Written by Jung Hyun-jung & Jung Da-yeon
Directed by Park Shin-woo
If last week’s episodes felt like the full stop for Lovestruck’s story, its seventeenth installment functions as a lovely epilogue with which to give us just a taste of life after the ending for the characters we have come to fall in love over the last eight weeks, but which also hints that there are always more love stories out there to be told.
One of the quietly brilliant supporting characters throughout the series was Oh Dong-sik as Choi Min-ho, the police officer who kept getting caught up in so much of the central events of the series. After catching us up with our leads and how they answer the question of who their first love was, the majority of the episode is devoted to both Min-ho and one of his best friends, actress Ha-nae, celebrating his birthday in a bittersweet and self-contained play that functions as a little bit of icing on the cake of the series (with literal cake involved at one point).
There is a brilliant fourth wall breaking goodbye from the cast/characters right the very end that has a bittersweet feeling to it given that this does feel like a genuine goodbye, and anyone expect a concrete seventeenth episode dealing with the events of the previous episode might be disappointed to see that it doesn’t so much deal with the fallout of certain break-ups than just give us a taste of how life will go on for these characters and that sometimes relationships just end.
There is no reconciliation for Rin-yi and Kyong-joon as one might have hoped, but then that just adds to Lovestruck’s more grounded explorations of relationships and it honestly might have felt like a cop-put to backtrack on one of the final episode’s most devastating moments.
For this episode, Jae-won, Eun-oh, Geon, Rin-yi, Kyong-joon and Sun-young almost feel like guest characters, but that’s maybe the point. The series has been about an exploration of love, memory and life in the city that this pretty much explores the life in the city aspect and shows to the audience that there are other stories out there, with their own set of dramas, emotional poignancies and moments of levity, comedy and drama.
There’s a lovely passing of the baton feel to the episode as it’s Eun-oh’s initial involvement that gets the story moving and which gracefully allows the audience to be alright with a new story being told for a large part of this final episode. (Although there is a #MeToo element to this story which threatens to somewhat sour proceedings, especially in the manner that it’s handled.)
For anyone who has stayed with the series, there are great moments between the characters we have come to love and you get a real sense of joy that the writers have in placing Eun-oh and Jae-won in enjoyably comedic moments where they tell each other how pretty they look and how much they love each other.
After weeks and weeks of angsty comedy and drama, it’s a lovely thing to see and enjoy, and it’s all brilliantly intercut with one of the quieter scene stealers of the series getting a story to himself.
In many ways it’s a quiet summing up of so many of Lovestruck’s core strengths as a comedy, a drama, and as a brilliant television series. I’m just sad that’s it all over, but if anything, it’s a lovely half hour of television that will make you thankful for the last eight weeks and that such a romantic and comedic joy such as this ever existed.