Thousand Day Promise: Episode 14
Just when you think this couple has finally achieved a measure of peace and reconciliation, new developments arise and rock their world, just a little further. As if they could take any more of the shaking. And with the news come additional conflicts to challenge this couple. As soon as they’ve gotten on the same page, there they are on opposite sides again.
SONG OF THE DAY
Top Cloud – “지워야 산다” (I have to forget to live) [ Download ]
EPISODE 14 RECAP
On the morning of the wedding, Hyang-gi gets ready to leave the house for a change. She finds her parents in the workout room, and her mother proceeds to speculate that she’s going to go to some cafe with sentimental memories, where she’ll bawl out her eyes over her lost groom. Mom says she’s thankful to Ji-hyung, in fact, and wants to bow down in gratitude for calling off the engagement. The thought is so backwards that it’s kind of hilarious — like, Thanks for showing us you’re a jerk… to make up for the fact that you were a jerk in the first place.
Hyang-gi tells her mother that she’s the wrong one in this scenario for thinking solely of herself. She reminds Mom that she and “Ajumma” (Ji-hyung’s mother) have been friends for 40 years, and yet she hasn’t once thought of how painful this must be for her: “You’re not Ajumma’s friend. It’s so strange. You seem like a bad person. And if you’re a bad person, it makes me ashamed.”
Mom says that Ji-hyung leaving her for an Alzheimer’s patient is too much of a blow to the pride. Hyang-gi counters, “Is your pride more important than your friend’s unhappiness?” I half-expect Mom to retort, “Well, duh. It’s MY pride, and HER unhappiness.” But no, Mom gets offended and starts after her daughter, while Dad holds her back and urges Hyang-gi to go.
Mom stews, calling Hyang-gi an idiot, and Dad tells her that being pure doesn’t equal being stupid. He’s never thought of Hyang-gi as dumb.
The newlyweds follow their wedding ceremony with a plane ride to their honeymoon, while the groom’s family stays home, just waiting out the day. Ji-hyung’s father works in his home office, but a perturbed glance at the clock shows that he’s not totally uncaring of the fact that his son just got married and he didn’t bother going. At least I’m guessing that’s what that look means; the show’s got to do a lot more to convince me he actually has a heart capable of regretful feeling.
Ji-hyung’s aunt frets that she should’ve at least gone to the wedding, but she was mindful of his dad’s wrath, plus Mom stopped her from going. Mom replies that she can understand Dad’s reaction, and that they should respect how he feels. She says that even though he didn’t spend much time with Ji-hyung because of his work, he was generous by not showing his disappointment when Ji-hyung decided not to go to medical school and chose architecture instead. Pshhhhh. I literally just snorted so loud my cat fell off the desk. These people, I swear. Are they really human? Or maybe it’s just that their settings are calibrated to human-oid.
Architect Alex puts in a call to Mom to report that the wedding went off well and the couple is headed on their honeymoon. He says the bride was beautiful and it would’ve been nice if Ji-hyung’s parents had been there to see it, but adds that the couple was “briefly teary” at their absence.
Ji-hyung and Seo-yeon land and head to their beachside resort, and Seo-yeon says she wants to see the ocean today, “because it might not be there tomorrow.” Mood dampened at that constant reminder, Ji-hyung says the ocean won’t go anywhere and she apologizes, saying that she’s in a strange down mood. He says it’s because she’s tired and she agrees, telling him that she must be coming down from the stress.
She kisses him with a smile, but as her thoughts turn inward, her voice gets hard and scary:
Seo-yeon (voiceover): “That’s not it. Starting a while back, I suddenly felt angry, so much it made me want to die. Why me? Why did I have to get stuck with this? If this could happen to anyone, why did that anyone have to be me? What am I doing right now? What am I doing with this man?”
Ji-hyung breaks into that thought, commenting that it’s been exactly a year since their relationship began. She laughs over the memory of staying cooped up in a hotel room, uneasy at the thought of being labeled a man-stealer. Aside from the times they’d been washing up or eating, they’d spent most of their time in bed. He adds, “Because we were crazed.”
Hyang-gi ends up going to Ajumma’s house bearing flowers, saying she guessed she could used the consolation. Aunt gapes at her, as though wondering, Who created this girl? (Even more shocking is the answer to that question.) Ji-hyung’s mother says the consolation is working, and Hyang-gi’s pleased with that and hugs her, saying that she feels sympatico with her. Mom says she understands.
They go out for a walk, and Hyang-gi sympathizes with Ji-hyung’s mother, recalling how stunned she felt when she the wedding was first called off, and again when she heard he was getting married, and again when she found out the bride was ailing. But now she feels more at ease, after realizing that she couldn’t compete against the other woman, and seeing “what kind of love Oppa was in.”
She adds that she feels so sorry for Seo-yeon’s situation, and wishes she were her unni. Seeing Mom’s reaction, Hyang-gi smiles: “This is why my mother calls me moron, I’ll bet.”
The newlyweds settle into their extravagant honeymoon suite (a wedding gift) and put in a call to Seo-yeon’s aunt, who’s thrilled to hear from her. The call gets cut short by Myung-hee’s entrance, as she’s wincing in pain from a stomachache. Just as I’m gearing up to make a joke about what goes around comes around, her mother does it for me: “You’re being punished.” Not just for her general pissiness, but for carping all day long about the wedding, the bride’s old-fashioned gown, the groom’s appearance, and on and on.
Myung-hee retorts, “I was just speaking honestly.” It makes her feel better to say that at least she didn’t marry a groom whose family didn’t bother to show up, and Mom counters that her husband’s mother wasn’t all that fond of her, either. Myung-hee glares, and Mom says innocently, “What? I was just speaking honestly.” Ha. She adds, “What do the two of us have going for us aside from honesty?” Okay, that cracks me up.
Ji-hyung escorts Seo-yeon down for their honeymoon dinner, marveling at how grand she looks. She says that her clothes are wings, and he counters, “No, add wings to a pig and you still have a pig.” That’s cute.
She tells him that she’d planned this moment, picking out clothes to wow him. But his happy smile fades when she tells him to remember how she looks tonight, because if he forgets, her efforts were in vain. Aw, what a kicker.
She poses for photos with her handbag, blowing kisses, and making arm-hearts at Ji-hyung. Then he does the same. It’s pretty damn cute.
They have dinner and toast with a repeat of their vows (“I love you.” “Thank you for accepting me”). Seo-yeon says this is a welcome change from the affair, and lists all the precautions they had to take, and all the ways that made her feel left behind and lonely.
He apologizes, but she says it doesn’t matter now: “You’re mine 24 hours a day, I can hold your hand anywhere, and there’s no place we can’t go.”
He sits by her and smiles lovingly and tells her he loves her. She wants to eat quickly and go back to the room, which makes him tease, “And do what?” But she says, “Throw up. My insides feel all churned up.”
She vomits in the bathroom, then chalks it up to fatigue. Tiredness makes her nauseous, and she’s been feeling queasy since they started traveling.
An employee drops by with Seo-yeon’s purse, which she’d left in the bathroom. While Ji-hyung showers, she calls Jae-min, and I don’t know if it makes me happy or sad when she tells him, “I’m here on my honeymoon but I thought of you, Oppa.” She says lightly that she’s going to “fire” Ji-hyung since he didn’t notice she’d left her purse behind — she can’t have her caregiver being as senile as she is.
She hangs up as Ji-hyung joins her, but gags when another bout of nausea hits her. She lurches for the bathroom, this time clutching her head, and Ji-hyung worriedly rushes to her side. She says she’s fine, that it was just a momentary spell, but he watches over her in concern as she sleeps that night.
Seo-yeon feels better the next day as they head out to the beach and she recites passages from novels, although she forgets one in the middle of a line. But the wave of dizziness hits her again, and she attributes it to anemia.
The brief spell passes, and they spend the afternoon taking snapshots until she gets tired.
Hyang-gi’s mother comes to see Ji-hyung’s mother, for once her voice kind and gentle rather than that banshee shrill we’ve gotten used to. She says with genuine concern that she’s worried about Ji-hyung’s mother, admitting that when she gets worked up she can get harsh with her words; her husband calls her a “crazy plow.” That’s an apt description, which makes me laugh at the image of her churning up the soil in crazed motions, chewing up everything in her path.
Hyang-gi’s mother says that once she stopped and thought about it (which, granted, took her a while), she realized that the groom’s family had it worse, and commiserates with her plight of having a dementia patient for a daughter-in-law: “You’ll want to die.” Glad to see her flair for the dramatic is untouched. Ji-hyung’s mother says it’s not to that extent.
Hyang-gi’s mother apologizes for overreacting and promises she’ll be better. You’ve gotta love that even in her well-meaning olive-branch gesture, she’s blind to how she’s offending Ji-hyung’s mother with all the talk of how miserable she must feel, how her son is crazy, and how he’s doomed his own life. She tells Ji-hyung’s mother that they’re not just friends in name and that she sincerely feels for her, and to forget what she said about making her husband resign from the hospital. The sentiment is nice, but Ji-hyung’s mother’s answers are short.
She surprises Hyang-gi’s mother by saying she wants her husband to quit, because it has become clear that their relationship is skewed in the power department, and that Hyang-gi’s mother sees them as lower status than herself: “I want him to quit, and for our relationship to return to being equals.”
Hyang-gi’s mother protests that she is devoted to her friend, but Ji-hyung’s mother replies that the instant her friend ordered her husband to quit, she’d decided she wouldn’t see her anymore. She’s put up with a lot from Hyang-gi’s mother, holding back and only seeing her friend’s positive traits, so she entreats her friend not to ruin a 40-year-relationship.
Hyang-gi’s mother replies that it’s not just Ji-hyung’s mother who’s been holding back — that she’s done her fair share of biting her tongue, too (unbelievable, but true). That it’s plain as day when Ji-hyung’s mother looks down at her and thinks judgmentally, “Oh, what a snob she is.”
On the other hand, the dads have a calmer heart-to-heart in the sauna, with Ji-hyung’s father telling his friend that he would’ve been able to just accept and put it behind him if not for his wife. And because she wants him to quit the hospital, he’ll do it — because she still respects him and he doesn’t want to disappoint her, “even though it’s not like I’ve been such an outstanding husband.” Wow, is he actually a little bit self-aware? Not that it makes him any more likable, but it’s funny that he’s at his most candid and least prideful in front of his friend, whereas it’s like he’s got to maintain his front with his own family.
Seo-yeon gags again at lunch, so Ji-hyung insists on taking her to the hospital. She resists, saying it’s unnecessary since she’s just feeling the side effects of her medication. He can’t be sure that that’s it and is too uneasy to let it go, so he declares that if she doesn’t listen to him, he’s going to give her the silent treatment. And then he ruins that threat by adding that Architect Alex gave him the marital advice to start strong from Day 1 of the marriage, which makes her smile because it’s so unexpectedly cute.
Off to the hospital they go. Seo-yeon pouts, thinking this is going to just make the doctors annoyed with them, but he’s adamant that they go and not care about that. The doctor who checks her in guesses right away that she may be pregnant based on her symptoms — he’s an obstetrician — but that thought spooks Seo-yeon, who leaves the hospital before getting examined. She argues that it makes no sense based on the timing (they’d broken up months ago, and only married yesterday), declaring that she’s just going to pick up some digestive aids, and that’s that.
Turns out she picks up more than just that, because the next thing we know, she’s looking aghast at a pregnancy test, which shows two positive little lines. She wraps it well and throws it away, not telling Ji-hyung about it.
Next it’s Hyang-gi’s father’s turn to come to see Ji-hyung’s mother, asking her to help him convince her husband not to quit his job. He bows his head and apologizes to her.
She’s forgotten whether or not she remembered to call her brother after arriving, so she calls him now and chats about the basics: The weather’s cold, she’s happy, Ji-hyung’s treating her like a queen. But all the while she’s battling tears, and after hanging up she breaks down, angry at herself for forgetting her own brother.
That night, she takes another pregnancy test, which also comes out positive. When she joins Ji-hyung in bed, she tells him about the test, and how her illness must have been affecting her for a long time before she realized it, because she can’t recall when she stopped taking her birth control, or when her last period was. She says in that resigned voice that other newlyweds would like this news, and he touches her face and says, “I like it. Is it okay if I’m happy about it? Are you not?”
She tells him she can’t take care of a baby with dementia, and he says she can do it with help. She argues, what if she lets it drop over a balcony, or drowns it accidentally in the bath? He tells her not to fixate on the worst-case scenario, but she argues that she can’t be a mother who doesn’t know her child — she couldn’t do that to a baby. She says that if it’s true, they’ll have to abort. Turning away from him, she says, “I’m sorry. I’m your nightmare.”
The next day in the hospital, Seo-yeon gets an ultrasound and hears her baby’s heartbeat, confirming that she’s eight weeks pregnant. As she lies on the table, she hears Ji-hyung’s words: “It’s hard for me to give this up. I want another you. But the decision is yours. I’ll follow your decision.”
Next, they consult with Seo-yeon’s regular doctor, who agrees with Seo-yeon’s decision because the pregnancy will add stress to the patient. However, if she decides to go forward with it, she’ll have to discontinue her medication for the safety of the child. That’s enough to get Ji-hyung to change his mind on the spot, since Seo-yeon’s safety comes first.
But it has the converse effect on Seo-yeon, who changes her mind as well: “I want to have the baby.” Ji-hyung protests, but she says the medication doesn’t seem to be working anyway.
They take the argument outside, where he emphasizes, “But you’d have to stop your medication” and she yells back, “Its heart was beating!” She says it sounded like the baby was talking to her, asking her not to get rid of it. Ji-hyung says that there’s nothing more important that keeping her with him for as long as possible. I guess it shouldn’t be funny, but there’s a touch of black humor in the way they both use the same argument: “How can you flip-flop so easily?”
She tells him that her decision changed is because she can’t go through with it after all, and that she’s curious to know why of all the women out there, this child had to happen to a woman with Alzheimer’s. Ji-hyung’s frustrated retort: “What do you mean, why? You slept with me.” Ha, another moment that shouldn’t be funny but is.
Ji-hyung’s mother comes over to the newlywed pad to greet the couple, and gives some motherly advice to Seo-yeon about remembering that she’s dealing with a huge unhappiness hand-in-hand with a big happiness. It’s a reminder to not tilt too far in either direction, which I think is more apt that she knows.
Mom adds that as a mother, she finds it difficult to think this way, but that as person to person, woman to woman, she can’t dislike her son’s actions. She urges her to make the most of her time being happy while she can: “I hope you’ll make him happy, my son who says that nothing has meaning without you.”
Mom hands over a gift, which includes the only thing she had prepared for a future daughter-in-law, a ring, in addition to some of Mom’s own jewelry.
That night, the couple gets into a full-on, shouty fight about her decision. This time he’s throwing her own words at her (she can’t care for a baby), just as she’s throwing his (they’ll get help). She tells him that not having the baby was a decision she made for his benefit: “Having it is for me!”
She cries that she wants to have the baby, wants to look it in the eye and laugh. And now it spills out: “The mother who abandoned me is living, healthy. They say the probability of passing on the disease isn’t that high. Its heart was beating, you stubborn man!”
The fight leaves him and Ji-hyung grabs her in an embrace, and she sobs.
Oy, this couple. They couldn’t just let them be happy a little before the impending doom, could they? They had to throw us another, even more heartbreaking wrench to topple the tentative peace they’ve made with their future.
This conflict stirs up some meaty issues, because before it was man versus nature, Seo-yeon in a race against time to make the most of her lucid days. Everyone was, for the most part, on the same page: Everyone wanted Seo-yeon to take her medication and be herself for as long as possible. Now, however, you’re pitting Seo-yeon’s desire to have the baby against Ji-hyung’s desire to keep her alive. Those aren’t mutually exclusive conditions — having the baby isn’t a death sentence — but he’s so scared of losing any time with her that he won’t give up the one thing he does have, and that’s the hope in the medicine. Without it, they’ve got no last line of defense against the disease.
But Seo-yeon wants the baby, and how do you argue with that? It’s a question I’ve pondered since Scent of a Woman raised a similar one, of whether the sick person is always right, and whether those around her are just supposed to bend, no matter what. Because she’s got them all beat on the My Life Sucks front, and therefore that’s her prerogative to tell or keep secrets, to take her medicine or not, to give up treatment or keep going.
I agree that it’s her choice, although it doesn’t stop my heart from pinching whenever her loved ones are hurt because of it. I confess I’ve started to feel upset with Seo-yeon every time she does that thing of stating her condition in the harshest, most wince-inducing way possible. I chafe, even as I recognize that she has the right to deal with her condition as she wishes, in whatever way works for her. But it’s almost cruel, her way of speaking. It’s not that she’s unaware that her brother, cousin, or husband are hurt; it’s like she does it on purpose, like the way she talks to Ji-hyung about the hard fate he has ahead of him. It feels like she’s rubbing his nose in his choice to stick with her, as though reminding him daily of the pain to come somehow prepares him for the pain better. Rather than, say, trying to focus on the good that’s here now while it’s here.
Ji-hyung points out that she seems to like using that word “adultery,” and I agree — it’s like she purposely says things in their harshest form, like using offense as defense. In that way she’s a porcupine of a character; she’s not as outwardly aggressive as Eun-jo in Cinderella’s Sister, for example, but she comes from the same branch of “Don’t hurt me — I won’t let you” and “If I say it first, you have no power to hurt me.” It’s interesting from a character analysis standpoint, but a little exhausting to watch as a viewer.
- Thousand Day Promise: Episode 13
- 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