tvN’s Valid Love episode 20 – Final Recap & Review

Final episode! So what do you think will happen? Seems like Kim Joon is out of the picture now, but will the bromance live to see another day? I hope so. As for Il Ri and Hee Tae, I don’t really mind it as long as it doesn’t happen right away. After the near death experiences, they need to work out their problems and take things slow before getting back together again. They’re still technically married right?

In any case, as long as things are not rushed and are properly developed then I’m fine with whatever happening. I don’t care if Il Ri ends up with Hee Tae, Kim Joon, or alone, it just needs to make sense and not feel like an afterthought.

With that said, here’s the final recap for Valid Love! Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to read my blog and my recaps. I truly appreciate it 🙂 We may not agree, but it’s always fun seeing all of the different points of view about the show.

valid love4

5-Line Recap:

1. Il Ri and Hee Tae talk to each other.

Show, don’t go into misunderstanding territory for your last episode. After twenty episodes of Hee Tae and Il Ri not talking to each other, please let them talk to each other as adults and not have any more secrets. Il Ri should tell him that she isn’t leaving with Kim Joon and that she’s alone. It doesn’t have to start up something between them, but still…

Hee Tae gives her the chair, but Il Ri doesn’t want it. Considering what she knows about it, it makes sense. He tells her that he felt sorry for her during their marriage and he mistaken that for love. She’s gets the feels, so she makes him dinner. They eat together. They cry together. They feel thankful and Il Ri stays the night.

Aww. Kim Joon may have lost his relationship with Il Ri, but at least he has Min Ki….if only it was Hee Tae 😦

2. Sun Joo has an admirer, only he’s a bit too forward, Ki Tae refuses to be a common law partner to Yi Ri, and Miss Go wants to check herself into a nursing home even though Mr. Jang is against it.

For Sun Joo, that guy drinking her cup and then offering his really proves the difference between an action that someone you like does and some random person. If it was someone you liked, your heart would shake at that gesture. If it’s someone you don’t know, then it’s just creepy and a bit odd.

Poor guy has to work hard if he wants to win over Sun Joo. She’s a classy lady and wouldn’t fall for things like this. Be orderly and keep to the rules if you want her to be your girlfriend.

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In other news, Hee Tae walks into Kim Joon’s place so he can see the view. If Il Ri stayed the night and things happened, then for him to go to Kim Joon with an air to his step is kind of ballsy. As long as the bromance lives I’m happy with anything else this show does. He thanks Kim Joon for letting him see his problems in a different

3. Il Ri paints, which further signifies that she’s living her life again.

Instead of sticking to the same dull colour of paint at work, Il Ri gets inspired and decides to let her artistic expression all out and have fun with what she’s doing. And just like the flowers that are all blooming and vibrant with life, Il Ri is finally letting go of pretending and experiencing life once again.

Il Ri decided to wait for Hee Tae outside and then they go in together. To be honest, it kind of feels like they’re still not fully together yet and thankfully Hee Tae’s voice over agrees with me too. They still have feelings for one another, but they still need to work a bunch of things out.

Poor Sun Joo though. She looks miserable, but at least that guy decided to take my advice and say “Hello” to her before anything else. That’s how you win Sun Joo’s heart. You don’t just drink her water and expect her to swoon. You keep her on the hook and dangle it every so often before she’s fully yours.

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4. Kim Joon tells the woman who has been trying to see him to stop seeing him, she’s probably his mom.

Giving Kim Joon a family like this is nice, but I wish she would have shown up more often on this show. He’s been tied to Il Ri for so long that he didn’t have a story to call his own, so something like this would have helped him a great deal. Il Ri had Hee Soo, Hee Tae had family problems and Sun Joo, while Kim Joon’s only storyline involved Il Ri. This would have added some really nice depth to his character if his mom showed up more often.

He kept saying that he had no family, while being afraid of calling his immediate family, family. It would have been perfect.

5. Just like how Kim Joon got Hee Tae to meet with Il Ri, Hee Tae did the same thing for him so he can say goodbye to Il Ri.

They may not be together, but the bromance here….. *wipes tear* If only.

The former affair couple smile as they say goodbye and then walk away from each other. I wonder why Kim Joon has to leave, but oh well. He’s going to be working with other people this time instead of by himself so he won’t be so lonely there.

Yi Ri is leaving abroad for a year and tells Ki Tae to wait for her.

Miss Go and Mr. Jang share a meal together with Hee Soo there with them.

Hee Tae then narrates the following quote,

“Is there an invalid love in the world? We’re weak enough to fall in any kind of love. We break and shatter because we’re weak, but grow bigger in the process. Is that why the silver of sunshine on the inevitable spring day is so welcome?”

To answer your question, there are some invalid loves in the world…I just won’t mention it here because this isn’t the time or place.

And that’s the end. We see another painting from Il Ri and just like last time, there are tons of flowers in bloom around it.

valid love1

Final Thoughts & Review on Valid Love:

I think Valid Love tried to tackle a topic of infidelity, of the emotional kind, and show the human aspect of it. There are no good guys or bad guys on this show (other than those bystanders) and I think the show was very true to that. Instead of painting any sort of picture or pushing us to root for one couple over the other, we’re presented with very flawed characters.

Being flawed will make you hate them, love them, and care for them, because they feel real. Other than Hee Soo and Sun Joo, I don’t think there was any character on this show that didn’t annoy me at one point or another, but even though they did I still understood where they were coming from. I don’t know if the writing was always on point, but the acting sure was and boy did the actors on Valid Love sell every scene that they were in.

I know there will be a lot of angry fans, because Il Ri and Kim Joon didn’t end up together and even though the show pretty much told us that they would never happen (since the beginning) I do understand their frustration, only in a different way. Because we saw Il Ri and Kim Joon develop a relationship, it felt more viable than Hee Tae and Il Ri. For the actual couple of the show, we didn’t really see much of their love story. They started off as student and teacher then they got married, then the affair happened, and then they got end they’re back together.

If you are a Hee Tae and Il Ri shipper, then you didn’t really have anything going for you other than the fact that they were married. Can you really ship a couple in a drama when the only thing they have is marriage, but nothing else? Even though I enjoyed the show, for the most part, this is my biggest complaint against it. We never saw Il Ri and Hee Tae’s love story, which makes rooting for them a struggle because there’s nothing there. Maybe this was the writer’s intention though. Just like how the couple never communicated with each other, their romance wasn’t communicated with us as well. All we knew was that they were married and that there were problems.

In the end, they both realized that they had a lot of repairing to do, because their marriage wasn’t a real marriage. Was this what the writer was trying to convey? How do you tell an epic love story about a couple who never opened up to each other during their marriage? What if the only time they did was when they first met? That would explain why they remembered their high school days so fondly and nothing else. I just wish this was explained more.

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I mentioned this before, but I think the storyline involving Kim Joon’s mother should have been more prominent. She just shows up in the end so that he can have a family. It’s kind of a cop out, especially since this would have brought so much needed depth to his character.

There are some other issues, like Hee Soo’s story never being fully expanded on, or how Sun Joo, while awesome, serving no real purpose to the story. If she wasn’t in the show, then nothing would change. But other than a few things here or there, I did enjoy the story. I don’t know how I feel about the ending, but it does make sense and didn’t feel rushed. I appreciate that.

I don’t think Valid Love will be for everyone, but I think it did an okay job in showing flawed people deal with their problems. If you look at it from this angle, then the show is an enjoyable one. If you’re into shipping, then maybe take a step back and then watch it. It’s not bad and in terms of cheating kdramas, I do find this one to be one of the better ones.

Plot – A few misses, but overall enjoyable – 7.5
Characters – Flawed, but real – 8
Writing – It was okay – 6.5
Acting – Top Notch! – 9

Overall Score – 7.75/10

Thanks again to everyone who took the time to read my thoughts on this!


19 thoughts on “tvN’s Valid Love episode 20 – Final Recap & Review

  1. sparklingcosmic

    I like the way things ended in ep. 20.

    HT and KJ did the right thing to do. HT said that it would be a mistake to keep continue…. so he said his goodbye through Il Ri, and by this he wants to show that he puts trust back to his wife. just like you said, the ending does not feel rushed. They need time.

    HT and Il Ri move on. HT ended nicely and cheering JS… After saying that she did not have the confident, HT said that it’s ok being selfish (funny certain people would see it as saying, my wife is stupid, let her do the job taking care HS and my mother).

    About the mom of KJ, i don’t feel like it is being pushed either. There are many things in the story which was not explained, like how HS became so sick, and the story about his boy friend. From what i understand, the mother gave birth to KJ, and gave up to achieve her own life. And then she tries to find him again, but he always refused. For him, family means nothing… until he met Il Ri and the Jangs, and the writer has been making so many hints about this.

    If i can have an option, i would want the writer show us more how HT could win IR. But HT is not that kind of person, and their relationship, since they are already married, could not grow more than that. The writer does not feel the need to tell people more about their relationship. But if i rewatched ep 1 and 2, i guess it was enough. Although i would never understand Il Ri. She is always weird…

    I also like the way she ended Yi Ri and Ki Tae. There are deep messages why Yi Ri still wanted her freedom, yet she is also tied up to the fact that she is Korean, and men will always be men regardless their nationality. What Ki Tae said is ironic (and to some extent, he is right)… He is very annoying (I guess writer wanted to point out that these kind of men exist, but she did not want to judge him either), and just like the rest of his family he does not know how to show love. And unfortunately, Yi Ri likes him the way he is, though he is very different.

    I think the writer is quite coherent with the whole plot, and it is not an open ending. Possibility of season 2? Why destroying something that is already good, to make viewers happy? Writers should have their own freedom to create story, free from ratings and judgements and viewers need to grow up watching the dramas. Although the main objective of entertainment will always be to entertain people, but i am actually fed up with most of Korean Drama would just put the main characters happy.. It becomes too cliché. That is why sometimes, i prefer Korean movies or dramas specials (with 2 ep. only) than their 16 or 20 ep.dramas; they bring unusual message, and most of them have open endings.

    Thanks for your time recapping this drama, and being objective through your recap. I am hoping that there will be other interesting Kdramas (aside those with OTP and love triangle) so i can wait for your recap and opinions. 🙂

    1. mochirochi Post author

      Some good thoughts! I get what you mean that Kim Joon didn’t care about family until Il Ri, but I still wish his mother had more of a role on the show. It would have helped bring home this message.

      I’m hoping for more interesting kdramas too! To be honest, I use to watch them all the time, but then stopped because I couldn’t handle them anymore. I personally prefer jdramas, only because there’s more variety with the stories and it’s not so romance heavy.

      Maybe that’s why I enjoyed Valid Love. I was nervous about the cheating, but it surprised me and despite the focus on the romance it wasn’t only about it.

  2. Vali

    So, yesterday I watched ep 20 twice, once without subs and once with subs. At the end I really didn’t know how I was feeling.
    On one hand I wasn’t shipping any couple in a specific way, but on the other I also wasn’t thrilled by the idea of Hee Tae and Il-Ri being together under the same roof again.
    Here’re my doubts:
    1) What really HT and IR talked out, specifically? They understood each other just with a glance?Or she got the subtle “I was wrong, I’ll try to be better” message when HT told her that he knew about her and Kim Joon being together and he wished her to live happily?
    2)HT going to KJ place telling him that IR was back home. I did not appreciate this behavior and I wasn’t expecting this kind of act from HT.
    3)Kim Joon leaving. I read this choice as the ultimate way to affirm the KJ was the one who, since the beginning, didn’t belong to that place, with those people: he wasn’t part of the family, he wasn’t a friend, he wasn’t a boyfriend. Everybody kept telling that to him. He was just the element who helped those people “work out the problems between each other”. To me it felt like he was “used”, please pass me this term. I’m just glad he went on with his life!
    I agree with Mocorochi: [Would have added some really nice depth to his character if his mom showed up more often].
    4) Ki Tae and Yi Ri together… I’m sorry I can’t be happy about that. I couldn’t care less!
    I probably think that Il-Ri should have started a new life by herself.
    It’s been some time since I’ve been so moved by a kdrama: definitely it striked a chord and I’ll not forget this feelings for a while.
    I’d love to say a word about the actors: all of them were amazing, very special performances!!
    Sorry if I wrote so much!!
    Thank you very very much for your recaps!! 🙂

    1. mochirochi Post author

      I thought HT walking into KJ’s studio like that was unlike him, but considering how much KJ did the same to him I don’t really mind it so much. It did ruin any chance of a bromance between the two, so I didn’t like it either.

      I think Il Ri and Hee Tae decided to try and give their marriage a second chance and see where it takes them. Whether they stay together or not isn’t known, but they’ve finally stopped pretending and are going into their relationship with open eyes. I do wish that it happened after a few years apart, but at the same time I do understand their reunion. A death scare and an actual death can make people do things like this.

      KJ did feel passed along, but HT also felt like useless and IR didn’t make sense. Despite them being the main characters, the writing wasn’t always the greatest for them. I think it’s a testament to the actors for conveying so much and making me think about their actions and find hidden meanings to things that were probably not there lol.

      I don’t mind the long post, I’m just grateful that you took the time to read and comment. 🙂

  3. junny

    I didn’t watch the drama, but did check back here for your recaps (like your 5-line style!). Seems like the usual kdrama issues cropped up in this drama as well, but it wouldn’t be a kdrama if stuff like that didn’t happen. Reading your recaps, I feel the drama didn’t really go all the way (or didn’t dare to?) even though it had the potential to.

    And you changed your blog layout! What prompted it?

    1. mochirochi Post author

      Ever since the new year I’ve been wanting a change, but couldn’t decide on one. I ended up going with this since it’s similar to my old layout, but more open at the same time. Plus the banners can be used and not see so out of place. 😀

      In terms of kdramas, it’s not bad. The only other cheating kdrama that i watched was OohLaLa Couples and I think this one did a better job when it came to the topic of adultery. Plus, it showed both the husband and wife in a flawed way, instead of just making the guy seem like the bad guy. It didn’t go all the way or push itself in the way that I wanted it to, but it’s not bad.

  4. snow

    Thanks for all the recaps!

    As I haven’t seen the show, I liked the ending as I really respect marriages in general…but then I agree that the drama never really showed the love story of the main couple…so we couldn’t really connect to it….overall, I think I would not have enjoyed the show…and would have felt frustrated for most part…LOL 😀

    1. mochirochi Post author

      haha. I’m glad my recaps reinforced your opinion to not watch the drama. :p

      There is a bit of the love story, but it’s when he’s her teacher and it’s clear that he’s not into that at all and only humouring her. The show kept showing that past as a means of displaying their love for one another, which was weird. They really should have done more. 😦

  5. Pingback: VALID LOVE. TVN. | IKurate

  6. Freddie K

    This drama reminded me of another, “One Warm Word”.

    The premise of this drama is basically a woman who married at a very young age then “falling in love” with another man about the same age as hers.

    At the very beginning, while not seeing any full episode, I found the male protagonist in the affair to be wholly responsible AND utterly irresponsible to initiate an affair.

    Point: KJ knew that IR was married. Immediately, any thought or feelings must cease and desist. No matter what the feelings or urge he may have PERIOD.

    But here, not only did a young. and I will add immature person, not only impose himself upon a married lady but her in-laws as well!

    Immature point: Lying to HT about leaving with IR and marrying her to boot! (In the final EP) among others.

    I have watched the show in full the last two EPs and portions fast forwards. The whole story is a narration by HT. I believe the actual feelings of IR were screened directly and NOT narrated. The parts that HT did not know what actually transpired.

    If anyone is wondering what made IR return to to HT, it was always there. HT and IR, both had asked each other to reconcile.

    It was only KJ’s insistence and persistence “to follow her heart” that kept the “affair” going. IR may have given KJ a chance but I believe his immaturedness and lack of understanding of family and its values created a very big doubt in her mind.

    HT gave IR the greatest gift – to decide for herself the path she wanted to chose and wished her, sincerely, all the very best.

    That could not be said of KJ who was possessive to the point of obsession.

    As in the drama ” One Warm Word” I find any depiction of a man taking advantage of a woman in a vulnerable state, repulsive and abominable, when the man has no rational cause to do so.

    By the way can anybody recall IR telling KJ she loved him? Giving half or all of one’s heart is not love. Also as mentioned, IR did try to give KJ all of her heart BUT that does not amount to love or true love.

    She did say that she loved HT and duly explained by the letter to HT, recalling her talk with Hee Soo and accidently recorded. HT wrongly concluded that since IR apologised in the letter meant she did not love him anymore.

    IR realised how much HT loved her that he was willing to sacrifice IR as his wife and to be free to do whatever she chose to do. Also recall that HT wanted IR to change the cause of divorce as irreconcilable differences and not adultery.

    IR had wanted to live the young life she lost, in the past 7 years of marriage (thru no fault of HT), amply explained and depicted. About dating and doing the things she always wanted to do, painting. IR had volunteered to look after Hee Soo and that led to the lost 7 years. At the end, the painting of her and Hee Soo symbolised her realisation that her lost years were fulfilling. And that in the end she did the right thing.

    Recalling the times,HT had and will always be IR’s one and only true love and vice versa.

  7. Bereeeeeee

    I started the drama a few weeks late, and that’s why I just finished it. Every time I finished an episode, I would look for a recap,so I wouldn’t forget the plot etc before starting a new one. And that’s how I stumbled upon yours. And I’m pretty happy to find that we share some similar thoughts/opinions on the drama.

    In this particular episode, I feel the same way about Kim Joon and his mother. I feel like we never really saw how his mother’s absence shaped his life, and therefore, we were now left confused about how the whole thing that happened with him and Il ri helped him to forgive his mother. I wish the mother had appeared sooner.

    Anyway, I ship Kim Joon and Il Ri so bad, that I’m so annoyed and disappointed with the ending lol. I personally think they’re so good for each other that having them together is the one thing that makes sense. I’m still struggling to find out why Il Ri had to end up with Hee Tae. Like you said, the show spent so much time building Il Ri/Kim Joon. But in the end, everything led to nothing. So what is the point, you know? At least that’s how I feel hehe.

    Anyway, thank you for recapping the show. I really enjoy what you wrote 🙂

  8. Boon Ang

    Like some of you, I agree Valid love closed well. HT & IR rediscovered their first love. When IR sighted HT across at road intersection, she was excited and her heart fluttered (flashback to HT’s question in episode 13 – “Were you ever excited by me? When was the last time? You can’t remember huh?”). Later in the park when HT handed IR a canned drink, she found HT’s hands hot (so surprised that she lost hold of canned drink). On the other hand, HT also found his answer to IR’s question in episode 14 “When was the last time I excited you? How long was I a woman to you?” – his was excited to see her and his heart fluttered. Finally, during their make-up dinner, HT’s voice over said they were “warm/hot” at their home. They were excited and grateful. Seems like they rediscovered their love – passion, companionship, and commitment/loyalty to each other. It was fated for them to meet again but it was their choice to make their marriage work. So I do not understand why so many commented their abrupt reunion. If you consider all they’ve been through (crawled through the mud and rolling in the bottomless pit) to realise and establish the validity of their love, then you’ll have to concede that their love has endure the crucible of trials and testing.

  9. Boon Ang

    I want to thank you for all the timely recaps. For someone following the serial as it was telecast each time, I am sure it proved helpful and interesting.
    I did not have the opportunity to follow the serial as it was telecasted. Instead, I only watched it several times. First, I watched the whole serial from episode 1 to 20. Then, I watched it backwards from episode 20 to 1. Lastly, I watched several parts that clarified questions in mind. Doing so yielded benefits. First, I realise the Gestalt edict that “the whole is greater than the sum of it’s parts”. So, instead of viewing the events as they unfolded and try to predict what will happen next, I got to see and understand the narrative wholistically. Second, watching it backwards also allowed me to tie different aspects of the story together meaningfully. Lastly, I also benefited from all the recaps, reviews, and comments posted.
    Once again, thanks.

  10. kinkygoals

    I don’t agree with the fact that all the Il Ri – Hee Tae shippers had was the marriage. I agree their love story was showed very fast, and they had problems and i doubt they were ever really in love. But still the first 2 episodes were amazing, it was the story of first love for Il Ri and the story of Soulmates for them both. The fact that it was so innocent, everything that happened with the accident, the way he left and how he felt when he left, and in the very end the fact that she didn’t search for him because she believed they were meant to be together and life will make them cross roads again, sold the couple to me. If that belief isn’t love then nothing is!

    I agree, the show focuses on Kim Joon – Il Ri more, but it isn’t the same. Yes, he loves her like crazy, but the show was never about What he or Hee Tae wanted, it was always about her. Yes, she loved Kim Joon a lot, and i believe he was her true love, but Hee Tae was her soulmate.

    I kept asking myself, if she met them at the same point in her life which one would she choose. I couldn’t answer until episode 19. When she wakes up from the comma and all she sees is Hee Tae you have your answer. I think she didn’t know either, who she wants more, she realised who she really wants when she almost lost him.

    For the love triangle, i believe the main purpose of the writer was to talk about soulmates and true loves. What happens if those 2 things aren’t the same person. I can happen. Hee Tae was Il Ri’s soulmate he was her life. Kim Joon was the love of her life, but he was just a window for her to breath when she was having family problems. Kim Joon was there to give her the same she needed to be free and not to hold an entire problematic family on her shoulders. If Hee Tae was more powerful and understood her better i doubt she would have given in to Kim Joon. The fact that Hee Tae didn’t understand combined with all the family problems that were left on her hands she fall for Kim Joon.

  11. TMT

    This a very realistic story. Having been in a relationship for 7 years before and other relationships i empathize with il Ri and HT. To add to understanding this drama here are some of it.

    Love for each other and sharing life and family for 7 years cannot be erased by hardships and challenges. One may breakup but you never forget what you had the love for each other. To deny that is to deny that it ever happened. You can put it behind you and move on but you never forget. Yes 2 episode on it is short but the significance would require understanding how important that is to both of them hence their thinking and action later on the drama.

    During the marriage, life, hardships and challenges, family affairs appears as it does in reality so how does one deal with it? How would you deal with it? On KJ his selfish pursuit of a married woman regardless of what it does to IR’s family, IR on handling the temptation on the backdrop of being taken for granted, HT on dealing with the affair, their family in the midst on realizing how much they have been taking and not giving. Its depiction is too real for comfort. Everyone is 3 dimensional, capable of being very hurtful as well as loving and giving. Life is Grey. It just the way it is.

    The ending makes sense and realistic but also could have gone the other way and make just as much sense and realism. IR love HT and finally accepted she also loved KJ as the scene sitting on the chair(before she refuse the chair and regarded as a reminder of her mistake) KJ made for her but had also made her choice as to who she loves and appreciate more to try to make the relationship work.

  12. TMT

    A side note on why HT went to KJ’s place. He went there to thank him because previous episode has already explained that KJ gave the chair to HT knowing full well if HT really gave the chair to IR it would have the impact of letting IR know clearly just how much HT loves her. It is KJ’s way to give IR a chance of happiness as he had already been dumped IR and knows IR still loves HT dearly as when she woke up from her coma calling his name but will not go back to HT either because she thought HT does not love her that much anymore. KJ lied about marrying and going off with IR to ensure that HT really love IR that much that he will be willing to gift the chair to IR.
    Its conclusion is more bitter than sweet and leaves melancholy.

  13. KiTtYcAt

    I’m sad she didn’t end up with the Carpenter I really shipped them not to mention he’s really really hot


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