Twenty Five, Twenty One – Episode 16 Recap, Review & Ending Explained

Echoes Of Youth

Does Yi-Jin make it back to Korea?

Episode 16 of Twenty Five Twenty One begins with Yi-Jin receiving some good news; an unlikely gimmer of hope in the wake of a horrific incident. In a cafe, he gets talking to an American firefighter. “Don’t you just want to quit?” Yi-Jin asks, as the fireman points out the duty to their jobs.

This is important for Yi-Jin’s character of course, as he receives word that he’s been accepted for the foreign correspondence position.

Yi-Jin rings Hee-Do and tells her he’ll be back in Korea in a month’s time to wrap things up. Unfortunately this is around the time that she’ll be off on a competition so the pair will miss each other.

Following what happened at New Years, Hee-Do isn’t surprised. She tells him to stop feeling sorry for her and hangs up.

Two Months Later

We then jump forward two months later. Ji-Woong’s fashion site is a success and he’s been doing really well. Yu-Rim shows up to see him though. He’s invited over to join her parents for dinner, where they learn about his past and family.

At the same time, Yi-Jin touches down in Korea but funnily enough, ends up with the wrong bag. That bag actually belongs to Hee-Do. Although the pair do avoid one another, when Yi-Jin drops the bag by her place, he doesn’t wait around. At least until she chases him outside and confronts him.

He knows they’re drifting apart and Hee-Do understands that this is just a natural part of life. These two are in a very different place from where they started. They both mean a lot to one another but ironically they end up breaking up at the exact place where they first met – outside Hee-Do’s house.

When the others find out the pair have broken up, they’re shocked and the mood instantly drops at dinner. Hee-Do tells the others they’re over for good but accidentally drops her phone in her soup.

Do Yi-Jin and Hee-Do break up?

Unfortunately, that phone is on a couple’s plan and because of that, she needs Yi-Jin’s consent to cancel the contract. Yi-Jin shows up in his suit but it’s awkward and eventually they’re forced to sign away their contract. It’s a bittersweet moment, especially as this almost feels like signing a divorce contract.

When they both leave, Yi-Jin questions whether this is the right thing to do. Yi-Jin isn’t so sure but for Hee-Do, she’s had six months to mull this over. It’s here Yi-jin opens up and reveals the hell he went through in the US; all the grief and anguish from people around him didn’t allow Yi-Jin to actually miss her. Yi-Jin even reveals that because of all this, her support was burdensome.

Everything sours, as Hee-Do walks away and leaves Yi-Jin at the tunnel alone. The silence that follows in this moment, as the pair break-up for good, is beautifully done.

Off the back of this, Hee-Do doubles down on her fencing but she overdoes it and ends up in hospital with exhaustion. She regrets what she’s said to Yi-Jin during the break-up, writing down in her diary her thoughts on the matter.

However, this is the diary that Yi-Jin loses, which happens to be left behind on the bus.

Do Hee-Do and Yi-Jin get to say goodbye? Do they get back together again?

Meanwhile, Yi-Jin gears up ready to leave for her next competition. Up on the rooftop he runs into trainee reporter Shin Jun-Hyeok. He’s crying, having made a silly mistake, but it’s something that Yi-Jin can relate to give his past and what happened to him.

Interestingly, Yi-Jin is also hung up over Hee-Do as well, and he ends up dreaming of her running up the beach alongside a red payphone and hugging him. That red payphone of course, is a nod back to the earlier moments in the season where the pair used to ring and listen to the voicemails.

Back home, Yi-Jin receives a parcel; it’s Hee-Do’s final diary, the one she lost on the bus. It’s actually addressed from Kim Eun-Su.

Naturally, Yi-Jin looks through the entries and sees all those moments before he went to New York where their relationship was on the rocks. Just to underline all this, Hee-Do even writes down the “my support isn’t reaching him anymore” line.

It’s only through seeing Hee-Do’s inner-thoughts that he realizes how tough it was for her too. I appreciate it’s not PTSD, boots-on-the-ground bad like Yi-Jin, but Hee-Do has still struggled to keep it together in the face of being alone. She’s struggled to make sense of their relationship.

When Hee-Do learns that Yi-Jin is leaving, and Yi-Jin understands that Hee-Do regrets what she said, the pair race to catch up with one another. When they do, the pair say their goodbyes in a teary exchange as they go their separate ways and continue on with their lives, separately.

7 Years Later

We then cut forward 7 years later. Hee-Do’s mum is on the verge of leaving the station for her retirement. She’s the one who’s to choose her replacement though, and what better guy than Baek Yi-Jin.

According to her, he’s young and would be a perfect choice to replace the current establishment; youth to highlight innovation.

While Yi-Jin is invited in to take over, Hee-Do has grown up and she’s decided to retire from fencing. She’s been in the field for 20 years and knows everyone and their stories. She doesn’t find fun in winning so much anymore. So naturally, Coach Yang supports her decision, leaving it up to her to decide what to do.

Seung-Wan is now in charge of making reality shows on TV but she’s called away by her mum to a funeral. Naturally, Hee-Do, Ji-Woong and Yu-Rim all show up. Yi-Jin does also appear later on, signing his name in the registry.

There, he learns that Ji-Woong has his own clothing brand now and he’s been doing really well. Yu-Rim meanwhile has opened her own fencing school after retiring and is now earning a good deal of money.

As for Seung-Wan, she soon meets up with Yi-Hyun again and immediately asks for his number. Meanwhile, Ji-Woong shows up to see Yu-Rim, surprising her by dressing as a fencer. He approaches and eventually proposes to her.

Why does Hee-Do decide to give up fencing?

Meanwhile, we manage to make it all the way to the 2009 interview between Yi-Jin and Hee-Do. These two have been through a lot, as the montage that ensues proves, but they stay professional and get through it.

Straight after, Hee-Do retires from fencing. Yu-Rim is there for her good friend, and Hee-Do admits that the best part of fencing was being Yu-Rim’s rival. And she thinks the exact same thing.

After her retirement, we fast forward to the present as Min-Chae arrives at the comic store. The business is shutting down and the owner begins packing everything away.

Interestingly, there’s a package there for Hee-Do in a brown envelope. This is actually something Yi-Jin left behind all those years ago, asking him to drop it off to Hee-Do when she shows up.

Despite all this time passing, he gives it to Min-Chae, asking to drop it back to Hee-Do. It’s the diary!

Does Hee-Do get her diary back? 

Min-Chae decides, off the back of this, that she’s going to do ballet and write an even better story than her mother.

In Min-Chae’s absence, Hee-Do looks in the diary and notices an entry from Yi-Jin, regretting what happened between them and apologizing.

How does Twenty Five Twenty One end?

It’s here we jump back and get an alternate scene instead of the break-up at the tunnel we received.

Hee-Do thanks Yi-Jin for standing by her side as she grew up alone. Yi-Jin, in reply, thanks her for supporting him through the tough times, even if things didn’t end up the way they wanted.

Thanks to Yi-Jin, Hee-Do understands what first love and a break-up actually is. Remember, this is a throwback to her earlier break-up at the hands of “cutie pie”, where the pair discussed what a break-up was like. In fact, Hee-Do actually foreshadowed this by claiming that she “wanted to experience a break-up”. Unfortunately, now she has.

The pair thank each other before saying goodbye and leaving.

Is there a post-credit scene?

Yes! Don’t go anywhere because right at the end of the show there’s a post-credit sequence involving Yi-Jin. He starts using the Barro website but can’t remember his log in details. Clicking the forgot password button, he enters who his first love is and types “Hee-Do”

For enthusiastic K-drama fans, Barro is actually the website that shows up in Search: WWW, which happens to be the writer’s previous drama. It would appear that they’re in a shared universe of sorts, so could we see a cross-over in the future? We shall see!


The Episode Review

After yesterday’s incredible episode, Twenty Five Twenty One bows out with a rather subjective and pretty rushed ending by all accounts.

Those who still held out hope that Hee-Do and Yi-Jin would get together are likely to be bitterly disappointed, especially with the way their endings were handled.

To be fair, the whole part of Min-Chae’s potential father was a definite driving point for some of this but I also think the pair weren’t meant to be together either.

Twenty Five Twenty One has been a show about fleeting love during your youth and those moments of regret and how you yearn to go back and do things differently.

At the same time, the conclusion feels sloppy, especially the weird moments in the tunnel. I’m not sure why we didn’t get more scenes during the present, allowing us to tie up loose ends.

It would have been more fitting, I think, if one of the group died and everyone attended the funeral. That way, Yi-Jin and Hee-Do could meet back up again, this time with their respective partners and families, really hammering home how much these characters have changed and grown over the years.

Instead, we’re left with Hee-Do and Yi-Jin both still leaning toward their first love but not really resolving anything. It’s not even like this is an open ending, it’s just sorta…over.

I get that a lot of people are going to go into this finale, finish the abrupt conclusion and immediately slam this as the worst drama of the year.

However, abrupt endings aside, these two were already on a path away from one another several episodes back. Episode 15 only exacerbated that and then finally we get the ending where Hee-Do and Yi-Jin sever ties and leave.

This chapter definitely needed another 15 minutes or so to really flesh everything out and expand on Hee-Do and Yi-Jin’s lives in the present day timeline.

Maybe I’m in the minority but I didn’t dislike this finale, per-se. It definitely could have been better but there’s enough to reinforce the heartache of youth.

What about you guys? Did you enjoy the ending? Hate it outright? Let us know in the comments below!

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94 thoughts on “Twenty Five, Twenty One – Episode 16 Recap, Review & Ending Explained”

  1. I loved this kdrama so much, the acting was perfect, but I was so disappointed with the ending, I was emotionally attached to the main leads that it broke my heart and made me cry alot like a lot after it ended.
    I learnt a lot from it but a better ending would have made me happier.

  2. The ending leaves only one logical conclusion. There should be/will be a sequel. No professional writer would have left the audience so unfulfilled unless they had more in mind. That would be cruel. Keep your fingers crossed for more to come.

  3. I agree with the reviewer that the finale was disjointed and confusing. But after reflection, I felt this was an excellent story with excellent actors making sense of real life events and feelings. Does all human kind need a happy ending to feel satisfied with life? YES!!!! Unfortunately, not our present reality. I think the writers and producers did a wonderful job showing how we are not capable of bringing about our own happy ending. That real life is confusing, unpredictable, lonely and often times very freaking scary IMHO. What are we going to do with that? Amidst the IMF economic crisis, cultural and 21st century issues as well as death, misfortune and 9/11, life is an amazing adventure and if even for a moment you can celebrate, love and rejoice in your own and others existence, you are fortunate to share the journey with what an amazing life we have. I give this drama my full thumbs and would recommend it to anyone that would like to get a micro glimpse into Korean culture and modern society. Thank you 25/21. Well done!

  4. Whenever I watch kdrama, I imagine myself as the female lead in the drama and that the guy is my BF.

    Hence I was so into the drama that I felt robbed by its ending.

    Male lead Nam Joo Hyuk is so good-looking, so manly and so sexy! Wish I can find a guy like him in my life to take care of me. Wishing!!!

  5. Dang! Maybe have they edited episode 15 and trimmed out the match bet Hee do and Yu Rim they’ll have time to execute loop holes. F season 2. I wasted so much time watching and getting attached to the main characters and the finale super sucked. Fine if first loves were’nt meant to be. Hee do was very clear she suferred long enough being her mom’s second priority over news flash and her career. She said she did’nt want that in her future. At least they should have revealed who the father was and to compensate fans, the characters are presently happy and content with their current lives.

  6. the writer is a THIEF IN THE NIGHT robbing us viewers who were all invested in this series with our time & emotions. many of us viewers would avoid all of your future endeavors because of this bad/sad experience. sorry. you’re no good🤐

  7. who is the father of the kid.
    what is the reference to “marriage” at the funeral place. (Very subtle)
    this show is brilliant until the crappy end. soooo disappointing. The issue here is I will never recommend this because no one enjoys a sad ending.
    Go back to basics.
    Boy meets girl
    Boy loses girl
    Boy gets girl back

    Not hard.

  8. I think what happens is the writer doesnt know if the series will be renewed until the first season draws to a close and the ratings are in. Therefore, when a series is bombing and the plug is pulled, the writers have to craft a hasty ending. Most succeed to satisfactorily ties the knots together, and reward the viewer with a good feeling. This writer apparently did not have the skill or will to successfully wrap it up. Sorry, these k-dramas succeed when you give the audience what they want, even if life is not like that. If you are going to get the audience invested in a couple, why leave the audience disappointed? what is so bad about happy endings? Booo. I wasted a lot of time watching this series, there are far better ones out there. Even Crash Landing, which did not end with the couple married, had a more satisfactory ending, better done than this. Fav other series, Something in the rain, one spring night, its okay not to be okay, far better than this.

  9. Did anyone else catch the Easter egg about the sender of the diary?

    The name of the sender seems to be similar to the name of a screenwriter at Hwa-Dam.

    Coincidence or conceit?

  10. I uber loved this drama even it made my heart broke like as if i was the one who broke up with yijin 😅 there’s like a hole in my heart that made me tear up a bucket. Like i was sad the whole day and cried still from time to time as i remember how they did not end up together. The last time i cried this much was after reading “me before you”. I felt their pain when they both cried while yijin was tying heedos shoelace 😭 anyway, its def not a waste of time 👍🏻 Loved their story either way ❤️‍🩹

  11. Brilliant coming of age show, I am not sure why there are so many brickbats when the script only focused approx 20% of the show’s time on the BaekDo romance, and there so many other storylines covered and things going on. For example from epsiodes 10 onwards for me the major plotlines focused on Hee-do’s relationship with her Mom, the friendships, support, interactions within the group, Seung-Wan’s struggles, Yurim’s tragedy, the very touching Yurim/Heedo relationship culiminating in the Madrid 2001 final etc.

    The last 15-20 mins really summarized what the show was about, about the poignant moments of the life you had (at 25/21, 22/18 etc), the moments you feel invincible and life, love, friendships will just go on and on forever, and this is the beginning of happiness. You may not remember any of it (as the adult Hee-do did not remember the beach outing), but it dosent’ matter as long as you once had it, and it was important to you at the time. It dosent matter who is Hee-Do’s current husband and we don’t need to see him.

    Overall, superb acting, great chemistry between the cast, brilliant directing and interweaving of drama, comedy and romance, an OST that knocks it out of the park, close to perfect !

  12. The issue is not that it’s a sad ending, the issue is the execution! They built up character development, established personality traits to throw all of it and all lessoned learned in one episode to the trash bin! It was RUSHED, FORCED, and UNNATURAL. So many unanswered questions and loose ends. What was the drama even about? It’s a Melodrama! When NHD as an adult said “regrets that i had forgotten from long ago” juxtaposed with BYJ saying “i hope you don’t regret this” during their breakup…what was the journey for? To live regretful cynical lives? Fighting for a miserable future? Realism my foot! They threw that away when they showed NHD laughing and smiling at the TV screen while BYJ is reporting on the still burning World Trade Center in New York. Stop with the Excuses! The problem with this drama is COMPLETENESS, it is INCOMPLETE!

  13. Horrible, horrible finale….What was that about? The series itself was great and we all rooted for this couple to stay together (even if that possibility was slim seeing that Hee-Do has a daughter in the present day and Yi-jin was the unlikely father)…but the ending was….huhh!!!! I felt I had wasted 2 months watching a show that had delivered a finale about NOTHING at all…..

  14. I couldn’t slerp because of that wretched ending. Episode 15 already gave me hunch that it’s going to be another “Moon lovers:Scarlet heart ryeo” ending and I still watched it! To the writer… why can’t it be a happy ending? I cried with Na Hee Do when she said goodbye…

  15. The ending left me so sad too 😭😢🥺Why do I get so emotionally involved?
    Like all the others I wonder who Hee-Do ended up having a daughter with and whether she’s divorced now or not?
    I wonder why they also didn’t show the friends and Hee-Do as grown ups as she is still best friends with Ko Yu Rim..

    I had hope that Hee-Do would still end up with Back Yi Jin 😢😭… the final episode made me go to sleep with a broken heart and too many questions.
    On one hand, it is nice that her daughter decided to write her own story and that it inspired her to pursue her own passion just as her Hee-Do wanted to… But we’re left with too many open questions 😢🥺
    Why did it have to end so sad?
    Is Hee-Do alone? As she walked through the Tunnel alone and we never had a glimpse of the father or ‘husband’?
    How does Back Yi Jin look like now ?
    Does anyone know yet whether this means that there will be a second season? 🥺

  16. Though the ending is quite vague but I think there will be a SEASON 2 and it will be Min Chae’s story?

  17. I expected this ending…. Hee Do deserved a better life with a loving husband beside her & children compare to her lonely life with mom or with YiJin whose life is focus on career with no room for a family. GREAT DRAMA! TO GOD BE THE GLORY!

  18. I totally agree the writer didn’t put closure in so many aspects, but the ending is understandable. Yi-jin’s entry in Hee-do’s diary somehow entangled all their hard feelings even it’s too late now.

    Maybe, the writer didn’t expose the husband, so that we can deeply immerse in Yi-jin and Hee-do’s emotional rollercoaster. But it will be nice if we know why Hee-do decided to get married when seems to still longing for Yi-jin.

    This is kinda like an Indonesian movie titled ‘Dilan’. But the movie have sequel from the male lead perspective.

  19. Uggghhh…. ALL THE FIRST… all I wanted to know was… to WHOM HeeDo got married with!! I dont regret watching this drama… although it had several POV… but wished the ending could be a bit better 🙂

  20. I really enjoyed this drama until episode 15. I guess lots of people are dissappointed with the ending. I am hoping until the post-credit that the question when Back Ye jin was logging in was “name of your daughter” or “what is your wife occupation” then he will answer “Kim Min Chae” or”professional fencer”

  21. The ending is quite a disappointment. This k drama started so strong until episode 15 but episode 16 felt rushed. It is ok for the protagonists not ending up together but there were so many questions left unanswered – where is Yi- -Jin in the present time? Who is Min Chae’s father ? What happened to The rest of the gang in present time? The writers wanted to get the viewers hooked only to let them down with the way the ending was crafted. Sad…

  22. I’m so disappointed. I wanted to see how he looked and that they got back together. The ending suck all that crying they did and what I did. It should have been a happy ending.

  23. AT first i thought they got married secretly to hide the fact that Hee Do marry a reporter.Sad ending..they still longing for each other.

  24. So disappointed in this ending. This show has been a bright spot in my life in the past several weeks and the last two episodes were so unsatisfying. Was it too much to ask for a happy ending? I don’t watch k-dramas for “realistic” endings, I watch them because I want to fall in love with the characters and be happy that they are happy. We don’t even get to see Yi-jin in the future. And who the heck is Min-jae’s dad? I hate patronizing sad endings like this where it’s the supposedly “realistic” or “grown-up” ending. If you want something realistic or grown-up you can read the news. In this day and age a happy ending would be a welcome surprise and comfort. What’s wrong with a happy ending?! So disappointed they don’t end up together!!!! 🙁 🙁 🙁

  25. I definitely agree with you. The ending was good and I didn’t mind how hee do and yi jin ended. But it could’ve been clearer and they’re could’ve been more content about the present, what yi jin is doing, who hee do ended up with and whether they’re still close. Overall the way hee do and yi jin ended was bittersweet and them not ending up together wasn’t so bad (though I cried a little or maybe a lot) but I’d still like it if the ending was explained better.

    And lol the only reason I came onto this site was hoping that someone understood something I missed and I would’ve understood the ending better but ig all of us feel the same rn…

  26. There was no salvation in Hee do and Yi Jin ‘s love story ,In previous episodes when Yi Jin confessed Hee do told Yi Jin her feelings were not that strong ,ln our minds it proves that the two didn’t even work for their relationship .Love takes two and when you love someone you can sacrifice ,they loved their careers more than their relationship .Distance can’t further two loving souls and only that one incident made Hee do surrender their union and let go it .Their love was a regret it is difficult to false the hearts to let go becoz this can affect the whole life and even they had new partners ,they will not share their love with them equally .Love was their beautiful mistake of life,

  27. I thought atleast after 7 years they would get back together.Ending was heart breaking for me!
    Having said that ,I completely enjoyed till episode 15 and I was hoping that they will get back together in episode 16.I hate sad endings!

  28. Twenty Five Twenty one was an interesting coming of Age Drama ,Yi Jin and Hee Doo’s love story was very strong even in the present time Hee doo is still trapped in that love meaning she didn’t forget about Yi Jin ,she still lives with memories .The drama producers should have reviewed the truth about Min Chae’s father .The drama didn’t left us on a cliff hanger but it didn’t give the true sense of its story lines ,Hee do’s husband was not shown and the conclusion of this drama showed love btwn Hee do and Yi Jin was dangerous ,something Gud need to be cherished forever and thinking about it brought smile on our faces ,but their love affected their whole life and if they meet in future who knows their love will gonna turn into an illicit relationship

  29. Who si the father of na hee do’s daughter..!!!????
    I was soo curious till the end of the drama.. But still can’t find out about that😭😭
    Did they marry each other..!!???
    I wanna know that😭😭

  30. The ending ruined the story which had great potential to be one of the best known dramas so far.There are ups and downs in life but to me it seemed they never could understand each other and took the easy route to end their relationship.

    Really disappointed.

  31. Wtf. I watch kdramas cause they always have a happy endings, but not this one. I have never seen a kdrama leave so many unanswered questions!!! I’m so mad, I can’t even sleep 😑. To the writer 🖕🏽. Do better

  32. When there’s a lot of loopholes, isn’t that a precursor to a season 2? They want us to buildup the desire from those cliffhangers. When the time is ripe, they’ll continue the story and we could just ride-in. Out of curiosity of course, I’d jump in.

    That was a heart-wrenching break-up. I prefer it that way though. It was kindness rolled in love. I had a glimpse on how deep their love is. The writer is phenomenal in that way- able to reach out and wring your heart then cushions it with a realization that their love has unfathomable depth…
    Kim Taeri – her performance is bar-none. I’m at awe!

  33. I hate the ending. I love Kdrama and watching because give me a positive feeling and happiness. But this finale make me feeling bad and cant sleep after watching it. It not a prefect ending and like hangging.Yi Jin still meet Hee Do mum but never meet Hee Do. I dont understand this. Why not show future Yi din..he married or not. Hee Do is single mum or have husband? Confuse. I still have a lot of question.

  34. I’m so tired of these dr amas having such a messed up ending. If the writer doesn’t know how to closes a series out he should get a closer!

  35. This is the kind of K-drama that will loose some viewer and good review.
    What a piece of garbage ending…

  36. Although it was not clearly shown at the final episode, I have a feeling that they ended up marrying each other as the writer did not give us Hee Do’s husband’s whereabouts. Hee Do looked like she already accepted the fact that she will keep waiting for her husband in order to support him. she even went to seung wan’s dad’s wake without the person she married.

    She mentioned this in the tunnel:
    “yet here i am, dating someone like her (Hee Do’s mum). waiting, then being let down, and eventually giving up. that’s what i’ve been doing all my life. and you’re making me do that again. i don’t want that for my future, yijin”

    However, they realised each other’s worth and apologised to each other before Yi Jin went back to the US. They expressed to each other that they regretted the hurtful things they have said to each other and cried their hearts out.

    Love is patient. Love is kind.

  37. Worst ending ever. First I cried a lot for nothing and majority never get a chance to know who the daugther father is. I know..I know somebody will say realistically first love never end up together but dahhhhhh it’s a K-drama and we us viewer deserve a happy ending.
    Can you guy’s please extend one more episode for everyone that is hoping for a happy ending and make sure answer all the hanging questions regarding the daughter’s dad etc. If they ended up extending the Red Cuff Sleeves with one more episode for a happy ending why not for Twenty five twenty one.

  38. I think they must make season 2 as their are many things left to show like kim Min-Chae and na hee do meeting Min-Chae’s father.and at last yi jin typing his password hee doo and what happens at the end to yi jin and also as Min-Chae said that she will write her story even better so I think to cover all this things they must make another season of 2521 .

  39. Bad ending. There are so many loopholes & loose ends. It’s like the writer has a block and just rashly ended it with so many loose ends. So disappointed.
    Who is the father of Min Chae? How did they meet??? What happened?

  40. Even I feel last episode ended incompletely, it should have another 30 min to 1 hour about present.

  41. WOAH! I have been enjoying the reviews on this site for awhile. Have never seen so many comments.
    By the bye, the person recapping Business Proposal should return to the Marvel universe. If you hate screwball comedies, don’t enter into the conversation with your 2.5 ratings.
    Sayin’.

  42. Booo…agree that all is speculation at ending and writers threw in the towel with characters in last two episodes…too disjointed of main characters and pieces of stories of supporting characters??…I assume that Hee Do is divorced since she told her daughter to contact her father to talk with him about the ballet clothing delivery…why is Hee Do creating furniture and unsure why the other charachter outcomes were significant in the finale?

  43. Loved the story line, loved how the actors did their acting… loved everything EXCEPT the ending. The couple wasted too much emotions and energy to sustain their love for each other yet ended up to nothing.

    They didn’t even show in the last episode that they remained friends. Just the past experiences of their youth! So, who is the father and who did Heedo end up with?

    Such a waste of a love story. Why was their a part where he congratulated Heedo on her wedding??? Then nothing followed to explain that?

    Is there a season 2? We deserved one.

  44. It’s not the ending we all wanted. TBH Korean writers have a bad reputation for not finishing dramas correctly. This is not the only one I have watched where the last episode is rushed and incomplete. My opinion of course.

  45. I knew they won’t be together in the end, it was given since episode 1 and the reason for parting ways is understandable ( Hee-do makes a choice that she doesn’t want her future to be like what she had growing up, lonely, because of her mom is always busy at her work).
    I just hope the writer adds some scenes about their new life happily living together with their new partners.
    Not a scene thinking about how she supposedly ended her relationship with Yijin… what for?

  46. I felt the same way…the ending left me bewildered. I could sense that Yijin is still very much in love with Heedo and the writer managed to achieve this really well. So we can see him he indulging himself with work and getting his family back together again. That is totally acceptable.
    But what about Heedo…with the build up of the realtionship scene being so powerful..full of flavor that awakens all your senses just end up with a mediocre husband/relationship that was not even once shown?? Why??
    Heedo and Yijin’s relationship was really deep that it was dissapointing to see that she could get married so early. Even Jiwoong and Yurim have not tied the knot yet. What is the reason for the hasty step.
    I just can’t get the bitter taste of the unresolved ending from my mouth. I can accept that not all first love or any relationship to have a happy ending but its just evil to leave things hanging on screen.

  47. I never leave comments but….I just I don’t know….I feel burn out…maybe when we are feeling old and not feeling young,will remind us about this story.

    It is jzt I cried a lot…I wished every second them tobe together..but it is just telling us about love can be realistic and not every story ends up with girl being the cinderella.

    I personally wanted more from the ending because I want a proper goodbye for them.

    Thank youu….(My opinion only)

  48. “At the same time, the conclusion feels sloppy, especially the weird moments in the tunnel. I’m not sure why we didn’t get more scenes during the present, allowing us to tie up loose ends.”
    I totally agree with the above. I was hoping we get to see the adults YJ meeting the adult HD.

  49. I think the writer did a terrible job in the final episode. He gives us hope.. n how their love evolves.. n at the end of the day.. end it just like that. Of course.. u can say that is reality in life… but in dramas.. I dont want reality… i want fantasies.. i want all the happiness.. i want happy endings to everything especially when it comes to relationship…because in real life.. we cant get it all the time… That is why.. in this drama… i want Hee do n Yi jin to be together despite of all the obstacles..
    Its a shame that the writer/director chose to end this drama otherwise !

  50. I love 2521 and even want to ship NJY and KTR they look good together. I hope they have a new drama to redeem 2521. The writers should have done a good ending. Even if one of the character will die. But leaving an ending without sense did not do justice to the drama. Definitely the ratings will continue to go down thanks to the writer and the director who did not look into this.

  51. It’s hard to accept that NHD and BYJ didn’t end up together it is really a painful ending for viewers like me who haisst dreaming that they will live happily ever after because BYJ told to NHD that they will be together forever..During the interview it seems that BYJ and NHD are still in love!!hopefully there will be Season 2 when NJH finish his mandatory military Service (if he is going to enlist.)that would be a nice comeback!!🤞🤞

  52. I love 2521 the characters did well in the drama but I am not sure what happened to the writer. Was he or she in a hurry to finish the script? I bet no one will watch it again the 2nd time because the ending was poorly done. Even my friends who was waiting for the full episode to finish will not watch it too. Why did you do that?

  53. It is awfully ended leaving too many questions for the viewers. It is one that triumphs friendship between two tennis players yet breaks down the best friendship in a romantic relationship. For the lead actors portrayed strongly as the “always to be at each others side and willing to wait” in all the episodes it leaves a bitter taste of that kind of love. Long distance relationship for two very busy career oriented Yijin and Na Hee Do should work.

    This needs a bonus episode of a surprise happy ending with a twist. After all swoons make this a very popular drama for the heart fans. Why not keep the viewers swoon until the end?

  54. Their love story just ended up where the title is 25 21 now I get it why that was the title of the drama

  55. I was hoping for a resolution that gave answers to unanswered questions such as who was Hee Do’s husband and is he alive or dead? Do Yi Jin and Hee Do reconnect in middle age? Hopefully there will be a season to that takes up the love story and intertwines the daughter’s story she promises to write! Disappointing if this is the end!

  56. Watching the drama ending reminds me of my 1st love, so happy when spending time together each day… it was teenage love where there’s a lot of innocence and sincerity.

    We slowly drifted apart due to different priorities in life and also I did not really care enough because I was too young to think properly then.

    He was and still is my 1st love. ♥♥♥♥♥♥

  57. I was like WTF! Hee-do is the central character and we never know who she married?! That’s the biggest hole! And where is this person she married? Why isn’t he in any scenes and he’s not even mentioned at all!

  58. I loved the ending so much, though I agree that it was quite rushed.

    I knew from the middle of the drama that they wouldn’t end up together though I still had hopes, but I began to understand what the writer was trying to tell the viewers.

    Sometimes, life doesn’t turn out to what we expected it to be and that’s alright. This leads us to meeting people we’d never thought we’d meet. Or experiencing things that never ever crossed our minds.

    I’m still happy for both of them, I think that the reason for their break-up is good enough reason for two people to break up in real life, since I’ve been there. Feelings aren’t enough to continue a relationship.

    Yes, their relationship ended but it doesn’t mean that everything they’ve shared before just vanished. It all still happened. Their memories are still part of them.

    Just like what yoo rim said right? Even if it disappears, at least it was once yours. And I think that’s what the writer is trying to tell us. IT’S JUST SO REFRESHING FOR ME WHO’S GOING THROUGH ADULTHOOD RIGHT NOW. The drama is telling me to accept how things turn out and just do my best and choose the best possible option at the moment.

    Thank you to the writer and director! I’ll cherish this drama for a long time🥺

  59. So heartbreaking 🙁 so emotionally draining…I was still hoping that they will end up together. Back Ye Jin could have chosen to work in another department where he could avoid working overtime as what Na Heedo experienced from her mom who had a very tough hectic schedule cycle. Ugh! I really dont like bad endings esp now with the world crisis of too many problems…anyways, I got so hooked to it that I am so affected.

  60. My heart is broken 😞. I wanted a happy ending so bad. I was sad at “mr sunshine” sad ending and this happens again. I wish for her to have happy ending on her dramas 😞

  61. Worst ending ever!
    I have never commented on any dramas before, but felt I had to vent on this one.

  62. LOVED this ending. I’m not even sad they didn’t end up together because in real life, people don’t work out even if they love each other.

    But what a joy that they DID have each other in that time together. And that they experienced the full spectrum of love and loss and felt it with all their hearts. Isn’t this what nostalgia, youth and memories are all about?

    Most first loves don’t marry each other, but they’re always special in most people’s hearts, minds and memories. I like that a drama finally acknowledged that and said it’s ok if first loves don’t end up together. Just because they didn’t doesn’t make the time they had together and the passionate and special relationship any LESS than first loves who do end up together forever. Bravo and truly perfection.

  63. YES, I was watching the end of the series and a smile flashed in the corner of my mouth: it’s over …! At the end of the 14th episode, I realized that things are unlikely to have a positive twist. The final image with the realization of how much they loved each other, but I think the baggage that each came with was a test that their love could not pass. Now the question that arises: how could others find love, but they did not? It is also a sign of love when you set someone free, realizing your own limitations. Personally, I’m happy if the series ends here, without a second season, but I admit the romantic in me would like to see them go through it all! I liked the series. It had a personal note!

  64. I won’t repeat everything I’ve read in all the other comments…the ending left too many holes in the story line for the two main characters. Even though they weren’t together, fill them in. Two more episodes could have done that. This romance turned into a tragedy, too bad.

  65. Saying goodbyes at the end is beautiful and no regrets, but I’m kinda sad because it wasn’t them to be together at the end.

  66. I don’t hate it but I can’t praise the ending either.
    A sincere thank you for your review and dedication.
    Take care and I will see you in the next drama.

  67. Why they deleted the interview where yijin congratulated heedo for her wedding in ep 14 and 16. So confusing, they just ruined the ratings of the previous episodes……I was expecting that the father of heedo’s daughter will be revealed at the end since she was the one reading this diary wherein all of us are watching🤣🤣

  68. Of course I didn’t like the ending, however they tried to make us watched the happy times of them being together. Like the others who already suspected this kind of ending, I was still hoping that in their late adulthood when they’re both available, they could still be together. Showing us this kind of ending could have made the viewers happy. I really enjoyed watching this drama except the ending which is the most important part in any kdrama. It’s only a show so why not make the viewers happy. I think it needs a Season 2 to make up what the writers did for the disappointment of the viewers.

  69. I’m so frustrated. Who’s Min-Chae’s father? What did happened with Yu-Jin? I’ve cried for nothing.

  70. It is unusual for a K-Drama to leave so many loose ends, and almost unthinkable for this very show, which up until this episode was one of the best coming-of-age TV series I had ever seen. It almost feels as if this show was abruptly canceled from one week to another — something that happens often in Turkish Drama, BTW. It is inexcusable for the writer not to let us know whom Hee-do ended up with, and why this person NEVER appears in the show, even at critical moments in their daughter’s life, who goes to find support from her grandmother rather than her father. This all leads one to think that he and Hee-do are divorced, especially since she does mention how difficult it is to divorce during the funeral of Seung-Wan’s father. We also ignore what Hee-do does after retiring from fencing. All we can guess is that perhaps she became a carpenter, but isn’t this a bit unrealistic given the innumerable talents of Hee-do? Even more inexcusable is not knowing what happens to Yi-Jin in the present. All we are told is that 7 years after the break-up with Hee-do, he becomes a TV anchor and finally reunites his family under one roof. This in turn ostensibly implies at he was still single at that time. Fast forward possibly another ten years, when Min-chae reads her mother’s diaries, it is clear that she ignores her mother’s love story with the reporter. Therefore, he is not her father. However, she incredibly never even looks Yi-Jin up on the internet, which would at least have revealed a bit about where he ended up. In short, the end is a non-conclusion, which however leaves very little hope for a second season, unless the latter decides to fill in the 17 years between Hee-do and Yi-jin break-up and the present and, perhaps, make these star-crossed lovers meet again as 40-something adults. This was an incredibly well written and superbly performed TV series, which deserved not necessarily a happy ending, but certainly a better one!

  71. I am deeply disappointed in the last two episodes, like everyone else, and the ending. Till the very last minute, I was hoping for a miracle ending like fast forward to NOW and she meets the husband (girl’s dad that we don’t know anything about) and he ends up being Yi-Jin. Then the story goes to say how she ran into him, divorced her husband (since she discussed with friends her marriage and it didn’t seem all that) and then she reconnected to the Yi-Jin and they live happily ever after and he is actually her present. So so many things unanswered about their present and I hate how the grown Hee-do is a different actress. They could have just made her look older like all other dramas, like they did with her mom. Like ever Said, loved it till the last couple of episodes and the ending was frustrating.

  72. Bad ending. Wasted 8 weeks. The writer probably had a writer’s block and you did a bad job.

  73. I also was disappointed in the ending. Although realistic – as was the entire series, it wasn’t what we watch romantic kdramas to see in episode 16. It seems this bittersweet ending thing is becoming a more popular trend. I get why writers do this. They are tired of the old formulas. But it’s still sad and unsatisfying. Plus, it might have helped if we saw the pair’s current day spouses and knew they eventually found happiness.

  74. It was a great show. Every episode had me hooked for each second. I even rewound some parts. Let’s say the ending wasn’t awful. It wasn’t disappointing. I just personally wanted a different one because we really rooted for the both of them.

    The rest of you all bashing it…. Admit that it’s not an objective opinion. If it was so terrible we wouldn’t have finished it. (Tons of k dramas I’ve left dangling because they lost me somewhere along the way).

    This show was anguishing and especially so because we really liked all the characters. Yes, we just wanted that bittersweet happy ending where they meet again after so many years. The ending is not a cliffhanger and i think the artist(director) knew what he was doing and kept the focus/thesis tight in reiterating the fleeting “dramas” of our small world as teenagers. Baek Yi Jin was juxtaposed against the teens as a control to remind us of that the entire way.

    The ending was not what I wanted and i am every bit as pissed as you all. But it was done extremely well from a writer’s standpoint.

  75. I loved the first 12 episodes, I did not get the last episode and felt it was unfinished and confusing. What was the last tunnel scene did not get that one bit. I have a knot in my stomach because the ending was dire after such a promising start to the drama and how it was compelling to begin with

  76. Hated the ending. Mother and Daughter situation messed up just didn’t make since to many ends left open

  77. I share the same sentiment as everyone esle in the comment section. Deeply disappointed with the ending. In comparison to the first 10 episodes of the dram, where every single emotion was portrayed perfectly, the last 2 were rushed and so many loose ends. If only they wanted to develop the story further, they could have added another 1 or 2 episodes even if they don’t intend the leads to have a happy ending. The clip right at the end where they show Yi Jin’s secret password, kind of leaves us feeling lukewarm. Sort of bittersweet. Is there going to be a second season? If there is, it’s kinda dull coz my hopes for a great ending already past and i’m not sure if I want to see that.
    But oh well, i’d still recommend this drama. I loved the 1st 10 episodes and the cast were amazing.

  78. Atleast they should have shown, to whom was Hee Do married. Ughhh it’s the worst episode, why did they have to do that! They could have married in secret lol, but how can she live with someone she doesn’t love? Isn’t that something awkward that your life partner loves someone else. This was such a nice show. Wth did they do with it’s ending. Highly disappointed

  79. Not happy with the ending!!!!! Happy ending for a couple that the story is not about. Sucks!!!!

  80. So heart broken with the ending. While it may be a ‘not meant to be’ scenario, happy endings are what we wish for. Definitely, I am perplexed about what happened in the present with them – it was important for the conclusion of something that we spent 8 weeks on. This is not the ending I feel we deserve. Too emotionally breaking.

  81. To be honest, I am not the biggest fan of open-ended finale episodes. So this was not what I would’ve preferred. I’d rather have them show us that Hee-Do and Yi-Jin didn’t end up together than leave us hanging. I am very curious, though, about Kim Eun Su. Who is this person? How did they find the diary? How did they know Baek Yi Jin and where to send it?

    I feel the 2 final episodes were rushed and I hope that we get a special episode (seems unlikely, but one can always hope!) or some sort of a closure because there are way too many questions left unanswered.

  82. I think this show explained the difference between friendship and a relationship really well. There is a risk to breaking boundaries and expectations that need to be met by each partner. It was surprising to see a Kdrama where the leads don’t end up together. I was disappointed, but also refreshed! I wish we could’ve seen a grown up Yi-Jin and who the husband of Hee-Do was though :(((.

  83. Wasted 8 weeks for this disaster ending. Hee Do breaking up with Yijin because she doesn’t want to liver her life waiting for someone who can’t be there always, yet marrying a guy who is always Overseas with no contact to his daughter whatsoever! LOGIC PLEASE! #NeverAgainTVN

    It’s a Bad Ending. No resolution, another ending to add to the list of Game of Thrones disaster. We watch KDramas to escape the already harsh reality. From Coming of Age to Melodrama — people switching personalities.
    #TwentyFiveTwentyOne #NeverAgainTVN #TwentyFiveTwentyOneEp16

  84. There are so many thoughts and feeling floating in my head right now. I love this drama from the first episode. The actors are first class, the story line so compelling, the music added just the right flavor. As a romantic myself, I always root for first love couples. I am still trying to process my feelings, am I disappointed yes. Am I confused, yes. Did I hate the last episode because I did not get the desired outcome, not all together. Just wish we learned who Hee do married. Did Yi Jin ever find love again? What happened to Yu rim, did she live happily ever after with her first love.
    So many questions!!!!

  85. I honestly thought the ending was just realistically beautiful. Both YiJin and HeeDo knew it was the end for them when they hugged each other while crying at the bus stop. Before that, they said they didnt want to end on bad terms due to the words said at the tunnel, so they cried after finding each other at the bus stop near the tunnel because they could show each other that they truly loved each other and they mean a lot to each other. No words had to be said between them, but they understood each other , just like they always did. YiJin rushed to the funeral right after his broadcast but HeeDo left, its not like they avoided each other on purpose. I think that’s the writer’s way of indicating that fate brought them together in the past, but they just missed each other in the future. I believe the ending wasnt open honestly, it showed how everyone settled, what happened to their careers and basically showed what present HeeDo said” Some things last for a brief moment but it makes our long life worthwhile.” They didnt end up together but they were both important parts in each other life and she truly appreciates their memories together. They all moved on, and just like in reality, people slowly lose contact from each other although they still treasure everything they had together: just like in reality, a lot of things are left unsaid but people just choose to not say everything because there isnt a reason to do so.

  86. The ending was perfect.

    The series was about how two people face each other, fence forwards and backwards, then the match ends and two people salute and walk away.

  87. I fucking hated it, does not make sense when yu rim and moon jwoon maintained a happy distant relationship given the circumstances, they were in love, what more ! I think they didn’t love enough to want to be together every day, love bullshit, such a waste of time and emotions.

  88. Ahhhhh so tragic and bitter sweet. I knew it was coming but still wasn’t ready for it. I wish they had made it, but when Yi-jin applied for the job in New York, I knew it was over. She spent most of her childhood alone because her mother prioritized her job. To spend her future like that would have been more tragic and that’s what Yi-jin figured out after reading her diary. He wanted her to understand his position initially in the tunnel scene without understanding her view. After reading the diary you could tell he finally understood that she needed someone who would make her the priority and he wasn’t willing to do that. I feel bad for him, but he probably could have made it work if he had not applied in New York, but he made a choice and that was a life without her and he knew it and she knew it.

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