Thousand Day Promise: Episode 4
It’s the brothers’ episode to shine, as some characters go hurtling towards the truth, while others stay firmly in the land of denial. Grab a hanky and settle in. Oh, and you’re also gonna want your phone handy, to call your brother when it’s over.
Ratings: Promise hits a new high with 17.5%; Kye Baek follows with 13.3%; and Poseidon brings in the rear with 7.3%.
EPISODE 4 RECAP
Seo-yeon makes breakfast carefully and methodically, her new method for doing everything. Moon-kwon wonders why they’re eating so early, and she says it’s to buy some time to talk. Not The Talk, but just life stuff, like the fact that she thinks he should quit his part-time jobs to focus on school.
But he insists he’s young and spry and can handle it. Besides, if he doesn’t earn money, how will he marry off his sister? Aw, could you be any cuter?
She starts getting a little ahead of herself, asking him about his future and his plans to marry, which just confuses him because he thought they were talking about her. He senses that she’s saying this stuff to him because there’s a change in her life, and jumps to the conclusion that she’s getting married.
The questions come flying, about who the guy is, when they’re getting married, how he knew there was somebody. She denies, so then he asks if he’s from a wealthy family who won’t allow the marriage.
Startled, she says, “Yes. So I ended it.” Moon-kwon laughs, not even considering that it’s the truth.
She heads out for work, thinking about her brother’s laugh, wishing she could do the same in the face of her illness. She painstakingly goes over everything – that she brought her phone, that she is on her way to work, that she can read at the same pace that she used to.
She spends the entire rest of the way playing a word game in her head.
Ji-hyung heads out and tries calling Seo-yeon’s disconnected line again, over and over. Finally he calls Jae-min to ask for her new number, because he “didn’t end things properly.”
Jae-min asks what that would be, exactly, and points out that he can’t very well give him Seo-yeon’s new number when he’s the entire reason she changed it. Ji-hyung pleads that he just has stuff left to say, that he needs to say. Jae-min: “That’s your problem, ” and “Don’t mess with her.” Gah, I love oppa.
Seo-yeon is first at work, with everything seemingly under control, until a coworker points out that she’s brewed coffee without the coffee. She rushes to the bathroom chanting to herself that it’s okay, that it’s a mistake anyone could have made.
She steels herself in the mirror and heads out, not realizing she’s left the faucet running. But she remembers at the last minute and turns back, her resolve beginning to crack.
At lunch the women rant about how unrealistic their latest project is, a novel about a Candy divorcee who snags a chaebol. “Have you ever actually SEEN a chaebol?” Seo-yeon laughs and says no, more concerned with remembering what she ordered for lunch than whether chaebols exist outside of fantasy.
Meanwhile the actual chaebols stand around arguing over what ridiculously overpriced piece of furniture to buy, and whose taste is gaudier than whose.
Seo-yeon spends every free moment surveying her surroundings, naming objects, places, names. God, I can’t even imagine the terror of being a writer who can’t remember words. She memorizes the coffee menu at Starbucks, which I honestly couldn’t even do on a good day. I mean, what’s a half-caff-decaf-mocha-skinny-frappucino anyway?
She stops in to see her aunt, who’s adorably excited to make her dinner on a non-family-dinner night. Moon-kwon calls to ask for the car keys to go to his friend’s sister’s funeral, and Seo-yeon directs him to her dresser, where he finds the keys and one of her little daily checklist memos. A few normal entries, and then: “Memomemomemomemo, Checkcheckcheckcheckcheck.”
He reads it and smiles, probably thinking that she’s just being a little OCD, and goes to put it back… when he finds another piece of paper. It’s a prescription, for drugs he doesn’t recognize. He doesn’t know what any of it means, so he looks up the terms on his phone.
One of the pills is for Alzheimer’s, while the other is for depression. It starts to dawn on him that this is what’s going on with his sister, and he rushes to the computer to find out more. Panic washes over his face as he reads.
After dinner, Seo-yeon sits with her aunt and asks about her mother, for the first time ever. She asks what kind of person she was, and if Aunt knows where she might be. She doesn’t know (or doesn’t let on if she does), and declares her a crazy person, otherwise how could she have abandoned her children, not realizing what it might mean to Seo-yeon if her mother were legitimately crazy.
Seo-yeon asks if she and her brother would’ve died if Aunt and Uncle hadn’t come to get them, and thanks her for taking them in, despite how poor they were. Aunt insists it only took three spoonfuls of rice to feed them, like it was no big deal.
She in turn feels grateful to her husband, for suggesting that they take the kids in. (They’re her brother’s kids, so Uncle technically has no blood ties.) Seo-yeon takes out an envelope and passes it to her. She went to the department store but couldn’t choose, so she got a gift certificate instead. It’s her first gift to them, now that she’s debt-free and able to say thank you.
Jae-min sits outside a convenience store with a can of beer, and Moon-kwon rushes over to meet him. He says there was no one else, that he had to tell hyung first. Jae-min wonders if he’s in some kind of trouble. Half-jokingly, “Did you get someone pregnant? Does she want you to take responsibility?”
Moon-kwon starts in that it’s to do with his sister, that something’s going on with her. Thinking he means her recent breakup, Jae-min calmly says that she’s got her private life too, and that it’s something he should respect.
But Moon-kwon finally spits it out: “I think noona has dementia…” He lays out all the things that add up now, like her forgetfulness growing by the day, her strange memos, how she always leaves her phone behind, doesn’t recall the names of things.
He tells him about the scissors, how she had to resort to miming them with her fingers, and then blew up at his joke that she was going senile. He shows Jae-min the slip of paper with the name of the doctor she went to see, saying that this was the day she said she went to the dentist.
He says she’s been on painkillers for a while, but these prescriptions, made out in her name, are for new things – depression, Alzheimer’s. Jae-min says it can’t be… she’s too young. Shaking, Moon-kwon looks up at his hyung, looking to him for answers.
Seo-yeon walks home from her aunt’s house, counting each step as she goes down. She sees Jae-min walk up towards her, staring at the ground, completely oblivious to the world.
She waits in his path and he stops at her feet, startled. He makes vacant chitchat and she walks past. He stops her, “Ji-hyung called today.” He relays the message, that he has something he wants to say. Seo-yeon asks what he answered.
Jae-min: “I told him not to mess with you.” Satisfied at that, she says she doesn’t need to hear it, that it’s probably just that he’s sorry. Jae-min’s like, he didn’t even say SORRY? But she smiles, “He would have. Tell him he doesn’t need to feel bad, that I don’t need to hear it. That I’m fine.” Wow, are you thinking of sparing his conscience, even in this moment?
Jae-min watches her hobble down the steps in her high heels and turns back. He takes her arm and walks her down. Seriously, I cannot handle how perfect he is. There’s gotta be something wrong with him. Secret clown porn collection? Deals heroin to kids in his spare time? Something.
He asks if she shouldn’t hear Ji-hyung out, one last time. “What if he says you’re the only woman for him?” Seo-yeon: “While he raises children with someone else?” She wonders if there is such a thing.
She assures him that in a few months’ time, she’ll have forgotten all about him, and be with someone new. “What, did you think he was my one and only?” She apologizes for disappointing him, and laughs it off, saying she’ll be fine. She turns to go.
He starts to go back up the steps, but stops and turns back to watch her walk away. She tells him to turn around. “I don’t want you to see my back.” He complies, and this time she watches him go.
I love these two together. They have such an interesting dynamic that feels different from a normal family connection, but not in a squicky way. Their scenes play out not unlike a pair of lovers, though what makes it great is that he’s just her oppa. (Though obviously, part of me is like, can he be adopted?)
She flashes back to a time when Ji-hyung dropped her off, and she insisted that he leave first: “I don’t want you to see my back.” He asks why, and she says she just doesn’t like it, that showing her back feels sad and pathetic.
It’s telling that this has always been her character. It’s commonly a guy thing to say (at least in dramas) – “I’ll never show you my back” – as in, I’ll never walk away from you. She’s always been the stronger one, to look after other people’s feelings before her own.
Ji-hyung’s pre-wedding drama comes to a head when Hyang-gi’s mom hears his latest request, to push back meeting Hyang-gi’s relatives until after the wedding. He’s basically using work as an excuse to be involved as little as possible, which just does not fly with mother-in-law to-be.
She storms over there to scream her head off at Ji-hyung, and call the whole thing off. Well you just might be doing us all a favor there, lady. He apologizes in his usual placid, zombie way, which does nothing to calm her down.
But Hyang-gi shows up and counters that she’ll just DIE if she can’t marry Ji-hyung, and cries like the seven-year old princess that she is. He picks her up and comforts her, while Mom gapes at her, unable to fathom how she could’ve given birth to a daughter so useless. Ha. I love that Mom basically thinks her daughter is a moron.
Too bad she’s not serious about calling off the wedding though, as she promptly calls Ji-hyung’s mom to have her smooth things out and get him to play ball.
Seo-yeon starts a daily journal, detailing everything she did that day, more like a catalogue than a journal so she can keep track. She then goes over a series of questions geared towards Alzheimer’s patients, and answers them one by one, as if trying to convince herself that these don’t apply to her and that she’s fine.
Jae-min researches her illness online, and Mom brags to him about the gift certificates from Seo-yeon. She muses that she seemed different today, asking about her mother for the first time. Jae-min assures her that it’s natural that she’d be curious.
Moon-kwon calls from a rest stop on his way home, to check in. When she says that she’s settling in to do some work, he worries that she’s overworking herself.
Moon-kwon: What if you work yourself sick? I’m still powerless. It’s not a senseless worry. Of course I worry. It’s just the two of us. I haven’t done anything and you’ve worked so hard. If I didn’t worry, I’d be a jerk. Noona, I love you. I really really love you.
*whimper* The words just come tumbling out, seemingly out of nowhere. Seo-yeon smiles and tells him he’s being weird, musing that he must’ve been traumatized by his friend’s noona’s death. He chokes back his tears.
Ji-hyung gets an earful from his mom about how he’s clearly feeling avoidy because he doesn’t want to marry Hyang-gi. Um, so then why do you insist he still marry her? She tells him to get it together and stop making her nervous, and he assures her that it’s all squared away and he won’t hurt Hyang-gi. Mom: “Your wedding is the happiest moment of your life.” Yeah, you people seem real happy about it.
Hyang-gi’s mom continues to be dissatisfied purely for reasons of pride, while Hyang-gi is busy making sure that Ji-hyung isn’t mad at her. She texts him: “I think I was born to love you.” Oh dear. You are in for quite a shock, princess.
Jae-min sits up pondering what to do, zoning out while the rest of his family goes about their usual incessant shouting. It’s not just you, buddy. Every time your noona opens her mouth I just kind of go numb and tune her out.
Seo-yeon works for a while, and then notices a cup of ramyun sitting on her desk. Fear sets in as she realizes she forgot to eat it. She destroys the evidence, murmuring to herself that it’s okay, it happens to everyone.
Jae-min goes to see Seo-yeon’s doctor the next day, and confirms his fears. He tells Moon-kwon, who bursts into tears. “What is this? What is this, noona? What is this?!” Ugh, my heart, my heart.
Jae-min silently puts a hand on his shoulder as he cries and cries. After a while, he settles down and asks what they’re supposed to do now. She hasn’t filled her prescription – are they supposed to keep pretending they don’t know?
Jae-min suggests they wait a little longer for her, since she’s probably barely hanging on now. Moon-kwon worries about the meds, but Jae-min thinks she’ll tell them when she’s ready.
Moon-kwon: “What if she doesn’t, till the end? … We have to put on an act. Noona’s act, and mine too… Why are we so unlucky? Dirty rotten luck…”
While Moon-kwon cries his little heart out, Ji-hyung attends a couple’s cooking class that makes me want to puke. No, mostly it makes me want to shove his head in the oven, and a pie in Hyang-gi’s face.
Seo-yeon gets a surprise bonus from a project she’s been working on the side, and decides to take her coworkers out. They have a great time, while she spends the night distracted.
Jae-min stares at his dinner that night, unable to eat. Ji-hyung calls, and he steps out. He begs for just one hour of Jae-min’s time, swearing it’ll be the last.
He says he’s scared he’ll lose his friend, though it’s something he knew was a risk from the start. And yet he still hoped, that after everything, his friend might still understand him. Jae-min doesn’t answer, but agrees to have a drink.
Seo-yeon watches her friends sing and dance the night away, as she pours herself shot after shot of soju.
Well the shit’s certainly about two inches from hitting the fan. I don’t think Jae-min’s going to be able to keep this from Ji-hyung, despite his anger. He’s not jaded like Seo-yeon is, and I feel like he’ll say something because he knows it’ll change the outcome. He’s gotta know it’ll piss her off something fierce though, which will probably be the source of their conflict from here on out.
I can’t wait till Ji-hyung finds out, Seo-yeon’s pride be damned. I know he’s miserable, but that self-flagellating guilt is so unsatisfactory as far as I’m concerned. Oh, you’re unhappy, boo frickin’ hoo. Get your head out of your ass and DO something about it. The truth is bound to kick him out of stasis, which will go a long way towards recovering his character.
I love that despite having the world’s most rotten luck, Seo-yeon is actually surrounded by family who love her. I don’t know who to feel worse for — the little brother who suddenly has to deal with his whole world coming down around him, or the hyung who suddenly has to have all the answers. Moon-kwon’s heartbreaking discovery just about killed me, and I’m glad that we didn’t have to wait any longer for someone to find out. It also gives him the chance to step up and protect her and be the caretaker, when it’s always been the other way around their whole lives. That role reversal just gets me *right here.*
- Thousand Day Promise: Episode 3
- Thousand Day Promise: Episode 2
- Thousand Day Promise: Episode 1
- Thousand Day Promise’s poster and trailer
- Kim Rae-won and Su Ae get close for Thousand Day Promise
- First stills from Thousand Day Promise
- Kim Rae-won’s comeback with Su Ae
- Su Ae cast in Kim Soo-hyun’s Forget Me Not