Unnie Recap: Ending on a High but Squeaky Note (Do Do Sol Sol La La Sol’s Finale Explained)

How can something start so strong and then suddenly swerve into a mediocre, weird conclusion? If you watched the ending of Do Do Sol Sol La La Sol korean drama, I’m sure you had your frustrations as well with what transpired in the last 2 episodes. I had such a good feeling watching the show as the mood was always easygoing with Ra Ra’s bright and optimistic personality dazzling our screens. With an equally cheerful and supportive cast of friends in Eunpo, there was no shortage of good vibes with this korean drama.

There was no real villain or conflict except for the stalker angle, but that I understood was meant to further the storyline. Even the misdirect that Mr. Moon, Rara’s father’s secretary, was made to look like he could have been involved with their family business going under but it turned out to be a false presumption. The ending was a happy one, but the way they went about it was just unnecessary. If you’d rather not judge and try watching yourself, please read my Do Do Sol Sol La Sol korean drama first impressions post. I still love the show, but I’ll probably just remember the good moments that happened before the last episodes😅

*Spoilers below and rants ahead*

Out of Tune Finish

In exchange for buying the building so La La Land Piano Academy and Jin’s Salon can stay, Jun was urged by his mom to pursue medicine for his studies. It seemed like a long distance relationship was in the works to separate our couple but lo and behold, a sudden twist of fate makes LDR not even the slightest threat at all. Turns out Jun has leukemia and needs to be treated right away in the United States. I mean, WHAAATT?? I was perfectly contented with this show not having a serious conflict and then you add this last minute sickness trope?😒 Come on! Do Do Sol Sol La La Sol kdrama didn’t need this, the show was doing well being lighthearted and didn’t bank upon drama to make you watch it.

I also didn’t like the part where Jun told Ra Ra that he’ll be busy studying for college and that he might just settle down in the US, yet they apparently talked everyday on the phone while he was there getting treatment (Unbeknownst to Ra Ra of course). His character was always kind and considerate towards Ra Ra so for him to utter those words to her, even if it was to discourage her from him because he was sick, it just didn’t make sense!🤷‍♀️ Ra Ra didn’t even have time to process that Jun was being mean to her as she just humbly accepted the fact that he was going away and that they may or may not be continuing their relationship. Jun would never be that selfish and it’s disappointing that his sudden leukemia, which never manifested even in small hints throughout the show, tainted his character a bit.

The last episode breaks the news that Jun had presumably passed away because he couldn’t go back to South Korea after promising Ra Ra that he would visit for the holidays. His mom broke the news to her, adorned in all black, with grief painted all over her face. Jun’s death would have been a colossal waste of his character but… I would have been okay with it. Perhaps the writer wanted to convey that unexpected events happen, no matter how unfortunate, one can still recover and move forward with their life.

BUT 5 years later, after Ra Ra pieced her life back together and is living well in Eunpo with her friends, Jun comes back in the last few minutes of the last episode ALIVE! WHAAATTT?!🤦🏻‍♀️ At first I thought it was just her imagination, but he proves to be real as they talk and he kisses her. He explains that he wanted to be fully recovered before going to see her again. So for five years, you cut communication with the woman you love because you weren’t sure if you were going to make it, and then just randomly show up in her life one day? What if Ra Ra found someone new and actually settled down by then? The ending seemed rushed and just put together awkwardly that it makes me feel bad because the show was already great without this last minute twist.

I’m happy that Jun is alive after all but his sickness angle just felt forced, it was like they added that just to spice up the story. His mom was devastated when she talked to Ra Ra at the time, was that just a preemptive mourning then? If you wanted to make the story more “interesting”, stick with the shock factor and let Jun rest in peace. Don’t do a misdirect and have him show up, a miracle of life, when you left everyone thinking that you already died just to have a “happy ending”.

A Melody Unexplored

If I was given the chance to rewrite the last 2 episodes, I would scrap Jun having leukemia (Of course!) but have him still study for college abroad. He and Ra Ra would spend every waking moment they have left together, along with their friends at Eunpo before he left for the States. Ra Ra makes a cute face and nags at Jun to contact her immediately when his plane lands. He gives a grin and scoffs, reassuring her that she’ll be the 1st person he calls. They both smile intently at each other before the camera pans out and a bright light fades them both into the background.

Five years later…

A wedding is taking place. The TWD women are dressed up and talking about how lovely the bride looks. Ha Young boasts that she made the bride looked stunning and excitedly tells Seung Gi to not mess up the live vlog like he did last time. He replies with a stern “Yeah” and is all giddy with how beautiful the church looks. Music plays from a piano and the church doors open to reveal a bride awaiting her cue to walk down the aisle.

The bride’s back is seen walking towards the groom. Everyone is all smiles as the groom’s back is shown, a silhouette of a white gown inching closer to the altar. A vision of Ra Ra’s face is seen looking teary-eyed yet content, excited for what’s to come. The groom, with his back still facing the camera, slowly lifts up the bride’s veil and it is revealed to be Ms. Jin!😆 It turns out that she and Chu Min Su are getting married, haha! Friends and family gather for the dinner reception as Ra Ra plays the piano to serenade the ongoing merriment.

A silhouette of a man will be seen walking towards Ra Ra as she plays a song. With his face hidden behind a bouquet of flowers, Ra Ra’s heart beats faster as Jun reveals himself to her. Her eyes go wide in shock and doesn’t say anything until they are left alone to talk outside. Before a conversation begins between them, a quick flashback montage and voiceover of both Jun & Ra Ra will reveal what happened to them the last few years. Simply put, he had fun being in college: Studying hard, meeting new people, and genuinely enjoying being a young adult embarking on a new adventure. Eventually, he and Ra Ra would lose touch as she also got busier running her piano academy and becoming more independent without Jun by her side. They tried to make it work but the time apart just led them to separate.

Jun confesses that he wanted to make something of himself before he met her again. He apologizes to her and Ra Ra will accept him because she understands that Jun was growing up and needed to be on his own. After everything that he’s done for her, she doesn’t have any ill feeling towards him and she embraces him tight. They seal their reunion with a kiss and plan their future together.

***

My Do Do Sol Sol La Sol korean drama ending seems cliché, I know, since a lot of korean dramas already do the time gap then meeting again in the future plot. But it’s realistic and appropriate for this instance since Jun was still just a high school senior and had plenty of untapped opportunities for him to explore. I imagined Ra Ra picking up the pieces of her life without her dad and then Jun, but finds solace that if ever she stumbled, she had a piano academy to tend to and a home to go back to. No matter what you thought on how the show should’ve wrapped up, I know that we all just hoped for a happy ending for everyone!🎵

Unnie Life Lessons: Age is just a Number from 18 Again

Regrets are oftentimes a result of a decision that entailed a huge sacrifice on our part or things didn’t happen the way we wanted to. It’s not bad to have regrets but I believe that a lot of us also acknowledge that not all regrets stay as regrets. We come to realize that the struggles and pain brought about by certain choices made us stronger and better human beings. That perhaps if we were given a do-over and can make a different choice, we’d still make the same decision just like we did before.

18 Again was such a great family kdrama about hardships, healing, and realizing that just because you’re a family doesn’t mean you know everything that your loved one is going through. I’m glad that the actor who portrayed the teen Dae Young, Lee Do Hyun, got his breakout role here. After seeing him not get Jang Man Weol in Hotel Del Luna, he finally gets (back) the girl this time! The comedy moments, sweet flashbacks, and lightbulb moments of love made this korean drama such a memorable one for me.

There have been a couple of the getting younger or getting a reset kind of korean dramas throughout the years. I kept comparing this show with a similar-ish kdrama, Familiar Wife, where the husband & wife were also going through a hard time and the former got a do-over with his life. It was a good show but I felt like they didn’t give the wife enough credit in having her fair share of mistakes and that it was primarily the husband who needed to realize his mistakes. What I like most about 18 Again kdrama is that they showed that both sides, the man and woman, had their respective shortcomings towards one another.

The things that I learned here aren’t just for married couples as these reminders are applicable to one’s family, friends, co-workers, and other relationships as well. Do read my first impressions about 18 Again kdrama and fall in love with the Hong family and their heartwarming journey!👨‍👩‍👧‍👦

Unnie Life Lessons

1. Make an effort to communicate and understand what your loved ones are going through with their daily lives. Respecting one’s space is not bad but misunderstandings and conflicts arise from assumptions that exist only in our head.

  • Da Jung had no idea that Dae Young was struggling with work and even discovered that he had given up a chance to play basketball again after she gave birth to their twins. She regrets not having this knowledge as it could have prevented arguments between them that ultimately formed cracks in their marriage. Granted Dae Young could have voluntarily told her this, but I understand when a person just wants to unwind and not have to talk about their problems at once. Their marriage crumbled further because they weren’t properly communicating their feelings anymore.
  • Communication is a two-person effort, but I believe that your loved ones will open up at the right time as long as you make them feel valued and safe when they share with you. Sometimes, you have to be the bigger person to understand first for a good conversation to flow between you & your loved one. Although Da Jung was livid at first when Si-A told her that she wasn’t going to college and instead attend a make-up school, our ever wonder woman mom took the time to listen to Si-A’s reasons and supported her decision in the end. Si-A also apologized and admitted that she was wrong in thinking that her parents saw her as a burden all this time.
  • A lot of the Hong family’s conflicts came from not telling each other what they truly felt and assuming the worst in each other. Though it can be tiring at times, we owe it to the people we care about to not judge them and offer open arms (and ears!) when they need someone to talk to.

2. Our actions can mean something else to other people. We might think it’s okay in our own perspective, but it could actually have negative impact especially to our loved ones.

  • Da Jung advised Woo Young that if he was serious about having a basketball career, he ought to stop with his drinking & smoking habits. I’m all for respecting one’s privacy and just like the life lesson above, we cannot assume what goes on in a person’s life. But it doesn’t hurt to listen and think about our loved ones’ opinions because they only want what’s best for us. It may seem harmless to us because we know our own limits, but a different person’s perspective could be a way for us to grow & improve more.
  • Unbeknownst to Da Jung and Dae Young, their kids felt disappointed for witnessing them smoke and drink respectively. In Da Jung’s case, she was trying the electronic cigarette as she was curious on how it would feel since her husband loves to smoke. Meanwhile, drinking was Dae Young’s way of coping with issues at work. These reasons are not bad but nevertheless, it gave the wrong idea to their kids. These deeds done in moderation are not bad, but we have to remember that not everyone will understand our actions.
  • We have to be mindful of what we do, especially when there are people counting on us or look up to us like a role model, because we might set a wrong example to them unintentionally. Just like with the first life lesson, talking things out is the only way to resolve uncertain thoughts and musings.

3. Happy endings don’t equate to a picture perfect life. It is however, a beautiful mess comprised of cheerful moments entwined with arguments and frustrations. What’s important is growing through the tough times and relishing the bright & uplifting experiences together.

  • It was such a nice and realistic ending knowing that although Dae Young and Da Jung had resolved their major issues, they still fought and bickered with each other after getting married again. Conflicts are a normal part of any relationship, but I don’t blame anyone if they say that they’d want things to be pleasant all the time. Heck, who wants to feel discomfort & awkwardness right? 18 Again korean drama reminds us that not getting along all the time is okay, it’s a natural consequence of our unique identities as humans.
  • We grow through our mistakes because we learn things that we shouldn’t do anymore or find ways to improve on ourselves because of such experiences. Because of this, we are able to enjoy both the good & difficult moments of life with a contented heart😊

It’s been so long since I wrote a life lessons post and I really wanted to write this one because this year has been so devastating — I, we, need a reminder that things will be okay even if our situation isn’t at its best✨ No matter how young or older we get, it’s never too late to learn something new, do the things we always wanted to do, and cherish the moments that make us happy.

Unnie Recap: Start-Up kdrama’s Love Triangle Woes (Team Do San or Team Ji Pyeong?)

When was the last time you felt a serious crush on the 2nd lead and wished that he/she ended up with the hero/heroine? Once in awhile, kdramas like that sprout up out of nowhere and it hits you hard because you wish a different outcome for the show. If you’ve been tuning into Start-Up korean drama, I know some part of you has been pining for 2nd lead, Han Ji Pyeong, to get the girl of his childhood, Seo Dal Mi😊

Kdramas don’t have a good track record of true love triangles though, meaning that there’s no real conflict for the protagonist when it comes to choosing who between the 2 men/women they want to be with. The actors/actresses’ roles and TV posters alone will tell you who the main couple is and who is the odd man/woman out. I wish that this show will break the mold but I’m not too hopeful about it, haha!😜 Read about my Start-Up kdrama recommendation post if you haven’t started watching yet.

Quickstart Summary

What’s at play is the classic love triangle with a case of identity mix-up. The lead female character, Seo Dal Mi, had a childhood pen pal name Nam Do San who comforted her at a time in her life when she needed a friend. Unbeknownst to her knowledge, this pen pal was set-up by her grandmother who asked a kid whom she took in (because he was an orphan) to write and reply to the letters. They used the name Nam Do San because they saw his name in the newspaper as a genius kid who won a prestigious math competition.

Fast forward to their adult years, the orphan kid, Han Ji Pyeong, has grown successful and is known to be a harsh yet fair venture capitalist. He meets Dal Mi’s grandmother again and the latter asks him to find the real Nam Do San as Dal Mi is intent on meeting him now. Turns out that the real Nam Do San is a struggling developer (but has no girlfriend & is handsome, haha!) who Ji Pyeong is able to contact and convinces to meet Dal Mi. After a series of events, both men find themselves falling for Dal Mi with the latter having no idea that Ji Pyeong is her real pen pal and thinks that Do San is her childhood & now turned adult love.

Compatibility Rates

The last time I came down with second lead syndrome was for Baek Kyung in Extraordinary You, hee. I didn’t expect that I would feel this way, I think it’s because the way the story was crafted where Ji Pyeong was the original childhood penpal of Dal Mi. I just feel like she deserves to get to know the actual guy who wrote her the letters because it gave her a great deal of comfort as a kid and carried on to the present. Even if it stemmed from a fake identity, Ji Pyeong’s replies were honest to what he felt at the time. Having no family & friends himself, I know that the letters brought him a lot of comfort too🤗

When it comes to the sincerity of both men’s feelings, there’s no doubt that they have Dal Mi’s best interests in mind, they just express it in a different manner. While Do San is supportive and nurturing towards her, Ji Pyeong isn’t afraid to be blunt as he guides her on a realistic perspective in starting a business. I don’t think Dal Mi would have treated Do San the way she does if she knew their secret. Granted, she’d also feel awkward around Ji Pyeong knowing that he wrote the letters as a request from her grandmother because she had no friends before. But at least this way, perhaps both men will be on equal footing when it comes to courting Dal Mi’s heart.

Episodes 7 and 8 give us a tiny, data of hope that maybe Dal Mi can still learn to like Ji Pyeong. As her grandmother asked her who between the 2 versions of Do San (The one from the letters or the real, adult Nam Do San) she prefers, she answered that she’d choose the childhood one. She does get excited about the adult Do San version even if she is still getting used to him. Having spent more time together, Dal Mi and Do San have a deeper connection currently and I know that even if she discovers the truth, the relationship that they’ve built won’t just go away. Also, Do San is not in denial of his feelings for her unlike Ji Pyeong.

Dal Mi’s current state of feelings for Ji Pyeong are platonic because she sees him as her mentor and friend. Would she look at him differently if she finds out the truth? I’m sure she’d feel confused & betrayed ar first and this is where Ji Pyeong ought to step up and show her that what he wrote weren’t lies. He has to show her that he is an option and I hope that he admits his true feelings for her in the coming Start-Up kdrama episodes!

An Uncertain but Promising Future

For now, I’m leaning towards #teamJiPyeong even if I also like Nam Do San a lot too. Would Dal Mi pay more attention to Ji Pyeong if she knew early on that he was the Do San behind the letters? I’d say it’s still 50/50 honestly. Tha fallout from knowing the truth won’t be pretty but if it gets Dal Mi to look at Ji Pyeong differently, in a good way after she forgives the guys & her grandma of course, a love triangle dilemma is finally established! I only wish for Dal Mi to at least struggle a little bit on her feelings and consider Ji Pyeong romantically too. I’d be okay with her ending up with Do San, but I’d like to see the other guy in this case, win the leading female’s affections❤️