where’s Uncle?”

Seo Ri’s aunt steps forward and hugs her. They sit down in the garden, and the aunt passes her old notebooks – filled with handwritten notes by Seo Ri’s uncle. Through flashbacks, we see the uncle staying by Seo Ri’s side everyday. He regretted lying about going on a business trip because then he could have given Seo Ri a ride. I believe that you will wake up. 

He refused to sell the house because it was important to Seo Ri. Three months later, he was still there writing. I’ll protect your house no matter what. A year later, he wrote that he wouldn’t drink again. Seo Ri, you will get up soon too, right?  A while later, he brought good news that her aunt was pregnant. Teach my kid how to play the violin. 

He then divorced her aunt, so that she could be Seo Ri’s guardian instead and keep the house, rather than it being taken away due to his business. And one day, it just came suddenly – he was diagnosed with liver cirrhosis and within a month…he passed away.

Back to the present, Seo Ri cannot stop sobbing. The scene then cuts to them paying respects at her uncle’s grave. She weeps and cries that she shouldn’t have found out the truth; she should have just thought that he was living happily somewhere else. “My poor uncle. My poor uncle. What am I to do.”

Later, Woo Jin passes an envelope to Seo Ri. It contains money from selling the house, which Seo Ri’s aunt did not use at all. Seo Ri’s heart breaks thinking how much trouble they had gone through, “Why didn’t they just sell the house then?” Woo Jin worries about Seo Ri, who just broods at home and stares at the sky. He cheerfully asks Seo Ri to join him in going out for nature sketching, but this is actually a ploy to get Seo Ri out of the house and to the sea.

When they reach the sea, Woo Jin yells into the sea, “YAAHHHHOOOOOO!” after which Seo Ri follows suit. As Seo Ri plays with Fang and runs around, Woo Jin takes photos of the sea and Seo Ri. At night, Woo Jin brings out his painting of young Seo Ri and wonders about the dirt on his painting. Seo Ri cheekily places Fang’s paws on the dirt, “Jjang.” Cutes. She tells Woo Jin that he’d gotten her fingers drawn wrongly, and finally teaches him how to bring the rabbit out of the moon.

Fang runs away and Seo Ri dashes after him. Left alone, Woo Jin smiles and places his fingers around the moon. Classical music plays in the background, as Seo Ri thanks Woo Jin for being by her side, and he thanks her for letting him be by her side.

Chan is still perplexed as to whether he should go with the sports college offer or sign on to be a professional. Meanwhile, Seo Ri meets up with Hyung Tae and updates him on the uncle situation. He apologises for lying to her but she knows it was for her own sake. He confesses to feeling bitter that the first person she met wasn’t him, but that family.

“And why in comparison to me, those people make you feel more comfortable.” He was sad, but now he’s grateful for that family. If not for them, Seo Ri might even be sleeping on the streets. To be honest, he still thinks about the what-ifs and could-have-beens but he will stop from now.

“It’s good being a doctor. It’s worth it.” He finally smiles and asks if Seo Ri remembers his younger self who wanted to be a rapper. The two of them rap in sync and end off with a “Yeahhh.” And that my friends, is the last time you will see Hyung Tae. I’m glad they didn’t ignore his feelings and address it adequately in the finale. Truth be told, I can totally get where he’s coming from – for someone who thinks that Seo Ri has no one but him for 13 years, it’s inevitable for him to feel kinda disoriented, left-out bitter that if not for some timing issues, Seo Ri would have met him first. But that being said, I guess we could think of it as fate. There’s no what-ifs because Seo Ri is meant to run into Woo Jin all along. If not this way, then it will happen in some other way. That’s the feeling this couple gives me.

At work, Hyun obliviously asks about Seo Ri’s resume so that he can beef it up on the company’s website. Hee Su steps in so that Seo Ri wouldn’t feel awkward about her lack of background. The couple visits the hospital to film in order to prepare for the music stage requested by Woo Jin’s therapist. It was super adorable watching the therapist teasing Woo Jin about Seo Ri, Woo Jin being all “hey, you cannot disclose patient’s confidential information,” and the therapist going, “We don’t call people who don’t need treatment ‘patients’. There aren’t any patients here.”

Through some form of telepathy, both Woo Jin and Seo Ri got books on music therapy for Seo Ri to consider her options. Seo Ri isn’t too sure though, because going down that route will take at least 7 years. She receives an email from Rin Kim, who told her that she is having fun just enjoying music in Germany. Rin Kim ran into a professor and mentioned Seo Ri, causing the professor to dig up the old audition tape and remembering Seo Ri. He proposed for Seo Ri to join them in Berlin for a fresh start – not for a degree or qualifications, but just to enjoy playing music.

Seo Ri’s stunned face after reading this email is adorable. Or should I say, Shin Hye Sun’s? At night, Seo Ri fills Woo Jin on this new twist and he assures her that he doesn’t have to think about him, “I’m going to be with you forever.” If she decides to go, he will visit her often and bring her around Germany. So choose the option that she wants the most.

Seo Ri  takes in views from other people and also gets a shock when she realises that if she wants to be a music therapist, she will be at least 38 before she can qualify as one. In the living room, she sighs loudly, at the same time as Chan, and the two hilariously turn to each other, “Oh you are there too?”The two of them then sigh uninamously and look back at the ceiling. I like this scene because it brings me back to the first episode, where if you take away the romance line, Chan and Seo Ri undoubtedly have some great chemistry (as friends).

The next day, Chan tells the coach he has decided, and Seo Ri sends an email to Rin Kim telling her she will join her at Berlin. The night before Seo Ri’s flight, Woo Jin cannot stop giving Seo Ri tips, including, “If some guys ask you do you want to have beer, you cannot, cannot have beer with them!” OMGGG freaking cute. This frenzy ends up with Woo Jin gifting Seo Ri an immense stack of tips on post its HAHA.

Seo Ri doesn’t want Woo Jin to send her off on the day itself, knowing that they will cry. So the next morning, Woo Jin comes downstairs and gives her a last tight hug. But at work, Hyun says Woo Jin hasn’t stopped crying. When he goes home, both Jennifer and Chan come out to greet him but he tells them that he wants to be alone. He then goes inside his room and finds a note from Seo Ri.

He cries as Seo Ri writes that her heart hurts having to leave him like this, but this must be the right thing to do since everyone says it’s a good opportunity…or not? As she wrote, she suddenly realised that she…didn’t really want to go? The sad music instantaneously turns comical, as we read Seo Ri’s written thoughts. Yeah, why do I have to go? Now, she doesn’t really care about her violin skills improving. She wants to stay here when Fang is healthy, with Woo Jin, to see Chan and Jennifer, Chan’s friends and play for Grandma in the park, and she can even have tteokbbeoki.

This letter ended off with Seo Ri concluding she didn’t want to go Germany anymore but that it would be awkward to see Woo Jin at home. I will be waiting for you there. 

Woo Jin dashes out of the house, while Jennifer and Chan laugh that he must have found out the truth. He runs to the overheard bridge and Shin Hye Sun gives one of the cutest, shyest, sheepiest, “Hello….” I’ve ever heard. I replayed just to hear that ann…nyeonggg. Seo Ri rants to Woo Jin that it doesn’t matter even if she’s 50 when she attains her dreams; all that matters is that she’s happy.

Through a flashback, we see that Seo Ri initially wanted to pass Woo Jin that letter in the morning but Woo Jin went out before she could say anything. Woo Jin is taken aback but tries to make himself feel better by saying that everyone will be happy she’s back. Seo Ri stutters, “That…everyone already knew.” Everyone, but Woo Jin, knew, because he was too busy crying to listen to people. HAHA.

Woo Jin then reveals that he will have to cancel his plane ticket because he actually bought a ticket to fly to Berlin the day after tomorrow. Seo Ri is touched, but asks the most important question, “Then why did you cry so much??” He cutely asks, “Who cried?” and the couple links arms as Seo Ri teases Woo Jin while they walk home.

A few months later, Chan gets ready to leave the house, and turns out Jennifer is leaving too. Chan is sure of his ultimate choice (at this point, we don’t know whether he chose college or to go professional) and doesn’t regret his choice at all. Just as he basks in that mature, steady moment for a second, Chick Junior crows loudly, scaring the heck out of him and his friends. Teehee.

Jennifer explains that she’s also leaving because this will be her last house. She has decided to go out and seek a different life for herself, the one she deserves.

Seo Ri realises that there will only be her and Woo Jin left after Chan and Jennifer leave. Hyun finds a receipt on Woo Jin’s desk from a jewellry shop and puts the idea in Seo Ri’s head that he might propose, especially since they are both 31 years old. Worse still, Woo Jin turns up in a dashing suit and invites Seo Ri out for dinner.

By the time they hit night time, Seo Ri has worked herself into such a panic, and yells, “Let’s do it!!!” when Woo Jin reaches into his suit pocket. Seo Ri rambles about how even though she’s not really 31, she’s at least 25 years old. “Let’s do it!! Let’s go!!” She throws out her hand, with her trembling fingers, and demands for the ring. You know, if someone tells me Shin Hye Sun ad-libbed the throwing of right hand, then left hand, I wouldn’t be surprised.

Woo Jin stares at her blankly, and Seo Ri finally realises, “Don’t tell me…it…isn’t…?” Woo Jin shakes his head and earnestly explains that he’s in a suit because he had an important meeting. He chose a nice restaurant because they haven’t been on a date in a while. “Then what did you want to give me?”

Woo Jin shrivels in awkardness as he brings out the custom-made rabbit key ring from his suit pocket, “Should I have…bought…a ring…I dont know what…to…say.” Since Seo Ri gave him hers, he wanted to make one and give it to her too. Seo Ri is so embarassed that she blows out the candle and wishes that there will be a blackout. HAHAHA. Shin Hye Sun and Yang Se Jong are really milking it here.

At the swings, Woo Jin wishes that Seo Ri wouldn’t worry too much, “It’s okay to take it slowly and live in the moments.” He will wait until she’s ready and doesn’t want her to be uncomfortable. Woo Jin says the sweetest things that are so mature and innocent at the same time, don’t you think?

He gets up from the swings, “Let’s just stay comfortably.” Just because the situation changes doesn’t mean they have to change too. As he smiles at her, she beams back and murmurs, “I fell for you again.”

A few days later, Jennifer wants to leave without a commotion, so Chan and friends left presents outside her room (Chan even wrote a note that said that the scarves might look the same but they really aren’t – a throwback to how Jennifer’s clothes all looked the same but she insisted that they are not). Seo Ri also left a pair of beautiful heels for her but cannot resist giving her a farewell hug, “Thank you for giving me such a beautiful fate. We must meet again, Jennifer.”

Woo Jin wants to send Jennifer off, but Jennifer insists on walking out of the house and starting anew by herself. He hugs her and is grateful for whatever she has done. Just like this, Jennifer left…and Chan, who came in with a chick, also left with his full-grown Chicken.

And now, it’s just the couple in the house, continuing to living as per normal and as comfortably as before. And just like this, two years passed.

Seo Ri visits her uncle and her aunt is ashamed to see her, but Seo Ri uses Min Kyu as a bridge and tries to get along with her. Meanwhile, Chan continues to win trophies. The scout asks him why Chan chose the college instead of going pro, and Chan recalled Seo Ri’s words  on the day of her supposed departure that to choose to do what made you happy is a choice, not giving up. Chan realises that when he tries to rush ahead and tries to be an adult, he messes up. That’s why he should choose something which suits himself.

Chan returns home where Woo Jin and Seo Ri are preparing a meal, and his friends come along too to celebrate Chan’s victories. (I wished we knew the name of the fourth teammate though!!) Chan talks to his dear Chick Junior which has been left with his grandpa at Jeju Island. It’s hilarious hearing him saying “Wait for daddy”.

Jennifer suddenly appears and says that she doesn’t wear shades anymore. She’s here because she saw Chan’s news on the show but notices that the table is too bare for a celebratory feast. She immediately whips up a feast like a queen and the family takes a photo again.

A while later, Rin Kim and Seo Ri perform a concerto for the elderly back at her former hospital, and it’s touching just to see Seo Ri’s dreams come true, even if it’s not on a professional stage. Now, when Woo Jin measures real-life objects, he explains his work before taking out the tape.

The guys continue to train hard, while Jennifer sets up a shop and her sister-in-law comes support her. The company wins a prize for best musical stage design.

And even a while later, Woo Jin gazes up at the sky window while Seo Ri wakes up sleepily on his bed. They poke their heads out of the window and as Woo Jin narrates, When a door of bliss shuts, another will open, we see flashbacks of the couple all the way from the start. Many people will only focus on the door that shut, so they wouldn’t know that another door has opened. Maybe that door isn’t something special or noble. It could be small or trivial, something not worth mentioning, but that could be the other door to happiness.  And thanks to Seo Ri teaching him how to open that sky window, it also became his other door to happiness.

Before it’s too late, stop waiting outside the door that has closed. If you can turn around to see the other, wide-opened, door of happiness, if you can walk step by step with courage towards that door, who knows? you might find that happiness. 

And the camera pans out to the two rabbit keychains, complete with a photo of the couple on their wedding day. We then see them with their wedding rings and as they smile at each other, Woo Jin pulls her in for a peck…then another…then another deep kiss.

The couple waves at the camera as it moves away, till we can even see the actual shooting crew outside the house. Side note: I love the way this ended – where actors break out of their character and acknowledge the viewer in the finale. Gives me all sorts of happy goosebumps when it’s done well!

-the end-

Let’s get the bits on what I didn’t like out of the way first. Well, I’m not sure if the back story has been changed like what some commentators guessed, but I do agree that the plot regarding the money and all that does seem a bit forced. Sure, the uncle can be really nice so as to prioritise saving everything, including the house. But when he’s dead, it doesn’t make sense that the aunt then sold the house, not use it on Seo Ri, not even herself, but to lock it up. That defeated every ounce of what the uncle kinda died for. Some people have pointed out that she could have decided to keep the money after realising that someone is paying for Seo Ri’s bills, but did not use it out of guilt. This however, just didn’t sit 100% right with me, the idea that she wouldn’t even have tried to find out who on earth was footing all those hospital bills, and instead, took it for granted.

The time line also seems a little warped, given that the truck driver mentioned that no one came to find Seo Ri two months after she was shifted to the rehabilitative hospital. But I could give a pass on that – my interpretation would be that the uncle was indeed there all along when Seo Ri was at the first hospital, and after he died or when he was dying, she was shifted to the rehabilitative one and that was when Seo Ri’s aunt abandoned her. But it wouldn’t really explain the truck driver’s narrative which left the uncle and aunt entirely out when he talked about the caregiving part. It felt like the scriptwriters either backpeddled on the abandoning plotline or did not do a very good twist.

Lastly, here’s just a teeeny little gripe that came to me as I typed this recap – Chan gave his answer the same day as Seo Ri did but he later said that what Seo Ri realised on the day she was supposed to fly off helped in his decision to join a college instead of going pro. The timeline doesn’t quite add up here as well, but yeah, just a small point that is probably due to editing.

Now, on to the bits I love. Everything is sooo freaking adorable in this episode – the people, the acting, the plot. Heck, this finale sits well between showing our happy endings and still furthering some sort of character development. It’s nice because it ends our drama on a good note, where we can send off our characters with a smile, but also keeps the episode an enjoyable watch. I don’t particularly like finales which are 60 minutes of happy endings/marriages but at the same time, finales that are tightly-paced all the way give me drama blues (*cough* Are You Human Too), so this is a good balance for my heart.

I’ve really come to adore each character and I think that’s the magic of this show. There aren’t any real villains and the uncle, whom we thought was the most jerk of them all, turned out to be the sweetest. Each of them had their own backstory and development – take Chan and Jennifer for example. I could really feel that Chan grew up through the 16 episodes; he fell in love, he fought hard, he realised what’s important to him, and he came out of it like a true hero. Jennifer’s emotional upheaval was touching to watch in the last two episodes, and I felt so happy for her at the end when she’s dressed so prettily and elegantly, with a huge smile on her face.

Of course, the two main characters really are the stars of the show. I think Yang Se Jong and Shin Hye Sun did a fantastic job in carving out the personalities and bringing these 17 year olds to 30 year old beings. Their backstory is very tight, showing that the scriptwriters had this in mind from the start, and built the entire story around it as it should be. This couple is yet another innocent one but I just love that about them – when physical innocence is done well, it highlights the emotional growth and attachment between the couple. I think what makes this even more special for me is that you could tell both characters needed each other to survive and to grow. In this respect, they are truly perfect for each other. Kudos too to Park Si Eun and Yoon Chan Young for being such incredible younger versions of the characters.

All in all, I would say this was a great finale that really felt like the last satisfying bite of a cake. Goodbye, this cutie family!


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  1. Pingback: Thoughtsramble in 2018 | THOUGHTSRAMBLE

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