49 Days Episode 20 Recap

I think writer So Hyun Kyung elevated her craft a notch in writing 49 Days. It was leaps more sophisticated and mature than the lightweight but charming Brilliant Legacy/Shining Inheritance, and much broader in depth and breadth than what I saw of Prosecutor Princess. Whether you like the ending or not, it’s hard to argue that this drama didn’t aim high and deliver the goods. We cried, we laughed, we raged, we pondered. In the end, and through it all, hopefully we all took away something more substantive than “oh, that was cool/fun/entertaining to watch.” I know I did, and for that, 49 Days is a winner in my book.

Episode 20 Recap:

Ji Hyun calmly explains to the stunned Yi Kyung about the bombshell she just dropped. When Ji Hyun had gone in for further tests after she woke up from her coma, the doctor who came in was none other than Scheduler. Ji Hyun recognizes him as Scheduler, leaving her stunned because of her knowledge that those who succeed in the 49 days quest is not supposed to have any memories from that time.

Scheduler teases her about her already forgetting him. Ji Hyun remembers him telling her that humans (which is what Ji Hyun is now that her soul has returned to her body) can only see a Scheduler if that person if about to die. Scheduler tells Ji Hyun that her memory of the 49 days is a cruel gift that has been given to her. Not the brightest bulb that Ji Hyun was, she nevertheless is quick on the uptake this time, asking if this all indicates that she is soon to die?

Scheduler confirms that his last scheduled elevator ride will be Shin Ji Hyun, who is (and always was) scheduled to die 6 days from now. Her destiny was always to die young, but the accident was the unexpected death which accelerated her demise by more than 50 some days. Ergo, she got the 49 day quest to come back to life. Unbeknownst to Ji Hyun (or Scheduler when he gave her the quest), even if she succeeded, she was always going to die 6 days later. Oh fate, you are such a bitch.

Because of how cruel this is on Ji Hyun, the powers that be are giving her the gift of the memory of her 49 days, and it will be Ji Hyun’s choice right now if she accepts the gift of her memories or not. Regardless of whether she wants to remember, she’s nevertheless going to die in a few days. He tells Ji Hyun that she can get angry or upset, and while Ji Hyun cries, she understands that anger or raging at the unfairness of it all isn’t going to change anything. Scheduler gives her a pat on the back with the sage wisdom that the one thing beyond human control always has been life and death.

Ji Hyun elects to remember her 49 days (wise choice sweetie), so this brings her to explaining to Yi Kyung why she is pretending not to remember. Yi Kyung bemoans the unfairness of it all, but Ji Hyun, who has had some time to process all shock, tells Yi Kyung to consider it another way. Without the 49 days, her dad would have lost the company to Min Ho and Ji Hyun might have killed herself from the shock of being betrayed by Min Ho and In Jung.

Because of the 49 days, Ji Hyun was able to change the path of destruction and protect the people she loved. During that time, Ji Hyun was able to learn the entire truth about how she lived her life, the good and the not-so-good, and reflect upon it. Without that chance, Ji Hyun would die in a few days never truly understanding her own life, making her existence in this world a fake one.

Ji Hyun is pretending not to remember because she wants to live the remainder of her days being the Shin Ji Hyun she has always been, cheerful and carefree. But she couldn’t pretend not to recognize Yi Kyung because they’ve shared a body. Yi Kyung brings up Kang, and how he knows about the 49 days, and asked Ji Hyun specifically to tell him how she feels after she wakes up. Ji Hyun refuses to tell him if she’s going to die, telling him that she loves him isn’t going to make it easier on him. Ji Hyun sees Yi Kyung’s fate and realizes that Kang, the person left behind, will need to learn to live for himself once Ji Hyun dies.

Kang visits Min Ho in prison, who asks if Kang is here to gloat about succeeding in bringing Min Ho down? Kang is happy that he doesn’t have to watch Min Ho destroy himself even further, to which Min Ho explains that the Kang Min Ho that Kang knew has been gone for quite some time now. Kang refuses to believe that, believing if Min Ho takes his punishment, he can return as the hyung Kang knew and respected.

Kang respected Min Ho for becoming more than his environment. Min Ho explains to Kang why Min Ho always liked Kang, and he did genuinely like him as a dongsaeng. It was because Kang was also scarred by his parents, but unlike Min Ho, it didn’t destroy Kang, who was able to leave it alone and not carry the burden around. Kang was able to remain innocent and kind. That is not something that Min Ho could do. Kang tells Min Ho that Ji Hyun is doing fine, and Kang will help her recover. Min Ho doesn’t want to hear anymore about it.

Ji Hyun is back home with her parents and they are enjoying a meal together. Ji Hyun wants a regular meal but is told the housekeeper went all out and made a lavish spread. The only thing Ji Hyun’s mom made was the bean paste soup, to which Ji Hyun replies that it’s the one thing she wants to eat the most. Ji Hyun mom thinks eating with Ji Hyun is a dream, and her father wants to see Ji Hyun smile more. Ji Hyun is please she can make both her parents dreams come true.

Ji Hyun comes to visit Yi Kyung, bearing a picnic basket and walking the same route spirit Ji Hyun walked everyday. Yi Kyung comes out to wait for her, telling Ji Hyun that she used to wait outside for Yi Kyung. The girls head inside and make kimbap together. Ji Hyun says Yi Kyung’s kimbap tastes much better than hers, and feeds Yi Kyung a bite. Ji Hyun wishes she could spend more time with Yi Kyung, who tells her this is not the time to worry about Yi Kyung. Ji Hyun tells Yi Kyung not to worry, because soon she will be surrounded by good people.

Kang is in his office (I’ve never seen the man do any work in it, so maybe it ought to be called his man cave instead) when the manager tells him that Ji Hyun is here to see him. Kang asks why she’s not in the hospital, and she says sneaked out because she wants to go somewhere with him. They go on a drive, with Ji Hyun confessing that she never had the experience of making kimbap and going on a picnic with her boyfriend. Kang wonders when he became her boyfriend, and if Ji Hyun likes him then she should confess.

Ji Hyun asks to borrow Kang’s MP3 player for the picnic. Kang teases her for borrowing his blanket, his car, his MP3 player, what next? Ji Hyun asks to borrow him – she wants to borrow him as a boyfriend for a day. Kang’s a little taken aback, but agrees with his own request that he gets to borrow Ji Hyun for a day as his girlfriend. Aw yeah, borrowed love, is sweet but so sad. Seriously, I’m already tearing up.

At the picnic site, they eat the kimbap and joke around. Ji Hyun says this is to thank Kang for taking care of her parents while she was in a coma. He eats one and feeds her, then taking out his phone and snapping pictures of her. They are pretty much re-enacting Yi Kyung and Yi Soo’s picnic date. After eating, Kang takes out his cellphone and scrolls through pictures he’s taken of today’s picnic. He compliments himself and teases Ji Hyun.

While teasing each other, the bracelet falls out of Kang’s pocket and Ji Hyun is surprised to see it. Ji Hyun finally gets to share her past memories of his mom with him, confessing that she was actually quite close to Kang’s mom. Kang’s mom made some food for teenage Ji Hyun to eat one night, and discussed Kang’s issues with her. Ji Hyun asks why Kang dislikes his mom, and his mom confesses that she refuses to give him some answers he wants. His mom’s belief is that some misunderstandings (i.e. Kang’s belief that his mom had an affair and divorced his dad) was better left not cleared up because otherwise it might lead to more pain.

Kang understands that right now, Ji Kyung once conveyed his mom’s thoughts to him, and he appreciates it. He repeats the same words back to Ji Hyun, who realizes that Kang remembers what she said to him when she was Ji Kyung. Kang takes Ji Hyun to a fountain, telling her that if she makes a wish it will come true. Ji Hyun makes a wish, and Kang thinks back to a conversation with Yi Kyung.

Turns out Yi Kyung broke her silence and already told Kang the truth about Ji Hyun’s impending demise. Kang tears up to Yi Kyung, saying that his biggest wish is to see Ji Hyun alive. Back at the fountain, Kang closes his eyes and makes the wish that Ji Hyun can stay by his side forever. We see that Ji Hyun made a different wish, she wishes for Kang to be able to forget her. Afterwards they smile at each other.

Ji Hyun is at the hospital with her parents, and she cheerfully banters with her mom and dad about how she is happy to have this chance to be their daughter. Ji Hyun suddenly doubles over clutching her stomach in pain, and then she collapses. Ji Hyun’s parents are frantic with worry, calling her name and summoning the medical staff.

Ji Hyun’s spirit opens her eyes, and leaves her corporeal body. Scheduler is there waiting to greet her, dressed in a black suit, professional and courteous. He reaches out his hand and helps her up, telling her that she did well this time. Ji Hyun looks back and sees her father sobbing as he holds her body. Ji Hyun is ready to go, and tells Scheduler to take her away.

They walk down the hallway towards the elevator basking in a beam of white light. Scheduler waves his hand the doors open. Ji Hyun bravely steps inside, and as the doors close, she smiles through her tears as she sees Scheduler doing the same.

The doctor informs Ji Hyun’s parents of the reasons for Ji Hyun’s death – she died of a major artery bursting, which had been a ticking time bomb after the injuries she suffered in the accident. Ji Hyun’s mom wail over her covered body, and Kang comes running in to see Ji Hyun covered under the white sheet. Both In Jung and Min Ho receive the call that Ji Hyun has passed, and both are shocked and stunned, with genuine tears falling from their faces.

At Ji Hyun’s wake, Seo Woo supports Ji Hyun’s mother as everyone cries for Ji Hyun’s unfair and untimely demise. In Jung attends but does not show herself. Yi Kyung and Kang are there, and both cry for Ji Hyun. Kang, with Seo Woo next to her, buries Ji Hyun’s ashes with a tree. Yi Kyung stands to the side and watches. Min Ho sits inside his cell and sobs bitterly.

Back at home, Ji Hyun’s parents visit her room, noting that it is so clean. They realize Ji Hyun must’ve cleaned it thoroughly, with a realization that perhaps their daughter knew her time was up. Both parents are grateful that Ji Hyun woke up to spend the few remaining days with them.

In his man cave, Kang is resting and is shocked when he thinks that he hears Ji Hyun’s voice calling his name. Kang looks around and discovers a box with Yi Kyung’s belongings. Inside is a note from Ji Hyun, written as if she were Yi Kyung, asking that Kang might become Yi Kyung’s friend, the way Kang was Ji Hyun’s friend.

Kang takes the box to Yi Kyung, who doesn’t recognize the contents of the box. Looking through the items, Yi Kyung finds a key to Yi Soo’s music studio. Yi Kyung realizes that she hasn’t even cleaned up Yi Soo’s belongings this entire time. She goes to the studio with Kang. Inside the room, she uses the key to open up a locker. She finds a dirty kid’s backpack which belonged to her, but she had thrown away. Yi Kyung surmises that Yi Soo probably brought it back. Inside the backpack is a pink kid’s shoe.

We get a flashback to high school Yi Kyung and Yi Soo right after their cherry blossom lane date. Yi Soo takes her to to the bank to open an account in Yi Kyung’s name. Yi Soo had secretly saved money for their pension, putting the money he earned into the account. He tells her that she is his guardian, the reason for him to live. He reminds her that she is the most important person to him. Yi Kyung holds the bank account statement and cries. Yi Soo is sitting beside her and crying with her, but she can’t see him. He tells her to be strong and stop crying, even as he cries.

Kang arrives to visit Ji Hyun’s parents, who are arguing. Her dad is yelling at her mom for keeping pictures of their dead child. Kang sees the pictures, wondering who the little girl is. He’s told that the little girl was Ji Hyun’s older sister Ji Min. One day at the train station, Ji Hyun wandered away. Ji Hyun’s mom told the older sister to stay put and went to retrieve Ji Hyun. When she returned, her older daughter was gone. The family twice received ransom calls, and both times they brought the money but never met anyone to get their daughter back. After that, there was no further communication.

Ji Hyun doesn’t know she has an older sister because she was too young when her sister was kidnapped. Kang reveals that he saw the same backpack and shoes as the older sister was wearing in the pictures. Kang takes Ji Hyun’s mom to visit Yi Kyung. Yi Kyung believes her mother abandoned her, but she takes out the backpack to show Ji Hyun’s mom. Mom looks at the backpack and opens it to see the scribbling inside the fold and the shoe. She recognizes it as belonging to her kidnapped daughter, the shoe has a star that mom embroidered on herself.

Yi Kyung is Ji Hyun’s long-lost sister. Mom cries when she realizes that her other daughter is alive. Yi Soo is there and is crying as well, realizing that Yi Kyung has a family. We flashback to Ji Hyun’s walk to the elevator with Scheduler, when she asked him about where her other two tears came from. It’s clear that Yi Kyung’s tear can’t count because she was related to Ji Hyun.

We flashback again to In Jung’s attempt to kill Ji Hyun. As In Jung looks at Ji Hyun’s body, she suddenly sees her own horrific reflection in the window and realizes what a monster she almost became. In Jung recoils in horror at how far she has come, and stops herself at that moment. She kneels before Ji Hyun and cries, asking for forgiveness, genuinely repenting for all her wrongs. When In Jung got up, she was just trying to touch Ji Hyun’s face when Kang arrived, and mistook her action for trying to kill Ji Hyun.

In Jung visits Min Ho and tells him that she couldn’t do it, just like Min Ho pushed back the takeover deal once he found out that Ji Hyun’s dad was sick. In Jung prods Min Ho to consider that he is also feeling guilty and regretful, but Min Ho says that he wished he didn’t do that. Now he’s so far gone he’ll finish it no matter what. In Jung tells Min Ho to stop lying to himself, he is feeling guilt and wants to stop.

In Jung visits Min Ho’s mom and asks her for the envelope that Min Ho entrusted to her. In Jung needs that envelope, because otherwise Min Ho will become a worse person than his own dad. In Jung mails the envelope. She walks outside and cries for Ji Hyun, wishing she could go back to a time when she was just friends with Ji Hyun. So In Jung becomes Ji Hyun’s third tear, and Ji Hyun is happy to confirm that she was always right, she knew In Jung always genuinely loved her.

Yi Kyung sits in her room and cries, looking at a baby picture of herself and Ji Hyun. If she knew Ji Hyun was her sister, she would have allowed her to use her body more. She would have helped Ji Hyun more. Scheduler sits there crying with her, and realizing that this is what his sunbae was hinting at.

At the conversation with Scheduler Grandma, she asks him if his original wish remained unchanged – to give Yi Kyung the ring, tell her he loved her. Grandma tells him such a gesture would be of no help to the person left behind. In giving back his memory earlier, it allowed Yi Soo to change what he wanted to spend his day doing with Yi Kyung. Because Yi Soo saw how horribly Yi Kyung had been living, he changed his wish to asking her to forget about him.

On his last day, Scheduler goes to see Yi Kyung, telling her to live a good life with her parents. He reaches out to touch Yi Kyung’s face, but he stops himself. Wearing a dapper suit, Scheduler walks through the garden until he finally disappears. Yi Kyung eats good food in her apartment as she’s reading something on a computer. Kang stands at the banks of the Han River, understanding that Ji Hyun came back to make things right and put things back where they belong. He looks up and tells Ji Hyun to be happy wherever she is at.

Two years later, and we see In Jung. She is walking out of an office when she sees teenage Seo Woo, In Jung, and Ji Hyun running past. She remembers a more innocent time with her two best friends. High school In Jung, Ji Hyun, and Seo Woo are being punished and kneeling in the hallway. Ji Hyun’s stomach grumbles, and In Jung secretly feeds her and Seo Woo food. Both take a bite of the choco pie, and the feed the other half back to In Jung. In Jung smiles through her tearful memories.

In Jung visits Min Ho, the first time in two years he’s been willing to see her. She tells him that his mom is doing better. He tells her to stop, she doesn’t owe him anything. She promises to wait three more years until he is released, she was the reason he became this way. Min Ho tells her that he made his own choices, and he tells her to live her own life. In Jung says that she is learning to live her own life. Min Ho realizes that he’s wrong so many people. In Jung tells Min Ho that in three more years, she believes he can learn to forgive himself.

Kang is working at a construction site and gets testy with a foreman about the construction not going according to his design. He gets a call that the manager and his wife are expecting a baby. The wife is visiting Heaven today because it’s Yi Kyung’s last day at work. We see that Seo Woo is dating the male waiter, and are super lovey dovey with each other.

Dr. Noh comes to visit Yi Kyung. Dr. Noh promises to visit Yi Kyung at Haemi Island, where she is headed to manage the resort for her dad’s company. The other female waitress is interested in Dr. Noh, and is pleased to hear confirmation that Yi Kyung and Dr. Noh really are just friends. Yi Kyung thinks Dr. Noh isn’t merely any friend, during her darkest days, Dr. Noh extended a hand to her and helped her crawl out of her despair. Dr. Noh is like Yi Kyung’s life saver.

Kang comes back to Heaven and asks Yi Kyung to bring some food down. Kang realizes that it’s Yi Kyung’s last day, wondering if they should have a farewell party. Yi Kyung is having dinner with her parents tonight. At dinner with her parents, mom still can’t get over the joy of finding her other daughter, and the parents wonder if it was all fated, since Yi Kyung studied tourism and hotel management in school.

Yi Kyung and Kang go together to visit two trees planted side-by-side, the graves of Ji Hyun and Yi Soo. Yi Kyung talks to Ji Hyun in her mind, telling her that Kang has been working hard like Ji Hyun wanted, and has been a good friend to Yi Kyung. She thanks Ji Hyun for paving the way for her to work at Heaven and be so loved by everyone.

Kang voiceovers to Ji Hyun that most people live their lives like they aren’t going to die one day, even though they know death can come anytime. Because of Ji Hyun’s 49 days, Kang is living his life like it’s his 49 days, making every moment count. Because of Ji Hyun’s 49 days, everything has changed.

Yi Kyung and Kang lay flowers on Yi Soo and Ji Hyun’s memorial trees. Kang says “here lies the two most precious people in our lives”. Yi Kyung responds “these two people changed our lives and then left us in a beautiful way.” Kang and Yi Kyung remark that the days spent with Yi Soo and Ji Hyun allows them to keep living like each day is precious and could be their last day. Yi Kyung and Kang say to Yi Soo and Ji Hyun, respectively, “I was happy because I had you in my life.”

Thoughts of Mine:

I applaud Writer So for creating her story and telling it the entire way through. She didn’t pander to audience clamoring for a happy ending, she stuck to her guns and delivered the story she wanted to tell. Oh, I love happy endings, I adore fairy tale happily ever after, and I’m always sad when my OTP doesn’t get their white picket fence, one dog, and three kids ending. But being sad that the ending wasn’t rainbows and unicorns doesn’t negate the fact that I loved the ending because it was narratively consistent with the story being told.

In episode 1, I would have never expected Ji Hyun to die and the ending bittersweet. But 19 episodes later, that was indeed the story that Writer So had created, therefore the ending was fitting, even if it made me cry and feel pangs of sadness and misery. If Ji Hyun and Yi Soo learned to accept their fate with a smile because their lives were worth it, then I see my accepting of this logical ending because the journey of watching 49 days was worth it. The ending didn’t betray the story, which was never a rom-com with a guaranteed happy ending. The drama was about death, and lest we think it morbid, the drama was instead hopefully, teaching us how life can be lived with purpose even in the face of death.

So we end the drama without either set of OTP’s getting their happy ending, nor an alternative pairing of Yi Kyung and Kang, which would have been bizarre unless it happened with a considerable time jump. But I’m okay that even with the time jump, Kang and Yi Kyung didn’t get together, because it just wasn’t meant to be romantic between them, regardless of the wonderful chemistry between Jo Hyun Jae and Lee Yo Won.

The entire main cast of 49 Days has to be commended for doing such a great job, individually and together as a group. Each actor had chemistry with the others, in degrees and types, and the off-screen camaraderie really extended to the on-screen comfort and natural flow of the performance. While Nam Gyu Ri was the sole weak link, and remained to the end a less sophisticated actor than the other five, she improved so much and brought Ji Hyun to life in a way that made this a success in my book.

I’m just a little bitter that the writer had at her disposal Jo Hyun Jae’s luscious lips and didn’t give the man a kissing scene. Grrrrr, I must lodge a complaint about the waste of a perfectly delectable pair of kissers that are going to grow rusty from the lack of use. But Lee Yo Won truly shone in her performance, which it not brilliant in any way, but a very solid outing for her, and one that was elevated by her having palpable chemistry with all three of her leading men.

I disliked the ending twist that made Yi Kyung the real life long-lost sister of Ji Hyun, though a throwaway line by the parents early in the drama about their “remaining child Ji Hyun” made this less of a unsuspecting left hook. I felt like even without the real life blood ties, Yi Kyung would have embraced Ji Hyun’s parents and been a pseudo daughter to them. Writer So needs to better set the scene for this type of twist rather than drop it in the last episode.

I went back through my top 10 list (faves and what I consider the best), and both are littered with sad endings, some of which are rock falls down type endings. In fact, the first three K-drama reviews I wrote are of dramas that didn’t have a happy ending, and yet I loved those dramas to pieces because it was bold, brave, and affected me from watching it. That is what 49 Days has done to me. Unlike folks who prefer to keep hoping Ji Hyun wouldn’t die, from about episode 15 onward I felt like Writer So kept increasing her hints and laying the groundwork for Ji Hyun to die. The how and whys were still unclear, but I had a gut feeling about the ending.

I don’t think Ji Hyun’s death negates the purpose of this drama, nor was her death for the purpose of turning her into some token sacrifice. In the fantasy life-and-death world of 49 Days, Ji Hyun was always supposed die on X Month, Y Day, Z Year. The car accident simply accelerated her death by 50-something days earlier, hence she got the 49 day quest. Her quest was never about coming back to life, it was about making things right in her own life.

In terms of love, it also gave her the opportunity with Kang that she would have NEVER EVER gotten otherwise. Without the accident she would have married Min Ho and then plop, died some days later, when her time to leave arrived. The accident was actually the blessing, not the curse. 49 Days must be watched under the basic premise that Shin Ji Hyun’s death was always supposed to happen when she died in episode 20. Everything before that was the unknown, the things that could be changed. But her death itself could never be changed.

The 49 day quest is a chance for someone who was not supposed to die, but accidentally died, to have a chance to come back. But for someone who’s time had come, like it did for Ji Hyun in episode 20 (however it may seem just SO UNFAIR), there is no miracle second chance to circumvent that. Which is why everything happened for a reason, and Ji Hyun was the person who had a chance to change the world around her in the 49 days she was given. And she did, oh how courageously she did do just that.

Without the accident, Ji Hyun would have used those 49 days before her death to live in happy oblivion the way she always did. But through the accident she gained knowledge, wisdom, and fortitude, becoming the heroine that I stood up and applauded at the end of the drama. Ji Hyun was the heart, soul, and wisdom of this drama, teaching everyone around her through her own struggles what it means to appreciate life and bravely face death. Bravo to 49 Days – a drama that started off choppy but found its bearing, taking me on a journey that was poignant, thought-provoking, agonizing, and ultimately, memorable and uplifting.

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Comments

49 Days Episode 20 Recap — 113 Comments

    • I watched this with my wife up to 19 today. She can’t believe how much I really felt these people were real. I’ll watch 20 tomorrow and feel sad to watch Ji Hyun die, but it was obvious that the entire 49 days were indeed a learning experience for every single character in the drama, including the two bad ones AND every viewer who is willing to learn what this story was all about.

      My wife thinks that the the two bad people only felt bad because their schemes fell apart. I felt their regret was real, therefore Ji Hyun helped them just as much as any of the other characters, because if their schemes had worked, I think they would have continued down that road for the rest of their lives. It looks like episode 20 will prove me correct.

      In fact, it occurs to me that the only couples who truly loved each other and could actually BE together were the “bad” couple, Ji Hyun’s parents, the older couple that worked at Kang’s restaurant, plus (according to this review) Seo Woo & her waiter friend in the last episode.

      The fact that episode 20 reveals that Yi Kyung was really Ji Hyun’s older sister is irrelevant, IMO. It was clear that they became sisters because of their relationship, NOT because they shared the same parents, something that In Jung learned too late.

      The obvious question from this drama to me is: would it be better to know you are going to die in a couple days or not? Few of us fellow humans get that choice. It’s good to remember that our days are numbered and perhaps the date of our deaths are indeed already determined.

      My understanding of time as a physicist tells me that this must be so, because our feeling that we live in the present, the past is gone, and the future comes later is not true.

      Time doesn’t actually work like that. Time and space are intimately connected. They don’t exist separately. The same is true about the past and the future. They also don’t exist separately, they exist simultaneously. They are two halves of the same thing. The feeling we all have that time marches forward non-stop is an illusion or maybe even a delusion.

      But that is intellectual thinking, not something that I can come to grips with emotionally and spiritually.

      There is no such thing as the present, it’s obvious if you think about it a little. If the present actually exists, how long does it exist? One second? A nanosecond? Or zero seconds?

      I think the movie “Inception” helped me start to understand the nature of reality from an emotional standpoint and this drama really nailed it down the rest of the way. The director of “Inception” refuses to explain the ending of that movie by saying there is no explanation.

      The insight I got from that is that the emotions we feel when we watch the characters in “Inception” or “49 Days” are every bit as real as any emotions we feel in “real life,” so much so that it makes me wonder sometimes how “real” our “real world” is.

      Descartes often quoted the old Latin saying: “I think, therefore I am” but what I believe he meant by that was, “I think I exist, why is that?” or maybe even better, “I FEEL that I exist, why is that?” because it is emotion that makes us think we are real, not intellectual thinking. Believing you exist is an emotion.

      People who, because of brain damage, lack emotions do not think they are real beings. Self awareness is an emotion, not an intellectual thought.

      The characters in this drama FELT real to me, which I think actually makes them just as real to me as if they were really living persons. I’ll remember the events in this movie exactly the same way I remember anything else that I perceive to be in the past. The memory is real, regardless of the source.

      • Thank you for the notion! It was interesting to read about the concept of time – past, present and future.

        I also felt that the characters of “49 Days” are real to me, and I’ll probably remember it as real – as much as real can be – in my mind 🙂

        Have a great day!

  1. I KNEW IT. I knew it.

    I had said so in quite a few recaps ago – was it the 12th? I don’t remember… I had argued that Ji-hyun dying, leaving (more or less) alongside Schedueler (as well as the final pairing Yi-kyung/Han Kang, but this one is left to our imagination…) would make the most meaningful end. Back then, I nearly got stonned for wishing Ji-hyun dead. But, as much as I bawled throughout the entire finale, I am happy to see I was right in my prediction as well as in the ominous feeling I had ; indeed, this ending is SO full of meaning, there would be so much to talk about yet… There’s no need, eveything has just to be felt watching JH die, her buriel, YK and HK mourning…

    49 Days not only tugged my heart string, but also – and through them- my brain. Death is about leaving things behind. About leaving, alone, and leaving others alone. It is about being able to live well in order to accept your fate, and about loving someone so much you can come – not without hurting – to accept his. Thank you so much, 49 Days.

  2. WOW… I also had a feeling that this sort of end was coming. I’m tearful, but as you said, I took so much from this drama and after 18 episodes – this end is really fitting the concept.

    I enjoyed reading your recaps! Your writing style is beautiful and you manage to convey the emotions of the cast through your words – Very impressive! ^_^

    Thank you for recapping this drama for all of us, and I’m hoping that you’ll also recap “City Hunter” starting next week 🙂

    All best,
    Tori

  3. I basically cried through the whole episode and your comments made me sob again.

    Thank you for your thoughts on the ending. I was expecting JH to die so the ending didn’t come as a surprise. Like you I thought it was fitting and a wonderful narrative end. I was reading some reactions before I got to watch the episode (because I couldn’t help myself) and was surprised to see many people upset that JH died. Of course it is sad, but it was a good ending. I never thought throughout the drama that the point of all this was to get HK and JH together. It was about JH and YK’s journey, about people living life and facing death.

    Now off to watch Best Love because I need to stop crying.

  4. aww i see a lot of tears coming when i watch this subbed
    great drama tho
    love it <3
    and thank u soo much for recappin!!! 🙂

  5. Oh My Lord. I’m speechless, well, for awhile (and crying), again. Thanks for the fast recap dear ockoala unni! I woke up way before the alarm did, refreshing your playground like a hundred times, making this my high priority of the day (or for 20 weeks now). Thank you so very much!

    So sad and so totally crying until I reached this part: “I’m just a little bitter that the writer had at her disposal Jo Hyun Jae’s luscious lips and didn’t give the man a kissing scene. Grrrrr, I must lodge a complaint about the waste of a perfectly delectable pair of kissers that are going to grow rusty from the lack of use. ” mwa ha ha! I second the motion! Such a waste indeed! Man, I never liked Jo Hyun-Jae – I’ve seen him in two dramas and never liked him… well, until he became Kang-ah! My Kang-ah! Goodness. Then I learned that he sings, and boy, does he sing well. So I’m a certified JHJ fan now. About LYW, I’ve only watched her now and I’m totally amazed with the range of her acting. Having different roles like hers in a single drama made me really think about what I heard before, that an actor should be quite mentally imbalanced to be able to pull through a scene effectively (from Marlon Brando, I think). She’s amazing. And Jung Il-woo. That guy didn’t disappoint either. He’s the reason why I watched this drama in the first place but came to love every actor in there. Even the villains, totally amazing. Oh my, I know I would cry buckets tomorrow when the subtitles are up at dramacrazy. I love love this drama! Kang-ah, I’d like to give you a hug, you poor thing!

    You too ockoala unni! xoxo (hugs and kisses for being the best!)

  6. Tho its ws kinda sad ending 4 both d couples bt d msg of d drama is cleared dat we sud appreciate our life when we r alive…

    Everything ws perfect 4 me except d long lost daugther part beside i lyk d ending dat Kang n Y remain frenz n not as lovers.

    Tnx koala n ur comments n views were SUPERB<3

  7. I have to say, ockoala did it again with the best recap ever… When I read the spoilers elsewhere of this final episode… my whole day felt like it got dumped in some blender, torn to shreds and then flushed down a sink… but then reading your recap…. I was able to see fully the writer’s intention… and things don’t seem so lame anymore…

    Thanks koala… I can actually sleep peacefully tonight =] though my heart breaks for Kang, it’s good to see how all the characters were able to move on living and that it actually MADE SENSE instead of being glossed over =x

    Thank you for helping me be able to keep 49 Days on my top drama list though I think I’ll pass on actually watching the last episode… i think my insides were already tortured enough ^^;;

  8. I’m one of the people actually who’s wishing for a happy ending for this drama. 🙁 The ending is okay, yes it made sense, it imparted important lessons in life but since I’m a sucker for happy ending stories, a part of me wished that it would end like how I want it to end.

    I don’t hate this drama. In fact, I love it. But there are just these “what-if’s” in my mind. The drama has been very effective cause I’ve learned to love the characters in it along the way. I actually even felt bitter when Ji Hyun has to die (that’s how stirring this characters are for me). Poor Kang… my heart broke to pieces for him. :/

    The sisters-twist kinda off for me though. I wish they provided a solid foundation on it on previous episodes so it would at least be believable, cause for me, it ended up as a random twist that they’ve just thought of throwing out in there just to surprise the audience.

    I also like the fact that Kang and Yi Kyung didn’t end up together. I would rather have Yi Kyung and Dr. Noh to end up together since he is there for her since the very beginning. Besides, now that Yi Kyung knows that Ji Hyun is her sister, it would totally be off to fall in love with the man your sister loves. I’d prefer Kang to be single than for that to happen (I know, sorry… ~_~).

    Anyway, the journey’s been good. I will miss the characters… especially Kang. HAHA! XD Thanks Koala for not giving this up! ^^

    • hey I agree with you in most parts. especially at the part with the sister thing.
      I mean, the parents are played as loving ones that would do anything for Jihyun. they would do anything for her, they would risk their lives for her (dad with the surgery thing), they would do everything to make he happy and so I don’t think such parents would just go on living their lives forgetting the child they lost.
      I mean for most cases parents would go on searching for their long lost child until a body is confirmed with DNA to prove. in real life that happens, parents will go on searching endlessly for a lost child. they would keep namesake of their child in all parts of the house even knowing that they could be dead but still not losing hope of an eventful reconciliation.
      that part lacked proper substance and foundation. I was kinda disappointed at that part.

      I also agree that Kang and YiKyung didnn’t end up together. as much as i like the actors chemistry together, for the story’s POV. Kang was never interested in YiKyung and YiKyung was the same. their characters didnt have that connection other than the fact that Jihyun connected them. Though i think Noh cannot compete with yikyung’s love for Yisoo I kinda feel that it would have been better if they end up together.

      But with the happy ending, though i like happy endings, I am kinda satisfied that it didnt end up happy. I kinda felt that the ending with Yisoo and Jihyun leaving was just the right touch to end the drama..
      though i feel sorry and sad for kang, there is only one thing i can say to him, “you should have told her you love her when you she still had the time…”
      cause i felt until the end though their feelings were acted out he never really verbalized it to jihyun and jihyun didnt openly verbalized it to kang. that one love story is SAD…

  9. Thanks so much for recapping this drama. I read that a lot of people hate the ending and got upset about it… I personally thinks the ending ended reasonably… A big thanks to the writer for writing such excellent script… she really out done herself here… and looking forwards to see what she is going to come up with next.

    I love 49 days.. love the story and love the entire cast.. even though Nam Gyu Ri is very green in her acting but I appreciate her effort for bringing JH to life…

    Thanks oakoala again for recapping 49 days!

  10. I kept clicking refresh on this page to see if it came up and when it did i cried from the start and sobbed to the end i wanted to write how much i loved it but i was csobbing non-stop till now when i can see xD

  11. Thanks for the beautiful recap Ockoala. You so eloquently expressed exactly what I felt. 49 Days is one of those rare dramas that leave you with so much to ponder over. Sometimes it made me laugh, more often it made me cry, but most of all, it made me think. For that, it goes on my favorites list. Will I rewatch it? Probably not for a long time, but I too, will remember it.

    Okay, I’m off to go hug my family now.

  12. Thank you so much for recapping and sticking to the end dear Koala!!….I’ve been really antsy the whole day and stalking this site as well as a bunch of others without actually reading anything substantially and even though I’ve only read your final thoughts on this recap I can finally watch this in peace now that I’ve been spoiled in earnest…this is not a complain…u have no idea how relieved I am after reading this…I think I’ll be able to agree with most if not everything that you have said once I finally finish this with subs

  13. Loved this drama. It’s unlike any I have ever watched before. I’m all for happy endings, but somehow this truly worked.

  14. I was waiting for you post Ockoala. I agree 100% with you.

    People keep saying that ”why give her 49 days, makes her pass though so much to make her die after all her struggles?” They don’t get the meaning of the 49 days to Ji Hyun at all. They don’t get that she was supposed to die young. No matter what she would die young.

    I respect the writter for doing the end she/he wanted to do. Did not wave because of the fans and didn’t do a fanservice end.

    About the sisters thing, well yeah the writter should have dropped more hints. It was a little too much to drop all in the last episode. But like you, I too kept Ji Hyun’s mother words in my head since then, ”God wouldn’t take our remaining child” and because of those words I thought that Yi Kyung could be her sister, but I also hoped Yi Soo to be her long-lost brother (they just had that brother-sister feeling for me… so I kind wished it)… but didn’t expect it to be really Yi Kyung, well but I’m glad she gained back a loving family.

    49 days will be one of my favs.

  15. ahhh.. such bittersweetness… but definitely the only ending that’s fitting. i even called this last night, that Kang and Yi Kyung will end up being close friends, visiting Yi Soo and Ji Hyun’s graves together.

    like you, i really commend the writer for telling HER STORY and not falling for the trap of fanservicey scenes and deus ex machinas. i have so much respect for this writer now and look forward to her future projects.

    lastly, as always, dear ockoala, thank you so much for your super-fast recap and your excellent commentary. your site and everything that you do makes our k-drama viewing experience so much fun and meaningful. grazie, gomawo, arigatou. <3

  16. Bravo!

    I support your “Thoughts of Mine” 100%. I found myself frustrated when I read all the comments on another blog that were angry about the ending. I wanted to yell “were we watching the same drama?” I believe that the writer did a wonderful job of staying true to the story she set out to tell and pandering to those that demand a “happy ending” would have been criminal. Don’t get me wrong either I love a happy ending as much as the next addict but this piece was always about learning to appreciate the gift that is life and love in the face of death.

    Thank you so much for your hard work and brilliant analysis.

    Amy

    • I wanted to yell the same thing at the people who were just so angry. I get that they could be disappointed or sad but they were just angry at the writer and vowing off this drama, etc. It was making ME mad.

      I come here to calm down and find other people who found the drama to be worthwhile.

    • Me too!!! I got so annoyed because I haven’t even watched ep 20 and not only did some of them spill the ending (which wasn’t even accurate because HK and YK did not become lovers), they were ranting at writer-nim for sticking to her guns and telling the story of LIFE and DEATH, and how brave JH was able to make things right before she left this world. Thank you, ockoala, for expressing my thoughts, and for the people here. 🙂

  17. Thank you so much Ockoala!!! I truly appreciate all you’ve done, that was really a fast recap! I was going crazy watching the raw video awhile ago (just couldn’t wait any longer hehe) cause I could not understand a thing. This Drama seriously has kept me on my toes! A truly remarkable drama. I thought at first, this drama isn’t going to be that exiting but then I realized I was wrong. I always anticipate for every episode of it, wishing it’s always wednesday & thursday so I can watch them. Now, we’ve finally reach the end – Each & every character were just really amazing. This drama had made me cry a river of tears… honestly, I did! Who did not? (You must have a heart of stone). I wished they’ve extended their episodes more. It’ll be nice to see Yi-kyung & Han Kang together at the end… but unfortunately, it didn’t happen. It’s really sad that Ji-hyun had to die. Gosh! I really was not expecting that Yi-kyung was Ji-hyun’s older sister. Thanks again Ockoala!!!

  18. Thanks for the fast recap. I really enjoyed this drama. This makes you think , question yourself how you lived your life. This teaches us to live our lives to the fullest and without regrets for we dont know as to when we are going to leave this world.

  19. Here is like the heaven for those who liked the end, because there is so many hate comments about the end in others blog that I was sooo frustated. These people need to read your recap ^^

    Btw, thank you so much for stick with 49 days and do this wonderful recap. Kisses 🙂

  20. KOALA I LOVE YOU !!!!

    your thoughts are absolutely what’s in my head!!

    yeah… 49 Days ROCKS!!!!

    this is one of the best Drama i ever wacth.. never been like this before…

    this is not a fairytail or cinderella story..
    but story about life dan death, how to get and how to let it go..

    Shin Ji Hyun is our Heroine !!!

    Love 49 Days!!

    Lee Yo Won really works hard ! i love her even more…

    and Nam Gyu Ri, i think i grow loving her too..

    BRAVO 49 Days!!!

  21. Thanks Mz Koala..Your recaps is the most entertaining part of this whole time I watched
    49 days..I will always visit your playground from now onwards,to find what drama worthwhile to watch..Thank you ..Most awesome blog ever..<3 you

  22. The ending was touching and completely in keeping with the bittersweet tone of the show. About how life is something to be treasured and that you should appreciate every day and everybody as much as you can. While you can. It’s really a drama that’s has the same kind of life-affirming meaning as ‘It’s A Wonderful Life’.

    The sisters thing is the only pitfall because I feel it would have been more poignant to show how Yi Kyung, even having lost everything and everyone was able to rebuild her life and fill it with people who treasure her, almost like a parting gift from Ji Hyun. It would have been a truly hopeful and realistic and inspiring message as opposed to the sudden ridiculousness of “Oh you’re an orphan? No worries. You’re probably secretly the child of a billionaire.” thing it ended up being.

    Overall, 49 Days is a drama I hope to GOD comes out with english subtitles on DVD sooner or later as whenever I am feeling down on life, I will watch it because the strength Ji Hyun showed through the 49 Days and the personal growth was incredible.

  23. Hi okoala!
    I haven’t been a regular visitor to this blog as much as I would have liked, but I’ve always enjoyed reading your recaps. But I must say that you really outdid yourself with this one.

    I must admit I was one of the viewers who was so convinced that we’d get a fairy tale happy ending that I was blind to any other possibilities. In fact, even as Ji-hyun got on the elevator, I half-expected that something would happen to stop her from proceeding. So I was in a daze as I watched the final episode. But now that I’ve had some time to think things through and be rational about it, I have come to appreciate the ending (and the meaning behind it) as presented to us. I think your final comment really hit it right on the mark.

    If you’ve enjoyed 49 Days, I’d strongly encourage you to try finishing Prosecutor Princess as well. Like 49 Days, it has a weak beginning, but it really turns into a solid drama during the second half.

    And finally, thanks for adding my blog on your blogroll. I was wondering why there has been such a sharp increase in visitors lately, and now, the mystery is solved!
    -Blue

  24. Awesome! You spoke exactly what I was thinking, even down to the part about the sisterly twist. I could have lived without that part, and the story didn’t need it, but otherwise, this ending was courageous. It is completely understandable why others were let down by this ending, but it is brave to make an ending that’s in keeping with reality, as death (especially a sudden passing for a person who has lived an exemplary life) in real life can feel inexplicable to those affected by it … life and death can feel very unfair. Ji Hyun’s brief second chance and death reminds me of a true story about a woman who was killed in a car crash days after missing a doomed airline flight.

  25. I can’t believe 49 days has ended. Thank you so much Unni for your recap. I frequent your website, to get my daily dose of Kdrama. It was because of you that I was introduced to 49 days, and now have a greater understanding and respect for the meaning of life and death. Thank you so much for all of your hard work.

    I just wish Han Kang and Ji Hyun had a chance to kiss. That would’ve been enough for me. Alas, that was not determined to happen…..

    Also, what was up with the “long lost sister return.” One daughter can never replace the loss of another. I didn’t like that twist. It would’ve been better if Ji hyun’s family adopted her.

  26. I for one am really disappointed in the ending…
    Not because I thought it was bad, but I watched this drama so that at the end I could see Ji Hyun and Kang end up together…and they didn’t because Ji Hyun was always meant to die young. That’s so sad!!!!! *tear*
    This is a life changing drama though. It makes me appreciate life and made me think about who outside my family would cry true tears for me….

  27. Thank you so much for all your awesome recaps dear koala!<3
    I can't agree with you more about how meaningful this ending is.
    As much as I dislike writing essays I think I'd love to write whole pages in support of how good this drama is.
    So let's all go and leave our lives properly because we definitely won't have a gift as precious as 49 Days to change the world around us!

  28. Hi, first time commenter here. I really liked the ending too, though it left me sad. 🙁 However, I can see how it was coming to this point as you said. And for me personally, by this point I don’t see how they could let Ji Hyun live and not break their already established rules by throwing them out the window. That would have seriously irked me. The sister thing bugged me too, there could at least have been a few more subtle hints. Anyways, thanks for the recaps oc koala! ^^

  29. I love the storyline, almost all the quotes in the story has wisdom in it….plus the plot has element of reality in it………I’m very glad I have watched it……I’m going to buy the CD once it come out ;DDDD

  30. ockoala, thanks for your recap.

    About prosecutor princess Ending. Maybe I’m te only who think like this, but I really though PP ending is not a happy ending at all. Since not everyone got what they want. since then, i have a feeling the writers for this time want to make a totally sad ending but meaningful. But i just want to ignore that feeling and still hope there will be a happy ending.

  31. it’s the PERFECT ending that i was expecting and i am SO happy. i was weary that the writer would do something to give the audience what they wanted but instead, the story was perfectly resolved and like Yi Kyung, I can finally have closure to move on from 49 days!

    full of meaning,life, and love… 49 days is all about how precious life is and how two vastly different characters in personality and walks of life are essentially the same when it comes to moving on, letting go, and making the most of life. and that death, is not something to fear but something to welcome when you truly realize that you’ve lived your life to the fullest.

    i think where i am in my personal life made me a biased viewer watching this kdrama but in a season where i so connected with Yi Kyung’s loss and hurt at the beginning of the kdrama made me not only relate to her story but to the entire journey of finding hope and a reason to live by letting things in the past go and being positive towards the future. this was not only a drama that i enjoyed, but a drama that has taught me, nurtured me, and brought me in a better place in life and for that…thank you 49 days.

  32. (wow i have so much to say sorry!!!)

    i think Yi Kyung being the lost sister…made for a stretch of an ending but i understand that one of her biggest pains was feeling abandoned by her parents. knowing that Yi Kyung was not thrown away, truly brings closure to her 5 year journey in her own “coma” so for that, i just let it go.

    i actually really appreciated that this drama didn’t focus so much on the skinship. love isn’t made perfect by the number of kisses or hugs, it’s made by the memories and genuine affection and trust with one another….and i really loved that Ji Hyun didn’t get a kiss from Kang… it would just be another memory that Kang has to mull over. thought…if they were trying to mirror Kang and Jihyun’s dae with YS and YK, they should have had one ^-^

    all in all…i don’t think there could have been a better ending for the in jung and min woo. they realize their mistakes and they’ve received their punishment to the fullest and i’m glad that they get a bittersweet happy ending too, in their own ways 🙂

    thanks koala i am going to support this site as much as i love dramabeans!

  33. thank you so much for sticking through tears, laughs and angst for 49 days! love u much Ms. Koala!! I have so many tears that i cannot even see what i am reading. W/o your wonderful, detail recaps, us non korean speaking fans won’t understand the dramas, the details… besiding guessing only.

    I cried during the live streams, cried during the fast recap at softy’s and now cried again here for the details. should i even watch it w/english sub?

    until next time…xoxoxo

  34. i liked the ending. i thought there was a lot of time devoted to in jung, but i did find the part when they were feeding each other touching.

  35. This is my first post on your blog but I’ve been reading your recaps since day one of ’49 Days’. I would just like to say thank you, thank you, thank you so much for your recap and thoughts…especially on the finale!! I was getting sick and tired of reading all the hate on other forums, blogs, etc. We might be the minority but I’m glad to find someone on the same page as me regarding the ending of ’49 Days’. It was truly a meaningful and wonderful drama from beginning to the end. I hope all the haters will learn to stop and think a little and try to understand the true message behind the drama through your eloquently written words.

    Btw, I wonder how S.Koreans viewers reacted to the finale? I hope they saw the ending in positive light.

  36. i think to make YK JH’s long lost sister is a consolation to their parents, not to YK. The loss of a child is a lifelong heartache, let alone losing TWO children. I think the parents deserve some love in the 49 Days universe since JH is scheduled to die earlier than them, hence the writer-nim wrote YK as their firstborn.

    • I agree with you on that, I think it was meant for the parents more than YK. Everyone is moving on & is happy at the ending even the people at Heaven Cafe & Dr. Noh. It would not be fair to leave the parents so lonely & no one to dote on.

      I love the ending & it’s a great drama.

  37. “Most people live their lives like they aren’t going to die one day…” Oh yeah. I’m tearing up just reading this recap. I know I said halfway back that 49 days was like a dying horse, just limping to a boring end, but boy was I proved wrong. Yeah it took its sweet sweet time to get there, but when it did.. wow. The inevitability of life & death is never an easy pill to swallow, and I applaud the the writer for deftly handling this theme w/ out hamming it up or playing it down. Thank you 49 days- for planting a very important lesson in my heart 🙂

  38. I do agree that JiHyun’s death was always meant to be. I loved that her 49days gave her a chance with Kang and they got to see how much they meant to each other.
    Her death was set and there was no fighting it. 49 days just changed the way she was to die. As my mom always says “you can not control death. Only ‘heaven’ knows when it is your time to leave. And when it your time there is no fighting death.”
    My top ten kdrama! I love this drama to death. 🙂

  39. What a beautiful, beautiful ending. I truly loved it to piece, including the discovery the YK is JH’s sister. Thank you so much ockoala for the magnificent recap. I think this is the best recap I’ve read from you. I’m truly grateful you hanged on to this drama. I agree with what you said, all of it. I love love happy ending, I’m a sucker of it. But this drama changed my view of happy ending. This is not the conventional happy ending, but it is a happy ending for everyone involved as they learned to accept their fate and be thankful of what they had. JH and YS accepted their fate, learned it, settled the things they could to put things in order. Although we feel sorry for Kang, I think he is happy at the end. He understood and contented. Though, he didn’t get a happy forever after, he was happy to have JH. He was happy that he managed to express his real feelings for JH. He was happy that he got the time to spend with JH to see him as he is and received love from JH before her time. And YK, she found closure to her trauma of abandonment, she cleared the misunderstanding with YS, she was able to start afresh with the people she loves. JH had her time and she was grateful for what she had. And will be at peace to see and know that the people she loves are happy. * My goodness, I just can’t stop crying- people are asking me if I have hayfever-in autumn and I’m like yeah, my nose is blocked, I may have cold.*

    I would have liked to see one pair to have forver after but realistically, this ending is awesome. It made me rethink of the value of life and how death became part of life. Thanks to the fall of man in the beginning of the world, we have to encounter death sooner or later. If everyone would be given 49 days, it would probably help us. But it doesn’t work that way in real life. That’s why, like YK and HK said at the end, live our lives like there in tomorrow.
    Truly a memorable drama. Someting I will treasure and will remember. Will watch it again.

  40. I was one of those people who just expected a happily-ever-after, neat and tidy ending. Instead I spent most of the morning in a daze and reading the ragey comments elsewhere. Thank you for your thoughtful recap. You put the ending into perspective with the entire series and helped me see that it fit in the world the writer created. I’m still not sure how I’ll feel about the series in the long-term, but thanks for a quiet place to think about it.

  41. First time watching Writer So’s drama and I guess I picked a good one – this ending is realistic and thought-provoking. I would rather having this ending than having other types of twists to make a happy ending for the 2 OTPs. Life must go on.

    And I totally agree on the point re the real sister plot. I think this is too calculated and unnecessary, not really adding much meaning to this drama because Ji Hyun and Yi Kyung are not bonded based on blood but the lessons that both of them taught each other.

    Despite disliking the acting of NGR since episode 1, I am happy to see her much improved acting in this ending episode. It’s like not only Ji Hyun has grown much more mature but so does NGR’s acting XD I guess she has really learnt a lot from her fellow actors in this drama and it has good influence on her.

    LYW and JIW, well I just have to applaud for their acting. I truly hope this drama would bring JIW to be a deserving lead actor in his next drama (the scene when he bid farewell to Ji Hyun – he has put so many different nuances in his facial expressions!)

  42. Koala,

    I am officially a fan of your insights! I understand Korean very well, so the only reason why I read these recaps were to read your thoughts on it. I was a bit hesitant after hearing the spoilers, but after watching it, I agree with you 100% on everything you said. What a bold, refreshing, and beautiful drama. I know a good amount of people watch dramas to escape from reality, but for me, I cherish the dramas that tell a good story whether it ends with a happy or sad ending.

  43. 49 days was an awesome trip. You’re right about the whole long lost sister thing but hey.. for giving us that many great conflicts they were warranted at least one weird one. haha.

    However sad it was… I do like the way everything played out.
    I loved that everything made sense and was so well connected and thought out.

    I WILL MISS 49 days!!

  44. I agree that the Yi Kyung being Ji Hyun’s sister bomb wasn’t properly executed, but I had a feeling that she was her sister from the moment Yi Kyung talked about how her mother “abandoned” her at the train station. When she said that she was abandoned verses her parents being killed in a car accident leaves room to wonder if possibly Yi Kyung might find her biological parents; at least that’s the way I interpreted as.

    Writer So is definitely an amazing writer and she indeed did crank up her skills. She is so versatile. With some writers, like the Hong sisters, it’s easy to tell that it’s their work, but I think that if I didn’t check who wrote the script, I would have never guessed that So did it. She doesn’t seem like the type of writer who recycles her ideas from the previous dramas that she has written. This isn’t your typical Korean drama.

    Her take on the whole fable is just mind boggling amazing.

    I’m not going to lie that in the beginning I almost lost interest, but that all had a purpose. I love you Koala for your recaps and writer So for writing this drama. I finally found my favorite drama of 2011 (and I hope there will be more to come that you will recap). I had no one to share my joy of 49 Days but here.

    Though, I feel so bad for Kang. He loved and did so much for Ji Hyun, but in the end she died. This is one drama where I can honestly say that it’s okay that the leads didn’t end up with their one true love :). I’m going to go to Korea and steal Kang’s heart.

    I don’t think that I can watch another drama again unless writer So is a part of it. This woman never let’s me down.

    • “… but that all had a purpose.” Meaning, the boring parts of the beginning were just setting up for an AMAZING latter part of the story.

    • I’m not so sure I agree that the sister bomb was poorly executed. The main purpose of that part of the plot was to prove beyond any doubt that In Jung truly loved Ji Hyun as a sister even though they were not technically related.

      That was the important part, since it showed that even the bad couple had redeeming qualities at the SAME time they were carrying out their schemes. Every single one of the main characters was feeling some emotions about someone important in their life because they didn’t understand the true context of the situation, including In Jung and Min Ho.

      It cemented the most important point the writer was trying to make: Our emotions are what makes us self-aware people and “love” is the most precious part of being human there is. It doesn’t matter how long you love another person, it’s far more important that you express that love to each other.

      All the misunderstandings in the drama came about because of mis-communications that were caused because someone thought it would cause less pain to NOT communicate their love and caring for the other person. Just like the movie, “The Butterfly effect” every time someone tried to hide something to spare someone else pain, it actually ended up causing EVERYONE involved MORE pain.

      • I’m a writer, too.
        I hope one day I can write something this good.
        Bravo, Ms So.

        I liked the somewhat hackneyed “lost sister” ending.
        1. It proved to Ji Hyun for sure that both of her life long friends truly loved her despite In Jung’s schemes.
        2. It fulfilled Ji Hyun’s promise to find out Yi Kyung’s true identity.
        3. It was the last piece of Ji Hyun’s determination to save Yi Kyung’s life. Yi Soo and fate prevented her from suicide, but it was Ji Hyun who got her to live again, and even gave her a family to love her. Ji Hyun

      • By poorly executed, I meant that there should have been some subtle hints. The news just came out of nowhere in the last episode. I had a feeling that Yi Kyung was her older sister because one, it was stated that Yi Kyung was abandoned, and two, it was obvious as the story progressed that everyone was interconnected somehow. But that was my intuition from watching too many Korean dramas.

        This drama would have been PERFECTION if there were some subtle hints instead of just throwing it into the story towards the end.

        For me, it was hard to believe that it was Yi Kyung who cried for Ji Hyun. It’s not in Yi Kyung’s nature to cry just for anyone (at that point in the story). She didn’t care or love anyone, including herself. Even when she was helping Ji Hyun after discovering that she was borrowing her body, Yi Kyung didn’t shed a tear finding after out that Ji Hyun had “died”.

  45. Thank you recapping this drama. I’ve been silently lurking since the beginning of this drama and I couldn’t resist joining in on the conversations here. I thought your recaps were wonderfully and tastefully done. I too liked the ending. I am kinda scared of the people in soompi because they are bashing the drama and writer big time! It would have been nice if the OTP got together but since they didn’t they have all learned a lot from one another. This drama was well written and well acted. I adored everyone; even NGR. lols.

    This drama is now one of my all time faves. I will definetly watch it again soon. Off to BL now. I need a pick me up from all this melo! lols.

    Thanks again for your recaps. I am truly a fan of your writing!

  46. thank you for a beautiful 49 days ending recaps, dear koala !
    love and agree with your thoughts.
    finaly we come to the end of 49 days journey…
    it’s so nice to go through with you ^^;

  47. Thank u miss ocKoala for recapping,
    still cry and smile for the bittersweet ending 🙂
    the best plot drama i ever seen
    thx writer So for writing such a beautiful drama

  48. wow tts a fast recap…thks dear koala..ur recap makes my tears just fall out w/o me realiasing it
    really amazing ending…i like how the story goes (though i din watched the show) it is more abt humanity than lovey dovey story…i like how the writer plot abt Ji Hyun quest and how to make Yi Soo come back to tell Yi Kyung that she shld just let go of the past as he really love her….what im trying to say here is sometime v really tt kind of things to make us realize tt our life is worth living…
    now im more curious abt this writer’s upcoming project…bravo to Koala for ur efficient and xcellent recap….u really makes my day… 🙂

  49. WTDoubleHeck??? ? Seriously? I guess that’s why they call it, a DRAMA! Although the ending did surprise me, the show was meaningful, and yes, I was “entertained”…. hee hee. Some, will be upset and sad, that our Kang ah and Shin Jyung did not end up together to live a fairy tale such life, as we so hoped. However, I myself, didn’t mind going to work with eyes more swollen from the week before..(due to all the tears of joy and sadness from watching “49 DAYS”…) So, I must confess, I may watch it all over again. 🙂

  50. Thank you for your recap. I absolutely agree with your feedback. I’ll miss 49 Days. Even after it ended, I still can’t believe with the ending.

    I understand the true meaning behind 49 days. It’s beautiful. It taught us, as human being, to live life to the fullest without being regret. The ending is different from the other typical K-drama that I know. Most drama make us day dreaming with the satisfying ending that we always want, the main cast happily ever after. Than that’s it.
    But it’s different with 49 days. After it ended, it makes us think deeply and reflect about our own life.

    I salute the writer for writing such a meaningful drama script. I hope he/she could get the award for this. N also same with all the cast 49 days, hope they can win the award this year.

    I will miss you 49days…..

  51. Thank you for recapping this drama Koala. ^^

    I love this drama though I didn’t expect the ending to be like this. This drama will be listed as one of my favorite Kdramas all the time. Kudos to the writer. 🙂

  52. this drama definitely open our eyes in so many different ways and realities in life… DEATH comes no matter how hard we denied it and that LIVE LIFE TO THE FULLEST!!!

  53. Sigh, i miss JHJ now. I wonder what’s his next drama..I want to salute LYW for such a great performance in 49 days. She really did a good job to perform the two characters. I could really identify her as YK and as Ji kyung. Hope i can see JHJ and LYW again in another drama since this is their second pairing though the one is MV making.

  54. I thought it ended beautifully in that the ending was consistent with the storyline and well put together (except the sisters revelation – which I felt was kind just stuck in there). I actually liked the fact that they ended up being sisters, cause I thought that at one time since they didn’t know YK’s real name, but I completely forgot about it by episode 20 so it did come as a surprise to me. I thought that JH would pass away and I’m glad she did for all the reasons stated by Ockoala and other commenters before me. I think she lived a more meaningful/purposeful life during the 49 days then she did previously. I thought that there was great parallels between JH & HK and YK & YS. YK & YS relationship was just so tragic but so sweet at the same time. I will miss all of them. I loved this drama so much just because it told such a wonderful story. 🙂

  55. Oh – I just couldn’t help crying when YS and YK were crying. Also JH and company… all soo sad all around. The actors really gave it their all there. Sniff sniff…

  56. This drama is amazing….

    but it depends on how you take it..
    if you just take the “bad” side :
    – Ji hyun died
    – Yi Kyung – Yi Soo separated
    – Ha Kang- Ji Hyun also separated

    Yeaaahh it’s so sad and painfull..
    you will feeling betrayed.. bla bla….

    * this POV was the Song Yi Kyung’s before she meets the 49 Days….

    but if you try to take this from another point of view..
    so many lessons and good things you can take and they really comfort your heart……

    i try to think positively toward this drama, and i fell i’m so blessed…..

    *this POV was the Shin Ji Hyun’s and Song Yi Kyung’s after the 49 Days

    this drama even teach us how we can reflect the main character’s developement to ourselves…

    you wanna be the depressed Song Yi Kyung or the Lifely Shin Ji Hyun??
    choose….

    thankyou Drama..
    49 Days is a rare gems.. extraordinary one…

  57. I love love the ending too and agreed that the only thing that is lacking is JHJ kissing scene oops I mean HK+JH kissing scene, but that won’t be fitting to the story, since JH determined to make it easier to HK.

    Great recap, screencaps and REVIEW!! And you called some of it girl!! Yay me too!!
    Thanks Ockoala it was great.

  58. Dear Koala,
    Even though I haven’t watched the actual episode yet… Your post made me cry. :'( Which made me feel stupid so I stopped reading and came back and still cried… if I ever getting around to actually watching it I’ll probably bawl… This is the first time I’ve ever cried over reading a recap… hehe =] thanks for recapping this drama! 🙂 And so fast your faster than any other website… with all your recapping! very impressive! Thank You!!!

  59. Thanks Ockoala once again. Brilliantly written recap. Bravo.
    Will definitely look into the drama that you hv recommended and visit your blog more often. All the cast in 49days did a great job especially Lee Yo Won who portrayed more than 1 role. Will forever miss 49days. A tremendous kdrama of all time!!! Love 49days.

  60. It’s been a long long while I had such a great ending to a drama. I share your same thoughts DearKoala. I’ve just read through your ep19, 20 recaps and savoring your thoughts on them.

    I’m actually happy for JH, getting this marvelous journey unexpectedly of the 49 days and get to pass on saying and doing everything she wants to before her finale goodbye. And she lives on in everyone of them. Seeing how the 49 days’ journey enriches every single one of her relationship with everyone around her, it moves me greatly.

    You’ve also started me on thoughts on my fav dramas, and like you, I don’t have many on my list with happy neat endings. (I suspect we jointly have Damo, WHIB on the list off top of head) Even with sth as dear to my heart as MNIKSS, there were complaints of ‘WHERE is MY HAPPY ENDING?!?!’ but I thought the ending is perfect. I actually loathed the sappy. The drama ends, it has its finality; I, as a viewer, move on….so I’ve never had too much an attachment to characters to the point I need them to live on happily ever after for me. In reality, we never have such a choice as well for dear ones around us, or our own end, but the fond memories live on.

  61. This drama is a lesson to learn. I’m so glad that i watched it!
    Thanks for the recaps, I couldn’t wait anymore for the eng sub version. I cryed my eyes out in the office :)) now I need to return to work 🙂

  62. The message of 49days drama ws so heartwrenching in d end bt is really a fact dat one day every1 gona die so we sud cherish when we r alive…im glad dat i hv watch dis brilliant drama all d way..never thot it wil b so interesting bt its kinda day to day activities telling us to learn how precious one’s life is…

    I ws more admiring d scenery unlyk others shooting only indoors n saw some amazing locations…hope one day i’l b able to visit sm nice places same as seen in dis drama…also d Heaven n purple coffee hehe.

    its gona b on my list to watch again n wil surely recommend to others too…i cried alot 4 S n Y scenes whch makes more sense …touching indeed

    One of d BEST ENDING EVER!!!

  63. Nam Gyu Ri acting is amazing. Lee Yo Won is sometime didn’t same Nam Gyu Ri acting, she is sometime so childish.

    • i don’t agree with you. LYW is a great actress eversince. she did an excellent job portraying YK & JK. she seems childish with you when the time she portray as Ji kyung which is Ji hyun’s childish acting. In korea, from the beginning till the end. they criticize NGR’s acting. Your NGR’s acting is not reaching 1/4 of LYW’s acting.

  64. I just finished the drama and cried a bucket of tear because of it. The drama was wonderfully done by an awesome cast.
    I came here to read ur recap because after watching the ending the feeling is still here. I came and lurked around to see if anyone have the same opinion as I do :)) I love 49 Days and it will remain forever in my heart as a drama that teaches me so much about life and death.
    It seems like everyone is not very satisfy with Yi Kyung being Ji Hyun’s long lost sister. I like it though. I remember Ji Hyun told Yi Kyung that even though she will be gone, there will be more good people around her soon. Of course Ji Hyun knowing that Yi Kyung is her sister is not possible…but having the whole relationship revealed later indeed proves the point that people who are left behind will move on and find happiness in their lives. I think that this is something the writer wants to tell us too. Oh yeh, I saw people saying that they want Yi Kyung to act so touched and cry and hug her parents…well…that doesn’t fit her at all so I think the scenes involve her and her parents are just fine as they are shown in the last episode.
    I never expect that Ji Hyun would die though. Scarifying her to prove the writer’s point is just so HEARTLESS and UNFAIR…I think having Yi Soo dies alone would be MORE THAN ENOUGH to prove it. But then happy ending dramas are too popular and common nowadays…so maybe having more leads die will be somewhat special and I think it works. I won’t forget 49 Days even if The Greatest Love is there :)) ( it’s very nice, watch it people! )
    The entire cast is just awesome…I saw Nam Gyuri acting in Death Bell and another family drama I can’t recall the name. She acts O.K in my opinion. In 49 Days, however, I did a terrific job portraying cheerful and pure Ji Hyun. She just fits the role so much that I can’t imagine anyone else who could play Ji Hyun as well as she did. Seeing her crying for herself just hurts me so much. Poor Ji Hyun I hope she has a gud life in heaven. I also like In Jung and Min Ho…they are the type of antagonists that leave good impressions in people. Lee Yo Won’s acting is superb. This is the second time I saw her acting cheerful role 🙁 in other dramas she was always given sad and unfortunate roles. I’m happy for her). This is the first time I saw the actor who plays Han Kang. I’m looking forward to see him more. He did very well, very heartwarming.
    Overall, bravo for the entire cast. I hope that the drama and the cast receive high recognitions and awards for their hard work. This is the last time I can say “hwaitting” to 49 Days…no more waiting for it to sub on wed. and thurs :(( T_T

    49 DAYS HWAITTING!!!!!!

  65. This drama and it’s ending were what I needed. I just don’t enjoy and cry because of Ji Hyun, Kang ah, Yi Kyung and Ji Soo Y cried also for me, because it made me understand many things. I got the message just in the moment I needed the most. We can be happy even when our beloved ones are gone. It takes big affords but we need to be fine.

  66. I saw the raw video first before reading this blog. At first, I didn’t like the ending… in fact, I hated it. But after some reflection and after stumbling on to this blog, I realized that (1) I just had this notion to a certain kind of ending (JH ending up with Kang) that when it didn’t happen, contributed to my (earlier) disappointment and (2) I now see the point the writer is trying to come across with.

    So, I watched the ending again (this time with subtitles and a full summary from this blog on hand) and find it a perfect ending 😀 The whole point of the story – appreciating one’s life and never leaving with any regrets, accepting death when the time comes, knowing the people that truly matters to you – should leave viewers satisfied, even grateful. Maybe it’s just the ever romantic side to me (and the fact that I’ve watch far too many rom-com K-dramas) that made me wish that JH and Kang end up together and that no one dies. But when I look back on their “love story”, it totally left a very deep emotional impression on me that none of the previous rom-com couples were able to deliver even if they ended up happily together.

    In a way, this is still a happy ending because everyone was given this sense of hope and that they are also given a chance to have a happy future (even Min Ho). I agree to most comments though that the sister plot was unnecessary, but I’ll still take it in 🙂

    I hope that the haters of the ending will reflect again on the moral of the story and think this as a happy, fitting end… bittersweet yes, but amazing nonetheless…. that the 49 days of Ji Hyun didn’t end up as nothing — because it changed the lives of everyone around her and that it was just a sad fate that she was pre-destined to die early. The misunderstandings cleared up, bad things were exposed and corrected, Kang was given the chance to show her feelings to JH before she dies (which would not be possible at all if not for the 49 days) , and that YK was given a new lease in life – these are what we are supposed to remember at the end of this show.

    Sorry if this is a long comment. This is the first time commenting on your blog. I am not exactly a “commenting” person but this is just how 49 Days affected me… it affected me so much that I just have to let this out! 😀

    Thanks so much for this recap, it means so much to me 🙂 To the cast, crew, director, & writer of this drama, you should know that you are part of one of the best K-Dramas I’ve seen in a long time. Thank you!

  67. Love 49 Days… The Yi Soo/Yi Kyung love story will be with me forever. And I have no problem with the ending, I think the writer is brilliant. I love everything in 49 days and happy that Yi Kyung found her real parents.

  68. Love Love Love 49 days. Even though we didn’t get our happily ever after ending, it still turned out wonderful.

  69. Thank you for recapping this drama!! I really appreciate your hard work and your love for this drama 🙂 The thoughts of mine and bitter-sweet comment that you give, i really like it!
    I want to give two thumbs up for Lee Yo Won and her acting. She can really do both of the character really good and give the feeling that In Jung really in Yi Kyung body!!
    And it’s a good ending. I’m a bit sad that all the couple didn’t end up together but i guess this drama want us to learn something more than just a romance drama :p

  70. I was crying all throughout this episode…I’m glad I decided to watch 49 days

    It’s so poignant and beautiful and meaningful…and even though I didn’t get the ending I want, the ending was one of the best orchestrated I’ve ever watched: totally consistent and wonderful in its own bittersweet way

    Jo Hyun Jae is really handsome and really, his character is lovely

  71. omo! i was so so so sad that i eventually cried out…ohhh…i hate the ending,i thought the ending was so pretty and living happily ever after like some fairy tales and koreanovelas…why? this is so cruel to a person who is a lovable,cute and innocent…but its a mature story that everyone can relate to it,like its between life and death…but i really like it except the ending because it makes me feel sad and cry

  72. I’ll have to disagree. I believe the sister plot was crucial because Yi Kyung was able to have a family again. She had no one, but the Yi Soo, but without him, she was miserable. So now, she can start anew.

  73. I just hate the ending….I watched the show because I want to be entertained…be happy and smile everytime I remember the story. But now, I am having a heavy heart…makes me cry all the time.

  74. I just finished 49 Days, and I loved this recap. It really felt like most of the last half of the show was leading toward this emotional place, and that it felt very lovely and true to the story. I’m still finding my thoughts about it, but I really can’t imagine a more perfect ending for this story.

  75. I love watching 49 days, as much as I love watching Secret Garden! I really admire and solute Korean writer with their creative ideas in romantic-fantasy genre of drama (and other genre as well). Thanks to this blog writer as well, cuz I even cried reading your articles. I was really curious about what the next episode might be and cannot wait till the next week, so I searched for the synopsis, but ended up reading it until the last episodes, without watching it on tv first! what a spoiler, aite!? haha..

  76. sad to say, i hated the ending. Even though it may have taught me a lesson, i still feel sad that the main protagonist had to die cuz the truth of the matter, she wouldn’t have been fated to die even she never had the accident. well if there was no accident, there wouldn’t be a story but still. i just want to say i find it sad that ji hyun had to die :'( in the end, to me. ji hyun’s sister is still the true cause why she died which i’m really dissapointed about.

  77. can I ask a question?
    uhm do you what is the title instrumental song on this episode?
    the first one is on the scene where the mom and Ji Hyun are talking about Kang.
    and the other one is when Ji Hyun and Kang are wishing.
    pleapleaseplease I really want to know what is the title of the instrumental music and I can’t find it somewhere =(
    thank you so much!

  78. From blog – “I think the writer elevated her craft a notch in writing 49 days”.

    Disagree because wasn’t the story similar to the original japanese story except the writer changed some parts of the story and expanded on them. And the japanese took the ideas from english movies.

    Secret Garden wasn’t creative either. Wasn’t the idea of changing bodies in modern times taken from TVB’s 1997 drama with Gallen Lo. And TVB probably took that idea from english movies.

    Writing isn’t impressive. Just taking ideas from someone else and rewriting them. Just because the younger generation never watched the older movies and dramas doesn’t make them original.

  79. 49 Days…. best Drama ever but the saddest ending of all time! I cried SO hard when Ji Hyun died! I didn’t expect that stuff AT ALL! I thought she was going to live! Ugh, I’m tearing up just thinking about it :'( At least Yi Kyung found her family and found out the truth about herself! And she found out what happened to Yi Soo! So maybe the ending wasn’t so bad! But they could have at least showed Ji Hyun in Heaven or something! Or make a 2nd season of them in their second life! But that’s probably just me…

  80. This is the saddest story I’ve seen since the 1957 make of “Old Yeller” I Remember as a kid crying myself to sleep. I’m wondering if even the writer So Hyun kyung cried while writing this as well as the production crew during The shoot. The cast was well selected, I even felt sorry for Nam Gyu Ri in Her role as Se-na in “Haeundae Lovers” Ban Hyo jung was perfect as the Scheduler grandmother, As she is a senior actress I’ve enjoyed her roles in Many dramas, Especially “Rooftop Prince” I enjoyed Lee Yo won in “Surgeon Bong Dal Hee.

    • I’d like to add that I agree with MZ K Highness, The writer did’t give a Happy ending. She left us all crying, It’s what makes really great Screewriters!

  81. I just loved 49 days. It wasn’t a happy ending but I freely accepted that the story was directed to end that way for a reason. It has so much learning to ponder about love, friendship & love. And I agree, it was such a waste not giving Jo Hyun Jae a kissing scene with those luscious pair of lips! 🙂
    It was years ago but until now I still have to sneak in & watch 49 days again & again. For me, it was a perfectly done story & a very good cast. This drama made me a JHJ avid fan. He was awesome in 49 days & I just loved the theme song that he himself sung for this drama.

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