49 Days: Episode 3
I do love me some disgruntled Scheduler, but coming in at a close second is disgruntled Kang — or, to be more accurate, the trying-so-hard- to-be-disgruntled- but-failing-to-hide-his- marshmallow-interior Kang. There’s something irresistible about the two of them, both revealing soft spots that are more and more evident the longer Ji-hyun runs in circles around them, wearing right through that protective layer of impatience they wear on the outside.
SONG OF THE DAY
49 Days OST – “잊을만도 한데” [ Download ]
EPISODE 3 RECAP
Ji-hyun (in Yi-kyung’s body) catches her fiancé meeting clandestinely with her best friend, which sends her reeling. The room service waiter asks after her in concern but soon grows suspicious at the weird lady crouched in the hallway, and his raised voice is overheard by the cheating cheaters in the hotel room.
Min-ho steps out to ask the waiter what the problem is, and grows concerned at mention of a strange woman sitting outside his room. Ji-hyun barely steps inside the elevator in time to avoid being caught by Min-ho — not that he’d recognize her as herself, but that’s sure to be one awkward confrontation.
Min-ho shrugs off the incident, but picks up an small ornamental ball on the ground outside his room. It had fallen off Yi-kyung’s shoe, surely to make a reappearance at an inconvenient future moment.
We’re already seeing the darker side of Min-ho peeking out, as he wants to go find Ji-hyun’s official seal (which, in Korea, is as valuable as — or more than — a social security number, as it gives the bearer legal rights). He explains that Ji-hyun’s father is in no frame of mind to deal with “the matter of Ji-hyun’s land,” but In-jung is appalled that he’d ask her to dig around secretly to get it, in these circumstances.
In-jung cries that she feels like her heart will tear into pieces, to which he replies evenly, “But it won’t tear.” Yes, but what of your moral fiber?
He assures her that they aren’t responsible for Ji-hyun’s condition. It’s an argument that would make sense in most circumstances, only in this particular case, they ARE directly responsible. In-jung cries, “It could be because of us!”
A flashback takes us to the afternoon of the accident, when In-jung had met Min-ho in his car. They’d both confessed to being afraid, which makes me think they’d planned on doing something secret — something greater than their affair — with weighty consequences. In-jung had even suggested breaking off the relationship rather than go through with it: “I can’t go this far.”
That’s when Ji-hyun had called In-jung, moments before she’d spotted the cheaters from across the intersection. Now, a guilty In-jung thinks that Ji-hyun may have followed them that day, since her accident occurred nearby.
Min-ho asks, “But if we end it here, what kind of guy does that make me?” Um, what about the guy you already are?
He declares that he’s going forward with their plans, with or without In-jung, which makes me think they’re plotting a shady business scheme. Company takeover, perhaps?
In-jung shakes her head no, saying she can’t do it. Min-ho tells her to remember “Why we began this — why things came to this. If we run away now, do you think we can be happy? If we quit, will that bring Ji-hyun back?” It’s an example of that convoluted K-Drama Logic that spurs evil villains into more evil villainy, which doesn’t make sense in the Real World but drives a disproportionate number of dramas forward. It’s like, we’re a little bit guilty now, so we may as well be incredibly guilty! It’s also why these villains seem not to understand the distinction between misdemeanor and felony. But it tells us pretty eloquently what kind of guy Min-ho is, even if he’s only flirting with the dark side at the moment.
Running away from the hotel, Ji-hyun pushes her Scheduler panic button, angry that her spiritual guide didn’t divulge the reasons for her accident. The Scheduler fumbles for an answer, landing on the catch-all excuse: “It’s a secret of nature.” HA. Not fair, dude, ’cause what’s an earthbound girl to say in protest to that?
Ji-hyun looks at him with angry-tearful eyes, and although he’s fully aware of the manipulative nature of lady-tears, he’s not immune to their power and sighs. He does insist that he’s completely indifferent to her love triangles and melodramas, though, and refuses to indulge her need to know more about her friends’ affair.
He retorts that if she wants to know so badly, she should just ask the dude. She throws his own words back at him — he’d warned her not to tell anyone she’s really Ji-hyun — and that catches the Scheduler off-guard. Heh. I love that she’s tripping him up at his own game.
He starts to walk off, but he can’t help feeling sorry for her, so just as she’s about to break down into waterworks, he reappears — poof! — to remind her to worry about the present and her 46 remaining days.
That brings her back to the reason she went to the hotel in the first place: To get Yi-kyung’s work history. She returns to the restaurant, where everyone’s written her off as a liar who falsified her resumé.
So Kang is surprised when she not only shows up, but presents her hotel employment papers. Gruffly, he reminds her that he’d given her an hour, and she’s way past that.
Starting to tear up, Ji-hyun stammers about seeing a friend with her fiancé together at the hotel. Proving that he’s really a softy at heart, he tells her to show up to work tomorrow and accepts her papers — only to have her collapse at his feet in exhaustion.
He carries her inside the restaurant to his attached quarters. (So his home is his restaurant is his architect’s studio? How convenient, drama.)
Kang watches her sleeping and wonders why she was so interested in Min-ho if she had a fiancé, an indication that at least he believes her story, as crazy as it sounded. As he watches, a tear slips from her eye. He even thinks to ask the ajumma to send along some soup to Yi-kyung (“and lots of rice”), anticipating that she’ll be hungry.
When Ji-hyun wakes up in Kang’s studio, she’s a little surprised at this evidence of Kang’s thoughtfulness, and is relieved she wasn’t fired. A sudden idea strikes her, though, and she bolts out of the room, not even stopping to take her handbag with her.
The employees are puzzled and look through her bag, wondering if she’s up to suspicious behavior. The sight of a whistle on a string makes Kang think back to Ji-hyun’s whistle, which she’d had the day they first met.
Ji-hyun arrives at Yi-kyung’s apartment in order to eject her soul from her host. It’s still daylight and she has hours left in the day, but she has things to do today that are easier done in her spirit form than her corporeal one. She’s learning, too, and remembers to leave doors open to allow her spirit to leave.
She heads to her father’s company just as the workday is ending, waiting for In-jung to leave the building. Inside, In-jung pushes aside her own misgivings to heed Min-ho’s ominous words (about proceeding without her), and rifles through Ji-hyun’s desk for her seal. (I guess daddy’s princess did have a job at the office — in the promo department — though I suspect she didn’t do as much working as she did taking home a paycheck.)
No seal. In-jung leaves the office, followed unknowingly by Ji-hyun, who is alternately angry, confused, and pleading. Though she can’t be heard, Ji-hyun asks her friend how the affair started, trying to make sense of it.
To her surprise, In-jung arrives at Ji-hyun’s own house, where she heads for Ji-hyun’s room. Just as she’s about to start looking through her things, though, Mom comes in and asks why she’s here. Mom’s having a hard time accepting the accident, and takes offense to In-jung’s presence in Ji-hyun’s room, because it suggests that everyone’s acting as though she’s already dead.
In-jung can’t very well continue in the face of that argument, so she leaves the house. Ji-hyun (still outside, having gotten stuck outside the gate) overhears her phone call with “oppa” about not being able to find “it.” Ji-hyun, not known for her smarts, isn’t so good at putting two and two together, and just thinks the “oppa” is a little odd since In-jung’s brother lives out of the city.
Meanwhile, at the hospital, Dad asks Min-ho about the contract for Ji-hyun’s land. Min-ho says that he took care of it — which explains why he’s so keen to get that seal, if he hadn’t actually quite wrapped up the matter when he was supposed to and is now trying to fix that mistake.
Ji-hyun finds Min-ho as he arrives at his apartment, and follows him inside while talking aloud (to herself, really) about his infidelity, trying to make sense of it — it was so clear that he loved her, and he gave her all his passwords, and he’d wanted to see her in all his free time.
When he steps inside, though, Ji-hyun is stunned to find In-jung waiting for him inside. Not only were they meeting in secret hotel rooms, but In-jung was close enough to know his passcode?
Her outrage takes a backseat, though, once she catches the drift of their conversation about her seal, which he needs for some kind of deal. Ji-hyun had actually given her seal to Min-ho before the accident — or so she thought, except it turned out that in her absentmindedness, she had accidentally handed over lipstick instead of the seal.
If Min-ho were merely trying to fix a mistake, there’d be nothing too weird about his need for the seal now. However, he adds the suspicious warning, “If Ji-hyun has land left to her, our plan fails. And I worked so hard to include that land.”
Ji-hyun may not understand the finer details, but this much is clear: These two are more than just cheating cheaters, they’re quite possibly underhanded cheaters with plans to backstab her father financially as well.
Ji-hyun leaves Min-ho’s apartment, crushed in her disillusionment. She recalls the Scheduler’s task to collect three pure tears — looks like it won’t be quite as easy as she’d assumed.
That night, she enters Yi-kyung’s body briefly, just long enough to close and lock the door before giving up the body again. I suppose she could always follow Yi-kyung out when she leaves, but it’s also indicative that she’s given up her desire to venture out into the world. Shell-shocked, she slumps on the ground, not caring to do anything.
Yi-kyung takes an envelope of cash with her to work that evening, to pay back the Good Samaritan for her hospital fees. He gives her the requested receipts, and she hands him the cash. He asks if she’s curious to know who he is, or why he was there at her accident site, but she’s not interested. He momentarily piques her interest by asking, “What if I told you I knew why you went there?” but she dismisses him. Rather than press the issue, he just says that he’ll see her tomorrow.
Yi-kyung has her first clue that something’s different when she brushes a hand through her hair and notices that it feels different today. Clean, perhaps.
When Yi-kyung comes home from work in the morning, Ji-hyun sits there listlessly, having sat there all night. She doesn’t bother to take her allotted time today, either, and just lets Yi-kyung go about her dreary life. Is it weird that I’m just relieved that this means The Body will have one good night’s rest?
There’s a nice mirroring as the two downtrodden ladies face each other all day and night, lifeless and weighed down by their respective burdens. Ji-hyun wonders if Yi-kyung went through a similar betrayal that she lives so miserably now.
Another night turns into day, leaving 44 days on the calendar. Ji-hyun shoves aside her Scheduler cell phone/alarm clock, but it shoots back to her like it’s on a tether. She throws it away, only to have it caught by Mr. Scheduler himself, here to check up on her. She orders him to leave, saying that she can’t continue living.
Hyperbole, perhaps, but just the thing to get her ass in gear. Ah, he smiles, then should he call the Elevator To Heaven now? Does this mean she’s giving up her three-tear quest?
Ji-hyun scrambles to her feet, that threat lighting a fire under her spectral butt. When the Scheduler warns her that she wasn’t given 49 days just to piss ’em away, she meekly promises not to do that anymore.
That means she has to go back to Kang’s restaurant with head bowed to try to explain her absence. Thankfully, his attitude toward her has relaxed into resigned-but-unsurprised territory, rather than his initial irritated-into-firing-her mood. He even asks if she’s eaten, and offers her a meal (albeit in his gruff way). Ji-hyun thanks him mentally for his generosity — I suspect Kang was never this obvious about his concern for her when she was Ji-hyun — then gets to work.
Kang and his manager ajusshi are so startled to see that she has improved her serving skills that they stare, agape. I guess she set that bar pretty low that they’re astonished that she can pour a glass of water competently. Way to manage expectations.
Seo-woo arrives that evening, and Ji-hyun is happy to see her non-backstabbing friend, but her smile downturns the minute she spies In-jung with her.
While taking out the trash, she comes face to face with Min-ho, also arriving to meet his friends. She ignores him, but he remembers Yi-kyung and thanks her for her help the night he was drunk.
Ji-hyun glares when he asks if she remembers him, pointedly asking, “Am I supposed to remember you?” She walks away in tears, leaving him confused.
They discuss Ji-hyun’s condition while she stands by trying to make sense of the conversation. The girls have decided to take turns caring for Ji-hyun, since her parents are running ragged at this point. To prove that Kang’s the better man, Min-ho’s the guy who mentions the difficulty of managing Daddy Shin’s company, while Kang argues that the company isn’t nearly as important as Dad exhausting himself into collapse.
Ji-hyun’s nerves are rattled to hear that her mother is doing very poorly, unable to eat or sleep, and she drops a pitcher of water. Kang sees how shaken she is and stops her from picking up the broken glass with her hands, sending her away to rest.
Outside, Ji-hyun steals a moment for herself, sobbing, “I’m sorry, Mom.”
Her crying session is cut short by her phone — it’s the Scheduler’s warning that she has an hour left to get her body back home. Alas, she hadn’t realized that her work hours were until midnight, and braces herself to ask the boss for permission to go home early.
The two men are below, talking business in Kang’s office — Kang has been hired to design a building on Ji-hyun’s land, which is the project Min-ho is handling. Ji-hyun bursts in to ask Kang for an amendment to her work hours, pausing briefly to shoot daggers in Min-ho’s direction.
She explains to Kang that she can only work until eleven — that someone at home is waiting for her, who “can’t move till I get there.” Grudgingly, Kang consents to the schedule change, and that’s unusual enough that Min-ho asks why he’s so lenient with her — he’s always so particular about business matters.
They’re unaware that Ji-hyun is still in earshot, listening around the corner as Min-ho asks, “So that kind of woman is your type?” Kang protests, probably too much, while Min-ho teases about never being able to get a handle on his type before.
Kang comments that Min-ho is doing a good job of retaining his sense of humor despite the tragedy, which reminds Min-ho that he’s probably not supposed to be doing such a good job. He puts on a (faux) brave face and says, “I’m trying. It’s what Ji-hyun would’ve wanted. She would’ve wanted me to hang in there and act as I did before.”
I love that Ji-hyun scoffs at this, protesting that NO, that is NOT what she wants, thank you very much! Seeing Min-ho through new eyes (literally, har har), she asks, “Oppa, were you this kind of person?”
And what better way to stick it to her unfaithful man than by keeping his most desired object away from him? She decides she’ll have to retrieve her seal first to keep it out of his hands.
Ji-hyun calls the Scheduler to plead with him to give her the power to move things — just long enough to get her seal. Annoyed, he says what she really needs is a voice recorder that reminds her: “BEEP! The Scheduler stays out of human affairs.”
She protests that she thinks they’re planning something with her father’s company, and even tries asking the Scheduler to get her seal for her. Ha. Sending the Grim Reaper on her errands? The girl’s bold, I’ll give her that.
He refuses and turns to go, leaving Ji-hyun pouting indignantly at his back. And whaddaya know, maybe she’s got magical pouty powers to add to her teary ones, because the Scheduler casually mentions that if she repeats a phrase (a version of “Open sesame”), she might find that doors open to her.
Alas, Ji-hyun’s lacking a few necessary IQ points to make the connection, and she grumbles that he was no help at all. SIGH.
Ji-hyun has another favor to ask her long-suffering boss, prefacing it with the reminder that she’s totally broke, and that he can’t fire her over this request, and that she’s paying him back for the taxi fee she’d borrowed that first day, and that she just needs to pop out for three hours today, but it’s totally those three hours when nobody’s in the restaurant anyway, is that okay?
Kang’s soft spot is no longer so secret, so Ji-hyun wheedles her way into his assent, and he’s almost even charmed by her pluck. I’ll give him two more episodes before he’s totally smitten.
So in her afternoon off, Ji-hyun arrives at her house, timing her arrival to match with the housekeeper’s departure, and uses the passcode to let herself in.
She sneaks upstairs to her room, grimacing at the happy photos of herself and Min-ho, ignoring my exclamations of What are you doing, woman, get the damn seal and leave! But no, she takes a moment to linger and rest on her bed before getting down to brass tacks and rifling through her drawers.
To her credit, she doesn’t give in to the temptation to take cash (remembering the Scheduler’s warning), but she isn’t successful at locating her seal. Complicating matters is the unexpected arrival of Min-ho, here bearing gifts as an excuse to search for the seal himself.
He’s concocted a pretty good excuse, now that he’s been warned by In-jung, and says he wants to take some of Ji-hyun’s favorite things to the hospital. That plays on all of Mom’s hopes and fears, so she happily grants him permission to select a few things from Ji-hyun’s room.
Knowing that time is ticking, Ji-hyun hastens her search to find her seal before Min-ho gets there. She stiffens as the door opens, and he steps through…
The drama could do better with its obvious cliffhangers, but so far I like the pace of the developments. I’m supremely relieved that Ji-hyun has discovered the infidelity early, and got over the wallowing phase relatively quickly. I infinitely prefer a pissed-off, indignant spirit to a mopey, lovesick, and/or depressed one.
The less time spent on the mysterious business intrigue the better, though, and I hope that future episodes only spend as little time as necessary on it. But even so, I actually like the inclusion of this angle in the narrative, because it adds a dimension to the betrayal. The my-best-friend-and-my-fiancé affair is effective, but could get pretty one-dimensional pretty quickly. Throwing in a possible takeover (which isn’t confirmed yet, just my suspicion) adds complexity to the dynamic, and it gives Ji-hyun more of a mission than the simple task of collecting tears. Now she has a mystery to uncover, and a father to save. All that works for me — as long as we don’t have to actually watch all of the steps unfold onscreen.
I’d much rather spend time with the annoyed Scheduler (so cute) and the exasperated boss (SO CUTE), because it’s in those scenes that the series really picks up and speeds along. I think the pacing overall still needs to work out its kinks, but if we can increase the time spent on those two men, I’m a happy camper.