A Wonderful, Wholesome Conclusion
Episode 16 of Run On begins with Mi-Joo and Seon-Gyeom cooking and both wearing red jumpers. He thanks her for listening to him all this time and reciprocates, asking questions about her past as she mentions her time in the French Riviera. In fact, he even suggests they go together one day.
Meanwhile, Dan-A heads in to see her Father who’s currently sick and on his death bed. She’s not happy that he kept this from her as Tae-Woong, Myeong-Min and Dan-A are gathered together to hear him tell them all “I loved you.” Unfortunately he passes away, just as Dan-A symbolically calls him Dad.
Myeong-Min heads straight out and starts working though, as Assemblyman Ki learns about the death too. Only, he’s too worried about the wedding and what will happen with Seon-Fyeom’s future.
Yeong-Hwa eventually heads out and meets Dan-A. He learns about the chairman’s death and embraces Dan-A warmly, asking if she’s okay. His death may not have hit her as hard as it could have done with a warm father/daughter relationship but it does get her thinking about the end. Unfortunately she breaks things off with Yeong-Hwa, believing that it’s only going to end badly. She’s unhappy about dragging him into her world but he doesn’t see it that way.
In the wake of everything going on, it turns out Seon-Gyeom’s Father was the one who started the scandal with Eun-Bi. He wanted leverage in the race to become a politician and used his kids as collateral. Seon-Gyeom finds out from his Father’s (former) secretary that he’s quit and also that his parents are debating about getting a divorce.
With a lot on his mind, Seon-Gyeom visits Mi-Joo and asks her for advice. She eventually embraces him and convinces Seon-Gyeom to talk to his sister. Well, he does just that and while she weathers the storm, quickly calls their Mother to tell her what’s happened. Ji-Woo is absolutely furious and immediately heads in to slap her husband round the face. She even vows to divorce him too.
At Dann Agency, Yeong-Hwa arrives and hands over her painting. Her strong, cold front suddenly fades away and she begins sobbing. Yeong-Hwa calls her his first love, making her promise to live long and not fall ill as he walks back home. He keeps it together long enough to see Seon-Gyeom, where he loses his composure and breaks down crying.
Meanwhile, Mi-Joo heads out and meets Dan-A at the bar, who’s currently drowning her sorrows in alcohol. She outright admits that she wanted Yeong-Hwa around and eventually allows Mi-Joo to comfort her. In the morning though she meets Sang-Ho (who many will recognize as Kim Sun-Ho, the man who played dashing Ji-Pyeong in Start-Up) who thanks her for helping.
Elsewhere, Yeong-Hwa starts to accept what’s happened, as Seon-Gyeom gets him a new gift in the form of a portable cooker. After, he meets Mi-Joo following her meeting at the coffee shop and lets her know that he’s got a job as an agent now. Together, they head out and celebrate.
With the funeral coming up, Dan-A asks Tae-Woong to be her brother from now on while Eun-Bi arrives with flowers to congratulate her Mother on her divorce. Well, Ki loses everything in his fight to become the best, losing narrowly to Assemblyman No. He symbolically drops the pictures of his family in the office and reflects on what’s happened.
Dan-A eventually heads into the coffee shop and apologizes to Ye-Jun for the way she pried into his feelings. He outright admits that he does like Yeong-Hwa as Dan-A herself thinks over her brash way of telling her Father she was gay to get out of marriage. For that, she apologizes.
However, this spurs Ye-Jun on to head over and speak to Yeong-Hwa directly. He finally admits that Yeong-Hwa was his first love as he leans forward and hugs his friend tightly. With this part of his life settled, Ye-Jun heads home where he and his Mother eventually talk openly about everything. Dong Kyung feels guilty, given she didn’t have much time for him in the past, as they discuss his upbringing.
Seon-Gyeom heads out with Yeong-Hwa to the track, where he wants to draw Woo-Sik running. Only, Yeong-Il shows up and breaks the news that he’s getting married. Seon-Gyeom is puzzled, given his obliviousness to this whole incident, as congratulations are thrown around.
Dan-A shows up at the gallery as the new vice-president, tellingly wearing the shoes that Yeong-Hwa bought for her. There, she looks around at the various different pieces on display. She deliberates on Yeong-Hwa’s newest one, a bright painting full of colour with the outline of Dan-A showing in the middle.
When Yeong-Hwa shows up, he notices her wearing the shoes and compliments Dan-A. He asks Dan-A for her thoughts on the painting as she decides to make this day her real birthday.
Mi-Joo heads over to Seon-Gyeom and breaks the news that a Director overseas has noticed her work. Flashing him her home, she excitedly shows a text from them.
The pair then head out running together, where Seon-Gyeom and Mi-Joo reflect on how they’re different people. They promise each other that they’ll stick to what’s possible and not to get caught up and frustrated if they misunderstand one another. And just like that, Seon-Gyeom tells Mi-Joo that he loves her.
That afternoon, the two couples join together and toast to Mi-Joo finishing her marathon. That marathon, of course, is symbolic for doing your best and persevering through tough times to make it to the finish line triumphant.
As we cut forward in time, we receive a lovely montage. Woo-Sik wins a gold medal after signing with Dann Agency. May and Jeong share the same date that Seon-Gyeom and Mi-Joo did and kiss while watching a movie. Seon-Gyeom seemingly patches up his differences with Jeong-Do too, who reflects on his actions while sat by the lake.
As the episode closes out, all of our characters converge at the movie theatre and watch Mi-Joo’s movie. As rapturous applause rings out, this wonderful slice of life drama comes to a close.
The Episode Review
What a satisfying conclusion to this tale! Run On absolutely nails its ending in episode 16, managing to deliver some excellent pay-offs to every single character’s plot line.
The only person here who perhaps could have been developed a little better is Assemblyman Ki as it’s not initially clear how much time has passed when we see him appear at the movie theatre at the end. Could his family really forgive him that easily? As for the rest of the episode, there’s so much to like here.
Seon-Gyeom and Mi-Joo have come a long way over the weeks, with the former learning to grow thanks to Mi-Joo’s influence. Both have been so good and the ending scene, with them both in the cinema together and holding hands, just shows how strong their bond is now.
The real stars of the show come from the secondary leads, with both Yeong-Hwa and Dan-A in particular growing so much over the weeks.
Dan-A’s character arc has been nothing short of wonderful and the moments with her in the hospital are a small but incredibly important part of her growth. Calling Chairman Seo Dad instead of Chairman really helped her to move past the bad blood in the family, and embrace Tae-Woong as her actual brother…even if she sidestepped him leaning in for a hug.
The moments with the paintings, and Yeong-Hwa’s lessons in tough love, finally shatter her walls and the moments inside her office, reflecting over everything that’s happened, do so well to show that underneath it all, this girl has had a seriously tough childhood.
And what about the secondary characters too? Ji-Woo putting her kids first and finally standing up to her husband has been coming for a while and she dropped one heck of a slap to do it. It’s another really satisfying and meaningful moment, one that finally sees this Assemblyman learn that actually when it comes down to it, family is much more important than achievements.
That’s before mentioning Ye-Jun and his conversation with Yeong-Hwa. Instead of being all weird about him coming out, he simply embraced his friend which is great to see. The same can be said with the writing of May too, whose asexual lifestyle slots in perfectly alongside all these characters.
The cameo was, of course, a lovely moment but ultimately it’s that montage at the end that really tops everything. They say a picture speaks a thousand words, well this montage does that and more; it rounds out a beautifully written drama about growth, life and self-awareness. Run On is certainly a must-watch this year.