Goodbyes & Mended Hearts
Episode 15 of Hometown Cha Cha Cha wastes absolutely no time picking up on that explosive punch last week. Do-Ha blamed Du-Sik for his father’s deteriorating condition, including paralysis in his legs. The man’s been in a vegetative state for the last six months but Du-Sik is shell-shocked and walks away.
When Hye-Jin hurries to catch up , he glumly confirms everything to her. The pair part ways, with Du-Sik deciding to take some pills and sleep it off.
Now, the truth of the matter is Do-Ha’s father worked as a security guard at YK Asset Management several years back. Du-Sik was a fund manager back then and convinced him to invest in a risky fund.
Do-Ha’s father took out an investment loan and put his money on those stocks. Unfortunately he lost everything when the stocks plummeted, prompting him to attempt to commit suicide. Do-Ha though was there to witness all of this. In fact, Du-Sik’s boss also died in a car accident around the same time, which Do-Ha chalks up to ill fate. I mean, stocks are tricky things to predict so it’s a bit unfair to blame Du-Sik for this, surely?
Du-Sik doesn’t show up the next day around town, which is problematic for everyone given Gongjin is abuzz with people. So many in fact that both Chun-Jae and Nam-Suk struggle to cope.
Meanwhile, Seong-Hyeon lures Ji-Won away from a guy outside, making up a lie after growing jealous of her talking with other guys. It’s a brief chat in truth but one that eventually sees the gang continue editing their videos.
Gam-Ri shows up at Hye-Jin’s dental clinic with steamed corn. Following her implants, her teeth aren’t hurting anymore and she’s been indulging in numerous different food. She’s also there to talk about Du-Sik too, who hasn’t touched his food for days and is seemingly in a complete mess.
While this is going on, drama ensues when Hwa-Jeong and Yeong-Guk break the news to I-Jun that they’re getting back together and remarrying. That evening he runs down to the park alone though, trying to keep himself up on a high pole. Bo-Ra is the one to find him though and eventually finds out what’s going on.
It turns out I-Jun is crying with happiness but didn’t want them to see him cry as he knew they’d end up heartbroken. He loves eating together as a family and now they’re able to do this as a family again, it’s filled him up with elation.
With everyone crying and ready to move on, Hye-Jin heads over to see Du-Sik. He’s wearing black (important note, black is usually symbolic of the dark and/or depressive thoughts.) and eventually sits her down to talk about his past.
Du-Sik begins by mentioning how he and Jeong-U used to be good friends and he even regarded him as a brother. It was Jeong-U who convinced him to get a job at the Asset Management company as a fund manager under the promise that they can make ordinary people rich.
At first it was a lot of fun, with Du-Sik meeting new people and making lots of money. Do-Ha originally dissuaded him from joining up to his funds though given they’re a high risk/high return investment. However, the man was adamant and ended up feeling the full brunt of Benjamin Holdings’ bankruptcy – which is the root cause of the stock issue.
Now, Du-Sik soon found out that Do-Ha’s father took a loan out and bet everything on these funds. However, it was Du-Sik that encouraged him not to sell the stocks and wait as they could well bounce back. Du-Sik blamed himself for this and also not opening up about this more.
If that wasn’t enough, out on the road with Jeong-U he lost control of his car while driving, too busy looking at Du-Sik. This led to the pair hit by the white truck of doom. As a side note here, I’m honestly, struggling to see what Du-Sik has done wrong here beyond maybe not being more forceful with Do-Ha’s father.
While the truth is being spilled, we cut across to Cho-Hui who sits down with Hwa-Jeong and admits that the crush she had in the past is actually with her. Hwa-Jeong doesn’t have any ill-feelings toward her old friend though, remaining understanding, although clearly breaking the news that there’s no way she can reciprocate the feelings.
Back over at Du-Sik’s place, Do-ha shows up. He admits that he was surprised that, despite his financial situation, he still managed to live a good life, with his student loan completely paid off.
As we soon come to learn, Du-Sik actually sold everything he had in order to pay Do-Ha’s family following the stock issue. Do-Ha finally opens up not long after this, admitting that he just wanted someone to blame. This, unfortunately, fell to Du-Sik in the end.
With the air cleared, Du-Sik finally plucks up the courage to wear the suit Jeong-U got for him all those years ago. Of course, this also allows him to meet Seon-A and his nephew, Ha-Rang. This moment down on the beach together paves way for Du-Sik meeting his old friend too, who comes to him in a vision from his subconscious. Tears stream down Du-Sik’s face as he admits how much he missed his friend. Jeong-U tells him to move on and live his life again.
Now, a lot of Du-Sik’s pent up depression actually led him to contemplate suicide before he arrived back in Gongjin. Standing atop a busy bridge, he seriously contemplated ending it all… until Gam-Ri and Gongjin came – quite literally- knocking. Or, well, texting. This singular act helped Du-Sik turn up in town and change his entire outlook, determined to be Chief Jong and do right by everyone.
Meanwhile, our three old ladies have a lovely evening together. Gam-Ri, after talking about her past and how she loved eating squid and speaking fondly of a picnic, passes in the night next to her two best friends. And… oh god, someone’s cutting onions in here! Her friends say their goodbyes, with Sook-Ja encouraging Gam-Ri to go to her picnic and wait for them there.
Now, it turns out Hye-Jin actually passed Du-Sik back in Seoul and waited for the ambulance to show up to make sure he’s okay. These two have definitely been fated to be together from the moment they’ve met and that much is especially evident as we see her indirectly making sure he’s safe.
The Episode Review
Wow, what a sad episode! Secrets are finally revealed, the truth comes tumbling out, and the show piles on the melodrama in the best possible way, leaving most people a blubbering mess by the end. Seeing Gam-Ri pass away like that, peacefully in her sleep with her friends beside her, is such a nice way to close her character out but still pains to see her go.
This show has done a great job with its characters and the closure with Hwa-Jeong and Yeong-Guk is equally satisfying too, with the pair getting back together after realizing the grass is not greener on the other side.
The only issue here comes from Do-Ha’s skewed logic. Now, given what we’ve found out about the past, it’s a bit unfair to blame Du-Sik for his father recklessly gambling absolutely everything they can on stocks. I mean, that’s risky work as it is and despite Du-Sik’s best wishes, he does it anyway.
However, everything is made good in the end and we even see how Jeong-U passed too, courtesy of the dreaded white truck of doom. This has been one of the best episodes of this show, an emotional melting pot that perfectly bows out this penultimate episode on a high ready for tomorrow’s finale!