After the intensity of ep14, this episode returns to the show’s more usual light-hearted tone with more sweetness and fun between Joon Jae and Sim Chung while still moving several pieces ahead, the most significant development of all being Joon Jae finally meeting his mum.
I’ve always felt that the wiser choice for Joon Jae would just be to come clean to Sim Chung about what the dream is all about and how it’d end, so that the both of them can work together to avoid a repeat of the ending. I’m wondering if Sim Chung is completely ignorant about what happened, because we did see her in episode 1 swimming at the bottom of the ocean and picking up the jade bangle. Instead, Joon Jae decides to tell her the story between Dam Ryung and Sae Wa, but changing it to a happy ending instead. Perhaps it’s also his way of changing the past, by not acknowledging it. It could also be part of his general protectiveness towards Sim Chung, which also bothers me slightly because we know that Sim Chung, unlike Sae Wa, is perfectly able to protect herself, particularly against physical threats.
While I did not particularly like Joon Jae hiding the sad ending from Sim Chung, what I enjoyed was how Sim Chung responded to the realisation that Joon Jae has known all along about her mermaid identity. One of her fears has always been that he’d reject her and send her back once he knew she was different. Her realisation that he accepts her and values her makes her feel completely at home in this world. This is reinforced later by his assurance to her that he will ensure she can do normal things, just like anybody else in this world. It feels so much like a new lease of life that Sim Chung decides to throw a birthday party for herself, inviting Yoona and her homeless friend along. She also decides to invite Joon Jae’s mum, who initially declines, but agrees once she realises that Sim Chung has no parents and that this is her first birthday party.
The bond between Sim Chung and Joon Jae’s mum felt a little forced initially, but I like how it has developed into something such a simple, heartwarming friendship. When Joon Jae’s mum meets Sim Chung, she too tells Sim Chung that she’s planning on a new start, to look for the person she wants to find and say what she wants. I do wonder though why she’s just been targeting So Hee and not looking for her husband, because wouldn’t she be even more disappointed with him given that he allowed his own son to run away and didn’t inform her. Nonetheless, I liked how she put Soo Hee in her place when she came to Jin Joo’s household and let the whole truth out of the bag.
Jin Joo’s reaction when finding out the truth is so hilarious and perfectly in character! She responds with so much excitement because her home has now become the site of where history unfolds and asks Joon Jae’s mum to stay on in the place, even if she doesn’t want to work for her anymore. Shi Ah is also informed of this new revelation, which then makes her sink even deeper into desperation because she realises Joon Jae is connected to the Chairman of a huge company.
On the dad side of things, Soo Hee has become even bolder and has now even enlisted Dae Young to become the chauffeur of the family. Chi Hyun sinks even deeper into the dark side and pulls ajusshi’s oxygen tubes, because he realises that ajusshi knows about his mum’s connections to Dae Young. Chi Hyun seems to have a moment of regret and awakening when we see him fumble to put back the oxygen tubes, but is taken away by Dae Young who tells him not to destroy the plan and just sit back while things fall in place. Well, who would blame Chi Hyun for wanting to take action? Whatever Dae Young’s plan is, he’s certainly taking ages to act on it. He hasn’t even acted on his plan all the way in the first few episodes to kill Joon Jae. Dae Young’s specialisation seems to be lurking around in cars, but not taking any action. Our present day villains just aren’t very competent, though I am keen to find out who Dam Ryung’s friend saw in the room, wearing the jade bangle. I hope the show doesn’t hold out for too long in revealing the truth to us and that the answer will be a satisfying one.
The episode ends with Joon Jae and his mum finally meeting, at both sides of the road and walking towards each other, both in tears. While we’ve taken longer than I’ve preferred for this reunion to happen, the way it has been set up has ultimately been satisfying, with Sim Chung being the one to make the reunion happen and communicating it to him telepathically from across the road, that the legend of the tower was right, that those who parted there would meet again. With one legend coming to pass, what remains to be seen is how the legend involving our mermaid will unfold. While that story had a tragic ending in the Joseon era, the overarching message of that legend is that whatever happens, the boy who loved the mermaid will always fulfil his promise to find the mermaid and protect her. I truly hope that the sense of danger to our mermaid becomes clearer in the coming episodes, because what their romance needs now is a rising-up against the odds storyline to elevate it to something truly legendary.