Prior to its debut on Thursday, July 6, the Korean Broadcasting System (KBS) did all they could to hype up their upcoming K-drama, Uncontrollably Fond, to be the next big series after Descendants of the Sun. As most K-drama fans know, Descendants of the Sun is currently the most popular K-drama of 2016, establishing a fan base that anticipates a second season just to see more of Song Joong Ki and Song Hye Kyo despite the fact K-dramas rarely-to-never get second seasons. Needless to say, KBS wanted that same measure of success to apply to Uncontrollably Fond too.
Unfortunately, Uncontrollably Fond fell short of KBS expectations. The K-drama starring Kim Woo Bin and Bae Suzy started out strong with double-digit viewership, but quickly dropped down as subsequent episodes aired. It was believed among the general K-drama community that Suzy’s acting was one of the main reasons why Uncontrollably Fond was losing popularity, but there were more issues besides that especially with the love story not progressing for more than half of the series. There was a ray of hope during the 12th episode which saw a spike in viewership, but the cast and crew of Uncontrollably Fond were unable to capitalize on it.
One of the few positives happening for Uncontrollably Fond was its association with Chinese audiences. The entire series was sold to Youku for a grand total of $5 million USD. There were over 2.1 billion viewers though there is no data on viewership duration, or of a unique viewer count. Still, that is an accomplishment nevertheless.
Now, Uncontrollably Fond achieved another accomplishment in the shadow of all the negativity surrounding it. The entire K-drama was able to conclude with an average viewership in the double-digits for the nation after its open-ended finale aired.
According to the viewership ratings provided by both TNS Media Korea and AGB Nielsen Korea, the penultimate episode and finale of Uncontrollably Fond earned a viewership rating that was a little bit better than the previous two episodes. Neither viewership company recorded a double-digit viewership rating for either the nation or Seoul National Capital Area. However, the average for the Seoul National Capital Area under Nielsen Korea still managed a double-digit average viewership of 10.08 percent. That alone can be considered a small victory for Uncontrollably Fond, especially since it was panned aggressively.
It does make sense why the finale would at least see a rise in viewership though. [WARNING: Spoilers Ahead!] For those who were loyal to Uncontrollably Fond since the very beginning, we learned that Kim Woo Bin’s character, Shin Joon Young — a very popular Korean actor and singer — was suddenly diagnosed with a brain tumor that was growing at an exponential rate. Instead of taking chemotherapy, Joon Young concentrates on working out, eating healthier, and other lifestyle changes, along with experimental drugs to “reverse” the disease. Ultimately, none of it works and Shin Joon Young prepares himself for when the inevitable happens in the short amount of time his has (three months), which includes loving and caring for his high school sweetheart, No Eul (Bae Suzy).
Because of the situation presented earlier in the series, Uncontrollably Fond fans braced for a moment when Shin Joon Young dies. There was the possibility something would have come up in which Joon Young would be saved or it was possible KBS would go a direction similar to Munhwa Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) K-drama Marriage Contract and not film a death scene, but we got a possible answer in the finale.
The final scene showing Shin Joon Young and No Eul together was outside of Joon Young’s house in the patio area while both of them sit on a fancy outdoor bench. Joon Young leans his head onto No Eul’s shoulder as to fall asleep. Eul talks to Joon Young for a bit in which Joon Young does respond, but eventually he stops responding. It is possible he fell asleep, but No Eul crying a tear might suggest Shin Joon Young died right there.
The next scenes seem to enforce Shin Joon Young having died with his closest confidants cleaning out his house. They find a video in which Joon Young talks directly to the camera. It is assumed it is a previous video for the documentary released on him, but we learn that in the video, he passed the three month mark in which the doctors said he would die. As for No Eul, she has become an honest drudge reporter, truly exposing the transgressions of companies. In the final scene, Eul is at the bus stop staring at a movie poster featuring Joon Young. No Eul leans in and kisses it while stating she will, “see him tomorrow,” which was the last line she said to Shin Joon Young during the heartbreaking scene on the bench.
Uncontrollably Fond concluded open-ended. Did Shin Joon Young die or is he still alive and enjoying his relationship with No Eul? To be frank, such an ending is very smart on behalf of KBS because it will create discussion and debate among the K-drama’s fans, though such endings are quite common in K-drama romances.
Also, now that Uncontrollably Fond has concluded, it might find a “second wind” through marathon binge watching, even though KBS will not get anything out of it. Uncontrollably Fond is available on Youku Tudou in China, and exclusively, free with ads, on DramaFever in North and South America.
[Image via Korean Broadcasting System (KBS)]