After letting the ending sit in my head for a day now, I must say: Yoo Na-bi (Han So-hee) was most likely just gunning for the “game changer” title in Park Jae-eon’s (Song Kang) life. If all you took into account was her knowing all the red flags plastered on his ass and still pushing through with their relationship, you’d think she was just plain stupid. But the moment they had their confrontation under the pouring rain in the second to the last episode, you’ll most likely agree that there was another motive on her part.
About halfway through the series, the show introduces this childhood friend of hers, Yang Do-hyuk (Chae Jong-hyeop), who we learn has had a crush on Little Miss Na-bi since their primary school days. What a perfect first love story plot, right? Wrong.
As he narrates to her the reason why he didn’t see her off to Seoul—she said she was seeing someone although she really wasn’t—we see that Na-bi has this tendency to push and lie her way to fit in. She even admitted this by telling him that it was because she didn’t want to seem like a loser. In the webtoon, she elaborated on this by saying that it was normal to say they had boyfriends who were fictional.
Now let’s talk about how that was the actual problem in the story. Instead of being real about herself, she tends to keep adjusting to others. At the same time, it seems like she expects that with her efforts to fit in, people will find her worth their time or attention.
This same behavior is what we see as she gets into a no-labels relationship with Jae-eon. Whether consciously or not, it seemed like she expected him to act differently for her, even if he was known for having a “no dating” policy.
There’s so much hype when it comes to being someone’s game changer. I’ve seen a lot of posts on social media claiming that they were able to change their partner’s ways and it makes them feel good about themselves. Unfortunately, it normalizes the idea of getting into a relationship to “fix” someone’s ways, and tying your self-worth to how you are able to “change” someone.
When knowingly getting into a relationship with a f*ckboy, you shouldn’t expect that you can magically change their ways. In the first place, you already knew what you were getting into. It would be a different story altogether if you hadn’t known beforehand that your target was a f*ckboy and if he had told you that he was looking for a committed relationship.
An unearned happy ending
Let’s go back to Na-bi and her love prey. If you observe their initial interactions, you can tell that Jae-eon already established that he wasn’t the commitment type. Her friend Oh Bit-na (Yang Hye-ji), despite her thriving on gossip, also didn’t fall short on giving Na-bi warnings.
Still, it’s a bit understandable (not to be mistaken with excusable) since Na-bi was also a victim of a f*ckboy prior to meeting Jae-eon. How does this fit in the equation? One, it shows that she has a pattern for falling for f*ckboys. Two, it might prove my theory that Na-bi had her own ulterior motive.
I’m gonna get personal here and admit that I’ve also had my fair share of run-ins with f*ckboys. Admittedly, like Na-bi after her first f*ckboy, I also felt like shit after being used and thrown to the side. It made me very angry and led me to feel less confident about myself. If I were in Na-bi’s shoes (with all the fresh wounds), I probably would have jumped on the opportunity to be someone’s game changer just so I can prove something to my ex.
That’s why I have a problem with the ending of the show “Nevertheless” (emphasis mine). After all the red flags and drama, Na-bi and Jae-eon end up together—without them truly putting in the effort to work through their issues. It’s a happy ending, I guess, but it doesn’t feel earned.
Stop romanticizing game changers
What’s wrong with storylines and endings similar to the ones of “Nevertheless”? It romanticizes the game changer ideal. It shows that the excitement (and heartaches) in dealing with a f*ckboy is worth it once you get him to settle down. Who would want someone boring even if it means that person makes you feel safe and secure, right? It also normalizes hurting someone in the process of getting what you want.
The thing is, the show already had a blueprint for its ending: the webtoon. In the webtoon, Na-bi and Jae-eon’s relationship (if you can even call it that) ends during their trip. And the latter never really got the character development we see on the drama; he actually wanted revenge on Na-bi after she ruined things for him and his unnamed girlfriend. Since there was already so much damage, she ended up choosing Do-hyuk. But they never really made it official: Na-bi wanted to heal first before she officially dated Do-hyuk—which was something I respected.
Hopefully, we take notes from the webtoon’s actual ending and see what’s wrong with the setup of the Netflix ending. There’s still so much that the world has to offer, and it would be a shame to waste your life on proving things that you’re not required to fight for. Love shouldn’t be that chaotic and painful. We all deserve a love that is selfless, kind, and free from hidden agendas.