I am running out of superlatives to describe 49 Days, while the drama is clearly not running out of steam or gamechanging cliffhangers. O.M.G. I was not expecting the ending of episode 18. Heh, how many of you are going to skip ahead and read my last paragraph after what I just said? Bravo for the completely awesome and unexpected (only as to timing, otherwise I thought this might happen), but oh so rewarding moment.
Two episodes away from bidding farewell to all the people we have come to care for in 49 Days, I’m really touched by how much the story has developed organically since it’s pretty contrived start. There are very little gotcha moments or plot twists for the sake of milking our emotions. For a drama that is based on the supernatural and fantastical, 49 Days has ended up being all about what it means to be human and to live in this world – frailty and strength, jealousy and compassion, selfishness and selflessness.
Episode 18 Recap:
Kang asks whether it is Ji Kyung hugging him (i.e. Ji Hyun soul in Yi Kyung’s body)? Ji Kyung cries but cannot/does not answer him. Kang steels himself knowing that he must continue the I-don’t-know-who-you-are charade for Ji Hyun’s sake. Kang asks her to tell Ji Hyun that when Ji Hyun wakes up, she has to remember to tell Kang what she wanted to say to him at this very moment.
Kang also asks Ji Hyun not to leave (die) without saying goodbye, the way his mother did. Ji Kyung nods her head against his back, and Kang reluctantly removes Ji Kyung’s arms around his waist.
Perhaps if the drama continued to run around in plot circles like a headless chicken the way it did in the earlier episodes, I might get really, really, really annoyed with all the million instances where one character watches what other character(s) are doing. But the drama is amazing, so I’m not annoyed with the overuse of coincidences. Case in point – who witnesses this awesomer than awesome backhug from Ji Kyung to Kang – why stalker Min Ho, that’s who. Anyone surprised? Min Ho might as well pitch a tent (I mean this literally and not as a R-rated euphemism) outside Heaven so he can have prime viewing privileges for everything going on inside, instead of driving to and from every single day. Man needs to get a life (and a conscience).
Kang goes back to his room and marks off yet another day from Ji Hyun’s remaining time left. Ji Hyun and Yi Kyung talk, and Yi Kyung says the very thing we’ve all been wondering – she wishes she could switch places with Ji Hyun, so that Ji Hyun and Kang could be together in life, and Yi Kyung and Yi Soo can be together in death. Poignant, but morbid. Ji Hyun reminds her not to be this way, but Yi Kyung is resigned to the fact that Yi Soo can never come back to her. The girls wonder why it has to be this way? Because it’s a drama and they like to torture us all.
In Jung has a nightmare whereby she imagines Ji Hyun’s ghost in bed with her. Serves her right, and it is pretty damn freaky if you ask me. In Jung wakes up from her nightmare frightened out of her mind. She calls Min Ho over, and the man pretty much has got no feelings for her anymore. Min Ho confirms that Ji Hyun is back inside Yi Kyung body, but it’s more like the two of them are a combined entity now.
In Jung cries that without or without a host body, Ji Hyun’s spirit can roam around and follow her forever, which frightens her. Min Ho coldly points out that Ji Hyun’s body is on life support at the hospital, and all In Jung needs to do is pull the plug and Ji Hyun’s body and spirit is no more. He can’t do it because he’s no longer allowed near the family. Since In Jung started it all, he tells her to end things.
Yi Kyung is sleeping and Scheduler is sitting beside her in bed, talking to her and stroking her cheek. He bemoans how life has been so cruel to them, both him and her. It’s morning time and Yi Kyung comes out of the shower, discussing with Ji Hyun that she has four days left. She smiles and tells Ji Hyun that she remembers what happened last night, and Ji Hyun is embarrassed and doesn’t know how to face Kang after hugging him.
Ji Hyun wonders why Yi Kyung isn’t scared of her, since Ji Hyun is technically a ghost. Yi Kyung says that the Yi Soo who is coming to see her soon is also the same type of entity, no? Ji Hyun wants to know why Yi Kyung isn’t pestering her with questions about Yi Soo, but Yi Kyung has no need for questions because she knows exactly what Yi Soo wants to see her for. Yi Kyung believes Yi Soo is coming to take her with him.
Kang comes a knocking, so Yi Kyung lets Ji Hyun borrow her body that day, allowing Ji Hyun to go grocery shopping with Kang. They bicker over how to pick the best vegetables, and Kang banters about how he was going to cook for her, but because she’s doesn’t respect his suggestions, he’s decided against it, but then decided again to cook for her. Cute. Ji Kyung and Kang sit outside and enjoy an al fresco meal.
Ji Kyung compliments the delicious food, though she notes that she’s not eating just because the food is delicious, but because she needs to feed this nutrient deprived body while she still can. She wonders how wonderful it would be to run the restaurant together – shop for food, cook, be busy all day. When Ji Kyung says she’s off to work today, Kang gives her money and tells her to go shopping, claiming he’s giving her the pay she earned. He’s off to see Ji Hyun’s dad, and reassures Ji Kyung that he has plans to stop Min Ho, and she needn’t worry about the company anymore.
Kang goes to meet with Ji Hyun’s father to discuss the company situation. If dad can’t pay the loan the Haemi Island property was used as collateral to borrow against, he’ll lose that property, so he needs to find another way to come up with the money. Ji Hyun’s father arrives at work with Kang in tow. Ji Hyun’s father greets In Jung, who looks nervous and guilty, unable to meet his gaze straight on. Kang asks to speak with In Jung.
Kang doesn’t care what Min Ho has up his sleeve, but he wants In Jung to stop him. In Jung doesn’t believe she can stop Min Ho, so Kang shouldn’t ask her to do so. Kang tries to remind In Jung that she was Ji Hyun’s friend, but In Jung sticks to her “it’s too late” creed and vows to stick with Min Ho until the (bitter) end because she cannot give up on him. I’m slightly worried that In Jung had a lobotomy recently, but whatevs, let her cling to the sinking ship for all I care.
Min Ho meets with Ji Hyun’s dad and the other company directors. Min Ho arrives asking why he wasn’t informed of this meeting. He’s asked to tender his resignation, to which Min Ho refuses because he doesn’t believe there is any proof of his complicity in pushing the company towards bankruptcy. Ji Hyun’s father is through being nice, and demands Min Ho’s resignation. He doesn’t want any answers, blaming himself for believing that Min Ho was a human being and buying all his lies.
Scheduler shows up at Heaven, and the waitress is only too happy to serve such a handsome man. Except Scheduler requests that Ji Kyung serve him, noting that “his” Yi Kyung sure is pretty. Heh. Ji Kyung comes over asking why Scheduler is here, and he’s all “duh, I’m here to make moony faces at my pretty Yi Kyung.” He’s not happy to be content just looking at Yi Kyung’s face at night when she is sleeping, he wants to see more of her.
He’s also not happy with the romantic melodrama scene Ji Kyung enacted with Kang the other night, using his Yi Kyung’s body. Ji Kyung retorts that she got permission from her unni first, to which Scheduler pouts that Ji Hyun probably begged Yi Kyung until she agreed. Ji Kyung asks Scheduler if his plan is to take Yi Kyung away, which shocks Scheduler, who can’t believe that is what Yi Kyung is thinking. He gets up and leaves.
Ji Kyung goes down to Kang’s office, wondering where he went? She finds out from her personal Scheduler hotline that Kang is staying at the hospital tonight with Ji Hyun, so that her parents can go home. In Jung goes to Min Ho’s apartment to discuss how everything is unraveling, wanting to once again just take what money they have and run. Min Ho refuses, claiming he was never doing this solely for the money.
Min Ho gets a call that Kang took Ji Hyun’s parents home, which annoys him that Kang is acting like he ought to be taking care of Ji Hyun’s parents. In Jung calls him out on his irrational jealousy that Kang is now close to both Ji Hyun and Yi Kyung, the two women that Min Ho likes. In Jung accuses Min Ho of wanting to beg for forgiveness so that he can start over with Ji Hyun but he is afraid of being rejected. Min Ho concedes it, realizing that if Ji Hyun’s spirit is around, he can’t even be with In Jung because he won’t know whether Ji Hyun’s spirit is inside In Jung or Yi Kyung at any given moment.
In Jung looks the portraits on the wall of happier times with her, Seo Woo, and Ji Hyun. In Jung goes to the hospital to visit Ji Hyun’s body. Ji Hyun’s spirit is there, and she wonders why In Jung is here? By the shiftiness in In Jung’s demeanor, it’s pretty obvious she is up to no good. And so it comes as no surprise that In Jung reaches for Ji Hyun’s breathing tube. Just as her hand is about to touch it, our forever prompt and reliable white knight Kang arrives just in time.
Kang immediately knows what In Jung is about to do, and he grabs her and pulls her away from Ji Hyun’s bed. He screams at her “are you crazy?” He asks how she can do this? Isn’t she a human being? Kang shakes In Jung, wanting to know what Ji Hyun could have done that was so wrong as to merit this. He tells her to get out, otherwise he might kill them (Min Ho and In Jung). Kang sits by Ji Hyun’s bedside, protecting her further.
Kang goes to Min Ho’s apartment to have it out with him. Hee, he’s even wearing a trenchcoat to look extra awesome. Kang bitingly calls Min Ho to task for turning out to be a bastard, the kind of man who is worse than Min Ho’s own abusive father. What kind of man would try to kill Ji Hyun? Kang tells Min Ho that his mother must be so disappointed if she ever found out what kind of man her son became.
Kang taunts Min Ho that even if Ji Hyun were to die, Kang is healthy and alive, and fully capable of sticking by Min Ho’s side forever to torment him. Min Ho is not cowed, wondering where the meek Han Kang of old went, perhaps he’s changed and gotten strength from Ji Hyun? Min Ho is not afraid of Kang’s threats.
Kang finds Ji Hyun’s camera, which she used to record her friends video memories of herself to try and elicit tears. Kang makes the connection and realizes that Ji Hyun has been trying the get the tears from the very beginning. He watches Ji Kyung working and starts to tear up, so the manager has to drag him away so not to be obvious. Kang cries that he wants to save Ji Hyun, wishing she were alive. Ji Kyung watches Kang crying.
Ji Kyung begs Scheduler for a chance to just meet Kang as herself, to hear him say her name. Scheduler feels her pain, knowing the person you love is before you but not being able to announce your presence. Ji Kyung wants to trade her remaining 3 days for just one hour with Kang, and Scheduler has to remind her to have faith, or has she given up the chance to resurrect? Ji Kyung knows that if she came back, she won’t remember what happened during this period, or her feelings for Kang.
While the other people will remember and tell Ji Hyun, it won’t change the fact that no memories will remain inside Ji Hyun. Scheduler reminds her that the 49 day quest is only about the chance to come back to life, not a chance to change her life. Ji Hyun thinks it’s too cruel.
Ji Hyun’s parents are informed of bad news about the company’s future. Kang meets with Seo Woo at the bakery. He apologizes if he made her feel bad the other day, all he wanted to tell Seo Woo was that Ji Hyun was loved when she was alive, and that she loved her friends. Seo Woo realizes that Kang keeps talking as if Ji Hyun was alive, and Kang realizes that Seo Woo is dispassionate because she feels like Ji Hyun is pretty much dead already. He asks her to consider that even if Ji Hyun dies, the connections do not end.
Kang gets a call that the company is in dire straits and he heads to the hospital. On his way, Kang sees Ji Kyung walking outside. She’s a little snippy that he’s been so busy all by himself. Kang has to remind her that he’s not doing frivolous time wasting things recently. They walk side by side, their hands almost touching, the moment quiet and unspoken with emotion.
Kang has decided to fly to the States to convince his own rich daddy to invest in the Haemi Island construction. He knows Ji Hyun doesn’t have much time left, but he doesn’t think his dad will agree if Kang merely calls him about it. Kang tells Ji Hyun’s parents about his plan. Ji Hyun’s mom realizes that In Jung hasn’t been around recently, and is told to contact her to see what has been going on.
In Jung and Min Ho are talking in her apartment. Min Ho gives In Jung access to his account, with the password being her birthday. He wants her to go overseas and wait for him there. She doesn’t want to go, and he reminds her that she’s been asking to leave, so he doesn’t want her by his side and go crazy over this entire mess. Ji Hyun’s mother comes to meet with In Jung and opens the door to discover Min Ho there as well. Ji Hyun’s mother calls Min Ho a piece of garbage, and In Jung gives him back his account book and tells him to leave.
Ji Hyun’s mom walks up to In Jung and slaps her, claiming that she always knew In Jung was a bad seed. In Jung retorts that she always knew Ji Hyun’s mom felt that way. Like the time In Jung was attacked, all Ji Hyun’s mom could worry about was what if it has been Ji Hyun there, how terrifying that thought was, sparing no worry for In Jung. Ji Hyun’s mom realizes her own skewed emotions, but defends that it’s only natural for a parent to worry first about their own child.
Ji Hyun gets date ideas from Yi Kyung, wanting do something for/with Kang. Yi Kyung explains her kimbap, picnic, listening to music dates with Yi Soo. Kang leaves without telling Ji Kyung, mentally asking her to be well and promising to return soon. He doesn’t want to tell Ji Kyung he is leaving, worried she’ll mess up her remaining time left if she knows his plan. He asks the manager to cover for him and keep his departure a secret from Ji Kyung.
Ji Kyung runs back to Yi Kyung’s apartment to make kimbap, wanting to keep it a secret from Kang, whom she believes is still in Korea. Min Ho goes to Yi Kyung’s old apartment and finds Ji Kyung there. He taunts her for running off to live with Kang because she was afraid Min Ho would come by, but Ji Kyung refuses to be cowed, no longer scared or impressed by him. The landlady comes in with a new rental contract that Min Ho prepared for Yi Kyung.
Scheduler is teaching his successor scheduler the ins-and-outs of doing the job. Rule #1 is don’t get involved with human affairs. Rule #2 is apparently dress like a metrosexual, as Scheduler tells his hoobae (who is an older man) to dress better. Scheduler’s phone goes off with a siren-like wail, which Scheduler explains is the sound of a new schedule being downloaded, once every ten days. Scheduler complains he’s working until the very end, and scrolls down the list asking “so who is the last person to ride the elevator with me?”
Ji Kyung finds out from the manager that Kang has left the country, which leaves her devastated, because he’s scheduled to return after she’s long gone. Ji Hyun tells Yi Kyung that she is worried Kang will think she left without saying goodbye, the way his mom did, and he had asked her specifically not to do. Yi Kyung goes to meet with Dr. Noh, telling him the truth about her current situation. She’s there to say her farewells, telling him she is leaving to go somewhere.
Scheduler arrives to greet Traveler Ji Hyun formally, announcing that she has 16 more hours, which will be 49 days from the exact time of her accident. She’s told to not even attempt to leave a letter, which will be destroyed after she leaves. He hopes for a miracle, but reminds her that he will pick her up five minutes before she is scheduled to depart.
In Jung is sleeping on the bare floor of her now empty apartment when the lights turn on and Seo Woo comes in. Seo Woo tells In Jung that she’s revealed everything she knows to Ji Hyun’s mom. In Jung may have lost her friends and everything she has, but she clings on to her and Min Ho. Seo Woo looks at the framed portrait of the three of them, asking how they ended up like this?
Ji Kyung goes shopping to buy toiletries and lingerie, and she goes to the park to pick a rock. Ji Kyung makes gift box, and gives a tearful farewell to the staff of the restaurant. Ji Kyung goes to see Seo Woo, to pick up a cake for the anniversary of Ji Hyun’s parents. Seo Woo tries to tell Ji Kyung that she was Ji Hyun’s close friend, too, and Ji Kyung tearfully acknowledges that Ji Hyun felt like Seo Woo was a solid of a friend as a big tree.
Ji Kyung goes to the hospital and visits with her parents, bringing them the cake. She gets up and puts a CD in the stereo, which is when Ji Hyun’s spirit pops out of Yi Kyung’ body willingly. Ji Hyun goes to sing to her parents, crying as she says her farewells. Yi Kyung looks at Ji Hyun’s body lying on the bed and starts to cry.
Yi Kyung talks with Ji Hyun, noting that there are parents as loving as Ji Hyun’s parents, and there are parents who discard their own children. She remembers when her brother was born, and how annoyed her parents were with her all the time. She believes that instead of parents, god gave her Yi Soo. Yi Kyung tells Ji Kyung more about her past with Yi Soo growing up.
Yi Kyung is crying because the other kids tease her for having such a similar name to Yi Soo’s and for dating him. This doesn’t upset Yi Soo, who makes a promise that when he grows up, he will find his Yi Kyung’s real name. Yi Kyung stops crying and pins extra ribbons on Yi Soo, because he is her mother, father, brother, and friend, all wrapped into one.
Ji Hyun understands how devastating it must have been for Yi Kyung to lose Yi Soo, who was everything to her. Yi Kyung apologizes again for Ji Hyun needing to leave this world, because of an accident she was the cause of. After Yi Soo died, she tried to kill herself many times, but she could never die. Ji Hyun tells Yi Kyung that if she is really sorry, then she must live her life properly from now on.
The following morning, Yi Kyung wakes up to find herself alone, Ji Hyun nowhere to be seen. She gets up and notices food left for her on the table, as well as a gift box. She opens the gift box to find it filled with presents from Ji Hyun, all selected to help her start living life again. Inside is a note, the one Ji Hyun wrote to Yi Kyung when she wanted to give up but ended up getting her first tear. Yi Kyung starts to cry.
Scheduler picks up Ji Hyun, offering to take her to do whatever she wants for the remaining 7 hours as a special Scheduler service. Ji Hyun declines, wanting him to call the elevator right now. She doesn’t want to spend any more time waiting for her time to arrive. Scheduler agrees and they head to ride the elevator to Heaven. She thanks him for everything he’s done for her, and he tells her that they can say goodbye in front of the elevator.
Seo Woo and Ji Hyun’s mother are at the hospital, and the doctor comes to give them an update on Ji Hyun’s condition, which is that they should give up hope on Ji Hyun recovering consciousness. At the garden where Scheduler took Ji Hyun right after her accident, he wants to shake hands before she departs, but Ji Hyun just wants him to hurry up and call the elevator.
Scheduler is about to wave his hand to call the elevator and take Ji Hyun away when suddenly her necklace glows, and she gets another pure tear (her second one). Scheduler is shocked, and so is Ji Hyun. But two is still not enough, even though it does confirm Ji Hyun was loved. The ride to Heaven is still on, until suddenly the necklace glows AGAIN, and a third tear joins the other two.
Ji Hyun and Scheduler’s eyes widen and jaws drop (including mine). We flash to the hospital to see Ji Hyun’s mom crying on Ji Hyun’s comatose body, and Seo Woo standing behind her also crying for Ji Hyun’s plight. At that moment, no-longer-comatose Ji Hyun’s eyes open, and we’re back in business, folks!
Thoughts of Mine:
Er….uhm….yeah, I totally called that. Heh, of course not. If Ji Hyun were to get her three tears and resurrect, which I wasn’t sure was going to happen, I figured it’d be in the last episode. Now we’ve got Ji Hyun awake and two more episodes left to…..do what exactly? I don’t know, but I bet it involves lots of Yi Soo-Yi Kyung, some kissy and huggy between Kang and Ji Hyun, and Min Ho maybe bursting a vein in his head from all the prolonged screaming and plotting he’s been doing lately.
I like that it wasn’t Ji Kyung’s overt efforts to get her friends to cry for her that got her the tears, it was (and always should be) about how that person genuinely feels pure sadness for Ji Hyun. Seo Woo’s tears came so late because it look all the revelations about all that has been plotting against Ji Hyun, plus the added knowledge there is almost no hope left, that elicited the tears from her.
Yi Kyung crying for Ji Hyun was always a huge likelihood, but symbolic and realistic. It took another person living her life for her that awakened Yi Kyung from her emotional stupor for the last five years, and how fitting that the first genuine emotion from Yi Kyung came in the form of pure tears to save Ji Hyun.
I guess this means the shipping musical chairs is over – it’s definitely Kang and Ji Hyun as the end game. And unless Scheduler magically has his body cryogenically preserved somehow, he’s not coming back to join Yi Kyung in the land of the living. Which makes me sad, because they really were so in love and had so much hope for each other. But can you imagine the awesome double dates that would take place? With Kang driving them all in his not-so-Mini Cooper. Sadly, unless the writer completely throws even a semblance of reality in the wind and magically resurrect Yi Soo, we’ve likely to get only one OTP to end the story. Boo.
I find it a little hard to accept just how far gone In Jung and Min Ho are. Trying to pull Ji Hyun’s breathing tube pretty much puts In Jung in the cackling-evil-crone level of evilness, which I really didn’t see in her. She was selfish, self-absorbed, self-pitying, but it was always evil with her own justification. And never did it involve killing anyone. Min Ho as well. He was always about monetary gain, which if I were him, I’d cut my losses and run now.
I’m really grateful that the writer managed to genuinely write a drama with six compelling leads, all of whom (character-wise) get equal screentime. While Lee Yo Won does double duty, because Yi Kyung was so passive in the beginning, I didn’t get the feeling that she was dominating the drama. And as the characters (and actors) all got their equal share in crucial plot and essential character development, it became clear that 49 Days is a group effort, and one where all six actors win in the end, even if some are objectively much stronger actors than others.
Watching this drama, I realized that we got a few hugs here and there, and a flashback forehead kiss, but other than that, zero skinskip. Yet I couldn’t care less, and never felt like the romance was lacking or the relationship progression somehow less compelling. For now, I’m just going to sit back and relax, because I know next week’s finale is going to blow my mind. I don’t even need to hope, because as a whole this drama has exceeded every expectation and then some. It’s that good.