‘My Happy Ending’ Ending Explained & Finale Recap: Do Te-O And Jae-Won Get A Happy Ending?

As I feared, after a certain point, My Happy Ending became quite the bore and stretched a bit too thin to have any kind of real impact. The show follows the story of Jae-Won, a woman who suffers from bipolar disorder, and the many hurdles she had to cross to keep her pristine life as impeccable as possible. For the most part, the message of the show is that your mental health “issue” isn’t your entire personality, and neither is it a burden for those around you. It offers an alternative: to accept who you are and actually express it to your peers, because hiding things only makes it worse for you. It’s not something to hide either; it’s simply something that is present in one’s life. Episodes 15 and 16 are quite difficult to get through, in all honesty. I found myself quite distracted and wanting to fast forward a lot of it because it presents the same pointers multiple times, wrapped in different ways. 


Spoilers Ahead

Does Jae-Won’s Father Get Convicted For Murder? 

The trial for Jae-Won’s parents’ case finally comes to an end in episode 15 of My Happy Ending. In the previous episode, Jae-Won’s father stood up during her cross-examination as a witness and said he was guilty of the murder of his wife. Now, his lawyer tries to tell the judge that he did so because he did not appreciate how his daughter was being questioned by the prosecution. Jae-Won reminds the prosecutor that there is no need for her family to face prejudice because having a mental illness is already quite taboo. She explains how she can clearly separate reality from her hallucinations, just as she can understand his questions and answer them perfectly, further giving facts about how 30% of South Koreans are prone to mental health issues. Jae-Won is banking on Tae-Joo to speak as a victim and prove her father’s innocence since he was friends with her mother and knows the truth. A massive plan has been devised around keeping Tae-Joo out of prison as well as safe from Yoon-Jin’s grasp, with Detective Oh’s help. 


Yoon-Jin gets cap guy to try and kill Tae-Joo, but as it goes with melodramas, he shows up at the last minute to the court and testifies for Jae-Won’s father. Thanks to his testimony, Jae-Won’s father is named guilty only for insurance fraud. That’s one battle won for Jae-Won. 

Why Is Te-O Obsessed With Jae-Won? 

We finally learn in a flashback why Jae-Won gave Te-O her nametag all those years ago. As a kid, Te-O was adopted from the orphanage, which made all of his peers jealous. They got violent and tried to hurt Te-O. Jae-Won luckily found them at the time and threatened the bullies with her cutter. At the time, for memory’s sake, Te-O had asked Jae-Won to give him her name tag. Jae-Won had told him that she would change her name at some point, but to him, it was a symbol of protection, I suppose. In the present day, Jae-Won thanks Te-O for reminding her that she has happy memories from when she was young too. 


What Happens With The Evidence Jae-Won Has Of Yoon-Jin? 

Tae-Joo had given Jae-Won the video that proved Yoon-Jin was guilty of Soon-Young’s murder. After seeing this video, Yoon-Jin knows she’s done for and quits as the CEO of Dereve. The elaborate plan involves Tae-Joo escaping prison by faking an illness and then offering up the original video to Yoon-Jin in return for a massive amount of money. This would help get Yoon-Jin’s confession. Additionally, everybody knows that Jae-Won will never actually use that video. The plan works. Yoon-Jin claims she killed Seung-Gyu because she didn’t like hearing his praises for CEO Jae-Won. When Yoon-Jin gets her guy to try and kill Tae-Joo again, after taking the original file from him, Detective Oh, Te-O, and Jae-Won come out of hiding and save him. Tae-Joo is also imprisoned for the crimes he committed, and Jae-Won cuts ties with him by offering a lawyer. She doesn’t need to be further involved there. Yoon-Jin obviously makes a run for it the second she sees the detective, so she’s still free on the streets. At the end of episode 15 of My Happy Ending, Jae-Won returns as the CEO of Dereve and restores order in the business. Finally, it’s also time for Ah-Rin to return from the US, considering everything else has been sorted. However, the one variable, i.e., Yoon-Jin, is still out in the open. 

What Happens To Yoon-Jin? 

Of course, it’s the last episode, so something appalling must take place. Yoon-Jin kidnaps Ah-Rin from the airport (of course, Ah-Rin simply thinks her “pretty” aunt is picking her up because her mother is busy). I’m not quite sure how Jae-Won doesn’t reach the airport well in advance for her only daughter, who has just done her first solo international trip. Additionally, the reason Yoon-Jin knows of Ah-Rin’s schedule is that Te-O’s sister posts it to her social media (what?!). Fortunately, all Yoon-Jin wants to do is spend some time with Ah-Rin, pretending she’s her own daughter and spoiling her with gifts and ice cream. At the end of the day, Yoon-Jin simply drops Ah-Rin off at Jae-Won’s house. After that, Yoon-Jin walks into the street in a daze and gets hit by a truck. As she lays there, the memories of her and Jae-Won flood her mind—the only person who was actually nice to her in this lifetime. Honestly, this is quite a disappointing ending for Yoon-Jin, the big villain of this show. We don’t know if she intentionally tries to kill herself either; she did say some cryptic things to Ah-Rin before, but it simply sounds like she’ll try to stay away from her from now on. I guess Yoon-Jin did learn her lesson, but maybe this was karma (ew, I hate saying that). Detective Oh finds her and immediately calls for an ambulance. Her last thought is of her father and how she wanted to still prove herself to him, something she never managed to do. 


What Does Jae-Won Do Next? 

Jae-Won hands over the position of CEO to Te-O (obviously), and her father and Ah-Rin ask her to take a small vacation. After this little solo trip, Jae-Won meets with psychiatrist Su-Gyeong for real. She tells her everything that went down during her time off. Jae-Won is still hallucinating; in fact, she had Su-Gyeong by her side the whole time she was on her trip. However, there’s a surprise visit from her dead mother too. Jae-Won’s mother manifests in the form of the house owner of the place she’s staying at, but Jae-Won knows she’s not real. Ultimately, to get closure, Jae-Won actually talks to her mother, asking her to make food for her and even spending some time with her. Finally, Jae-Won asks her mother why she tried to kill her all those years ago. I suppose she heard what she wanted from her mother all those years—that it was never because she hated Jae-Won. Jae-Won’s mother may have actually never cared for Jae-Won, but this is the only way she can feel satisfied and make sure her mother disappears. She’s finally free to live a fulfilling life now. 

Finally, after her time with the psychiatrist, after thanking her for helping Jae-Won unknowingly all this time, and now finally for real, Jae-Won tells Ah-Rin that her father’s dead. Ah-Rin is a mess, of course, and Jae-Won tries her best to support her. In the meanwhile, Tae-Joo is released and decides to move to the US. Detective Oh even gives him a parting present. 


Do Te-O And Jae-Won Get A Happy Ending? 

Jae-Won decides to come back on as a freelance designer for her own old company. She spends a lot of time with Te-O, who ultimately musters up the courage to actually confess his feelings. She’s very skeptical and reminds Te-O that she has a mental illness. Te-O admits that it’s an important piece of information, but it’s not what makes Jae-Won the Jae-Won he’s in love with. He promises to stay by her side, no matter what happens. To be fair, he’s already kind of done it. Ultimately, Jae-Won thanks Te-O, and then she tells him it may take too long for her to accept his feelings, but he’s overjoyed to know that she’s okay with him waiting for her. At the end of the episode, Jae-Won has finally accepted herself as she is, mental illness and all. Su-Gyeong’s hallucination walks away from her, as a sign that she’s able to look out for herself and focus on what’s real. At the end of My Happy Ending, Jae-Won realizes that there’s no such thing as a happy ending in life; however, it’s the little things every day that make for a happy lifetime, surrounded by your special people. Despite losing her husband and best friend, Jae-Won can finally be happy with her daughter and the new people in her life and look forward to the little things, like watching Ah-Rin grow up, Te-O’s tantrums, her designs being realized, and more. 

My Happy Ending has a simple message: “Love yourself the way you are, and happiness will follow.” It’s a shame it took so much time and effort to express that message (oops). Jokes aside, I think the show did a good job in making people understand that having a mental illness doesn’t stop you from being a competent human being who can have a family of their own and live a successful life, in whatever sense they feel right. 


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Ruchika Bhat
Ruchika Bhat
Ruchika, or "Ru," is a fashion designer and stylist by day and a serial binge-watcher by night. She dabbles in writing when she has the chance and loves to entertain herself with reading, K-pop dancing, and the occasional hangout with friends.

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