Bittersweet First Love
Episode 16 of When I Was Most Beautiful produces a pretty good ending, all things considered, as this melodramatic Korean drama draws to a close.
We begin with Ye-Ji walking away from Hwan, refusing to answer his question about love. Instead she says her goodbyes to Sung-Gon and prepares to leave. With all of her things in the truck, she walks round the house one more time, stopping momentarily to hug Jin goodbye.
With the marriage over, Yeon-Ja tries to convince Ye-Ji’s Mother to make sure Ye-Ji stays with Jin. That way it dispels any rumours about her breaking up to get in a relationship with Hwan. At the workshop, she outright asks her daughter whether this is true or not. It’s here Ye-Ji admits the truth.
Back then, she was young and alone, wanting to be loved and taken care of by someone. Given Jin’s affection for her, she gave in and decided to marry him. They never clicked the same way she and Hwan did though.
Given he’s leaving for the US, she encourages Ye-Ji to go with Hwan to America. This decision is only made more difficult by Hwan handing her a ticket to leave with him as well.
After some thinking, Ye-Ji decides against going with him. After all, if she does then it severs any chance of Hwan fixing his relationship with his brother and parents. Unable to do that to him, Ye-Ji turns away but promises to watch him go as a sign of respect.
Unable to keep his emotions in check, Hwan starts crying. As he does, we cut to Jin on the rooftop of Jinhwan who’s just collapsed after looking over the edge. Was he thinking of ending things? It appears that way but never really touched on.
Hwan visits Jin at the hospital, making sure his brother is okay before checking on Ye-Ji. Only, she’s gone. The workshop isn’t open and she’s decided to live with her Mother – who’s also quit her job. Having missed his flight and chance to go back to the US, Hwan sits with Jin back home and watches the stars.
A year passes and Carry is released from prison. She starts attending interviews for a new job while Sung-Gon interviews new assistants for the workshop. Hwan is now working at the Hotel Bali, having decided against going back to the US. This new project though will mean he’s gone for 3 years.
Before he goes though, he stops by at Ye-Ji’s place to bid his farewell to her. She suggests they spend a few days together, which he graciously accepts.
After eating shrimp and watching the sunset together, Ye-Ji finally opens up and tells him she does love him. As the two fall asleep holding hands, Hwan awakens to find Ye-Ji gone. A note is left on the bedside table.
Meanwhile, Yeon-Ja arrives at the workshop and asks Sung-Gon out for a drink. Jin appears to be successful at the company now while both Ye-Ji and Hwan have learned to live with their feelings and grown into better people moving forward.
The Episode Review
With all things considered, When I Was The Most Beautiful delivers a pretty good ending. Hwan and Ye-Ji admitted their feelings for one another but their doomed romance angle from the start is a nice way to tie everything together.
I like that Hwan and Ye-Ji are now able to move beyond their feelings and grow after admitting the truth to one another. First loves are often bittersweet and painful, but it’s clear that these two have grown a lot over the episodes. Jin however, has not.
There’s been a lot of problems with this drama but at least the ending is satisfying enough to make the melodramatic ride worth taking.
The Sung-Gon/Yeon-Ja stories have not been great in truth and Amber’s involvement in the story, along with Hwan’s friends too, haven’t had an awful lot to do. Especially Da-Hoon who’s completely forgotten about midway through this one until the end.
While this is unlikely to be remembered as one of the better dramas of the year, the ending is actually satisfying enough to make the ride worth taking.