“Record Of Youth” has ended its run a couple of hours ago. The popular tvN drama ran for 16 episodes and was Park Bo Gum’s last drama ahead of his military enlistment, many fans were upset to let this drama go.
However, “Record Of Youth” ending ended up shocking fans, so what happened and why are fans divided over whether the ending was appropriate or not?
Below is a quick recap of “Record Of Youth” episode 16 key highlights that’ll explain why fans are in conflict over the open ending as well as my thoughts on the ending.
Jin U is thinking about whether he should break up with Hae Na while talking to Hye Jun, he says he knows the answer but at the same time he doesn’t. When Hae Hyo arrives, Jin U decides to escape.
Hye Jun talks to Hae Hyo about breaking up with Jeong Ha and how he doesn’t want to do it but feels especially terrible that he can’t protect those who love him.
Hye Jun and Jeong Ha take a drive and then get out of the car. Hye Jun tries to persuade her not to break up with him, he asks her if he’s done anything wrong, she says, ‘no, you haven’t,’ she says she hates depending on people, he replies, ‘you can lean on me,’ she replies, ‘I need a little more time, I used to like stability but now I am fond of instability. Being in love with you changed me to be more complicated. And I actually like it.
Our timing is just off. Forcing it to be synchronized will drive us apart.’
Hye Jun tells her he’ll work harder but she replies, ‘this is why I wanted to protect you,’ even after Hye Jun tells her he loves her, she says, ‘I know.’ They finalize their breakup then and there.
Meanwhile, Hye Jun’s grandpa is still working hard alongside his son. Jin U is leaving the studio to open his own.
Later, Min Jae meets with Gyeong Jun to share happy news, the lawsuit has been dropped.
Later during the night, Hye Jun talks to his mom who brings him kimbap, he says they broke up. He is still very upset by the breakup.
Meanwhile, Do Ha is being threatened by a bar hostess, the manager helps solve the issue for him by threatening her back. It works.
The next day, Hye Jun tells his mom to quit working at Hye Hyo’s place. He says he wants to take care of her and doesn’t want the job to affect her health. Eventually, she agrees and tells Hye Hyo’s mom she’s leaving, Hye Hyo’s mom is obviously upset.
Jeong Ha uploads her last video to her channel deciding to focus on enjoying life’s instability instead. Hye Hyo goes to see her, he tells her he’s enlisting in the military.
The trio meets for basketball at night. There, Hye Jun tells them he’s leaving for the military, Hye Hyo also says the same. Later, Hye Hyo and Jin U talk over drinks, Hye Hyo tells Jin U he’ll support him in whatever decision he makes regarding dating Hae Na.
When Hye Hyo goes back home, his mom begins to nag. He basically lectures her talking about how he’s happy about himself and doesn’t feel inferior to Hye Jun, he says he likes himself and thinks he can still make it.
Jin U meets up with Hae Na and breaks up with her, he tells her ‘we’re not strong enough to go against our parents and our environments to protect our relationship.’
Hye Jun calls for a family meeting to let his family know he’s enlisting, they oppose the idea but he’s made up his mind.
The next day, Hye Jun tells Min Jae he wants to enlist, she also opposes the idea and talks about the chances he’ll miss. He is stubborn about it but lets her know he’ll re-sign with her for three years including the military service period.
Hye Hyo meets Jeong Ha one last time before his military enlistment but he met her at the library they used to frequent, her mood is entirely ruined. She can’t even properly talk to him and cuts him off, she leaves abruptly.
Hye Hyo leaves the next day without telling his mom, she reads his note the next morning and cries her eyes out.
Hye Jun is also leaving, before he goes away, he hands his friend Jin U some cash to help kick start his solo career. Jin U and Hye Jun family hang out together one last time before his enlistment.
Two years later
Jeong Ha’s career has taken off and she’s doing well for herself, she gets a call about an outdoor shoot. Meanwhile, Hye Jun is back and meeting the writer from a famous Korean drama who wants to work with him.
He later catches his grandpa who receives an award, his career has also taken off. He thanks his son and dedicate his award to him. When Hye Jun’s father goes back home, he breaks down in tears, he decides to go and apologize to Hye Jun for the way he treated him. He explains why he’s been so harsh on him and how its connected to his inferiority complex, he felt his son was so perfect there wasn’t anything he could do for him. The two make up while crying their eyes out (no hugging).
Later during the night, the three friends meet up and fool around. They’re still as close as ever.
The next day at the shooting location Jeong Ha runs into Hye Jun, the two smile and catch up. Hye Jun notices she’s wearing the shoes he gave her, she snaps back saying she wears them cause they’re comfortable and not because she’s still hung up on him.
The two catch up and it feels like friends catching up, there is no tension or awkwardness between them.
“Record Of Youth” ending took fans by surprise, many had hoped the two would reconcile for the finale but they remained apart, some believe the ending is open and there is chance they might reconnect and rekindle their romance, however, the drama doesn’t hint at that aggressively.
What did you think of “Record Of Youth” ending? Did you like it?
“Record Of Youth” episode 16 was needlessly long. It could’ve been wrapped up in less than 1 hour, the extra time that adds no substance was a running theme during this drama. Despite that, I honestly liked the ending, I think it was appropriate and mature. However, I do understand why some fans wouldn’t like it.
The more you’re invested in a drama and in it’s couple, the more likely you’d wish for a happy ending, there isn’t anything wrong with that at all, it shows just how much you cared for the characters. But if you’ve been paying close attention to the plot, you’ve probably already seen it coming even if you denied it.
I understand the reasoning behind the writer’s choice and understand the circumstances. Screenwriter Ha Myung Hee has worked on this drama a certain way, she tried her best to portray the realities of being a celebrity, both the good and the bad, celebrities at the height of their career in South Korea struggle with dating due to how fans perceive it, yes, we do hate it but there is nothing we can do to change it. I like how realistic the ending felt.
I like that the writer went against ruining the boys friendship as I had expected she’d do. I liked their friendship a lot. It was the highlight of the drama.
Regarding the performances, some I liked and some, not so much. But I wanted to highlight Park Bo Gum’s performance here. I don’t know why exactly, but I felt sincerity in Park Bo Gum’s performance the most I’ve ever felt in his entire career. I’ve seen almost all of his dramas and honestly, this is the best performance he’s put out to date. The character is charismatic but isn’t that special among the sea of interesting characters we’ve seen this year, Park Bo Gum truly elevates this average character with his charisma and performance.
He was easily the highlight of this show and had it not been him, I don’t think I would’ve stuck around to see the rest. This isn’t to diminish anyone’s hard work but to highlight just how important Park Bo Gum was to this specific drama. If the drama was more plot-driven, my answer would’ve differed.
Regarding my feelings on “Record Of Youth” as a whole, I have written a review that I’ll publish to the site shortly so keep your eyes on it.