Hae-in and Hyun-woo with their daughter in Episode 16 of Queen of Tears

‘Queen of Tears’ Episode 16 Recap: A Happily Ever After

Like anybody watching Queen of Tears, you were probably convinced that Hae-in and Hyun-woo’s relationship would end in shambles. Age-old K-drama cliches were against this doomed couple, so we weren’t expecting a happy ending.

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That was until episode 16 of Queen of Tears came and subverted our pessimistic expectations. Hae-in may have forgotten about Hyun-woo and was briefly manipulated by Eun-seong, but she remembered what Hyun-woo meant to her through a diary she wrote before her surgery. She didn’t recover all her memories, but all that mattered was that Hae-in remembered how much she loved Hyun-woo.

Despite being the one who initiated their divorce in the early episodes, Hyun-woo didn’t give up on Hae-in this time. He was hospitalized after Eun-seong’s assassination attempt but got back on his feet to defend his family in court from Moh Seul-hee, Eun-seong’s mother. Other than Eun-seong’s downfall, everybody who’s been watching Queen of Tears since its first episode has been waiting for her demise.

At least we know where Eun-seong got his ruthlessness from. Hyun-woo and the Hong family were able to obtain evidence that Seul-hee poisoned Chairman Hong. The evidence implicated Seul-hee’s attempt to murder the chairman, but her previous crimes had also been exposed. Because Seul-hee hid her identity for years, she was deemed a flight risk and had to be detained immediately. To see her scheming come to light and for her to be dragged behind bars was satisfying.

None of this would’ve been possible without the help of “Amazing Grace,” Grace Ko. Because she’s still sentimental over the Hong family, Grace decided to give the footage of Seul-hee poisoning Chairman Hong to Hyun-woo. Grace’s redemption was unexpected but a welcome surprise.

Hae-in’s hallucinations were predictions of the future

Fans have noticed that Hae-in’s hallucinations while she had cloud cytoma were predictions of the future. That’s probably not how brain tumors work, but fans compiled scenes that paralleled her hallucinations, and the similarities were mostly unnerving. But this also means that we’ve had a happy ending under our noses all this time.

Hae-in once saw an old man put flowers on a grave in a park in Germany. Hyun-woo didn’t see this, which confirmed that it was a hallucination. The time skip in episode 16 showed that Hae-in lived a long life with Hyun-woo. She would pass before him, but Hyun-woo was revealed to be the old man who was visiting her grave.

This doesn’t mean that the ending was tragic in any way—Hae-in and Hyun-woo got remarried and had a healthy family in the same epilogue. Hae-in and Hyun-woo’s relationship had been put through hell up until the fifteenth episode of the drama, but it was all for the better. Queen of Tears realistically showed that relationships usually fail because both parties stop putting in the effort.

Hyun-woo and Hae-in let their problems fester to the point of resentment. Seeing them resolve that, even while going through the most difficult points in their lives, is what made Queen of Tears the second-highest rated K-drama in tvN history.

(featured image: Netflix)


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Vanessa Esguerra
Vanessa Esguerra (She/They) has been a Contributing Writer for The Mary Sue since 2023. After graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Economy, she (happily) rejected law school in 2021 and has been a full-time content writer since. Vanessa is currently taking her Master's degree in Japanese Studies in hopes of deepening her understanding of the country's media culture in relation to pop culture, women, and queer people like herself. She speaks three languages but still manages to get lost in the subways of Tokyo with her clunky Japanese. Fueled by iced coffee brewed from local cafés in Metro Manila, she also regularly covers anime and video games while queuing for her next match in League of Legends.