The Happy Ending
After the obligatory break-up in the penultimate episode, the finale for Love in Contract begins with Gwang-Nam talking to Hae-Jin about Sang-Eun’s feelings. She’s bummed about the break-up, while our judge is back to his usual cold demeanour, no longer the smiley, bubbly man he turned into. He’s even cold toward his colleagues too, getting lost in his own work and sighing loudly to himself.
Gwang-Nam checks up on Sang-Eun, who’s sitting in bed and not doing too well. It’s very clear that she’s in love with Ji-Ho, but finds herself constantly eating ice cream, crying… and eating even more ice cream. As for Ji-Ho, he asks Hae-Jin for help in learning how to drink, determined to try and get rid of his blues.
Funnily enough, it’s Yoo who shows up and helps give an encouraging word, admitting to Ji-Ho that Sang-Eun really does like him and she doesn’t mean to “misbehave” right now. “Hurry up and go talk to her.” She says, before leaving.
Do Ji-Ho and Sang-Eun get back together?
Well, before that it comes from learning how to drink, and that arises from a night in with Hae-Jin and Jung Ji-Eun. Ji-Ho naturally ends up drunk, leaving Hae-Jin and Jung to talk together. With Ji-Ho in a reflective mood, Yoo is too and she speaks to Sang-Eun that night, holding her hand and apologizing for what happened in the past between them. She encourages Sang-Eun to go for Ji-Ho and to hold onto that sense of true love, which she deduces the pair have.
When Ji-Ho heads home, he finds Sang-Eun waiting at the table. The pair settle their differences and Ji-Ho even admits that he always used to look forward to seeing Sang-Eun. In fact, he wanted to see her on the days they weren’t in a contract but always held back from doing so.
As a result of them patching up their differences, the pair decide to head out on a proper date, something they haven’t had before. However, it soon turns to hilarity as the pair disagree over the best way of proceeding forward with their wedding of choice. The duo keep coming unstuck with various elements, and soon realize that they don’t actually want a proper wedding, instead deciding just to live with each other and host a party for close friends and family.
Does Hae-Jin get a good ending?
While this is going on, Hae-Jin is tasked by his father to head abroad to the US for 5 years. Although he agrees, Hae-Jin’s mum surprisingly steps up and tells Hae-Jin that he needs to live the life he wants and make his own decisions, right off the back of an earlier chat with Sang-Eun where she encouraged Hae-Jin’s mother to let her son get back the sparkle that he’s lost.
Meanwhile, Gwang-Nam finally sits down with his family and opens up about his feelings. He tells them all that he’s not going to remarry but also points out that he’s gay and likes men. Gwang-Nam’s sisters try to keep their brother quiet but he refuses, unwilling to deny who he truly is anymore.
As things start to kick off, Yoo Jung Hwan shows up and introduces himself as Gwang-Nam’s manager, resolving the conflict immediately.
Does Ji-Ho propose to Sang-Eun?
In the middle of dinner though, while Ji-Ho prepares for his minimalist proposal, complete with a ring, Sang-Eun is the one who surprises everyone with a grandiose proposal, complete with a bunch of random people waving their camera phone lights around. It’s a lovely proposal in truth though and Ji-Ho obviously accepts!
As they head outside, Ji-Ho returns the favour and with his minimalist set-up – including flowers inside the trunk of his car – and asks her to marry him. She accepts. Hooray!
How does Love in Contract end?
As the episode closes out, all the characters join together for the cosy celebrations at Ji-Ho and Sang-Eun’s place. It’s a lovely moment and eventually leads to them all having a big party. Unfortunately, when Sang-Eun and Ji-Ho awaken, hungover no doubt, they groan at the state of their place and decide to have some broth together, pointing out that this is how Sundays should be.
The Episode Review
So Love in Contract bows out without much aplomb with an ending that pretty much reinforces all the usual K-drama stereotypes after what looked to be a promising start to this show. That’s not to say there aren’t outstanding elements here, but Love in Contract has really failed to capitalize on the good work done early on with this potential love triangle,
In many ways, the series feels like it’s completely over-utilized Hae-Jin’s character and under-utilized Gwang-Nam, who’s largely been relegated to the backburner as Sang-Eun’s buddy. That’s a shame to be honest as the series could have explored how difficult it has been for him to be taken seriously and grapple with his sexuality.
Instead, what we get is a rather formulaic series and unfortunately another mediocre project for Park Min-Young to be a part of. While it’s not outright bad, it’s certainly not very memorable either, which is a bit of a shame.