'Record of Youth' Episode 16 Ending Explained: Did Jeong-ah and Hye-jun patch up? What does the climax mean?
'Record of Youth' Episode 16 leaves us wondering if that non-confirmative ending was really necessary to uplift the show that left us disappointed towards its end. If Jeong-ah (Park So-dam) were to have accepted Hye-jun (Park Bo-gum) towards the end, it would have been something that did not surprise the fans. However, by leaving the relationship between Hye-jun and Jeong-ah unlabelled, and open-ended, the writer has left possibilities open.
At the beginning of the finale, Jeong-ah explained to Hye-jun that the reason she needs space from him was not that he had made a mistake but because the more she was with him, the more she began to depend on him. Somehow, the turn of these events reminded her of her mother in her relationship with her father and how it failed in an epic manner. She is also more worried than Hye-jun about pursuing their complex relationship because she hasn't yet realized her dream, unlike Hye-jun who has already made his dream of becoming a celebrated actor come true. She also points this out to him and that is the reason why Hye-jun realizes that this relationship is not something that he must cling onto.
Instead, as a way of distancing himself from the heartbreak, he ends up enlisting in the army. All this while, he had pushed his compulsory service off for some time in the future in the hopes of making it in the industry. Now that he has made it, and he has mapped his name in the world of movies and showbiz, he is certain that enlisting is the best option for him at the moment. However, instead of not signing with Min-jae and her company Jjampong, he decides to sign with her for three years including the period that he would be serving in the army. Hae-hyo, who is also disappointed by the fact that his career did not take off ends up enlisting and for once, he wants to be first. He has missed getting awarded for work, he has missed making it big before Hye-jun and he also missed his chance with Jeong-ah. So for once, he wants to do something before his friend and so he left and signed up to serve at the marine corps.
Hye-jun followed suit. He announced confidently that he will now serve his country and return to make everyone happy. His fans are shocked and do not want him to leave, so when he does return to showbiz after two years, he is welcomed back with open arms. The one thing that we did not expect to see was Jeong-ah continue to wear the shoes that Hye-jun had gifted her and meet him at a shoot while continuing to be friendly. After all, did she not tell Hye-jun's ex-girlfriend that she is not cool enough to be friends with her ex? Now that she is, does this mean they have a chance in the future that we cannot see? Or will they remain friends from the same industry? Either way, 'Record of Youth' has been the most disappointing show of the year.
All shows of 'Record of Youth' can be streamed on Netflix.