The End: “Valid Love” Episodes 19 and 20

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Valid Love” wrapped up this week with its final two episodes. What were the main points of the ending?

It’s Jang Hee Tae.

This is it, ladies and gentlemen. This drama did a really good job keeping us guessing on whom Kim Il Ri (Lee Si Young) was actually going to end up with in the end (or if she was going to end up with anyone at all). The answer has finally been revealed: she gets back together with her first love, Jang Hee Tae (Uhm Tae Woong).

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It starts when Il Ri faints from her hyperventilation attack when she finds out about Hee Tae’s boat catching on fire. (The boat fire is actually not a big deal; Hee Tae gets back that day.) She doesn’t wake up for days; Hee Tae stays with her for most of them and then has to leave because of a family emergency (more on that later). Kim Joon (Lee Soo Hyuk) takes his place and is next to Il Ri when she finally opens her eyes.

But she sees him as Hee Tae.

It’s the final blow for both of them. Joon realizes Hee Tae’s spot is something he can never fully fill. Il Ri, when she finds out that it was Joon who was there, realizes the same thing.

It takes a little more time, Hee Tae’s misunderstanding that Il Ri was moving away with Joon, her goodbye note, and a moment of renewed attraction and fast-beating hearts across a street, but eventually Hee Tae invites Il Ri up to his (their) apartment to give her the chair (that he ordered and Joon made). Il Ri ends up making dinner for him.

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Old times are remembered. New hearts are set. And just like that, Il Ri has moved back into the apartment. They’re starting anew.

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Jang Hee Soo’s dream comes true.

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Jang Hee Soo (Choi Yeo Jin) visits Il Ri while she’s in her comatose state. (There’s this weird, other-universe type of thing in this drama that was beautifully written.) She tells Il Ri that her dream is to one day suddenly die, peacefully and with no pain.

Her dream comes true while Il Ri is still yet to wake.

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It’s why Hee Tae leaves Il Ri, to mourn with his family for his dead sister. When Il Ri wakes up and finds out, she gives her a proper goodbye as well. But it’s not such a sad thing; everyone knows that. Hee Soo is finally free.

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Kim Joon leaves.

After realizing that Il Ri is inevitably going back to Hee Tae, Kim Joon decides to move far, far away. No one knows where he’s going. When Hee Tae finds out, he gives him the opportunity to say a proper goodbye to Il Ri.

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The three of them say a lot of thank yous to each other, for a lot of firsts, forcing problems to be faced straight on, and the fact that some great memories came out of this strange affair.

Joon leaves. The last we see of him, he’s working with a lot of people instead of alone. (Yay, Joon!) Who knows if he’ll ever see Il Ri and Hee Tae again?

So does Kim Yi Ri.

Not forever. Apparently, she’s going on a world trip. Jang Ki Tae (Park Jung Min) tries to stop her from leaving. Yi Ri reminds him that he’s the one who gave up on them because they were too different. Ki Tae takes it back. Yi Ri smiles, gives him a kiss, and tells him to wait just a year. (This ends too cutely.)

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Family is still family.

Hee Tae’s mother still suffers from dementia, but there are positive outcomes from it. Her cheating husband is finally making up for all of the unfaithful deeds he has committed; he’s fully focused on her now. It’s as if they’re dating again, and they’re both back in happy times.

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Meanwhile, Kim Joon’s mother comes and finds him. He’s not ready to embrace her yet, but he says he’ll contact her first. There’s family in his reach now.

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“Family may be a pain at times, but it’s also one’s biggest comfort.” – Jang Hee Tae

So did this drama’s ending live up to the series? I would say, yes. In fact, the ending was my favorite part of the entire plot. Everything wrapped up cleanly; it left the viewers wanting more but not frustrated about unanswered questions. (The one thing I was dying to see happen before the episode ended though, was Il Ri getting pregnant. Alas, it wasn’t meant to be.) And… to be honest, I was rooting for Hee Tae the whole time. So personally, I am very satisfied.

But, as always, feel free to disagree with me. What are your thoughts on this ending? Yay? Nay? More Lee Soo Hyuk? Let us know in the comments!

[tv]Watch the final episodes of Valid Love on SoompiTV!