Welcome to the recap/review of “The Bride of the Water God” episode 16. The final episode! Let’s see if the ending is going to surprise me. I’d be delighted if it would. Last episode Yeom Mi finally figured out the meaning of the dream. So Ah is going to die. But will Habaek let her? Let’s find out!
So Ah will be taken away by the deity who will save her life. But it is not Habaek as Yeom Mi initially thought. He finally revealed himself in her dream.
To her surprise, she sees a picture of him in So Ah’s living room. It is So Ah’s father. The door bell rings. It’s Joo Dong who has finally returned. Habaek orders Yeom Mi to leave. The time So Ah and he have left is short. Yeom Mi isn’t willing to leave so easily. If her dream comes true…So Ah interrupts her. She was wrong. It was only just a dream. Her father never saved her. And never will.
Joo Dong has found the remnants of the tablet. He’ll have to reassemble it. Habaek tells him to do so at Moo Ra’s place. He wants to be alone with So Ah. They only have 6 days left. Joo Dong makes sure that the future King doesn’t have the intention of staying. Nothing good will come of that. So Ah is looking at the picture of her and her dad when Habaek and Joo Dong enter. Joo Dong is bidding his goodbye but after a look the photograph, he asks her with a sigh, if she still hasn’t found him. So Ah denies. He then asks her if she wants to. So Ah is stunned. Does she want to find her father? Habaek pulls Joo Dong out of the house before he can do anything else to So Ah’s unstable heart. When Habaek walks back to her, he takes the picture of her dad and puts it into the frame. She shouldn’t hide her feelings for her father anymore.
“Saying you’ve forgotten someone means the opposite. Saying you hate someone means that you don’t actually hate that person. A part of your heart stays intact even when everything falls apart. When you lie it’s so obvious.”
He hands her the picture frame afterward. He apologizes for not being able to fulfill her one wish, even though he’s a God. So Ah starts to cry. Habaek doesn’t stop. He tells her to find her father after he left. Even if he’s the worst person in the world. She needs to receive her answer and leave her self-constructed cage of darkness. It would drive him crazy to know that she’s still in it after he left.
Moo Ra tries to harass Bi Ryeom to check on Habaek to make sure that he’s going to leave. Luckily Joo Dong saves him from endless discussions and confirms that Habaek has no other plans. Bi Ryeom asks Joo Dong about the tablet. But he hasn’t found it yet. Humans have it. How is that possible? Humans can’t see it, Bi Ryeom answer. Some, can is the vague answer they receive from Joo Dong. Dropping the topic, he asks them to spend the night at their apartment.
He calls Nam Soo Ri, to let him into So Ah’s house, but Nam Soo Ri has to work to earn lots of money for his master. They disconnect and Nam Soo Ri is surprised by Yeom Mi standing suddenly next to him. She came to ask for his help. Nam Soo Ri is skeptical. Is she sure that she doesn’t harbor any bad feelings towards So Ah? Yeom Mi thinks it has to do with her skills being not developed enough. She needs Nam Soo Ri’s help. She warms up her lips, forcing Nam Soo Ri to flee as fast as his legs can carry him.
So Ah went up to wake up Habaek in the morning. He’s still asleep, though this is not a normal occurrence. She turns to leave.
So Ah prepared a present for Habaek. It’s a dark blue suit. Of all the things he’s ever worn, it’s the most fitting for him, she says. She wants him to wear it on their dates. The date they promised to have. Eat, have fun, go shopping. Leave the car behind and take the bus and the subway. Soon after the two leave together.
The two love birds play catch on a bridge. Habaek in his dark blue suits chases a squeamish So Ah in a bright pink dress. As bright as the lollipops they are having. When they wait for the bus, they play stone – scissors – paper to pass the time. Habaek is horrible at it and as punishments, he receives forehead flicks and hits on the wrist from a smiling So Ah. They walk along the river and share tea with the sound of cicadas in the background. Afterward, they go to a restaurant where they serve cold noodles as a specialty. So Ah wants to show Habaek that he has one less thing to worry about. She will get rid of her distaste for cold food. She hesitates at first but then lifts the bowl and takes a big sip. She puts it down, looks up at him, smiling and says that it wasn’t that bad. Habaek smiles at her as well and wipes some leftover soup of her upper lip.
They finish their meal and for the first time, So Ah calls Habaek by his name. She’s never done so before. She was afraid that her true feelings for him would show if she’d call his name. But she isn’t afraid anymore. She asks Habaek to play rock – paper – scissors against the restaurant owner. If they win, he’ll draw them for free.
Joo Dong visits Hoo Ye. Hoo Ye expresses his apologies toward Joo Dong, but he brushes it away. It was an accident and doesn’t matter. He is much more interested in the man who was there to save Hoo Ye back then. That man was the same man who saved Joo Dong and brought him to the hospital. Does Hoo Ye know anything about him? Where he went? Hoo Ye tells him that that man wanted to go and visit the grave of his wife. And he said he needed to meet his daughter. The name of the man was Yoon Seong Joon. Joo Dong arrives at So Ah’s house. He asks her what she did during the night of December 20th, 2004. Does she not remember? Maybe she keeps journals? Habaek
Joo Dong arrives at So Ah’s house. He asks her what she did during the night of December 20th, 2004. Does she not remember? Maybe she keeps journals? Habaek drags Joo Dong upstairs. He requests to know, why Joo Dong wants to know. Joo Dong explains that this is also the day he went missing. And that the man who brought him to the hospital must have taken his tablet. This man is So Ah’s father. He took the tablet with the means of giving it back to Joo Dong, but the tablet fulfilled the earnest wish of So Ah’s father, another servant of the gods. He wanted to meet his daughter. Joo Dong wants to know where So Ah went for that reason. Her father must have appeared there as well. Habaek is shocked by the implication of this new discovery. Habaek sends Joo Dong to the bridge. The bridge from which So Ah jumped to kill herself on the 20th of December 2004. Joo Dong can sense her father in the river. He is there. He calls Habaek to confirm it.
Habaek is devastated and walks down the stairs. So Ah is sitting at the kitchen table. Cheerfully she plans their date while conversing with Yoong Yoong. An arcade, street food, sharing ear phone buds to listen to music. When she sees Habaek she tells him, that he’s right. She’s going to look for her father. It’s better to leave the past behind. Habaek tells her with a grave voice, that he has to leave for a short while. He has to take care of something. So Ah is surprised and protests. They don’t have much time left. Habaek says that he won’t take long, so she agrees. Habaek arrives at the Hangang. Joo Dong points to where Yoon Seong Joon is located and the Water God decides to get him out of the river himself. He jumps in. So Ah meanwhile received a call from Hoo Ye who asked to meet her. He, of course, figured out everything. That the man was So Ah’s father and what the tablet is able to do, thanks to Joo Geol Rin. He will tell So Ah the last part of his story. That he was rescued by a person. By a man. Who hugged him and said to “stay calm” and “it’s okay”. He felt the first time the warmth of another person. Thanks to that man, he became human.
Habaek is in front of the house. He’s still wet. He looks up at the house, fearing at what he has to tell So Ah. When he enters, So Ah is standing in front of their drawing, looking at it lovingly. She looks at Habaek and is surprised. He is all wet, does it rain outside? And what’s with this expression? He looks like he’s going to cry. Did his friends not give him any money again? It’s ok, they don’t need it. That’s when Habaek tells So Ah, that he found him. Her father. About the tablet. And its powers.
So Ah tells Habaek, that her father can’t swim. She collapses at the riverside. Why? She screams out loud. Why did he have to do this to her? She begs for her father to come out of the water. Tears streaming down her face. She turns to Habaek, holding on to his leg, begging him to save her father. Her father can’t die like this. Habaek kneels down to her, laying an arm comforting around her. Habaek please, you’re a God. Please save my father she asks him through sobs. But Habaek can’t bring back the dead. It’s not within his powers. So Ah realizes that her father was the one to save her. Her father died because of her. It was her fault. Without her, he would still be alive. It was all her fault. Even after he saved her, she resented him, spewed vile accusations at him, she hated him. But I killed him, she screams out. She gets up. She has to go to her father. He doesn’t want to come out because he’s resenting her.
The other gods are horrified about this tragedy. Nam Soo Ri breaks out in tears. Will So Ah be alright? But why couldn’t he get the body out, Moo Ra asks? Presumably, it’s the tablet, which also kept So Ah’s father conserved, Joo Dong tells her. Habaek left it there, to not destroy Yoon Seong Joon’s body.
Habaek watched the whole night over So Ah. He battles with the knowledge that he failed the one person he loves. Nam Soo Ri enters the room in the morning. The other gods have come to see him. Moo Ra and Bi Ryeom have also tried to lift the body out of the river, but with no result. The body is still at the bottom of the river. Habaek tells them that So Ah is determined to get him out herself. So he has to do something. Moo Ra scolds him. She won’t allow it. Doesn’t he remember? She knows from a sigh how he feels. She knows, that he wants to use the magic for the return to the realm of the gods for So Ah. He can’t. The others echo this. He can’t. If he fails to go back, if he fails to become the king, he’ll die. But he wants to keep his promise.
“She said it’s the God’s duty to protect humans. How can I call myself a King if I can’t even protect that woman.”
“Stop with that rubbish. Do you think she’d really want that? If you die, you’ll disappear from the memories of humans. She won’t be even able to remember you at all. She’ll forget all about your existence,” Moo Ra tells him furious.
So Ah enters the rooftop at that moment. She staggers back into the house. Habaek follows her. He tries to explain to her, but she doesn’t want to hear anything. Why would he do something like this to her? How could he even think about it? She hits him, her anger and pain finally finding an outlet. He tries to hold her. She struggles, but in the end, gives in. Am I not your God, he asks. You told me I’m supposed to fulfill the existential wishes of humans. Didn’t he promise her to protect her, Habaek asks, his voice cracking. But So Ah doesn’t want to hear that. She doesn’t want it if it means losing Habaek.
At Bi Ryeom’s apartment, Moo Ra can’t sit still. She is sure that he’ll follow through with his plan. She tries to convince the others to force him to go back. Or to imprison him until then, but Bi Ryeom and Joo Dong won’t do that. He is the future King after all. Mad with anger, Moo Ra accuses Joo Dong of being the one who started this chaos. If he just had never looked into the past. Looked for the tablet. This would never be happening.
Bi Ryeom is the one to talk to So Ah. If Habaek doesn’t become King, then there is no reason for him to exist. He will stop to exist. That’s the rule of nature. That’s why so many deities aren’t remembered by humans. So Ah already understands this. She doesn’t wish for Habaek to sacrifice himself for her. Through Nam Soo Ri, Bi Ryeom tells Habaek that So Ah decided to give up on her wish. Habaek joins her in the living room. He kneels down next to her. He will adhere to her wishes. It was selfish of him to try and follow his own needs. But there is one thing he asks of her. That she’ll cherish her life, even after he’s gone. Her father will be at peace. They leave to see her father. The other gods are uneasy. Something seems off.
At the Hangang river side, So Ah decides it’s time for them to leave. They should just go through with their initial plan. Suddenly Habaek kisses her. It is a passionate kiss. And rough. So Ah tries to break it off. Habaek has never kissed her ever like this. Finally, she succeeds.
He hugs So Ah. Is this what you had in mind all the time, she asks him. Did you fool me with those words? How could you do this? His answer is simple. I couldn’t leave knowing that you would try to get your father out of the water. It would kill you. So Ah hits him. I could have had. I could have. What is she going to do now, knowing that he gave his life for her? But Habaek isn’t interested in that discussion. It’s time for her to meet her father. Now, with his powers, she can. So Ah doesn’t want to. She wants to stay. At this moment, the other gods materialize. With one look at Habaek, they know what he did. Moo Raa seeks comfort in Bi Ryeom’s arms. Even Bi Ryeom is saddened by what his frenemy did. Habaek and So Ah both together walk into the river to retrieve the body. As soon as So Ah touches her father, the seal around him collapses and she is able to pull him up.
So Ah buries him in a forest graveyard. She promises to reconnect him soon with her mother. Clad in black, she turns to Habaek. He hugs her and she tells him, that she’s going to forgive him. She’s going to resent him. Hate him. But she’s going to fix everything. Habaek is confused. What does she mean? The other gods approach them. Moo Ra tells him, that the servant of the gods is quite intelligent, but even after she does this, Moo Ra still won’t forgive her. So Ah is going to use the tablet to send Habaek back. So that he can become King. So that he can live. Joo Dong places the seal in her hand, when out of nowhere, the High Priest appears, dressed in a nice fitting suit. He has a mischievous smile on his face. He comes often to the human realm, didn’t Joo Dong tell them?
So what are you doing here, the High Priest would like to know. Moo Ra is the one to tell him, even though she’d rather not retell the tale. And now you’d like to use your wish for him? That would be useless. He completed his mission. He can return. He has the answer as to why the guardian stones are hidden in the human realm.
“How can a deity save the world if he or she can’t even save a human?,” answers Habaek the High Priest.
The gods are shocked. Is that truly the answer? The High Priest advises So Ah with a smile to use her wish on something more valuable. He reminds Habaek, that he still has to return before he dematerializes. So Ah makes her wish. She wishes for Habaek to stay with her until she dies. Habaek’s eyes fill with tears. The other gods leave. So Ah and Habaek hug each other. They tell each other that they love each other. The High Priest approaches Hoo Ye, who has been watching the godly get together from afar. The High Priest tells him that with this good deed, his next life should be fine. Hoo Ye answers that he only wanted to help So Ah. He provided So Ah with information, the decision she made herself. Flabbergasted by his rudeness, the High Priest introduces himself. Hoo Ye answer that he is Shin Yu He the former deity of fire. The High Priest asks Hoo Ye to teach him how to use fire and he answers with a smile to come see him. With a last look at the couple, Hoo Ye turns away. The High Priest returns to the clearing to pick up Habaek and return to the water country. Habaek promises So Ah to come back soon.
Shin Ja Ya meets up with Secretary Min. She finally figured out, how to become a decent person. With a smug smile, she hands him three plans for different foundations she wants to form: parentless children, the elderly and single mothers. Secretary Min has a different approach. He hands her an empty paper and a pen. She should fill it with the names of those, she needs to apologize to and their signatures if they accept her apology. If she does well, they might even become friends.
So Ah is back on the bridge. She holds a white flower in her hand and throws it into the river. She falls into the river, water all around her. But that is just an image in her head. Bi Ryeom who approaches her with Moo Ra, tells her off. Habaek won’t come to save her if she’d jump into the river. A small smile on Moo Ra’s face forms. Shall she tell So Ah some news? Habaek won’t be coming back. So Ah is surprised. Did a messenger arrive, she asks. No, Moo Ra answers. I’m a goddess, I know. Moo Ra decides to leave. Bi Ryeom smirks at So Ah before he follows her. He puts his arm around her waist and pulls her close, asking her to forget all about them and talk about something else. Did she really not like any of the rings?
At her clinic, Nurse Yoo informs her, that Hyung Sik (his best friend) and he decided to marry. So Ah tells him off for going too fast, but he doesn’t care. Love is just about being together. Hyung Sik enters the clinic sheepishly. She and So Ah aren’t on the best terms, but she still came to greet her. On her way home, So Ah tells Yeom Mi about the whole thing. It’s so sudden, but she can’t even persuade him to change his mind. Before she can talk any further, there is someone catching her eyes. There he is. Standing at his favorite spot. Waiting for her. The phone in her hand doesn’t matter when she approaches him. He’s back. But why did it take him so long? The process for deferring the throne is rather complicated, a grinning Habaek tells her. They hug and then turn to enter the house.
And they lived happily ever after. Until So Ah died. And Habaek was heartbroken. The end. This was the last episode of “The Bride of the Water God”. General thoughts/ feelings/ impressions?
The writing was all over the place. They dropped story lines, hinted at things (So Ah was supposed to die), conveniently changed circumstances (so now Habaek can easily change the ascension of the throne?). The biggest, biggest problem of this episode which made me yell at my screen, was that our Water God wanted to sacrifice himself for a dead body. A DEAD body. Yeah, why? Because So Ah would definitely go and get it. She never heard anything about diving equipment I assume. I mean, you can do lots and lots of things, but this was just a hilarious bad reason for him to sacrifice himself. In general, the writing wasn’t the soundest throughout the whole show. But especially this episode, I could feel how they dragged me from one emotional plot point to the other. Feel girl, feel they’d whisper. Maybe I’m too stone hearted, but the only time my heart clenched was when So Ah’s dad screamed her name and when the other gods arrived at the riverside and realized what Habaek did.
Is it a happy ending to make everyone happy? Yes, it is. Do I mind? Honestly, even though I did the recap, I’m not as invested as maybe I should be? I just have so many problems with it from a story writing point. This had so much potential to become a great fantasy drama, but sadly it was wasted in my eyes. Maybe one day, someone will make a movie out of “The Bride of the Water God” or they sell the rights to a Chinese company.
I think I might write a general review about the whole series. But all of it has to settle a little bit as of now, all of it is still very fresh. But hey, no reason to hold back with your own opinion. Let me know in the comments down below what you thought of the finale.
As always thanks for reading.
Your fellow drama-addict,