“Twenty Five, Twenty One” Finale: Sad Open Ending Explained

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“Twenty Five, Twenty One” has ended its run earlier today, and here is a recap of its final episode and why fans are very sad about it.

What happens to Ko Yu Rim?

The drama fast forwards to 7 years later towards the end of the episode, and its revealed that Ko Yu Rim had retired two years ago. She opened her own fencing training center and she runs it.

The center is very successful and she’s making lots of money. However, in the present day, she was not brought up.

Did Ko Yu Rim and Moon Ji-Woong break up?

No, they didn’t. After the drama fast forwards to 7 years later, its revealed that they are still together. Ko Yu Rim and Moon Ji-Woong even have marriage plans in mind and have stayed together. Moon Ji-Woong has become the CEO of his own website where he now sells fashion clothes and has his own line too, he’s doing well.

Later in the drama, Moon Ji-Woong shows up and tricks Ko Yu Rim into a fencing match with him disguised as someone else. After he loses and she snaps at who she believes to be a student, he takes off the mask and proposes to her. She accepts.

What happens to Baek Ye Jin?

Baek Ye Jin decides to apply for the correspondent position in New York, he initially didn’t think he’d get it but he does. He calls Hee Do to tell her that and cracks in their relationship begin to show.

Baek Ye Jin returns to South Korea to basically collect his things, and they run into each other and they break up.

7 years later, Baek Ye Jin returns from New York, Hee Do’s mother recommends him as her replacement for her position as she wants to retire. He accepts it and returns. He also buys his family a house and they move back together for the first time in 11 years.

Baek Ye Jin and Hee Do meet each other again, this time as an interviewer and a gold medal winner.

What happens to Ji Seung-Wan?

She starts working at a broadcasting station as a variety show producer, she’s very busy and can barely sleep. Her father passes away and the friends’ group gathers together aside from Ye Jin 7 years later.

Ye Jin misses the members who had left the funeral but he chats with her and she fills him in on how everyone’s doing.

He also gets a ride from his younger brother who has now grown older and is 26 years old. She immediately gets flustered when she sees him and asks for his number. Another couple has been born.

Why did Na Hee Do and Baek Ye Jin break up?

When they both return from their respective schedules and their bags get mixed at the airport, Ye Jin brings the bag back to her place, and there, they break up. Hee Do says ‘this love isn’t supporting me anymore,’ he asks if its his fault but she says its not. He asks if she won’t regret it but she says its the right thing to do, they’re only blaming each other right now.

Hee Do says she’s doing the right thing and has contemplated this for the past six months. Ye Jin says she’s done all the thinking without him.

Hee Do and Ye Jin struggle to process the breakup and the gang knows now they’re over. Her phone dies and she replaces it, but since she has a couples’ plan, she needs consent from Ye Jin to also cancel it.

She asks for him to come and they cancel the plan then they have the real breakup fight near the tunnel. He explains he didn’t have anything to say during that period, he says he was struggling and barely hanging on there due to what happened, he says, ‘honestly, your support was burdensome, I couldn’t cheer up no matter what.’ He says he didn’t want to complain or drag her down with him. Hee Do says their relationship shouldn’t only be for the good times but she wanted them to experience the good and bad together.

She also speaks about how she’s dating someone similar to her mother, being let down, and eventually giving up. They end it there officially.

However, days after the breakup, Hee Do loses the diary she had, the diary gets shipped to Ye Jin who is packing up and leaving the next day. He reads it and goes after her the following day, and she also decides to do the same.

They meet one last time in flesh. They hug each other and comfort each other with familiar words they exchanged. He ties her shoes and they both say goodbye crying their eyes out.

Who is Kim Min Chae’s father?

The identity of Kim Min Chae’s father was never revealed but we can assume he’s Mr. Kim, he is definitely not Baek Ye Jin, some theories suggest Hee Do eventually divorced since the husband is never brought up.

What happens to Na Hee Do?

Fast forward to 7 years later, when the group meets at Ji Seung-Wan’s father’s funeral, they converse and during that conversation, we find out that she is married. Hee Do and Ye Jin missed each other at the funeral and meet again after she wins the gold medal in San Francisco as he interviews her via a screen.

She is retiring after winning one last time and when she comes back to Korea, she’s greeted by Yu Rim who hugs her, their friendship is still so precious to them.

How did “Twenty Five, Twenty One” end?

“Twenty Five, Twenty One” ends with the bookstore owner closing down his place in the present day 2021. He finds an old notebook Ye Jin asked him to give back to Hee Do so many years ago. He goes to her old house to do that and sees her daughter.

The daughter returns it to her mom deciding not to read it. Kim Min Chae decides to return to ballet and work hard to create her own story.

Older Hee Do reads the diary and finds out that Ye Jin had also written over it and explained he didn’t mean what he said when they broke up near that tunnel. She goes back to that tunnel and expresses her regret for letting go of that love, both younger versions read comforting words about how they felt about each other. When she’s done looking at the tunnel, she smiles and goes about her day.

The ending signals that she might be trying to find Baek Ye Jin again and rekindle their romance, but we’re never shown Ye Jin in the present day.

Meanwhile, in the post-credit scene. A man presumed to be Ye Jin opens his computer and writes down his password to log into his older broadcasting account for the first time in 15 years. He fails with the password and answers the security question that asks ‘who was your first love?’ He writes, ‘Na Hee Do.’

“Twenty Five, Twenty One” finale- review

Well… I kinda saw that one coming. But I do know this, the fans won’t let this slide easily and I still believe the creators needed to give us a clearer ending so to speak. Some kdramas require a sad ending for their message to work, but in many cases, not unless you drive yourself into a corner in terms of writing, an open ending is not the way to go.

Its been a while since I’ve seen the international kdrama community rave this much about a kdrama, the past couple of months have been relatively quiet in kdramaland.

I don’t hate the ending because I understand the message behind it and what the screenwriter wanted to convey. But… as most know, people usually don’t like sad endings but they HATE opening endings.

In reality, first loves don’t work the majority of time, and sometimes, its not because you hate or dislike each other but because of external circumstances that are beyond your control. In other cases, even if they were within your control, you’d be hurting yourself too much if you try to challenge them or work around them so to speak.

I understand the choice not to show the older Ye Jin, he remains in her faded memory as a happy-bitter thought and this was always about Hee Do’s journey.

“Twenty Five, Twenty One” will remain a very memorable kdrama for me.

I really liked everyone’s performances and I think the couples shared great chemistry with each other.

Its just sad the drama ended somewhat on an open note.

So what did you guys think of “Twenty Five, Twenty One” ending? did you like it or not?

15 thoughts on ““Twenty Five, Twenty One” Finale: Sad Open Ending Explained”

  1. Ended the only way it could have as the characters stayed true to themselves.

    Ye-Jin – as he declared on the bridge – did not have to “have” Hee-Do in order to love her. He wanted her to be happy. His happiness was in seeing her happy.

    Hee-Do, ever the reckless one, had to have Ye-Jin – good and bad, she wanted everything.

    We know she doesn’t think about who she fences and just wants to fence “her way”.

    She lived for decades with a grudge against her mother, a grudge based on her assumptions – unverified ones at that.

    Hee-Do being Hee-Do, Ye-Jin being Ye-Jin, this was the only outcome given the circumstances.

    This is an unverified assumption but the series seems to point to her not being with Min-Chae’s father in present day.

    Maybe there’s a series to be written about that love story as well.

    Reply
  2. I supposed “open ending” means it can go any which way? But really, can’t that kind of be said about all endings…? We don’t know what happens once those end credits roll in. They meet again and smile but it doesn’t mean they have a happy ending as a couple or as friends.

    I honestly thought they would have stayed in touch when they said their goodbyes at the bus stop. That theory was obviously debunked lol. But she’s seen him as a news anchor on UBS for the last whatever years since he returned. It’s not like they didn’t have their chances before the diary returned to NHD. Lastly, with Min Chae not knowing who BYJ is, that also shows that he hasn’t come around. It’s somewhat odd since BYJ and NHD’s mom were in contact. You’d think they would have tried to reconnect by now.

    But i guess that’s how it is. I can think of more than a handful of friends that were crucial in my life during certain times but now i barely keep in touch with. We will always have those memories and sentiments but so much more of our lives and worlds have expanded. It does diminish the importance of those moments but does not diminish the sentiments, as that’s what we remember the most: the bond of friendship and less about what or why. In those respects, the writing/directing was focused through and through.

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  3. I didn’t like the ending. I was rooting for them all the way to figure out how to be together. They are perfect for each other and would be happy together. I would like to see a reconciliation.

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  4. It was a huge LET DOWN !!!! They had an incredible bond and genuine love between them -finished with bitter taste and their longing on video screen live interview . Sucked !!! Life is harsh , we needed happy ending ! I’m upset

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  5. No me gustó. No hace sentido que no volvieran a verse en todo ese tiempo. Que no se dieran otra oportunidad teniendo el vínculo tan hermoso que tenían. Y sino pues al menos un reencuentro en la actualidad. Pero nada de eso. Nada. No se volvieron a ver en persona desde esa despedida en la parada de buses. Demasiado forzado esa ructura.

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  6. If it was supposed to be just a reflection on a small memory- why spend 14 episodes to get to how they turned into a couple. If the writer and producers were aiming to go for “reflection on the past and cherishing your future”. Where did we get to see this comparison?I mean we were all made to invest and invest deeply in how they become a couple until the very end of the series, and then the last two episodes contradicting every damn episode before it, contradicting the very nature of the two main leads that was shown until that point, they break off, just like that! Because a reporter and a fencer cant be together in reality? , oh come on!

    Aahhhhh I have so much more to say, but im so mad, im not making any sense haha

    Reply
  7. Not the ending one expected. The writer could have tweaked it a bit hearing the comments made by most. It was not the best way to end a very good series. I wasted my time, so it seems. Complete waste of time.

    Reply
  8. The ending is bad since they were trying to create some kind of message where there couldn’t be any message. So it felt forced and unnatural and the audience obviously felt it and reacts this way.
    The story is not new, but they tried to present it as something new. It is simple- first love, they got together very young, but at some point some things (such as career, their own growth and development) became more important than the sacrifices people make when they become a couple or a family, and they broke up. They were simply not ready, full stop. And everyone understands it, many of us experienced the same. But here they tried to wrap it up with some “message”. Such as – enjoy the moment, enjoy the friendship, enjoy the days of youth..But they did, they did enjoy all that!! So saying that the white is white and black is black – at the end of the day people get tired and they will be like “what’s this”?
    So yeah, I think the writers should have had either more imagination and create a more original ending or more honesty to say yes, they broke up and it is okay. Instead of sending a grown up Hee Do under the bridge talking nonsense and reviving the past for no reason.

    Reply
    • Absolutely 1000 percent agree with your review!! I felt cheated and kept stopping it to see how much time was remaining in order to see a possible great outcome…. Only to be let down.

      Reply
  9. A very bad ending. I have a worst day last Sunday and decided to watch the episode 16 to lift me up. Unfortunately, after watching the ending I got depressed. I am no longer watching any shows that this writer will create in the future but for the actors, I am looking forward for their next project. Hoping they will be together again.

    Reply
  10. The ending was very sad and vague. There were so many unanswered questions for me. I don’t like the fact that they just broke up so fast without fighting for their love.
    With everything going on around us, It would have been nice if they ended up together. But I’d like to think the ending is open and they will rekindle their love somehow. Please let there be a Season 2.

    Reply
  11. Loved the show!! Hated the ending. It so had a Reply 1988 feel and crap ending. Such a good show to waste with horrible ending. Why not show more of Hee Do as an adult? These 16 episodes were especially long and I was invested!! Only to be let down! Yes the ending sucked!!! I mean what a good story and plot…. Why ruin it with an ending so poor?? Shame on the creators! As of now it gets 8.9 reviews on IMDB. If the ending were better, those reviews would be closer to reality. For me it’s about 7.9.

    Attention KDRAMA creators: quit screwing your masterpieces up with horrible endings. I feel cheated!

    Reply

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