Record Of Youth – Episode 16 (Finale/Ending) Recap & Review

Ending With A Whimper

We begin episode 16 of Record Of Youth with Hye-Jun and Jin-U meeting up at their familiar hang-out spot with Hae-Hyo. Given how much they’ve all been through, Jin-U doesn’t want to talk to Hae-Hyo and leaves. When he does, the best friends discuss Hye-Jun’s break-up with Jeong-Ha.

We then skip forward to the moments following the end of episode 15. Hye-Jun drives Jeong-Ha down to the seafront but their conversation is frosty and standoff-ish . Hye Jun’s not happy with the way she ended things and encourages her to lean on him. She’s having none of it though and eventually they agree to remember and look back fondly on their time together.

Elsewhere, Yeong-Nam helps Min-Ki with his photoshoot and has a keen eye for his Father’s good side. The manager there learns of his familial connections and immediately asks for help. Yeong-Nam drives a hard bargain though.

Back home Hye-Jun contemplates signing his contract with Min-Jae. Only, midway through mulling over the terms, Ae-Suk arrives with food. There, she learns that he and Jeong-Ha have broken up.

While he eats the food she’s got her, Hye-Jun tells his Mother he wants her to stop working at Hae-Hyo’s house. It’s strenuous work and tells her if she really loves him then she’ll do this for him.

Tae-Su looks at the news surrounding Hye-Jun’s drama and deliberates over exactly how to sign him up. This is only made worse by Do-Ha’s destructive record continuing with the girls he met the previous night. After calling one of the girls dense, there’s a hefty settlement of 500 million won hanging over this.

Tae-Su plays the girl at her own game though, showing that he’s actually recording her and finishing things mutually without a deal. As the girl leaves, we cut across to Jeong-Ha who records her final YouTube video, thanking her subscribers for their help.

Meanwhile, the trio of friends all meet up and discuss their futures following a game of basketball. Hye-Jun deliberates over whether to quit completely and enlist in the military after fulfilling his dream. Heading home, he calls a family meeting.

Hae-Hyo has a meeting of his own too, speaking plainly with his Mother about how the spotlight has changed to Hye-Jun instead of him. He doesn’t have ill feelings toward this though and although he hates not being centre of attention, he still believes he’ll make it and that I-Yeong raised a good son.

He then tells his sister that he’ll support her decision no matter what regarding the relationship with Jin-U. When she’s picked up by him, he tells her to return to her life and doesn’t think they should be together.

On the back of Hae-Hyo’s encouraging words, I-Yeong decides to take control and become her son’s legal advisor when his contract runs out. Before she can continue though, Jin-U’s Mother quits her job as chef. She’s not the only one either, as Ae-Suk also quits too despite I-Yeong trying to to guilt-trip her into staying.

Meanwhile, Yeong-Nam meets Jin-U’s Father and the pair catch up before their scheduled family meeting. There, Hye-Jun makes his decision and tells them all he’s decided to enlist. Given how much effort it took to get to the top, the rest of the family have soon changed their tune since earlier in the series.

Things eventually become heated, leading Yeong-Nam to doubt his own parenting skills. He takes his leave and questions with Ae-Suk alone whether he’s a good Father or not.

Min-Jae meets Hye-Jun where they discuss the contract. He decides to renew with her for 3 years – with 2 of them taken up with enlistment. It’s a sigh of relief from Min-Jae but another nail in the coffin for Tae-Su. Su-Man releases another damning article, this time surrounding Do-Ha’s debt scandal which causes Tae-Su to scramble and try to play damage control.

Jeong-Ha meets Hae-Hyo at the library but she can’t stop thinking about Hye-Jun there. She immediately decides to leave but it turns out Hae-Hyo is enlisting in the military very soon, which is the real reason he met her originally. He doesn’t disclose this to her though and lets Jeong-Ha head home. In her house, Jeong-Ha watches Hye-Jun’s drama and even wears the shoes he got her too.

Hae-Hyo meanwhile heads home and gives his Mother a big hug. He clearly hasn’t told her what’s happening and heads out early, ready to enlist. He does leave a message for her though, thanking I-Yeong for her help and how she did a good job raising him. Upon reading this, she breaks down in tears.

After sending a message to his fans, informing them all where he’s going, Hye-Jun heads back to the library and reminisces on his time with Jeong-Ha. He then does a live broadcast for everyone and – live on-air – thanks his fans for the love and support they’ve given him. He promises to return in good health.

2 years pass and Jeong-Ha is very busy, with clients lined up and talking on the phone. Hye-Jun returns from enlistment to celebrate Min-Ki winning an award too. There, Min-Ki thanks Yeong-Nam specifically – a throwback to when Hye-Jun missed him off at his award ceremony. He promises to repay Yeong-Nam as best he can and dedicates his award to him.

Back home, Yeong-Nam speaks to Hye-Jun and apologizes for the past. Specifically, he regrets not being there for him during his difficult moments. It’s been a long time coming, but the pair finally talk openly after all this time.

Yeong-Nam also regrets hitting him and was angry at himself for not being able to support his son. He felt like he could do nothing for him and was scared.

With everything resolved and the kids entering their 30’s, Jin-U, Hae-Hyo and Hye-Jun meet up in their familiar spots and talk about their changing fates. Their friendship has endured over time and Hye-Jun settles back into his role on-set just as before.

Rocking up at the same drama happens to be Jeong-Ha. Both her and Hye-Jun lock eyes on passing and eventually walk together, catching up on what they’ve missed. It turns out she’s wearing his shoes but claims not to be hung up on him though. The duo appear to be content being friends and walk off together.

The Episode Review

So this is how Record Of Youth ends; with a whimper rather than a roar. In terms of slice of life dramas, I guess this one does a pretty good job depicting these characters growing up in Korea but without the character growth to go with it.

I-Yeong is a horrible, selfish woman and even here, after 16 episodes, her character just has not grown. She’s still unable to see beyond her own vanity and it’s only Hae-Hyo’s letter about enlisting that causes her to start crying.

And what of Hae-Hyo’s career and love life then? Clearly nothing happened between him and Jeong-Ha as he enlisted but his career and aspirations are completely sidelined for Hye-Jun’s journey instead.

Jeong-Ha is now a hotshot beautician but again, those 2 years that caused her to ascend that way aren’t really shown. That’s to say nothing of Jin-U either who decides not to become romantically attached with Hae-Na and now has his own studio.

And what about that award ceremony too. While it’s touching that Min-Ki thanked Yeong-Nam for his help, it does feel a bit out of character that he didn’t at least mention Hye-Jun. And Hye-Jun, from the looks of it, has slotted nicely back into his role of doing dramas.

When you look at where the characters are now compared to at the start of this show, yes they’ve all grown in terms of their careers but personality-wise there isn’t that much of a seismic shift. Yeong-Nam and Hye-Jun’s relationship is probably the big highlight but everything else here is just so forgettable.

There’s no ill-feelings, regret or tension between Hye-Jun and Jeong-Ha at the end either and there’s a weird nonchalant feel to this one in the way it unceremoniously ends.

Record Of Youth has been a real rollercoaster ride as I’ve said before but unfortunately it’s a tame one at best. Compared to all the brilliant dramas that have released this year from Korea, Record Of Youth is not one you’ll keep a record of anytime soon.

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28 thoughts on “Record Of Youth – Episode 16 (Finale/Ending) Recap & Review”

  1. Garbage ending!
    We watch thede dramas to get away from this unfair and dim world, to uplift our spirits and watch good guys get happy ending, and bad guys a bad ending. Here, nobody was happy in the end: terrible.. terrible shock for kframas people and watchers. Why is the writer so depressed? Why did he make us inherit his depression. If you don’t have nice and hopeful view on life, keep it for yourself; we don’t want to be dragged to your pessimism. Ooft!

  2. Ok no shit this gave me anxiety y y’all do me like that😭 The ending was not it at all I got so many unanswered questions. HJ and JH should’ve ended up together agree to disagree buh don’t we all watch ROMANCE k-dramas for the happily ever afters ion care wat nobody say cuz i do like i need dat happy ever after and i get it not every romance has a good ending buh das the whole point we watch dis to escape the real world you can agree to disagree buh yea. This one definitely wasn’t it sorry buh I said wat i said dis shi got me taking a break from k-dramas!! y’all got me f** up deadass. unless y’all renew with a season 2 this show is outta the question period.

  3. I’d have to agree. I was excited at first to watch this show and religiously watched after ever release. At the final episodea I caught myself pausing it multiple times and for the finale took a two week hiatus from finally watching the rest on my break. The finale was underwhelming honestly. I’m happy for the success of JH and HJ, but it became so boring because they full on friend zoned each other LOL. Come on, give the girls and boys a lil loving next time. Grandpa was my favourite character. Brother was good at being annoying. Mom was okay but I wish she had more of a backbone to stick up for herself rather than talking in her head all the time. Dad had the most character development and rightfully so since his livelihood was taken away from him. Had his shoulder not given out on him I don’t think he would have changed the way he did. I didn’t care much for the side plots. I thought the reporter did a good job at her role of being annoying. But yeah that’s it. I could probably type out more but you’ve summed it up quite well. Cheers

  4. I love this series but I’m only on episode 8 and decided to read some spoilers. I think there is great chemistry between the two leads actors! However I want a happy ending I want them to end up together and it’s disappointing to hear that they don’t therefore I’m not sure I can finish!

  5. As much as I deeply appreciated the resolution between fathers and sons, there was an Everest amount of lack of mature relationships between the lead actors under 30 years of age. I am not saying that Hye-Jun needed to end up in some happy ever after with Jeong-ha. Jeong -ha had some serious issues about being deeply tied to another person that was warped by her parents example of adult relationships. But come in, this was just another Kdrama that infantized adults who were very close to 30 years old. Not ONE of the young adults wound up in a healthy one on one relationship with a significant other. The ending had the viewer imaging them all ( except Jeong-ha) going home to their celibate bedrooms in their parents houses. I understand that families are close in many Asian societies but the continued fantasy of making very old adults monks living in their cloistered cells is just perpetuating an unrealistic reality. Only Hae-hyo’s sister had a glimmer of an adult relationship but that was blow up by his mother and her boarderline creepy Oedipus complex relationship with Hae-hyo. And then the girl sells out her mature relationship for a credit card! Back to being the dependent adult/child.
    So yes- I felt I was led to invest in character development that never materialized. Going off to the military is not character development, just a next scene to fill in a gap. All involved ended up basically where they started. Truly disappointing writing. Solid acting by wonderful actors and actresses.

  6. I enjoyed this show until they became 100% obsessed with internet troll comments and gossip articles. Then it just became frustrating to watch. I was on episode 15 when I found out there’s not even any resolution at the end and the characters and the stories built up over many weeks just crumble to nothing…. No thanks. I will stop at episode 15. That is not an inspirational tale and to watch more would just be stealing my time from me.

  7. I almost always agree with your reviews of TV show, however, this is the exception.

    I enjoyed this show very much and personally rated it a 4. The main characters were not fully developed ,as you mentioned, yet the one of main relationships in Hye-Jun’s family was in the Grandfather, Son and Grandson. I loved how we saw the hurt, disappointment, regret, and love of the all three of these men. I loved seeing the growth and acceptance all showed towards each other.

    I appreciated that several characters did not reflect the usual K-Drama of learning a lesson and becoming better people. This was much more realistic and believable to me. I continue to be disappointed that K-Dramas do not show much physical affection towards their love interest.

    The ending was satisfying enough seeing the comfortable banter between the two main leads.

  8. What was the appeal of JA as a love interest? She was flat emotionally. She rarely was affectionate. She didn’t act foolish or frivolous like the fan girls who idolized the guys at the beginning, but she seemed more like one of the guys. In fact none of the females were very kind or warm or sweet to the others except for HJ’s manager and his mom. The rest were self-centered and churlish. The three guys were much more developed and appealing as people.

  9. I love this drama! In reality not everything will have a happy ending in your love interest But what’s important is the love of family All the conflicts in the family was settled most specially the respect to for elders and respect for children. Their love life they can work on it later in their lives since they are still young but our family are the ones we lived with for a long time and …….forever!

  10. It would have been nice to know that HJ and JH definitely rekindled their relationship, but there were enough metaphors in that final scene to assume that they did. Earlier in the episode JH admitted that their issues were because of timing; there’s no doubt that they love each other, both have said so during the course of the breakup. In the final scene, there’s a point where HJ is walking ahead of JH, and we see her running to catch up. She really HAS caught up to HJ: and she did it without depending on anyone else, which is exactly what she wanted. So the timing is now right. Their banter as they walk is just as it was when their romance started, and the fact that they’re literally moving along a path together, comfortably playful and happy in each other’s company, indicates (to me, at least!) that they are headed towards a future alongside each other. Plus, come on: the look on their faces when they first run into each other?!— Their feelings haven’t changed.

  11. I’m an avid PBG fan but I have to admit that this kdrama isn’t a really a good one. I find it tasking to watch it.

  12. The drama was pretty good but that ending was really bad.I was hoping some good ending with lead actor..Very disappoint with last episode.

  13. I enjoyed it and the ending was not the cliche we were looking for! But agreed that Jeong-ha should have been given more storyline. I love them both and a lot like them too..

  14. The ending was uninspired. Too much is left to interpretation. Could have added 1 or 2 more episodes after military service, to finish off the story with more sincerity. The leads walking off joking and talking. Are they going to rekindle now that JA is on HJ level? Or will they remain friends? We don’t get to see how anyone built their studios or careers up, nor do we see anyone getting their dose of karma for being nasty. It was a really disappointing finale, as the first half was really engaging. Lucky Park Bo Gum is so handsome, otherwise I’d say I wasted my time.

  15. I got to agree, I liked the drama, but that ending was pretty bad. Hae-Hyo’s sister is not even brought again in the end, how is she doing? Is she with someone else? Then we have what happened to Hae-Hyo after the military, what is he doing now? What’s he working at? And of course Hye-Jun and Jeong-Ha, what does the ending exactly mean, is there still the possibility of getting back together? Are they just friends now? I guess they tried to make something that not everyone was expecting by leaving an open ending, but sometimes cliches are better than original. There’s lots of questions without answer. My anxiety was hitting hard when I saw that there was just 15 minutes left of the episode and I still have a lot of questions. Dispide all this thing, I still enjoyed it, it was entertaining and I liked very much, is just that ending left me kinda annoyed.

  16. Thanks for the great review plus the comments here. I am comforted and feel a m sense of camaraderie because the finale was too disappointing. Many of your points/questions either resonated with me or encouraged me to consider other factors like the impact of COVID-19. If I didn’t come across this post and the comments thereafter, I would’ve stayed feeling down. (Definitely hoping for a second season. Perhaps after Park Bo-gum’s RL military service is over.) In any case, many thanks for this!

  17. If there isn’t a season 2 that wasn’t a finale but a fail of an episode. All the characters seem lame, under developed and dullards. No one has grown or taken a definitive direction that might shock the viewer or make the viewer feel connected to the storyline or a character. The last couple of episodes were pretty shitty writing and horrible directing on scene selection.

    Wow did it really suck.

  18. I’m still wondering why this was called Record of Youth. Perhaps it was simply a portrayal a different youth types: a rich kid who is a jerk, another rich kid who is humble, a poor girl who’s actually quite stable, a poor boy with a dysfunctional family who actually works hard and is kind.
    Park So- Dam as Jeong-ha, had very little to work with in her role, but I think she did a great job. She was actually mature beyond her 28 years, first thinking that she wanted a perfect relationship with a person who didn’t say sorry, and wishing to try different lifestyles while she was growing up, but later realizing that she may have made a big mistake (the library scene with Hae-Hyo). Of course she wasn’t over Hye-jun (the painted sneakers , which looked remarkably clean after 2 years) and the fact that she was willing to engage in their back and forth joking again, showed that she was interested in starting over. It wasn’t a super ending, but probably the best I could have hoped for. Now, on to Start-Up.

  19. ” Ending with a Whimper”… 😂🤣😂🤣😂🤣 That was funny and very accurate.. I am so steamed I am practically a Bao Bun at this point.. First, I will never forgive them for how they did Park So Dam’s character. PSD was suppose to be a LEAD and basically turned into a Guest Star. I am 99% sure someone on that production team was her Anti Fan. Many people on tuned in because PSD was in it and this was her first project after Parasite, alot of us did not tune in to watch the Park Bo Gum show. I mean Ha Heera had more screen time than Park So Dam did and last time I checked, she didn’t win an Academy award. Sorry, not sorry.. I wanted to watch the story unfold for the 3 main characters and possibly Jin-U but not for the families and managers. Its absurd!

    Yes, the ending was upsetting but I didn’t even care by that point . Never once did we see how AJH became successful in those two years or if HH ever confessed to her or if he even made it in his career. Horrible.. that sad conversation with HJ and his dad.. 25 years of pain wrapped up in 2 minutes at the end of the final episode? NO ONE was punished really.. not the salon lady, not the reporter, and not TaeSu..

    Also, why did we never really see JA parent? We saw HH , HJ, and Jin U family EVERY EPISODE but JA parents was only in 4 episodes ( barely) and she was the female lead.. 🙄🙄…

    No worries, I will steer clear of this writer in the future.. Like she almost made me want to ake a break from K dramas.. that is how disappointed I am in this drama.

  20. There’s lots of loose ends. Jin-U really loved Hae-Hyo’s sister and only broke up with her due to their difference in economic status and her mother’s influence on her. Now it’s two years later, so I can’t understand completely leaving her out of the finale. We never found out exactly what Hae-Hyo is doing post military. Is he still as much under his mother’s control as before? As for Hye-Jun and Jeong-Ha, for me they never had romantic chemistry in the first place. I didn’t understand her reason for breaking it off and she seemed like it didn’t affect her that much. The entire series was really interesting to me but the finale fell flat.

  21. I loved the K drama since the beginning, it was really nice to see how they supported each other, however I did believe that the end could’ve been better. They did not end up in a wrong way but neither in the way that would’ve like to.

  22. it has to be a season 2 after this, there are many unanswered questions in this story. if this the end which i don’t think so would be very poor and unthoughtful ending, I knope not. If there is a 2nd season they should start very soon before public cools off 🙂

  23. I was thinking did Covid screwed up the story telling of this? Is the writer not as inspired due to what’s happening? It feels like they settled… Maybe there is a season 2 .. I mean record of youth its just it.. the drama.. Record of the Character’s youth not really a story… it’s seems it was made to have a Season 2 because they seem to be still on their youth aside from Career advancement and accepting family

  24. I thought the ending was wrapped up nicely. the story line were completed and the two main characters walked off in the sunset. Open possibilities. Hope for a season two. Everyone did a brilliant job, you loved the main characters and the supporting staff made you feel. I liked this Kdrama!!

  25. Honestly, I feel the same way, too. I was hoping for some grand romantic reunion between Hye-Jun and Jeong-Ha, while nervously looking at the amount of time left on the finale. It felt like the characters wasted their chances of being happy together.

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