Netflix’s South Korean romance show ‘Doona’ follows the story of a troubled musician and a bright-eyed young boy who cross paths at unexpected times and change each other’s lives forever. Lee Doona, an established K-pop idol, is undergoing a bump in her career after dropping out of her famous girl group Dream Sweet. Meanwhile, Lee Won-jun, a regular college student, moves to Seoul for his studies as a civil engineer. Ending up at the same co-ed house together, Doona and Won-jun’s relationship develops over time from fraught neighbors to close friends until an evitable force draws them to each other.
Nevertheless, Doona’s tumultuous life, from her troubled past to the demands made by her profession, continues to cast a gloomy shadow over her relationship with Won-jun. Consequently, things only get more complicated for the couple as their relationship grows. If you’re keen on learning how the duo navigates their relationship and where it ultimately takes them, here is everything you need to know. SPOILERS AHEAD!
Once Won-jun’s sick sister gets discharged from the hospital, the young boy leaves his home and decides to move to Seoul to shorten his daily commute. When he arrives at his new home, wearing his best friend’s hoodie due to the weather, he receives a cold welcome from one of his housemates, a girl with an affinity for expensive cigarettes. While he gets to work right away, settling in and printing out tutoring flyers, he keeps bumping into the girl, who seems perpetually annoyed by him.
Eventually, Won-jun realizes that the girl is Doona from the musical group Dream Sweet, his best friend, Su-Jin’s favorite band. As such, he also realizes that during their first meeting, he had been wearing Doona’s limited edition fan merch that led the girl to believe he was a stalker, pretending not to know her as a trick. Although the young freshman explains himself to the pop star, she seems disinterested in believing him.
Unbothered by the same, Won-jun goes on with his days and runs into an old friend, Kim Jin-Ju, who is attending the same college as him. Although she seems pleased with their reunion, Won-jun— who used to harbor feelings for her less than a year ago— is decidedly not but hides it well. Eventually, one night, the boy returns home to find Doona smoking in her usual spot in the front yard, but with tears in her eyes this time. Worse yet, the girl ends up passing out.
After Won-jun helps Doona by taking her to the hospital and looking after her, the girl starts trying to hang out with him, pleasantly surprised by his kind demeanor. Still, Won-jun isn’t certain what to make of her attention and continues trying to avoid her. Inversely, Doona, finding the boy’s reaction funny, keeps playfully flirting with him. As such, somewhere along the line, the two become tentative friends.
Yet, the romantic tension between the two remains palpable even after Doona realizes that Won-jun still has a crush on Jin-ju, who is now their mutual friend. Nevertheless, despite occasionally bickering and fighting, the two continue to be friends, with Doona even giving Won-jun advice on pursuing Jin-ju. The three also start hanging out alongside the duo’s other housemates, Yun-Taek and Jung-Hoon.
Jin-ju and Won-jun’s past as close friends, dubbed soulmates, remains a point of contention and drama. Unbeknownst to the latter, Jin-ju’s family life had ruined their chances together as teenagers. Similarly, Won-jun’s growing feelings toward his housemate stand between the two now. Nonetheless, Doona’s confusing spiral of meaningless kisses and guarded personality keep him on his toes.
Eventually, their co-ed expands after Doona gets roommates, inviting Jin-ju and Choi I-ra, Won-jun’s former frenemy, to live with her. It isn’t until Doona tries to pick up a guy at the club and fails, finally confessing her feelings to a jealous Won-jun, that the duo’s relationship develops into something more than just friends. Nevertheless, after the couple goes on a spontaneous vacation together and progresses their relationship further, Doona’s past returns for her in the form of her manager, Park In-wook. Thus begins a tumultuous ride for the couple’s already rocky romance.
Doona Ending: Why Does Won-jun Break Up With Doona?
Ever since Won-jun has known Doona, the girl has been unstable and conflicted with her emotions, clearly still haunted by whatever happened in her past. When they first meet, Doona, previously performing sold-out stadiums on her tours, is now confined to their small shared house. Although the public believes she’s only taking a break to focus on her studies, Won-jun can see that her career’s steady downfall is affecting Doona.
Yet, Doona never outright acknowledges the same, even when she opens up to Won-jun in whatever capacity she can. However, their trip to the scenic cabin in the woods changes everything. Won-jun has previously been insecure about his place in Doona’s life because he’s scared she’s not looking for anything serious with him. Nonetheless, he allows himself to hope for a different outcome at the cabin.
As such, when Doona’s manager, In-wook, shows up one morning and Doona’s entire demeanor changes, Won-jun’s worst fears begin to come true. Worst yet, when Won-jun tries to get her to stay with him, clinging to her hand, Doona only wordlessly drops his hand and drives away with In-wook. Thus, It doesn’t take long for Won-jun to realize In-wook is the man Doona has been crying over all this time.
However, as it would turn out, Doona had an infinitely more complex relationship with the man than Won-jun could imagine. Doona grew up without a father and an absent mother. Consequently, when In-wook, a grown adult, recruited Doona when she was in eighth grade, there was already an unfair power imbalance in their relationship. The young girl constantly sought out his approval, allowing him to manipulate her since she relied on him for validation.
Therefore, when In-wook showed up at the cabin, Doona couldn’t walk away from him and chose to hurt Won-jun. Still, she realized her mistake halfway down the drive when In-wook showed no remorse for abandoning her all these months. As a result, she confronted him about his mistreatment of her despite knowing how she felt about him and returned to her cabin only to find Won-jun gone.
Still, the couple manages to make up afterward once Doona admits to her selfish tendencies and inability to value things until they are out of her grasp. The fact that she confesses her love for Won-jun also helps. Once the couple gets back together, labeling their relationship, they begin dating in earnest. Despite their happy relationship, Doona begins to realize how much she misses her former life of music and fame.
The turning point arrives when the duo goes to a concert, and the band invites Doona to join them on stage. Once Won-jun witnesses Doona perform, he realizes the girl was born to be a singer. Days later, their relationship experiences another roadblock when Won-jun has to return home for a while to look after his sister. During this time, Doona gets sued by her record label for breach of contract.
Although Doona is prepared to put up with the same, her following meeting with In-wook only makes her realize that if she allows her record label to go through with the lawsuit, they will rip her career to shreds. Therefore, she returns to the limelight, not ready to give up on her passion. Even though she doesn’t intend to give up on Won-jun, she has to stay away from him for a while due to her team’s insistence.
Meanwhile, Won-jun overthinks his place in Doona’s life, which only feels more diminished after his short confrontation with In-wook. As pointed out by the other man, Won-jun and Doona are still young, and the former hasn’t even served his years in the military yet. Therefore, the chances of them making their relationship work once he gets summoned while Doona is dealing with her own life are impossible. As a result, when Doona finally sneaks out to meet with Won-jun again, the boy only uses the opportunity to break up with her once and for all to save them both the eventual heartbreak.
Do Doona and Won-jun End Up Together?
Although Doona is devastated by her break up with Won-jun, she refuses to let it blunder her dreams and throws herself into her career. Soon, she wins back her place in the spotlight with a better record label deal that allows her more creative freedom. Nonetheless, she remains cut off from Won-jun, who serves his time in the military during their separation.
With time, Doona grows more mature and works on her old flaws, actively combatting her selfish habits and trying to pull herself together. During this time, she realizes she has depended on men for her personal happiness her whole life. Even when she stopped allowing In-wook to have that kind of power over her, she clung to Won-jun for her well-being. For the same reason, she was barely a shell of herself whenever she wasn’t with Won-jun.
Thus, even if the road to recovery is hard for Doona, she manages to overcome it and emerges better for it on the other side. Four years later, the two eventually run into again. While both had kept in contact with their old friends, including Jin-ju, they have been but past ghosts for each other. However, when Won-jun returns to their old co-ed house one night and runs into Doona with a cigarette in her hand, he knows their meeting is intentional.
Regardless, Won-jun tries to get through their reunion without bringing up their past relationship or obvious broken hearts. Doona refuses to let him off the hook that easily and arrives at his door demanding a proper conversation. She tells him that after he left her when she needed him most, she worked on herself and is entirely self-sufficient now. Won-jun regrets his past decisions and tells Doona as much, but the fact remains that something intrinsic has been broken between the couple.
Both of them can continue to lament their past, but it won’t change the fact that Won-jun abandoned Doona when he should’ve fought for their relationship. Likewise, Doona’s career will remain unsustainable for Won-jun, who has only ever wanted a regular life with regular happiness. In the end, after their emotionally charged confrontation, the couple returns their separate ways.
In the future, even when Doona and Won-jun pass by the same paths, neither pauses to acknowledge the other— their walks of life are irrevocably separate now. Nevertheless, the duo had changed each other lives in meaningful ways that neither would ever forget. Doona and Won-jun might not have a happily ever after just yet, but their lives are bettered for having known each other.