Bubblegum: Episode 15
Korean Drama Reactions & Reviews | December 19, 2015 | 273 viewed
Director: Kim Byung-Soo
Writer: Lee Min-Na
Starring: Lee Dong-Wook (Park Ri-Hwan), Jung Ryeo-Won (Kim Haeng-A), Lee Jong-Hyuk (Kang Suk-Joon), Park Hee-Von (Hong Yi-Seul)
Release Date: 19th December, 2015
Bubblegum: Episode 15 [Recap]
Love makes fools of us all, but happiness makes us dorks. We’re close to the end of the road with our Bubblegum family, but there are still obstacles to overcome and ghosts to put to rest, because only then can they move into their happier tomorrows. I’m optimistic that our suffering, too, is at an end, so from now on…blue skies?
EPISODE 15: “A spell for happiness—thank you”
Suk-joon wakes up Manager Jo, asleep on his couch. He notices that Suk-joon’s pretty much emptied the place out, and filches a pair of boxers. When he fishes an alice-band out from the side of the bed, Suk-joon looks regretful. He remembers a morning of Haeng-ah looking for it, but abandoning it because of his impatience. He tells Jo to just leave it.
Haeng-ah and Ri-hwan decide on guests to invite to an event. She wants to send invitations but Ri-hwan says a group-text will do. Turning to her, he says Mom might forget it right away, like their trip. Haeng-ah smiles and promises not to be disappointed. She reminds him that they decided to live happily a day at a time — if Mom can’t remember one good day, they’ll make another. He likes that.
When she gets up to go — apparently they are shoe-shopping — he nearly cries to find out that they’re going around again. I hear you, brother! Straight-faced, she tells him they may even come back tomorrow — or he can spend the wish he earned by singing for her now, she suggests, rather wickedly. He declines to waste it so trivially.
She pesters him to decide on his wish — is it to dance in public? Ri-hwan is scandalized — that would be for his eyes only! She offers world peace (lol), but he asks for a kiss in public instead. They argue like kids and Haeng-ah tells him hands off. Impish, Ri-hwan says he can kiss without hands — he can do aaaall the things she’s thinking without hands. She walks off laughing.
The team record their radio show, and Se-young advises a listener, who’s upset that she missed a date with a guy she liked, to just admit it was an accident and tell him she likes him. She shakes her head at people breaking up in playgrounds, and Haeng-ah shifts guiltily.
Off-air, Se-young complains about her tiresome popularity (lol). She snags an invitation card on Tae-hee’s desk, and convinced it was meant for her, invites herself along to Haeng-ah and Ri-hwan’s shindig. I honestly don’t know if I find this infuriating or funny, ha.
She explains the addition to Ri-hwan that night, but he pouts when she has to leave. He wishes she could stay on the empty third floor, but they both agree it has sad associations. He opens his arms to hug her, but she warns him not to touch. But…why? He scowls and sulks at her to just go. She worries about people seeing, but he doesn’t care, and she covers his mouth when he talks kisses. He asks her to stay longer, and swears Ji-hoon’s home (to play chaperon).
She’s not too put out to find that it’s a fib. Crashing on the couch, she asks about a scar on his shoulder. He explains that it’s from an accident with Woo-bin years ago. She wonders how she never knew about it, and he says he couldn’t show her an injury like that. They tease each other about what else she saw, and it quickly turns to canoodling.
Ji-hoon arrives and Haeng-ah flings Ri-hwan off. Ji-hoon offers to come back tomorrow, met by simultaneous and opposite reactions from the couple (Ri-hwan: “Thanks, hyung!”). He casually heads up but circles back to tell them he’ll be at their party.
Embarrassed, Haeng-ah flees the scene, Ri-hwan following. In voiceover, he says that not much had changed, except that they made more of an effort.
In a bridal shop, Haeng-ah smiles with tears in her eyes as the attendant pulls back the curtain, revealing Ri-hwan’s mom, beatific in a white dress. Aunt Princess rushes in late, and is overwhelmed by the sight. Mom gets confused a moment when Aunt says it’s better than the last one, and Aunt quickly brings it back to the present. She’s so pretty, she tells her. It’s for her birthday party, Haeng-ah tells Mom.
Ri-hwan’s narration adds that everyone tried to spend special time with Mom, while every day they looked for ways to be happy. Haeng-ah reproaches Aunt for crying, but she’s crying,too. They agree on one minute, and turn away from each other. Wiping their eyes, they turn back and bolster each other with smiles.
“We worked harder, not to become more happy, but to feel the happiness we already had,” Ri-hwan finishes.
Dong-hwa welcomes the guests at Secret Garden. She gives Haeng-ah a name tag and takes a joint-selfie because product placement is a necessary evil. Se-young and Joon-soo get a much frostier reception, lol, although everything rolls off Se-young (I wonder how I can be like that…). Ji-hoon and Tae-hee complete the party.
In the light-festooned garden, the party wait for Mom, who’s running late. Aunt gets a little overwhelmed by Joon-soo’s cute, which makes Uncle Gangster sad. The party break into cheers and applause when Mom finally arrives on Ri-hwan’s arm. They sing happy birthday and she blows out the candles on her cake. Ji-hoon breaks open a champagne and they toast, the atmosphere festive and happy.
Everyone gives Mom presents. They’re thoughtful and sweet, Dong-hwa’s a whole box of pencils so she never has to worry about losing them again. Ri-hwan kneels at her feet with a new pair of heels, and tells her that he and Haeng-ah got them together. He puts them onto her feet.
Looking up at Mom, he says that wearing these, the three of them should go to lots of nice places. Mom says it back, in childlike happiness. He hugs her, and I’m as choked up as everyone else.
Mom asks for Haeng-ah, and she comes and hugs Mom, eyes glinting with tears. They step back, and Mom delights over the pretty shoes. Eventually, Aunt takes her in and Uncle serves up cake. Se-young sighs to Joon-soo that she envies Mom — because she’s so slim, even though she’s older. Lol.
He finds out her mom is still in Seoul, and thinks they should talk. Se-young doesn’t think there’s anything to say — he’s young, she’s old, and you can’t change that. Joon-soo, sweet and serious, says they’ll figure it out together.
Behind them, Aunt is starry-eyed at his devotion, to Uncle’s chagrin. Noticing, she mutters about getting swept off her feet because he called her “Princess.”
Looking at the picture wall, Haeng-ah asks Mom if there’s anywhere she wants to go. She reminds her of their happy seaside trip. “I don’t remember,” says Mom. That’s okay, Haeng-ah says, and points out the picture with the four of them in it.
Mom asks if Aunt went, and Haeng-ah tells her Dong-hwa went instead. She tells the story of how Dong-hwa came to be Aunt’s daughter: When she was a kid, she lied about her age to get a job there, so she could eat pasta. When Uncle found out and demanded she bring her parents, she sobbed that she didn’t have any. Aunt took her in, and she eventually became their daughter.
Tae-hee finds Ji-hoon outside and tells him that something seems wrong with Ri-hwan. Ji-hoon says he won’t bother him if he wants to be alone, and after an awkward moment, turns heel. Tae-hee looks after him, remembering her harsh indictments and his confused confession about how much he likes her.
She’s surprised that he returns with hot drinks. She tries to apologize for the day before, but he just tells her not to worry about it. “I’m sorry. Thank you,” she says. With an acknowledging smile, he leaves. Is this the first time I’ve seen her smile? It’s uncertain, but real.
Haeng-ah finds Ri-hwan sitting in the dark, and smiling to see her, he invites her to sit beside him. She wonders if something’s wrong, and he tells her that they were late today because Mom got locked in the bathroom — she couldn’t remember how to unlock it. It scared her, and he wonders what the bathroom door is like here, if she could stay at Secret Garden all day instead.
Haeng-ah notes that Mom seemed fine when she arrived. “Because she already forgot,” says Ri-hwan. She takes his hand. Dong-hwa is disgusted to find them so stuck to each other like wads of gum, and tells them to come down for group photos.
Haeng-ah holds Ri-hwan back a moment, and gives him a kiss on the lips. She tells him to be strong, and Dong-hwa yells up that they’d better not be kissing. They laugh quietly.
After they take the group photos, Ri-hwan waits with Haeng-ah for her bus. When it comes, he holds on to her, and pouting, tells her to get the next one. She sits back down, bobbing happily. She says the party was pretty nice –seeing the people they always see, eating the food they always eat.
They laugh about Ji-hoon’s singing, and she ends up not taking the second bus, either. She wonders if she’s ever going to get home. Coming over bashful, he points out that he’s got a bed.
They continue to joke and tease, but she really has to get the third bus because it’s the last. He waves at her, and as it departs, she runs to the back, waving at him with both hands. Ri-hwan is totally giddy. Gah it’s about time you were this happy.
Dong-hwa happily surveys the picture wall, now full of her photos, too. Aunt Princess joins her, and lovingly asks if she feels like a real daughter now. Trying to contain her smile, she asks when she ever wasn’t. She wonders why Ri-hwan’s mom isn’t here yet, though. Aunt tells her to call herself — they’re partners, after all.
Yi-seul admits she’s a little curious what oppa Jung-woo said to Ri-hwan when he met him, and he jokes that he threatened him — with a mosquito-bite between the toes. Next summer. Haha. She laughs. They discuss her blind date (with Clazziquai’s Alex, hehe) and she says it was actually not so bad — their situations are quite similar, and if they keep seeing each other, it’ll keep their respective mothers off their backs.
They have a hearty laugh about the weirdness of another mom like theirs, when said mom whooshes in, crotchety as ever. Alex’s mom sought her out, and impressed Mom so much that she did all this shopping — for Yi-seul.
Between her snippy words and varied complaints, real affection for Yi-seul briefly emerges, and Mom tells her to start afresh, “And don’t suffer this time.” I can’t believe this is making me choke up a little. I’ve never liked her one bit!
At the clinic, Ri-hwan discovers Ji-hoon in the hammock,and it clashes unpleasantly with his lovey dovey memories of Haeng-ah. He forces Ji-hoon out with a hot drink, and then Ji-hoon blows a bubblegum-bubble and asks him to take it. Ri-hwan shudders at the horror, remembering his kiss.
He gets a text from the hospital telling him that his test results are out. He’s in no rush, though, and plans to go after work. Ji-hoon grows solemn, and makes him promise to tell him the result no matter what.
Manager Jo cleans all his personal belongings out of the staff dorm that’s been his home. His resignation letter lies on top of the fridge. With a sigh, he thanks the place for taking him in when he had nowhere to go. Inside, Tae-hee’s kimchi is the only thing he leaves.
A cake is delivered to the studio team, although they can’t figure out who it’s for, when it’s nobody’s birthday. Naturally, Se-young thinks it’s for her, and curses her fearful popularity. Haeng-ah puts her phone away after reading a message, and asks to take just one slice.
Tae-hee follows Haeng-ah into the studio, and Haeng-ah asks if she’s okay since Manager Jo is leaving. Between trying to forget someone you see all the time and someone you can’t see, Tae-hee says it’s the same.
Haeng-ah wants to know how she can help, and Tae-hee tells her to be on standby for sudden calls, when she predicts needing to take out her feelings. She notices Haeng-ah wearing Mom’s bracelet. It was lost but now she’s found it again, Haeng-ah tells her happily.
The message she received earlier reveals Suk-joon as the sender of the cake. He thinks he’ll be busy next year, so he sent her cake early, with birthday wishes. She eats it slowly. A flashback shows that Suk-joon returned the bracelet to her (aside: I really like the way she wears her rings) in an earlier meeting.
Sitting either side of a statue, they talk about the mistakes they made towards each other during their relationship. Haeng-ah admits that it was her fault for saying she was fine all the time and then breaking up with him.
Suk-joon takes his own share of the blame for not understanding what she really meant — that when she said she was fine, it meant she wanted to be fine. She thanks him — for the bracelet, and everything else. “I’m happy,” she tells him.
At the hospital, Ri-hwan opens the envelope with his test results. Back at the clinic, Ji-hoon waits worriedly for word, until Ri-hwan finally calls.
Manager Jo is startled by a knock at his door, but is relieved that it’s only Haeng-ah. She came to say her farewells, and asks if he’d fill in for her on tomorrow’s live show as a favor. He worries something happened at home. She shakes her head and tells him that she grew up listening to his shows, and she’s sad she won’t hear them again.
She gets more sad, thinking she won’t see him anymore, but he reveals that Suk-joon moved out and he’s moving in — so they’ll see each other around all the time. That cheers her up, and he promises to come do part of the show. When she leaves, he sighs how grateful he is.
Tae-hee is busy working when a text arrives from Ji-hoon. He’s at the police station again, and asks her to come. She runs out immediately.
Ji-hoon waits at the gates of the police station, not in any evident trouble — oh, is this a test? That’s never a good idea. Her car peels around the corner so fast that he can’t quite catch her before she’s already rushed inside. She rushes back out and sees him.
Worried sick, she asks what’s wrong, and it sounds a little lame when he says he called her just because. He admits he wanted to find out something, and she facepalms. He figured she’d be annoyed. Wrong, Tae-hee says. Looking consideringly at him, she says she’s going for a drink. What about him?
Ri-hwan waits to pick Haeng-ah up from work. She runs to him as soon as she sees him, and they ask about each other’s days. Ri-hwan reveals that he went to the hospital and got his results. “I’m okay,” he tells her. Tears fill her eyes. They wrap each other up in a tight embrace, as snow begins to fall.
“Thank you,” Haeng-ah says, and Ri-hwan replies, “Thank you.”
The epilogue takes us back to Mom’s birthday party. She recognizes Haeng-ah’s bracelet. Haeng-ah tells her that it was a bracelet her father gave to her mother. Mom, in her childlike way, says she lost her bracelet and couldn’t find it. The one Haeng-ah’s wearing, she indicates. Haeng-ah takes it off and puts it on Mom. She beams, “It was here.”
A montage of the past traces the bracelet’s journey, from Mom’s wrist, to Ri-hwan giving it to Dad to give to Haeng-ah, and her childhood misunderstanding that made “a bracelet like Mom’s” into “Mom’s bracelet.” Then when Ri-hwan retrieved it from Suk-joon, but surrendered it back, and Suk-joon finally returned it to Haeng-ah. It’s the story of their relationship.
Things that are meant to meet, will meet somehow, Ri-hwan narrates. Even if they have to take a long and convoluted road, they’ll find their places again. Mom takes the bracelet from her wrist and places it back on Haeng-ah. She tells her not to lose it.
The party wraps up with karaoke, and just about everyone takes a turn at the mic. Ri-hwan reflects that all of them helped each other through their fears, hoping the next day would be happier.
Mom takes the stage last of all. She sings the simplest song of all, a happy birthday to herself. Ri-hwan lets out a whoop, and they all applause furiously, happy.
- Bubblegum: Episode 16 (Final)
- Bubblegum: Episode 15
- "Bubble Gum" Lee Dong-wook, the weight of the drama
- Bubblegum: Episode 14
- Bubblegum: Episode 13
- Bubblegum: Episode 12
- Bubblegum: Episode 11
- Bubblegum: Episode 10
- Bubblegum: Episode 9
- Bubblegum: Episode 8
- Bubblegum: Episode 7
- Bubblegum: Episode 6
- Bubblegum: Episode 5
- Bubblegum: Episode 4
- Bubblegum: Episode 3
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