Kim's Convenience finale recap: Ok, see you
Spoiler warning: If you haven't watched the new episode yet, you can check it out on CBC Gem.
You can watch "Friends and Family" on CBC Gem." If you are outside of Canada, please wait to read this until the episode is available in your country!
Well, here we are.
When this season started, like many, I did not know this was going to be the last. So, again like many, I was dreading going into this final week thinking this finale would leave me unsatisfied.
I'm happy to say I was wrong.
There wasn't a big event or a mass exodus of characters (see the finales of Cheers, Fresh Prince, Schitt's Creek, M*A*S*H etc). It was, like the five seasons we've been blessed with, a sweet slice of life of a family and their friends.
Once again, I'm getting ahead of myself.
At the start of the finale episode, we see Appa and Janet struggling with the magazine rack that is overstuffed with unsold magazines. Normally, this type of opening isn't worth recapping but it does play into something that happens a little later on.
The future of Kim's Convenience
Over at Handy Car and Truck Rental, Shannon approaches Jung and tries to talk about what happened last week.
Jung, oblivious as ever, didn't know there was anything that they needed to talk about. And Shannon just skirts around the weight of the issue.
Hey, remember Shannon's veiled (and not-so veiled) sexual attraction to Jung in season one? Or the whole will they/won't they trope that endeared Shannon and Jung to us over seasons two and three? Well, now we sort of see that being cute together isn't enough to strive as a couple.
Like, let's get real! Jung hasn't exactly shown himself to be a considerate, attentive and mature boyfriend. Meanwhile, Shannon's passiveness and communication also lacks maturity, so they're not really nurturing each other's strengths.
Sorry, let me put my couples counsellor hat away.
Their conversation is cut short when they hear the Handy crew laughing in the staff kitchen. Kimchee put up a photo of a young Shannon dressed up as Anne of Green Gables, along with a note about washing your dishes.
Well, the Anne with an E fans should be happy about this extremely soft reboot.
Also, this photo does not look like a Photoshop job. Dear, Nicole Power: I know there must be a story behind this!
Kimchee says he can take it down if she likes but Shannon is totally cool with this photo but promises to get Kimchee back for it.
The game, as they say, is on.
Later in the day, Jung makes a surprise appearance at the store and is greeted by Janet. He tells her he was in the neighbourhood for a job interview.
"My biz course made me feel like I was getting somewhere," he tells Janet.
"New city, new opportunities. I loved it," Jung continues.
"Now I'm back wiping windshields at Handyland."
Ooof! Jung just described post-post-grad life with tragic accuracy.
However, after seeing the mess that is Appa's dairy price tracker, Jung puts some of that schooling to good use by organizing it into a chart and Janet is properly impressed. She takes this opportunity to direct Jung's attention to the cluttered magazine rack.
See? I told you there was a reason I was mentioning it earlier.
The next day, a new photo has entered the game over at Handy, and this time it's of Kimchee with his dad.
Shannon is patting herself on the back until she realizes that Kimchee is in no gaming mood. He tells her that he hasn't seen his dad in years and the photo just drudged up some memories for him.
As usual, Kimchee is playing it cool but Shannon can sense Kimchee is still troubled by this.
Back at the store, Appa and Umma show up and find the magazine spread much more manageable. Janet tells them it was all Jung's idea and that he's bursting with some great tips from his business course. She even suggests Appa should hear him out, not for the store, of course, but for Jung's confidence.
Appa is hesitant but Umma, no doubt, is all in.
Next, Kimchee catches Shannon spying on his computer at work. It looks like the photo got Kimchee thinking about the man who abandoned him and his mom and now he's Googling him to maybe reconnect?
Shannon is being a supportive dynamo and I gotta say, I love the friendship these two have built together over the years. Andrew Phung even posted about his time working with Nicole Power and teased this little arc of theirs in this final episode and yeah, cue those tears!
Working w/ <a href="https://twitter.com/NicolePower3?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@NicolePower3</a> has been one of the greatest privileges I’ve ever had! A phenomenal performer, talented singer/dancer, but most importantly an incredible friend. Our last Kimchee/Shannon arc is heartwarming and will break me. Series finale Tues in 🇨🇦! ❤️<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/kimsconvenience?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#kimsconvenience</a> <a href="https://t.co/VSBh6ASa8f">pic.twitter.com/VSBh6ASa8f</a>—@andrewphung
Shannon is relating hard to Kimchee's predicament because she has a "friend" who was adopted and knows how he must feel.
Fast forward to the Kim home and Jung is giving a PowerPoint presentation for the future of Kim's Convenience. The store, that is, not the show...
Totally not crying.
He's also really showing that he has a pretty solid vision for what this store can be, despite barely setting foot there during the show's five season run. He proposes opening a garden centre in the summer, and renting out the basement for additional income, which means Janet should start paying rent. Finally something that Appa and Jung agree on, much to Janet's chagrin.
We also rarely see Appa, Umma, Janet, and Jung interacting together. We know the whole cast has great chemistry with one another as they are paired off each week, but seeing Paul, Jean, Andrea, and Simu play off each other in a scene together; it's the gift we've been craving more of over the years.
It also looks like the confidence boost for Jung helped, until it becomes clear that Appa and Umma aren't really interested in expanding, mainly because they are too old to start something new. They only agreed to the presentation because Janet suggested it. You can almost see Jung's angry 16-year-old self bubble to the surface, but he stops himself and apologizes for the misunderstanding.
Is this growth we see in Jung?
We jump back to the Kimchee storyline.
After giving it some thought, Kimchee goes to Shannon and tells her maybe he should reach out to his dad to let him know that he turned out alright. Shannon is in near tears at this (she does have a lot going on in her head right now, more on that later).
Kimchee also manages to rope Shannon into this adventure, making her promise not to tell Gwen, Jung, or his mom. This is the ShanChee mission we've been waiting for!
Jung later comes home to an apprehensive Shannon who is finally ready to have that serious talk. Jung, again, seems to not think any of this is a big deal and wants to take a shower. So of course, this spat goes nowhere as Shannon, fed up, tells him to just take his shower and she leaves.
Back at the Kim house, Umma is still thinking about Jung's presentation and Appa starts toying with the idea of Jung maybe taking over the store, after they retire.
"Maybe Jung just needs the opportunity," Appa says.
That gives us some things to mull over as we hop back to Kimchee and Shannon.
They arrive at his father's house and Kimchee is having some serious anxiety over what he's supposed to say to this man and whether or not this is a bad idea.
Shannon shares with him that she is actually adopted, a fact that is also news to us, the viewers. She empathizes with his situation and says he'll always wonder and be filled with regret if he didn't talk to him. That advice prompts Kimchee to dive in and talk to his dad.
Over at the Kim house again, Jung comes back for his phone charger and Umma invites him, Shannon and Kimchee over for dinner. When Appa shows up, Jung apologizes for earlier and they both decide to blame it on Janet.
Appa also tells Jung that his ideas for the store are great (validation from his father… CHECK). But when Appa says maybe a new owner would like those ideas, Jung is a little surprised.
"What if…" Jung starts.
"You took over the store?" Appa finishes.
And Jung isn't completely against the idea. At least that's how it looks.
As we hit pause on that button, let's jump back to Shannon waiting in the car outside Kimchee's dad's house.
She's following up on a job she applied for last week and it looks like she is trying to move on from Handy, and possibly move on from someone else?
Meanwhile, Kimchee is leaving the house with an older man and it looks like he got the closure he was looking for…
Too bad it was with a complete stranger and not his actual father but at least he got to say what he needed to.
Shannon isn't the only one making future plans.
Gerald and Janet are working at the store and Gerald tells her that his internship offered him a paying job, which he seems less than enthused about.
Janet also shares that she's decided to actually use her photography to make a name for herself, starting with weddings and special events, and those weddings pay big bucks for photos.
But she knows this is a lot of work for one person. And Gerald is pumped to hear Janet say this so he volunteers as her partner… if she needs one.
And it looks like she does.
Remember when they kissed at the end of season four? Good, no one else does either. I've always loved Janet and Gerald's platonic friendship, and now partnership.
Back upstairs, Janet comes up and interrupts the family meeting as they discuss the future of Kim's Convenience. When she sees that Jung is seriously considering taking over the store, she is quick to point out how ridiculous that would be. She lists all the reasons why running the store would be a waste of his talents, which I guess is a fair point but geez, Janet… this is only Appa's hard work over the years that you're shitting on.
Even though Jung appeared to be seriously thinking about it, which is a huge leap from season one Jung, he says he'd rather do things his own way, like Appa did.
"I understand," Appa says.
Listen, if this is the reconciliation we've been waiting for for five seasons, I'm all for it. And the fact that it's also left a little open-ended makes it all the more hopeful.
More than a store
Later that night, Umma has prepared one of her world-class family dinners starring a delicious pot of galbi-jjim, which is braised short ribs.
As Shannon waits in the store for Jung and Kimchee to arrive, she is looking quite apprehensive.
Remember when I said she had a lot on her mind lately? Well, it's finally about to come out.
Also, is this the very first interaction between Shannon and Gerald? It's as awkward as you'd expect from the two most awkward characters on the show.
Anyway, Jung shows up with Kimchee, who heads straight upstairs.
Jung, however, goes to Shannon and apologizes for earlier, but then Shannon drops the bomb we've all sort of been expecting for some time:
"I think that we should break up."
Jung seems to be taken aback but as Shannon explains why they can no longer go on, and even asks if he can honestly say he's happy with how things are, Jung sadly and reluctantly accepts it.
Welp, who's hungry? Because I sure have gotten used to eating my feelings!
Jung and Shannon join the group upstairs where Kimchee is getting a lesson on the Kim Sisters from Appa. If you recall, they're his favourite K-pop group (you know, before K-pop).
There are other callbacks in this scene, which I love. Like, Jung finally remembers to bring the wine (callback to "Happy Ummaversary"), Shannon giving fruit as a gift (callback to "Matchy Matchy"), and of course, the aforementioned Kim Sister album (callback to "Appa & Linus").
Before they dig in, Appa gives a toast… or prayer. Toast prayer!
And it summarizes why this show is special.
After dinner, as Appa and Umma escort their guests out of the store, Appa is telling them the story of what he almost named the store, with 7-12 and "Kim Horton" in the running. It's so adorable how well Jung and Janet know these stories.
As Janet, Kimchee, Jung, and Shannon ransack the store (at the insistence of Appa), Jung gives a little toy to Shannon and says, "Lunch buddies?" solidifying their amicable break-up.
Awww, callback to "Janet's New Job"!
Once they all leave, Appa and Umma lock up the store and turn off the lights, and they congratulate themselves on a job well done as they walk back toward their home.
There is a long take of the two of them walking away in the dark, very reminiscent of the end of a play. Whether intentional or not, it looks like a proper callback to the show's origins.
Curtains close. A round of applause and standing ovation for five amazing seasons.
Ok, see you!
It's one thing to promote a show, write articles about its cast and crew, or make graphics and GIFs to share on social media. It's another thing to be able to write about it as a fan, to delight in the storylines, and to show my frustration and love for the characters, sometimes at the same time —I'm looking at you, Jung!
Aside from the show having a cultural impact on me and others, it was just a fun show to watch and an absolute joy to rant and commentate on each week.
It may be curtains for Kim's Convenience, but the world that the show has created isn't quite over just yet.
I look forward to seeing what's next for Shannon (Nicole Power) as she continues her journey in the upcoming spin-off series, Strays.
Andrew Phung will also be seen in Run the Burbs, a new comedy coming to CBC that is co-created by Phung himself.
The rest of the cast and crew are certainly not short on talent. We'll see them in some amazing things very soon. In fact, I hear Simu Liu will be in some little feature film from Marvel in the summer.
And if I'm being very honest, I would watch Paul Sun-Hyung Lee read my UberEats receipts. Trust me, that's a lot of material! In the meantime, check out his YouTube channel!
There's only one way to wrap up these recaps. Say it with me now:
Ok, see you.