Screenwriter So Hyun Kyung is really quite a chameleon of a writer. If I didn’t know that she wrote Brilliant Legacy/Shining Inheritance (and Prosecutor Princess – the few episodes I watched), I would have never guessed she’s the writer of 49 Days, this drama is so utterly different in tone, pace, execution, and construct than her previous works. It’s not different in a way that presupposes the writer’s style is evolving or maturing, but it just bears no resemblance to her previous style (unlike Kim Eun Sook, whose cleaver pen I can see a mile away, through a forest, and across an ocean). With that said, this episode was another solid one. Oh who am I kidding – this episode kicked ass, and finally I get my emotional breakthrough with this story.
Everything up until now, I still contend that 49 Days is really really slow, the plot moving at a weekend drama pace almost, where there are 50 episodes to fill and character and reveals can be slowly but assuredly presented. It’s picked up pace significantly in these past 2 episodes, for which I am eternally grateful, but because So Hyun Kyung’s dramas have thus far been cracky and fast-paced, perhaps part of my inability to fully connect with 49 Days stems from my disconnect with expectations. But that’s all water under the bridge now, and I sense we’re headed for some fast rapids ahead.
Episode 10 Recap:
Kang hears Ji Kyung playing but his heart sees Ji Hyun instead. Kang walks up to Ji Kyung and asks her incredulously “who are you?” followed up with a “are you Ji Hyun?” Ji Kyung stares at him, and he asks again whether she is Ji Hyun? Ji Kyung finally stammers out a “what are you talking about!”, but Kang tells her that this is a song he heard Ji Hyun play in high school, and Ji Kyung is playing it the exact same way.
Ji Kyung says that this song is quite famous, but Kang refuses to accept that easy explanation, saying that it’s not just the song, it’s everything he’s feeling when he sees her. He yells at her that while it’s impossible, why does he keep getting vibes from her that everything about her reminds him of Ji Hyun. The manager comes in and defuses the tension, allowing Kang to stalk off. The manager tells Ji Kyung the piano shouldn’t be touched, because it was only thing Kang’s mother left to him.
Kang and Ji Kyung stand facing the courtyard, divided by a wall, as they each consider what just happened. Ji Kyung is worried about Kang finding out, while Kang is worried that Ji Kyung will think he is a crazy lunatic. Ji Kyung excuses herself to leave, but Kang stops her to ask for her cellphone number. He asks her what happened yesterday, and she lies that she went home to rest because she wasn’t feeling well.
Kang tells her that she wasn’t home last night because he went by to check. This causes Ji Kyung to get annoyed that Kang appears to care so much about Yi Kyung. Her typical cluelessness leads her to mistakenly assume that Kang’s bad mood is because the girl he likes (Yi Kyung) reminds him of the girl he doesn’t like (Ji Hyun). Kang goes back to his room and takes out a charm bracelet which clearly has some history between Kang and Ji Hyun.
Ji Kyung walks home, dejected that she doesn’t have any friends that really care about her. She heads to the bakery to buy bread for her dad, and Seo Woo asks her to sample some desserts. Ji Kyung is happy to be able to spend time with Seo Woo again. Ji Kyung eats the bread and compliments it as delicious and takes just like cake. Seo Woo notes that her reaction is just like Ji Hyun.
Seo Woo then asks how Ji Kyung got the thermos bottle? Is In Jung dating Ji Kyung’s brother? Ji Kyung says that she doesn’t have a brother, and that Seo Woo needs to ask In Jung about what is going on. It’s clear that Seo Woo did not see Min Ho’s face the other night. Ji Kyung wonders if Seo Woo has forgotten about her as well.
Ji Hyun’s dad is starting to have blurry vision and difficulty with hand coordination. He finally has an attack right before his wife’s eyes. Min Ho and In Jung are having a meal together, and In Jung asks that he not talk Ji Hyun or the company in front of her. She confesses that tomorrow she is planning to tender her resignation. In light of the rumors floating around that a ghostly spirit obstructed the will signing, she wants to leave the company as soon as possible. In Jung says that the people consider the falling seal a sign that Min Ho is not supposed to be the successor to the company.
Ji Kyung arrives at the hospital to bring bread to her father, but when she opens the door to the room she sees her own father lying in an adjoining bed to Ji Hyun. She’s even more distraught, and as she is leaving the hospital deep in thought, she runs into Min Ho in the lobby. Ji Hyung glares at him, wondering how he dares to come here, and whether he wants to keep trying to weasel his way into her dad’s will?
Min Ho grabs her arm, and she curtly demands that he release her. Min Ho tells her that he was concerned about her, but Ji Kyung continues to walk away without further acknowledging him. In the hospital room, Ji Hyun’s mom confesses to Min Ho that her husband appears to be quite ill, and collapsed after becoming unable to move his arm. Ji Hyun’s dad wake up just then and announces that he’s just fine.
Ji Hyun’s mom tries to get him to get a thorough check up, but Ji Hyun’s dad gestures to Min Ho to keep it from his wife. Min Ho actually has some decency, because once he gets to be alone with Ji Hyun’s mom, he reveals the truth to her – her husband has a brain tumor. Ji Kyung is hiding around the corner and can see but not hear the conversation, so she thinks Min Ho is trying to hoodwink her mom about something now. Ji Hyun’s mom breaks down crying, and Min Ho takes her away, all the while Ji Kyung wonders what they talked about.
Seo Woo informs In Jung that she saw Ji Kyung earlier, who explained that In Jung is not dating her brother, but wouldn’t reveal anything else. In Jung is upset that Seo Woo met with Ji Kyung. Seo Woo confesses that she saw In Jung meeting with the man, who looks a lot like Min Ho. Ahahahaha, Seo Woo appears even dimmer than pre-accident Ji Hyun. In Jung keeps placating Seo Woo with a promise to tell her later.
Ji Hyun’s mom is at the hospital side of both her daughter and husband, and she’s so terribly distraught by the double whammy of losing her husband and her daughter. Yi Kyung leaves the coffee shop in the morning after her shift, and a voice calls out that there are 26 more days left. Ji Hyun is nervously waiting at the apartment for Yi Kyung to come home.
Ji Hyun calls Scheduler and asks her to come over, and he’s in a terrible snippy mood with her. He confesses that by helping her, his punishment is an extra week on the job. In his entire tenure he has never broken the rules before, and now he did it for her. He tells her not to call him anymore, he gets even more upset when he sees her. His punishment is like a soldier almost done with military service being told he has to tack on another week.
Yi Kyung is at the hospital getting tests performed by Dr. Noh. We enter her dreams, where a happy and young Yi Kyung is laying in a field with a happy and young Scheduler (who is of course her boyfriend Song Yi Soo). They listen to music and she reads an architectural magazine, the happiness radiating from the couple, especially when Yi Soo leans down and gently kisses Yi Kyung.
Dr. Noh informs Yi Kyung that the test results are all normal, and there is nothing wrong with her brain activity. Kang is at the restaurant flashing back to all the various instances where he noticed a similarity between something Ji Kyung did that reminded him of Ji Hyun. Kang is informed that JI Kyung is late for work today. He’s worried even more about her now, and he calls her only to get her voicemail.
Ji Hyun is at the apartment pacing back and forth, waiting for Yi Kyung to return as well as strategizing about what to do with respect to Min Ho. Kang arrives at Yi Kyung’s neighborhood and his worry turns to happiness when he sees Yi Kyung walking home. She walks right past him, and he calls out to her, asking why she is pretending not to recognize him. She looks at him and asks who he is? But Yi Kyung walks away before Kang can respond, and Kang wonders if perhaps they are twins. But then he remembers that Ji Kyung claimed not to have any sisters. Kang is sitting in his car when he sees Ji Kyung jump into a taxi and take off.
Ji Hyun’s dad finally signs his new will in front of his lawyer and witnesses. In Jung wonders why Ji Hyun’s dad is insistent on writing a will right now. In Jung gets a call from Ji Hyun’s mom, who asks her to come over with Seo Woo. The girls arrive at Ji Hyun’s house, and is told that Ji Hyun’s father has always treated the girls like his own daughter, so would they please convince him to have the surgery.
She reveals that her husband has a brain tumor, and needs immediate surgery or his life is at risk. Thus far he’s refused to listen to Min Ho or his wife and have the surgery. In Jung clutches her purse in shock at hearing this news. Min Ho meets with his shady cohort, telling him to delay their plans for a few months. Since President Shin is likely to die soon, and the company will be Min Ho’s, there is no need for their plan now. The cohort reminds Min Ho that he shouldn’t care how the takeover is achieved as long as they reach their ultimate goal. Min Ho reminds his cohort that he used illegal means to buy shares in the company two years ago, and exerts this leverage now to get the guy to back off.
Seo Woo and In Jung leave the house, and Seo Woo asks In Jung to go with her to the hospital. In Jung refuses, saying that she has a date and will go to the hospital later. In Jung calls Min Ho and says that she will go to her house and meet him. Ji Kyung sneaks into Min Ho’s place to try and crack the code on the safe again. Min Ho comes home and finds Ji Kyung, who lies that she came to return the key, and wanted to finish some housework first.
In Jung arrives just then, and Min Ho shoves Ji Kyung into the bedroom and asks her to please be quiet. In Jung barges in and demands to know why Min Ho didn’t tell her about Ji Hyun’s father’s brain tumor. Ji Kyung hears this information from her hiding place in Min Ho’s bedroom, and is shocked and dismayed. Min Ho claims that he didn’t tell In Jung because he didn’t want her to be upset.
In Jung tells Min Ho to immediately plunge the company into bankruptcy. And we get a glimpse of In Jung’s motivations when she reveals that the moment Ji Hyun fell into her coma, the original plan lost all meaning and purpose for her. In Jung tells Min Ho to bankrupt the company immediately and hand it to his cohort, and Min Ho will make off with the island property, which is more than enough. She wants him to end it all, because she’s in a hell that she can’t escape. Yeah, roast in hell some more, In Jung.
Min Ho calms In Jung down and heads to his room, ostensibly to change, but really to see what Ji Kyung’s reaction is to what she just heard. Ji Kyung maintains her composure and indicates to Min Ho that she will keep quiet. Min Ho opens the closet and then actually cracks open the safe, allowing Ji Kyung to hear him punch in the code. He grabs a set of documents and leaves. He promises to explain everything to Ji Kyung. Once he leaves, Ji Kyung collapses on the ground, these additional revelations utterly devastating her. She cries for her father. Oh poor baby.
In Jung and Min Ho leave to go meet his cohorts. Ji Kyung sits in his bedroom deep in thought. Min Ho reminds the cohort that the company is not allowed to go into bankruptcy until he gets the company. Ji Kyung refuses to answer calls from Min Ho. She wanders down the street until she arrives at the restaurant. Min Ho rushes home and finds it empty. He calls Ji Kyung again but still gets no answer. He throws his phone against the wall in frustration.
Kang is wondering where the hell Ji Kyung went today. Min Ho calls Kang asking for Ji Kyung’s address. Kang lies that he doesn’t have it. Kang goes outside and sees Ji Kyung sitting in the courtyard, deep in thought. The manager brings out a hot drink and asks Kang to bring it to her. Ji Kyung grabs the cup and drinks deeply. Kang wonders if she’s eaten, and offers to feed her. She confesses that she’s not here to eat or work, she was just walking and then ended up here.
He asks who he met, her sister? She says that she doesn’t have a sister, and Kang wonders who the heck she has to take care of every night, is it her mother? Ji Kyung can’t answer and rushes off. Seo Woo lays into In Jung for her behavior – refusing to go to the hospital to visit Ji Hyun’s dad and instead going to see her secret boyfriend. Seo Woo says that In Jung owes the Shin family a debt of gratitude, and In Jung smirks and says that even if she owes a debt, it doesn’t mean she has to like her.
Seo Woo is shocked, especially when In Jung openly confirms that she dislikes Ji Hyun. Seo Woo asks why In Jung doesn’t like Ji Hyun, and In Jung says that Ji Hyun is someone who thinks the world revolves around her. Seo Woo asks if Ji Hyun has hurt In Jung, and In Jung responds in the affirmative but doesn’t elaborate further. Min Ho hires a PI to locate Ji Kyung.
Ji Kyung meets up with Scheduler and she asks why she needs three tears from the people who truly love her. Ji Kyung refuses to believe why her friends don’t cry pure tears for her, which is when Scheduler asks whether Ji Hyun has ever cried pure tears for anyone. Oh snap, good question, Scheduler! Ji Hyun claims that she has, and Scheduler tells her to stop thinking so highly of herself. She’s never been in that situation before (of shedding tears), so she shouldn’t be so sure of herself.
Scheduler tells her that love, hate, all the emotions change with time, and it’s clear that what he says is something that is lodged is his subconscious from when he was a human. Kang tells the manager that he saw a woman who looked just like Ji Kyung, but she pretended to not recognize him. The manager tells him to go be certain, and figure out what is going through his mind.
Kang goes to Yi Kyung’s apartment and finds it empty. He knows that she has to be home by midnight because she has someone to take care of. He waits for her, and Ji Kyung stumbles home close to midnight. He waits outside the apartment, and is wondering whether she is pretending not to know him. He’s about to knock on her door when Yi Kyung walks outside to head to her coffee shop job. She of course completely ignores Kang.
Kang follows her to the coffee shop, wondering if she’s here to meet someone. He realizes that she’s working another job. He heads inside and orders a coffee. She calmly takes his order, and asks him politely as a customer to please pay the bill first. He reads her name tag “Song Yi Kyung”, and she confirms that is indeed her name. He repeats it again, and she asks if he knows her. Kang shakes his head at her and walks away, clearly upset. Yi Kyung looks confused and disturbed at this encounter.
Kang drives home in a controlled anger. He goes to the manager’s house in the middle of the night, telling them what just happened. They wonder if she has a double personality. They start thinking about the possible significance of the 49 days Ji Kyung mentioned from the beginning. Ji Hyun is sitting in the darkened apartment, thinking about her dad’s condition and how she can’t find any friends to cry genuine tears for her.
Morning dawns, with 25 more days left, and Yi Kyung comes home from her job. She sits down and thinks to herself – that man acted like he knew me. Ji Hyun sits down and thanks Yi Kyung, because she’s likely made up her mind to quit her task and leave the world. She’s despondent that there is no hope left for her, and that she’s lived her life incorrectly. She apologizes for not following through on her promise to find Song Yi Soo for Yi Kyung. She asks Yi Kyung to please take care of herself.
Ji Hyun enters Yi Kyung’s body, and gets up for what she plans to be her final day on earth. She first gets rid of all evidence of her existence, but she decides instead to thoroughly clean the apartment as a thank you to Yi Kyung. She writes a note to Yi Kyung, telling her not to be afraid, because she’s not coming back again. She writes a note to her dad as well – telling him that she was once in Yi Kyung’s body and how Min Ho had plotted to take away his company. She asks her dad to please have the surgery.
Ji Kyung dresses in a pretty pink dress and white blazer and heads out to make her final rounds, but not before depositing her shampoo bottles by the curbside since Yi Kyung doesn’t use it. She heads to the restaurant and gives gifts to everyone. She thanks them for their care of her during the time she worked here.
She heads down to the office and to find Kang nodding off in the chair. He calls him Han Kang, and he asks if she is really Song Yi Kyung. She says that since she is his elder (Yi Kyung being older than Kang), then she can dispense with the formalities when speaking with him. She asks for a minute for him to listen to what she has to say. Ji Kyung discusses how someone once told her that sometimes being in love means letting go, to avoid being hurt more. She says that she understands this now. She hands Kang an envelope with her resignation, and thanks him for his care of her. She decided to leave, somewhere better far away.
Kang thinks she’s headed to Min Ho’s, but she tells him she is not going to work for Kang Min Ho. He accuses her of liking Min Ho from the beginning, but pretending otherwise. He asks her what the hell kind of person she really is, and who he met last night. She cuts him off, telling him that the real Song Yi Kyung is an orphan, with no one to talk to, no one who loves her. She stalks off, telling him to live well. Kang yells at her departing back, telling her that she better not dare to come back.
Ji Kyung walks away and starts to cry, wondering why they couldn’t have parted on better terms. Kang stalks to his bedroom and lays down in a huff. Ji Kyung arrives at the hospital to visit comatose Ji Hyun. She tells her own sleeping body that she will be returning soon, and together (her body and her soul), they can walk the rest of their road together.
Ji Kyung heads to her house, and enters just to hear her parents talking. Her mom wants her dad to have the surgery, but her dad refuses, saying that he won’t die until he sees Ji Hyun awaken first. She realizes that her dad is refusing the surgery because of her. If she dies, he wants to send her away, if she awakens, he wants to be the first to hold her. Ji Kyung sobs as she hears this conversation. Back at the restaurant, the manager is repotting a plant when he finds Ji Hyun’s hidden seal in the soil (which Ji Kyung had shoved in there). He holds up the seal and Kang sees it.
Ji Kyung is standing in the middle of a busy plaza, as people walk past her, everyone headed towards their destination. She cries, asking if someone could please come save her. She wants to and she needs to keep on living.
Suddenly she hears a drop of water. She grabs her necklace and inside is a startlingly pure tear drop. Ji Kyung is stunned, and she smiles as the full realization dawns on her. She got her first pure tear. One cheer for Shin Ji Hyun, and now three guesses from whence that tear came from.
Thoughts of Mine:
What a fantastic episode – brisk, effective, to-the-point, and a whiz-bang of an ending that really takes everything to another level. Ji Hyun now has both the hope and the drive to continue her three-tear quest, as well as the accomplishment of actually getting a tear. I loved that the tear came without us needing to see the process, which I’m sure we’ll see in flashback.
I was slightly annoyed that Kang didn’t engage Yi Kyung further in the coffee shop, which really is my quibble with most K-dramas when it gets right to the cusp of a big reveal and then pulls back to let it simmer for another episode or two. There was no reason for Kang to get that upset and walk away – I would have been just curious as to what the hell is going on, as opposed to upset that Yi Kyung may be pretending not to recognize Kang.
To no one’s surprise, but to everyone’s delight, Yi Kyung and Scheduler (real name Song Yi Soo) was indeed lovers, and super duper happy and healthy ones at that. Then clearly one died for good, and the other died inside along with him. The flashback scenes was a tad too bucholic for my taste (all hazy sun-dappled pastoral scene, sharing headphones, and even a sweet kiss to seal the deal), but at least we know Yi Kyung got some happiness once in her life.
What I really loved about this episode is that for once it focused on Ji Hyun rather than on the side plot twist. We really looked deep into who she is and how she is handles adversity. I think it was brave of her to consider giving up and accepting death (no easy feat), but then it was even more courageous of her to change her mind and continue on her quest for the sake of her parents who are greatly suffering at this point.
I really do like Min Ho and In Jung as antagonists, because they are no cackling evil-doers, but appear to operate under conflicting emotions that don’t always lead either one to make the most logical of decisions. I also like how Seo Woo is catching onto In Jung’s true nature, and hopefully will play a more direct part in Ji Hyun’s quest for her additional two tears.
I really don’t care about the OTP combinations in this drama, which really still have no clear indicator where it’s all headed. I actually think that Kang’s love for Ji Hyun is more pure than romantic interest, and is the kind of love that could easily be a lifetime’s friendship built of trust and loyalty, if only he could take the time to come clean with her. I’ve never seen Ji Hyun have any romantic feelings towards Kang, even now, when all that she sees leads her to appreciate what a great friend he is, and a source of comfort for her.
I would love for the drama to redeem Min Ho and In Jung as early as practicable, because dang it these two add so many more curious sparks and tension to this drama. And as much fun as Scheduler has been as the high-spirited curiosity and occasional comic relief thus far, this drama has really got to integrate him more fully into the story and drop his back story soon, so that we can watch him deal with his own set of issues.