Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha season 1, episode 16 recap – the finale/ending explained

By Jonathon Wilson
Published: October 17, 2021
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Netflix K-Drama series Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha season 1, episode 16 -- the finale ending


Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha episode 16 wraps up delightfully. The warm journey and meaningful lessons of Gongjin will be engraved in our hearts.

This recap of the Netflix K-Drama series Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha season 1, episode 16 — the finale/ending contains spoilers.

Read the recap of the previous episode.

So here we are, reaching the end of the series. It’s been a warm, delightful, yet sentimental journey with Gongjin and its people. I know some of you aren’t ready to say goodbye, but just like the sunset, every beautiful thing always has its end, but the memory remains.

Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha season 1, episode 16 starts with Hye-Jin wearing all black and attending Gam-Ri’s funeral. She goes to pay her tribute one last time. To think back, Hye-Jin’s relationship with Gam-Ri starts off on bad terms but gradually turns into a meaningful ones. Meanwhile, the Gongjin community are seen enjoying their time at Gam-Ri’s funeral eating a delicious meal and having a good time. Du-Sik is seen helping to serve all the guest. It turns out that Gam-Ri’s last wish is that everyone is enjoying a good meal, good laughs, and happiness at her funeral. 

At night, after all the guests are leaving, Gam-Ri’s son finally makes an appearance. He sits side by side with Du-Sik, who is still not ready to let Gam-Ri go. Gam-ri’s son shares his regrets for not seeing Gam-Ri more often and always thinks that he got time when time is a vague and most valuable thing you can give to someone. He regrets neglecting Gam-Ri’s last need to go to the dentist. “I’m her son, she always prioritized me over everything… Why can’t I do the same like to my daughter?” Du-Sik comforts him by saying that Gam-Ri received her implant and enjoys eating all the meats and squids she loves. He cries in the sea of regret and loathes himself. Du-Sik reassures him that Gam-Ri is always proud of him. He is her son, after all, the reason that she lives in this world. One of the most heartbreaking parts is when he keeps calling for his mother but now there are no answers other than her smiling photo in their living room. 

Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha season 1, episode 16 recap – the finale

Grief is a strong and overwhelming emotion to people. As we grow older, the grief inside us does not grow smaller; it is us who grow bigger. Du-Sik is cutting tangerine soap bars that he usually makes for the grandma. She realizes that he chopped too much soap since usually, Gam-Ri loves to have extra soaps. He is still not fully aware of it yet. Hye-Jin comes to visit and offers to cook for him. While opening the fridge, Hye-Jin finds the roasted corns that Gam-Ri sent to him during the isolation. Du-Sik’s expression changes suddenly. He can’t even throw the corn away. Hye-Jin later finds a letter underneath the roasted corn. She gives the letter to Du-Sik and gently reminds him to mourn as much as he wants so that the grief won’t travel through his body and burst someday. Hye-Jin understands that Du-Sik never properly has someone nor the chance to express his grief. He always suppresses himself to mourn even though he deals with the death of loved ones often.

Du-Sik finally gathers the courage to open the letter. A paper note with Gam-Ri’s handwritten warm words engraved upon it has touched the hearts of many. “…Even during the hardest time of our life, one should never forget to eat..” It’s a simple yet powerful sentence. Whenever Du-Sik is having a hard time, all she can do is to cook him a delicious meal to heal his heart. She gently reminds Du-Sik to eat and come out to see the people of Gongjin again because whatever happens, he is loved. Gam-Ri proves that motherly love goes beyond blood. She understands his wound, loves, and cares for him just like he is her son. Du-Sik’s eye tears up. It’s finally hit him that Gam-Ri is no longer with him. The brokenhearted man who never fully mourned finally burst in devastation. Hye-Jin hugs him tightly as Du-Sik cries his heart out. 

Meanwhile, Gongjin people grieve differently. From Gam-Ri’s leftover belongings, her favorite squids, the places she uses to hang out with the villagers, to her empty house. Our loved ones will remain with us through all the memories that we share. One of the scenes that touched me the most is when the grandma squad visits Gam-Ri’s empty house. They sit at the wooden deck where Gam-Ri usually sits and enjoys the bells that Du-Sik hung for her. But now, there is no one left to be seen anymore and the house is just an empty building left with memories. Even though they quarrel every time in front of Gam-Ri, they promise each other to stay together for a long time and mourn together over the loss of their dearest friend. The griefs haunt me knowing that Gam-Ri is not there anymore. 

Every end is a new beginning.

After the loss of our dearest grandmother, Gongjin slowly regains its ray of light from the mourning. It’s also time for the premiere of Sung-Hyun’s new variety show, The Seashore Grasshopper. He comes to watch the premiere with the people of Gongjin. As usual, the Gongjin squad is chaotically thrilled upon its premiere. But one of the heartwarming parts is they’re excited to see Gam-Ri’s appearances again through the show. Who would have thought the variety hits and becomes the start of something new for Gongjin? Chun-Jae got invited to guest on Sugar Man, one of the most popular singing shows. Bo-Ra’s Supermarket got popular after selling an official poster with D.O.S sign letter on it, and Ms. Cho and Hwa-Jeong’s restaurant is suddenly gaining popularity and overflowing with customers.

But not only does their business grow, so does their relationship. After Mi-Seon is disappointed over the false hope upon winning the lottery, Eun-Cheol comes out with a shocking revelation that he is the answer to the third mystery of Gongjin: he is the winner of a 1.4 billion won lottery. He’s been hiding it from anyone and uses the money for donations while he goes to the police academy. The two plan to buy a house and hold marriage in Spring. On the other side, Hwa-Jeong and Yeong-Guk are officially getting back together as a married couple again. Well… There are no differences in the life of Geom-Cheol and Yoon-Gyeong, but Yi-Joon is giving his tiny heart to Bo-Ra while playing with their biscuits. 

The same thing goes for Sung-Hyun. He drives to Gongjin and visits Du-Sik after Writer Wang warns her about her feelings towards him. Their brotherhood is one of the most endearing things to witness. Ever heard the phrase, “Money can’t buy happiness, but you can buy a box of pizza.” Well, it’s pretty much the same thing. Du-Sik orders pizza. The two brothers joyfully eat. After their stomach is full, the two sit down by the wooden bench. Du-Sik automatically knows the reason behind Sung-Hyun’s weary heart: Writer Kang. Sung-Hyun shares his concern over losing her forever if the relationship goes deeper. Du-Sik wakes him up by reminding him to gather the courage, step outside his bubble, and never lose his chance again while he still has it. Those words finally push him to take the risk and confess to Writer Kang. Well, love is a gamble anyway. Take a shot or you’ll lose the target. Either way, if you never try then you will never know. 

“Will you marry me?”

When you’re in love, spending days apart feels like a year without rain, right? Hye-Jin and Du-Sik spend days missing each other like crazy while Hye-Jin goes to Seoul to present on a three-day Seminar. Hye-Jin invites her stepmother for a warm buffet. They share a heartwarming moment upon eating a delicious meal together. They start to reminisce about the first day they met each other and how Hye-Jin’s words convince her to be a part of her family. She reminds Hye-Jin to bring Du-Sik to their house. “There are four seats at our dining room remember? We also have one room for him in our family,” she says. 

After her travel to Seoul, Hye-Jin determines to propose her love for Du-Sik. She wants to be his family. The next day, she invites him to come to the beach where their story begins. Hye-Jin starts reminiscing over their encounters to the day they fall in love. It’s funny how contradictory they are to one another; fate brings them together as one. She later put his shoes beside her luxurious heels, “I want to see our shoes next to each other every day. Will you marry me?” asks Hye-Jin. Du-Sik bewilders and straightly answers, “No,” which suddenly breaks the atmosphere. It turns out, Du-Sik also planned to propose to Hye-Jin that day. Both of them become flustered by the whole situation. Hye-Jin encourages Du-Sik to take the lead from where they drop it as if they’re in some kind of marathon race. It’s awkwardly funny. 

Du-Sik finally says the words he’s been willing to say. He reminisces about how she’s been drawn to Hye-Jin from the very start. He still can’t believe how the woman with the sadness in her eyes slowly becomes the woman that he loves and pulls him into the light. “Two pairs of shoes by the door, two toothbrushes in the bathroom, and two aprons in the kitchen. Everything will be in pairs in a house where we keep those. Will you enjoy today, tomorrow, and all of your time with me?” He asks while handing the luxurious diamond necklace that Hye-Jin adores. He warns her to never sell the necklace online because he worked so hard to purchase it. Hye-Jin, smiling brightly as if her heart is ready to combust answers with, “I love you,” and they both kiss as the waves crash and almost take Du-Sik’s shoes away. The two lovebirds end up playing by the sea where they share a warm hug.

The ending of the finale: an everlasting romantic Sunday at Gongjin.

And here… we finally come to the end of the series. Our lovely SikHye’s couple is preparing their wedding. They make love and share all the lovey-dovey moments that give butterflies to our stomachs. Du-Sik is seen wearing the suit Hye-Jin buys for his birthday while setting his vintage camera. Not long after, a beautiful woman with a white wedding dress and a flower bouquet appears. It’s Hye-Jin. Du-Sik is mesmerized. Today they plan to take their wedding pictures at Gongjin because it’s the place where their fate intertwines. but their plans hilariously get interrupted when all the Gongjin communities gather to help and spice things up. They manage to run away from the crowd up to the hill where the stranded boat lies.

We finally know that the boat belongs to Du-Sik’s grandfather and the name of the boat is Sun-Mi, which is Du-Sik’s grandmother’s name. Hye-Jin asks Du-Sik if she can write her name in the small letters on the boat but Du-Sik jokingly says no, he will write it with big bold letters instead. Hye-Jin smilingly says, “I’ll be at the front of the boat making sure you have a clear path,” “The sea won’t always be this gentle though. We will meet wind and waves, even typhoons will come our way.” Du-Sik replies. Hye-Jin boldly states, “Who cares… when we’re in the same boat together?” The lovely couple happily takes their wedding photos in front of it. Suddenly their phone rings. As usual, it’s not Gongjin if there’s no emergency call for help from its villagers. Both of them run down from the hill to save Gongjin once again with smiles while Romantic Sunday plays and fills the air… That’s a wrap for Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha!

Don’t you just love a happy ending? Thank you Gongjin for the journey!

What did you think of Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha season 1, episode 16 — the finale and the ending? Comment below.

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