Truth be told, episode 11 of 49 Days was a damn good episode, one that would have been great if only the writer could refrain from piling on the heavy handed dialogue and narrative constructs. But I appreciate how the story is finally spinning tight enough to feel cohesive, and that the extended set up sequence from the early episodes is starting to yield a well-earned pay off. No one deserved it more than Kang, who has now leapfrogged over Ji Kyung into becoming my favorite character in the story at this point.
There was not a single step backward in this episode, all the characters and the narrative moving decidedly forward. While the Yi Kyung back story is still not yet fleshed out, Yi Kyung’s presence in this drama is increasing each episode, perhaps heralding that her slow emotional return to the real world means that it’s hard for Ji Hyun to use her body. I’m pleasantly surprised by all the things that happened in this episode. Unlike other dramas which shall remain unnamed (*cough M3 and MP*), this drama continues to get better and better as it progresses.
Episode 11 Recap:
Right when she is about to give up on her quest, Ji Kyung gets her first pure tear. She starts to cry, looking around and wondering from whom it came from? We see Kang standing in front of Ji Hyun’s hospital bed, and he has tears in his eyes. Flashback to Kang and the manager stamping the seal they found in the potted plant on a piece of paper, and realizing that they have Ji Hyun’s seal.
Kang thinks back to all the gestures and things Ji Kyung did that are identical to Ji Hyun, and he confirms to himself that his guess was correct – as impossible as it sounds, Ji Kyung is Ji Hyun. Kang drives over to the hospital to visit Ji Hyun, talking to her comatose body. He asks whether she has been by his side this entire side. A tear falls from Kang’s eyes, and Ji Kyung gets her one tear. He leans down to grab her hand, telling her that even though he doesn’t know what is going on, he’s happy to see her again.
A nurse comes in and Kang asks where Ji Hyun’s parents went, and whether anyone else came to visit? The nurse tells him a young lady came by earlier. Ji Kyung is walking in the park, and she thanks whomever gave her the tear. She hears someone singing her a congratulations song, and she turns around to see Scheduler wearing a plaid monstrosity of a suit and waving pom poms around, doing a happy dance for her.
Ji Kyung is so ecstatic that she grabs Scheduler for a bear hug, and he pushes her off in a hurry. He tells her that she’s not the type he likes, but then amends it by saying they don’t have that kind of relationship (the huggy kind) anyways. He’ll get in trouble if they are caught flirting with each other. Ji Kyung says that she was too happy to see him, so she couldn’t control herself.
He tells her to stop lying, and shows her a voicemail she left explaining that she’s leaving. Ji Kyung says that getting the first tear has changed her mind. She wonders who gave her the tear, and she assumes it must be Seo Woo, the only friend she has left that loves her. We see Kang rushing to Ji Hyun’s parents house, and is told that the parents went back to the hospital. Kang is told that a friend of Ji Hyun’s came by earlier, a tall, willowy, beautiful friend.
Ji Kyung goes to the bakery to thank Seo Woo, using an excuse that she’s thanking her for the free bread. She tells Seo Woo that her free bread meant a lot, because she was lonely without a friend. Seo Woo talks about Ji Hyun, which further confirms for Ji Kyung that the tear must have come from Seo Woo. In Jung enters the bakery and sees Ji Kyung talking to Seo Woo.
Seo Woo is called away, and In Jung walks up to Ji Kyung, who sarcastically says that Secretary In Jung sure has a lot of free time, able to come and go as she pleases. Ji Kyung leaves, but In Jung can see her standing outside the bakery, and speaking to herself as she watches In Jung. Min Ho is attending a work meeting, but his mind keeps flashing back to his last encounter with Ji Kyung in his apartment.
He gets called away by his PI, who confirms that Yi Kyung’s cell phone is unregistered and can’t be traced. Kang comes rushing in right at that moment, asking if Ji Hyun came by to see Min Ho, but Kang quickly corrects himself and asks if Ji Kyung came by. Kang asks Min Ho to call him if Ji Kyung comes by, and rushes off. Min Ho catches him by the elevator, asking why Kang first mentioned Ji Hyun. Kang claims that he simply misspoke, and rushes off. In Jung arrives just in time to hear this exchange.
In Jung wonders why suddenly Song Yi Kyung and Shin Ji Hyun are mentioned in the same sentence? Kang thinks back to what Ji Kyung said to him earlier, that she was planning on leaving. Kang rushes to Yi Kyung’s apartment, and he sees Ji Kyung walking home. He rushes towards her, calling out “Shin Ji Hyun”! Ji Kyung steps back, asking him what he wants.
He calls her Ji Hyun again, and when she protests that she is Song Yi Kyung, Kang refuses to buy her explanation and insists again that she is Ji Hyun. He grabs her hand and asks her what the hell happened to her! Ji Kyung wonders how he figured out who she is, and her necklace glows red, reminding her that if her true identity is revealed, she loses her chance at resurrection. Ji Kyung shakes off Kang’s hand and rushes off, repeating over and over again that she is Song Yi Kyung.
Kang realizes that Ji Kyung probably has a reason for why she can’t reveal her true identity. Ji Kyung catches her breath, telling Kang that she is no longer his employee nor is she Shin Ji Hyun, so she doesn’t want him to come by anymore to bother her. Kang apologizes, saying that he made a mistake and won’t mention it again. Ji Kyung gives him one final glare and rushes off. She runs back to the apartment and locks the door.
Kang spends the night outside her apartment, wondering what is going on? He understands that Ji Hyun has never revealed her identity from the very beginning, but then he further considers who the real Song Yi Kyung is? Ji Kyung tries to mess up the apartment a little bit before going to sleep, so not to arouse Yi Kyung’s suspicions.
YJi Kyung grabs a box from on top of the dresser which is covered with dust, to borrow some of the dust to dirty up the apartment. She dumps out the contents of the box, to find dozens of cards written to Yi Kyung from Yi Soo. The cards indicate to Ji Kyung that Song Yi Soo appears to not be Yi Kyung’s brother, and she realizes that perhaps the person who died is Yi Soo. Ji Hyun leaves Yi Kyung’s body, and she promises that she will investigate the Yi Soo situation further.
Yi Kyung wakes up and goes to the bathroom to wash up, and she looks around to see the entire bathroom clean. Yi Kyung leaves to go to work, and Kang, who is still outside, watches her walk away. Yi Kyung talks with Dr. Noh, telling him that if she was simply sleepwalking that would be fine. But she feels like there is another person inside of her. Dr. Noh encourages her to undergo hypnosis.
Ji Hyun is at the hospital and crying to her parents, praying that something won’t happen to her dad before she gets 2 more tears. Ji Hyun’s mom tells her husband not to get the surgery, but she doesn’t want Min Ho to be Ji Hyun’s guardian should anything happen. She wants to be Ji Hyun’s guardian, and should her husband die, she will prepare his funeral. She’s lived her entire life under the protection of her husband, and now she is ready to take care of him and Ji Hyun.
Yi Kyung walks back home in the morning after her night shift, and Kang sees her walk inside the apartment. Moments later, he sees Ji Kyung walk out, and he cleverly makes the connection that Ji Hyun is borrowing Yi Kyung’s body. Oh my darling smart boy, you are the best friend ever! Ji Kyung is browsing the employment wants ads in the newspaper when Kang walks up to her.
He asks her to come work for him again, apologizing for his behavior yesterday, which he blames on drinking during the day which led to having a weird dream where Ji Kyung claimed that she was Ji Hyun and wanted him to save her. He says that he actually has a sleepwalking problem, and shouldn’t be held responsible for crazy dreams. Kang claims the manager can read dreams, and has decreed that Kang’s dream is a bad omen about the restaurant shutting down, and he needs Ji Kyung’s help to prevent that from happening. LOL, I love this new Kang with his glib tongue and fast excuses.
Kang gives Ji Kyung a 50% raise, all the free time she wants, no set hours, and she’s so dim she’s just happy with this ridiculously cushy job. She thinks to herself that Kang’s sleepwalking must be a serious problem indeed. Kang quickly brings Ji Kyung back to the restaurant, smiling to himself during the entire drive back. Oh sweetie, you’ve got your beloved Ji Hyun right next to you the entire time.
Kang asks Ji Kyung not to tell anyone about his sleepwalking problem, and she vows that she will keep her secret forever. Back at the restaurant, Kang announces Ji Kyung new work terms (free to do anything), and everyone welcomes her back, except the prickly waitress. Ji Kyung gets a call and rushes off to answer the phone.
Kang asks the manager about the 49 days ritual that a soul wanders for 49 days after death. Kang wants to head to the countryside tomorrow, since the anniversary of his mother’s passing is coming up, and there is a monastery there he wants to visit. Ji Kyung comes and announces she has to head out for a bit. This time all Kang asks is for her to promise to come back, and if she ends up heading home afterwards, to call and let him know. Even the manager is a little taken aback at how nice Kang is to Ji Kyung.
Ji Kyung goes to meet Min Ho, who asks why she shut her phone off. She says that she is not here to listen to his excuses, she’s just here to return his house keys. She says that Min Ho is clearly a bad guy. He concedes that to the world he might be a bad guy. Ji Kyung lists his transgressions – wanting to bankrupt his fiancée’s family company, angling for an inheritance, dating his fiancee’s friend behind her back.
Min Ho explains that In Jung was his girlfriend, he met her before he went to study abroad, and she waited for him during the two years he was away. Ji Kyung doesn’t want to listen to explanations about his messy relationships. Min Ho gets a call but is hesitant to answer. Ji Kyung gets up to leave, but Min Ho answers the phone while grabbing her arm and sitting her back down. He tells whomever is on the other end that he will go see him tomorrow.
In Jung is thinking back to all the recent things she’s seen. She calls Min Ho, and is told that he is going on a business trip to Jin An for two days. She wants to go with him, but he tells her another colleague is coming along, and abruptly hangs up on her. Kang is outside waiting for Ji Kyung to return, and once he sees her walking back, he pretends to be doing stretching exercises. Oh boy, you are so adorable and transparent.
In Jung walks up to talk to Kang, and asks if Ji Kyung is back working at the restaurant. She asks if Kang is dating her, and why he went to see Min Ho to ask about her? Kang changes the subject and doesn’t answer her question. In Jung asks if he has time tomorrow. Kang confesses that he is going to Jin An tomorrow. In Jung says that she and Seo Woo are going as well, and she came to ask if he would go with them.
Ji Kyung is sitting outside deep in thought, and In Jung comes up to talk to her. In Jung tries to explain to Ji Kyung that she and Min Ho have their reasons, but she asks Ji Kyung to hang out in the future and she will explain to her. Ji Kyung wonders if tomorrow will work, but In Jung explains that tomorrow she is going to Jin An. In Jung heads home and asks Seo Woo to come with her to Jin An tomorrow, using Kang as an excuse.
Yi Kyung is undergoing hypnosis at the hospital with Dr. Noh. In her hypnotic state, she flashes back to her suicide attempt, and this time she sees Ji Hyun standing beside her and talking to her. She screams and wakes up, asking Dr. Noh to please explain what she is seeing. Ji Hyun is pacing the apartment, waiting for Yi Kyung to come home. Yi Kyung comes home and lays down to sleep.
Ji Kyung gets ready to head out, and Scheduler pops up to remind her not to go too far. He chides her for going on an overnight trip, and with a guy no less. Ji Kyung defends the trip as not an overnighter, she’s reserved a bus ride home tonight. Scheduler says that Min Ho is intending for the trip to be overnight, but Ji Kyung wonders why Scheduler is now acting like Yi Kyung’s overbearing older brother when he should be looking out for Ji Hyun’s interests.
Ji Kyung says that she would never spend the night with Min Ho, since she has no desire to be dragged on the first elevator to hell by Scheduler (should she miss her return home deadline of midnight each night). She needs to go to Jin An because Min Ho and In Jung are both going. Ji Kyung wants to expose Min Ho so that her father will accept the surgery once he realizes that he cannot entrust Ji Hyun to Min Ho.
Scheduler tells her to go then, but if she gets into trouble, he won’t bail her out. Ji Kyung tells Scheduler not to treat her like the dim and innocent Ji Hyun of old. After the accident, and many other spiritual death experiences, she’s matured and stronger now. She is not afraid of death anymore, she is afraid that her father will die if she doesn’t do something about it.
Kang is headed to Jin An, and the manager comes to bring him snacks and hand him the address for the monastery. Kang thanks him, and the manager assures him that he knows Kang has things he can’t explain right now. Ji Kyung heads to Min Ho’s to catch a ride to Jin An, explaining brazenly that she’s headed to Jin An simply because Min Ho is going there. Seo Woo and In Jung also take off for Jin An.
During the drive, Ji Kyung asks Min Ho what type of girl Ji Hyun is? Min Ho says that the person Ji Kyung should be concerned about isn’t Ji Hyun, but Ji Kyung wonders what kind of girl can get lied to by her fiancée and best friend. Min Ho says that Ji Hyun is someone who is uninteresting, because she is too naïve. Ji Kyung says that Min Ho is uninteresting as well, since she can see through him.
Ji Kyung says that the only thing she can’t figure out is why Min Ho wants to bankrupt the company. Does he have a vendetta against the Shin family, and this is some revenge plot? He says there is no such reason, Ji Hyun is a nice girl, and her family are wonderful people. The only reason is that Ji Hyun is as unlucky as he is. Ji Kyung wants to know what Min Ho means by saying that he is unlucky, but Min Ho refuses to explain further.
Min Ho tries to show Ji Hyun the sights in Jin An, but Ji Kyung thinks to herself that the real her knows this area quite well. Kang goes to the monastery and visits with an esteemed elder who has been studying the religious texts for fifty years. Kang asks the elder about the possibility of a person resurrecting within 49 days, but we don’t hear what the elder’s response is.
Min Ho drops Ji Kyung off, asking her to pass the time for a few hours until he finishes his business meeting. Min Ho meets the factory manager, who is aware of the plot and was installed in the position by Min Ho. The man is angry that wages haven’t been paid for three months, and threatens to reveal everything to Ji Hyun’s father. Min Ho is unshaken, and tells him to go ahead and out the plot, which would implicate the factory manager as well.
In Jung and Seo Woo are in Jin An and visiting their old high school. Seo Woo had transferred to the school because she had extremely sensitive skin and the family moved to Jin An for her treatment. Ji Hyun and In Jung stood up for her at school against the other kids, and that is how they became such great friends. In Jung remarks that Seo Woo only has fond memories of Jin An. Seo Woo wants to visit all the old sights, and In Jung agrees but first has to make a call. She calls and finds out Min Ho’s lodging for the night.
Ji Kyung is walking around Jin An and runs into Kang, who realizes that Ji Hyun must have been so lonely these past few weeks, unable to reveal her true identity to anyone. Ji Hyun thinks back to her memories of performing a magic trick in high school, where everyone picked a card to determine which two people were paired, and she got upset to be paired up with Kang, who likewise feels the same way. Ji Kyung now thinks back to the memory fondly.
Kang calls out to Ji Kyung, who is worried about being spotted by Kang, who of course no longer ever acts weird or suspicious around her. He walks up to Ji Kyung and tells her that this was his former high school. He asks her why she’s in Jin An, and she confesses to coming with Min Ho. This time Kang makes the mistaken assumption that Ji Hyun must still be in love with Min Ho, and laughs when Ji Kyung again explains that she doesn’t like a guy who is already taken.
This time Kang hilariously tells Ji Kyung that there is nothing wrong with liking a person who is already engaged (totally a reverse of what he used to say), and that it’s okay to like someone, rather than pretend otherwise and hide it away. Ji Kyung wonders why Kang is not upset this time.
Both of them get a call at the same time, Ji Kyung from Min Ho and Kang from In Jung. In Jung plans to meet Kang at the cherry blossoms at 6 pm, and Min Ho plans to meet Ji Kyung at the pavilion at 7 pm. In Jung texts Min Ho and he makes up another excuse that he is headed for drinks later.
In Jung and Seo Woo are at a jjimjalbang, and In Jung tells Seo Woo that she already made a date with Kang, but she’ll wisely make herself scarce so that Seo Woo can have dinner alone with Kang. In Jung gets a text from Yi Kyung, who tells her to meet Min Ho at the pavilion at 7 pm. Kang offers to take Ji Hyun to go sightseeing around Jin An before she has to meet Min Ho. The head to the lake, and then enjoy a corn dog, with Kang spending his time just looking Ji Kyung.
Kang drops her off at the cherry blossom lane to meet Min Ho, and when he drops her off, he actually tells her to have fun with Min Ho. Seo Woo calls Kang and asks why he isn’t here yet. Ji Kyung walks to meet Min Ho, and he asks her what she did this afternoon. She says that she had a great time, and wants to stroll the lane right now.
Min Ho and Ji Kyung walk along the cherry blossom lane, and Ji Kyung checks her watch to see the time (knowing In Jung is about to arrive). Suddenly, Ji Kyung starts to get dizzy, and her body sways back and forth. Ji Hyun’s soul pops out of Yi Kyung’s body, and Yi Kyung collapses onto the ground. Min Ho kneels down to take care of her. He asks her if she is alright, and Yi Kyung looks directly at Min Ho and asks him “who are you?”
[Pssst, how hilarious would it be if Yi Kyung mistook Min Ho for a sleazy pimp because of his oily all-white suit get-up. I know I would if I suddenly regained consciousness in some random place and looked up and saw Kang Min Ho like 2 inches away from my face.]
Thoughts of Mine:
Three cheers for the first tear coming from Han Kang, and three more cheers for the poor befuddled boy taking about three steps forward in logic and a giant leap forward in faith to make the connection that Ji Hyun is residing in Yi Kyung’s body. For a while Kang was totally relegated to grumpy-pants boss dude who was constantly losing his temper around Ji Kyung, and suddenly with a flip of the switch, he’s back to being the coolest cat in the hood.
I love how Kang figured it out by himself, and despite the utter improbability of it all, he trusts his own gut instinct. He’s now no longer Ji Kyung’s inadvertent protector, he’s become her willing helper. However, I have to say that I still don’t feel any romantic emotion from Ji Hyun towards Kang, not back then, and not right now.
I can’t see the two of them together once Ji Hyun gets resurrected, because I doubt Ji Hyun would fall in love with Kang during the remaining 20 some odd days she has left, when she’s so preoccupied with a billion things she has to do. That is not to say that the ending won’t have a time jump forward, where after spending time together Ji Hyun did fall in love with Kang after seeing him in a new light. But for now, I don’t get any romantic vibes from any pairing, to be honest. Oh, there are plenty of staring, emotional brooding, simmering jealousy going on all around, but what I don’t feel is the romantic emotion of falling in love from anyone.
I just have to LOL at the Great Big Jin An Trip, where everyone had a reason to go there and create a giant log-jam of a coincidence. Writer-nim, that was a little too contrived, but a nice scenic trip to Jin An and the high school gangs’ alma mater was a welcome diversion from everyone running around Seoul between the restaurant, the hospital, Ji Hyun’s parents house, and Yi Kyung’s apartment. What I got most out of the trip was Ji Kyung’s conversation with Min Ho in the car, and her probing into his reasons for wanting to bankrupt the company.
What we are seeing in 49 Days is really about the tail end of love – the moving on, the letting go, the starting over. Maybe Min Ho and In Jung can make it work, if they can fess up to their misdeeds, pay their price, and start with a clean slate that is not predicated on a swindle scheme binding them together. Maybe Yi Kyung can have a future with any guy, if she can move beyond her devastating loss of Yi Soo. Perhaps Ji Hyun can learn to love another guy again, after learning about how she got duped by Min Ho.
For all of the emotional beats in 49 Days, this is a decidedly unromantic drama right now, but a very intense drama filled with lots of other emotions that are equally as impactful. Ji Hyun was so gullible because her innocence in love got her falling for a knight in shining armor fantasy. But Ji Kyung, who has seen the darker side of everything now, emerges stronger and with a deeper understanding of love.
I appreciate how the writer chose such a complicated interweaving of all the characters and all the emotional threads, because this story doesn’t teeter on flimsy pedestals of matching up OTPs and finding forever ever afters. The story is already beyond that – there is no forever ever after, because the person one loves could be marrying someone else, could die, could be lying, could be false, could be anything that destroys the illusion of love being simple or easy.
Once this realization is reached, the question remains, do you want to continue living in a life so fraught with uncertainty and difficulty. The pre-accident Ji Hyun would be crushed under this realization, the post-accident Ji Hyun is becoming the type of person who can weather whatever slings and arrows the world throws at her.