Drama Recaps
49 Days: Episode 20 (Final)
by | May 19, 2011 | 484 Comments

If I tried to explain this episode in a paragraph, I think I’d spill more tears, and frankly, I don’t know if I have any left. So here it is in a nutshell: It’s FUCKING PERFECT. Gah. Okay, fine, it’s maybe a hair shy of perfect, but damn if it isn’t the most satisfying ending I’ve seen in a long time. It solidifies the assumption that I started this drama with—that the best thing about this show would always be the writing, which elevates everything else, and brings all our characters full circle.

 
FINAL EPISODE RECAP

Yi-kyung asks if Ji-hyun really remembers her, and Kang, from her 49 days. She says she does, but then adds, “I’m going to die soon.” What the?

Lest we think it’s her assumption because her memories are intact, we flashback to earlier in the hospital, when the Scheduler appeared in front of Ji-hyun. She recognizes him and asks why he’s here, why she can see him, if she’s not dead…

As soon as the words come out of her mouth, it dawns on her that something is wrong. Why does she remember her 49 days? Why is he appearing to her?

And in his trademark blunt but sympathetic way, the Scheduler says, “This is your last cruel gift. You can refuse it if you like.” She asks, trembling, if this means she’s going to die.

He says that he received his last schedule for his remaining time, and the last person on that list… is her. Ooof. I knew his last schedule would come back to bite us in the ass, but this is too cruel.

He tells her that she is to die six days from now, and that this date of her death was determined as she was born. He says that because she experienced the 49 days and even earned her three tears, only to be met with this, the powers that be have given her the gift to remember her time on the other side, if she chooses.

It’s crushing to watch this, because it’s clearly even upsetting the Scheduler, to have to deliver such news. But he gets through it, and tells her that she can choose not to remember, in which case six days hence, he’ll appear to her as if for the first time ever.

He tells her to go ahead and get angry. She shouts through tears, “Get angry at whom?! No matter how unfair it is, no matter how much it tears up my insides, I know it won’t change a thing. No matter how much I beg.” Heartbreak.

He puts a hand on her shoulder as she cries, and tells her that it’s one thing human hands cannot control—life and death. Still, for the love of all that is hopeful, I can’t believe she went through all that just to die again. I mean, I know she’ll die eventually, but SIX frackin’ days? Show, I know you love your circular narratives, but this is just mean.

Back in the present, Yi-kyung asks who would deliver such cruel news to her, asking defensively for Ji-hyun, not realizing that Yi-soo’s been her afterlife guide all this time. Ji-hyun just says that such beings exist.

Yi-kyung says what we’re all feeling, that it’s so unfair for her to have go through all of that, just to end up having to die all over again. But Ji-hyun shows just how much she’s matured over her 49 days, and the new perspective that’s come with being on the other side:

Ji-hyun: If I hadn’t gone on my 49 days’ journey, my father’s company would be in Kang Min-ho’s hands, and I wouldn’t be in my right mind from the trauma of being betrayed by my fiancé and friend. It’s possible that my fate was to commit suicide from that shock. But because of my 49 days, I was able to receive love from someone like Kang-ie. I was able to love. I was able to guard my father’s company. And I was able to look back on the life I had lived. I’m grateful actually, because if I hadn’t known anything and died, I would’ve lived a fake life until death.

Yi-kyung asks why she’s pretending not to remember then. She says that she wants to show the people in her life that she lived happily, as the immature, naïve, sweet Ji-hyun. Aw. But then when she saw Yi-kyung, she couldn’t hide it from her.

She clasps her unni’s hands, and it’s so sweet how happy they are to see each other, and sit next to each other in their own bodies. That sounds weird out of context, but you know what I mean.

Yi-kyung reminds her that her family might not know anything, but Kang remembers all of the 49 days, and he asked her to tell him how she feels, and not to leave without a goodbye. Ji-hyun thinks it’s no use giving him more heartache, if she’s destined to die. She’s leaving; he’s staying, and knowing isn’t going to change that. In fact, it’ll make things harder.

Ji-hyun adds that she’s learned one thing from watching Yi-kyung, and it’s that the living need to go on living. She wants to leave as Kang’s friend, so that he can live his life once she’s gone. Oh man, I’m already welling up just thinking about how sad this is going to be.

Kang goes to see Min-ho in prison, and though he does admit to being satisfied that he blocked the Haemido takeover, he asks Min-ho to serve his time and repent, and someday return to the hyung that he once respected and liked.

Ji-hyun goes home and eats with her parents, putting on a cheery smile for them, but holding back tears. Watching them be so happy that she woke up is just making it even sadder, knowing that they’re going to suffer all over again.

See, this is the stuff that totally gets to me. It was the same with Yi-kyung / Yi-soo. Their happy moments put my heart through the wringer more than anything, because of the bittersweet end that I knew was coming. It’s the happiness before the fall. When she starts doing this with Kang, I’m gonna be a wreck.

Ji-hyun shows up the next morning to Yi-kyung’s house holding a picnic basket. On her way down those familiar stairs on her street, Ji-hyun takes a moment to put her hand on the rail as she walks down, as if she had been dying to put her hands out and feel the world that she couldn’t for so long.

Yi-kyung helps her make a kimbap lunch, and Ji-hyun takes her basket to see Kang. She tells him that she’s never once been on a picnic with a boyfriend, and asks to borrow his car, his mp3 player, and he asks what else she wants to borrow. Ji-hyun: “You.”

Aw. Proper swoon. He does a double take, but agrees to play her boyfriend for a day, as long as she agrees to play his girlfriend tomorrow. Hehe. It’s just like their I-know-you-know game from before. Except, I guess, Kang doesn’t actually know this time.

They have a picnic, being adorable together and play-fighting like little kids. While they’re fighting over who looks best in their pictures, Ji-hyun’s bracelet falls out of his pocket, and she pretends to be surprised, asking if he’s had it all this time.

Then she tells him that it’s actually his mother’s, and that they were close once. We flashback to her high school days, when she’d go see Kang’s mom from time to time, and eat food and chitchat with her about Kang.

Ji-hyun asked why Kang was so mean to Mom, and she had told her that it’s because there are things she didn’t tell him. Because when you love someone so much, sometimes it’s better to just have him misunderstand, so that you can spare him pain. They’re the same words that Ji-hyun had repeated to Kang, the day she had quit Heaven before her first tear.

As they walk along in the present, Kang realizes that back then, Ji-hyun had given his mother’s words back to him. He adds, quoting 49-days-Ji-hyun, that hiding your feelings is a lot harder than not knowing (as in, the person sparing the other’s pain has the harder time of it).

That stops her in her tracks, not only because they were her words, but because it’s true of her, right now.

He takes her to a wishing statue, and tells her to toss a coin and make a wish. She gives it a toss and then closes her eyes to make her wish, and Kang turns to her, his eyes giving away more sadness than he ought to be feeling…

…Which is when we flashback to yesterday, when Yi-kyung had come to see him. She tells him the truth, and that she wasn’t supposed to say anything, but she can’t stand watching Ji-hyun go through this alone.

She tells him that she understands Ji-hyun’s wishes, to go smiling rather than crying, and to give the people she loves less pain. AHA! So it totally IS their I-know-you-know-but-you-don’t-know game!

Kang finally looks up at her, tears brimming in his eyes. “The thing I hoped for the most was for Ji-hyun to live. Isn’t there something like that? It’s okay if I never get to see her again—she just has to live!”

Nooooo! Aaaaand, here start the tears. Oh god, I can’t handle this. I can pretty much take anyone else turning into a wreck, but Kang-ah? Waaaaaaaaah.

Back in the present, Kang closes his eyes and makes a wish: “That Ji-hyun lives and stays by my side.” And Ji-hyun makes her wish: “That Kang forgets me.” God, that’s just… so… heartbreakingly perfect. Gah.

They smile at each other adorably. After he drops her off, Kang says to himself that he did the right thing, over and over again. Aw, stiff-upper-lippy Kang is so cute. And so sad.

Back at the hospital, Ji-hyun sweetly tells each of her parents that she’s so happy to have been born as their child, and hugs them. They laugh and smile together, and then… she gets a sharp pain in her stomach, and doubles over, falling to the ground.

Dad calls out but her eyes start to close. Her soul gets up, while her body lies there, and then the Scheduler appears, all dressed up, and puts out his hand. No! Already?

She looks up at him and asks if he’s been waiting all this time. She tells him that they should go, and he stands her up. She looks back, and there’s Dad, holding her lifeless body, crying, trying to wake her up.

The Scheduler walks her to the elevator. Without a word, he puts out his hand for their final goodbye. She takes it and looks up at him, smiling in gratitude. He tells her that she worked hard, and with a wave of his hand, he opens the door.

She steps inside and looks out at him with a smile, and he smiles back at her. As the doors slowly close, they betray tears at their final parting.

The doors close, and then the elevator disappears, leaving the Scheduler alone.

Mom and Dad weep over Ji-hyun’s body, now covered with a white sheet. Kang comes running in, and cries.

In Jinan, In-jung gets a phone call, and collapses in tears. So does Min-ho, only now showing true regret as he cries.

They hold the funeral, and bury her ashes by planting a tree in her name. Oh, I love that. It’s so beautiful, and simple, and marks her death with new life.

In-jung watches everything from afar, crying but unable to go near, knowing all the wrong she’s done. Min-ho weeps in his jail cell, finally repenting for the person he’s become. Kang, Yi-kyung, and Seo-woo send her with full hearts and tears.

Back at home, Mom and Dad walk into Ji-hyun’s room, and are shocked to see it stripped of all her belongings, as if she had known she was dying, and prepared for it. That’s when Dad asks what Ji-hyun had whispered in Mom’s ear that last day at the hospital, and they realize that Ji-hyun just woke up for a short time, to say goodbye.

The Mom and Dad part is where I really start to lose it. I need a tissue break.

Kang lies around in his office, hearing Ji-hyun call out his name and jumping up to find no one there. He then remembers that she’d entrusted a box of stuff to him, and opens it up. He finds a letter addressed to him:

Ji-hyun: This is Song Yi-kyung. Please return these things to me… they’re important. I’m someone who needs a friend. It would be nice if someone like Han Kang would be a friend to someone like me, who has no one to lean on. Like he was to Shin Ji-hyun…

Oh my god. She’s sending him to her. It’s breaking my heart. It’s perfectly perfect, and yet… crushingly crushing. It’s her last gesture, to send him to her, to fulfill her wish that he live go on living his life. I didn’t even know I HAD this many tears.

He returns the box to Yi-kyung, whose eyes open wide when she sees a key inside, which had been Yi-soo’s locker key, in his music studio. They go to the abandoned studio and she opens up his locker.

Inside, she finds a stack of his old music notebooks, and in the back, she notices something familiar. It’s a little child’s backpack, and she tells Kang that it was hers, from when she was first abandoned at the orphanage. They were supposed to have gotten rid of those things, but Yi-soo must’ve kept it all this time.

She looks inside and finds her little pink shoe, and then a bank book. We flashback to the day they had run into Ji-hyun and Kang and gotten the pink rose, when Yi-soo took her to the bank later that day.

He asks for her student ID card, lying that he doesn’t have his on him, and that he needs it for something. While she waits, he opens an account in her name.

The even cuter part is that every time he makes a new deposit, he adds a line in the description, and over time the whole thing reads like a letter, or rather more like song lyrics, line by line, with each deposit. It’s maybe the sweetest thing ever.

She reads it now, in the present, with tears:

Yi-soo: Yi-kyung-ah, it’s Yi-soo
The thing I promised
The February Pension
To give it to you
I made an account
In the future little by little
Our dream
Will be built
Even if we encounter hardship
If we are together
We can conquer it
This is a secret, but
Truthfully, Song Yi-kyung is
Song Yi-soo’s guardian
Because you’ve given
Me a reason to live
In all the world
Someone who needs me
You are the only one

She clutches it to her heart and cries, and we see that Yi-soo is there watching her, crying too.

Kang goes to visit Ji-hyun’s parents, and finds them arguing over old photos, as Mom clutches to her memories and Dad argues that she has to move on. Dad leaves the room in a huff, and Kang sits down next to Mom. He picks up one of the photos, but doesn’t recognize it as Ji-hyun. He asks who it is.

Mom: “It’s Ji-hyun’s unni, Ji-min.”

DUN DUN. Man, I knew they hinted at this possible thread and left the door open, but I actually didn’t think that they’d go there. I… honestly don’t love this story thread, only because there was plenty of connection and resolution without this. It seems unnecessary to me. Anyway, here we go…

Mom tells him that Ji-hyun had an unni, and that she’d lost her one day at the bus station. A lady had kidnapped her, and called to ask for ransom twice, but each time they went, no one was there. Finally the calls stopped coming. Ji-hyun was traumatized at first, but was too young to remember it as she grew up.

Kang looks at the picture of Ji-min and immediately recognizes the little girl’s shoes (not just randomly, but because Mom’s story included the bit about the girls wanting the same shoes). They’re exactly the ones Yi-kyung took out of her backpack, from Yi-soo’s locker.

They go to see Yi-kyung, and Mom asks to see the shoes. Yi-kyung denies that it could be her. She firmly remembers being abandoned by her mother. But Mom asks just to see. She adds that Ji-min liked stars, so that’s how she had differentiated the girls’ shoes.

Yi-kyung cautiously hands her the backpack, and Mom’s eyes immediately well up at the sight of it. She instantly recognizes the star Ji-min drew on it, and then takes out the shoe. She looks up at Yi-kyung and cries, “You were alive. Our Ji-min-ie was alive.”

Aw, despite the fact that I dislike how quickly this thread is being wrapped up and forced on us, it’s still tear-inducing. We see that Yi-soo is there, watching the scene unfold, and it shocks him. This is a twist he was not expecting.

But then this leaves a big gaping hole in the plot… Flashback to the Scheduler, explaining that the three tears exclude blood relations. Then on Ji-hyun’s final walk to the elevator, she asks him who her final two tears were from.

She guesses Seo-woo and Yi-kyung, but he tells her that Yi-kyung wasn’t one of them. Then flash back? Forward? Gah, who the hell knows anymore – to In-jung when she had come to try and kill Ji-hyun.

She reaches her hand toward Ji-hyun’s respirator, and in spirit form, Ji-hyun screams for In-jung to stop. I don’t know if she hears it, but something makes her stop and turn around, and she’s met with her own reflection in the glass behind her.

It’s enough to knock her back to her senses, and she cries, as she says, “What am I doing? What am I doing to you?” We see that this is when she began to regret what she had become. She confesses that this wasn’t because of Ji-hyun, but herself, and then she gets on her knees, and says that she was wrong.

She gets up to touch Ji-hyun’s face, and that’s when Kang had found her, thinking the worst. She tries to get Min-ho to stop, calling him out on his own feelings for Ji-hyun, and the fact that he pushed everything back when Ji-hyun’s dad needed surgery.

She knows that he can’t admit it, but he’s grown attached to them, and feels sorry. But he refuses to acknowledge it, and says he can’t stop it now. He’ll drag it out till the end. So In-jung goes to his mother, and asks for the file that he entrusted to her.

At first she refuses to give it up, but In-jung pleads with her that Min-ho is becoming worse than his own father. And to save him from himself, she sends the file to the prosecutor.

Outside the hospital, In-jung says to Ji-hyun that she wishes she could turn back the clock, to when they would just look at each other and laugh. And she sheds a tear. It was Ji-hyun’s third and final one, that brought her back.

Back to Ji-hyun pre-elevator-ride, the Scheduler tells her that her final tear was from In-jung. Ji-hyun looks surprised, but then instantly she lights up with a smile. “That girl. I knew it was sincere.” Wow, even after everything she’s seen, she’s so genuinely happy and trusting, that her friend really loved her. It’s amazingly pure of heart and completely without bitterness.

She turns to start her walk to the elevator, satisfied. The Scheduler looks on with a smile, and then follows her down the hall.

Alone, Yi-kyung clutches her backpack and cries, calling out Ji-hyun’s name, regretting all the things she wasn’t able to do for her, not knowing that they were sisters. Yi-soo watches her, and then realizes now the full weight of his sunbae’s words.

Flash-(listen, if you think I’m gonna keep this timetable straight, you’re sorely mistaken) to when granny sunbae told the Scheduler that he could meet Yi-kyung. She asks if his wish is still the same, to give her the rings and tell her that he loves her.

He scoffs that she assumes he’s still a child, and she laughs, kind of impressed that he’s not just a lovesick puppy anymore. And then he catches on, realizing that she gave him his memory back early on purpose, so that he’d change his wish and not waste it on something that doesn’t help the living.

She calls him smart for catching on, and then he surmises that she also broke the barrier between Yi-kyung and Ji-hyun for a reason. She doesn’t divulge what it is, but does muse that they might be connected well into the next life as well.

Then in the present, Yi-soo turns to Yi-kyung, to say his final goodbye. Gah, I HAVE GIVEN YOU TOO MANY TEARS. Stop taking more!

Yi-soo: Now I can leave with my heart at ease. Live happily, for Ji-hyun’s life too.

He reaches out to touch her face, but knows that he can’t anymore. He draws back and looks at her one last time. He smiles, and as a tear falls, he disappears.

He takes his final walk through the garden, dressed in his reaper finest, and vanishes, having completed his work.

In the coming days, Yi-kyung begins to finally live her life, eating rice instead of ramen, and looking for a new job.

Han Kang goes to… Han Kang (the river) and says his final goodbye to Ji-hyun:

Kang: Ji-hyun-ah, now I understand why you wanted to leave without a word. Though you were lonely, you’ve allowed those of us you’ve left behind to be encouraged by you. I’ll trust your words, that your 49 days were a blessing. Because they’ve returned many things to their rightful place. Be happy somewhere, Ji-hyun-ah.

Two years later.

In-jung is in Jinan, and she flashes back (wait, did we just flash forward in order to flash back? Is this drama trying to kill ME on its way out?) to when the girls were in high school.

She smiles as she thinks of Ji-hyun, and then goes to see Min-ho in prison. It’s been two years since they’ve seen each other, and she tells him that she’s moved his mother down to a hospital in Jinan.

He tells her to stop coming here, and to forget him and go her way. She tells him that she’ll continue to take care of his mother for three more years—the rest of his time in jail. She says it’s her fault that all this happened, but he makes it clear that he was the one who made the decisions and acted. She tells him that she’s living her life, and that he’ll see—someday he’ll be able to forgive himself too. He finally says that he’s sorry.

Kang is… wait, is he… WORKING? Oh my god, the man DOES have a job! It’s a miracle! He oversees a construction site for a building he’s designed.

Yi-kyung is working at Heaven, though today is her last day. Manager Oh and his wife have a baby on the way, and Seo-woo is happily dating Ki-joon.

In comes Dr. Noh. NOOOOOO! Not the doctor! No Dr. Noh!

But then, here comes Kang-ah. Oh, thank god. KANG-AAAAAAAH!

Phew. Seriously, I nearly had a fit at the reappearance of Dr. Creepy. Thankfully they hint at his being paired off to her waitress friend.

Yi-kyung confirms her plans with Kang for tomorrow, and heads to dinner with her parents. She’s heading to Haemido to work at the new resort, which is of course what Kang is designing and building.

Though the whole losing a daughter / finding a daughter thing isn’t my favorite, it IS really satisfying to see Yi-kyung with a family, and not off on her own anymore. Mom and Dad are as cute as ever, now doting on Yi-kyung, as they talk about Ji-hyun fondly. Aw.

On their last day before going down to Haemido, Yi-kyung and Kang go to pay their respects to Ji-hyun and Yi-soo, whom they’ve buried side by side with identical trees. Aw, it’s kind of killing me how poetic it is, to bury them next to each other, as they were each other’s friend and guide in the afterlife.

Kang and Yi-kyung put a bouquet of pink roses by each tree, and stand next to each other, the two in this life mirroring the two in the afterlife. In voiceover, we hear their thoughts:

Yi-kyung: Ji-hyun-ah, Han Kang is busy working, and as you requested, he’s been a really good friend to me. Because of your bright personality and your connection to others while you were with me, I was able to adjust well.
Kang: Ji-hyun-ah, though people know they’re going to die, they live as if they aren’t. Because of your 49 days, I’m living my life as if it’s 49 days. Because I saw things change that never would have happened, if you hadn’t known when you’d die. Here lie the two most important people in our lives.
Yi-kyung: Here are the two people who changed our lives and left beautifully.
Kang: Because of the 49 days’ journey that we were on with these two
Yi-kyung: We live today as if it’s precious, and our last.
Kang: Ji-hyun, because I met you
Yi-kyung: Yi-soo, because I met you
Kang: I was happy.
Yi-kyung: I was happy.

THE END

 
GIRLFRIDAY’S COMMENTS

Wow, I don’t know if I’ve ever been so satisfied with a drama ending as I am with this one. Maybe Return of Iljimae, which also has this circular, contemplative tone and structure. I was fidgety about the sister thing (still am, only because it’s unnecessary, not because it doesn’t fit) but I see why it’s part and parcel of the whole resolution. I still contend that there is enough mirroring in Yi-kyung living for Ji-hyun that their blood relation isn’t needed, but I will yield that it’s very satisfying to see Yi-kyung with a family. That alone is worth the deus ex machina plot twisting that had to occur in the last episode, when all I really wanted was the death and epilogue. Thankfully, most of the episode was just that, so I got what I wanted, full-throttle.

Truthfully, until the end of Episode 19, I wasn’t expecting Ji-hyun to die. It was something I was expecting earlier on, but then the drama did a number on me, focusing all our expectations towards what would happen when she woke up, by bringing her back so early. I was so engaged with how Kang would bring her memory back that it hit me like a ton of bricks when her death watch was reset.

And though I wasn’t anticipating it, this is exactly the ending I wanted, and even better than the one I was expecting. I thought we’d get this ending for Yi-kyung, while Kang and Ji-hyun went on to be happy in this life. But the parallel send-off actually makes Ji-hyun and Yi-soo’s lives much more poignant, in what they each leave behind in their deaths. It also fits the parallel life / afterlife mirroring better.

Throughout this drama, we’ve had the motif of mirrors and circles, both as a visual motif and figuratively as a theme, in characters facing each other across the divide and living parallel lives. It’s a theme that is rendered so poignantly, because it’s a simple one: that life is circular; that life ends in death, but death brings new life; that the way you live this life affects the life you live after it.

Yi-kyung begins the story wanting death, and ends choosing life. Ji-hyun got to live the happy, secure existence that Yi-kyung so cruelly had stripped from her; and then it gets returned to her, in Ji-hyun’s death. Yi-soo guides Ji-hyun as her friend in the afterlife, and Kang guides Yi-kyung as her friend in this life. Yi-kyung’s struggle to hold onto Yi-soo’s memory is what informs Ji-hyun to leave Kang without that tether, and her choice to do so is what helps Yi-kyung move on from her pain.

In the end, Ji-hyun makes it so that Yi-kyung can live, while at the same time, Yi-kyung helps Ji-hyun to move on in the afterlife without regret or remorse. It’s the idea that regardless of the moniker “life” or “death,” that each is a road and a journey, and that you can’t go from one to the other without letting go.

There must be death to make new life, and it’s the same in love. You let go of your last love, in order to love again. The last scene sets up Kang and Yi-kyung not necessarily to be lovers, but in the position to be able to love again, which is what’s important, and what Ji-hyun and Yi-soo made possible in the way they left the ones they loved.

 
JAVABEANS’ COMMENTS

Hm, Imma have to deviate and express some dissatisfaction. I’m of two minds of the finale. I admit to not having expected that the drama would actually go as far as to let Ji-hyun die, not because it didn’t make narrative sense — it did, as girlfriday points out — but because it wasn’t the way the show was positioning itself. The dramatic trajectory didn’t suggest it, even if the seeds were planted (a little clumsily in some cases) well in advance. Examples: Ji-hyun’s mother crying in an early episode about how she can’t lose “my one remaining child” or the hint that the Scheduler’s last assignment was a shock to him.

I do think there’s a difference between dropping a few hints and paying off a storyline satisfactorily. The drama did the former; I don’t think it did the latter. Introducing, and then completely resolving, the mystery of Yi-kyung’s birth in the finale feels like cheating, frankly. Being mysterious successfully requires more than sheer withholding of crucial information.

For instance, In-jung being the third tear is an example of a successfully paid off storyline — because it was properly set up. We saw plenty of hints that In-jung still loved Ji-hyun, that she felt remorse, and that she could be the tear, so the twist works. Not so much the birth secret. Yi-kyung happens to get her old locker contents back, happens to find Yi-soo’s old stuff, happens to discover that he kept her childhood belongings, and Kang happens to be there so he can days later recognize that backpack in old photos at the Shin household? Yeah, I’m calling that one out, drama. What this show has done pretty well so far is keeping coincidence OUT of the equation, so to provide such a huge puzzle piece through a whole series of them is kinda lazy.

In a lot of cases, I think I’d be taking girlfriday’s line and expressing satisfaction for the symbolic, metaphoric, narrative completeness of this kind of ending. Heck, I’m someone who felt perfectly satisfied by the infamous Hong Gil Dong ending, and appreciated that the writers went for a meaningful wrap-up on a deeper level. It’s just that this kind of ending wasn’t paced properly into the story — not like the Yi-kyung/Yi-soo storyline, which I think was beautifully done. I’m now recalling the pitch-perfect ending of Flowers For My Life, which accomplished what I think 49 Days was aiming for, but in a more skillful, emotionally satisfying way.

Furthermore, I do think that effect is as important as intent, and if a large portion of your (hitherto avid) viewership has to convince itself that the ending works, then it doesn’t wholly work, does it? And I don’t mean we need to bow to fanservice, because cheap fanservice that gives us the easy resolution independent of story logic is, well, cheap. 49 Days never positioned itself as a comedy, or a light-hearted drama, so I don’t think you can accuse it of hoodwinking the audience with a slightly bittersweet ending. But I don’t blame some people for feeling bait-n-switched, because you can’t spend 19 episodes hyping up one soul’s struggle to survive, and then…just…NOT.

Having written all that, maybe I’m not so two-minded about the finale after all. I’m not bitter or upset, because I agree with all that girlfriday points out so incisively above. This is a case where I’m bumping on execution, despite being happy with the dramatic intent. On a gut level, it just didn’t hit that spot for me. I leave feeling dissatisfied, and as we know, with dramas, often the heartspeak is stronger than the headspeak.

 
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484 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. yingz

    Heaven knows how many F5′s i’ve pressed in the last hour for this!

    Many thanks to Javabeans and GirlFriday for doing such an awesome job!!!

     (0)


    • 1.1 danna

      yo me too..i’ve been refreshing like every two minutes

       (0)


      • 1.1.1 nadia

        ME TOO. I’m not gonna lie, I kept thinking: WHYYY NO RECAP??! I think I wanted to kill that Best Love recap photo. Not one of my best moments.

         (1)


        • 1.1.1.1 katiamon

          this is one of the best shows ever!!!!!!!!!!! sad but great ending. i’ll miss my week dosis of kang-ah :(

           (0)


        • 1.1.1.2 jellybeans

          LOL “kill that Best Love recap photo”

          God, this ending was definitely nowhere near perfect in my opinion. Agreed with Javabeans that you can’t spend 19 episodes hyping up one soul’s struggle to survive, and then just NOT. Wth ):

          In any case, thanks guys for this wonderful recap, gave me some closure in my post-drama dissatisfaction ><

           (0)


    • 1.2 Lenita

      Wow, what a roller coaster ride! This is such a satisfying story, very emotional, as good dramas should be. Thanks for getting us through it the richer for it. Love ya guys!

       (0)


  2. NN

    It’s here, tks!

     (0)


  3. zeTgi

    waa~~~~ i cry for this final episod! TT3TT

     (0)


  4. lalala

    WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH it’s over.

     (0)


  5. Peppy

    YAY!! thankyouu =) sad to say bye to kang-ahh!!!

     (0)


    • 5.1 minzy

      I can’t really promise that this is the last Kang ah I’ll ever say just the last Kang ah in the drama air time T-T

      KANG AHHHHHHHH!!!!

      …….. Damit I hate when dramas end I cry for hours >_<

       (3)


      • 5.1.1 KANG AHHHHHHHH I MISS YOU ALREADY!!!

        KANG AHHHHHHHH, sob sob sob

         (0)


  6. cille

    i love the bittersweet ending!!!

    thank you gf & jb for recapping such a wonderfully written drama!

    i will miss how this drama moved me at every episode and the message of “live each day to the fullest”.

     (0)


  7. Barbara

    I called the tears from In Jung, just saying.

     (0)


    • 7.1 Rina

      I didn’t really suspect it was In-jung, although I hoped it was since I really wanted her character to repent & feel guilty for doing this to her friend, one who naively thought In-jung felt the same way she did towards her. So realizing that the 3rd tear was In-jung truthfully crying for Ji-hyun was made her seem more real than a 2D villain who remains set in her ways till the end.
      Same goes with Min-ho, for all the craziness towards the end, he was able to acknowledge he was wrong and feel guilt towards what he did to Ji-hyun and her family.

       (0)


  8. Sarah A.

    Ahhhh! I just read the paragraph before the actual recap, and I really can’t wait to see this episode, especially after last episode’s cliffhanger.

     (0)


  9. grace

    “IT’S FUCKING PERFECT”
    word.

     (0)


    • 9.1 ilikehim

      This drama’s writing is superb and well done.
      It hit us really hard emotionally.
      But quite frankly, I dont think many of us will be rewatching it. While, it was enjoyable while it lasted, it’s not the type you go revisit…

       (0)


      • 9.1.1 sb

        I know… I definitely can’t expend the same amount of tears a second time around…

         (0)


        • 9.1.1.1 grace

          oh man…i ditto that..i think i’ll re-watch it again in another tough season in my life..when i want tears to flow.

          i love how there was no kiss scene. i know that sounds so anti-girly but…i always imagine a love that doesn’t necessitate kisses and skinship to prove that two are in love and love each other. isn’t that real love? love that’s found in trust and honesty? i think 49 days really delivered beyond what normal kdramas depict as love and as life which impressed me, moved me, and literally killed me….

          49 days..i miss you already..

           (1)


          • 9.1.1.1.1 cecee

            YS and YK did happen to kiss twice in this drama! First one was in the picnic flashback and the other one was a REAL kiss when YS left YK on their date. At least there were one couple that got to KISS. I love their storyline the most.

             (0)


        • 9.1.1.2 grace

          oh man…i ditto that..i think i’ll re-watch it again in another tough season in my life..when i want tears to flow.

          i love how there was no kiss scene. i know that sounds so anti-girly but…i always imagine a love that doesn’t necessitate kisses and skinship to prove that two are in love and love each other. isn’t that real love? love that’s found in trust and honesty? i think 49 days really delivered beyond what normal kdramas depict as love and as life which impressed me, moved me, and literally killed me….

          49 days..i miss you already..

           (1)


          • 9.1.1.2.1 anabelle

            d’accord! i must have this drama! c’est super!

             (0)


      • 9.1.2 hu

        Definitely NOT watching this drama again after knowing ending. i know this drama was great but ENDING SUCKS!

         (0)


        • 9.1.2.1 Chocobo

          Look at it this way, ladies…. the writer could have been way more cruel to make her/his point to appreciate life while you have it. The surprise “last job” of the Scheduler could have been Han Kang!

          I’m not sure how satisfied I would have been if Ji-hyun had lived happily ever after. That’s a pretty fluffy ending to a story that has been fairly macabre. It has it’s moments of comedy but the tone is consistently gray.

          I think I would have been a bit more satisfied if she had woken up and had her time with Han Kang. I understand her reluctance to do anything because she knows she’s doomed, and it would end up hurting Kang, but at the same time I feel that even those few days together romantically would have resolved their relationship. Since he knew that she would be leaving again, I feel as though he wouldn’t have ended up like Yi-kyung even if they had let themselves become involved in the very short period that he has. Even his last thoughts to her are “I hope she will stay by my side”, so clearly he felt that way anyway. Isn’t it better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all?

          My personal rewritten ending would be that the Scheduler tells her she doesn’t have “much” time left, that she will die again soon, but doesn’t tell her how much that is. She and Kang appreciate what they have in the meantime, and we never actually see her die. It just ends like that — knowing she will die, but the two of them go forward appreciating the life that they have while it’s there. No epilogue. But then, as a Westerner, I am projecting my sense of values onto a Korean story line. There is beauty in restraint as well.

           (0)


          • 9.1.2.1.1 hajroutta

            I totally love your version ^_^ I wish the writer chose it rather than making me cry liters of tears ! But I have to say that I loved the fact that SONG was her real Unni ^^

             (0)


          • 9.1.2.1.2 Jessika

            I totally agree with everything you wrote here. Very well said.

             (0)


        • 9.1.2.2 ms1010

          Agree, the ending was disappointing. Something was missing. There was no vindication for all the hard work that Kang Ah and Ji Hyun did. For all it is worth, this was a love story; but in the end there was no love. The ending was cliche and did not fit the original drama. Episode 19 was also disappointing since they made the Scheduler come back to life; that was stretching it. He should have probably come back in a dream and deliver the message about moving on to her. I liked this drama but the last two episode despite having really good acting did not fit with the rest of the drama. Ending not worthy.

           (0)


          • 9.1.2.2.1 ms1010

            I think this ending should have been about Kang Ah and Yi Kyung leaving go; but I feel they were still holding on to the past.

            I think they should not have made Yi Kyung the sister and devoted some time to Kang Ah and Yi Kyung helping each other overcome their lost and moving forward with their lives.

            Also, I was expecting something else for the Scheduler; his storyline seemed to be missing something.

            The last episode fell flat after Ji Hyun death; it seems like they didn’t know what to do after that and came up with a quick mediocre story line.

            Oh; and the kiss I think Ji Hyun and Kang Ah should have at least hugged. They knew it was probably there last time together; at least a hug was ensued.

            Great drama, but I wish the ending could have been different. The last two episode were lacking.

             (0)


      • 9.1.3 Suzy

        Same here… While it was a fantastic well-written drama, I don’t think I could cope emotionally :P

        But while the ending was beautiful, it still left me wanting something more, something…well…better. I felt uneasy and unsatisfied. When I watch a drama, I watch it because I want a dose of fantasy, not reality. There’s already plenty of reality in real life.

         (0)


        • 9.1.3.1 aha

          well thats escapism for you.

          but Im with you in this. real life is as much reality as I can handle

           (0)


      • 9.1.4 riin

        oh, I agree with the part that it is not a drama that I want to watch again (if not for Jung Il Woo that is).

        I love the story though, love the ending, I was hoping Ji Hyun will die, because.. it kind of felt right for this show. I really was not convinced by the part where everybody was trying so hard for her to be able to live again. she was there to help unni live again. I feel like this was a story about Ji Kyung rather than Ji Hyun..in the sense that it emphasized how important living your life is. and maybe it’s because I liked Ji Hyun better when she was Song Ji Hyun?

        As I mentioned.. the story was better than the (main) characters.. they didn’t work for me somehow. It lacked some feeling and felt a little rational maybe?

        However, I kept feeling annoyed by the fact that they gave so many hints to what will be happening (I guessed it right away that it was the Scheduler who had died on the freeway.. and the schedule part that Javabeans also mentioned..)
        that mentioned, I really really love what the drama did with the concept :) (the whole daughter thing aside, that’s just overdoing it, really).

        one more thing.. did they make Jung Il Woo wait in the cold all the time or what?? his hands looked like they were frozen most of the time which freaked me out. give him some mittens, please!

         (0)


        • 9.1.4.1 Sunny

          I so agree! I don’t think I want to rewatch this drama, if not for the cast [:

          Oh! I just noticed that you commented on this recap rather late, like me. I just finished it an hour ago!

          Aren’t we very observant? I saw that his hands were always red (redDER than the other cast) and the area around his eyes and his lips were always pink/reddish. When did they film this drama anyways? Wasn’t it filmed near the time that it was aired? March/Aprilish?? It can’t still be THAT cold in Korea…

          There were also many discontinuations in this drama. Usually I’m so ignorant of those, but in 49 Days, they blindingly popped out at me and I kept on going back to watch it over and over again; some that I remember from the last episode alone:
          1. the chocopie(?) that In Jung shares with Seo Woo and Ji Hyun – the direction in which the chocopie was split and shoved into each others’ mouth don’t match up
          2. right after the 2 years later notice, when In Jung is walking down the path – the big huge pots of flowers are first to the right of her (from the audience’s view) and then switches up to being to the left of her, which doesn’t make sense since right before the scene switch, she looks at her watch while the flower pots are to the right, and then she’s still looking at her watch when the pots are to the left of her… she clearly wouldn’t and couldn’t have crossed the parkway like that and be in the same position??
          3. at the last scene right after Yi Kyung is standing by Yi Soo’s grave and Kang follows her – he’s seen as stopping at least 5 feet away from Yi Kyung, but in the next cut, he’s right next to her…

          and so on. Enough ranting about my dissatisfaction. I still thoroughly enjoyed this drama and I thank the recappers at dramabeans for their hard work. I enjoyed reading your commentary for each episode and I appreciated how you interpreted the meanings of what was said. The subbed version that I watched had so many errors regarding translation. Although I’m Korean, I still watch dramas with subs since I don’t know much advanced vocabulary that appear in drama from time to time (especially Iris… that drama killed me since my eyes were glued to the subs the whole time I feel like, with all the technical terms that the secret service use -_-) but the subber, while doing a good job overall and helping me sometimes, interpreted Kang’s house as Afghanistan leaders… Thank goodness I understood what was REALLY being said or I would have been like WTH that I’m assuming other viewers were thinking.

          Anyways, I love this drama and since I finished it way too fast (in a little more than three days), I’m still overwhelmed and I shall now listen to the OST and reminisce [:

           (0)


    • 9.2 Qwenli

      I cant believe that both javabeans and girlfriday actually like this ending. I have been to both the chinese and soompi forums and I can say that more than 50% hated the ending that JH died and none of the couples got together.

      I am not quite convinced that it is a culture thing. What is it with Koreans about melodrama. does a drama’s success depends on how much tears it can generate?

      Having watch taiwanese, hongkong and china dramas, I must say despite the similarities between Koreans and Chinese, there is something in between the two cultures that are just so different.

       (0)


      • 9.2.1 Qwenli

        I correct myself. Javabeans said she was dissatisfied too. Yep I agree with what Javabeans said, thats why I read this blog!!

         (0)


        • 9.2.1.1 creepykreme

          i think jb wasn’t dissatisfied in that way (?)

          people always want fairy tale ending from the drama.i do,too.but, it doesn’t matter,sad or happy the ending be,as long as the message delivered succesfully.which 49days did that great.just my opinion :D

           (0)


  10. 10 Ambie

    .Maybe this is my problem with it. Don’t add a big ass dose of “reality” in a fantasy melodrama… you (writer person) take me (viewer) on a journey where impossible things are possible…. then you dont deliver on the impossible.. maybe my brain is too american/western to accept that ending.. especially when there were viable and easy to explain ways to make the impossible work.. Example: have the evil duo leave town and crash get into accident, as they die then have the 2 spirits (Scheduler and J) inhabit those bodies.. Look now we have given Scheduler a mom ( even if she crazy) and a second chance at love with his sweetheart. To J we give her Kang, the man she loves and her a chance to have her big sister she lost back in her life). To explain that new arrangements, have the ending being that those 4 have to keep it (the 49 days and body switching) a secret until they pass on to the next world and show them carp dieming the @#%$ out of life. /end of show And that why for all it kookiness I LUB LUB LUB SG… in the end the fan service was what it need. I needed to know that all the crazy GUANO that I sat through fertilized a beautiful.. but not super perfect ending… Worst of it is that unlike SG the writing was soo amazing that it would have been a great fit…. I needed another SG ending.. and it didnt deliver…

     (0)


    • 10.1 Ambie

      With that (my rant) said, it isn’t that I disliked 49. I actually loved it up till 19.. but for me… that last episode.. I can’t… honestly.. I can’t. I can understand the symbolism and what not but Like JavaBeans said ” I leave feeling dissatisfied, and as we know, with dramas, often the heartspeak is stronger than the headspeak.”

       (0)


      • 10.1.1 Consia

        I agree with Ambie,
        The viewers watched 49 Days for the ‘fantasy’ theme all of a sudden the writer brings in reality and changes the whole theme.
        It would have been better if the drama just ended in ep 18 with Ji Hyun opening her eyes or even ep 19 with Ji Hyun saying “I’m going to die again”. This would have ended the drama with a cliff hanger.
        I hate how the writer focused more on the minor characters than the main ones in the ending. I mean, everything revolved around Ji Hyun and it was all about her and Han Kang.
        I think they made JiHyun and Scheduler ‘die for good’ and made other characters live because those actors and actresses have more influence in the entertainment industry. So the companies probably paid the writer to add more scenes for the them. Whereas, Ji Hyun and Scheduler are just newbies who are not supported so much by their company.

        Grr, this is boiling up my anger. I should stop thinking about it ;@
        Well, at least I enjoyed watching ep 1~ep 18/19 :)

         (0)


    • 10.2 Any

      Agreed! this drama was way better than Secret Garden until this episode. it deserves better ending than this. i feel cheated after watching. i didnt mind twists and turns in last episode but dramas with fanserving last episode are better.

       (0)


      • 10.2.1 Rina

        I agree with the comment about Secret Garden, even the epilogue had me scratching my head and thinking “what?”.

         (0)


    • 10.3 cpw

      ditto…

       (0)


    • 10.4 Bori

      THIS. THIS. THIS.
      Agree with EVERYTHING you said.

       (0)


  11. 11 Alexio

    It’s been a great journey and I’m glad I followed it through. This drama has it all, cuteness, sweetness, sadness, angst..and also kang-ah. This drama reminds me of “Flower for my life” definitely meaningful. Happy Friday, everyone!

     (0)


  12. 12 Kate

    i love this show from start to end…thanks*.*

     (0)


  13. 13 Asama

    i cant believe this is the end.

     (0)


  14. 14 olivia

    i’ve been refreshing this page every 5 mins for the past hour….thank you JB & GF….this was awesome

     (0)


  15. 15 NN

    I wish Kang n YK some how got together in the end but can’t say i’m dissatisfied w drama. It’s one of e most interesting shows i’ve seen. Now on to pantyman :)

     (0)


  16. 16 holly

    Been refreshing for a while waiting for this…

     (0)


    • 16.1 holly

      Just read recap and I really want to watch it… Don’t like the YK sister thing – it feels a bit like they just wanted to pull the rug from under you again and didn’t think about plausibility. But I still loved the ending, don’t mind that they killed JH as it shows writers bravery – too many films/dramas go for the happy ending. I love 49 days and am going to miss it.

       (0)


  17. 17 abc

    I got so teary during this episode. It was so bittersweet how this ended.

    I liked how the writer didn’t flinch and let Jihyun die, but the Yikyung-sister relationship was a bit of a stretch. but really, SO PERFECT!

     (0)


  18. 18 Leina

    49 Days, I think, is the most thought-provoking, emotionally satisfying and gut-wrenching kdrama I have watched, and I thank you, JB and GF, for introducing me to this wonderful piece of art that has taught me so much about life, and love.

    I may be wrong in thinking that I’m in the minority of 49 Days followers who LOVED the ending, but I truly, truly did. I bow to the greatness that is writer So Hyun Kyung, for sticking to her guns and telling her story despite the fact that it meant JH’s death in the end – the JH we have come to love and cheer for, and that it also meant so much pain for our hero HK.

    People make a valid query – what is the point of giving JH 49 days to collect 3 pure tears when she will die anyway? To this I say – A LOT. I think of it this way – JH was always meant to die around the time of the accident. That was the hidden premise and set-up for writer-nim’s exposition of this drama. If we see it this way, then we understand that YK’s suicide attempt in episode 1, JH’s accident, the 49 days that followed where she raced against time to save her dad’s company and uncover horrible truths about the people she held nearest and dearest to her heart – were actually a BLESSING. Without those 49 days, she would have married Min Ho, then died sometime after, all that time living a relatively blissful, albeit shallow and naïve existence, and she wouldn’t have been able to resurrect the Shin business from the clutches of IJ/MH’s treachery. She also wouldn’t have been able to discover HK’s golden heart, and the pureness of their love for each other, because let’s face it, as utterly adorable HK may be, he is a bit immature and woefully unexpressive when it comes to how he really feels for JH. Those 49 days gave her the added blessing of touching YK’s life, reviving the walking zombie and prodding her back into the land of the living. And so after the 49 days were over, we have JH who has grown by leaps and bounds as a person, and who was given the chance to set everything right before finally departing this world. She has become a kickass heroine deserving of all the love that HK still feels for her to this day.

    I am also so happy that writer-nim did not give us the alternative HK-YK pairing in the end. The tie that bound these two was always JH, and it was really, really gratifying that they ended up only as good friends. I think this is also an important element of the drama. Writer-nim is conveying the sometimes forgotten truth, that we are whole by ourselves, and that we do not need a romantic mate to truly live. YK and HK may be single, with no looming romantic prospects for either of them, but they are picking up the pieces after sustaining a big loss, and they are looking forward to the future knowing that their shared history has earned them a lifelong friendship with each other.

    I would say the only thing that I could have lived without is the big reveal that YK is the Shins’ long-lost daughter. But given the little hints that writer-nim had given in the earlier episodes, I do not think this to be a travesty that mars the awesomeness of the storyline.

    Throughout this 20-episode journey, I have come to care so much about the characters and even think of them as real sometimes. I initially watched this drama because of my love JIW, and he again brilliantly showcased his acting skills here, but I also discovered LYW, JHJ, BSB and all the other members of the cast, NGR included, who told the story as it should be told with their heartfelt acting.

    I am now in the office, but my first priority when I go home tonight is to hug my mom and tell her I love her. Because really, we never know when it is our time to leave this earth. And ultimately, 49 days tells us not to take a single moment for granted, and live our lives to the fullest, so that we leave with no regrets. Thank you, Show, for being phenomenal. May you reap many, many awards for all your efforts. I am so grateful that you came along and touched my heart.

     (1)


    • 18.1 grace

      i so so so agree with EVERYTHING thank you JB and GF for all your hard work and effort.

       (0)


    • 18.2 So3

      You’ve spoken what I wanted to say. The ending is just perfect except the long-lost sister part, although it’s just a minor flaw that I can easily put aside while appreciate how good this whole story is.

       (3)


    • 18.3 moomoomoo

      crap, i teared up again when i saw your “hug my mother” comment.

       (0)


      • 18.3.1 teacupandashtray

        me too ;_____________;
        I will surely make it a point to hug her once she comes home later.

         (0)


      • 18.3.2 Dayan

        Me too.. I shoud have done that more often while I could.

        It reminds me a lot of Flowers for my life, which made me remember the people that have gone on..

         (0)


    • 18.4 ajikanpanda

      I AGREE 10000000000000000000000000000000000% !!!!!!! It was such a warm, satisfying ending. This drama was wonderfully made and I don’t think I could ever bring myself to hate it. And plus, there’s nothing to even hate. I have never cried such bucket loads of tears like I did for 49. I felt such a connection with everyone. And also, this drama made me think so much, and look beyond the whole “omg they have to end up together” theme. Instead, it showed such significance to life and hope and friendship etc. The ending was totally satisfying beyond comprehension. The writer doesn’t “suck” and whatnot, and it bothers me when people say things like that T_T. The writer did this for a purpose, and to send a message.

      I can truly say that this is one irreplaceable drama. Brilliance. that’s what it is. the whole cast and production deserves a hand, because they all conveyed the roles flawlessly. And the writer/director, I wish I could meet and tell them how beautiful this drama was. Each aspect of the drama from the acting, to the OST was amazing.

      This is definitely my favorite drama, and forever shall it stay with me.

      Thank you JB and GF for recapping every week! I’m going to totally miss all the Kang spazztasticness. xD Your recaps are theeee best! :D

      I’m so glad I watched this drama. Definitely touched my heart as well. It was BEYOND PHENOMENAL. :3
      if this doesn’t get a bagillion awards, then everything is officially screwed up -o- But i’m sure they’ll all get countless awards. ♥

       (1)


      • 18.4.1 grace

        oh my goodness. “BEYOND PHENOMENAL” was the word i was looking for!

        even after watching the episode and reading the recap millions of times I can’t help but just be in awe at how wonderfully RAW this drama is. every single character, even the baddies were so darn realistic even as a fantasy drama. i feel like..no other drama can top the emotional impact this one had on me.

        i literally leave this drama as a better person who can really wake up in the morning and make every moment count. truly, everyone should live as a 49-ner huh!

         (0)


    • 18.5 momosan

      I’m with leina and mostly with girlfriday on this one.

      With the exception of the Yi Kyung- sister bit, which clumsy and unnecessary, I appreciated the ending.

      To those who are crying – “what is the POINT!” go listen to what Ji Hyun says about the point – she got the blessing of those 49 days to set things on a better course. To know she was loved, and that her life touched others.

      It’s actually a mark of how attached we all became to the characters that we’re mourning as if the loss was a real one, not a fictional one. And for that, credit to the writers, and actors – especially Lee Yo Won and Jung Il Woo – who I think may have caused flooding with the tears shed in episode 19 for Yi Kyung and Yi Soo.

       (0)


    • 18.6 fmv

      i so agree with your comments. your last words made me cry all over again..thanks gf and jb.

       (0)


    • 18.7 mememomo

      Well said, totally agree.

      Thanks JB and GF for recapping this, its been truly a great journey.

       (0)


    • 18.8 teacupandashtray

      It’s terrifying to know that we’re on the exact same page!
      I firmly believe that 49 Days is one of those dramas that can be considered “life-changing”.

      Sure I cringed a bit with the whole YK-turns-out-to-be-JH’s long lost sister. But it all faded into oblivion after wards when it dawned on me that YK finally found her family. And for that, I teared up again. Show, WAYLT?? :’(

      I’m more than glad to read insightful comments like these aside from GF’s and JB’s recaps. :)

       (0)


    • 18.9 joo raim

      I agreed. Don’t mind with sad ending but dislike JH and YK sister connection.What the hell their parents do for all this years?Hello……….she was in orphanage and it’s not like the out of universe orphanage

       (0)


    • 18.10 Princess61

      Beautifully said, Leina. I must admit though, in the beginning, when I saw the spoiler comments in the Ep 19 posts, I was a bit upset. I was hoping that JH and HK would finally be together. And I was hoping that those comments were speculative, however, after watching the first few minutes of Ep 20 RAW, I knew and was deeply saddened. After reflecting on the entire run of the drama and especially the last four episodes, including the finale, if you really think about it, as sad as it was, it truly ended happily. I agree with everyone–the return of the long lost sister was so random, even though there were a couple of hints thrown out, and I don’t think anyone would have noticed if it was omitted from the final episode.

      That being said, this drama made me think about life and death and in the back of our minds, we file away the fact that we are destined to leave this earth someday, and without warning. I don’t want to leave this earth with any regrets nor do I want to leave without letting the people in my life (family AND friends) know how much they have touched my life and that how much they are loved.

      I am going to miss 49 Days and will come back to it from time to time, like an old friend. I need to get my periodic dose of Kang! I’m already going through 49 Days-withdrawal pains!

       (0)


    • 18.11 swui

      You’ve taken the words out of my mouth as well…I love the ending as well minus the sister twist (only because it was so sudden and short I couldn’t connect to that).

      I like the story very much and I applaud the writer for not bowing to fanservice and sticking to their story…I enjoyed the last episode amidst lotsa tears. Couldn’t believe they made me cry for YS-YK AGAIN in this epi…I thought I was done crying for them in epi19. The bank book thingy was so sweet.

      And am glad they didn’t “force” YK-HK together…even though it’s been two years, they were still healing and I dunno if I can accept them being in that kind of relationship. But definitely I can see that they are “able” to love again and that itself is mighty reassuring…

      JH/YK parents broke my heart too…I cried for them too because they remind me so much of my parents and what they’ve been through. My younger bro died last year…very sudden and we didn’t even get to say goodbye…so in a way I thought JH was lucky because she could have a proper goodbye and do whatever she needed to do before she left….not many people can claim to be able to die with no regrets…If I were given a choice I would love to bid a proper goodbye to my brother…

      Life is just like that…impermanent.

       (0)


      • 18.11.1 Leina

        Big hug swui, on your little brother’s passing… I think this is why 49 Days is just so relatable, we’ve all had loved ones taken away from us so suddenly, and we find ourselves with still so much to say to them but not having the chance to do so and bid them a proper goodbye. My dad passed away 2 years ago–he had been sick for a long time so I knew that it won’t be long before he would leave us; but it was one sunny day, I was rushing to a hearing as I was running late, I ran out of the house and did hear my dad’s faint voice calling out my name, but I didn’t heed it as I was just thinking of the damn hearing — which turned out to be pointless, as the judge didn’t show. I was on my way to the office when my mom called, through tears, to let me know that my dad passed away at home, and I was frozen in the car, unable to cry because otherwise I couldn’t see where I was going, yet filled with so much regret that my dad left this world and I didn’t even turn back when he called my name. :( It was even worse for my little sister, because she and dad had an argument a few days prior, and she never had the chance to say sorry. :(

         (0)


        • 18.11.1.1 swui

          thanks Leina. Hugs to you too.

          I don’t think anyone can prepare for death…even like in your case where your dad was ill. Death is ALWAYS sudden. And when it happens we always have regrets. I didn’t have any fights…in fact I made plans with him (We don’t live near)…it’s the what could’ve been that hurts so bad…

          I love my happyendings but I don’t mind the ending here because I felt the writer tackled the subject pretty nicely..but I pity those who watched this looking for one…

           (0)


          • 18.11.1.1.1 fmv

            i totally agree.

             (0)


          • 18.11.1.1.2 kdfan

            sorry to hear about your loss.

            everyone at a certain point in life will be affected by death of a loved one. me included. and there will be one that will wake you up to appreciate the preciousness of life. to not take things for granted. and to try to live everyday as if it’s your last. just as YK and Kang said in the end.

             (0)


    • 18.12 malta

      You make such a good point….if we understand that Ji hyun was always meant to die when she did then Yi Kyung’s failed suicide attempt was actually a gift given to Ji hyun in the form of 49days. ahhh Love this drama.

       (0)


    • 18.13 soracantabile

      I am include myself into that minority..
      Although I expected happy ending, but I can’t complain with this ending..
      Like girlfriday, it was better than my expectation..
      I surprised myself how can I feel happy with sad ending (I cried a lot, but I smile at the very end of this episode)..

      This morning I read many spoilers that I had been avoided in the past 2 days..I knew jihyun will die, but I didn’t expect she will die in the middle of this episode!!
      By reading those spoiler I thought she will die in the very end, but who can predict you, unpredictable-writer?
      I also love that she still dare to give us sad ending..

      And about the sibling matter, it just too fast..
      but love to know in jung is not that bad..

      The only one that I don’t really like here is that I saw jihyun in yikyung body instead of brightly yikyung in the 2 years later thing, at the restaurant..
      all this time I can feel the differences between jihyun in yikyung body, yikyung herself, youth brightly yikyung, also jihyun in yikyung body that pretend to be yikyung..
      but what I can see in the last HEAVEN’s

       (0)


      • 18.13.1 soracantabile

        (got phone call and I thought I finished writing..lol)
        (cont.)
        but what I can saw in the last HEAVEN’s scene somehow was jihyun, not yikyung..

         (0)


    • 18.14 Chocobo

      I agree too. A lot of people are talking about how this is disappointing but let’s all remember that this isn’t a show about romance. It’s a fantasy drama because fantastical things happen — predetermined death included. I think that it was appropriate because had Yi-kyung’s botched suicide not affected Ji-hyun, everyone would have suffered with Ji-hyun’s death. Her parents would have lost everything, Min-ho would have won with In-jung, Kang would never have been able to move on, having never resolved his feelings, Ji-hyun would have left the world with regret over Min-ho and like she says, possibly died by her own hand in sorrow, and Yi-kyung would have gone on in her depressed state possibly until her own death. So the long narrative point of the drama is made — this was never a romance, but a show about life, and death, and moving on. It was never about Kang and Ji-hyun, although their relationship had a role to play. I’m impressed that they are never intimate and yet their relationship is still so satisfying. Most other dramas I’m itching to “get on with it already!” by episode 3. Honestly while it would have been satisfying to have everyone wrap up nicely and end up happy, it also would have been completely forgettable. I agree with Javabeans that narratively it would have been better if more hints were dropped consistently about Ji-hyun’s impending demise so that we may have been bet. The voiceover from American Beauty comes to mind, wherein we know that this story is doomed from the start, but watch it for the beautiful story about reclaiming life that it is.

       (0)


      • 18.14.1 Chocobo

        *so that we may have been better prepared emotionally and logically.

        (Dont know what happened to that sentence in my previous paragraph~)

         (0)


    • 18.15 ContentedOne

      SO agree with you, especially on we human being are whole by ourselves ,it would be too convenient to pair up HK-JK at the end.Beautiful relationships come in many form , friendship is one of them.And ya I can see the 49 days as a blessing, extra time to have closure .I do not feel cheated because I can see that she is fated to die , is a reality that she has to accept, Is sad but the message is we have to see life as entirety and treasue our days on earth .

       (0)


      • 18.15.1 fmv

        i totally agree. love reading everyone’s perspective.

         (0)


    • 18.16 beppu10

      I can’t agree more to this. Your analysis hits right to the core. I’m actually happy with the ending despite the buckets of tears I’ve teared up starting ep. 17 (where Ji Hyun pleads to Yi Kyung unni to let her borrow her body for 10 days). What I don’t like about though was the sister storyline bet. them–it feels forced for me–although it was my brother who pointed out the necessity of it especially for Yi Kyung who might suffer the most among all the characters had she not been introduced to a family.

      I think I’m going to re-watch this even if this means I’ll tear up again. It’s one of those poignant, deep dramas that I’ve seen which I feel satisfied with.

       (0)


  19. 19 REAPER I LOVE YOU

    huhuhuhu…..

    i watch the raw video…. it made me cry when JH died….

     (0)


  20. 20 danna

    I’ve been a WRECK the whole day and I haven’t even watched the finale yet….so abt 5 hours ago decided to spoil myself regardless…and now I feel so relieved……I’ll properly watch this when subs are available…but for the most part I think I like the ending despite not being what I had hoped for…I might change my mid after a proper watch because like JB said, its one thing to be logically right and another to have it feel right….as always Thank you guys for recapping and sharing your thoughts in this beautiful drama

     (0)


  21. 21 MJP

    Okay, I finally got a bit moist in the eyes. Which is saying a LOT for my eyes to actually tear/moisten up. I still carry the headache from my version of crying this early afternoon (some 10 hours later).

    Sometimes I wish I could cry easily as some of the commentors I have read, but alas, crying like that is not something I can do very easily. It takes massive emotions to elicit that type of response from me. Death is usually one of the triggers…

    I knew I wouldn’t like the ending however, I respect the writer for creating a very emotionally evocative piece with this fictional work. Kudos to everyone involved with creating this Kdrama series!!!

     (0)


  22. 22 Asama

    omg please stop…..I XANT STOP CRYING……JI HYUN……..

     (0)


  23. 23 ohemgee

    so. sad. and bittersweet. :’(

    49 days was just as good as i had hoped!

     (0)


  24. 24 LotusW

    THANK YOU! Was watching the one without subs and now the recap filled me in. Definitely one of the best show of the year even though I cried buckets over it!
    Moral of the story : Everyone CHERISH your life and what you have NOW.Even though no one knows what exactly happens after death, that is not important. What is important is how you LIVE your life right now.

     (0)


    • 24.1 Selli

      Hm, I’m kind of tired of that message!!! XD “Live your life to the fullest, you never know when you might die”, etc., etc., yes, yes, I agree, but we’ve heard that SO OFTEN now @_@~ I guess I’m just waiting for something new? D:

      Well, I don’t know, I somehow feel like the write just wanted to make everyone sad, and thought she’d be remembered longer like that. But I don’t know her, so I can’t say, of course ^^ Still, it’s not my favourite. It seems so contrived D:

       (0)


      • 24.1.1 Jane

        Yes, like this is some new message. And for a drama that hyped up the importance of living, they sure ended the poor girl’s life with some kind of swiftness

        After all that Kang had gone through, they couldn’t allow them to properly realize their love, not even on their one date. So when we don’t live our days like it’s our last, and don’t live them fully, we kiss, hug and exchange words of love with the person we are in love with. However, when we do live our days like it’s our last, we suppress our feelings to prevent our loved ones from feeling pain. Great. Sounds like I’ll prefer for my beloved to not live his days like it’s his last.

        I think the writer is a sadist and many of us were her unfortunate victims.

         (0)


  25. 25 Jomo

    Not gonna lie.
    Did not like it.
    Somebody should have kissed KANG-AH for crying out loud!

    I did like that JH died, though. I like that the Scheduler went on to what he was supposed to be doing next.
    Liked that the unni really WAS.

    But if MH ends up getting the girl, why couldn’t Kang-ah get someone, or show that he was able to move on 5 years later?

     (0)


    • 25.1 MJP

      Because he is MINE, KANG-AH!!!!!!!!!

      (Probably the last time I will say it.)

       (0)


      • 25.1.1 YY

        MJP, seriously, you need help, and fast.

         (0)


    • 25.2 YY

      cos he’s faithful, and thinks pure thoughts, like me.

       (0)


  26. 26 churasan

    First of all, thank you so much for recapping this drama. I’ve enjoyed all your comments for each episode. I’m one more on JB’s side. The end just didn’t do it for me. I’d rather go for “happily every after” rather than “the circle of life” theme. (Sorry, but when I watch TV (especially fantasy genre), it’s usually to get away from reality – especially after finals this week!) However, despite the ending, I still enjoyed this drama because I couldn’t ask for a more perfect cast and hope that some of them will work together again in another drama.

     (0)


    • 26.1 Ambie

      EXACTLY!!!! what’s the use of being fantasy when you get get reality?!?

       (0)


  27. 27 KANGAHHH

    My gosh. ANYONE ELSE FREAKING OUT THAT THERE WAS NO KISS FROM KANG AH? Hes too hot! His cupid’s bow! ~swoons~

     (0)


    • 27.1 KANG AHHHHHHHH I MISS YOU!!!

      ikr, what a waste of perfect kissable lips!!!

      but one good thing for those of us who are fantasizing about KANG AHHHHHHHH – he is still single!!! hahahahaha

       (0)


      • 27.1.1 YY

        Tsk tsk girls, the whole world is crying over Ji hyun’s demise and you’re talking about kang-ah’s kissable lips? *shakes head sadly*

         (0)


        • 27.1.1.1 KANG AHHHHHHHH I MISS YOU ALREADY!!!

          well, everyone is into this reality bit – well my reality is KANG AHHHHHHH’s kissable lips that was never kissed in this drama….

           (0)


  28. 28 squeaky

    i WHOLLY agree with javabeans. it was just…blah. blah.blah. too much in one episode. the ending doesn’t work as a drama. AND THIS: “Furthermore, I do think that effect is as important than intent, and if a large portion of your (hitherto avid) viewership has to convince itself that the ending works, then it doesn’t wholly work, does it?”

    THIS SO MUCH.

     (0)


  29. 29 Mac B.

    Thanks for the recap! I was anticipating hearing your opinions all day. Like JB I also feel a tad dissatisfied with the ending, but I agree with GF that for the drama’s message, this ending was probably for the best. That being said, I love that Ji Hyun and Yi Soo were buried next to each other. It’s just so sweet! And that last picture–it hits me right in the heart :)

     (0)


  30. 30 letmeeatcake

    This is so saaad! Kang-ah!!!
    :(

     (0)


  31. 31 sb

    With the originality of the 19 preceding episodes, I must say I was a bit dissatisfied that Yi Kyung and Ji Hyun were long-lost sisters, despite the sparse hints thrown our way indicating that this would be so. I was bracing for it, but couldn’t help rolling my eyes a bit at the revelation, because I didn’t think it was at all necessary.

    But I know I’m just being overly critical because I was so floored at how the drama managed to repeatedly avoid typical k-drama fanfare and wow my socks off with its originality as it approached the end.

    It was a beautiful heartfelt drama.

     (0)


  32. 32 Jane

    My thoughts are more in line with javabeans. At the end, I am left feeling unsatisfied. It really is that simple.

     (0)


  33. 33 y

    I can’t stop crying…=’( I was hoping a happier ending..but maybe it’s a more meaningful ending..but I am still hoping for a happier one..

     (0)


  34. 34 Ashley

    I agree with Girlfriday–it felt perfect. Its funny, because I was vehemently opposed to Ji hyun dying before I watched the finale, and the way it was carried off perfectly reconciled me to the fact. It was amazing. And can I just say I LOVE the way they wrapped up Yi-Soo’s time as the reaper!

     (0)


  35. 35 fei

    Thank you very much Javabeans and Girlfriday for recapping this awesome drama! It was such a bittersweet but touching journey from the start to the ending but I love it. A very good drama acted by a team of brilliant actors/actresses that had such wonderful chemistry throughout. Thank you again.

     (0)


  36. 36 Nancy

    Oh gosh, I am of two minds as well. It’s difficult to really digest the ending of this great drama but I still leave dissatisfied although I shouldn’t. I loved the message this drama sends out about how precious each day life is but throughout the whole drama I never even once suspected that they would make Ji Hyun leave after trying so hard to live again.

    Yet, a part of me is satisfied too. I guess I was one of those hopeless romantics in wishing that Han Kang and Ji Hyun would finally be able to be together in the same lifetime. It’ll take a while for me to REALLY accept the dramatic ending twist but I am so glad I decided not to skip this one. This will definitely be in one my favorite dramas categories.

     (0)


  37. 37 tunafishy

    perfect ending. 49 days is seriously one of the best dramas i have watched, and i have watched A LOT. it takes you on an emotional rollercoaster, and this last episode made me cry so much. but the ending was also so beautiful.

     (0)


  38. 38 kdramaluv

    No more tears left! Waaah! I was hoping Han Kang and JiHyun would get together, but I guess this kind of ending is more beautiful and bittersweet and with a deeper meaning about love and life.
    Thank you Javabeans and Girlfriday for your amazing recaps and commentary.

     (0)


  39. 39 Alixana

    Heart. Break.
    Perfect ending. So sad, butomgsoperfect!

     (0)


  40. 40 guizy

    this episode, like the previous was extremely heartbreaking. though to be honest, i was expecting Ji-Hyun to live.
    the ending i would say wasn’t the greatest ending, but it wrapped up all the little details perfectly.
    i really liked that last scene where kang and yi kyung goes to visit the grave.
    THANKS SO MUCH

     (0)


  41. 41 Michael

    oh god, im so sad. this is seriously the best ending ever. never have i cried this much in my life. it’s so sad! D:

     (0)


  42. 42 Jo

    This drama was really good. I agree with the yikyung daughter story line. It did feel like a cop out or something. But everything else just made me keep on thinking it over and over even after the finale. I love those kinds of dramas. Not just the story line, but of life and death and life after death. The way 49 days painted everything was great and I am going to miss watching it :(

     (0)


  43. 43 ninimi

    GREAAAtttttt…

    i’m thankfull that i wacth this drama.. everything is worthed !!!!

     (0)


  44. 44 alex

    ohhh noes….:( I really wanted jh to live :(

     (0)


  45. 45 Mei

    Oh who are we kidding? I hate the ending.

     (0)


  46. 46 wap

    *sigh* didn’t love the ending :( wishing for a happier one.

     (0)


  47. 47 flibbet

    what. i don’t even. they’re sisters? and she dies?
    i’m sorry, but i prefer fanservice. now i’m just depressed.

     (0)


    • 47.1 flibbet

      i also did not notice any of the sister hints earlier in the drama. would anyone mind pointing them out?

       (0)


        • 47.1.1.1 flibbet

          the ox bone soup point is very interesting, and also a sharp detail to notice (if it was indeed intentional)

           (0)


          • 47.1.1.1.1 moomincandylalala

            The soup aversion was the moment that gave it away for me…I definitely felt it was intentional. A good drama is all about the small details that build up, imo.

             (0)


        • 47.1.1.2 anais

          Wow, Blue really did an amazing job picking up on this thread. I had caught the comment JH’s mom had made, but I hadn’t caught any of the rest, especially the ox bone soup. Those of you who’d caught that detail, props to you!

           (1)


      • 47.1.2 Minnetter

        I think that some of us might have missed it because we don’t understand korean natively and the phrasing of a comment the mom made while crying over Ji hyun in one of the early episodes was translated as just: “They wouldn’t take our only child”…. but it actually meant something like: “They wouldn’t take the only child we have left”… or something like that…

         (1)


        • 47.1.2.1 flibbet

          this is true. i also assumed all along that yi kyung had a younger brother, despite dongsaeng being gender neutral.

           (0)


      • 47.1.3 ishrooroo

        Well Mama Shin noted that she can’t lose another child again early on. Then there’s the JH-YK connection that made YK capable of communicating with a spirit, which hinted at them having a deeper connection than just what YS called pure hearts. Also when YK mentioned that she was abandoned by her mom, JH noted that maybe she was lost instead of abandoned. Just a few things I remember, there might’ve been more..

         (0)


  48. 48 Blueangel

    I still loved the ending but i also feel that it fits. Ok it would have been better if we didn’t have so many flash backs in the last episode cause i got confused sometimes trying to figure out wait- am i watch the wrong episode. ha.
    Thanks for the recaps JB/GF!

     (0)


  49. 49 ishrooroo

    SO. MANY. TEARS! I kept waiting for Scheduler to stop the elevator doors from closing and yelling at his sunbae to give her another chance or something. Although it was terribly sad, I was actually quite happy with the ending (and glad they didn’t push Yi Kyung & Kang-ah together but just to have them remain codependent friends although they might get together eventually).

     (0)


  50. 50 Jolly

    I’m not pleased with the ending. The drama is a comedy and seemed like it would have a happy ending from the start; though I must admit, there were hints of otherwise, but it was not the typical sad drama. Also the ending was just not satisfying. I was expecting a Ji Hyun-Kang relationship… or at least hint of one to come… just one kiss? Peck on the cheek? But no. They had to kill her off. After expecting a happy ending, this was so dissatisfying!

     (0)


    • 50.1 Minnetter

      If I remember it right it actually never was sold to us as a rom-com, it was drama first and foremost, and with drama there comes crying and buckets of it…

       (0)


    • 50.2 celest1al

      Yeah, agreed. I also don’t think it was ever advertised as a comedy. Sure the scheduler provided comic relief, but this was a fantasy drama to the fullest.

       (0)


    • 50.3 asianromance

      I am pretty sure this drama was advertised as a “romantic drama” instead of a romantic comedy. I usually avoid romantic dramas for the very reason that a happily ever after (as in everyone lives smiling and in love) is never guaranteed and gravitate towards Rom-coms, whose endings are more predictable. I only watched 49 days because the story sounded interesting even though it wasn’t a rom-com. Glad I did! Loved it!

       (0)


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