If there’s anything that Shopping King Louis has taught us, it’s that in this life, nothing is more important than love. Love brings people together, heals broken hearts, and forms families where once there were only strangers. This drama shone because of its relationships, be they romantic, familial, or friendly, proving that even the oddest, quirkiest person can find their soulmate if they only look. Love transcends every boundary and makes better people of us all, if only we can be fearless enough to let it into our hearts.
EPISODE 16: “When You Wish Upon a Star”
One day, Butler Kim asks Bok-nam why he ran away from home. Bok-nam says that people from Seoul came to their house to film a documentary, which made him curious about city life. Butler Kim suddenly remembers seeing that documentary, and how Louis had been struck dumb by Bok-shil’s smile.
He shows Louis the documentary again, and Louis realizes that this is why Bok-shil looked so familiar to him. Butler Kim teases that Louis fell in love at first sight, and though Louis denies it, his goofy grin when he looks at Bok-shil on the TV screen proves otherwise.
With Director Baek in jail, Joong-won becomes the new director of Gold Group. His charisma seems to have increased, and all the ladies swoon when he arrives at work. Even Ma-ri goes a little starstruck when she runs into him at the elevator, and realizes with horror that she still likes him.
Louis and Bok-shil have some coffee in the office, in the same place they sat while hiding out when they were homeless. Louis remembers that night, when Bok-shil had told him that the blue dress she wore was her mother’s, but that she doesn’t even remember her mother’s face. Now he’s sad that he remembered his parents and got to see their pictures, but Bok-shil still can’t do that.
Louis passes out cups of coffee to the Goldline team, while Joong-won is already regretting taking his new position. He’s bored and dying to know how everyone on his old team is doing, and jumps up to go check on them.
Louis is holding a meeting very similar to the one we saw Joong-won holding when we first met him, going over the team’s proposals. But while Louis is noticing the same things, he thinks the team is doing well and freely compliments them. Louis worries Mr. Lee when he starts asking the same questions Joong-won asked, but instead of wondering if Mr. Lee will keep his job long enough for his kids to go to college, Louis decides to make sure that he stays.
Louis whines when Joong-won interrupts and tells everyone to get back to work. He complains even louder when Joong-won asks Bok-shil about “our Singsingline,” but Joong-won is still the main investor.
The team asks how many stars Joong-won got that time that Louis left them all notes grading their performance. Joong-won takes out the note he’s kept (while Louis hilariously cringes, hee), and shows them that his note was a big heart and a “Thanks!” HAHA, he thinks that’s a good thing, but the truth is that he got zero stars, and the team dissolves into giggle fits.
Joong-won talks to Bok-shil privately about Singsingline, which is performing far beyond expectations. He compliments her on her hard work, then surprises her by asking her to go on a date with him tomorrow.
They go for lunch, and afterward, Joong-won says that that was the last time they’ll be able to have lunch alone since Louis will insist on tagging along. Bok-shil complains that Louis gets jealous whenever she spends time with other people, even her brother. Joong-won defends him, saying that he lived without any family for a long time and needs more love and care than most people.
Joong-won gives Bok-shil a bag full of books, so she can get her high school equivalency and go to college. Bok-shil says that he’s a good person, and he promises to always be a good person to her and nothing more.
Jung-ran is feeling ill from her pregnancy, and Butler Kim leads her to the table where a covered plate sits. He tells her to just try it and has her remove the cover, to reveal a diamond ring. Whoa, that thing is massive. He slides the ring on her finger and kisses her hand, and asks her to marry him. Jung-ran can only nod, overcome, and she forgives him for proposing so late.
Joong-won’s mom and dad show up at his house with suitcases, having decided to move in with him until he gets married. What, what now?? Joong-won vehemently objects, but his mother trills that if he wants them gone, he should get married sooner rather than later.
She starts to make ramyun, but when she pours in the plum syrup, Dad yells, “STOP!!” He’s had just about enough of her odd cooking habits, and he grabs the bottle away from her and claims the kitchen as his domain. He throws away the plum syrup, banning it from his kitchen forever, leaving Joong-won and Young-ae gaping at him.
Young-ae recovers her wits, and says defiantly that he can have the kitchen. She storms out, refusing to stay here at all, leaving Dad worried about where she’ll go. Joong-won washes his hands of them both.
At the Baek house, Ma-ri can’t stop thinking about Joong-won. The doorbell rings — it’s Young-ae, and Ma-ri remembers that she’s Joong-won’s mother and primps. She’s on her very best behavior with Young-ae, so good in fact that even her mother looks at her like she’s lost her damn mind.
Jae-sook is happy to have her friend for the night, and even suggests they call In-sung’s mom and have a sleepover. The three friends discuss the property they own all over the world, but heh, they’re only talking about the Monopoly game they’re playing.
Eventually In-sung’s mom asks why Young-ae and her husband fought. She tells them, and her friends give her the side-eye for making a big deal out of nothing. They tell her she’s lucky to have a husband who isn’t either dead or in jail like theirs, then talk turns to preparations for tomorrow’s wedding.
Bok-shil sits next to a white dress, nervous about tomorrow. Louis says that he is too, and watches as Bok-shil digs into a giant piece of cake. He tells her not to eat too much since her dress is pretty tight, then tells her to eat more when she seems to enjoy the cake so much.
In the morning, Louis’s home is decked out in wedding finery. He stands on the stairs in his tuxedo, thinking about Grandma’s belief that what a person buys can tell you a lot about them.
The three moms help set up and talk about their kids. Louis watches them and sees herbal tonics above Young-ae’s head, as her wedding gift to the happy couple. In-sung’s mom is giving money, and Jae-sook’s gift is a fancy tea set.
Joong-won’s dad arrives, and Young-ae aims a disdainful sniff in his direction. Her friends say she should make up with him, and his adorably shy apology melts her heart.
Always the businessman, Joong-won talks to In-sung about working with the Goldline team. Louis guesses that Joong-won’s wedding gift is a pair of stylish sunglasses, while In-sung’s contribution is a nice lamp. Joo-hyuk shows up with a plant, representing his resemblance to a strong tree (and awww, he pouts when he admits to Joong-won that he hasn’t got a girlfriend).
In-sung MC’s the ceremony, and he introduces the bride. Bok-shil descends the staircase… with Ma-ri, as the flower girls. Awww, they tricked us! Jung-ran makes a luminous bride, and Butler Kim looks like the happiest man on earth.
Louis tells us that Ma-ri gave the couple a scented diffuser, while Bok-shil gifted them with a lifetime free pass to Singsingline. As for Louis, the King of Shopping, he gave the newlyweds a car. He narrates that the thing more important than any gift is the earnest heart that a person gives to another.
That night, Ma-ri thinks back to the wedding, when Louis had asked her privately if she likes Joong-won. She hadn’t denied it, but admitted that he rejected her already. Louis said that she should be honest about her feelings, and to just be herself.
She takes his advice, and texts Joong-won a little heart. Joong-won asks what it means, and she says, “It’s my heart.” He asks why she would send that, and when she says she just wants to, he tells her to go to sleep. Ma-ri takes that as a sign that he’s not rejecting her, at least.
Louis also had a talk with In-sung at the wedding, about his crush on Ma-ri. He’d been honest with his friend and told him that Ma-ri likes Joong-won, and advises him to end his crush if he can’t handle knowing she likes someone else. In-sung wilts, and he cries alone that night, but he decides that his love for Ma-ri is worth any pain.
Louis snuggles his Bok-shil dog in bed, imagining the real Bok-shil in a wedding dress with himself as her groom. The thought makes him grin hard enough to split his face, and he giggles into his pillow and thinks that maybe he should propose.
He jumps up and pulls out a bunch of outfits, holding each one up and practicing proposals. None of them seem quite right (and a few are downright cringe-worthy), and he despairs of being able to do it right.
Joong-won is still arguing with his mother about setting him up on blind dates, and he walks into the Gold Group building and right into a girl dressed in simple country clothing (cameo by Chae Soo-bin, who looks freaking adorable). She’s holding a briefcase, and when Joong-won tries to sidestep her, she places herself right back in front of him.
With a smile, she grabs his arm and plunks him down at a nearby table. Angry, Joong-won jumps up to leave, but stops in shock as she cries out, “Buy some ginseng!” The moment is eerily similar to his first meeting with Bok-shil, and Joong-won turns back to give the girl a second look. She shows him her ginseng, her words a close echo of Bok-shil’s words that day at the train station. Joong-won asks the girl if her bag was stolen too, confusing her.
This girl’s ginseng isn’t wild like Bok-shil’s was, but cultivated, and Joong-won asks why she wants him to buy it. Bok-shil’s answer had been that her ginseng was one of a kind, but this girl says she needs money for her sick parents. Joong-won pulls out his checkbook, but the girl doesn’t want to sell it to him — she wants to sell it through Singsingline.
As she explains her plans, Joong-won realizes that the girl is one smart cookie. She gives him a bright smile, and suddenly Joong-won sees her in a haze of backlit glory. She introduces herself as Wang Mong-shil, and in his head, Joong-won wishes Bok-shil farewell.
We go back to the day that Louis showed up at Bok-shil and Bok-nam’s place for ramyun, and had received a call from Jae-sook saying she has a gift for him. He watches the video at home, and while we don’t see the video, whatever it is has Louis gasping and smiling tearfully.
Later he texts Bok-shil and says that he’s excited, because he wants to watch a movie with her. She remembers their one movie experience, which had turned out hilariously badly, but Louis promises that this movie is a sweet one. He rents out an entire theater, and takes Bok-shil’s hand before starting the film.
They see a video recording of Gold Department Store’s thirtieth anniversary celebration, where they’d held a raffle to win one of the limited-edition penguin music boxes. Bok-shil is confused, but Louis tells her to keep watching.
He watches Bok-shil as the film continues, more interested in her reaction than the movie itself. The final winning number is called, and a young couple move forward to collect their prize. They have a small girl with them, and the mother is obviously pregnant.
Bok-shil’s eyes grow wide, and she recognizes the blue dress the mother is wearing. Oh… ohnygoodness, it’s her mother and father, and the little girl is Bok-shil.
Grandma gives little Bok-shil the music box, and asks Bok-shil’s mom what her unborn baby’s name will be. She says it’s “Bok-nam,” and Grandma wishes the baby a lucky life.
Bok-shil is overcome to see her parents’ faces for the first time in her memory, and Louis pulls her close to cry on his shoulder. As she looks at the video of her parents holding her in their arms, Bok-shil gasps out, “My mom and dad are smiling. They’re smiling at me.“ *tears*
Louis softly tells Bok-shil that she looks like her mother. But he says for her to keep watching, because there’s something even more important coming up.
The video continues, and we see little Louis being cared for by Jae-sook after the ceremony. He cries that he wants a music box too, and not to be outdone, a jealous little Ma-ri shoves Louis and says that she wants a music box, too. Bok-shil and her parents happen to be sitting nearby, watching the commotion.
Little Bok-shil toddles over to the crying boy and gives him her music box, with a tiny little, “Oppa, don’t cry.” He asks her name, but she’s so young that her words are a little unclear, and he hears her say, “Koboshi.” Her parents lead her away, and the two children wave goodbye to each other.
In the theater, Louis says that Bok-shil must be surprised, and all she can do is nod. Louis pulls the music box out of his coat, and shows Bok-shil that he wrote “Koboshi” on the bottom of it. Softly, he says to her, “Don’t cry, Koboshi.” They sit together for a long time, just absorbing the fact that they’ve known each other all their lives.
Louis walks Bok-shil home, unable to take his eyes off of her. He thinks that his Koboshi, that he’s kept enshrined for so long, is now right in front of him. Bok-shil thinks how Louis never forgot about her and cherished her for years, and that thanks to his great heart, they were able to find each other again.
They lie down on the floor of the rooftop apartment, and Louis says he feels like he’s come home. He asks Bok-shil why she trusted him when nobody else believed in him, and she grows serious.
She says that she had nobody to lean on growing up, since she always had to take care of her grandmother and Bok-nam. Louis was the first person to ever say, “Trust me,” and it gave her peace. Louis smiles humbly, and squeezes her hand.
He says to her, “Bok-shil, I will say those words to you for the rest of our lives. Trust me.” Bok-shil breathes a soft thank you, and Louis holds her close. He tells her, “Bok-shil, I love you.” And she replies, “I love you, too.”
Louis closes his eyes as if every dream he’s ever had is coming true. He pulls back to look into Bok-shil’s eyes, and they smile at each other. No more words are needed as they seal their love with a kiss.
What a beautiful, simple ending to a beautiful, simple love story. Louis and Bok-shil’s relationship was never complicated, and they’ve never doubted each other’s feelings. Even when they were separated, it had nothing to do with misunderstandings or lack of love — loving each other has been as natural as breathing since the day they met. I don’t think we needed to see a proposal to know that Louis and Bok-shil will be together for the rest of their lives.
I love how the overriding theme of the show carried through all the way to the end — that every moment in life has meaning and a purpose. No event was ever wasted in this show, and everything that happened affected events later on. Everything I’d forgotten about, such as Bok-nam’s reason for running away from home in the first place, and Joong-won’s stars (or lack thereof), were addressed in this finale. Even Louis’s habit of telling Bok-shil to trust him had a deep, meaningful purpose, and was a major reason that Bok-shil fell in love with him. Bok-shil giving Louis the penguin statue when they were children was such a lovely way to top that off, and remind us that it’s good to live life with an open, generous heart.
Normally I don’t care for stories that tell us a couple was fated just because they met as children, but in this case, it wasn’t fate that brought them together again, but kindness. Bok-shil’s act of generosity affected little Louis so much, that his soul somehow remembered her even when his memory was gone, and because of that, they will live a life full of love. Her loving gift to him as children — giving the music box to a little boy grieving for his parents — was eventually returned by that same boy giving her back her parents’ faces as adults. It’s not Fate, it’s simply the fact that doing good things will bring good things back to yourself. A lesson we would all do well to remember.
I’ve talked about how much I love the trope-flipping this show gave us from start to finish, but I’m also impressed by how incredibly detailed the storytelling was. Not one single moment was dropped or lost, such as the note that Louis left for Joong-won after his first day working at Goldline. Another great example I already mentioned was how the murderer was caught because of Louis’s love for Maxim coffee and his light saber. I appreciate the small character details that made the people inhabiting Louis’s world so unique.
I also loved watching Bok-shil’s fashion sense develop, though no attention was ever called to it — she just slowly became more modern, while still retaining her focus on comfort and ease when choosing her clothing. And speaking of clothing, how sweet was it that Bok-shil’s mother’s blue dress, that Bok-shil loved, showed up being worn by her mother in the videotape from the anniversary party? I could list such details about every character, even the smaller ones like Do-jin, who always copied everything Joong-won did, and Mr. Lee, who was a continuous nervous wreck. These really served to make the characters seem real and fully realized.
Generally by the end of a drama, I’m ready to wrap things up, send our characters away to live their lives, and move on to new shows. But for probably the first time ever, with Shopping King Louis, I don’t want to let go. I’ll miss the light tone of the drama that still managed to appropriately deliver nuance and great emotional moments, the humor and the sadness, and most of all the wonderful characters that made this show something unique. Our loving, hapless hero, the capable and big-hearted heroine, their close circle of family and friends, even the bumbling villains that still made us adore them were something we may not see again for quite some time. I hope I’m wrong about that, because I could watch dramas like this one forever, and never get tired of them.
What I loved most about Louis as a character was that, even though he was a chaebol, and even though his experiences gained him a lot of maturity and worldliness, his core innocence, goodness, and generosity never faltered for one moment. He was one of the most down-to-earth chaebols I’ve ever seen in Dramaland. No matter what happened to him or how much he learned about the world, even through complete memory loss and homelessness, he remained the same Louis he was from the very beginning. In a genre where we expect the hero to completely change into a different person by the end of the show, Louis was steadfast and constant, and rather than making him boring, that only served to make viewers love him all the more. I don’t think I’m alone in saying that I’ll miss Louis and Bok-shil and their unconventional, insane, and utterly lovable family.