Woo, the foursome has assembled! Not that they can all see each other, mind you, but it’s nice to have ’em all inhabiting the same space, and aware (on some level) of each other’s presences. I’d wondered if Kang had found out about Ji-hyun’s condition too early to make for a satisfying resolution, but as it turns out, this “I totally love you but I can’t say I love you and I know you love me too even though you won’t acknowledge it” angst-conflict is kind of great.

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Monni – “기억의 시작” (The beginning of memory) [ Download ]

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EPISODE 17 RECAP

After seeing Yi-kyung leaving town, Kang, like a crazy person, runs through the streets shouting Ji-hyun’s name, wondering where the heck she is. Uh, you know she’s a ghost, right? It’s okay, Kang-ah, we all lose a few smart points in moments of panic.

Kang gets on the phone to try to trace Yi-kyung’s taxi, begging for help because his wife has gone off to die alone after being told she was terminally ill. Aw, I know it’s a lie, but it’s sweet to hear Kang referring to her as his wife all the same.

Yi-soo finds Ji-hyun still slumped on the ground and takes her to Seoul Station, Yi-kyung’s destination, saying this is as much as he can do for her. He tells Ji-hyun to be sure to bring her back.

Kang boards the train ahead of Ji-hyun, who follows him onboard just before it departs. He approaches Yi-kyung and introduces himself, saying that he needs her help in order to find somebody. Yi-kyung replies that she already knows, and that she’s leaving because of her: “Why should I lend my body to a ghost?”

As Kang explains that Ji-hyun needs her in order to survive, Ji-hyun enters the car and sits in the seat next to him, apologizing to Yi-kyung. She sobs that she did it because she wanted so desperately to live: “Just ten more days. If you don’t help me, I can’t do anything. I have to just die!”

At the sound of her voice, Yi-kyung stiffens, immediately aware, and she can see the vague shape of Ji-hyun sitting across from her. Kang senses her change and asks if Ji-hyun has arrived, and Yi-kyung can’t help but be moved by Ji-hyun’s pleas — that she may die anyway, but she wants to use the ten days to see her parents’ face one more time, and say one last word to Kang.

Min-ho meets with his new landlady in Yi-kyung’s apartment and hears that some other guy came looking for her and kicked up a huge fuss, but hadn’t been able to catch her in time.

That’s only partially true, since Kang now drives Yi-kyung (and Ji-hyun) back in his car, and she explains that she’s started to see and hear Ji-hyun recently. She also has bits of Ji-hyun’s memories left in her mind, so she knows a bit of what Ji-hyun has been through, although her understanding is patchy.

Kang asks after Ji-hyun’s condition, and Yi-kyung relays Ji-hyun’s answer (“Tell him I’m fine”) to him.

Then the Scheduler joins them, and Ji-hyun worries what’ll happen now that Kang knows everything and Yi-kyung and see and hear her. Yi-soo says that it’s fine, and that this is what sometimes happens when two souls are compatible: “It’s because Yi-kyung is so pure.”

Back at Yi-kyung’s place, the two ladies sit down for a face-to-face talk for the first time. Yi-kyung apologizes for the accident, and Ji-hyun says it’s not entirely her fault. Ji-hyun can’t divulge the nature of her 49 days, but assures Yi-kyung that she didn’t come to her out of a vengeful spirit, but that she was sent to her for another reason.

Yi-kyung tells her that in the spirit of paying back her debt (for the accident), she’ll agree to continue as host for the ten remaining days.

Kang waits outside, tensing when Ji-hyun comes bounding out. They’re happy to see each other, but don’t drop the act and acknowledge that she’s Ji-hyun — rather, they return to how they were before, with Kang knowing the truth but pretending she’s Yi-kyung. (Even though he knows the truth, she’s still banned from acknowledging her true identity, and she feels that if she gets too comfortable with him, she’ll forget herself and make mistakes.)

She has family matters to take care of today, so she promises to report for work tomorrow, and he promises to pick her up in the morning.

Yi-soo shows up while Ji-hyun is grocery shopping, and gets all cutesy with her before she sets him down with the reminder that she’s Ji-hyun. He grumbles that his sunbae is testing his patience on purpose (lol), then slyly comments on her own melo-loveline with Kang — and forbids her from any skinship while she’s still in Yi-kyung’s body. Haha. Ever the possessive boyfriend, eh?

Ji-hyun spends the afternoon cooking, and when Yi-kyung wakes up, she finds a table of food with a note telling her that Ji-hyun had really wanted to cook for her (and that she threw away her instant ramyun). Ji-hyun joins her and urges her to eat up, mentioning that Yi-soo had told her which banchan (side dishes) to make for her.

At that, Yi-kyung looks up, startled at his name. Ji-hyun says he’s been waiting five years to meet her again, and that there are a lot of things going on in this realm that Yi-kyung (and other living people) are unaware of. Proving she knows about Yi-soo, Ji-hyun tells her that she knows Yi-kyung dislikes spinach but made it because Yi-soo liked it, and that Yi-soo pretended to like Vienna sausages because Yi-kyung liked them but didn’t want to buy them because they’re expensive.

Moved by the memory, Yi-kyung explains how they’d worked to put themselves school, and that Yi-soo in particular had worked multiple jobs but always found time to pack her lunches, despite her protests. It’s so sad, seeing how adorable they were knowing how it all ended.

Teary-eyed, Yi-kyung asks if Ji-hyun has seen him. Ji-hyun nods, telling her that the photo with the other girl was taken without his knowledge. She can’t tell her any more than that, but says that Yi-soo will tell her the rest.

Yi-kyung asks with hope, “Can I really see him?” Ji-hyun replies that he’ll be able to meet her in a short while, and asks her to wait.

Kang waits outside Yi-kyung’s apartment to assure himself that the ladies are fine. Gee, it’s a good thing he never has any customers at his restaurant, or has a full-time job or anything. Goodness knows how he’d be able to do his lurking otherwise.

Speaking of which, a second lurker comes upon the scene: In-jung ducks out of sight when she spots Yi-kyung leaving home, and Kang watching her. Girl, I know you’re thin, but do you really think that telephone pole will hide you? Oh, right, in this drama nobody can see beyond a 10-foot field of vision. Convenient, that.

In-jung reports to a stunned Min-ho that Yi-kyung didn’t leave as planned, so he finds her at the cafe as she’s talking to Dr. Noh. She tells him that she’s rid herself of her ghost, but Min-ho doesn’t trust her and thinks it’s Ji-hyun in the body. Yi-kyung she tells him that he can check for himself tomorrow because she’s going to pretend to be Ji-hyun while working at Heaven, but not allow the spirit to take over her body.

Ah, so this is how they’re going to get rid of Min-ho! He doesn’t believe her right away, but she tells him firmly that she doesn’t care — she doesn’t need Min-ho to believe her. Also, he has no right to order her around or threaten her, so knock it off. (Wow, Yi-kyung gets a spine! It took ages for us to see anything beyond depression from her, but I appreciate the spark — perhaps mention of Yi-soo revived her a bit, which would be poignant and a little bit cruelly ironic.)

Min-ho comments that it was Ji-hyun impersonating Yi-kyung all this while: “You’re very similar — that look in her eyes was yours.” Given that he sounds smitten when the look he refers to is hateful glaring, methinks Min-ho’s into self-abuse. (No, not that kind! Okay, not just that kind.) Also, didja ever meet a woman who didn’t capture your interest? You sure are getting around…

Their two spirit tag-alongs are watching the scene, and Ji-hyun says that this fake-out was Yi-kyung’s idea. (Yi-soo: “Of course it is! Would an idea like that come from your mind?” HA. And also, true.)

Kang receives a call from Daddy Shin that he’d looked into JC Consulting and found that it was a sham company. That’s followed by bad news: Dad’s company is going bankrupt.

Kang rushes to the hospital where Mom is getting the news and wondering why Min-ho isn’t doing anything about it. He heads home where he has Ji-hyun’s seal, recalling that the Haemido deal was contingent upon the sale of her land.

In the morning, Kang arrives to pick Ji-hyun up, and she hurries to freshen up the room and primp at the mirror before letting him in. Hee. He produces the seal, and confirms that Ji-hyun had “entrusted it to you” (again, they’re going through the act that she’s Ji-hyun’s representative, not Ji-hyun herself) and that it was needed for some action with the company. She guesses that the bankruptcy has come and starts to cry out, “Dad!” but her pendant fires up in warning.

They seek out Mom, who can’t bring herself to tell Dad the bad news. Kang assures her that there’s a way to stop this, and Ji-hyun produces the seal, saying that on the day of the accident, Ji-hyun had entrusted it to her. Kang says the seal will allow them to use Ji-hyun’s land to get a secured loan and block the bankruptcy — but they mustn’t say a word to Min-ho or the company about it.

News that the company is in the stages of primary bankruptcy hits the media, but Mom signs the docs with Ji-hyun’s seal. In-jung is pleased to read the reports and the stock price starts falling, while Team Kang huddles for secret meetings, with his waiter employee playing double agent to Min-ho.

Min-ho’s driver spy keeps an eye on Yi-kyung for three days, and reports to Min-ho that she has done nothing but stay home and go to work at Heaven, which leads Min-ho to believe that Yi-kyung was telling the truth about denying Ji-hyun guest privileges in her body.

Yet Team Evil hears that Mom suddenly came up with 4 billion won ($3 million), while Team Kang rejoices that they were able to block the move. Ji-hyun’s so thrilled she’s about to throw herself into Kang’s arms, but they both pull back at the last minute. She remembers Yi-soo warning her about the no-skinship-in-my-woman’s-body rule, and actually pouts as she lowers her arms. Ha.

Clocking her disappointment, Kang cheers her up by saying, “Okay, Song Yi-kyung noona.” Omg so cute. Who wouldn’t cheer up to have Kang-ah calling you noona teasingly? I know there’s a girlfriday out there who just squealed in glee. Kang asks how she’ll express her gratitude to him if not the hug.

Even more cute is her frustrated response — because she doesn’t want to be his noona, not to “the guy who’s more of an oppa than even Oppa.” (Basically, it’s like saying, “You’re the oppa-est oppa who ever oppa’d.”) Eeee! Now there’s a javabeans squealing in glee.

She tells him glumly that she can’t say what she wants to say to him, or acknowledge that she’s seen him — not in this body, not the way she wants to. He understands and tells her it’s okay, because “I’ve heard it all, and seen it all.” Aww.

Ji-hyun finds In-jung waiting outside her door that night, and invites her in to search her heart’s content for Ji-hyun. She maintains the Yi-kyung act as she acts why everyone’s so in a tizzy to figure out which soul she is. In-jung speaks to her as though she’s sure she’s Ji-hyun, and demands to know why she’s doing all this. (Uh, because you’re destroying her family? Or maybe in In-jung’s world, the only logical explanation for trying to destroy someone is because they were too nice to you.)

Ji-hyun: “If I were Shin Ji-hyun, I’d follow you around for the rest of your life. Why do you think I’d use only Song Yi-kyung’s body? I could enter someone else’s body, or even wander around as a spirit without a body. And if Shin Ji-hyun were to return, it would be because of you.” Nice — use her fear against her, since nobody else knows the rules. The fear of a ghost can be just as frightening as the reality of one, and In-jung looks freaked out at the possibility of being haunted forever.

Min-ho tries to understand how his plan was thwarted when Yi-kyung hadn’t let Ji-hyun use her body in three days, but In-jung argues that Ji-hyun could have taken over the body. In-jung’s spooked that Ji-hyun can see them when they can’t see her, and is certain that Ji-hyun recovered her seal to secure that loan.

In-jung comes home to find packed bags and an angry Seo-woo who knows In-jung started the bankruptcy. Seo-woo declares that she can’t live with her anymore: “You and I are over as of now.” Booyah!

In-jung pleads, saying she regrets her actions, but Seo-woo tosses back: “Too bad. However quickly regret comes, it’s still too late.”

In-jung says she couldn’t stop Min-ho, because she’d deceived him first. She’d fallen for him at first sight during her toughest times, and because she didn’t want him to see her miserable station in life, she lied that she was the daughter of Daddy Shin, and that lie snowballed (ah — I’d always wondered why the drama had given the girls the same surname!). And while she can’t stop Min-ho now, she promises to make sure he doesn’t completely destroy Ji-hyun’s parents.

Seo-woo has little sympathy, and tells In-jung to go live with Min-ho instead of clinging to her. Nice.

Ji-hyun worries that this bankruptcy setback won’t stop Min-ho for good. Yi-kyung remarks that this is what it must be like to have family — that even in the face of death, you can’t just think of yourself. Yi-kyung asks Ji-hyun what she’ll do about Kang, since she’s picked up on their feelings for each other: “If it were me, if I knew in advance how much time we had, I’d see his face more, and love him more, and take care of him more.”

Ji-hyun replies, “The more that happens, the more I don’t want to die — the sadder it would be. That’s why I’m afraid — I have no hope that I can stay alive, and that would just pain Kang more.”

Seo-woo meets with Kang and tells him she’s moved out, and Kang tells her that Ji-hyun’s lucky to have a friend like her. She notes that he must really like Ji-hyun a lot, and asks whether he’d ever look at another woman if Ji-hyun really did never wake up: “If another woman liked you, how long would she have to wait?” He’s startled both at the fact that she knows how he feels, and that she’s referring to herself.

Kang can’t get a hold of Ji-hyun on the phone, so he tries doing a GPS trace on her phone. Hilariously, the Scheduler’s voice informs him not only of her location, but the room number and name of the owner: “Kang. Min. Ho.”

Ji-hyun is at Min-ho’s apartment, having used Yi-kyung’s birthday as his new door code. For the safe code, Yi-kyung tries Min-ho’s mother’s birthday, and it works. Only, the safe is empty.

Alas, the apartment isn’t. She runs right into Min-ho, who addresses her as Ji-hyun and alarms her with his conviction. Rattled, she stumbles backward, feeling faint — and that ejects the soul out of the body, leaving Yi-kyung standing there.

Yi-kyung gets her bearings relatively quickly, now that she’s in accord with her ghost, and points out that he fell for Ji-hyun while she was in the body: “But can’t you even recognize the woman you love?” He bursts out, “I’m going crazy, not knowing who I love!”

Min-ho warns Yi-kyung that he’ll destroy the company and claim Haemido, if only to compensate for Ji-hyun driving him crazy. Yi-kyung notes, “You’re still in love.”

Min-ho calls in his cronies, one of whom is here to exorcise the spirit from Yi-kyung’s body. It’s unintentionally hilarious that Yi-kyung sits there with arms crossed, looking bored by the whole thing, while the shaman tries to get a read on the spirit. He declares that there’s no other soul in this body but starts feeling around the apartment, stopping just next to Ji-hyun, who freezes in shock. (What, you can’t run anymore? Or move? Not even roll away?)

Just as he declares the spirit found, a doorbell sounds: It’s Kang. Min-ho ignores him, but then another man announces that he’s the police — the Scheduler in disguise — here to investigate the report of someone being held against her will. When the driver goes out to talk to the police, Kang is the only one there, and he pushes his way inside. Ji-hyun slips out, and Yi-kyung leaves with Kang.

In the car, Kang scolds Yi-kyung for foolishly going into Min-ho’s place, thinking her Ji-hyun. Yi-soo yells right back that he shouldn’t yell at his Yi-kyung, heh. Yi-kyung tells him that she’s not possessed at the moment, and that Ji-hyun is sitting next to her. She has guessed that Ji-hyun went to retrieve the documents from Min-ho’s secret safe, and Kang finally realizes that this was why Ji-hyun had been sticking with him all this while.

Min-ho throws a bookshelf in his fury, and tells In-jung that he’s being toyed with: “Song Yi-kyung and Shin Ji-hyun are exactly alike. Who the hell am I in love with?” What a thing to tell the woman you dumped for that unknown other entity.

He’s pretty far gone by now — when he meets with Daddy Shin, he cuts to the chase and admits flat-out that Dad’s suspicions are correct, that he’s responsible for the problems. However, it’s too late to stop him, and he intends to go forward anyway.

Min-ho’s takeover partner is displeased, despite Min-ho’s constant assurances that their plan is still a go, and includes ownership of Daddy Shin’s company in his demands for proceeding. Min-ho agrees — he’ll take Haemido then hand over Shin’s company.

Kang helps Yi-kyung move her things out of her place and into Heaven. Ji-hyun’s so worn out that Yi-soo carries her inside and sets her on the couch, and Kang turns to look at her — or, at least, the space where she’d be if he could see her.

Asked how she got here, Ji-hyun tells Yi-kyung that she has her own guardian angel which creates a nice parallel — just as Kang can’t see Ji-hyun, neither can Yi-kyung see Yi-soo standing there, watching her, wanting to touch her but unable to.

Over dinner, Kang thanks Yi-kyung for helping her. Yi-kyung says she felt Ji-hyun’s desperation: “I wanted so badly to die, but there was somebody who so earnestly wanted the life I wanted to throw away.” She says it’s nothing compared to her debt, and Kang asks what she means before retracting the question, saying she doesn’t have to tell him.

Ji-hyun thanks Yi-soo for saving her from Min-ho, wondering if he incurred another penalty. He retorts that he didn’t do it for her, and that Schedulers are allowed to save their charges when they’re in emergency situations. Ha, I love that the drama keeps adding little provisions and clauses to its original rules. Or that the Scheduler keeps finding the loopholes.

That night, Kang tosses and turns on the couch, while the ladies occupy the bedroom. Yi-kyung heads outside for some fresh air, but Ji-hyun doesn’t have the strength to join her and remains behind.

On her way out, she sees Kang pacing anxiously, noting that after tonight there are only six days left. Yi-kyung tells him a few things on Ji-hyun’s behalf, things that weren’t explicitly said although they are surely meant: “Ji-hyun tells me to tell you to go inside and sleep. She says that just being in the same house as you makes her feel at ease.”

When Kang asks after Ji-hyun’s condition, she adds, “I’m envious of her. But don’t get too attached — she doesn’t have much time left. I know because I’ve experienced it. The more you trust and love, the harder it is to endure after that person is gone.”

He protests that she’s talking like Ji-hyun will die, and Yi-kyung tells him that Ji-hyun doesn’t believe that she’ll stay alive. He refuses to give up hope, but she says that the more he clings to that, the harder it’ll be on Ji-hyun: “Think of it as not being fated to be together in this lifetime, and cut your attachment.”

He gets angry, and declares that he won’t give up until Ji-hyun is gone: “Let me ask a favor — don’t talk like that to Ji-hyun.”

His passion moves her, and just as he turns to go, she whirls around and grabs him in a hug.

 
COMMENTS

Eeeeeee! Was that really Yi-kyung hugging Kang? The signs point to yes — she talks in Yi-kyung’s dull voice and references her own pain regarding Yi-soo, plus we saw her leaving Ji-hyun in bed. But was the hug purely out of gratitude? Yearning? She knows there’s a chance she might get to see Yi-soo again, so I don’t think we can read into it too much.

On the other hand, there may be a teeny chance we’re not seeing the full story and this is really Ji-hyun (though I doubt it). I recall her wanting to spare Kang pain, and her speech here falls in line with that — that she wants him to let go so that she can deal with her impending death less painfully. In any case, there’s less than a day till we find out!

I do like how quickly things continue to move in this drama — I’d wondered how they’d fill the last two weeks now that everyone knows about Ji-hyun, but they’re doing a good job developing the relationships. I like that the drama doesn’t end with people simply finding out the truth, because this gives us time to see the Yi-kyung/Ji-hyun relationship develop, which is becoming something quite moving. Their heart-to-hearts and mutual understanding are poignant, and a little heartbreaking in their parallels — or is it reverse parallels? (And are reverse parallels still parallels? Agh, math.)

As Yi-kyung said, she hates her own life and was desperate to leave it, but meeting someone so desperate to return to life has affected her. And she’s not without sympathy — she shed a tear on the train when Ji-hyun pleaded with her for ten more days, which supports the theory that she may be one of Ji-hyun’s remaining two tears. Their connection is unexpectedly compelling (for me, since I hadn’t been expecting much to happen between the two ladies), and Min-ho makes the interesting observation that they’re actually quite similar. Not exactly alike as he thinks, since they’re messing with his mind, but it’s like the boundaries between them have blurred, so naturally they’ve absorbed bits of each other.

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