Oh man, I think I’m out of tears. 49 Days, you owe me tears! Like, a bucketload of them — I need to rehydrate. Drama, I’ll accept my payment in lattes, please.
How can a story with such sad elements be so satisfying? We start wrapping up our story threads, but the drama still manages to keep one step ahead of us, with new curveballs thrown into the mix just when you think everything’s all resolved.
SONG OF THE DAY
Urban Zakapa – “우리 처음 만난 날” (The Day We First Met) [ Download ]
EPISODE 19 RECAP
Ji-hyun gets her three tears, and the Scheduler marvels, “Wow, you must’ve lived your life pretty usefully after all.” She’s in shock, saying, “But there’s nobody who’d cry for me,” but the Scheduler reminds her how changing their minds (and hearts) are what humans are all about.
He teases, “Don’tcha wanna know whose tears they are?” But she tells him not to tell her: “If I knew, I think I’d only love these three people.” Or, put another way, she might harden against everyone who isn’t those three. The Scheduler approves her wise choice.
Just as she’s about say her goodbyes to Yi-soo, he starts to fade from her sight, although it’s really Spirit Ji-hyun who disappears, leaving the Scheduler behind.
And then…Ji-hyun wakes up!! Eeeeeee!
She opens her eyes to see her mother and Seo-woo sobbing over her, and it’s Dad who enters and sees that Ji-hyun’s awake. Aw, their happiness is so sweet.
At Heaven, Manager Oh comes upon Yi-kyung as she’s leaving, surprised when she tells him that she has no reason to stay anymore. She moves back to her place, which seems sadly empty without her ghost friend anymore.
Manager Oh calls Kang, who’s just landed and driving back home, to say worriedly that they must’ve calculated the days wrong. Worst. Phone call. EVER!
Okay, here’s where I know I’ve got a sadistic streak because knowing that Ji-hyun is safe and sound, I’m giggling like a little fool at how Kang is gonna have to stew a little in his misery — that’s what you get for jetting off in secret without so much as a goodbye! But Mom calls Kang right away to let him know that Ji-hyun’s awake, and I’m actually a little disappointed he didn’t have to suffer a little more.
Ji-hyun’s recovery defies medical explanation, and she undergoes tests. Kang arrives as she’s in the exam room, and tells Dad the added good news that his father agreed to invest in the company. Her parents are stunned and grateful.
Tests complete, Kang comes by again, entering the room looking thrilled to see her…until he registers that Ji-hyun isn’t thrilled back. She says bluntly, “Han Kang, long time no see. But why are you here?” She asks why In-jung and Min-ho aren’t here, and Mom trades uncomfortable glances with Seo-woo.
Mom, Seo-woo, and Kang step outside to decide that they shouldn’t upset Ji-hyun, and will keep the news of her father’s surgery and business troubles a secret from her. Mom assures Kang that she’ll tell her how much Kang did for them, but he says sadly that that’s not important. Poor crushed Kang-ah. Buck up. Maybe there’s a cure for otherworldly amnesia.
Min-ho continues with his plans o’ destruction, getting Haemido ready for takeover and readying to resign tomorrow. (Dude, your cover’s been blown, and bigtime — why the wait? Are you so OCD that you have to keep to the original timetable, even when Dad already knows he’s harboring a viper in his midst? “NO! The schedule says tomorrow!”) Plus, news of his villainy has spread throughout the building, so that he attracts scornful stares from other employees. Another businessman makes a disdainful comment about how he doesn’t even know his fiancee has woken up.
But instead of heading for the hospital, Min-ho goes to Yi-kyung’s place, although he didn’t expect it to be occupied. Yi-kyung tells him flatly that Ji-hyun is no longer connected to her and demands he go, leaving his key behind.
Ji-hyun’s parents fill her in on what went on during her coma, each joking that they spent more time glued to her bedside than the other. Heh. It’s the kind of thing you can joke about when you’re so giddy with relief that just about everything is funny and wonderful.
Ji-hyun still finds Kang’s presence odd, but her parents assure her how devoted and helpful he was, and she concedes that he stuck by his sense of friendly loyalty — something she’s surprised by, but also dismisses as out of character. She tells him he can go now, treating him like a distant acquaintance, and he excuses himself.
At Heaven, he admits to Manager Oh that although he should be happy, he can’t help being saddened that Ji-hyun has no memory of their recent time together. He mulls over their exchanges during the past 47 days and their growing connection, and how he told Ji-hyun to tell him everything she wanted to say after she woke up.
In her lonely apartment, Yi-kyung looks at her old calendar marking Yi-soo’s passing and wonders sadly, “When are you coming? Come quickly.” It’s sad how Yi-kyung is the only one for whom Ji-hyun’s recovery means even more gloominess, because she’s now without companionship and without hope. All she can do is sit and wait for Yi-soo to come get her, which is pretty depressing. What she can’t see is that Yi-soo sits next to her, unable to do a thing.
In the morning, Kang visits Yi-kyung to tell her the good news of Ji-hyun’s recovery — and also the bad news that she probably won’t remember Yi-kyung, which makes her alternately happy and disappointed.
He thanks her for all her help, and offers her a job in his restaurant, since she’s now jobless. Ha, how great would that be? — it’s a familiar scenario, but just off enough to be strangely uncomfortable. Alas, she declines, answering that she’s waiting for somebody. She retrieves the bracelet from her dresser, telling him that Ji-hyun asked her to return it to Kang, as it’s his mother’s. He’d never known it came from Mom, and as Yi-kyung doesn’t know the story, she tells him to ask Ji-hyun about it.
She conveys the rest of Ji-hyun’s message: “She asked me to say that she’s sorry that she just received from you [without giving back], and that if not for you, she wouldn’t have been able to endure that time.”
Min-ho gets the bad news that Daddy Shin has come up with funds, which completely takes him by surprise. His investing partner blames this on Min-ho, saying that being named beneficiary in the will made him deviate from The Plan out of greed. Not untrue, those words.
Min-ho calls his mole at Heaven, Ki-joon, asking how the funds came in. Ki-joon tells him cheerily that Kang got an investor in the States, and at Min-ho’s angry exclamation (“Why didn’t you report that?!”) he says innocently, “Why should I?” Ki-joon explains that he isn’t that greedy, and that he’s plenty capable of advancing in his career without Min-ho’s support, thankyouverymuch! Hmph!
Min-ho then gets a call from the district prosecutor saying that they’ve received a petition regarding Min-ho, requesting his presence tomorrow morning.
In-jung sits waiting for Min-ho at that lunch spot, having asked him to meet her, and when he doesn’t show, she sits there eating alone, crying.
Meanwhile, Min-ho drinks with his driver friend Jin-young, bitter at his impending demise. His friend tells him gently that he can’t stand to see him falling apart, and he’ll be quitting too. Min-ho says he won’t die like this.
In-jung comes to Min-ho’s apartment in the morning to say her goodbye — she’s returning to Jinan. She tells him to call if he needs anything, and apologizes. He says bleakly, “You’re making it impossible for me to even say I’m sorry.” Which…is the stupidest logic ever (you can JUST SAY YOU’RE SORRY), but whatever. Sociopathic villains do tend to have their own rules of what is and isn’t appropriate behavior.
Kang drops by the hospital with more pink roses, ignoring Ji-hyun’s perplexed look and saying, “I’m going to come by every day, so you’d better get used to it.” Yay, adorably decisive Kang is back!
Mom tests the waters by asking if Ji-hyun remembers her friend Jung-eun — er, Song Yi-kyung — and how she left her seal in her care. Ji-hyun recognizes the name of her club friend, but has no recollection about the seal, so Mom hurriedly lets the matter drop.
After a physical therapy session, Kang takes her through the garden. She asks why he’s being so attentive, saying that it makes her feel uncomfortable. He asks how she feels to be alive (“It’s wonderful”) and says he feels the same, then asks how she spent her 47 days: “Did you just sleep? Did you have dreams?”
She says, “Even if I did, why do I have to tell you?” He asks, “Did I ever appear in them?” She retorts, “Why would you?” Hm, she’s being a touch defensive at his line of questioning. I wonder…
Annnnd…. there’s Lurker Min-ho, lurking yet again. Any more of that and he’ll have to get a license and pay taxes on it, for all the mileage he’s getting out of his lurkitude.
Ji-hyun has been pressing to see In-jung, wondering why she hasn’t been by. Mom makes up a few excuses, but finally she and Seo-woo find In-jung and tell her that Ji-hyun is insistent to see her. They want her to drop by briefly and act like all is normal between them, which is a prospect In-jung can’t bear, unable to face her ex-friend.
In-jung begs to be excused, but Mom tells her she acted plenty well for two years before the accident — surely she can extend the act for a moment — and Seo-woo drags her with her.
Meanwhile, Ji-hyun asks if Kang is truly planning to skip out on work every day to come to the hospital. Ah, but she forgets that Kang can magically run businesses without actually, yunno, doing any work, and he replies yes.
She tells him she wishes he’d work harder at his architecture, because he has special talent that he’s just wasting. Her comment actually lands with him, as though he hadn’t considered she’d feel that way, and he replies, “I have nobody to show it to, or share it with. If I worked diligently at designing, would you watch me?”
Alas, no time for a response, because Mom enters and announces In-jung’s arrival. Ji-hyun asks for a moment alone, so Kang escorts Mom out and leaves the ladies to talk.
In-jung enters with head bowed, afraid to confront Ji-hyun, who says:
Ji-hyun: “While I was sleeping, I had a dream. On my engagement day, my shoe broke. I kept seeing you taking your shoes off for me. You took off your shoes unconsciously and ran barefoot. In that moment, you’d taken them off for me.”
In-jung: “What are you saying?”
Ji-hyun: “They say that shoes are a woman’s pride, but in that moment you threw your pride aside for me. Forgetting the engagement ceremony, you thought of me first. Because I was your friend.”
Ji-hyun closes her eyes as they start tearing up, growing oddly emotional for someone who doesn’t know anything of In-jung’s backstabby ways. Or…does she?
She sends In-jung away to sob her misery alone.
Yi-soo watches over Yi-kyung impatiently, dying to meet her but restricted by his one-week penalty. He curses his mean granny sunbae, only to get a summons.
He whines and complains before she informs him that he’ll be allowed to meet Yi-kyung tomorrow, since today is the end of his 5-year tenure. He points out his one-week penalty, and she retorts that he’s required to be a Scheduler for another week — but they never said he had to wait to meet Yi-kyung.
As Yi-kyung looks over her old letters and cards from Yi-soo, a new one floats down from above and lands in front of her: “An invitation from Song Yi-soo-nim.” Realizing that the time has come, she gets ready with anticipation in the morning, using the beauty products that Ji-hyun left for her.
Yi-soo waits at the appointed meeting place, and they approach each other slowly. With a smile, he tells her, “Song Yi-kyung, long time no see. You haven’t changed at all.”
She lifts a hand to his face and confirms that he’s real, then throws herself into his arms, sobbing, “Why did you come only now?” He answers, “Because this was my time to come. I couldn’t come until now.”
He asks her to do as he wishes for the day, without complaint, and takes her someplace. Which turns out to be, macabrely enough, the site of his accident.
He explains that back then, he’d been full of excitement over this new world, making music, and felt cramped by his old life. He’d thought the issue wasn’t something they could talk out through conversation, so he decided to show her how he felt — but while he had fun with his music and hanging out with girls, “You were like my hometown.” And that’s why he bought a proposal ring.
The rings are, miraculously enough, still buried in the dirt nearby, and he retrieves them, putting them on their fingers, then takes her to his next destination: an amusement park.
They’d never had the money to come here, but he reminds her that he’d promised to bring her for her birthday. Since Yi-soo has no more human money than he did back then, I’m going to assume he’s pulled some celestial strings to get in. They spend the night doing the usual amusement-park activities, and there’s something very sweet about them on this very common date for the first time ever, and seeing how happy they both are.
Next, he takes her back to her place and asks her to go shopping for groceries, because he misses her cooking. She’s nervous to be separated, but he assures her that he won’t leave this time without a goodbye
In her absence, he cleans and redoes her room for her — which is either the fastest remodel job ever or the slowest grocery shopping trip known to man. Dr. Noh drops by, alarmed at the signs of new tenancy, though Yi-soo tells him Yi-kyung hasn’t moved. In his amusingly rude punkass way (hee), Yi-soo advises the doctor to stay away for two days: “If you leave right away, I’ll tell her you came by. If you dawdle, I might not.” Dr. Noh has the vague feeling he’s seen him before, but can’t quite place it, which isn’t surprising since he’s the dumbest doctor ever.
When Yi-kyung comes back, she almost doesn’t even register the pretty new room because she’s immediately afraid Yi-soo has gone. She’s relieved when he comes out of the bathroom, but asks why he bothered with the room when she’s going to leave with him. He doesn’t correct her, and just says that he prefers to stay in clean quarters.
That night, Yi-soo looks over Yi-kyung as she sleeps, like he’s memorizing her face. Oh, you’re already breaking my heart, and nothing’s even happened yet. But it’s one of those disasters you can see from a mile away and are helpless to avoid, and unable to look away from.
In the morning, as they go out for a walk, Yi-kyung keeps staring at him, amazed that he’s still here. In contrast to her, Yi-soo’s in a darker mood and reminds her, “Still, I’m a dead person.”
And then he gets to the point: “I waited five years to meet you. To tell you that I loved you, that I never for one moment had feelings for anyone else, to say ‘Let’s marry.’ But not now — the things I want to tell you have changed.”
He untangles their intertwined fingers and says, “I loved you until then. Starting from now, I won’t love you. Because I didn’t want to leave you with only hurt, I waited for five years, wanting you to forget me and be happy.”
Yi-kyung protests, trying to hold his hand again, saying, “Don’t say that, Yi-soo. I’m going to go with you.” He tells her that they can’t go together, and that even if she chose death in order to be with them, they’d be apart: “That’s what death is.” Cruelly true.
She says she can’t endure living alone, but he asks her to do it anyway, for him: “I have to let you go to be happy in the next life. If you’re unhappy, my heart twists and I won’t rest easy. I’ll be born as a bad-tempered guy who can’t receive love, who can’t love either, who lives unhappily.”
He orders her to throw away the ring, which no longer has meaning, which only existed to clear up their misunderstanding. He takes his ring off, despite her pleas, and throws it into the water.
Yisoo: “You know now how precious you were to me. You weren’t thrown away, you were the most important person to me. An incredible person. And so, you’ll become someone else’s incredibly precious person. Promise me that for my sake, you’ll be happy. So that I can leave this world without regrets, so I can start over in the next life. Yi-kyung, be happy for my sake.”
With that, he pulls the ring off her finger, and this time she doesn’t stop him when he throws it into the water.
He says, “I’m thankful for meeting you, and I was happy.” She cries, “I’m sorry — I only ever received from you, and never paid you back for anything.”
Yi-soo tells her, “Pay it back to the person who loves you. Instead of to me, give it to him.”
He kisses her, then turns and walks away, holding back his own tears. Yi-kyung sobs as she watches him go, until he finally fades away into the backdrop.
Oh, gah. What’s this blurring my vision? How can something so inevitable be so heartbreaking? OH SO SAD.
Min-ho visits his mother’s hospital, watching her through the window and thinking, “Mother, I’d meant to come for you once I’d made a success of myself. I’m sorry.” It’s here that he’s accosted by two police officers with an arrest warrant.
He asks for a brief moment to see his mother first, and asks her urgently whether she’s tucked away the documents his friend Jin-young delivered. He tells her to not give them to anybody until he comes back for them, but she looks at him blankly, not recognizing him.
Finally, it clicks for her and she greets him warmly, though she’s still locked in the past. He can’t help shedding tears as she exclaims, “I knew you’d become an important person!” It really lands when she cries, “I knew you’d be different from your father.” At that, she embraces him and he breaks down, like a lost little boy.
GUH, and here I thought I was all cried out. Who’d’ve thought I’d have any tears left for the dastardly villain? It doesn’t make him any more likable, but it’s strangely satisfying to see him emotionally vulnerable (not just jealous) on the way down. Unrepentant villains can be so one-dimensional.
After that, he’s led away by the police, and looks up at Mom through the window. The way he covers his handcuffs from view has an oddly heart-twisty effect. And then, when he’s interrogated by police, he denies that the informant at the company was In-jung. Looks like he’s taking the fall on his own. Well, it’s too late to earn him a get-out-of-jail-free pass, but at least it’s better to grow a sense of honor late than never.
Yi-kyung thinks over Yi-soo’s last request for her to live on happily, sighing, “I want to, but…” as though it’s just beyond her. Then she remembers Ji-hyun asking her to a similar thing — that, in moments of difficulty, she should think of Ji-hyun and live on.
That recollection takes Yi-kyung to the hospital, but she belatedly recalls Kang’s warning that Ji-hyun can’t remember her. She turns to leave, but Ji-hyun steps out of her room and sees her there.
And says, “Unni.”
Yi-kyung is surprised as Ji-hyun continues, “Yi-kyung unni, did you come to see me?” She steps forward and grabs Yi-kyung in a hug.
I KNEW IT! She remembers! Muahahaha, amnesia angst is for naught!
As they sit together, Yi-kyung asks, “You remember me, but not Han Kang?”
Yet Ji-hyun’s reaction says otherwise, and Yi-kyung notes it. She wonders why Ji-hyun would pretend not to remember him — to which Ji-hyun answers, “Because I’m going to die again soon.”
Ooh, way to make this interesting! We were all expecting her not to remember, and that development has been worked into the plot along the way, so it’s pretty clever of them to turn that expectation right on its head. As to WHY she’s dying again: My theory is that she can feel that something’s gone awry, and the presence of her memories is an ominous sign. Especially since the Scheduler has told her numerous times that it would disturb the balance of the whole life-afterlife divide for a living person to know the secrets of the Hereafter. Ergo, I must not be long for this world if I’m allowed to keep my knowledge of the secrets. The logic’s a little convoluted, but makes a certain sense.
Now the question is how they’re going to renege on that logic satisfactorily — once you bring it up, you can’t just wave your hand and go, “Oh well, she’s alive, never mind!” And there’s the culmination of the whole Kang/Ji-hyun romance to look forward to. Finally! I feel like I’ve been such a patient little girl, now won’t you please give me the payoff I’ve been so eagerly awaiting? This episode was pretty thin with the Kang/Ji-hyun storyline, which I might have minded more had not the Scheduler/Yi-kyung story been so satisfying. Now that that’s wrapped up, I’m antsy for the rest.
Speaking of which: Man, never has a doomed relationship engaged me or satisfied me as much as the Yi-soo/Yi-kyung one. There’s something inherently sad about splitting up a couple in love, but in so many dramas the focus is on getting them back together, either happily or tragically. Even in the tearjerkers, there’s often some mechanism indicating that they’re going to reunite in the afterlife, or maybe a future life. But we rarely see a couple still in love, post-death, having to move on. The problem was never “How do we reunite the lovers?” but “How do we help Yi-kyung return to the land of the living?” And also, how to get the Scheduler out of his limbo and on to whatever comes next.
I loved his goodbye speech to Yi-kyung, which was full of love at every turn but also realistic and wise and also very, very heartbreaking. I like that they pointed out that going together in death isn’t some romantic way to stay together forever, which is the message we often see in other narratives — but that death is death. It’s an end to what came before, and you have to cut your ties cleanly to be able to enter the next phase. So in that way it’s just as much for Yi-soo’s benefit as it is for Yi-kyung’s that they accept that they had a really good thing, and that he adored her, and that she still has lots of time ahead of her to find new love. Aw, tear. It’s just so goddamned sweet.
- Ratings report: 49 Days, Best Love, Romance Town
- 49 Days: Episode 18
- 49 Days: Episode 17
- 49 Days: Episode 16
- 49 Days: Episode 15
- 49 Days: Episode 14
- 49 Days: Episode 13
- Jo Hyun-jae sings for 49 Days
- 49 Days: Episode 12
- 49 Days: Episode 11
- 49 Days: Episode 10
- 49 Days: Episode 9
- 49 Days: Episode 8
- 49 Days: Episode 7
- Interview with 49 Days’ Scheduler Jung Il-woo
- 49 Days: Episode 6
- 49 Days: Episode 5
- Jung Il-woo sings for 49 Days
- 49 Days: Episode 4
- 49 Days: Episode 3
- 49 Days: Episode 2
- 49 Days: Episode 1