I’m going to treat 49 Days like my personal redemption project. I’m going to will it to keep getting better, and see if that works. If not, then I’m going to be in for a rough few weeks. Episode 3 was better than episode 2, which was better than episode 1, so the trend is happily still on an upward trajectory. Sadly, the drama continues to be a choppy and plodding sort of thing, one which makes me bored and working to involve myself into the story.
I don’t hate it, but my determination to keep watching it rather befuddles myself. I think it really is my love for Jo Hyun Jae and my adoration for Jung Il Woo’s Scheduler that makes me loathe to give this one up. The plot holes and excess symbolic moments and gestures make me shake my head at the silliness, but luckily it doesn’t hit a raw nerve of stupidity that makes me gnash my teeth in frustration. Perhaps when the story gells (hopefully sooner rather than later), I’ll look back on these early episodes with a fond eye akin to revisiting a wayward child who has since grown up into a fine adult.
Episode 3 Recap:
Min Ho and In Sung are in the hotel room. Min Ho tries to comfort In Jung and asks her to eat something first. She hasn’t been eating or sleeping in the past few days, and Min Ho gently tries to calm her down. In Jung asks him what they should do now?
Ji Kyung is outside the hotel room dazed and deep in thought. A bus boy comes by to deliver room service to Min Ho’s room, and Ji Kyung runs off after she can’t explain to the bus boy why she is sitting outside a guest room. Min Ho runs to the elevator and catches a glimpse of Ji Kyung inside as the elevator door is closing.
Min Ho walks back to the hotel room and picks up a dropped little charm outside the room. Ji Kyung runs out of the hotel like the hell hounds are after her. Back inside the hotel room of cheaters and/or liars, In Jung asks how Min Ho could consider stealing Ji Hyun’s personal seal after all that has happened. Min Ho says that Chairman Shim is too busy right now to deal with that piece of land belonging to Ji Hyun., so they have to act quick.
In Jung angrily retorts that she can’t – not with Ji Hyun in the state that she is in. She doesn’t want to destroy herself. Min Ho tells her that it’s not their fault that Ji Hyun ended up in her coma state, but In Jung thinks that they could have played a role in it. We flashback to how they ended up in the car together the day of Ji Hyun’s accident.
In Jung is nervous and unhappy about what she and Min Ho are doing. Min Ho is solicitous of her fears and worries, wondering if perhaps she’s regretting it now. In Jung asks Min Ho to stop now, to run away with her. Min Ho tells her not to have any regrets, it won’t change anything. In Jung gets a call from Ji Hyun, and after the call Min Ho holds In Jung to comfort her, which is when Ji Hyun sees the embracing couple stopped at the intersection.
Back at the present, In Jung tells Min Ho that the location of Ji Hyun’s accident was near where they were driving that day. Perhaps Ji Hyun had been tailing them and saw everything. Min Ho tries to stop her worries, and tells her that he knows how upset she is with the situation. But he cannot stop now, even knowing the condition Ji Hyun is in. He tells her that even if she backs out, he’s going to continue.
Min Ho asks In Jung to think about how they got into the situation in the first place? If they ran away, they would not be able to find happiness, and it would not bring Ji Hyun back. Ji Kyung runs until she reaches a park area, where she takes out her cell phone and jabs repeatedly at the emergency call button to summon Scheduler.
He arrives and she berates him for not telling her the truth about why she got into the accident in the first place. Scheduler tells her that it was heaven’s secret that he could not reveal. Ji Kyung is upset with Scheduler, and he explains that due to special circumstances he has to complete a five-year job assignment (as the Scheduler), and he is just doing his job is all.
Scheduler tells Ji Kyung that he’s not interested in her love story, and all the backstabbing and betrayals involved therewith. He turns and leaves, but Ji Kyung wants to find out all the reasons for Min Ho and In Jung betraying her, but Scheduler doesn’t answer and tells her to go ask the two people in question. He reminds her that she has only 49 days to accomplish her goal.
Ji Kyung heads back to Heaven (the name of Han Kang’s restaurant), where the staff is wondering why she hasn’t returned yet? Is she a swindler or someone really interested in working at the restaurant. Han Kang’s partner at the restaurant is excited to see his beloved wife arrive bearing snacks for him. They are totally lovey dovey with each other, making everyone smirk and tease them.
Han Kang walks outside to find Ji Kyung crouched in front of the entrance. He asks what she is doing, and she looks at him and Ji Hyun’s inner voice calls out “Kang-ahh”. She tells him that she brought her work resume to show him. She hands him the resume but her hands are shaking. He asks why she’s so late in returning, and she tells him the truth – she saw her friend and her fiancée together at the hotel.
Ji Kyung can’t explain more fully to Han Kang, who reluctantly accepts her explanation and takes the proffered resume. Whereby Ji Kyung promptly faints. Han Kang’s partner offers to piggyback her into the restaurant to lay down, but his wife tells him that the youngster should do the piggybacking, aka Han Kang. He piggybacks her into his office and deposits her on sofa.
Han Kang looks at a sleeping Yi Kyung and mumbles that if she has a fiancée, why was she all over Min Ho the other night. Yes, Kang, everyone appears to want Min Ho, but I’d totally pick you! He leans down look at her but jumps back when she stirs. He notices that even in sleep she appears distressed, and wonders if it was true that she saw her fiancée with her friend at the hotel?
Ji Kyung wakes up and starts to get angry about Min Ho and In Jung cheating behind her back. She runs off without taking her belongings. Her bag is opened to see if they can find out where she lives, and Han Kang sees a whistle on a pink string inside the purse, which he remembers Ji Hyun using back in high school when she helped him shoo away the bullies.
Ji Kyung lays down to rest early, and Ji Hyun pops out of Yi Kyung’s body. Spirit Ji Hyun runs off to confront her best friend and her fiancée for their duplicity. She goes to find In Jung first, and follows her on the bus all the way to Ji Hyun’s house. The entire time, Ji Hyun is angry and talking to In Jung about how she could betray her with Min Ho, but of course In Jung cannot see or hear spirit Ji Hyun.
In Jung goes inside the house and into Ji Hyun’s room. She’s searching for something when Ji Hyun’s mom comes into the room and asks why In Jung is here? Ji Hyun’s mom tells her to leave, and don’t come into her daughter’s room without permission as if treating Ji Hyun as a dead person. Ji Hyun’s dad gets news from the doctor that she could be in a coma for any period of time.
Min Ho is visiting Ji Hyun at the hospital. Ji Hyun’s dad hands more work assignments to Min Ho, because he wants to spend more time at Ji Hyun’s bedside. In Jung leaves Ji Hyun’s house and calls Min Ho to tell him that she couldn’t get into Ji Hyun’s room to search. Min Ho forcibly makes Ji Hyun’s dad leave the hospital to go home and check on his wife.
Ji Hyun follows Min Ho into his apartment, talking to him the entire time, trying to get assurance that he loves her and cares about her. Min Ho starts talking once he gets into the apartment, and Ji Hyun thinks that he’s talking to her because he can see her. She quickly realizes that he’s talking to In Jung, who is waiting for Min Ho in his apartment already.
Ji Hyun is even more livid to see that In Jung has the kind of relationship with Min Ho where she can just enter his apartment without him being there. In Jung explains that she can’t search Ji Hyun’s room for the seal, and Ji Hyun realizes that they are looking for her seal. She thinks she gave it to Min Ho already, but she had actually put her lipstick in the bag thinking it was the seal.
Min Ho tells In Jung that they have to get the land quickly, otherwise their entire plan is ruined. Ji Hyun gasps in shock, and realizes that whatever nefarious plan appears to be targeted at her father. Ji Hyun’s father comes home to see his wife packing to go stay at the hospital. He tries to ask her to calm down and take care of herself during this difficult time. Both parents start sobbing because they miss their daughter so much.
In Jung leaves Min Ho’s apartment and Ji Hyun follows her out, staring at her in shock and disappointment. She thinks back at Scheduler’s words that she needs to get three pure tears in 49 Days to resurrect herself, and clearly this goal seems more and more impossible now. Ji Hyun cries and calls out for her parents.
Ji Hyun returns to Yi Kyung’s apartment, where she becomes Ji Kyung for a moment to close the door and lock it. She leaves Yi Kyung’s body and watches as Yi Kyung wakes up and goes to work. At work, the guy who keeps coming to see Yi Kyung comes and buys his usual cigarette. She repays him for his taxi fare that day.
He asks whether she’s interested in who he is, and why he was at the accident site that day? She’s not interested. He tells her that he knows where she intended to go that day, and tells her to ask him if she’s interested. Yi Kyung touches her hair and wonders why it’s not matted and dirty like it is usually. Yi Kyung goes home and lays down, and Ji Hyun is still sitting in the same place.
Ji Hyun doesn’t possess Yi Kyung’s body that day, and the two lost and lonely girls sit in silence. Ji Hyun wonders if Yi Kyung had the same thing happen to her before, which is why she is like this. Ji Hyun is still moping when her cell phone starts moving on its own. She tries to chuck it but Scheduler arrives. He tells her that he’s here to call her an elevator (to Heaven).
He tells her that she’s clearly not going to use her remaining days and should just leave now. He tells her to just start her next life already, and that scares her out of her mopey daze. She promises him not to behave like that again. Ji Kyung arrives back at Heaven (the restaurant) and apologizes for not showing up yesterday and for being late today.
Han Kang makes sure Ji Kyung gets some food to eat first, and Ji Hyun voiceovers a thanks to him for looking out for her. Ji Kyung has transformed into a very capable waitress all of a sudden. Han Kang finds himself looking at Ji Kyung, who is zoning out at the restaurant, wondering what she should do going forward. Ji Kyung stands up and runs into her friend So Hee. She wants to say hi but stops herself when In Jung walks in behind her.
Ji Kyung takes the trash out and runs into Min Ho outside. Min Ho thanks Ji Kyung for taking care of him the day before. He asks if she remembers him from the day before, and Ji Kyung turns and pointedly asks if she has a reason to remember him. She turns and walks away, and her eyes rim with unshed tears.
The friends are inside the restaurant discussing Ji Hyun’s situation. Each are taking turns checking on Ji Hyun in the hospital. Ji Kyung hears that her mom is in a bad state, not eating, not sleeping, doesn’t leave the house, and she drops a water carafe which shatters and shocks everyone. In Jung asks who the girl is, and Han Kang says it’s just a new employee.
Ji Kyung is outside sobbing and asking her mom to please forgive her. She hears an announcement on her cell phone reminding her that she needs to head home because it’s almost midnight. She’s supposed to be working until midnight, so she has to barge into a meeting between Han Kang and Min Ho to request her new work hours.
Han Kang agrees, and Min Ho asks why Han Kang is so nice to her. Min Ho wonders if Han Kang likes her, and she is the style of girl he likes. Han Kang says that Min Ho still has his sense of humor in a time like this, and Min Ho says that Ji Hyun would want him to still be like this. Ji Kyung overhears the rest of the conversation and she is livid.
Ji Kyung decides the first thing she needs to do is find her seal before it gets into Min Ho’s hands. Ji Hyun and Scheduler have a tete-a-tete in Yi Kyung’s apartment while Yi Kyung is downing her usual bowl of ramyun. Ji Hyun asks if she can have just one hour where she can touch things, so she can get her seal back. Scheduler reminds her that he cannot get involved in human affairs.
Ji Hyun asks whether he makes exceptions, and he says absolutely not. Ji Kyung begs Han Kang to let her leave for three hours to run an errand. He reluctantly agrees after she leaves all her money on the table and tells her that if he fires her then she will die of hunger. She runs off and Han Kang grumbles that she sure scampers like someone he knows.
Ji Kyung uses her house code to enter her own house. She’s happy to be back in her room, and lays down on her bed to rest for a moment. She sees her wedding dress and throws it on the ground, but realizes that her presence may be discovered that way and hangs it back up. She’s rummaging through her drawers when the doorbell rings and she looks outside to see Min Ho arriving with a fruit basket.
Min Ho looks at up at Ji Hyun’s room and she hurriedly closes the drapes. Min Ho tells Ji Hyun’s mom that he’s here to take some of Ji Hyun’s favorite things to the hospital to keep her company. Ji Hyun’s mom is touched by his thoughtful gesture. Min Ho slowly walks upstairs while Ji Kyung keeps searching the room. He enters the room, and it appears that Ji Kyung may be caught….
Thoughts of Mine:
As the story starts to coalesce (much too slowly IMO) and the acting settling into a groove all around (even Nam Gyu Ri isn’t as grating and her performance has become bearable to watch), the other badly done elements now come to the forefront. I mentioned before that the directing is passable, but that was when I didn’t focus on it as much because I was so annoyed with the writing and acting.
In episode 3, the choppy editing and very elementary camera work is become quite a distraction, which is not surprising considering 49 Days is the PD’s first drama as head director. A great PD almost gets overlooked, because he’s presented the drama so seamlessly you don’t notice the genius behind the lens. A bad PD sticks out like a sore thumb, with the drama presented like a series of stop and gos on the freeway with a bad driver at the wheel who steps too hard on the brake and then accelerates too abruptly.
Along the same lines, I really can’t stand the music in 49 Days, one of the worst OSTs I’ve heard in a long time. I think My Princess was elevated in its watchability factor by having an awesomely catchy OST, and 49 Days is the opposite for me. I find the musical cues in this drama very poor integrated as well, so the drama doesn’t dip and swell musically the way a good OST adds the finishing touches to a compelling story.
Setting aside the (still) bad elements of 49 Days, my biggest criticism in episodes 1 and 2 appear to have been addressed in episode 3. The main 6 have settled into their roles, and it’s still Seo Ji Hye who is delivering the most nuanced and pitch-perfect performance of her character.
Fast on her heels is Lee Yo Won, who is hitting a home run with the astonishingly subtle richness of her dark and quiet Yi Kyung. She’s not just acting like a walking dead person, she’s bringing that characterization to life in a way that is more than simply acting depressed and mopey Lee Yo Won literally has the life force sucked right out of her, and I feel it.
I’m not liking her Ji Kyung as much, even if I do like Ji Kyung more than I like seeing Ji Hyun. Sadly my boy Jo Hyun Jae’s character and performance is totally getting overshadowed by the snap-crackle-pop of Jung Il Woo’s Scheduler and the taut-two-faced-torment of Bae Soo Bin’s Min Ho. Right now Jo Hyun Jae is like the straight man in a comedy routine, and doesn’t have much to do except be present in various scenes as an observer or unwitting participant. I’d love to see where the writer is taking his role.
Much as I hate cheater and liars, and Min Ho and In Jung appear to be both of them, I have this weird feeling that (1) Min Ho probably a very compelling reason for what he’s doing even if its not justifiable, and (2) it’s not cheating if Min Ho and In Jung are the real deal and Min Ho’s relationship with Ji Hyun was a set up from the get go. But that still means they are lying to Ji Hyun and attempting to swindle her family.
I want Min Ho and In Jung to pay their dues for their misdeeds, but I also want them to end up together, because they are clearly in love with each other. It’s like a K-drama version of Bonnie and Clyde, and I totally feel how much they have this deep and tormented emotional bond with each other. Similarly, I love the interaction between Scheduler and Ji Hyun, and if they can become Mr. and Mrs. Scheduler in the afterlife together I’d be totally onboard with that.
Overall episode 3 of 49 Days left me with a shrug and a sigh, but it’s much better than a blech (episode 1) or a meh (episode 2). I really wish the PD would cut it out with the uber-dramatic editing and scene execution, which was driving me bonkers the entire episode. Min Ho’s walk to Ji Hyun’s room took forever, with stupid OST music that was more suited for Mike Meyers popping out from behind the door with a ten inch knife.
I also want the writer to lay off the overuse of coincidences and symbolism, or at least stop delivering it in such a heavy handed way. Like how the hell did Ji Hyun’s whistle on a pink string end up in Yi Kyung’s purse just so that Han Kang could see it and add to his laundry list of things that Yi Kyung does that reminds him of Ji Hyun. Anyways, I think this drama can keep working on correcting these flaws and hone its rough edges, and I look forward to finding more and more enjoyment in watching it.