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Doona! Recap and Ending Explained: What is the plot of Doona!? Does Doona! have a happy ending?

Doona! Recap: What is the plot of Doona?

Doona! is the latest Netflix series starring Bae Suzy and Yang Se-Song as Lee Dona and Lee Won Ju. 

It was adapted from Min Songa’s webtoon The Girl Downstairs (이두나) but takes a different turn than the original webtoon. In contrast, the original webtoon which offers an open-ended conclusion, Doona! It provides a closed ending that is clear with its outcome.

It is a coming-of-age drama carefully crafted to portray the development of two twenty-something people. The characters contrast each other perfectly to bring out each other’s sharp edges. At the same time, this contrast ends up softening their edges.

Doona is a formal Idol who has suffered severely due to her life as an idol yet wants to return to her dream. While it does take from the recent K-drama trend to raise edgy female leads from Iteawon class to a much more recent Noh Da Hyun from Eat, Kill, Love.

Doona does have an edge, but her edginess comes more in the form of a defence mechanism against the world rather than true confidence in herself. Won Ju is a strait-laced guy who wants to do things by the book. Doona sees Won Ju’s caring and naïve nature raises her self-destructive and world-wise snarkiness.

The two characters fit pretty well together, but the series is more about their individual growth than them as characters together. 

 Won Ju, new to Seoul, is introduced to Doona as a chain-smoking girl downstairs and Doona, newly laid off due to a breach of contract, assumes Won Ju to be a stalker. 

They did not start on the right foot. Won Ju tries to avoid her at all costs, and their relationship is almost entirely sustained by Doona’s need for attention from a man who is ignoring her. They develop an unlikely friendship, eventually becoming a love story. 

Won Ju provides Doona with a space to heal, and the story, by all means, follows the journey of healing of the show’s namesake. She was introduced to the K-pop industry pretty early, and while she was a gifted performer, she had the same reservations as any other girl in the industry. 

Doona! touches on the lives of K-pop artists. The hard work they put in and how sometimes the social mechanisms override talent. It explains her personal life during her Idol days when her manager emotionally exploited her for his benefit.

It showcased a rather unfriendly environment where everyone was under pressure to perform; thus, no one had the time to show her sympathy. The constant barraging of hate comments further pushed her towards depression. Therefore, even though she was heralded as a goddess by her fans, she herself, on the other hand, was riddled with self-doubt and hate.

When the unending line of goals and hate comments finally got to her, everyone abandoned her. Yet, if you expect this to be a critique of the K-pop industry, it is far from it. It simply portrays real life, both the good and the bad, in equal measure.

She turned towards smoking and destroying herself. With no regard for her well-being, she turns to latching on to anyone to take care of her. Who, in this case, is Won Ju. Doona! is the story of the self-discovery of its namesake.

It is essential to mention that Won Ju was as much in need of development as Doona. While he was neither rude nor self-destructive like Doona, his development was becoming more of what he could be. He was a kind man but was blind to the sufferings of others.

A naïve young man, he did not have the grit to stand up for himself genuinely. He kept on falling back to Doona for support as much as she was doing the same. Unable to do what was necessary, he held down both Doona and himself from maturing.

The relationship itself is portrayed beautifully. Their development in personality is highly dependent on each other; therefore, they become people whose personalities are intertwined. While some people might argue that the scenes seem oddly warped, even messy, that is precisely what they wanted to portray: a messy relationship that consistently jumps from one emotion to another.

The multiple confession scenes are a perfect portrayal of how the mess didn’t just come from Doona; Won Ju was unsure of their relationship and missed the chance to go after her; neither did the commitment just come from Won Ju; Doona went as far as to inform her CEO about their relationship so that they could be together.

They had their sweet moments, from the basketball scene to the soft moments together in the downstairs house. The critical thing to learn from the series is that one has to save themselves, and as much as you would like to scoop up the one you love from their troubles, it does come down to them to protect themselves. 

Doona! Ending Explained: Does Doona! have a happy ending?

 We are coming to the end. Here is where Donna!’s plot is markedly different from the webtoon. The webtoon was known for its open-ended storyline. Doona! explored more of what could have happened. 

 The last episode opens with a very sick Won Ju, who is reminded of his request to Doona. He wanted her to sing again, and she did. She was not a K-pop idol and a very successful one at that.

They meet multiple times in this episode, and each time, they are a little closer to finally letting each other go. The first time they meet in the dorm, Doona is ready to risk her career for Won Ju, but he refuses, instead using the military as an excuse to escape her. 

While they do not directly meet each other the next time, they come in contact through Jin-Ju, who has been to Doona’s concert. Won Ju’s reaction to this showed he was still attached to Doona.

The next time they meet is during the remodelling of their old dorm. It seems fitting that the whole saga concludes when the place responsible for them coming together is ending. 

Doona meets Won Ju by chance at a bar, and they part ways but on really awkward terms that don’t sit well with Doona. She later barges into Won Ju’s house to ask for answers. In a scene that poetically mirrors her confession, Doona receives her moment of catharsis, and they finally let go of each other.

In 2027, they again cross paths, but now their paths have diverged so much that they do not even recognise each other. Yet they remember each other in the way that Won Ju smiles at the cake, and Doona stops in her tracks, thinking if she had just imagined Won Ju but, more importantly, how they have matured as humans.   

So, does it have a happy ending? It is as comfortable an ending as you can get in life. Won Ju is on his way to becoming a civil servant, and Doona is on her way to becoming a star.

They have matured as humans because of their relationships and will always carry each other in their hearts, but does that mean they will end up together? At least in the drama, the answer is no, and yet it is a happy ending. 

Using Bae Suzy as Doona is the best decision for the story. With her extensive history in the K-pop industry, she would understand and thus portray Doona better than just actors. On the other hand, while casting Yang Se-Song as Won Ju might seem a little unconventional due to his age, his experience as an actor pays off. 


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