As Answer Me 1994 has practically taken over my life the last few months, I wanted to dedicate at least a post for each of the final two episodes. I’m already dreading the thought of saying goodbye to the series and the world of Answer Me 1994 tomorrow.
(WARNING: Spoiler alert for Episode 20!)
First, regarding Chilbong. In Episode 20, he narrates:
“It ain’t over till it’s over. But if it’s a game without an end in sight, you must decide to end it yourself. If it’s something that you can’t do even after 10,000 hours of heartache, for that person’s sake, you must let go. You must start the end.”
It was a little frustrating to see them give this closure only at the final episode. There really was no reason for it, but to keep the husband guessing game going. I think part of the reason why Chilbong is so fixated on Na-jeong is because of his loneliness stemming from his mommy issues, which came out again this episode. After babysitting SookSook all the time while Dad was at the hospital, Haitai complained of getting hurt when as soon as SookSook saw Mom, he seemed to have forgotten everything that Haitai did for him and ran over to his mom instead. At this, all the boarders nod and agree that that’s the power of “Mom,” whereas Chilbong remains silent. I really thought that the writer would resolve this mommy issue by the end of the series, but I’m starting to fear that perhaps the writer will go the route of this being a burden that Chilbong will always have to carry and overcome, instead of giving a picture perfect ending. Perhaps this is more realistic.
Also, just to clarify, Chilbong really did injure his arm in an accident after dropping off a cake for Na-jeong at work. (Later, it gets revealed that that day was his birthday, and everyone has forgotten.) She felt guilty because he got injured after seeing her, and as the busybody that she is, took it upon herself to nurse him because they must keep his injury a secret from the public. He tries to hold on to her using his injury, but once he realizes that Na-jeong is someone he can’t ever have even when she is by his side (like that OST song), he lies that his arm is fine and quietly gets discharged without telling her. In fact, his arm remains injured and needs continued treatment. (But based on the ending scene showing him leaving for the U.S., it seems like he has recovered eventually.)
Now, moving on the our main couple!
When Trash meets Na-jeong at the cafe, she explains that she too did not know why they had to break up… until now. Even when Trash’s mom passed away, he did not tell her. She learned it from her own mom after she had already passed away. When Na-jeong talked to Trash over the phone while she was in Australia, he kept insisting he was fine.
Na-jeong explains that Trash still continued to treat her as his sister- his family- someone who he needed to protect from harm while they were in a relationship. Instead of confiding in her when he was having a hard time, he never opened up to her about his pain. He was always the one saying he was sorry and saying everything is fine. As Na-jeong gets up to leave, she asks, “Why couldn’t we have just said to each other that we were having a hard time back then?”
Perhaps this is why Na-jeong was not the one to be able to first run to Trash even when she returned to Korea. If she did, the relationship would have still remained of this dynamic. Only when Trash was sick and he finally texted Na-jeong to share how he was suffering as well were they finally able to truly move past the confinement of “family” that they had placed themselves in all their lives.
This is why Trash’s short text message (“It’s Oppa. Can you come over right now? I’m a little sick.”) was so meaningful to Na-jeong and moved her to tears.
I think I understand now why Jung Woo said in his interview that it is not important who is the husband, but how they get there. I suspect Jung Woo expected Trash to be the husband, even if he wasn’t explicitly told so by the Writer/Director. He understood that this was never a “Who’s the husband?” story, but a story of how two people who grew up so close like siblings moved past that to become true lovers. We’re finally just one episode away from that completion!