Thousand Day Promise: Episode 13
It’s time for the wedding, as happy days thankfully continue. I’ve begun to feel like Seo-yeon when it comes to this drama – I count each happy episode and cheery moment as a blessing, and I’m thankful for the time I have, because I know the sadness that’s to come. But for as long as we can stretch this time, I want to enjoy every second of it.
EPISODE 13 RECAP
Wedding preparations are underway, as Seo-yeon finishes out her workweek before the big day. Moon-kwon calls from the new apartment to tell her that he’s settled in the rest of their stuff (I love that she moves her little brother into the new house too), and Aunt adorably mimes a big heart over her head to remind him that she was told they picked a very fortunate wedding day and that they’ll spend a hundred years together.
As she leaves work, in voiceover she goes over her wedding plans, and all the things she’s doing for the first time ever, like getting a facial or her nails done. She says that an amazing manuscript came into the office the other day, but she declined to work on it, with the excuse that she is now going to focus on her own writing. She then promptly went to the bathroom and cried as she washed her face.
Ugh, that breaks me up, that she had to turn down work that she would love, for fear she’d lose her mind before it was done. I hope her excuse (which she describes as ridiculous) actually happens, and that she writes this all down before it’s too late.
She continues, saying that she has decided to live and do as Ji-hyung wants now. She no longer rides the bus or the subway, at his insistence. She had said the cost was wasteful, but he had yelled, upset, that she was the only thing worth anything to him. With a smile on her face, she thinks, “I now take taxis, and the waste of money burns me up inside.”
She runs into Aunt just outside the door, floating away on a cloud of happiness at all the wedding prep, even laughing at how many times Uncle nagged her not to cry at the ceremony and embarrass everyone. She turns to go with a skip in her step, but then remembers that she wanted to ask Seo-yeon about her mother – should she be told about the wedding?
Seo-yeon says no without hesitation, and Aunt is happy to agree with her that she feels the same way, but just wanted to be sure. But as she packs for her honeymoon, the question comes back to the surface, and Seo-yeon repeats her answer out loud: “It’s not necessary,” again and again.
Ji-hyung heads for home after a haircut and gets a text from Hyang-gi, asking for ten minutes of his time. If this were any other circumstance, I’d say he’s crazy for meeting her, but considering how very recently he was about to walk her down the aisle, I don’t think it’s that crazy.
He meets her for coffee and she says she heard from his mother that he’s getting married soon. He tells her it’s tomorrow. It’s sort of crushing how she just says, “It’s really soon.” She says it’s good timing then, since it’d be weird to say these things to a married man.
She tells him that on the day of their wedding, she waited for him and held out hope till the very end of the day. But when his mother told her that he was getting married, it finally sank in. She says that she’s spent her whole life never once wishing for anything or being envious of anyone else, but for the first time, she finds herself so envious of the other woman.
She doesn’t mean any of this with any malice; it’s just the truth about the kind of person Hyang-gi is. She says that baby ducks open their eyes when they’re born, and then the first thing they see, they follow around their whole lives thinking that it’s Mom. She says she was a baby duck who followed Oppa around blindly. It infuriates me that this is who she is, but I also find it admirable that she knows this about herself. She calls herself “A stupid baby duck,” even to this day, and confesses it’ll take her a long time to get over him.
Then with tears in her eyes, she asks that if they should run into each other somewhere, even if he’s with “her,” not to pretend that he doesn’t see her. Gah, there’s something about that request that kills me. It usually goes the opposite way – when you break up you hang onto your pride and you tell the other person to pretend not to know you. It strikes me that where Seo-yeon is all pride, Hyang-gi is zero pride, and though at times it sounds a little pathetic, it’s also amazingly vulnerable and truthful.
Ji-hyung apologizes, saying that he wanted to keep from hurting her, but this is how things ended up. “No… this is how I did things.” That change, when he goes over what he said from this is what happened to I did this, satisfies my need to hear him own up to his choices.
Hyang-gi tells him to wish “her” congratulations, and as they say goodbye, she even offers up congratulations to him as well. He tells her that she doesn’t need to, but she says that she doesn’t like him not being happy. “Congratulations. Be happy.” And then she adds with a smile, “When I wake up tomorrow, I’ll have to transform from a baby duck to a mama duck.” Aw.
At home, Seo-yeon unpacks and organizes things, and stops to take her meds, only when she’s ready to swallow them, she looks down and sees that her hand is empty. She manages to locate her pills, and then gets an alarm message from herself: “Put the rice on, Lee Seo-yeon.” Is it just me, or does she talk down to herself a little?
She calls Ji-hyung just as he’s arriving downstairs, so she adorably runs to brush her teeth and then waits for him by the elevator. Aw, I love the birth of Cute Seo-yeon. The elevator doors pop open, and she cutesies, “Kakoong!” like you’d do to a baby, only there’s a neighbor grandma inside. Ha.
Grandma stares at her like she’s crazy, and Ji-hyung sheepishly explains that it’s his wife, which makes the granny smile and say they must be happy. Aw. He teases her for the outburst of cuteness, and then she forgets the lock code on their door. He takes it totally in stride and gives her the first number, and lets her figure out the rest.
After kisses and getting back to the rice, Ji-hyung tells her about meeting Hyang-gi. Seo-yeon pretends not to care, “So?” and Ji-hyung relays the congratulations message. She wonders if she ought to believe it, and he says that Hyang-gi is a sweet person, meaning she means what she says.
Seo-yeon: “Ah, I should be sorry. If I think about it, I am a little sorry. But… you were mine to begin with.”
Moon-kwon comes home and announces that he’ll be spending the next few days pulling some extra late-night shifts at work, because of a death in the manager’s family. Seo-yeon nags him about sacrificing school for work, and he teases her not to nag like a mom, otherwise Ji-hyung will get tired of her.
She in turn whines to Ji-hyung to help convince Moon-kwon to drop the job. It’s so nice to watch them be a family, and to see how helpful it is to have Ji-hyung as a buffer. Now it’s even more like mom and dad and son, which just makes me happy, I don’t know why.
Over dinner, Seo-yeon wonders if she ought to call his mother, to at least apologize. She feels bad that she swore up and down she wouldn’t do this very thing, and here she is. He suggests she call from the honeymoon, and she laughs, “Mother, what’s done is done?” He smiles, “Yes.” That’s terrible, and yet, I’m laughing.
Jae-min comes by bearing housewarming gifts and champagne, and tells Seo-yeon that this house suits her, basically saying it’s what she’s deserved all this time. She beams.
Ji-hyung’s mother braces herself for the conversation she has to have with her husband. He’s in no forgiving mood, but seeing as how the wedding is tomorrow, it’s pretty much now or never. She tells him everything – about the wedding and about Seo-yeon’s Alzheimer’s.
Dad freaks out, of course, calling Ji-hyung crazy and Seo-yeon all manner of terrible things, like she’s a golddigging hussy. Mom, despite being heartbroken about losing her son and not being able to stop him, defends Seo-yeon. She reminds Dad that they are doctors, who treat patients. Dad barks back at her not to lecture him. A real prince, this guy.
In tears, Mom says that Ji-hyung has made his choice, that despite being crazy, for him it’s love, and all he sees is Seo-yeon. “He asked me to let him go,” she says, like it’s breaking her heart all over again. She cries that he’s happy now, and she’s given up. She pleads with Dad to give up too.
Mom screams, “The choice, and the consequences, are his to bear!” It’s mind-blowingly earnest and admirable and sad, the way she disagrees with Ji-hyung’s choice, and yet respects it. I’ve almost never seen a k-drama parent respect her child’s decision as if he were (gasp) an adult.
Dad is, suffice it to say, not quite so evolved. He spends most of the time worrying about himself and what this’ll do to his relationship with Hyang-gi’s parents. Go figure. Even Ji-hyung’s aunt chimes in to bark at her brother-in-law, and gripe for him to stop thinking of Ji-hyung as his accessory and his possession.
As they unpack Ji-hyung’s things, Seo-yeon brings up money, feeling bad that she’s coming into this marriage penniless. He tells her he’s got lots, which she knows is untrue, but he swears he has more than she thinks, and offers to fill her account with some money from Mom for her to buy new clothes.
She says she’s going to spend it all on clothes and bags and shoes to her heart’s content, and he agrees wholeheartedly. Okay, where can I get one of him? She says that when the money comes from selling her apartment, she’s going to put some away for Moon-kwon, and save the rest for her hospital bills. He tells her that he’ll take care of the hospital bills, so she can put it all away for Moon-kwon. Aw.
Seo-yeon: Promise me that you’ll love me tomorrow more than today.
Ji-hyung: I said it this morning. Didn’t you get my text?
Seo-yeon: I don’t remember it. Say it again.
Ji-hyung: I will love you tomorrow, more than today. I will love you tomorrow ten times as much as I love you today. And the day after, twenty times.
Seo-yeon: Just say “more.” At ten, twenty, you’ll get to a million, ten million.
Ji-hyung: Wanna shower?
Seo-yeon: Yes, before bed.
Ji-hyung: It’s our first night.
Seo-yeon: It’s always our first night. Because there might not be a tomrrow.
How can one conversation be sweet, sexy, and heartbreaking all at once?
Ji-hyung’s parents spend a long while suspended in silence, and then drive over to see Hyang-gi’s parents. On the way, Dad gripes at Seo-yeon for not really loving Ji-hyung enough to be a noble idiot and run off somewhere far away. Wow, this guy so well encapsulates everything I find hateful and ridiculous, it’s comical.
Mom steps up to defend Seo-yeon as well-mannered and well-spoken, and adds that if she had run away, Ji-hyung would’ve gone crazy searching the globe until he found her. She sighs, “If I had Alzheimer’s, you’d run away, wouldn’t you?” He literally has no answer for that. Damn, that silence is cold.
She continues, “But if you had Alzheimer’s, I don’t think I could run. I guess Ji-hyung takes after me.” Dad: “Are you just now figuring that out?”
They arrive and Hyang-gi’s dad greets them with chitchat enough for his wife to call him an ajumma for his incessant chatter. Ha. She then of course chatters on herself about how Hyang-gi is infuriatingly still mopey, and how she wishes she could beat the stupidity out of her. This lady is hilarious.
Ji-hyung’s dad stumbles over how to deliver the news, and so Mom takes the reins and drops the bomb: that Ji-hyung has been seeing someone for a year, and that he’s getting married tomorrow. Oh crap. I’m watching through my fingers.
Hyang-gi’s mom loses her shit, but the first thing she does is turn to her husband to gloat in the I-told-you-so, calling herself supernatural for her uncanny insight into the big Why. I love that she has the brain space to be self-satisfied first.
And then of course she launches into venomous words, declaring that they are no longer friends, and that Ji-hyung’s dad can go ahead and resign from his job now. Her husband attempts to tell her that she’s not the one who decides such things, but yeah, that goes about as well as expected.
In between her shrieks, Ji-hyung’s mom tries to tell them that there’s more to be said, and finally has to just toss it out because Hyang-gi’s mom is so beside herself and refuses to listen to any more. She tells them about the Alzheimer’s.
More shock, and then Hyang-gi’s mom: “Do you mean to tell me that Hyang-gi got dumped for a DEMENTIA PATIENT?” I’m sorry, but that cracks me up. Why is this so funny? It’s like to her, all she can see is that her moron daughter got dumped for someone dumber than her, which makes no sense and just infuriates her on principal. It’s hysterical.
But Ji-hyung’s mom has finally had enough, especially in the way that Hyang-gi’s mom dangles her husband’s job around and makes them feel pathetic. She gets up and declares that they’re leaving. That’s it, Mom rocks.
Hyang-gi downs half a bottle of wine in one shot and reaches for more, as Mom comes tearing up to her door, screaming. She announces that Ji-hyung is getting married, and to a dementia patient at that, and I shudder to think if this were the first time Hyang-gi was hearing about this at all.
But the dementia is news to her, and she rushes to let Mom in to find out more. Mom confirms that the other woman has Alzheimer’s, and bless Hyang-gi’s little heart, she cries for Seo-yeon, thinking how bad she feels for her.
“I think I get it now, why I liked Oppa so much. In some way, Oppa and I ended up alike. I could love like that. I could do that too.” Auugh, she’s killing me. But it only brings Mom to a boil, and she just lets out a big scream in response.
Ji-hyung’s mother cries all the way home, and Dad tells her it’s simple – they’ll just pretend like they never had a son. Oh, okay then. She wonders how he could be so cold to his own flesh and blood, and cries at the road that Ji-hyung will have to face. She wonders how a forty-year friendship could dissolve like that too, and tells her husband to quit. Despite the hysteria inherent in Hyang-gi’s mom, I do feel bad for the dissolution of their friendship.
Aunt tosses and turns the night before the wedding, unable to sleep a wink. She finally goes out to the kitchen to pour herself a glass of soju, as she talks aloud to her dead brother. She sheds a tear as she proudly tells him that Seo-yeon is getting married, and that she and Moon-kwon don’t have much, but they’ve grown up well. She wonders why she misses him and wants to see him so much today. It’s a great scene, just quiet and ordinary, that reminds us of the connection that Aunt had with Seo-yeon’s father.
At the same time, Jae-min sits up in bed, unable to sleep. He goes over it in his head – Seo-yeon’s insistence that she wouldn’t give in to Ji-hyung, that she wasn’t that far gone yet, and then her subsequent surrender, saying that she gave in to the devil on her shoulder who told her to be happy.
He comes to the kitchen and finds Mom fully bawling, half a bottle of soju in, head in her hands. She cries as she tells her brother that he can stretch his legs and rest now, all the while wishing she could see him again.
Jae-min asks if she’s okay, startling her. She smiles up at him, and in her trademark way, immediately switches gears to happy-go-lucky Silly Mom, and laughs that she’s just getting all her tears out now, so that she doesn’t cry tomorrow at the wedding, as Dad has declared it would be embarrassing. She’s so cute.
Jae-min joins her for a drink, and then gulps down another shot before heading back to bed. He thinks back to a different conversation with Seo-yeon on the swings. This is a new flashback to a conversation we haven’t witnessed before.
Seo-yeon says that she’s most sorry to Aunt, who raised her and Moon-kwon with such love. She asks if he remembers the Egg Incident. Jae-min: “Two pieces, three pieces?” She laughs, “Yeah.”
She recalls how Aunt gave Myung-hee two pieces and Seo-yeon three, and Myung-hee freaked out and didn’t speak to her for a month. Ha. That sounds like her. Seo-yeon sighs that she’s of the age where she should be supporting Aunt and making her happy, but her fate…
She says that when Aunt got cancer, she thought that it was because of her, and Moon-kwon, the stress of taking them on. Jae-min reminds her that it was caused by her decades spent working at a hair salon and has nothing to do with her.
Seo-yeon tells him that she wants to keep the truth from her for just two more years, until she’s in remission. She wonders if she’ll be able to manage it that long, musing that she’s already lost her way home twice.
Back in the present, Seo-yeon can’t sleep either, and gets out of bed to sit alone with her thoughts. In voiceover she says:
Seo-yeon: Who was it that said that life is but a stage, and that we are merely the players? I am but an Alzheimer’s patient. One man is marrying me because he feels pity, and I am to be happy. In some moments of happiness, I do not lose myself, and play the happy part. But… as I do, I think… what am I doing to this man?
Ji-hyung comes out and interrupts her thoughts. She tells him that she has to call his mother, that she has to do it now. He dials on his phone. Mom answers expecting Ji-hyung, but Seo-yeon greets her on the other end of the line.
She tells Mom very plainly that she did not keep her promise, and apologizes. Mom: “It’s my child’s choice, so what can I do? I have no ill feelings towards you.” She asks to speak to Ji-hyung. She asks how wedding prep has gone, and tells him that they’ve told Hyang-gi’s family everything, and that she feels lighter after telling them the truth.
Mom: You’re having the wedding that you want, so I should congratulate you, but the words aren’t easy. Do your best until the very end. Don’t let your heart change, and don’t make her sad. Have her listen to her doctor, and take her medication on time. Spend lots of time with her. Love her, love her more, and love her endlessly. If you don’t, it’ll be too hard for you, and for her.
*Sniff, sniff… Waaaaaah*
Mom’s love is the most heartbreaking of all. With tears, he holds Seo-yeon close. Seo-yeon: “I love you. Thank you. I’m sorry.”
Wedding day. They forego most traditions and Ji-hyung walks her down the aisle himself. She looks beautiful, of course. He’s… kind of rocking a pompadour, but I rather like it compared to his super sappy bowl hair of late.
Their vows are simple: “I love you. Thank you for accepting me.” Family and friends cheer as they seal it with a kiss.
Aw, yay for the wedding, going through without a hitch. I rather like that it’s not a super dramatic one, and that we don’t have people storming in to either bless or curse them. It would almost be too pat if Ji-hyung’s mom came around fast enough to show up at the ceremony, and I much prefer her words to Ji-hyung over the phone. They feel more earnest than a one-day turnaround. I like that we don’t spend too much drama time on the wedding itself, because the lead-up to it is actually the more interesting part, and I really enjoyed the various characters’ night before, as they each contemplate the big change ahead.
The show doesn’t take pains to over-draw the parallels in the generations, but Aunt’s conversation with her dead brother made me realize that in that one family, there’s three noona-dongseng relationships – Aunt and Seo-yeon’s dad, Myung-hee and Jae-min, and Seo-yeon and Moon-kwon. Her brief words to her brother made me realize how much they must’ve been like Seo-yeon and Moon-kwon, and why she loves those kids as her own. The Egg Incident story got me in the heart too, both in the way that Seo-yeon and Jae-min laugh over it now, and how it illustrates in the most mundane way that Aunt loves her.
It continues to be the family relationships that are the most striking in this drama. It’s not really about some kind of all-consuming self-sacrificing love between a man and a woman. It’s really about family, and how the meaning can be so vastly different from person to person. Ji-hyung’s father can disown him without a moment’s pause, while Seo-yeon’s aunt loves her like her own, maybe more. Hyang-gi’s mom can’t understand how different her daughter could be from herself which infuriates her, while Ji-hyung’s mom is heartbroken to realize how much her son is just like her. The highlights of this episode were definitely the two mothers – Ji-hyung’s mom and Seo-yeon’s aunt – who are as different as night and day, but share the same maternal love, for not just one of the kids, but the pair of them, which is such a nice refreshing change from the norm.
- Thousand Day Promise: Episode 12
- Thousand Day Promise: Episode 11
- 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