FINALLY. A huge gust of fresh air brings change to everyone’s world. It’s an episode heavy on the happy and light on the angst, and full of wit about abs and dramaland. It’s unexpectedly sexy, heartwarming, and FUN, which I get that this drama can’t be all the time, but damn, this episode makes me wish it could.
EPISODE 11 RECAP
Aunt sits down at the corner snack shop, eyeing the owner warily as she downs shot after shot of soju. She calls Aunt hyungnim, making her Seo-yeon’s mom for sure. They’ve clearly been in contact before, since she doesn’t seem all that shocked to see her stop by.
Aunt lies that she was just in the neighborhood and was curious to see if she was still working in the same spot. Mom muses that if she’d come a few weeks later she’d have missed her, since she’s moving shops. She mentions that her last boyfriend/husband/man-friend died, after she paid years of hospital bills for him, and then sighs that she can’t live without a man. She already has a new one lined up.
Aunt asks why she never once asks about the kids – doesn’t she care how they’re doing? Mom gives a blank look and reminds her that she answered this the last time, and that she’s going to continue to live like they don’t exist. “Do I get anything by seeing them?” Whoa. Seriously? It’s gonna be like that?
The upshot: Aunt not only knows where to find Seo-yeon’s mom, but stops in to see her once in a blue moon. Seo-yeon’s mom, whether or not she’s also sick (doesn’t seem like it so far) is a no-doubt-about-it deadbeat mom.
Seo-yeon has dinner with her coworkers, where they have a discussion about the overabundance of abs on television, and how it’s just fanservice and melts our brains or some such. So… what’re we saying here… that we’re not gettin’ any post-army shower scenes in this drama? *does not compute*
Aunt wonders to herself the whole way home how Seo-yeon’s mom could be the way she is, and when her kids ask where she went, she jokes that everyone’s allowed to have secrets, even her. Jae-min happens to be sitting outside lifting weights, which now seems like a cruel joke after practically announcing that we won’t get to SEE any of it. *pouts* Big tease.
He gets an earful from Mom about how he’s letting another year pass without getting married, and makes reference to an ex, making sure she’s not still hanging around. He assures her that he has no intention of seeing her again, but Mom goes on about how you never know, and someone else’s son, a friend of a friend, is getting divorced and then roped back into a relationship, or something.
Jae-min reminds her that he has yet to be married so there’s no one to ask him for a divorce. Hence she can just stop being upset about the things that have yet to occur. Heh. I’m totally having sympathy pangs right now. Are all conversations with mothers like this? Sure feels like it. He asks if she’s taking her medication (doesn’t specify for what), and she assures him that she does so faithfully, because she wants to live a long life.
He swears that he has no intention of seeing the ex again, so she needn’t worry. Mom has already jumped to the next point of conversation, which is what kind of girl he SHOULD bring home: not from too rich a family or too poor, but just like theirs, and just right for him, “Just like Seo-yeon!” Oh, Mom, you have no idea how much that hurts my heart.
Seo-yeon stays out with her coworkers for a while, and then slips out early, asking for a waiter to bring her purse out and make excuses for her. She waits outside in the cold, which brings back a memory of waiting in the snow for Ji-hyung.
Flashback. He picks her up and apologizes profusely, while she complains that he made her wait outside. He jokes that if the only thing that’s frozen is her hands, he can handle it, reminding us that he once thought her cold exterior was just cute.
She remains pissed, so then he offers up a solution, and BARES HIS ABS. Hahahahaha. Okay, this drama has officially made me laugh out loud. What a witty way to hang a lantern on the abs scene which is basically a requirement if you’re going to cast Kim Rae-won straight out of the army (because seriously, we’d want our money back), while still commenting on the gratuitous fanservice. Hee.
He offers up his stomach as a hand-warmer, which she doesn’t turn down, because she’s not stupid. He yelps from the cold and then hugs her tight, asking if her hands are thawing now. He whispers something naughty in her ear and gets a playful shove in response.
Oh, did you tell her where else she could put those hands? Because RAWR. I love seeing Ji-hyung in these happy flashbacks. He seems like a different person, one you’re not questioning why anyone would love.
On her drive home, Seo-yeon gets a call from Aunt, who crouches in the kitchen (as if that keeps her voice from carrying, ha) and lies that she heard from other sources that her mom is alive and well, and running a snack shop somewhere.
Seo-yeon asks if she’s healthy, and Aunt says yes, and wonders if she should look into tracking her down for a meeting. Seo-yeon declines, and Aunt quickly agrees that there’s no sense in meeting her face-to-face and dredging up the past.
Jae-min walks in and happens to overhear the conversation, and gathers that this is her secret, and where she went earlier that night. Mom tells Jae-min the truth – that she’s known about Seo-yeon’s mom’s whereabouts for over ten years, and that the woman doesn’t care to see her kids.
Jae-min asks the same question: Is she healthy? Mom says she is, and then sighs at Seo-yeon and Moon-kwon’s misfortune. Jae-min’s thinking, you don’t even know the half of it, Mom.
Seo-yeon drives home, and whether it’s because of the conversation about her mother is unclear, but she suddenly starts to panic, as the road begins to blur in front of her. She can barely see ahead, in the road filled with cars in every lane. Suddenly she doesn’t know where she is, and she breaks down in a panic attack right there in the middle of the road.
She barely makes it over to the curb and stops the car, but not before nearly giving me a heart attack trying to move two lanes over. She sits frozen in shock, and then reaches for her phone… but then blanks again, not knowing whom to call.
She beats herself in the head as she cries in fear and frustration. The panic is overwhelming.
Ji-hyung rides shotgun in Architect Alex’s car, when he gets a call from Seo-yeon. She’s crying hysterically now, as she tells him that she doesn’t know where she’s going, doesn’t know where home is. She’s in a full-blown panic attack, screaming out in terror.
He calmly tells her not to cry, and that he’ll be right there. It’s gotta count for something that she called him in her moment of true crisis. While she waits, she cries all the ways that a person can cry, from head-beating screaming, to incoherent wailing, to silent streams of tears. It’s the quiet tears that are particularly searing.
Ji-hyung finally arrives in a cab and runs to her, finding her defeated, scared, and still in tears. He helps her out of the car and holds her, and tells her that everything will be okay. She cries on his shoulder.
He puts her in the passenger seat and fastens her seatbelt, and then gently wipes her tears away. Aw, now YOU’RE breaking my heart. She says that a few minutes ago she finally recalled the slip of paper in her coat with Oppa and Moon-kwon’s numbers and apologizes for having to call him. His was the only number she could remember.
She apologizes, but he thanks her. Okay, you’re slowly winning me over now.
Ji-hyung’s parents have an argument over whether they’re going on a sudden weekend trip with Hyang-gi’s parents – Dad wants to go, while Mom wants to give excuses and bow out, not wanting to get an earful from Hyang-gi’s mom for three days straight. Don’t blame ya.
Hyang-gi’s mom is currently doing just that to her daughter, who’s now taken to jigsaw puzzles to help pass the time. Mom is dissatisfied at her lack of being over it, surprise surprise, and KICKS the puzzle in frustration. Who’s the child now? I do love her saucy remarks for everything though. Today’s winner: “I don’t remember ever giving birth to a moron like you!”
She rants to Dad that Hyang-gi’s doing puzzles now, and of Klimt’s Kiss for that matter. Are you upset because your daughter might be turning into a pretentious college student or just the romantic implications of the painting? In any case, I love that Dad does yoga while Mom rants. It’s kind of like one act to cancel out the other.
Ji-hyung arrives in front of Seo-yeon’s place, and finds her fast asleep, with her mouth hanging open. It flashes him back to a happier moment, when he first discovered this about her, and watched her sleep with her mouth gaping open with a giant adorable grin on his face.
She woke up and insisted that she does not sleep with her mouth open, recounting how she firmly closes her mouth before sleeping and wills herself to keep it that way. His insistence that it’s not something she can control while sleeping seems to upset her more than anything, which is telling of her control-freak nature.
Their happy laughter rings in his ears now, as the sounds bleed over the cut back to the present. He watches her sleep, now with sadness, and waits for her to wake up.
She gets up to head inside, and he pleads with her: “Please, let me into your life.” Seo-yeon: “Why do you want to go into the mud?” Ji-hyung: “Because you’re there. Because I have to go to you.”
She calls him an idiot and tells him to stop, that it’s testing her. He tells her he won’t give up, and that she should surrender. Though it feels like she’s one step closer, she doesn’t relent, reminding him that what’s good for her is a trap for him. Ji-hyung: “Trust me. You have to trust me.”
Seo-yeon starts to waver, with tears in her eyes. She says that she told his mother that she agreed with her. Ji-hyung: “You’re not my mom. I don’t need you to be my mother.” *gasp* Is the hero actually BEING a hero?
His words shock her as much as the rest of us, like he suddenly grew up overnight. He adds that all she needs to be is his. Seo-yeon finally crumbles a little, and puts her hand to his face.
Seo-yeon: Before I completely disappear… I want to use all my strength to live.
Ji-hyung: Even if you can’t remember me, in my memory, you remain as you are. You will not disappear.
Seo-yeon: But there’s no going back. I won’t let you take it back.
Ji-hyung: No going back. I won’t let you take it back either.
Seo-yeon: Every day… That you’ll love me every day more than the last… promise me.
Ji-hyung: Okay. I’ll promise every day.
Seo-yeon: You’re in trouble now. You’ve lost your chance to run away forever.
Ji-hyung: I won’t run away.
Seo-yeon: I want to be together. Be with me. Take care of me. Protect me.
God, I’ve never breathed such a sigh of relief at someone accepting a proposal. I never thought a surrender could be so relieving, so beautiful. They hold onto each other for dear life.
The next morning Jae-min and Dad go for a walk, and Dad mentions that Mom’s sleeping restlessly because her annual checkup is coming soon. They discuss it obliquely, and Dad sighs that he wishes five years would go by quickly, which makes me think she’s in remission for cancer or something.
Seo-yeon wakes up in good spirits, printing out a list of foods that are good for patients with dementia, and takes a call from Ji-hyung. He tells her that he’ll tell Jae-min and go ask her aunt and uncle for permission to marry her, and she tells him to come over today, since they’re all gathering for Uncle’s birthday.
He worries that they won’t want to give her away, and she laughs that they’ll be happy to marry her off. Moon-kwon overhears her and stops in his tracks. She gets off the phone in a blissful state, not even realizing that her brother is gaping at her because she didn’t tell him she was getting married.
He has to ask, and she beams that it’s true, and to someone he knows too – Park Ji-hyung. Moon-kwon’s eyes bug out. But does he know about her condition? And what about his parents? Seo-yeon tells him that he knows and so does his mother, and she hasn’t given permission, but Seo-yeon has decided not to care. She wants to live and be happy like everyone else.
Moon-kwon gets choked up with tears, and Seo-yeon asks if it’s not okay for her to do, and he quickly says no, it’s not that – it’s because he isn’t able to do anything for her, but this makes him so happy.
He takes her hand, and through his tears he smiles at her so sincerely: “Congratulations, noona. Congratulations.”
GAH, I didn’t even cry when she accepted the proposal, but this, this turns me into a puddle of goo. She tells him that she wants to be happy like any other woman, even if it’s for a year. If it’s two, or three, she’ll consider it a blessing.
He says he understands and then realizes that it’s why she’s printed out the list of healthy foods. “That means you’ll take your medication now?” She smiles, “I’ve already started.” He beams, “Now you’re my noona.” Aw, it crushes me to think of how scared he’s been, and how out of character she’s been acting.
She tells him not to say anything yet because she has to tell Jae-min first. She’s literally glowing, which makes me simultaneously happy and sad, to think of what little time she’ll get to be this happy.
Jae-min’s house is bustling with preparations for Dad’s birthday, only Dad breaks the news that his birthday happens to be tomorrow. That sends Mom into an uproar, but it turns out that she miscalculated (his lunar birthday) by a day. He doesn’t care, but she does, saying all her efforts have been wasted and that she must be getting old.
The family has the birthday breakfast anyway, and while Seo-yeon teaches Ding Dong how to read, the boys clean up. (Yay, dramaland!) Moon-kwon tells Jae-min that his sister has started taking her meds and eating healthy food. Relieved, he asks what changed her mind, and Moon-kwon coyly says he doesn’t know.
Ji-hyung stops by home to have breakfast with Mom, who declines the last-ditch effort by Hyang-gi’s mom to get her to join the weekend trip. He tells her that he’s going through with the marriage plans against their wishes, and asks for her forgiveness.
She asks about his future, if she’s someone for whom he wants to throw away his whole life: “Is she everything to you?” Ji-hyung: “Yes.” Mom argues that if she hadn’t gotten sick, he would’ve just married Hyang-gi, and he doesn’t deny it. But he says that it’s not because he feels sorry for her, because she’s sick. “It’s that her illness made me realize how much I love her.”
Mom confesses that she thought, if Seo-yeon were her child, how grateful she’d be if someone’s son stepped up to take care of her, how she’d bow a thousand times in gratitude. But when it’s her son, she can’t give him up, and even that thought plagued her with guilt.
I love how honest she is about where her sympathies lie, and about how much she feels for Seo-yeon… but only up to a certain point. It’s human, and honest. She sighs that he’ll do what he needs to do, and she’ll do what she needs to do. Hm, is that a threat?
He tells her that he’ll wait two to three months. But then Mom surprises me, and tells him that one healthy person’s day is not the same as one day to Seo-yeon. “Don’t waste time.”
He asks what about Hyang-gi’s family, and Mom says what he’s doing is already outside of politeness and duty, so what’s two or three months going to change? She’s not so much taking his side as she is being blunt about the consequences, and it sinks in for him how much his mother is about to face because of his choices. Once alone, she crumples to the ground and cries.
After breakfast Jae-min pulls Seo-yeon aside to ask about taking her meds, saying that this is how she should’ve been from the beginning. She happily tells him that she has to now, now that she’s getting married…
He stops short, his face betraying a reaction quite different from Moon-kwon’s. Oh god, is that heartbreak? Or just shock? I think my heart just sank five stories.
He stammers, asking how, when, is she sure. He just gulps silently, and she can read the unhappy on his face. “Why, did I do something wrong?” He says no, he’s just surprised, and asks how Ji-hyung convinced her. But his wording, though not meant harshly is something closer to: how’d the bastard seduce you?
She tells him about getting lost last night, and secretly hoping that Ji-hyung would ask her again, and that she agreed, that they promised there’s no going back.
Finally seeing how genuinely happy she is, he smiles. Aw, so sweet. Maybe it was just oppa-worry. She says she decided then and there to start taking her meds, and told her illness to do as it wants, that she’s going to live her life.
He stretches out his hand and she takes it in a shake, as he wishes her luck.
They relocate to a café, and then Ji-hyung walks up to meet them. Jae-min gets up and the two men stand in the aisle, and Ji-hyung puts out his hand…
And then Jae-min pulls him in for a bear hug. AWWWWWWW. Ji-hyung beams at his friend’s reaction, and hugs him back.
Seo-yeon watches with the happiest look on her face, and then notices a group of women whispering at the next table over. They gape and come to the conclusion that the two of them must be gay lovers, sending them clucking in disapproval, which makes Seo-yeon spit out her latte all over the table.
Oh man, what a relief. A happy episode full of meta humor and happy times? I suddenly love this drama again. And I love writer Kim Soo-hyun much more when she’s being cheeky. I think the lighter tone of today’s plot gave her that extra room to inject more humor than usual, which is more my cup of tea.
Though the other episodes are at times plenty funny in the dark comedy, gallows humor kind of way, I like when she’s meta-funny about dramaland and about her own repertoire to boot. The pearl-clutching reaction to The Gay just cracked me up. It was a hilarious way to break the tension between the two guys too, because after Jae-min’s initial reaction to the engagement, their meeting had me on pins and needles.
I like that Jae-min is a little warier than everyone else. I don’t think he’s heartbroken in the way of icky feelings that he’s not supposed to have or something, but he’s clearly protective and worried and going to put Seo-yeon before his friend, like an oppa always will. They’re also much closer than a normal set of cousins, so it might be compounded with a sense of loss, like marrying away your best friend leaves you a little sad despite being overwhelmingly happy. I like that there’s room for his sadness and that it’s open to interpretation.
My confidence in Ji-hyung’s strength is growing – there’s something about the little things he does, like the way he wipes away Seo-yeon’s tears, that for some reason makes me stop and think twice about the kind of man he is. I’m just glad that he’s not a waffler when it counts.
What I love about the turning point (the panic attack in the car) is that it’s just traumatic enough to push her over the edge and screw pride, and just admit that she needs help. There’s no denying it anymore when she’s panicked and scared and alone, and then once she makes the decision to lean on him, there’s no going back. I feel confident that lest she forget, she’s not going to go back on letting him into her life.
Most of all, I love that she’s embracing the chance to be happy, for what little time she has. For the first time she sounds hopeful of what the future holds, and though it’s just a break in the clouds, her happiness in the moment feels like it’s enough to carry her, and us, through.
- Thousand Day Promise: Episode 10
- Thousand Day Promise: Episode 9
- Thousand Day Promise: Episode 8
- Thousand Day Promise: Episode 7
- Thousand Day Promise: Episode 6
- Thousand Day Promise: Episode 5
- Thousand Day Promise: Episode 4
- Thousand Day Promise: Episode 3
- Thousand Day Promise: Episode 2
- Thousand Day Promise: Episode 1
- Thousand Day Promise’s poster and trailer