Oh My Ghostess: Episode 16 (Final)
There’s something nice about a finale that’s all about saying goodbye, since it gives us the chance to send our characters off with proper farewells, where they get to express what they mean to each other and how they’ve grown. Oh My Ghostess certainly had its share of missteps along the way, but the finale brings it back around to character moments, and doesn’t scrimp on the heart that made us love it in the first place.
FINAL EPISODE RECAP
Soon-ae watches as Unni distracts herself with cleaning, trying to ignore that today is the end of Soon-ae’s three-year run as a ghost. Soon-ae says it’s time to say goodbye and move on, and admits that she feels relief now that her grudge is resolved, though she still has some lingering regrets. Unni scoffs that there’s no such thing as a ghost without regrets.
Soon-ae says that with her gone, Unni will have her full powers and be back in business. She hugs her goodbye, and Unni fights her own tearful reaction as she hugs her back. Unni swears she’s not even that sad, then bursts into tears as she says her final goodbye.
Little bro Kyung-mo wakes up to find Dad breaking out the dishware for Soon-ae’s memorial, and he realizes that today is the anniversary of her death. Kyung-mo watches sadly as Dad sighs that he’s starting early just in case it means that Soon-ae will come visit them longer, for a full day.
But Dad is called away by the police department, where the detectives tell him the truth about Soon-ae’s murder by Officer Sung-jae after witnessing the hit-and-run.
Dad is shocked to hear that she didn’t commit suicide, then as he leaves the station, the anger hits him as he thinks of all the times he’d fed her murderer a warm meal. Oh no, he collapses on the station’s front steps.
Bong-sun jabbers brightly to Sun-woo about how her grandmother finds her new sunny disposition so strange that she accused her of being possessed by a ghost. He knows she’s trying extra hard to be positive around him right now, and says that he’ll get it together now and be strong for his family, for Eun-hee and Mom.
Bong-sun takes his hand and says that she’ll protect him, and that puts a smile on his face. He teases her for bluffing big, but she counters that she learned from the best. Touché.
A call from Kyung-mo interrupts them, and at the same time, Soon-ae arrives at Dad’s restaurant to find it empty. But a couple of neighbors happen to pass by sighing that the ajusshi here collapsed again, and Soon-ae freezes.
Kyung-mo berates himself outside the emergency room for not going with Dad to the police station, and Bong-sun and Sun-woo arrive to tell him it’s not his fault. The prognosis is bad though—the doctor says that with Dad’s condition, shock is the worst thing to his system, and they should prepare themselves for the worst.
Kyung-mo collapses in tears, just as Soon-ae arrives. Bong-sun is the only one who can see her, as she crouches in front of Kyung-mo and starts to cry.
Dad’s condition worsens and he starts to flatline, and Soon-ae sits at his beside wailing for him to wake up as doctors power up the defibrillators. As they try to shock him awake, Soon-ae sees something move past her and goes running out into the hallway. It’s Dad’s spirit, and aaack, he’s walking towards the light!
She runs to block his path, arms stretched out as wide as they’ll go, and he’s a little dazed as her recognizes her. She cries, “It’s me, Dad! You can’t go! You have to stay a little longer—what will our Kyung-mo do? You have to see Kyung-mo get married, and see your grandchildren first, and then let’s meet again after that. When we meet again, let’s live a thousand, ten thousand years happily. I’ll only ever be born as your daughter.”
She hugs him tearfully one last time, then turns him around and sends him walking back towards his body. He cries but continues to walk forward as she fades in the background. And back in the room, Dad’s eyes flutter open, and Kyung-mo screams for the doctor. Phew.
Kyung-mo refuses to leave Dad’s beside even when he’s awake and stable, no matter how much Dad tries to get him to go eat. Soon-ae sits there right next to Kyung-mo, happily gazing at her family.
Kyung-mo admits that he really thought Dad was dying this time, and he resented noona, thinking she was being selfish and wanting Dad with her because she was bored. Dad says it’s the opposite, that Soon-ae saved him and told him to stay until Kyung-mo was married and gave him grandchildren.
Dad doesn’t know if it was a dream because it felt so real, and Kyung-mo humors him but assumes he just dreamt of noona. Dad says that it must be because he saw Soon-ae, but he feels happy. Kyung-mo tells Dad that he’s resolved to do well from now on and work hard, and both Soon-ae and Dad look over at him proudly.
Bong-sun comes by, and Soon-ae tells her that today is the day her three years as a ghost are up. Soon-ae turns to her and says she’s grateful, and really sorry. But Bong-sun says that she thinks unni coming into her life was fate—Soon-ae solved the mystery of her death, Bong-sun took one step closer to Sun-woo, and Sun-woo found out the truth about Eun-hee’s accident.
Soon-ae smiles at that and adds that Bong-sun isn’t the same doormat she was before, and she’s really strong now and will live well. Bong-sun promises to work hard and asks Soon-ae to watch over her.
Soon-ae gives her the advice to love as much as she can while she has the chance, and brags that she’s going to meet an even handsomer man than Chef up in heaven. Bong-sun knows it’s just a platitude but says that’ll be great and she’s jealous, and they both struggle to hold back their tears.
When Soon-ae gets up to go, Bong-sun asks what about Chef—isn’t she going to say goodbye? Soon-ae says he doesn’t even recognize her anyway, but Bong-sun invites her to posses her body one last time. Soon-ae turns her down, not wanting to do that to the end, but Bong-sun says this is the last time she’ll ever let anyone possess her, and pulls Soon-ae in herself.
Sun-woo tells So-hyung over the phone that he’s preparing to open the restaurant again, and that he’s thinking of sending Mom and Eun-hee abroad to look into alternative treatments for her legs, and also to just take some time away.
Soon-ae-as-Bong-sun comes in and looks up at Sun-woo with stars in her eyes, and he wonders what’s gotten into her. He takes her hand and is surprised at how cold it is, and that’s when it registers that she might be Soon-ae. She confirms it: “That’s right, it’s me, Chef.”
She shyly pulls her hand away and can barely get out the words that Bong-sun let her come say goodbye. He struggles awkwardly with what to say, and she tells him he needn’t say anything. Soon-ae: “I received so many gifts from you—things I never got to do when I was alive, those feelings… And I was really happy here. I no longer have any regrets.”
Sun-woo thanks her for letting him find out the truth about Eun-hee’s accident, and his voice shakes as he says, “And I’m sorry that you died because of it.” She says that was just her fate, and holds her hand out for a shake as she tells him to be happy.
He takes her hand in both of his, then says, “Go well, Shin Soon-ae.” It startles her when he says her name, and he steps closer to hug her goodbye. She comes out of Bong-sun’s body while he’s hugging her, and looks over at the both of them with a tearful smile.
She turns to go, then looks back one last time before walking into the light. Bong-sun cries as she watches Soon-ae leave, and Sun-woo holds her close. The light envelops Soon-ae, and just like that, she’s gone.
Medium Unni can sense that Soon-ae has passed on, and stands by the river mourning her loss. Behind her, the bell necklace she had put on Soon-ae reappears. She sighs that life just amounts to working hard and living each day to the fullest, and shouts up into the sky that Soon-ae lived and worked hard better than anyone, she knows that. She cries out, “Go well, Shin Soon-ae! You lived well, Soon-ae!” Awww.
Unni wipes her tears and wonders what she’ll have to look forward to now that Soon-ae is gone, and right on cue, Sun-woo’s mom calls wanting a drinking buddy, and Unni runs out to meet her.
Sun Restaurant reopens after a week, and the assistant chefs are all giddy to get back to work. They’re especially happy about Bong-sun’s return, and Sun-woo doesn’t even try to hide how much he adores and favors her anymore.
Only Min-soo is jealous, insisting that Chef’s loving eyeballs used to only gaze at him, and when Sun-woo argues, Min-soo strips down to his underwear and chases him around the restaurant.
During the dinner rush, Sun-woo calls out the orders and puts Bong-sun in charge of one of the pastas, and everyone ooohs and rallies behind her. She delivers the dish to the table and waits with bated breath to hear the customer’s reaction, and beams when it’s positive. The most adorable thing is that she turns to the kitchen, where Sun-woo and all the guys are standing in a line, holding their thumbs up in approval.
Sun-woo gets a call from a cooking competition asking him to be a judge, and he has a rare humble moment when he turns it down, though he thinks at the last minute to ask if they’re still taking contestants.
He starts up lessons again with Bong-sun that night, and casually mentions that she has to practice hard if she’s going to compete, and tells her about the competition he entered her in. She’s nervous, but he tells her that sometimes you just have to jump in without thinking, and gives her a present to encourage her. It’s her own chef’s knife, complete with an engraving with her initials and a heart.
The day of her competition comes around, and the assistant chefs are all full of advice and good wishes as they see her out. Joon puts two calming herb medicine balls in her hand, one for her and one for Sun-woo, who is hilariously way more nervous than Bong-sun.
Bong-sun is actually pretty together compared to Sun-woo, who’s such a ball of nerves that she eventually has to shoo him away to his seat so she can focus on the competition. She doesn’t crumble under pressure, and explains to the judge who comes by that the idea for the dish came from the noodles her grandmother used to make for her, modified to be pasta.
They’re elated when her name gets called as the third-place winner, and Sun-woo assures her that she won on her own merits, and for the story behind her dish. He’s so proud of her, and so are the rest of the guys, who hang up signs outside the restaurant and greet them with a cake when they return.
Joon grabs her in a bear hug, and Sun-woo pries them apart jealously, hee. They ask about her prize money, but are more interested in the chance for winners to go study abroad (aaagh, whyyyy). That’s news to Bong-sun, and Sun-woo suddenly grows quiet.
Bong-sun asks him up on the roof that night why he didn’t mention the studying abroad part, and he says he never expected her to actually win. He hugs her, genuinely proud, and says he’ll respect her decision either way—if she wants to stay here and learn on the job, he’ll help her do that, and if she wants to study abroad, he’ll be cool about that too.
She hesitates, then asks if it’s really okay if she leaves, and his heart sinks a little when he realizes that she wants to go. She says that it’s because she wants to experience it, to go see the wide world and work hard each step of the way on her own merits.
He cuts her off to ask about his main concern—whether she can stay faithful—and says he’s not sure about himself when there are countless women throwing themselves at him all the time. It would be less reassuring if it didn’t sound so ridiculous.
He suddenly darts up and storms into his room, and Bong-sun wonders if she should’ve just said she’d stay. But he comes right back with her couple ring-necklace and says it’s the only way he’ll rest easy, warning her that the necklace will punish her if she strays.
He pulls her into his lap to fasten it around her neck, and she puts his arm around her waist. Sun-woo lets out the saddest little sigh and says, “Even with you in my arms, I already miss you. What am I going to do?” Aw, and then he buries his face in her shoulder and cries, though he insists the whole time that he isn’t crying, nope.
Two years later. Stalker the dog has a whole dog family now, and Medium Unni is a huge success, with a bustling waiting room full of clients and her own TV show. Min-soo is now the head chef of Sun Restaurant (hm, where is Sun-woo?), and prepares the boys for the arrival of their new foreign-educated sous chef, who’s already late on the first day.
The door chimes, and in struts Seo In-gook, putting in a cameo as the new sous chef Edward. (He and Min-soo were bestest pals in High School King of Savvy, which makes the ensuing ego war all the funnier.)
Edward totally ignores Min-soo at every turn and sizes him up immediately as a salaried head chef, not the chef-owner, and the only thing Min-soo can offer up in defense is the giant self-portrait he’s put up on the wall.
Edward is more interested in flirting with the hostess than in meeting the rest of the guys, and draws all the attention from the female patrons who swoon as they watch him. Min-soo is further annoyed when the others say that his bluster isn’t all for show since his food is actually good, calling him the king of savvy. Badum-ching.
It’s only his first day, but already Edward is calling out orders for Min-soo to do, and Joon is the only one with enough sass to tell the new guy to do it himself. Go Joon! It’s so cute to see an actual reason for Joon to take Min-soo’s side, of all things, and he gets Min-soo to admit that he misses Sun-woo.
Sun-woo has opened a new restaurant—this one is a tiny fusion-Korean restaurant, and Kyung-mo is the only employee, who doesn’t see why Chef bothers to shout out the orders when he’s going to make them all himself. Sun-woo grouses that Kyung-mo is always talking back when he’s supposed to be learning, so that he can someday return to Dad’s restaurant and be of help.
So-hyung comes by to congratulate Sun-woo on the new place and introduces her new boyfriend, who looks exactly like her dead ex-husband. That’s… weird.
Mom picks Eun-hee up at her flower shop and drops her off somewhere, and Eun-hee has rehabilitated her legs enough to walk with crutches. She brings a big bouquet of flowers (which she told Mom meant “eternal love”) to a police-guarded hospital room… where Sung-jae turns around and greets her with a smile. He’s alive??
It quickly becomes apparent that he’s lost his memories, and he asks again how long they were together. She says three years, and he admits that he doesn’t remember, but he’s sure they must’ve been happy. He starts to cry in frustration that he can’t remember their time together, but she tells him not to try so hard because she likes him the way he is now too.
Sun-woo sighs on his rooftop that Bong-sun isn’t calling as often lately, and struggles to convince himself that European guys wouldn’t be trying to seduce her. He ends up shouting back at himself, “How can they not, when she’s so pretty?! When her face shines like this?!”
He berates himself for acting cool and letting her go, breaks into a whiny song about missing her, then cries himself to sleep. Ha.
It’s another busy day at Sun when Bong-sun walks right through the front door, surprising the guys, who all pepper her with questions and end up just group-hugging in excitement.
She goes to see Dad next, who’s making a fresh batch of kimchi following Soon-ae’s recipe. He looks healthy and happy, and he’s delighted when Bong-sun offers to work in his kitchen, just as long as he doesn’t try to pay her in yogurts. Aweswome, she’s going to work for Dad?
Meanwhile at Sun-woo’s new restaurant, he yells at Kyung-mo for ordering ten times the amount of shrimp they need for the day, and they get into a whole tiff about it until Kyung-mo quits and storms out. Apparently this is a normal occurrence, because Sun-woo just looks at the clock and wonders how he happens to quit at exactly 3:30 every day.
Kyung-mo paces outside and counts to three for Sun-woo to come after him, and when he doesn’t, Kyung-mo wonders if he’s playing hard to get or if he should just go grovel. I love this kid.
Bong-sun walks up, and he hugs her happily before calling her bad for not checking in more often. Sun-woo comes outside looking for Kyung-mo and freezes when he sees Bong-sun.
He presents her with one of his dishes, and she marvels that he’s making rice now. She tastes it just like he taught her to, and instantly comes up with ideas for how to make it better.
He notes passive-aggressively that she must’ve called so little because she was so busy studying to be a top student, and she sees that he’s mad.He pretends that he was too busy to call too, but she says that it was because she missed him too much, and thought that she’d want to come running back the second she heard his voice.
She says it was really hard to be away from him but she endured, and he finally smiles and hugs her, admitting that he missed her.
He picks her up and tells her she did well, and she kisses him over and over again.
They go back to his rooftop, and he offers to hire her, but she says she’s already lined up a new job. He gets jealous when she runs up to greet Stalker with more enthusiasm than she showed for him, and she pulls a Soon-ae move by jumping him and calling him so cute that she wants to “do it.”
He makes sure that she’s really Bong-sun, wriggles free, then scoops her up in his arms, declaring, “It’s D-day!” They go to his room, and we just hear their voices saying things like, “Is that not it?” “That’s it, you’re in trouble!”
Min-soo continues to run Sun with just his core guys and no Edward, Sun-woo and Kyung-mo are busy at the new restaurant, and Bong-sun soon has Dad’s place bustling with customers again.
The taxi drivers all dote on her and tell Dad that they didn’t know he had a second daughter, and he tells them all proudly that Bong-sun is his second daughter who just came back from studying abroad.
As Bong-sun and Sun-woo ride their bikes side by side, she narrates, “As it always did before, the seasons changed and our daily lives resumed, but that summer… through her, who came and went like a midsummer night’s dream, we came to know love, and discovered how precious connections and people are. And just as she told me to do, today I love myself too. And… I love him.”
Once Bong-sun and Sun-woo had already become a couple, the finale really only had to do one thing well—send Soon-ae off with the right emotional punch. There were a lot of things about the ghost possession that weren’t very smooth along the way, but I was really happy with where our characters ended up in the finale, and the send-off that Soon-ae got with each character. She really was the heart of the show, and it’s satisfying to see how she’d changed all of their lives for the better, and that they acknowledged her influence on them. She obviously had the most direct influence on Bong-sun, who gradually adopted her boldness and truly took Soon-ae’s advice to heart. It’s a simplistic arc but a really crucial one, since she went from living her life as if dead, to grabbing the most out of every opportunity that came her way, and not holding anything back from the person she loves.
Her goodbye with Sun-woo was short, but it was the one thing Soon-ae really needed in order to actually leave without lingering regret, and I liked that they played it in a quiet, dignified way. Of course, she’ll always regret not being able to love him in this lifetime, but that can’t be helped. It was touching that he did the one thing she never expected—call her by name, acknowledging who she was as a person, even if he found out too late. Her love for him can be nothing else but bittersweet because she’s already dead, but I found it lovely that she was satisfied with him knowing who she was, and that she got the chance to have loved him at all. But it was honestly her goodbyes with Unni and Dad that actually brought tears to my eyes, and I appreciated that Soon-ae was given a face-to-face moment with Dad to save him herself, no conduit or messenger needed. Soon-ae saving her family was the emotional payoff I was waiting for (far more than catching Sung-jae, which is why it would’ve been nice to condense a lot of Episode 15).
Speaking of Sung-jae, I was taken aback by his reappearance, mostly because I felt like we got the closure we needed for his character in the last episode. I’m not sure if they felt like Eun-hee would have too much tragedy in her life if he died, but it’s hard to believe how forgiving she can be after knowing everything, even if she believes in the ghost possession. Maybe this is the show’s way of putting the blame solely on the evil spirit that possessed him, but I feel like that runs counter to the whole evil-people-invite-evil-to-possess-them thing. I refuse to believe that he shouldn’t take responsibility for his actions, which I guess he will, despite his amnesia. I don’t know, I just found it a little too warm and fuzzy an ending for him. He KILLED PEOPLE. Come on.
That sort of speaks to one of the show’s biggest flaws, which is that the rules of ghost possession weren’t made explicit, and I felt like they changed at times to suit different situations. I’m willing to go anywhere with you in a supernatural world, just as long as you tell me what the rules are—that way every action means something and I’m with you every step of the way, not left wondering why something happened and what it could mean. I also wish that the mystery had played out with more twists, because Eun-hee’s accident and Soon-ae’s death felt like a very obvious story point that we had all guessed quite early on, that got put on ice until just before the finale, then played out exactly as expected. It’s probably a case where Im Joo-hwan’s performance as a creepy possessed killer elevated the simplistic mystery arc.
But I do think that’s this producing team’s true strength—letting the actors shine and make the material their own. And yes, maybe Min-soo didn’t need quite SO much screen time (he really does ramble, that guy), but the openness to ad-libbing makes the camaraderie feel real among the characters. I honestly felt like Jo Jung-seok fell in love with Park Bo-young just a little, he was so convincing when he looked at her like she was the cutest thing on Earth. He’s the only person who could’ve made such an egomaniac so lovably geeky, and never as abrasive as the words coming out of his mouth.
Though of course Park Bo-young carried the show with her amazing ability to capture Kim Seul-gi in her performance as Soon-ae, because she never made us doubt for one second which of them was in control, and she made me feel for her and Bong-sun equally. I’m so glad that her drama comeback was such a huge success, and I hope that means she’ll take frequent breaks from films to do more dramas.
Kim Seul-gi was already a breakout as a supporting comedic actress, but she really showed her dramatic chops in this role. I never would’ve felt as much for her character if she hadn’t been given that amount of screen time to be outside of Bong-sun and watching the world as a ghost—those were always the moments I connected with her on her an emotional level and wanted her to resolve her grudge, because I felt her plight directly. The supporting players like Unni and Mom were so delightful, and of course Joon was always good for a random swoon and Kyung-mo great for a laugh. (That kid, I want a spinoff for him! Oh My Brother, 2016?)
The whole studying abroad trope never fails to make me groan because it’s so overdone, so I could’ve really done without that part of the finale. But it was nice to see Bong-sun grow by leaps and bounds, to be so secure in herself as to win a competition, or venture out into the world on her own. In that respect I can see how it makes her a stronger character, and I do appreciate that her arc is about loving herself and making decisions about her own future, not living a life that revolves around her boyfriend. Because if she had given up control of her body to a ghost for that life lesson, I might’ve lost my lunch. And I like where all of our characters end up, like the fact that Sun-woo takes Kyung-mo under his wing to give him the tough-love education that Dad would be too soft on him to do, and that Bong-sun chooses to carve out her own path by starting small at Dad’s restaurant. It’s an added bonus that they become like family to each other, but that was my hope for them all along.
There are a lot of things I wish Oh My Ghostess had done differently, like giving us a stronger relationship between Bong-sun and Soon-ae other than a few conversations, or handling the possession and early romance with more concern for the balance between the two women. So much of the early development was between Sun-woo and Soon-ae that Bong-sun felt relegated to vessel-hood, and then in the latter half it swung the opposite way and Soon-ae got put in a corner. It just would’ve been nice to go back and forth more often, and to let them communicate with each other right away. Ultimately they wrapped up their stories in the way I’d hoped, so I walk away feeling good about where the show ended up; I just would’ve loved it all the more if the road here had been better balanced. But it’s no small beans when you can say about a show when it’s over that it made you laugh, cry, and swoon, or that it warmed your heart and made you care about where the characters would go, whether in this life or the next.