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A Goodbye to Youth of May

It’s been a week since the finale of Youth of May so @beesgiggle had a discussion with one of our favorite Kdrama writers Gia Allana to talk about the ending. You could say, we weren’t ready to say goodbye just yet. But if you haven’t seen the ending, this is your spoiler warning! Watch the finale episode first and come back for the discussion!

Why Myung Hee???

Beesgiggle: Gia, it’s so good to finally be able to collab with you! How do you think Youth of May should have ended? Are you happy with it?

Gia: For me, the ending is a realistic and gives weight to the message that Youth Of May wants to convey. Sure, it would have been better if both of them lived. But I understand, in a way, why the writer decided to give such ending. It’s sad, but somehow gives a message of “hope.”

Beesgiggle: How come? Doesn’t it sort of show the opposite of hope?

Gia: Hope, in a way, that after Myung Hee’s body was found Hee Tae was finally able to move forward.

Beesgiggle: So it’s more of for the people who were left behind.

Gia: Yup. I think they’re trying to relay a message that resonates with those who had to go through the said event, the Gwangju Uprising. There are a lot of information and details available online, but I think it would be different if we were talking to an actual Korean to get a better gist of their history.

This is because it’s different for those who were involved, they had to go through the actual weight of the situation. It’s actually hard to speak as much, since I also understand how sensitive this topic is. We still need to educate ourselves regarding the said event. But, yes, I think, although it’s heartbreaking, the drama is trying to convey a message of how, for example, Hee Tae, a person could move forward but still remain wounded.

Beesgiggle: Really felt bad though that Myung Hee died alone! Hoping at least that Hee Tae was there to at least hold her hand, and give her comfort in those final times. But alas, we know that’s probably what the show had intended. But it didn’t make it less sad though! We just hope that she found comfort at least in the unchanging May night. There were cricket noises and the stars were bright, same as the night Hee Tae sang to her.

What if the opposite happened?

Beesgiggle: Okay Hee Tae! *cracks knuckles* What do you think would have happened if it was the other way around? Like he was the one that passed away instead of Myung Hee?

She had a loving family from Paju who would definitely still give her a lot of love and support. Feeling really sad, specifically with dad because they never quite got the resolution they both needed with each other. And we were hoping that she would eventually go to school.

Gia: Although there are people who would give her enough love and support, especially her brother, it doesn’t change the fact that she lost someone… someone who she promised her life with, who was supposed to be her “husband.” So I think it would be a similar situation. But this time Myung Hee would be the one who’s grieving after losing Hee Tae.

The series is sad, but I feel, again, that they’re trying to relay a message. It’s for the youth, about what the people from May 1980 had to go through. They’re trying to convey their fight, the pain, their wounds, their scars, and their hope to move forward, while never forgetting what happened in May 1980.

What if they both survived?

Beesgiggle: Do you think then that the ending wouldn’t have been as satisfactory if they both survived?

Gia: I felt that it would have been satisfactory for the viewers if they both survived but… I think it wouldn’t convey the message the drama is trying to push. It wouldn’t show the gravity — just how heavy — what really happened.

Beesgiggle: Feeling like the show did such a good job of establishing even the smallest characters like that police officer. Don’t even know what his name is! But he was more of a comic relief character at the beginning. Actually, I was shipping him with Su Ryeon after that amazing slow-mo shot (HAHA). But felt like it was so right for his character to make that sacrifice, not because he was dispensable but because you could see him really do that.

Gia: Yes, yes, almost everything about this show is tear-jerking. I understand what you mean when you say that it’s in his character.

Beesgiggle: And as is, I really felt like Myung Hee and Hee Tae did wonderful work at the hospital – seen a lot of horrors there too.

Gia: Yesss. I think this shows how those lives that were lost all had a place and purpose, they all have a family, they all have loved ones. Just like Myung Hee… Myung Hee could have done so many things, on her own or alongside Hee Tae, if she lived.

Beesgiggle: Was also really hoping that both Myung Hee and Hee Tae would do more work in the hospital in the future helping people. Not that Hee Tae didn’t do that, I feel like he wasn’t able to do it right away, understandably, because he was still looking for and mourning Myung Hee.

Gwangju Uprising

Beesgiggle: Okay okay, you mentioned the horrors that happened during that period. What did you think of the last like 3-4 episodes that centered around the actual Gwangju Uprising?

Though this show is not biographical in any means, I think portrayals of history like this – showing what these people experienced and what they went through. I feel like it’s so important, not only for that generation, as you mentioned a while ago. But also for ours, because we become thankful for what they’ve contributed just so we can enjoy the freedom that we are experiencing today.

Gia: Yeah, I know that the uprising helped establish democracy in Korea, as per articles about the Gwangju Uprising. But I also feel like they are still people who are precious to their family, loved ones, friends, etc., and deserved so much more. So, in general, for those who helped give a certain country “freedom,” I mostly feel a sense of responsibility regarding what we can do now in the present time to make sure that the freedom they gave us will not go to waste.

However, I do think that it’s difficult to speak regarding their history, especially their political history, since, at the moment, I’m really still learning about it. Youth Of May, however, did make me read more about their history in the 80’s.

Beesgiggle: Same here! I was trying to look it up also when I watched it last week. We definitely still have a ton to learn, but we’re glad that the show was able to give us a glimpse of it.

Final Thoughts

Beesgiggle: I think we’re both in agreement that the ending – though really sad – was a good way to end the show. A lot of lives were lost, but it had to happen. They fought, healed, protected, and for Hee Tae at least, found closure. In the end, both Myung Hee and Hee Tae’s prayers were answered. And maybe that’s enough.

Gia: It’s sad but realistic, in a way that it tries to, again, convey the gravity of the situation back in May 1980. It also tries to interpret how some, maybe, tried to — probably not move on but — move forward. There are wounds and scars in their hearts, but they’re still trying their best to live their lives, probably in honor of those who passed. This is based on Youth Of May, not in actual history (despite the series being based on an actual event that happened), since we still need to better educate ourselves in Korean history to be able to elaborate on this topic. However, this is a good start, Youth Of May is a good start and an eye-opener.

What are your thoughts on the ending of Youth of May? Let us know in the comments section below!

Want to rewatch the show? Rewatch on the link below!

Watch Episode 1 here!

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Ashley Babe

    I’m feeling the pain of the ending again. It’s so hard to move on from this drama. I totally agree with Ms. Gia when she said the drama really showed the gravity of what had happened.

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