Thanks for hanging out at cimiart for kdrama recaps and Korean Wave fan art. This is my 200th post, a landmark in the blog world that I’d hope to make before the end of the year and I did! I l♥ve your comments and am grateful for the support you’ve given. Look forward to more kdrama recaps in 2016. Fighting!
Bubblegum 풍선껌 Episode 15
[A Spell for Happiness: Thank you.]
Dong Il is in transition from the situation he found himself in for the past year. There’s something to be said about hanging loose until you feel like it’s time to move on. He not only takes up Suk Joon’s offer to stay at his place, but decides to resign from his position at the radio station to work with Suk Joon.
Ri Hwan and Haeng Ah make a final preparations for a birthday party for Mother/Aunt. Haeng Ah is all about living in the moment and being with the ones you love. They playfully bicker about more shopping and Ri Hwan threatens to use up his wish for a kiss that Haeng Ah granted him at the campfire when he sang to her. Now days he can’t get enough of her.
He asks her to come in and promises that Ji Hoon is home. However, it was just a ploy to get her to stay longer. It is fun to watch them tease and laugh after so many painful days of staying apart. For the first time, there is a lightness in the atmosphere as they freely act like themselves.
It’s time to dress up Mother/Aunt for her birthday party. When the curtain is drawn, Mother/Aunt appears in a beautiful white dress with a stunning fur cape. Haeng Ah and Aunt Princess allow themselves a short cry over the bittersweetness of it all. Mother/Aunt is simple and accepting in her present mind and enjoys the moment, but forgets many things with her Alzheimer’s.
It is the day of the party and the guests begin to arrive. Dong Hwa hands out name tags and takes pictures. It’s a gathering of those who have touched Mother/Aunt’s life in some way. She and Ri Hwan make a grand entrance at the festively decorated Secret Garden. They sing “Happy Birthday” and everyone is grateful to see her so radiant. One by one, they present her with thoughtful, personal gifts. When it is Ri Hwan’s turn, he seats his mother and places a charming pair of heels on her feet and tells her they are from him and Haeng Ah so that they can go many places together.
Haeng Ah and Mother/Aunt stand at the wall of pictures filled with decades of memories. Haeng Ah never grows tired of telling Mother/Aunt over and over who is in the pictures and where it was taken. It is during their conversation about Aunt Princess and Dong Hwa that we come to know the story of how Dong Hwa came into the family. She lied about her age to work at Secret Garden to be able to eat there. When Uncle Gangster found out she didn’t have any parents, they took her in – just like a fairy tale ending. She is the daughter they never had and they are the parents she longed for.
Each couple has their moment to reconcile differences. Tae Hee finds Ji Hoon sitting outside. Through flashbacks, Tae Hee recalls their recent conversations – some painfully truthful about his reckless behavior, some expressing her hurt over their failed relationship, and some revealing Ji Hoon’s continued feelings for her. She apologizes to him for her harsh words yesterday; he brings her a cup of coffee to warm up.
Haeng Ah finds Ri Hwan sitting at a table, thinking. Mother/Aunt had an episode of forgetfulness and paniced when she locked herself in the bathroom and couldn’t get out. He is worried there will be more and more incidents like that and is trying to figure out where she might stay when he is at work. Haeng Ah comforts him and tells him they will work it out together.
It’s group picture time! Mother/Aunt is looking pretty in the center with everyone else making fun faces. It is the ending of a perfect birthday party. Ri Hwan walks Haeng Ah to the bus stop. They are pleased with the successful party and laugh at Ji Hoon’s terrible karaoke rendition at the talent show. Every time a bus comes by, he tells her to take the next one until it is the last one of the night. As she boards and the bus pulls away, he runs alongside and waves until it is out of sight.
Things are looking up with the Yi Seul’s relationships – romantic and mother-wise. Her wonderfully protective brother has her back and they talk openly about the guy she met recently. Mother joins them for lunch and, in her own way, shows care and concern for Yi Seul. There is a softening in the way they treat each other and a hint of growth on both sides for each other’s perspective.
Ri Hwan gets a text from the hospital that his test results are in. He tells Ji Hoon not to worry and promises to let him know as soon as he finds out. Ji Hoon frets all day.
Joon Soo brings in a cake that was delivered to the studio and asks if it’s someone birthday. Tae Hee counts the candles – there are 34. Se Young thinks a fan has sent it to her as she is always mistaken for being younger than she really is. Haeng Ah takes a piece of cake to her desk. She wonders if Tae Hee is okay with Dong Il leaving. Tae Hee asks her, “Trying to forget someone but seeing them all the time and forgetting someone by not being able to see them even when you want to…which one of the two is worse, do you think?” While Haeng Ah thinks about it Tae Hee answers, “It’s the same thing.” After everyone has gone home, Haeng Ah takes a bite of the pink and white birthday cake. A text from Suk Joon explains it all, “Here’s next year’s in advance because I think I’ll get busy. Happy birthday.” Well, he’s trying anyway, even if it is too little too late.
Haeng Ah thinks back to their recent farewell meeting where he returned her bracelet. She hadn’t asked for it back because she felt bad about their break up. She was having a hard time then, and thought he was relieved that they broke up, but now she realizes it was hard on him, too. They part on good terms; he asks if she is okay and she tells him that she is happy. So the cake today is the finishing touch from Suk Joon, a nice olive branch gesture, all in all.
It’s Dong Il’s last day as he prepares to move out a few sparse boxes of belongings. Haeng Ah stops by for a request on his last day – she asks him to fill in for her for old time’s sake. He makes a fuss but agrees, and when she leaves he sighs, “Thanks.”
Ji Hoon texts Tae Hee to come get him at the police station. She thinks it’s a repeat of all the past times she’s had to be bail him out for being drunk. This time, however, Ji Hoon has cried “wolf” to get her to come to him, sober and all, to ask if she will take him back.
Ri Hwan waits for Haeng Ah outside the radio station. He tells her that he got the test results. When she hears him say, “They said that I was fine,” she falls into his arms with tears of relief and happiness over the good news. As the snow begins to fall, they stand for several minutes in each other’s embrace.
- There certainly aren’t any surprises as Bubblegum winds down. In fact, I can’t imagine what else is left to hash out with the final episode out there. I’m okay with a soft landing especially since the story was headed that way. I am also happy that Mother/Aunt had the wherewithal to make amends with Ri Hwan and Haeng Ah. What she remembers from here on in is unknown, but at least they know that she thought through her opposition to their relationship and set her own hangups aside when push came to shove.
- The bracelet circling back to Haeng Ah – I had issues with the men hanging on to it like a trophy token, but hey – it was a good move on Suk Joon’s part to return it to Haeng Ah. It became a symbol of a peaceful moving on and a sincere farewell between two former lovers whose love line ended.
- The test results – like I said, no surprises in this kdrama with a melo streak. Looks like the looming fatal illness or amnesia themes have a new variation – Alzheimer’s. Remember, War of a Son is taking theAlzheimer’s route, too.
- It is so much more charming seeing Lee Dong Wook when he is happy. His melo mode is so heartbreaking. Really, I can’t take it. He has quite a wardrobe of duster coats, too, doesn’t he? Trendy. Handsome.
- It’s on to the finish line!