Drama Recaps
Queen In-hyun’s Man: Episode 16 (Final)
by | June 12, 2012 | 572 Comments

This is a show unafraid to explore the darkest parts of itself, taking us down to the depths of separation and emotionally gutting us in the best and most frightening of ways, so that the payoff has never felt more earned or deserved. In short, this episode is like running through an emotional obstacle course backward and blind, and it’s AWESOME. But also terrifying. Yet poignant. But mostly terrifying. Queen In-hyun’s Man, what have you done to me?


One year has passed. Soo-kyung and Hee-jin are in the midst of a move, though Soo-kyung’s doing most of the heavy lifting while Hee-jin pesters her from the salon, getting dolled up for a poster shoot.

She gets a call from her director asking her to do some narration work for a documentary program entitled Untold Stories of History, and more specifically for a special segment called Queen In-hyun’s Man. Hee-jin is clueless as to the meaning, and is curious that the show will be exploring a rumor she’s never heard of – that Queen In-hyun had a secret lover.

The segment is being pushed forward because of new evidence discovered a month prior, which seems to wash over Hee-jin as unimportant even as she accepts. It seems safe to say that Hee-jin has lost her memories of Boong-do, and this evidence raises some red flags – could it be Boong-do’s letter?

Hee-jin gives the documentary notes a cursory read on the ride home, curious that none of this was mentioned in her drama script. It delves into the rumors surrounding the Queen and Boong-do, a name that prompts her to say aloud: “Kim Boong-do?” She doesn’t recognize it.

Soo-kyung comes home to find Hee-jin engrossed in the notes, eager to share the juicy story she’s reading. She tells what we all know – that Boong-do was thought to have an illicit affair with the Queen, was interrogated, and died – though not long after, he was cleared of his charges. In the Annals, his passing is noted as a wrongful death due to unfounded slander.

However, the documentary tackles what supposedly happened after, with a prime minister’s recently-discovered memorandum revealing a Boong-do sighting one year after he was considered deceased.

Flash back to 1695 and the minister in question, Nam Gu-man. An accidental brush with Boong-do sends our scholar running Minister Nam’s men chase him to the inn where he’s been staying, always packed and ready to flee. He evades capture but leaves behind a book, which they deliver to the minister.

The minister finds Boong-do’s letter to Hee-jin inside, recognizing it for certain as Boong-do’s handwriting, and puzzles over the mystery. Boong-do rides away to a fork in the road, and since the destination doesn’t matter to him, he lets his horse decide which way to go.

Minister Nam goes to tell Sukjong about his strange encounter, further stumped when Sukjong asks if Boong-do looked as though he’d been suffering, claiming, “I owe Boong-do a debt.” He reminds the befuddled minister not to tell anyone about what he saw – Boong-do is already a dead man.

And so Minister Nam took to his private journal, where he wrote what Hee-jin reads today – though he may not have been sure of what happened between the King and Boong-do, he was sure Boong-do lived on the run near the border regions, and was sympathetic to his plight because his existence would forever remain a secret. (Until now.)

Soo-kyung finds Hee-jin still poring over the notes hours later – are they that interesting? Hee-jin sighs that she feels sorry for Kim Boong-do, whose life was totally ruined because of a woman. Aww.

Back in Joseon, Boong-do just can’t seem to catch a break, since he’s even recognized by a man drawing water from a well. Uh oh.

A monk comes upon him in the forest and recognizes him as the one who came searching for the head monk one year ago. Boong-do sighs that he used to think the eight provinces of Joseon were large, but his travels have now changed that view.

The monk asks, “How long will you keep running away? Aren’t you tired?” Boong-do replies, “I am tired. But although it is laughable, this has become my reason for living.” The goal of running away has become his only goal at this point, he explains, and if he were to lose that, he’d lose a reason to keep going.

Not knowing the reason, the monk advises him to pay the price if he’s committed a crime, rather than running away. Boong-do: “I want to do that too. But to be caught and to pay the price would be an even greater crime.” The monk doesn’t understand, and Boong-do doesn’t have time to explain – the man who saw him earlier has brought guards with him, and they give chase.

Boong-do finds himself surrounded by armed men who call for his arrest on charges of murder. (For the gibang massacre that left Yoon-wol and Ja-soo dead.) He’s able to fight off as many as he can, but the numbers just aren’t on his side. He looks from the crowd of people gathered to the men, sizes up his odds, and drops his weapon to surrender. Nooo!

Back in the present, Hee-jin records her lines for the segment. She mentions the letter Boong-do wrote and adds that “In it, his deep affection toward a nameless person and the sadness of their parting is evident. Considering the circumstances at the time, scholars speculate that the letter was intended for Queen In-hyun.”

I’ll be honest, I teared up just hearing her recording partner read Boong-do’s letter. Hee-jin listens intently to the letter written to her, and it’s infinitely sad that what Boong-do prayed for – that even if she read the letter in the future, she wouldn’t know it was for her – has come true.

She narrates, “A man who wanted his love to forget him. It was probably because she was beyond his reach.” As for Boong-do, mentions of the woman in later documents reveal that he was able to keep his memories.

Break time. Hee-jin watches a bit of the dramatic reenactment before Dong-min sweeps her away for a chat. Eek, is she with Dong-min again in this reality?

Thankfully that doesn’t seem to be the case, though Dong-min would like it to be. He’s all excited that she’s up to date on his overseas activities while she deadpans, “I don’t want to say this because you’ll just act superior, but news about you is all over the internet. It’s impossible not to see it.” Dong-min: “It’s not acting superior. I am superior. Only you call it acting.” Ha.

He whines about how lonely he is and how they should start dating again, even when Hee-jin points out that he’s supposedly dating a girl group member ten years his junior. Dong-min fires back that she’s too immature: “No matter how much I think about it, there is no other woman like Choi Hee-jin.”

Well, he’s got one thing right. Hee-jin isn’t having it, and points out Na-jung walking nearby, saying that they’d be a perfect fit. Dong-min, being the child that he is, calls Na-jung over to ask if she wants him to do her the favor of dating her, “Because I’m so lonely now, I can’t afford to be picky.” Haha.

Na-jung gives him the universal symbol for “No”, and Hee-jin asks exasperatingly, “When will you grow up?” Dong-min: “I don’t want to grow up.” How I love thee, Character Consistency.

Dong-min’s manager comes to collect him, but not before sliding into the chair next to Hee-jin’s in order to ask if Soo-kyung’s seeing anyone. I can’t tell if Hee-jin genuinely doesn’t know what he’s getting at or doesn’t want to, but it’s adorable how she finally sizes him up and claims that though Soo-kyung hasn’t said anything, it seems like she might have someone. Ha.

I love that Soo-kyung acts all put-out upon hearing it from Hee-jin in the car, even going so far to call Dong-min’s manager an ajusshi, although she’s clearly preening from the attention. Of course, she can’t act like Hee-jin did wrong by telling him she had someone (or she’d blow her aloof cover), and so she can only bark at Hee-jin that the documentary was a bad idea the second Hee-jin points out they’re late.

The documentary filming has gone on location to the palace, and Hee-jin grows nostalgic over the place she used to see every day for filming, now that it’s been a year. The camera pans around her and smoothly transitions us to the Joseon period, where Boong-do was brought in after being arrested.

Like Hee-jin, the sight of the palace brings nostalgia with it. However, Minister Nam and a bunch of other ministers round the nearby corner, and Boong-do turns his face so as not to be recognized…

…Which segues us back to Hee-jin. She begins to describe the famous tale of the political strife and struggle to reinstate Queen In-hyun, which has formed the basis of many dramatizations. From within that upheaval, there are records of one man who died an innocent man – the subject of today’s documentary, Kim Boong-do, Queen In-hyun’s man.

As she talks we see Boong-do standing in her path, three hundred years ago. She passes through his image as though he’s a specter, both of them standing on the same ground in two totally different times. She’s separated visually only by color while Boong-do and his surroundings remain in black and white… only the colors start to fade in and out, blurring the separation of their realties, however briefly. And Hee-jin seems to sense it.

She continues on, sometimes standing alone, sometimes standing with her back to Boong-do. She tells his story as it’s written, only tears begin to fall and she doesn’t know why. This. Is. Heartbreaking.

In his time, Boong-do is finally taken away, just when it seems like Hee-jin would be able to see him if she’d only turn around… but the director calls for her attention and the moment is gone. Something in her tells her to turn around, but by the time she does, she’s just standing alone.

Boong-do is put in prison until his scheduled morning interrogation. He’s only concerned that he’ll be recognized since he made a promise to Sukjong that he would never appear in this world again, but for now, he’s out of options.

Soo-kyung calls Hee-jin on her drive home to ask about the crying incident, and Hee-jin replies honestly that even she doesn’t know why she cried, only that she suddenly felt sad without reason. The feeling still remains.

In prison, Boong-do opens his bag where he’s been keeping his modern suit and phone all this time. Aww. He focuses on the necktie specifically, and flashes back to Hee-jin showing him how to use it, replete with a kiss. And then… oh no.

He fashions it into a noose and prepares to hang himself. A storm begins as Hee-jin waits at a stop light and turns the radio volume up, playing a song that’s become their theme.

Tears form in Boong-do’s eyes as he slips the noose over his neck. Hee-jin begins to cry. (I can’t stop crying long enough to write.) So does he, and we flash back and forth between both their faces… until Boong-do kicks the stool out from under him and hangs himself.

Hee-jin feels it in the present and sobs. Boong-do’s feet hang inches off the ground. As she cries desperately without knowing why, a memory flashes of when she programmed Boong-do’s name in his phone as “Player,” only she doesn’t know who that is. A phone search reveals nothing, though she remembers his number and punches it in.

And in the room where Boong-do hangs, his phone rings. NO. Hee-jin begins crying so hard she hyperventilates and leaves her car, while all her memories of Boong-do come flooding back. The horror hits her even worse, if that’s at all possible, and she crumples to the ground.

She goes to the documentary director still drenched from the rain, demanding to see the footage from their segment. She’s left alone to watch, finally coming upon the letter Boong-do wrote. We hear his voice reading it as she sees his face on the screen, and the realization that this letter was for her comes crashing down.

“Will we forget each other?” The letter reads, as her phone begins to ring in her car… “Or will we live unable to forget, forever tormented?” Memories of Boong-do play on the projection screen like a movie as Hee-jin watches, grief-stricken. “In an aimless life, to not even have those memories would be hell. And you… and you… if you should happen to read this letter far into the future, I pray you will not realize for whom this letter is meant.”

Only now does Hee-jin realize what Boong-do did so that she would forget him, knowing that he lived with his memories. Dear god, this poor girl. What more can she go through? What more can we go through?

The door opens behind her. Boong-do’s voice calls out, “Why didn’t you answer the phone after calling me?” She turns around, and there he is, standing in the suit he carried with him all this time. How…?

Boong-do: “I had to search for you for so long. Didn’t you call me? One hour ago.” He holds up the phone, Hee-jin just stares in shock, and he smiles.

Flash back to Boong-do hanging from the ceiling. The sound of the phone ringing brings him back from the brink, and through blurry vision he can see the screen lit up on the floor in disbelief. Filled with new resolve he grasps the noose around his neck and pulls, slowly choking as he tries to free himself.

The knot from the rafter eventually gives way, sending Boong-do sprawling to the floor, coughing. He’s barely able to grab the phone, and the moment he answers it he disappears…

…And reappears in modern day Seoul. He’d answered the phone only moments too late, since Hee-jin left it inside her car when she scrambled out of it for breathing room.

He takes one look at his surroundings, and though his vision is still blurry he can recognize the lights and sounds, and laughs with joy once he realizes where he is. He’s still got the phone to his ear and says, barely able to contain his happiness and relief, “Hello? Hello? Are you listening? Hello? Answer me please, ‘Most Beautiful Woman Ever’.”

He laughs again. Oh Boong-do, I’d laugh with you if I weren’t still emotionally traumatized.

“Are you just going to stare dumbly like that?” he asks Hee-jin, back in the present. “If you summoned somebody who was living just fine, shouldn’t you take responsibility for it?” Hee-jin can barely stammer out: “Close the door.”

He does. Hee-jin asks him to come closer, and reaches out to touch his cheek as though she still can’t believe it. “You’re real…” she murmurs. “You’re alive.”

Boong-do is even in the mood for jokes, since he tells her in his usual deadpan delivery that the year passed speedily for him – he travelled around and left a lover in every province. She playfully calls him out on lying, saying that the evidence is right there, and points to his letter projected on the screen.

Hee-jin asks him how this all happened – what about the talisman?

Boong-do: “I burned it.”

Hee-jin: “Then how did you come here?”

Boong-do: “I came back because you called me.”

Hee-jin: “Me?”

Boong-do: “You.”

He cups her face in his hands and wipes away her tears, and they convey more with looks than words can do alone. He brings up the tie (Too. Soon.), claiming that he missed the use that she’d taught him, “So much so that I wanted to die.”

She tugs on the tie just slightly, the way she did when she first introduced it to him, only this time it’s Boong-do that swoops in for the kiss.

Hee-jin: [in voiceover] “A chance encounter that started with a gap in time… that meeting already ended a year ago. Our reunion now is not because of a mysterious talisman written by a monk, but because of a string of memories that belongs only to us both. Now begins our second encounter. Now, I am his lifesaver. The price to pay? All he has to do is stay forever by my side.”

And Boong-do interrupts his own makeout session to look at the screen curiously – how does his letter still exist? Ha, I love that he’s all upset that his private letter isn’t so private anymore. He’s all, I must destroy it! which gets a chuckle out of Hee-jin, because it’s going to stay in the museum, forever out of his reach.

More kisses. Lots more.

The projection screen plays an epilogue, as Soo-kyung sits Boong-do down to get the skinny on this boyfriend Hee-jin never mentioned before. She starts rattling off questions about what university he attended, where he lives, his parents… and Boong-do chuckles, because this will be the third time they’ve had this conversation.


Now that I’m left to stare at the pile of tissues amassed from this finale, I can only shake my head at how oblivious I was at the end of episode fourteen, thinking, “Well, what could possibly go wrong from here?” Answer: EVERYTHING.

I don’t mean that in a negative sense at all, because I remain completely floored by this writer’s ability to wring maximum emotional impact from her scenes by going above and beyond, without me feeling manipulated in the process. It’s something I’ve noticed throughout the series, but where it really started to kick in was Boong-do’s talisman fade-outs – him disappearing on Hee-jin once was bad enough, but to let him reappear just long enough for them to see each other before ripping them apart? That is tragic.

And again, with Boong-do’s hanging sequence – it’s something that would have been horrible any way it was presented, but using the necktie, with all its previous warm and fuzzy connotations, was just plain traumatizing. And yet, it was such a testament to how thought-out everything was in this series – nothing was wasted, and every moment had its purpose. A necktie gift with smooches can later turn into a noose to hang our hero, and an innocuous joke about an illicit royal affair can turn into the means in which our lovers reunite. I never felt like this show was unsure of where it was going, and yet that surety didn’t equal predictability. It’s one of the (many, numerous, countless) things I loved about this show.

This is one of those dramas that got me at a gut level all the way through, and on that same level, I’m satisfied with the talisman/conflict resolution. I kept second-guessing that feeling when it was all said and done, worried that I was all too eager for a fanservice offering. And maybe I was, because even though the critic in me would have acknowledged the completely logical and realistic end – with Boong-do hanging in prison and Hee-jin living forever with her memories and no way to reach him – my satisfaction would only ever remain on a mercenary-like cerebral level. I would have to grudgingly accept the cold logistics and move on.

And yet, while having fantasy elements in a story does not automatically preclude wholly realistic ends, the use of fantasy in the resolution stayed fairly organic to the world in which it was made. The talisman had its own logic, sure, but in the end it was still just a magical piece of paper written by a bald guy. It had a set of rules and stuck by them – something I feel is always a necessity with mystical elements – and rather than feeling like the hand of fate swept in to fix everything, it suited the way the magic has worked so far for Boong-do to finally pay his debt for cheating death, with death. Without any hope of being saved Boong-do was ready to give up everything, and only at that last crucial moment did the tide turn so that the phone, a recurring motif throughout this drama, could ring with what was literally a life-saving call. Or did it? It was hard to see through a veil of tears.

Queen In-hyun’s Man was a show unto itself, seamlessly blending time travel, mystical elements, comedy, action, intrigue, and romance all into one perfect sixteen-episode package. It managed to be all things while sacrificing nothing, creating the most wholly-engaging romance I’ve experienced since The Princess’ Man, while still sustaining a lively ensemble cast that didn’t just seem to exist in our lead couple’s love vacuum. That’s a feat that’s becoming rarer and rarer, and serves as a testament to the love and care put into creating the world of this drama, which is a care I could actually see from moment one, and one I could feel when the week between episodes seemed to span years. There are a million tangible things you can attribute to this drama’s sheer magnetism (stellar directing, writing, acting, ensemble, soundtrack, Ji Hyun-woo), but in the end, it’s just another kind of magic.


And you were almost perfect.

This drama ranks pretty high on my all-time list, and managed to meld together an impressive blend of intrigue, romance, and emotion with tons of style and a captivating ambiance to boot. I loved the leads, and even when the supporting characters got upsetting, I always understood where they were coming from. The tone was pitch-perfect and moody and dramatic, and the writing worked with the fantasy time-travel device in a sharp, smart way that never assumed we were dumb, and always aimed to be thoughtful and clever. It stayed a step ahead of us and delivered in multiple ways—the romantic crescendo, the political machinations, the mystical time element. Everything was so well-placed that I was convinced it would be perfect through and through.

It’s just… one little thing. Which isn’t such a little thing, in fact. Oh, the deus ex machina, the higher power that swoops onto the stage in the last act and cleans up the messes created by the humans.

I was all set to put on my best debater’s hat and reason out why the ending worked for me, and why the phone-transportation trick was a smart way to resolve the conflict and not, in fact, a letdown. But here’s the thing: If I have to work to convince myself that it made sense, then it didn’t quite make sense.

To be sure, there are a number of ways I could probably explain the ending. Some people may call it searching for meaning in an ambiguous moment. Others have coined the term fanwank.

I get the purpose of the ending: It was Hee-jin who “called” him back, in both senses of that word. Now that the talisman’s power has been broken, all that remains is love to tie them together. It’s a wonderful message, and one I’d been looking forward to. It addresses Hee-jin’s earlier question about what cause-and-effect would be if they began a relationship, and Boong-do’s response that while their initial meeting may have been coincidence, every subsequent encounter was driven by their decisions. What an awesome line for a romance drama to take, when so many times the two leads are painted as victims—of family, of interlopers, of Fate, of circumstance.

So I love that this drama gave our couple agency over their feelings. The writer seemed determined to avoid the cliche where Fate jerks people around purely because something was “meant” to be or not be. No, this couple got to decide. Imagine that! Kudos all around. Furthermore, the drama has shown all series long that the power of their love transcended the talisman’s pull—it was so strong that Boong-do and Hee-jin could recover their lost memories even when their talisman-connection was severed. So… love opens wormholes?

But the actual mechanism of the resolution? The cure-all phone call? I’m not on that train, sorry. To borrow the drama’s own terminology: The effect was awesome, but the cause… not so much.

I have no problem accepting the existence of magic in this world; the entire time-travel premise requires it, after all. But you need to establish it, explain it, make it a part of your world. The magic of the talisman was well-established; the mojo surrounding that phone call felt pulled out of Drama’s ass. If you don’t set up the resolution adequately, then it becomes a last-minute cheap trick. The reason it leaves people dissatisfied is because Drama presents one problem, makes you worry about it, then announces, “Ha, just kidding! It’s really something else.” It’s a cheat.

This is the difference between leading someone naturally to a conclusion, and pushing them there by force. So the cell phone summons becomes an act of force(d logic), and lovely intentions aside, the effect leaves me drooping a bit. I try not to let it get me down, but I can’t pretend it doesn’t just because I don’t want it to.

For a drama that brilliantly avoided falling back on the same old set of well-worn cliches running rampant through dramaland, it’s a bit disappointing that this show pulled one out in the eleventh hour, when it really mattered. It KILLS me that the one time it misstepped is the one really crucial moment, the big climactic revelation. I dearly wish I could brush it under the rug and say it doesn’t matter, but it does.

Oh well. Perfection was probably too lofty a goal. Queen In-hyun’s Man still trumps most dramas this year, and perhaps the past several. If only it didn’t feel like it left me hanging in the end. I’ll forgive you, drama, if you give me a Boong-do to compensate.


572 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. Monocot

    Muchas graciasss

    • 1.1 Monocot

      This drama has spoilt all other dramas for me, forevermore 🙁

      • 1.1.1 slfowie

        I know if the main leads are not like our main leads that were here I am not watching it. The only way they can make me watch it would be to have some really drool worthy actors, or make the show soooo crappy that i watch it for fun.
        I get what DB says, but don’t know if its the love for the show talking, but the cell phone makes sense to me. The talisman was written by a monk but i believe that i got its power from Yoon-wol’s love for him. And when Hee-jin got her memory back the love she felt for him came to the surface, making the cell phone another talisman.
        And if any one points out that the talisman has writings on it which help all the time travel, the cell phone could also have a picture of the talisman and thus the writings. ( Yes, i am grasping at straws with this, but just take it!)

        • kent

          I don’t agree with javabeans about the cause of the phone call at the end of the episode. The conversation between them always played great meaning in the whole drama. From the early on, it was the phone that made Hee-jin to go back to the Palace and the effect is she met him. Every episode has the prosperity of the value of the phone in it. Talisman was the connection source of the Bong-doo and the phone is connection source of Hee-jin. And at the end, it is perfect that the Hee-jin’s source was the one that brought them together.
          I am completely awed by this drama and have no complaint whatsoever with the ending.
          Loved it through and through

          • Senstar

            I actually felt that the moment of the phone call worked out metaphorically well. The talisman was written by the monk, who then said that the talisman could not be dictated by him, the gisaeng, or Boong-do. The talisman’s purpose was to give life when death was near. So, when Boong-do tried to kill himself, although the talisman was physically destroyed, the gisaeng’s intent to protect Boong-do remained and the talisman enabled the time travel via phone call.

          • Rule

            I agree entirely

          • kilmenyanne

            Dammit, now I want another 15 episodes of them all acting googly-eyed at each other with Boong Do sampling all of Florence’s food ‘agog’. No need for more drama 😀

            Btw, why isn’t anyone mourning Yoon Wol’s death? I had so much hopes for her. If not the talisman, perhaps another way someone as awesome as her could live to her full potential in this world.

            So sad. I screamed ‘No!’ at the scene in which Boong Do found her body. Up till then, I was hoping she’d somehow survive all the loss of blood. *sob*

          • janet

            That made me think of something – the phone, in a way, is the modern-day equivalent of the talisman in the sense that Heejin gave it to Boong-do out of love and a wish to protect him as well, so her intent was imbued in it. The phone also brought her to him the first time he was shot and went to the hospital. And if you think about it, the essential purpose of the phone has meaning in itself – it brings people together, across time and space; honestly, I thought it was a beautifully used storytelling device.

          • damianna

            hey. got on this ride a bit late. unlike u, i kinda agree wit jb. d phone call thingy is a bit…off. but qihm has been the awesomest drama since my ever, i’ll let it pass. i’ll tell every 1 d drama they have to check out b4 they die is qihm.

            p/s:at first i even wondered, if hee jin snapped a photo of d talisman in boong do’s phone? hence, he’s jerk back into d future

          • MariePhils

            I also agree with you Kent.

            We have the same interpretation about the use of cellphone in replace of talisman…

            With BD’s decision to end his life…and at the same time his possible future with HJ has lead me in believing that LOVE begets ALL.

            Yes! the pure and unselfish love of BD towards HJ…has brought him to life… and since the cellphone is the only thing that’s left for BD connecting to HJ…the writer used it as a tool to show..BD – to make his way back towards HJ. Kudos to the writer.

            Queen In Hyun’s Man has indeed captured me.and will always forever has a spot in my Heart. It makes me want to love Korean drama more and more

            So far, the best Korean Time Travel Drama in 2012 or i would say the best of all K-Dramas this 2012.

            Rating: 10/10

          • sibrani

            i just wonder where Boong-do happen to recharge the handphone battery. lol.

          • Save Our Skinship

            I agree about the phone call but have a slightly different take on it. I think Hee-jin made her own talisman with the phone call. We never got to meet the Master monk who made the talisman, so we don’t know for sure how mystical he was. We are told he just wrote down Yoon-wol’s intentions. My brain connected Hee-jin forcing her memories to come back herself and then using them to make a new talisman in the form of a phone call to transcend time and make his cell phone work. She didn’t even know who the number related to but decided to call anyway.

            I should clarify that this all clicked for me while watching the show and there was no fanwanking necessary, which I have been prone to on occassion. I even thought to myself that it was nice that they let the audience figure it out for themselves without an annoying convoluted explanation that, let’s face it, would have killed any time left for kisses. I prefer kisses.

            I feel that because Hee-jin decided to regain her memories instead of shoving the emotions she was feeling aside, she subverted Fate who had clearly put them back in their places. In this way, I still think it works really well as a drama that gives the OTP agency.

            I burned through this drama so quickly and will probably have a massive drama hangover. But they say hair of the dog cures any hangover…

          • Padmini

            But i felt bad when yoon wol was murdered , i hoped a last meet between her and gim bung do. So tht she would know how he cried seeing her in dat state . also if she was not killed off in the show , how could we hv known tht gim boong do and hee jin’s love alone can also make them together for that they dint need tailsman at last

        • dazzle95

          Yes, I totally agree with you. The talisman is given by Yoon Wol (who has much love for Kim Boong Do) to save him at the brink of death. The cell phone given by Hee Jin works just the same. When she recollects all her memories and felt the all the love that she has for him, that does the trick to open the gap in time.

          It is LOVE that saves Kim Boong Do.

          The acting is just DEBAK!! I never thought Ji Hyun Woo can be soooooo HOT and my type:). Yoo In Nah was just superb…..

        • CupCake

          A year had past and the cell phone still had battery? Just saying. Don’t club me onver the head for being too realistic…:-)

          • eclipse

            well,, i think he must have turned it off, knowing it`s impossible to connect. And,,the works of miracle of love,,, of course!! 🙂 🙂 🙂

            Really loveee this couple so veryyyyy much,,,this drama is so beautiful in every way,, i will so gonna miss them so much,,,

          • shapi

            That’s exactly what I think. Well I suppose loves triumph’s over a flat battery, the curse of the talisman, the logic of a modern audience, “Love, loves changes everything, da da da da, da da da.”

          • CupCake

            I heard that they’re dating. I watched all of his drama and he never kiss his other costar like that. I am thinking to myself that they really like each other and their chemistry show. Love them. I wish they will get married once he came back from service…:-)

          • Bugsy

            Speaking of which, why is his hair still short after one year?? Just saying.

            I’m with javabeans on the phonecall. While I appreciate the many, many ways of explaining the metaphorical meanings and what not, it’s still a wide stretch. If the writers have taken the time to establish the rules and implication of the talisman so beautifully, it’s not logical to have weak writing for the “phonlisman”. That can only mean one thing; the writers dropped the ball just a little at the last moment.

            Still love the show though!

          • qofdramaland

            Being too realistic? Well you accepted the time travel right? How realistic can that be? lol If not, how were you able to watch this show?

          • Saya

            Haha I’m reading all these comments about 5 minutes after these exact same thoughts went through my head!

            “Nawwwww, that phone really gonna ring?”
            *phone rings*
            *confused* “Is he back in the present? Did the whole room transport with him?”
            “How did that phone battery last a whole year?!”
            “Hm.. some major brags for Sony Ericsson – insane battery life and signal that spans centuries…”
            *He answers phone, poofs into present*
            “Huh, so I guess the phone works like a talisman now, just like the first talisman was imbued with Yoon Wol’s love, the phone screen is imbued with Hee Jin’s love and memories”
            “It’s even the right shape and everything to *look* like a talisman”
            “Gosh that few seconds in the rain when he realizes where he is just made me cry :'(”
            *Back to Hee jin and the theater*
            “Wait, how is his suit so dry?”


        • Nkolika -Nigeria

          You got it right. In each occasion the talisman is the love of the two women, First Yoon wol and then hee jin. A good fantasy drama.

      • 1.1.2 lovegoody

        Ditto. Still listening to the OST and moping.

      • 1.1.3 Lise

        uh huh! and thats why am totally not getting on the ‘Big’ bandwagon, i thought we were done with dumb female leads no?!!

        • MAC

          There’s I Do, I Do?

      • 1.1.4 Gegia

        Me too.
        I don’t know if i never find another drama so wonderful like this.
        It was perfect for me (yes, also the end), and I can think right now. I’m really sad.
        But one thing i can say for sure that i want to follow the next project of this screenwriter and director!

        P.s. I want Bong-do!!!!!! I will miss him T_____T

      • 1.1.5 OMG

        I also like how the theme song for the shows starts out with modern instruments and ends with traditional instruments…..another lovely detail that this drama had!!!!! This drama has set the bar for all the other dramas that I watch from this year….

      • 1.1.6 luvdakdramas

        I LOVED this drama, but agree with javabeans on the weak phone-miracle. I’m also curious how he knew that she was in the editing room, but will pretend that they left out a scene where he called her mgr/BFF.

        On the phone, the biggest problem I have is that in Ep15 when the talisman pulled him back to the past, they both tried calling and the phone did not work. Was the talisman’s pull stronger than the phone? Was their love not ‘strong’ enough? Did he somehow have to show that he is truly and really willing to die w/out the remotest possibility of a safety net? After all those questions, I am willing to accept the phone-miracle b/c at the end of the day I wanted these two amazing characters together.

        This drama ranks #2 on my list of all time faves b/c as soon as I was done with ep 16, I went back to rewatch some faves 🙂

        • jmjm

          I disagree with javabeans that the phone-as-talisman wasn’t well established. From the beginning the phone has been his lifeline to her (how many dang scenes did we have w the phone booth) and I’m pretty sure the writer knew from the very beginning that a phone call in the past would save our main man. I don’t know what other mythology about the phones we could have gotten other than when people call them they ring, because had they even hinted that a phone could magically ring in the past through love the ending would have been spoiled rotten. The talisman mythology is supposed to carry over to the phonisman mythology, and I think they established that pretty clearly, i.e. with love you can imbue objects with protective/time-traveling purposes. The fact that the phonisman worked in the same way as the talisman (that it activated when his life was in danger) just seals the deal for me.

          All that said, I do agree it was weak. It was too easy and too clean and didn’t take either of their efforts to accomplish. Like Headsno2 I hate more than anything in drama when when people are acted upon rather than acting to secure their own happy endings, so I would have loved a more creative solution in which Hee Jin or Boong Do figured out a way back themselves. Also, even though I stand firmly by the phonisman being subtly hinted at all along, there’s just something so much more unbelievable about a phone ringing 300 years in the past than there is about a monk doing some spiffy magic in the past. Once you throw in modern technology and battery life and cell towers it’s a lot harder to suspend that disbelief. I would have loved if the solution had involved the letter somehow, I don’t know how, but then I don’t write dramas I just comment on them.

          I loved this drama, that ending notwithstanding. I doubt I’ll find a couple with that much chemistry ever again. And those kisses–DANG Ji Hyun Woo, you were enjoying yourself! Wish more Korean dramas had kisses where the actors actually looked like they had passed 1st grade kissing 101. I even saw tongue!

      • 1.1.7 luvs

        I finally watched this drama and finished it July 30th -2 days later.
        I think this will rank as my #1 fantasy romantic drama- yes fantasy and escapist romantic story. It is well written and is wasn’t peppered with Kdrama cliches. I love the lead actor and actress. They have a sweet chemistry – are they actually dating in real life???
        The thing that stayed with me was the issue of “Memories”. If a person lived and died and left no memories then that is eternal death itself. If no one remembers you after you’re gone – that is the saddest thought of all.

    • 1.2 mandelbrotr

      It’s here, it’s here. Great incentive to finish the project I’m working on (and stop check DB) before I come back and read. Thank you!

    • 1.3 Ace

      Thanks for the recaps! I belong to the camp who loves the ending and for me it made sense. I’m sure there are more eloquent explanations somewhere below so I’m jus going to reiterate that for me, everything was perfect and it made me not give up on kdramas as I realized that there have been few contemporary dramas that focus mainly on the main leads’ love story. Granted, this had some political and third-party storylines but it didn’t veer off the makjang road unlike so many I could name just this year alone.

      Great directing, writing, acting, soundtrack, and it’s simply perfect and magical to me as great fictional stories should be. I get JB’s take on it and I like how she always explains rationally why she thinks like she does. I’ve always respected her opinion even if I don’t always agree with her. As opposed to my reaction to another blogger who’s on JB’s side of things.;)

      Boong-do, I saw you first so you’re mine, hahaha!

    • 1.4 nova611

      DEABAK!! 4++ comment…its been 2 days..i still havent fin until comment no 50..

  2. ck1Oz

    Oh thank you.Been dying literally dying for it.Been stuck at ep 13 and dared not watched it till subs for ep 16 came out and your recap.You have no idea how many people told me to watch the kissing.I was more enthralled with how it resolved everything in the end.To tell you all the truth.I couldn’t look away from their expressive eyes.If the eyes are the windows to the soul theirs is just full of love towards each other.
    Now finally I can watch it in peace.Thank you.

    • 2.1 jomo

      I apologize in advance for hijacking your post.

      But I need to know this:
      Who sings the “Pick up the phone!” Ringtone?
      All the sites that would know are in Korean, which I don’t read……..

      I am soooo sure it is JHW, with no way to verify it, I will actually pay money for the correct answer. I don’t know how much, but I can send you money…hmmm…Isn’t that why God invented Paypal?

      If it is JHW, then the first call that BD doesn’t answer and final call that she doesn’t answer are even cooler.

      • 2.1.1 floyd

        @jomo, please post on soompi/fb if you find out, thanks!

  3. Cynthia

    Glad to see this recap up.

    Will put down one, short comment before I even read the recap.
    After watching the finale and thinking about it for a few days, I realized that I was okay with the ending, cellphone and all.

    • 3.1 Cynthia

      Okay – back again. Thanks for the recap, HeadsNo2!

      How weird is it that I don’t find the cellphone/talisman use as unsettling as 1.) How did BD know she was in the audio/studio? and 2.) He carried that suit around for a year rolled up in his blanket and yet appears totally wrinkle-free and all spiffy for the last scene?
      Yeah, I know — but it’s the small things that kill me. 🙂

      JB – your comment was, as always, clear, concise and to the point. That being said, what would you have liked to have seen as a satisfying ending? Lovers together or apart?

      • 3.1.1 javabeans

        To clarify, my dislike of the ending “trick” doesn’t mean I dislike the happy ending. There are more possibilities than merely (1) apart and sad or (2) together with the cell phone transporter. How about a third option, where they’re happily together, but using mojo that makes sense?

        It’s Option 3 that I was expecting all series long, despite the fact that it’s a helluva lot harder to pull off than either 1 or 2, but such was my faith in this awesome drama that I was sure it would be brilliant and amazing. It wasn’t.

        The cell phone call is thematically lovely. Plotularly speaking, however, the narrative failed to work the mechanism in properly.

        • stardust

          Jb, i have to say that I always thought that it wasn’t a cop out, because the price he had to pay ultimately for cheating death was to really die. Now that being said I know he didn’t die but for once he accepted the reality of it wholehearted, no mechanism, no selfish desire, just the desire to right his wrongs. Kinda like how Harry potter died willingly and that’s why he was able to live. The act of him committing suicide finally repaid that debt of cheating and stealing time which opened the portal to allow Hee jins call, not the other way around how heejins love ultimately brought him back. If wager to say of he didn’t try to kill himself, or accepted the final consequences, they still would be separated, because it was him dying that allowed heejin to remember and allowed heejin to call him back. Though he finally accepted he’d lost everything, he was still running away from the consequences of his time travel that whole year. I think some people are too fixated on the object rather than the meaning which is why it’s getting such diverse reactions. I don’t think that you need to debate or convince yourself then it’s bad, I honestly think in this case that from the surface everything seems like the all hand of a higher power swooping down to fix everything, but the answers are all there, you just have to look a little closer. The higher power opening the portal was an effect of boong dos decision to commit suicide to pay for his meddling, it didn’t come left field like in my girlfriend is a gumiho. Everything in this drama is a result of their choices and consequences, whether man made or magic simply followed their decisions. I’m wondering if you’ve considered it that way before?

          Once again, so much love and respect to you for introducing and sticking with the recaps. We owe you everything really.

          • irugnotmis

            when I watched the last episode, I was slightly put off by the deus ex machina as well. It just felt too rushed. I wished the drama had a little more time to give diligence to the final time travel — that is not to say I didn’t appreciate the message that their love is now without the bondage of a flimsy piece of paper.

            Thanks JB & HeadsNo2 for recapping this drama. If it weren’t for JB’s opening sentence to episode 5’s recap (“Queen In-hyun’s Man is shaping up to become one of my favorite recent shows”), I wouldn’t have picked up on it and likewise, miss out on a great drama and the emotional journey that it brought. Thanks! 🙂

          • Stardust

            hi there fellow stardust… i was a little stunned to see that (I?) had been so eloquent and it could only mean I was sleep typing last night…but… I can never been quite so well spoken heehee.. I just want to say I looooove the entire drama, so much good, very little bad…

            Thank you for introducing this gem to us, dear recapppers… and now I just want to get my hands on the dvd….but I can’t understand the tvn website…booohoooo….

          • cheekbones

            I agree with you, stardust. It’s Boong-do’s decision to end his life (to accept the reality and pay the price) that has opened whatever portal it is that makes their reunion possible.

          • jingelbells

            wow. very well said. 🙂

          • Gasenadi

            Convincing arguments. Thanks for yr thoughts.

          • Daebak

            Hi stardust! thanks for your eloquent recap, very well put! Dramas that deliver such emotional impact are rare gems, and to weave in fantasy, romance and philosophy in a package that is beautifully directed is a super bonus. Yes I was also pondering around the handphone battery, until I realized that somehow I believe in time travel more than I do a long lasting Hp battery LOL!!!

        • Atiras

          how was that cell phone kept charged for a year in the joseon era?????

          i dont know, apart from the chemistry and nice acting by all, the drama did not have the depth that makes dramas great (Kim Sam Soon comes to mind).

          The heroine is dumb (her manager is smarter) and the hero is super smart – annoys me. The romance too was quite fast instead of a build up given the different cultures the characters came from ( she just pulls him in for a kiss? thats lust baby! its good but not sure it justifies the foundation of the romeo-juliet kind it ended up being).

          i loved that In-Hyun was proactive when it came to getting some lovin’ though…. reminded me of shin minah’s gumiho.

          i have a soft spot of ji hyun woo as he looks similar to Bi!!!! 😉

          • starlight

            It wasn’t charged. It was never on or working to begin with? If you dot use your phone, you don’t exhaust your battery and you don’t need to charge it. It’s exactly the same in te preset, if I don’t use my phone all day then it’s still at 100 battery.

            And wow, I thought we already agreed heejin wasn’t dumb? Like Boong do said she lacked knowledge but she was never dumb- she was not book smart but street smarts and we all know there are different kinds of intellect. People pointed out that she left ppl think she was dumb so she could do what she liked and surprise them. She also believe she was dumb because everyone treated her that way. If you say our hero is smart and he was the smartest person brain wise in the drama and he saw that she wasn’t dumb, then that proves that he saw her truth self and worth while everyone else was too dumb to see it.

          • ladida

            Hee Jin isn’t dumb. The drama itself made a point of it by having Boong Do affirm that she isn’t dumb, that she’s just uninformed. And I maintain that she knows what she wants to know, and doesn’t know what she doesn’t–she’s efficient. As for the rest, well I suppose that’s a matter of opinion.

          • Wanderlust

            … The drama did not have depth……..???? Oh god.

          • bishbash

            nope. batteries will lose their power even if you don’t use them. that’s the question mark here. but who cares. it’s a happy ending, that’s enough.

          • Arishia

            The talisman and the cellphone are just para normally functional objects with programmable memory. I had no trouble with that at all. It would have been ‘cheating’ for the writers to employ a Joseon era paranormal object on the 21st century side.

          • topper

            Actually as an engineer, a phone will exhaust it’s battery faster in an are with no network than if you are using it to call. Because it will be in network searching mode all the time.

          • foxiscully

            I am flabbergasted to how people keep on comparing all dramas to Kim Sam Soon (KSS). Although KSS has its charms, it is not all that great, seriously. Sure it broke grounds by having an ‘unattractive’ heroine and realistic portrayal of life, but the plot itself was cliched and predictable.

            I seriously cannot understand why anyone would say that QIHM has no depth?? OMG. Seriously.

            And furthermore if one is ok for the heroine to be fat and unattractive like KSS, then why can’t the heroine also be ‘dumb’. Which actually IS the charm of the show.

            But technically Choi Hei Jin (CHJ) is not dumb, she is just not academic. But she is streetwise, which complements the Gim Bong Do character wonderfully. In fact, the fact that GBD maintains his intelligence and apply it to the modern world without us having the comedic turn of an ancient man in the modern world ala Rooftop Prince, plays wonderfully to the pretend smart CHJ’s ‘I’m pretty that’s why I am a good actress’ persona.

            The phone is a metaphor akin to the talisman being from the old world and phone being from the modern world. Both given to GBD by the women who loved him, for his protection; and both became his transporter when he resigns himself to death.

            In fact, come to think of it, as a conduit, he did not really need to recite the words on the talisman (which he didn’t in the first ever teleportation) nor does he need to really switch on the phone to go back in the end – with or without batteries. It was all a matter or faith and will.

        • hydesamagirl

          I totally agree. I was thinking, “Oh, only a phone call was needed?!” I had to decide to stop myself from looking for a logical explanation, at least within the drama.

          • starlight

            Wanderlusts post below. Please read. Once again, that was not ” all was needed”, boong dos death was needed and I’m sure that that does not classify as “all was needed”. Actually deaths pretty big and final. Only after accepting his death was she able to call, if he didn’t then they would still be apart.

          • seeyathecat

            The heart never forgets even when we forget moments we can still remember the feelings that we had at that time. with his accepting his death I feel that it allowed a trigger that reconnected their love. The feeling of love and lose are very stong emotions that can transend time and distance (like with a death, your feeling of love and lose doesn’t stop) The phone was just a mode that connected them only after she rembered first her feelings than her memeries

          • ilovemandoo

            If only a phone call were needed, Heejin could have called him back before she lost her memories. However the phone call did not bring him back (and furthermore the phone clearly did not work in the Joseon era). The cause that enabled him to come back was his acceptance of death. And that is the precise moment that Heejin could call him back with her love. It’s important not to fixate on the phone or modern technology and also realize it wasn’t a simple easy way to call him back. He made the ultimate sacrifice–his life– which then made it possible for him to come back at all (having paid his debt for using the talisman for his own needs and changing fate).

          • spjork

            My take on it is that Boong-Do had already paid his debt to the talisman for cheating death when he was shot full of arrows on the order of the king (remember, he flatlined once he was at the hospital and needed resuscitation via CPR/defibrillation).

            What I believe triggered the cellphone to become a second talisman is that the first talisman had been destroyed by BD, severing their initial connection. (If you recall Heejin’s outro, she clearly narrates that their first connection ended about a year ago, which is just about the time BD burned the paper talisman). This is in line with the law of “you will lose something if you gain another” BD mentions in the farewell letter to HJ, only this time it’s the same principle in reverse eg. “you must lose/let go of something to gain another.” What seals this theory for me is that HJ clearly tried calling BD when he suddenly disappeared while in line for cotton candy and the phone did not work. Why?? Their love was just as strong then, was it not? It’s because the talisman was still in play and was the thing that bound their fates together at that time.

            With that said, I do agree that what ultimately made their reunion possible is BD’s attempt at suicide. It’s what made HJ break down inexplicably and allowed her memories of BD to come flooding back so that she could in fact activate/invoke the powers of the second talisman.

            I have to admit that the battery issue did bother me a bit as soon as I saw the screen light up but I can’t fault the writer’s use of it as a second talisman for the many reasons already stated by several others above and below.

            The ending did feel slightly rushed but I have to say that it was satisfying, right down to the epilogue of SK interrogating BD for the third time.

            Now I have the impossible task of finding something else to fill the QIHM shaped void in my life and resist the urge to marathon the show every weekend. *sigh*

        • Eaglette

          I am pretty sure your third option wouldn’t have made better sense than the phone. I thought the phone was ingenious. It now makes sense why they utilized it so much throughout the drama. Although, I had thought the phone call would have been made at the phone boot in the park, but all thesame….it is why she gave him the phone, just like the Gisang gave him the talisman; for his protection. It is all the meaning behind the giving.

        • kent

          I don’t what mojo you were expecting. Its not like they can bring in any “mojo” at the end if its not gonna relate through the drama as talisman’s retrospect. Phone worked same as the Talisman in Hee-jin case as far as their connection goes in the modern time. The ending was never wrecking when he was about to hang himself and phone prospective was the only way to reciprocate the magic of the talisman. I mean throughout the drama, it was Talisman that brought Bong-doo in modern day and through the phone he connect to Hee-jin. I just think that ending was not some kind trick by the writers as you are implying; it is the only way for the resolution unless you want drama to pull in some random string in the place of cell phone did metaphoric to the kinship of their love.

        • Bugsy

          To add on, if the theory that HJ has to be the one to call in order for the “phonelisman” to work, why didn’t it work the first time she called BD?

          When we have to come up with all kinds of reasoning to force the ending to make sense than the writers have failed in that regard.

          Look, I’m as hopelessly romantic as the next person, but things must be logical even in a time travel world.

        • chocopie83

          i guess it would’ve been better if after boong-do hung himself, he was transported back into the present and that was when the phone rang. would make more sense to me at least.. since it would be like since boong-do had finally gave himself up to fate that fate would be in his favor.. something like that..

          but nevertheless, this was just a very, very minor flaw that totally wouldn’t change my views on this drama. it’s too awesome, and considering it’s happy ending, what more could i have asked for? 😀

        • Sadia

          I agree with you javabeans, the moment the phone started ringing my emotional rapture broke and all I kept thinking was, wait that’s not possible! Especially since the last time he was back in his world and she tried his cell it said the number didn’t exist. Completely ignoring that this time not only does it ring from her side, it rings on his side too. Which makes no sense because disregarding the absence of a phone tower, either he’s kept his phone on for a year in which case it should be dead or it’s been off for a year and he just decided to turn it back on right before he dies… which is odd – unless he wanted to look at her face one more time, which they should have showed. I also wonder what would’ve happened if he missed her call. Would he be able to call her back? Is the magic completed only when he answers her call? I think it makes more sense that the magic would take effect when she calls him. This would make more sense to me, if she remembers as happened in the drama and calls him, but it doesn’t go through because the number doesn’t exist, then literally just calls out for him and that’s what pulls him back. That desire she has calling for him from her love and shared memories actually has the magical power to bring him back transforming her into something of a talisman. That would work better for me than the phone bit.
          Also, um how did he find her? It would’ve been cool if they had a scene where she showed him how to use the gps tracker on his phone and then I could resolve that’s what he used that to find her.
          I enjoyed the drama tons but the ending could have been a little craftier. I don’t think I’ve seen a drama with a perfect ending yet. I wonder why that is.

      • 3.1.2 Shukmeister

        Cynthia –

        #1) Remember when she found her phone using GPS in one of the earlier episodes? With our Smart Guy and his Smart Phone, it makes sense to my pitter-pattering heart that he would be able to track her the same way.

        #2) That one stumped me. Here she is, sitting inside for a while and he just walking in from outside. She looks like the drowned ghost from “A Chilling Romance”, and his hair is fluffed and touchable. [shrug] Who cares, he’s Boong Do! lol

        This one is definitely one of my all-time favorites, for sure.

        • slfowie

          #1) would make sense but she left her phone in her car…

          • Shukmeister

            But it still would be outside the studio.

        • yoo in na


      • 3.1.3 dramabliss

        Had the same thoughts about the suit and his finding her in the studio (although the latter can be easily explained, Boong Do being the smarty pants that he is).

        Another thing that I wondered about: How could BD look as neat and and shaven as he was travelling and living like that for a year?

        Oh well, about the cellphone. This has been one major topic in various blogsites (in addition to JHW’s big confession, of course) and ockoala (over in ockoala’s playground) sounded so very pissed off with the writer for this (JB’s reaction is much milder). So I was a bit anxious to watch the episode which I did just minutes before HeadNo2’s recap.

        To my surprise, I actually liked the use of the cellphone as the “new” talisman. The talisman made by the monk was true to the Joseon context. So after that was burned , what else could connect our two lovers? I certainly would not have the show end with BD hanging from the rafter. Why not something that is now true of 21st century context? The memories that bind and love that spans several lifetimes–these are the ones that imbued the phone with the magical power akin to that which the monk/Yon Wool imbue to that piece of paper.

        From typography to digital. Why not? And like the magic that surrounded the paper talisman, we do not need to worry about batteries and connections and such, do we?

        Sarang hamnida, Queen In-Hyun’s Man!

        • SoyJade

          I agree with you and like your explanation. It is interesting to see such outrage over the phone. JB reaction is mild. You are right.

      • 3.1.4 hydesamagirl

        The tie, too! Wouldn’t that be a bit stretched?!

        • Cynthia

          Yeah, it really should be down around his shoes after the stretching it got….

          • kent

            it shrunk back.. may be elastic.. stop criticizing..

          • Vira

            Oh, c’mon. Since this drama talks about magic all the way, why do not we just try to accept the cell phone as the replacement of the talisman?
            I don’t believe in magic and all of the stuffs by the way. But I like QIHM n that’s all what I need. It’s truly better than Rooftop Prince which the last two episode was really annoyed me due to the cliche scenes.

          • Sadia

            stretched or not, he almost killed himself with it just a little earlier, how could he put it back around his neck! I’d have left it on the street in the rain! >.<

      • 3.1.5 Lise

        i’ll answer 1) if i may, he said he’d been looking for her for a while meaning he’d made phone calls etc plus he’d already started familiarizing himself with this world b4 he disappeared so would google be too farfetched an idea?!!! and if these dont work for u how about, its KBD, Joseon’s smartest man, works for me!

  4. enamor

    Ohmygosh the best surprise EVER. I LOVE YOU!

    • 4.1 pabo ceo reom

      Seriously. Crazy surprises. This drama……my god, I can’t even think.

      I didn’t watch the finale until today. I just felt like I had to…..prepare myself LOL. Anyways, all I remember now is lots of me crying, lots of kisses, and the settling in of post withdrawal symptoms. If I were in a more coherent state, then I might be able to analyze the whole deus ex machina thing. BUT, I am just so damn happy they ended up together that my relief is overwhelming me right now. I need more tissue!

  5. Thatgirl

    I actually thought this finale was kinda boring… But I loved the end where Boong do hungs himself and Hee Jin unknownly cried. This is the first time in my drama watching history where I thought “Now, that’s true love!!! These 2 are absolutely meant to be together!!!” I was totally amazed. But I also totally did not get the Phone call part either… Like how did that happen? But all in all, this was a real good drama, and now I don’t know what to do with my life.

    • 5.1 Atiras

      suicide is not cool! to die in the name of love is not romantic at all….. it is idiotic.

      in suicide prone korea i think the writers should take extra precaution in depicting this horrifying choice in the dramas.

      just read an article the other day about high single women population in seoul and some of the challenges they face.


      • 5.1.1 j

        He doesn’t suicide for “the name of love”. If so, he could have done it 1 year ago. He decided to die to keep his word with King Sukjong. (“never appear in this world again”)

      • 5.1.2 ck1Oz

        Hey Bo was a man of honour and he promised the King.He fakes his own death earlier remember?How can he appear in front of the King.If that had happen a lot more people than him would have. been implicated.Think of the Japanese honour death as an example.This show does not write in profound. actions without having thought about it.Death was needed for the storyline. Bong Do as a character choosing suicide also fits in with his sense of honour.

        • eternalfive

          Yup, exactly. Which was why I simultaneously loved and hated the suicide scene – loved, because it was so consistent with the plot and Boong-do’s character, and hated because, well, it was Boong-do hanging himself from a rafter. ^^

      • 5.1.3 shapi

        Indeed suicide for whatever reason should not be encouraged, no matter how one try to justify for it. How I wish KD writers could stop using suicide as a way out for their characters. Topping the world’s suicide rate is not a record one should aspire to keep.

        I understand BD’s need to honour his promise to the King, but I was hoping that the writer could have thought of a better way to re-unite the couple and re-connect the end with what’s depicted in the first episode. Ep 16 is not the best episode. But I am ok with the ending.

  6. Daniella

    Ahhh!! I couldn’t watch the last episode because…I just couldn’t so I decided to read the recaps!!! I loved this drama from begining to end! I think this is my favorite drama this year! It’s so sad that people underrate it because of it being on a cable channel, but seriously, the writer could give some others a few tips on how to plan and write a good show.

    I feel like I got a complete ending (especially with Ji Hyun Woo’s recent confession [which i was hoping you guys would comment on] which is like every In-Hyun couple shipper’s dream)

    Seriously, the chemistry between the two leads is what really did it for me! I’ so happy to have been able to watch this show!

    • 6.1 dramabliss


      And I love it that the couple name you’ve coined for them — In from Yoo In Na and Hyun from Ji Hyun Woo — spells InHyun. Perfect!

      • 6.1.1 Kas

        Wow I totally didn’t realize the “In-Hyun” couple as a combination of their real names. Love it even more 🙂

  7. enamor

    Yes, everyone needs a Boong Do now.

    The ending felt slip-shot even for me, I don’t buy it, the cell phone. But I can’t say I dont prefer this to them being separate forever. Hee Jin’s breathless crying is really too much for me to take. I felt like she took my breath along with her.

    Kudos, Queen In Hyun’s Man. Now what do I do with the bar raised so much higher by you?

    • 7.1 enamor

      & another thing.

      Is it just me who’s terribly bothered that the drama did not play out the scene we saw in the very first place in episode 1? That look on her face when she saw him.. I thought that look on Hee Jin’s face meant something more than just “Something we’ll insert into the first episode to capture viewers’ attention”.

      Throughout I held onto that scene hoping it’d happen soon but it’s the finale and.. nothing.

      Just this, queen in hyun’s. I still love you to bits.

      • 7.1.1 Hat

        Ooo, yes, I kept on expecting the ending to be related to that first scene.

      • 7.1.2 Shukmeister

        I guess you could argue that the bit we saw in Episode One could have happened, except for the reset.

        That maybe, prior to the talisman being cut, he would have crossed time / space on a horse and met her before the palace gate…

      • 7.1.3 stardust

        I ever expected to see that scene again. I had no problem with it cuz it was like a mis en scene, pr establhing shot, setting up the tone and the basis of the story, so we knew straight away what it was about and were pulled in immediately. If it started off with just boongdo or heejins time then we wouldn’t have been as hooked to know how they came to love eachother like that from their separate times. Can’t think of any examples off the top of my head but princess man started in the most of the main action even though they circled back to it.

  8. OMG

    I actually loved that the cellphone was used to call him back and it made sense to me… if you think about it, there was no other way for them to get into contact with each other apart from the cellphone. Also the amount of care and love that Boong-do put into keeping the stuff from the future, including the cell phone I think made it into such a “magical” element. I dunno, that’s just my thought about it.

    • 8.1 OMG

      Ps… This drama has pretty much set the bar for all the other kdramas I watch this year….almost came close to dethroning coffee prince as my all time favorite drama.

      • 8.1.1 Hat

        Seriously I loved Boongdo’s smarty pants and all, but Hangyul’s vulnerability was really much better.

      • 8.1.2 Rule

        you are right, but coffee prince is still my fav of all times. no drama has beaten it to date for me

        • Llamaesque

          Amen. I’m starting to think Coffee Prince is unbeatable at this point—I want a talisman to suck me into its universe so I can live with Han Gyul and Eun Chan forever 😉

          • OMG

            I think it is unbeatable…..every drama I watch, I always ALWAYS compare it to coffees prince n none has been able to knock it off it’s perch!!!

          • yoshie

            Me, too. Coffee Prince is still #1, but QIHM is a very, very close 2nd.

    • 8.2 irugnotmis

      that and all those pay phone motifs. it’s poetic that she’s “calling” him, both literally and figuratively.

      • 8.2.1 Llamaesque

        Plus, the word “call” is literally included in the talisman’s language, according to a dramabeans recap. So it all dovetails nicely, as far as I’m concerned. And who knows what burning a talisman does? Maybe it actually activated new properties.

  9. iyra

    doesn’t matter how boong do gets back to the future,as long as they live happily ever after!!!

    • 9.1 ilikehim

      Yea, that’s why i would overlook the “how”, ’cause i was desperate for them to get a happy ending!

  10. 10 glo


    i hope yall saw this!!

    • 10.1 dramabliss


      Do tell us who don’t read hangul and understand Korean what the news is about. So curious. Is it an update about JHW’s confession?

      • 10.1.1 striker

        It’s about Ji Hyun Woo’s love confession to Yoo In Na. (>_< )

  11. 11 ilikehim

    I will forgive the nonsensical cellphone thing….if there is a happy ending to the drama after the drama =]

  12. 12 Jay

    I hate to admit it, but I’m left feeling the same way as javabeans. While I’m on board with the power of Heejin’s love saving Boong Do, the mechanism of the cell phone call just didn’t work for me, and served to kick me out of the moment which was THE MOMENT of the finale.

    Also hate to say it, but knowing about Ji Hyun-woo’s big confession also disconnected me from the big reunion with all the kisses — I couldn’t fully feel the emotion of the characters because I was thinking about the actors. I felt I was watching the real people instead of the characters, which is a rather creepy feeling.

    With those caveats, I really truly adored the series all the way through, and it’s definitely one of my favorites — it did so much so well. The writing, acting, direction — all really strong, all created characters and a romance that I totally adored and will remember fondly. The series may have fallen a little bit short at the end, but it’s still one of the best kdramas I’ve seen, and I definitely look forward to this writer’s future work.

    • 12.1 Martha

      OMG, I thought I was the only one who felt that way re: the confession. It just checked me out of the drama, and I could not properly feel the happiness of the reunion.

      Also agreed with javabeans. I was SO on board with QIHM, untilllll that cell suddenly started ringing. It was so cheap I wanted to cry.

      Eh, whatever. I still love the drama for the awesome 1-14 batch.

      • 12.1.1 merrygoround

        Wanderlust post below makes a pretty good point against saying this, hope you can read it and gain a more little insight into the ending 🙂

      • 12.1.2 darynrose

        I feel the same way. Right after watching Ep 16 live, I exploded on twitter about what they used to make KBD warped back to 2012. I had high expectation but in the end the usage of the cell phone totally threw me off.

        I love tht they ended in happy ending. I dont deny tht. It’s just the plot buildup for the cell phone made it less sensical maybe perhaps less worthy compare to the talisman as the medium of KBD “transportation” back to 2012.

        QIHM was fast to become my perfect drama up until the cell phone road bump. Well almost perfect drama coz nothing is perfect. But I gotta admit those awesome Episode 1 – 15 + (Episode 16 – The Cell Phone Moment) = Would have easily become my #1 drama of all time.

  13. 13 Emily

    I was wondering why Joseon Era has cellphone reception for the call to get through!

    And the episode was sooo sad! I wished there were more happy times captured between those leads! It seems like there was more heartbreaking and tearjerking moments! ):

  14. 14 divaz_sha

    the best drama not just 2012…but maybe the best out of all 10 years drama i ever seen

    and win the best kiss scene ever..not 1 but 3 throphy…heheheheh

    and the best, ROMANTIC, honest, JJANG…meh boong MAN ever

    kim boong doo does exist…in JI HYUN WOO …
    he Love yoo in naa just ike KBD LOVE HJ..


  15. 15 Hat

    Oh thanks girls for the recap.
    I totally agree with jb that the eleventh hour cliche kinda pissed me off a bit, yes, even through the tears and the nose blowing, I was sane enough to feel pissed.
    All in all this was still an really really awesome drama. Way up top on the list.
    Though ep15’s massive sob fest got so loud, my hubby had to make me leave the room to be able to finish his conference call in peace… It was still a really setup for our finale (really a cell phone that works after 1 year. 1 whole year!!! She could have just yelled his name instead or something, so illogical)
    Thx really for the recaps, made the show even better.

  16. 16 ss

    sad:( i was hoping that the recaps never came. then i’ll feel like qihm never ended:/ thanks for the recaps!!:)

  17. 17 TiaC

    Thanks to both HeadsNo2 and Javabeans for recapping such a fantastic series!

    I’m someone who normally forgives a disappointing ending so long as I enjoy most of the ride getting there. But with this series? But like Javabeans wrote, the ending actually made me mad. I cried repeatedly during episode 15, and was actually anxious until I could watch 16 the next day. I knew we would get a happy ending, but the worry I felt from the huge stakes was not assuaged by that knowledge. And then 16 came, and I felt cheated. Why did the drama put me through hell if the only resolution was that easy? ARGH. Not even the delicious smoochies at the end in the theater will win me over this time.

    • 17.1 stardust

      Refers wanderlust’s longass post a bit below. I hope that clarifies Things a bit for you.

    • 17.2 Ilovemandoo

      I was disappointed as well, but it’s not exactly an easy resolution. What I mean by that is that Boong-do did pay his debt to the talisman by committing himself fully to death. What more can you give after you’ve given up all else (people, values, etc)? It just so happens that Heejin remembered him at that crucial moment.

      In the end, I still feel cheated but I can’t dismiss as entirely easy either. Hence why I’m more disappointed than pissed.

      • 17.2.1 starlight

        Harping on this but heejin didn’t just “happen” to remember him when he was in mortal danger. In ep 14 they already showed that heejin can sense when boongdos about to die or dying cuz of their connection which is why she felt stuffy and eventually fainted in the car. She knew something was wrong without anyone telling her, you can see other instances of loves ones like parents knowing when their child has passed away even though they haven’t heart te news etc. it’s love and it can’t be explained with mere logic but heejin only reacte that way because he was dying which broke the damn and allowed her to remember him which allowed her to call him. It’s all linked. She never felt anything all year when she forgot her memories because boong do was fine physically. On the run, but still fine. He absolutely had to die first. If he wasn’t captured and Jew on running on confident to say even though she knows she forgot something, she would’ve never remembered and they would continue being apart. That’s why it’s not a cop out.

        • starlight

          What I meant to say is that heejins didn’t happen to remember him in that crucial moment. She remembered him BECAUSE of that crucial moment.

          • Ilovemandoo

            Ah yes. I apologize for my poor word choice. I understand that Heejin remembered him because she sensed on some deep instinctual level that he was in mortal danger. I guess what I should have said (in a better way) is that Hee-jin could not have called him back to the present (or future? Cause it’s 2013) unless it was in that precise, crucial moment.

  18. 18 Lily

    I read that the writer actually started changing things earlier on because of Yoo In Na and Ji Hyun Woo’s chemistry and the positive fan response. This ending makes me wonder if the original intention of the writer was for a less than happy ending (where the couple don’t end up together or maybe even something bittersweet).

    Deus ex machina is such a cop out that the ending ruins the drama for me a bit.

    • 18.1 skelly

      But…but…the whole premise of the show has been about a deus ex machina – what else is the talisman? I don’t think the ending was a cop out, at all – it ended just as it had began, with an item imbued with fantastic powers shifting a person from death to life.
      I think that people are just more willing to suspend their disbelief over a fancy incantation written on silken cloth by a mysterious and powerful monk, then they are over a cellphone.

      • 18.1.1 ladida

        I actually think the cellphone is the most logical thing to bring Boong Do back to 2012.

        • Asiatic rock

          Cellphone is the most logical thing to bring Boong Do back to 2012.

          Completely agree with you here. He only had his suit and tie and cell phone with him in Joseon that were related to 2012 and Hee Jin. And obviously Hee Jin crying out his name aloud wouldnt make him come back to 2012. That would be so LAME. May be Hee Jins love for him worked as a charm/ spell and it cause the phone to act as a talisman to transport him back (Like in all Harry Potter series objects were charmed and used). Also i read some where that the writer said that the core about the drama is not the talisman or the cellphone. It is about a perfect man Boong Do and a truely lovable lady Hee Jin which is like a midsummer nights dream… TOO PERFECT TO EXIST 🙂

      • 18.1.2 eternalfive

        But the talisman made sense within the boundaries of logic that was being set up in that world, whereas the cellphone just felt like some cheap, last-minute trick to me. The thing is, I feel like I would’ve been perfectly satisfied with the phone talisman IF it had been executed better i.e. the plot had built up to it without needing us to squint to catch its meaning. Just imo. =\

        I’m a little disappointed to hear that the writer started changing the story later on though. Wonder what the original ending would’ve been too…D:

      • 18.1.3 Llamaesque

        According to an early Dramabeans recap of the show, though, one of the words on the talisman is “Call.” Up until the ending there’s no explanation for its inclusion with the rest of the time-travely words on the talisman, so to me it seems clear that the cell-phone finale isn’t a deus ex machina at all—it was laid out for us from episode 2 (or was it 1?). I was actually lukewarm about most of the drama, but the final two episodes totally sold me on it. I loved that the female lead got to save the day, and that those sly fox writers were able to foreshadow without raising any suspicions until you look back in and really think about what the talisman said.

  19. 19 J

    I get how some people find the cellphone device as a way of him traveling back corny/weird. But think about it this way, the talisman was created because of Yon Wool’s desire to keep Boong Do safe and so, he was connected to Yon Wool through the talisman. So when she died, he ended up going back. So the cellphone was given to him by Hee Jin and was his connection to her. Note that the whole time travel thing happened when he was near death — so that phase he used in the drama — what was it — something about you have to die to live? so now, instead of Yon Wool, it was literally Hee Jin who saved his life. so I guess the cell phone was a kind of modern talisman — embedded with Hee Jin’s desire to keep him in her life. But yea, after the intense ep 15, the finale was bit anticlimatic. btw, how come you gals havent’ discussed Ji Hyun Woo’s confession to Yoo In Na?

    • 19.1 natalie

      My thoughts exactly!

    • 19.2 diorama

      Ooh, I like this explanation. Nice way to tie in the talisman and the cell phone. Admittedly, it was a little disorienting to have the cell phone-as-magical-device come up in the last episode, but it’s not totally nonsensical.

      Oh, this episode. That hanging scene…I almost died myself.

    • 19.3 hartofseeker

      actually you know what i think? i think i’d be less pissed/confused if BD had warped back when he kicked off the bench and went on the noose cuz a) the necktie meant so much to him too b) that’s what was actually going to kill him (keeping with the saving his life thing) AND c) it needs no batteries, and HJ never tried calling it after BD disappeared (cuz she tried that before BD burned the talisman right? and it couldn’t go through so it really felt weird when it went through a year later and all)…

      ionno, a random thought that just popped up =P

      • 19.3.1 J

        the tie was an object that had memories for both of them but whereas the phone was something she gave him to connect him to her. not sure if what I am trying to say makes sense.
        as to why, the phone didnt work before — well he has to die (sort of) in order to live. or something like that… so previously he wasnt dying when he called.
        am thinking of what telecom companies would make of this and having a laugh! 😛

      • 19.3.2 Kiara

        I really thought his letter would have done it.The love that ties them together was in that letter and it found its way to her and her memory of him came flooding back.
        I love the fact that no one else was tied to it but the two of them. No Yeon Wol, no monk, no cell-phone company etc.

        • hartofseeker

          hey, that’s a good alternative too! =P although…. he wouldn’t be able to touch the letter in his prison cell and she wouldn’t be able to get to it with it in the museum too…….

          well exactly!! the necktie was important to memories… isn’t that what people were saying: memories woke HJ up and got her to call him or whatnot and that brought him back. I mean, love works there too for the necktie XP it just… takes away the confusion about a cellphone working in joseon time XP

          • Kiara

            I’m not talking about the letter to be used as a talisman. I was so happy that it got destroyed.
            Hee-jin recovering her memories and realizing that the letter was not written for Queen In-hyun but for her should be reasonable enough to summon Mr Playerest Player That Ever Played to be with her. Kind of fairytale-ish I know but I felt like she broke this curse by remembering their love because of his letter.
            I think we wouldnt be having a happy ending if she didnt remember him at all.

          • Kiara

            I meant I was happy the talisman was destroyed.

          • hartofseeker

            ahhh sorry i misunderstood your point, but yeah… if we say memories was the key to bringing Boong Do back, then the phone… was unnecessary

            if it was the connection between them, then the necktie could have been the catalyst for his time warp…

            basically a lot of other things could have done it.. and maybe it WASN’T the phone… but the director/writer certainly confused a lot of people in terms of what the heck is this supposed to mean? and took out a lot of the PUNCH that this final episode could have had =/

          • shl

            Yup, thought the necktie might just work as well, given all the memories infused into (?) it. And, after all, it was the actual agent of ‘death’.

            Like you said below (and like I rambled on about much later on this thread) – the writer’s purpose didn’t come across that clearly (look at all the different theories/ reactions), probably because we had a good many episodes to digest the working of the (cloth) talisman, whereas the new talisman only came into play in the last 15 min. Yes, the signs were all there about the importance of the phone, their means of communication/ connection, but these were probably easily overlooked as we swooned over the romantic scenes/ gasped at the dramatic action so they didn’t ring (ha ha) as clearly.

            It’s ok, I’m not fixating on it any more.

          • jingelbells

            But that would make it more confusing. sure they shared a cute moment with the tie, but it’s an instrument to kill himself and would not transport him to the future. if it did, couldn’t he just have worn it? Again, with the talisman, it was an instrument to transport him to keep him out of harm. How could a tie do that? A phone is his link to HJ. Even when he was in Jeju. when he went back after his amnesia. When he was shot by an arrow. People lapped the idea of the talisman, an inanimate object transporting someone to the future, but not a phone just because there’s no electricity?

          • hartofseeker

            well the talisman (the old one at least) was activated by danger to Boong Do’s life… don’t know what EXACTLY activates the time-warping in Writer Song’s ep 16 but if the neck-tie was chosen and keep the required activator… as in how the magic was understood to work in the previous 15 episodes, he can’t warp back just by wearing the tie… but he CAN end up warping back by trying to die… again, our understanding of the original talisman, the exact role it plays in the time-transportation is incomplete… and the PAPER talisman can’t be used as something to kill BD with so we’ll never know

            if the talisman isn’t integral to the power that transports him (as we can assume since he transported without the talisman at the end), then basically ANYTHING can be the medium getting him to warp. if we bring the memories+BD completely relinquishes his life+love/connection argument into this, than the tie can still be the new medium… or the cellphone… but my personal distaste for the phone is that it’s SO much messier to explain how the batteries/coverage thing worked… compared to a simple silk tie =P

    • 19.4 Ilovemandoo

      That’s the conclusion I came to as well.. Though I can’t help but being a little disappointed. 🙁 I really wanted to love this ending!

    • 19.5 j

      when i saw your comment, i was like “wait?did i post this before?” Haha.

      I am a silent reader in InHyun couple’s thread in soompi. His confession just makes me feel like this drama (QIHM) will never end. I thought that after ep 16, I would be less obsessed with QIHM, but JHW’s confession changed everything. Haha. I loved his confession, but what I loved more is his tweet! Is he so cooool? “If I were in the same situation again, I would still do the same thing”. Woaaaa! As if he directed his tweet to all the people that have been calling his confession rash. And then what “People who butt into other’s business are no good. Don’t care about them too much!” Well. What else could I say? Love. Him.

      • 19.5.1 chuaeyo

        totally agree. As soon as i read his tweet, I was all “Oppa, How can you be so cool like that?!” It’s like saying I take responsibility kekekek

  20. 20 omygoshhh

    I was thinking the same,JB! 😮 It was all a little too vague to use the cell phone, how did it function 300years ago? why would it transport boong do back right after he picked the call? i was left wandering for a moment after the series ended, and i too am rather disappointed on how it all turned out. D:,. that aside, THANKS for the amazing recaps!!!! 😀

    • 20.1 StarRice

      I know its 2 years later by heres why i think the cell phone works.

      When he warped.back to the past neither could contact the other cos well the year 1964 does not have cell phone connections.

      However when he paid his debt and accepted death, it allowed In Hyun to recover her memories, the phone as catalyst. Showing us that that the phone connected, means that the phone is brought back to 2013.

      The monk had asked Boong Do before about going to a strange place and he jad said as long as one person remembers its worth it. He burned the talisman thus proving his willingness to lose hui jin and finally when he hanged himself, he showed willingness to end his life, which ties with his letter. He has to lose everything even her as effect to the use of talissman. So when he does that the talisman finallallowed another time gap. In the gap the phone and Boong Fo are part of 2013, allowing it to ring. All this only because she remembered.

      I feel tha the writer really thought everything out. Theirer final separation a year go was while they were on the phone. Again it shows why the phobe shld work. The phone did not turn on through batteries or charging. The number does not even exist. This reality is one without Boong Do, when he burnt the talisman, Hui Jin’s reality changed again. Yet when she called it got through, not as a phone line but as a lifeline. I loved it.

  21. 21 kaleido

    I love this drama even though i wish the ending is a little different.. not that i don’t want them to be together.. but how they got back together… I am totally agree with JB about the ending.. i couldn’t oversee it…it’s so forced… i like the logic of HJ calling BD back.. but i would be happy to not to use the phone… but still… except for the phone call… the time that i spent watching QIHM was totally worth it… i still love this drama to pieces… i love everything about it except for the phone… and i adore the OTP.. hope they can workout in real life somehow… i know I am going to miss Ji Hyun-woo for the next 2 yrs.. will be patiently wait for his return.

    • 21.1 kaleido

      thanks for the recap!!!!

  22. 22 Mei

    I have a work colleague…he’s tall, he’s polite and very old-fashioned….but seriously, all i care about is his height so i can pull a tiptoe kiss on him….My Boongdo-aka-work-colleague….come to momma! 😀

    Let’s overlook the phone okay? All we need is love.

    • 22.1 chuaeyo

      girl, you are firkin hilarious!!! kekekeke

  23. 23 Amberscube

    Thank you. Been waiting for this recap. Thanks Heads and Javabeans for the hard work. I would never have found this gem without your lovely recops.

    I wanted this show to be perfect, i trusted and had faith with the writer. How can i not expect a perfect ending when episode 1-15 were awesome?

    I felt really sad that i have such high expectation for this show, coz i was disappointed with the ending.

    But well, i forgive you Show. You have given us Kim Boong Do, my favorite kdrama hero of all time. And those kisses, thank you for most memorable kisses of all time. Choi Hee Jin, you are one lucky girl.

  24. 24 Rashell

    LOVED this drama so much. I agree that the cell phone thing wasn’t properly explained, but apparently I’m enough of a fangirl that I don’t care as long as I got my HEA for this couple.

    Thanks so much for the great re-caps. Honestly without the first one I wouldn’t have found this drama. And it would have been such a shame because it really is one of my all time favorites. This is a couple that truly felt like they were madly in love (not going to mention the you-know-what). QIHM is now one of my top favorite dramas ever, even with one big question mark in the final ep.

  25. 25 katiamon

    i have the same feeling as javabeans, it’s like the drama cheated on the last leg of the race… i mean, the cellphone??? that’s the easiest way out. with such great twists and moments along the story, we couldn’t expect nothing less but a perfect finale.
    anyway, i expect more dramas like this but with a better ending resolutions.
    thanks for the recaps 🙂

    • 25.1 merrygoround

      the cell phone wasn’t the way out, it was his acceptance and act of killing himself that was the way out or otherwise she could’ve just called him and remembered him straight away the talisman was burnt. He had to accept the consequences and die first before she could remember him and call him. I’m pretty sure dying isn’t an “easy way out”. Actually hanging yourself is pretty painful.

  26. 26 Rossi

    First off, thank you both for recapping this amazing series! The thoughtful analyses in each recap enhance my watching experience so much.

    Now onward to the great phone debate! I’m in HeadsNo2’s camp in that I was perfectly happy with the phone being this century’s magical talisman. I don’t think it was out of place in this drama’s verse where the central idea has always been that it was human feelings that power the magical elements. Thus to me, both the paper talisman and the phone simply act as the conduit of power not the actual power itself.

    And I think it’s unfair to the writer for us to dismiss the phone as a deux ex machina because why is it that we can accept the piece of paper easily as a magical device but not the phone? Just because we’re used to modern technology and the ubiquitous cell phone that doesn’t mean it can’t act as the link that transcend time for our two lovers. After all, think about how “magical” it is that with this piece of plastic and machinery, we can talk to someone half way around the world.

    I do agree that 16 was not the best ep. of the series but I don’t think it was an ep. that betray the viewers in any way.

  27. 27 hartofseeker

    javabeans and HeadsNo2…. i’m glad i get both sides of how this finale made people feel in this recap.

    Gosh… it’s going to take me a long time to get over this drama: it’s SO awesome in every aspect from 1-15 that I LOVED it A LOT… it almost feels like it refuses to let me let go of it… like I can’t find closure with it because a) I share the same emotion about 16 as javabeans, b) the whole confession blow-out… for my own reasons AND because now i just repeatedly get news updates about the actors and it’s inevitably connected to this drama… it makes me have such complicated/entangled feelings towards the drama as a whole

    i wish i can get my mind/heart to cut out the last two episodes from the series, stash 15 as a separate, beautiful tragedy novel and trash 16 altogether from my memory… so i can finally get over QIHM and let it remain on my shelf of top kdramas, instead of nagging at my mind all the time… where’s MY key to amnesia, Kim Boong Do?? will you burn a talisman to save me from the agony? (scoffs at my own pun*)

    anyone share my thoughts here? =P

  28. 28 Antic

    Eh, I guess I don’t actually find a magic cellphone any more ridiculous than a magic talisman – I guess it depends on what you regarded as having powered the talisman to begin with – whether you thought it was the ‘written by a Buddhist monk’ part or the ‘based on Yoon-wol’s love’ part that was more important.

    That said, I do think the last two episodes felt kinda tacked on, and that the end of episode 14 was a stronger overall ending. Though the structure of episode 16 struck me as rather witty – the way history was misinterpreted by modern day scholars, and I found the voice of the guy reading Boong-do’s letter amusingly jarring, because it sounded so different from Boong-do’s voice. Also, I’d hoped earlier on (when Hee-jin had the conversation with the screenwriter) that Boong-do would end up getting written into the drama, so this was like the next best thing.

    • 28.1 skelly

      I thought that they deliberately chose someone with a voice very different from Boong-do’s, to highlight in yet another way how they have got it wrong. I, too, loved the seriousness of the documentary, the wrong conclusions they came to, the puzzles they can’t quite solve… I love a show that knows what will amuse a reasonably intelligent person…

    • 28.2 kaitlyn

      i was very excited to read about the structure of ep 16… then i realise it was a different train of thought.

      i know everyone is very focused on the handphone. did anyone else also noticed that not only Bong Do was Queen In Hyun (referring to Hee Jin)’s man BUT at the end also thought to be the REAL Queen’s man? although he really belonged to hee jin.

      now, how awesome is this piece of writing?

  29. 29 Kiara

    JB “But the actual mechanism of the resolution? The cure-all phone call? I’m not on that train, sorry. To borrow the drama’s own terminology: The effect was awesome, but the cause… not so much.”

    I couldnt agree more. That is exactly how I felt after watching this episode. This drama was almost perfect and since I have not seen a perfect drama yet, QIHM is #1 on my list.

    Thank you so much JB,HeadsNo2 and GF for all the wonderful recaps. <33333333333333333333333333333333

  30. 30 momoisluv

    This drama is amazing on so many levels. Nuff said

    && I want a Bong Doo/ Ji Hyun Woo in my life. Gaaaaaaah. How cute was he when he confessed to Yoo Inna on their press conference. I just about died when I saw the fancam. :”>

  31. 31 floyd

    I for one was so glad it was the cellphone, cos the talisman had always gave me the creeps, and the thought of hee jin having to rely on yoon wol’s sacrifice so that she will have boong do with her, made me really uneasy.
    I also agree with heads that the phone had been a recurring theme between HJ and BD throughout the series, whether it’s with her lost phone in the beginning, he calling her from Jeju, finding her in the park at the payphone, declaring that he will stay to take responsibility for her, assuring her that he will return when she had hidden the talisman begging him not to go….all these decisive moments re: their relationship and future were through the cell phone one way or another. I also felt the similarity when BD first called HJ’s number from jeju not knowing what the memorized numbers meant, and HJ punching in his phone number not knowing whose number it is but she just knew it was important – that was a nice touch. It just echoed how their romance was to me all this while, understated and simple, but sincere and real. Maybe because I also had enough of the emotional turmoil and climaxes, just wanting to return to the everyday sweet love that is imo what every girl needs in reality but don’t appreciate enough.
    But I also read somewhere else, that it’s not so much the phone per se, but it’s BD’s ultimate sacrifice and payback for what he has taken before, that enabled him to return to HJ. Like what the writer said, she hoped that when we think about this drama, we will relive the feeling of their love and this man KBD, and that’s how I will always feel.
    Either way, I am no screenwriter, nor a director or actor, I cannot recap dramas nor can I write well, hell I don’t even know how to post gifs or create youtube fanvideos, all I have been doing throughout this whole amazing QIHM is just taking taking taking. So all I can feel now is just one huge emotion – GRATITUDE. Thank you to all the recappers that worked tirelessly, all the translators that helped translate episodes/news/gossip, all the fans who gave their insightful comments and making this such a nice place to gather after a shitty day, all the shippers who created gifs/videos/clips/links/blogs. No matter how you feel about QIHM or BD&HJ, all I can say is a big THANK YOU from me. I love all of you for making me reignite my love for korean dramas. And still don’t understand a word of it. Peace!! =)

    • 31.1 SoyJade


      Hear, hear! 🙂

      • 31.1.1 floyd

        I forgot to thank the writer, director, cast and crew for such a fantastic job!
        btw @wanderlust presented a thorough dissection of the ending at #36, thanks!

  32. 32 SoyJade

    I am satisfied with the ending. I felt like the telephone was not something that was pulled out of thin air and not explained. The phone was a big motif throughout the story. There was even a bright red phone and TELEPHONE written in white caps. shown over and over.
    I read a recap here:
    via tumbler and even within it there is a link to a girl who called the PHONE early on as a means to time travel. I thought the phone made perfect sense. She also points out several instances that support the phone becoming the new talisman.

    What I am NOT satisfied with was the lack of the first opening scene. Why did they show it to begin with? Why never show it again? I thought this drama was as perfect as one can get. The love and attention to every detail shows. I don’t any book, movie or drama, can be without fault, but the level of quality in everything it did and emotions it elicited, is beyond what I’ve sen or experienced from any of those mediums to date.
    I’m not a person who likes to re-watch movies or shows, but I’m buying the DVD of this one. I must own this. I loved it that much. I really, really love all the discussion and need of deconstruction this drama created. I think this drama has ruined me for many others. Thank you for the recaps and all the input you provided for this drama. I believe that being able to share each other’s thoughts and 2cents on it, made this experience even more enjoyable. Again, thank you, thank you.

    • 32.1 Still recovering from what was QIHM (aka MsB)

      The opening scene felt like a disjointed trailer that they tacked on. Or that’s what it became as it was never played out.

      • 32.1.1 SoyJade

        I wish there was a way to ask the director about the scene. It really bugs me.

        • Kittymommy

          For me its a way of the writer setting the tone or giving summary of the drama, to engage the viewer of wht the story is about – time difference, Boong Do fighting enemies, cheat death and to time jump and finally being able to meet the love of his life in the current time.

          • Kittymommy

            In short the writer just summarize the whole drama in that 3mins sequence. Kudos to the writer and director m(_ _)m

          • SoyJade

            Yes, that is a way to look at it. I’m easy. I can live with that explanation. 🙂
            Actually, now that I think about it it makes perfect sense. You know how the ending is about a documentary of the supposed story of his(KBD) “life”, so the intro was just like a synopsis, teaser of trailer of a movie or tv show. Yeah. I’ll go with that and let it go. Thank you.

          • Recovering from QIHM aka MsB

            @kittymommy, I’ll buy that for a dollar 😀

  33. 33 myweithisway

    I want my very own Boong Do, necktie and all.

  34. 34 Still recovering from what was QIHM (aka MsB)

    APPLAUSE for what is now my number one drama I’ve ever seen! Still a relative newbie but I can honestly say I’ve never seen one quite like this. The cinematography, acting, writing was pitch perfect! There was a a hell of a lot I could complain about other than the excessive amount of liquid I lost from crying!

    I have tried to watch just about every drama that Ji Hyun Woo starred in. There was also something about him that I liked even though, until now, I had only completed one drama (1000 Kisses, don’t ask). There were these hints that I saw. Even in those dramas, you saw the sweetness that was Boong Do. Yoo In Na, I loved her quirky character in what was my no. #1 drama, Secret Garden and loved her in Greatest Love so I was not surprised how well she did as Hee Jin. The acting of these two, I cannot compare. If somewhere in the drama, the acting became more serious, he sure did show, even if its one-sided.

    As far as the cellphone, I too was initially disappointed that they used that as a substitute talisman (I was hoping for the tie) but after reading this: http://idlerevelry.wordpress.com/2012/06/04/queen-in-hyuns-man-episodes-9-12-reflection-part-i/ I became a believer of the cellphone.

    I also want to take this time to thank javabeans and headsno2 for literally turning me onto this drama! After TK2H, I felt there was no hope of a good drama so I watched this. After marathon watching this and then waiting every week with anticipation for the next episodes, again, I have to say this was the best romance, best kisses, best (or worse) tears, best acting, best story, best writing that I’ve seen in any drama! Ms Song, I will definitely keep you in my radar just like the Hong Sisters from now on! Phew! This is the longest comment I’ve ever written!

    • 34.1 jomo

      I love you handle. It sums up so much about why we love dramas. Nice job, Still recovering from what was QIHM (aka MsB)!

    • 34.2 j

      ” It’s the first object he picks up in 2012. And it’s an object that is switched for the talisman: while he gets her phone, she gets the talisman. And like Boong Do is a bit powerless without it, Hee Jin is a bit powerless without her phone.”

      I love this part so much. Thank Idle Revery for pointing it out! I didn’t really notice it before. Maybe that’s why the writer choose the phone as the mechanism here.

      WOW! After read the reflection from the link you posted, I think if the writer shared the same reasoning and thinking about the phone as Idle Revery, I would buy the phone mechanism then! It is such an INTERESTING AND THOUGHTFUL post to read. I’ve encountered many great reflection about QIHM and enjoyed all of them, but this blog really gives me some new and fresh points to look at.
      Thank you for sharing the link!! 😉

    • 34.3 skinnymocha

      Haha, out of all the explanations, I love this the most.

      A lot of people seem too focused on the phone itself… Whilst I understand the logics of it all, having read all the justifications people have given, I still can’t wipe away the disappointment I felt upon first viewing. It is what it is, and although my bitterness has subsided somewhat now, it still feels like a desperate attempt from me to fnd any excuse to love the ending – as if I’m clutching at straws here. But to me, that’s a minor quibble because the main problem for me is the whole episode; it just felt a little – dare I say it – boring…

      Another point: Boong Do needs to expand his social circle. I understand he was flitting between two time periods and wasn’t exactly given the time to form ties with people in modern Korea. However, at beginning of ep 15 – where he seemed prepared to stay in the present, and probably had been for quite a while – it seemed like most of his world revolved around Hee Jin since she occupied most of his time. Heck, I adore the lovey-dovey-ness between the two, but even a mere mention of his other friends/aquaintances would be nice. I know we like to big up the romance, but we don’t live in a vacuum here: romantic love isn’t always the centre of everything. It’s a shame he was practically a vagabond by ep 16, a truly lost soul. Despite having lost his family earlier on, he still carried on with life full of purpose (of course there’s the man on a mission side, trying to protect Queen In Hyun and all, but still). Even though he’d lost Hee Jin, at least he knew she was alive and kicking, and yet that was also the time he looked closest to breaking point. Hmm. I know he felt he didn’t belong there – he was supposed to be dead back in Joseon and he no longer had any close ties (save for that male servant?), but I wish he had a little more motivation to live out his life and find happiness. With or without Hee Jin.

      Sorry, this is just my nit-picking. This drama is pretty damn near perfection to me (if I’m listening to what my heart tells me), but after all the happy moments have seeped in, the cynical side of me can’t help but creep out. I know our minds can often conflict with our hearts.

    • 34.4 Gasenadi

      Thanks for the link. Great insights!

  35. 35 IBELIS

    Thanks HeadsNo2 and Javabean for your recap

    I must be among the few who were alright with the ending.In one of the earlier recaps it was pointed out how important the phone was to their relationship, so when BD opened his bundle it hit me that the cell phone would be the new talisman. YW love had empowered the talisman and it would make sense that HJ’s love would do the same for the cell phone.

    This was a great ending for me.

  36. 36 wanderlust

    This is what was bothering me about haters of the ending and people who are saying that they’re just gna pretend it ended at ep 14 as well as ppl who are saying “I don’t care about the ending, I’m fine with it because the OTP together.” 

    Okay well despite what you felt about the finale, that statement is wrong for several reasons: one because it’s a tad hypocritical if not alot and two, it’s shallow. How do I know this? Cuz I was shallow and hypocritical myself. I watched the raw live and when he warped back I thought, wow. That’s it? Okay.. And so I know that ppl who are still angry about the ending watched it and have subsequently not delved in any further and taken it at face value only because if they did look deeper they would see what I saw after being deflated with the ending. How good is the writer to make us feel like we were cheated and it was a cop out when first watching only to realise it wasn’t? Everything that happened in the final episode was rooted in a prior plot point, everything was connected to an already established theme and everything came around a full circle to create a beautiful ending that stayed 100% true to the world and the story of QIM. What’s more, everything was STILL logical, all the while satisfying the emotional cravings. Like java beans said, that’s a mark of a good drama. I’ll explain, logically and cover everything before everyone starts fighting:

    1. Episode 14 was an awesome wrap up of boong do’s quest to restore Queen In Hyun and the whole Joseon storyline. Regardless of that, the story still hadn’t ended yet- the talisman has played a pivotal role in this drama and I would even say the main role in the drama so to leave the question of its existence unanswered would be worst than anything else the writer could’ve thrown to us in the finale. THAT would what we can truly call shoddy writing. People are so riled up saying that the last episode was horrible writing, the writer’s bipolar etc but to be happy with ep 14 as ending or if the writer had ended it there, leaving the dramas BIGGEST question and MAIN question unanswered is just that. Crappy writing. A cop out. Therefore, saying you’re happy with that ending and you don’t care about the real ending is hypocritical. 
    2. The talisman had to go. We all knew this, from the moment he received it, everyone posted comments like ‘omg I’m so scared thats it’s just a filmsy paper, what happens if it gets destroyed, what happens if it gets stolen?’ We were constantly on edge and then we saw the damning consequences of what happened if it was JUST sliced in half, despite it being repairable and still workable for Boong Do. When Boong Do gave it Hee Jin for safekeeping and she put in her draw for ep 12, even javabeans commented that the short separation made her way too nervous. In addition, Hee Jin in ep 15 didnt feel safe with it in her chest drawer and resolved to go lock it up in the bank- that then is the point- The talisman was the personification of doubt, in solid form. No matter how strong their love and trust, with the talisman, they would always be living in fear of something happening to it, despite how happy they are or how well hidden it is. Boong Do could never truly belong to Hee Jin and 2012 if he could be warped back at anytime against his will. Like the monk said, just because the talisman belongs to Boong Do does not mean that it will bend to your will. 
    3.The talisman was tied to Yoon Wol and the monks life- So the cause is that Yoon Wol died and monk died, the effect is that the Talisman loses it’s creators power and warps Boong Do back. Given this situation which was already explained countless times before of how it only worked for Boong Do because of Yoon Wol’s love and devotion, it is then a given that even if Hee Jin and Boong Do locked it up forever, Yoon Wol and the monk would die eventually, specially since the life span for Joseon times was obviously not as high as present times. She would have lived to 50, maybe 60 and died of illness of Ja Soo did not kill her. The very thing that saved Boong Do, death, now pulled him back against his will. Developing on that, how fitting was it that the reason she died was BECAUSE of Boong Do having and the talisman and cheating death in order to bring Min Am down. His actions were the cause, Jasu’s bitterness is the effect. Jasu’s bitterness and anger is the cause, Yoon Wol’s death was the effect. Yoon Wol was never going to live after what Boong Do did and if you look further, Ja Soo continually throughout the drama asks what to do with her but is constantly prevented from action why Min Am who liked her. Ofcourse he would go after her after Min Am died by Boong Do’s scheme. Excellent circular narrative number 1. 
    4. So because the Talisman is tied to Yoon Wol, Boong Do and Hee Jin would never be safe from Boong Do disappearing. Even if they lived together happily with no major issues for 30 or 40 years, Yoon Wol would die eventually from old age and the consequences of what played out in ep 15 and 16 would have played out exactly like that again. By then it would be even worse because they would’ve already made a whole life together. So to say you’re going to pretend it ended in ep 14 or even wishing it to end in ep 14 is selfishly saying YOU want to be happy but don’t mind if Hee Jin and Boong Do aren’t. Why? Because it was never the end or “happily ever after.” for Hee Jin and Boong Do with the talisman still around.  Even if the ending WAS done badly, which it wasn’t, you cannot deny that the talisman needed to be destroyed one way or another for them to be able to fully be together, no past, just the present and future. Denying episode 16 and 15 as well is basically denying your love of our characters. I don’t think people realise that. Because although the shit hit the fan, it’s because we love them that we’re willing to go through the heartbreak with them- not pretend everything’s fine and dandy and just HOPE that everything turns out okay when you know it won’t. Like java beans said:  “I appreciate that this show doesn’t let its characters off the hook in search of that happy ending; yes it tends to put a damper on things, but when you can satisfy both cold logic and emotional gratification is when you really nail the question at the heart of time-travel conundrums. Otherwise they’re not really conundrums, just convenient plot devices.”
    5. So if it is a given that the talisman had to be destroyed and was going to be destroyed eventually as the cause, then the world of Hee Jin forgetting Boong Do and resetting again was the inevitable effect, then the conclusion is logical and thought I love that it’s open to interpretation, I honestly know it wasn’t a deus ex machina. CONSIDER: Boong Do had to “die” to meet Hee Jin that very first time. Cause: he died to bring about the effect of traveling to the future. What then is different about his jail hanging? Beautifully written circular thematic plot point number 2. If people really thought
     about it and not stupid stuff like how a phone still has battery then they’d realise it was so beautifully circular in thematic resonance. He had to die to go meet her and he had to die to create their love story. Hence his dying by hanging enabled him to meet her again for the very last time. 
    6. People are too stuck on the the WHYS of how the phone came to be a talisman. To answer this question is easy: it isn’t a talisman. The phone is the symbol and personification of communication. If communication was a thing, it’d be a phone. Without communication, there is no love no relationship. This is a universal truth proved hundred times and Queen In hyun Man highlighted it amazingly through their motif and use of the phone. People getting angry saying that the phonebooth and the mobile phone are different things have completely missed the point and the meaning behind it: It was simple a method of communication between them. Heejin needed to remember Boong Do on her own terms, without any magic or from the powers that be, for him to be able to exist in her world again. It is then so fitting that it was his final death, the very thing that made them meet in the first place that made her remember him. And she remembered him THROUGH the phone memory and remembered his phone number, EXACTLY like he remembered her phone number on the post it in her car to be able to call in JeJu, because if he didn’t, they would have never met again after episode 5 and Hee Jin would continue thinking he is dead while it’s been repeatedly proven and reiterated that he ofcourse would’ve died without her help. Circular narrative plot point number 3- Another beautifully played out theme, coming a full circle in the last episode. The phone has been a running motif centrepoint for their love and communication: Every single episode featured a plot point about the phone- the phone was such a powerful object due to the distance and time they were both separated by. Communication was crucial so the phone was crucial. Ep 3, boong do was the one that found her dropped phone in the woods after their second meeting, she needed to find her lost phone which turned into needed to find HIM and because he had her phone, she was able to track him using the gps, allowing them to meet again and for Hee Jin to find out the truth about him being a time traveller, starting their story. More over, it was Boong Do trying to call her repeatedlyin ep 11 and Hee Jin running to the phone booth to find him that enabled them to meet again, despite the whole timeline being erased in 2012 and Soo Kyungs meddling. Let’s also not forget that sookyung was able to keep them apart, nearly FOREVER, by controlling heejins phone. People who have apparently forgotten the necessity and immense importance and frequent appearance of the phones in this drama are asking why not the tie or the clothes? Well, last time I checked, those can’t be used to communicate. And the tie was already in use for his suicide, after being used as such a sweet plot point in ep 15 with Hee Jin’s sneak kisses. Do I smell another beautiful circular narrative plot point? Hell yes.
    5. Even if my interpretation of the phone not being another Talisman is wrong and other peoples interpretation of it becoming a talisman because Hee Jin poured all her love into that phone call then it would STILL make sense and be rooted in the rules of the drama, again coming full circle in the last episode. Since Yoon Wol’s love imbued in the talisman saved Boong Do from death by SENDING him away to the future, It is Hee Jin’s love imbued in the phone that saved Boong Do from death by SUMMONING him to the future. How freaking perfect and logical is that? No cop out here no siree. If people accepted the rules for the talisman without qualms then they must now accept the phone being the medium for time travel which makes their argument and disgust of the phone invalid and hypocritical.
    6. If you look even closer you will realise that it was nearly always Boong Do that called Hee Jin. She has never called him first cept for when he disappeared and that was more for confirmation of what she already suspected and panic than to talk to him. She has only answered or called back due to missing the call. Ep 6, JeJu, he calls her. Ep 7, he calls her once he finishes disposing of Min Am. Ep 11, he calls her when he finally remembers her. Ep 12 he calls her to tell her of how he will take responsibility. Ep 13 he calls to ask where the talisman is and tell her he will take care of everything and come back to her. Ep 15, he calls her when he warps back when she’s waiting in the park. Him him him.  In this episode for what can be seen as the first time ever, she calls HIM. That’s why it was able to get through to him in Joseon, as a sign of her love and memory of him and that is why when she asked him how he came back, he answered truthfully: “Because YOU called Me. You.” Everyone who was spewing over that simplicity, are you starting to see the whole picture now? 
    6. It was his death that was the cause: her remembering is the effect that broke the barrier between their two times, that was closed up when he burnt the talisman that caused her to forget him. The portal reopened and so she was able to call him. That phone call was basically like saying “Hey. I remember you Mr. Player. I love you no matter what the universe says. Come back to me now.” All this time they’ve been showing that the connection they had to eachother was simply love. Just love. Heejin isn’t some weird ancestor of Queen In Hyun or the reincarnated wife of Boong Do like everyone assumed. Even Boong Do assumed that they met because of some predetermined fate but now we know it is not true. There was no cosmic reason for their meeting. They met coincidentally and fell in love, so strong it defied time and space for the whole drama, not just ep 16. It wasn’t like “fate” in 49 days how there was a reason for everything like the scheduler getting Ji Hyun  as his charge and why Ji Hyun got Yi Kyung as her host body. None of that. The time and space defying love they had was shown all throughout the drama because Hee Jin always knew when he was on the verge of death and felt it physically too. That’s why him committing suicide was the trigger for her memories. Can I get ANOTHER awesomely written circular theme, please? The love they have for eachother when 
    Hee Jin feels when he dying  is kind of like the bond mothers have with children, when they just KNOW when their child is hurt. There is no scientific explanation for it, no one can ever fully explain it but that is because the matters of the heart can never be explained. 
    7. So by really INTENDING to die, no cheating death, no schemes or plans to get out of it, no selfish desires like the Monk warned of, no talisman, something which he has never done because all of the other times when he “died” he wanted it because he knew he would live. By not cheating death anymore and actually giving into it willingly created the cause, the effect was that he finally paid the price for the cosmic imbalance and consequences of messing with time. Clearing that debt was the cause, allowing the effect of Hee Jin remembering him and opening the portal. Answering the phone and confirming their connection and love was the cause and the ultimate effect was that he was finally able to go back. 
    8. I’ll say this one more time to end: the phone didn’t work in Joseon- Boong Do couldn’t even turn it on. If you don’t use your phone or your phone is turned off, even if you leave it for a year, THERE WILL STILL BE BATTERY LIFE LEFT. Cause: Boong Do’s phone cannot turn on or work. effect: There is full battery for when it starts working again! serz. It’s not 
    nonsensical like in RTP how they were still able to use their ipods etc. Why were people so easy to let that one go? because RTP was comedy and QIM absolutely must do everything correctly or be condemned for life? Whaddaya know, the writer once again proves this dumb argument wrong. The writer specifically showed us how his phone DIDN’T turn back on when he tried to use it when he got back to Joseon and so everyone should’ve realise that the writer has never done anything by mistake, and every little thing that you think has no relevance DOES. 

    Everything is connected, everything is linked together, cause and effect, the cause of that effect and the effect of that cause. I’m not even trying to grasp at straws to justify the ending just because I love this drama which lots of ppl have done- the answers were already all there, interwoven and inextricably placed within and throughout the whole drama. All you have to do is look for it. 

    So yeah, even if you hated the ending and THINK it’s a cop out, I hope you see now that it’s not at all and that it’s doing a disservice to the drama and the characters to say you’re gna pretend or wish it ended at ep 14 just because the finale didn’t sit the way you wanted it to. 

    • 36.1 Mia

      you’re awesome ^^ just sayin’

    • 36.2 Shiku

      Bravo good post. You said everything I was thinking.

    • 36.3 Shukmeister

      Awesome, Wanderlust!

      I, too, thought the phone thematically accurate as a plot point. In Joseon times, letters were the means of communication; nowadays, it’s that ubiquitous square bit of technology attached to your hip.

      • 36.3.1 Betsy Hp

        Ooh! Good observation, because it was Boong-do’s letter that set things in motion for Hee-jin to remember him… and then finally reach out to him via phone.

        Though honestly, for me the phone being the link hit me in such an “oh, of course!” kind of way that the idea of it coming out of left field is… well, a little out of left field for me. 😉

    • 36.4 Jay

      The problem is, however good the arguments are, if the viewer doesn’t feel satisfied when watching the episode in the moment, all the arguments in the world won’t provide that emotional satisfaction. I don’t think the ending ruined the series, by any means, but for me, it didn’t quite provide the big emotional pay-off that the rest of the series consistently delivered so well…and, well, it WAS the finale, so that’s the feeling that lingers for me.

      I think part of the problem with the cell-phone for me is that it’s SO familiar — it’s much easier to accept the magical properties of a Buddhist talisman than of something I use every day. I mean, when the phone started ringing as our hero was literally on the brink of death, my first thought should not have been “there’s no way the battery lasted on that thing for year — mine runs out in less than 12 hours, even when I leave the phone off!” And again, while one can go back and see the role the phone played through the series — in the moment, I wasn’t thinking about “will our heroine’s love save our hero?!?” — I was thinking about the unlikeliness of a cell phone battery lasting a year. It’s not where I as a viewer should be during the climactic moment of the series finale. But, of course, that’s just my reaction, and it does seem to have worked fine for many others.

      • 36.4.1 anais

        The problem is, however good the arguments are, if the viewer doesn’t feel satisfied when watching the episode in the moment, all the arguments in the world won’t provide that emotional satisfaction.

        Think of the finale as fine wine. It’s at first a tad sour, but as the wine ages or as you contemplate further on the flavor, the bouquet blossoms fully.

        I too at first didn’t fully dig the ending (as I explain in my longer comment #48), but then as I thought more about this drama in its totality (not just the ending), I started seeing the philosophical concerns more clearly. There’s some serious philosophical engagement in this drama, intentionally or unintentionally, though I’m inclined to believe it was more intentional than not, given how intelligently and thoughtfully so much was executed in this drama.

      • 36.4.2 anais

        Also, a lot of great works do not deliver immediate gratification. In fact, their payoff is in spurring people to contemplate further, and I think QIHM does precisely that.

      • 36.4.3 merrygoround

        Its a mark of a good writer not to hand the viewers everything’s on a silver platter and make them work for it. It’s more like a great crime show where you dot see everything and hae to go back to look for the clues even when you know the answer/culprit.

        This isn’t some standard rom con which QIM has priced a hundred times over. Yes in an ordinary standard rom com if the audience can’t connect with it straight away then it’s moot. But let’s face it, ordinary rom coms aren’t written for depth or analysis and QIM was and have always made us viewers work for the pay off and never let us or our characters off easily. I think then that it’s super unfair to say that just cuz you couldn’t feel satisfied emotionally then the logic and storyline are useless.

        • Jay

          I think it’s possible to have both depth and emotional satisfaction, because this series has been delivering that all along. That’s why I consider it a great series — because it worked so well, because I was so satisfied with the well-written characters and relationship development that I never questioned a guy traveling back and forth in time because of a piece of paper.

          I don’t believe the logic and storyline are useless in this series, because they worked so well — up until the ending, at least. For me, it fell apart a bit and as a result, the emotional bang wasn’t quite there the way it was throughout the rest of the series. I don’t think it makes the series irretrievably flawed or less than great, but to me the finale didn’t quite deliver the way the rest of the series did.

          • Merrygoround

            Honestly I don’t think anything else could’ve worked and delivered the bang we were expecting. To explain in a completely logical and emotionally way the mechanisms of how it came to be are almost impossible and so they’d have resort to an deux eu machina. But they played inside their own rules and rooted it within their own dramas themes, motifs, values and logic.

            Just wondering of you could write the ending how would you have done it to satisfy both? curious 🙂 I myself have no idea so I’m bowing down to the writer.

          • Jay

            I’ve been thinking about it, and while I don’t know specifically how I’d write the device to reunite the two lovers, I’d definitely make it more magical and not tied to a real-world object like a cell phone, cause that really kicked me out of the moment. Perhaps the letter, or simply just Hee Jin and Boong Do finding their way to the same place in different times, as we’d seen earlier in the episode when Hee Jin was filming at the palace, for the moment when BD tries to kill himself/HJ remembers.

            And if we’re busy rewriting the finale ;-), I’d also include enough time so we got a little look at what BD and HJ’s life together is like now that they’re together. That’s always my favorite part — getting a look at the “happily ever after.”

        • Llamaesque

          “Its a mark of a good writer not to hand the viewers everything’s on a silver platter and make them work for it.”

          Merrygoround, I totally agree. It’s also the mark of a good writer that we’re able to discuss the finale in such depth and find so many different ways to support so many different arguments. The finale was intellectually stimulating and didn’t tie things up in a tidy bow; it was the cap stone to a well-created universe. It asked for our attention and thought, which is so stunningly rare in a television program—say nothing about a Kdrama.

      • 36.4.4 starlight

        I think you’re really selling yourself and the drama short by thinking its all about the emotional satisfaction. I for one am glad it didn’t fulfill me emotionally because if it did then it TRULY would’ve been a cop out and just giving us fan service with the too back together. But on the deep level of the drama, it’s content and it’s logical, it’s perfect. It was never about the phone, the scenes came in this order to show us this but people are fixated on it because that’s te last thing they saw so they equate THAT with the time traveling mechanism when it wasn’t: he died first. He hung himself first. THEN it started raining signaling the righting of imbalance caused by his time meddling, THEN he heejin felt that he was in mortal danger, THEN because of his debt being paid off and the rain also signaling the gap opened up between their two times, THEN she was able to contact him. Nothing less nothing more. In that exact order to show us the exact cause and effect.

        It made us think and look deep than just being mindless fluff designed to stroke our happy bones and move on. I respect your opinion cuz it was exactly my opinion but really don’t stop there and try to open your mind a bit and look a bit further. Even if you never come round I promise you’ll surprise yourself on how much you missed because that’s what the writer wanted 🙂

        • Atiras


          i couldnt reply to your comment about bong-do saying hee-jin is smart and everyone else around her make her think she is dumb.

          for one, bong-do opinion of her may be biased – he is smitten by her. second, if hee-jin is convinced by those around her that she is dumb then perhaps she doesnt have the street smarts to believe in her smartness?

          its not just this drama, i am usually annoyed by the plot of the dead-pan, loveable, supersmart (photographic memory is actually quie rare) hero and the happy go lucky, plucky but dumb heroine. love the actors in QIHM though…. 🙂

          • starlight

            I dont think boong do was bias at all, atiras. Because for one he knew her the least out of everyone who deemed her dumb so in actuality he was the most partial, able to observe how she interacted with others and how she used her dumb image as a crutch. Consider how heejin said se lost her way to the toilet in the library to explain her and se to sookyung who was like does that make sense?! But accepted it cuz it was heejin and heejin said why doesn’t it make sense? You know how dumb I am’ when full knowing she wasn’t dumb and was just using that as a cover up to hide boong do. She isn’t like the typical plucky and adorable heroine in that she knows how to work things to her advantage despite being an ordinary girl. She was a heart of gold poor girl either and I agree with you that some dramas who automatically default to that drive me crazy but in this drama it was written that way for a reason: their characters formed their intellect as a story basis, not random personalities. Boong do is a politican and sungkyunkwan scholar, it is a given he is book smart. Heejin on the other hand is just like us, did mediocre in school and trying to use her looks to get into acting to make ends meet. Id also argue that sookyung knew her the most and loved her like a sister, but she was one of the biggest perpetrators of not seeing heejins worth and treating her like a kid/dumb blonde all the time which led to her meddling.

    • 36.5 Aj

      Really long explanation but excellent

      It’s changing my initial views of the ending

    • 36.6 stardust

      Agree so hard. If he didn’t give up his life then everything would still be the way it was for that year, heejin would’ve been unable to contact him, unable to remember him even. It was his act of death that triggered her memories, if he wasn’t in danger and still running away from the consequences, safe still then she wouldn’t have known just like that whole year. All series we’ve seen him needing to pay for the consequences of time traveling but we honesty knew that wasn’t enough and by giving up his life he finally cleared the debt once and for all and was allowed to return. Im super happy with this kind of fate because it does not control them, it only reacts to their decisions. Lovely.

      Another beautiful theme that came full circle:

      The first thing he ever asked her was if he was dreaming or dead.

      This last ep he answered him: “You’re real. You’re alive.”

      • 36.6.1 Alert

        Another theme that came in full circle:

        In ep 11, he asked her “Can I take responsibility of you?”
        And in ep 16, towards the end he said “Now you have to take responsibility of me”

        Perfect circle.

        • starlight

          Realised another beautiful circular narrative:

          When the monk asked him if he wouldn’t be lonely in the new world, BD replied

          “That is true, however if there were even one person to remember me, wouldn’t that life be different?”

          and in the last ep, the world was still the same without boong do, but its BECAUSE she remembered him that he was allowed to come back and make the difference to her life. She had to remember him FIRST in order for the difference to be made. so. good.

    • 36.7 Atiras

      if the cell phone was turned off at the time of the suicide attempt, bong doo would have had to turn it on/power it up for it to start ringing.

      its great that you love the drama so much and have thought of it a lot to write such a detailed analysis.
      however to some people it was not that easily discerned. too many dramas running at the same time is probably the culprit 🙂

      • 36.7.1 starlight

        The phone did not work at all, turned on or not. It was after the cosmic balance was restored and the portals opened up by boongdos act of killing himself that it worked again. It’s not a on or off thing, it’s a working or not working thing. And additionally, he never turned his phone off, he was still using it was disappeared so it was on just not working, kids like how you spill water onto a laptop and the screen fries up- the laptop is still on, it just doesn’t work anymore regardless of the on or off button

      • 36.7.2 Musings

        So you can accept a piece of yellow rectangular material with some fancy writing and blood but you can’t accept a phone ringing in Joseon times after a year. Okay. It’s called magic. If you accepted magic the first time then why not the second time.

        • Ririjkt

          So agree with you… why so much dissatisfaction over the phone ?? its magic magic…

          I love how good hyun woo and in na play they part..
          did watch hyun woo in invicible youth, and thought he is so quiet and expresionless..

          how different yoo in na from her greatest love role…

          really really love their chemistry … and loveee the kisses !!!

    • 36.8 1061-kun

      Thanks for your in-depth explanation of the program. Excellent!

    • 36.9 Wanderlust


      okay breathe. boong do calm. I have now honestly realised that ppl think that the suicide was just for dramatic impact and she just happened to call him at that time so that’s why they think the bloody phone was the catalyst for the time travel when it wasn’t. The hanging and PHONECALL are directly related. They are cause and effect, one could not happen without the other. If he didn’t kill himself, she wouldn’t have been able to call. Even if she called, he would not be able to answer because he was not dead and had not accepted the consequences for his time meddling yet. Actually we are already shown that, she tried to call when he warped back but the number didn’t exist because he was STILL alive. By being alive in his own time he defied time and history and thy could not be forgiven so easily. It was his willing death that sent him back like all those other times. When you die, you live. And heejin can only feel when he’s in mortal danger and so since he keep running and didn’t put himself in mortal danger, she couldn’t remember or feel him. He had to die first. Death first people, forget the phone. So tired.

      • 36.9.1 Ilovemandoo

        Exactly! It was pretty much the toughest thing he couldve decided to do. It wasn’t written just so that the writer could wring out a few more tears from us. It actually served dramatic purpose as the event that allowed him to return.

        • wanderlust

          last thing that I’ll add on his death being key to going back:
          The talisman had said that any selfish desires would be rejected and even with it destroyed, that rule still remained. Him being alive still was a direct challenge to history as well as defiance because we all knew he was still hoping to “selfishly” get back to Hee jin somehow. But when he made his decision to kill himself, he didn’t think of Hee jin at all- he specifically flashes back to him promising the kind that he’d never show up again, and so to keep this promise he hung himself. But it also represented something else: respect. Respect for his timeline and respect for his life time- respect for the king and the court because he knew f he was found alive then everything would blow up again, this time worst with no way out. By killing himself, he gave respect to time and history, something he’d been blantantly challenging and rejecting all this time. By accepting death readily for the first time he regained all he’d lost that he wrote in the letter: his honor, his values, his people and heejin. This is the one and only reason he was allowed to finally go back, because he really died, and “when you die, you live.”

          • chuaeyo

            OMG, took the words right out of my mouth… or thoughts out of my head!

        • wanderlust

          sigh.. reading through 300+ comments and there are still ppl who are STILL hung up on the phone and STILL think that was the reason for the time travel.

          one last time with me people: IT WAS DEATH. DEATH RULES.

          The main reason why everyone is fixated on the phone and see it as the reason for the time travel and thus a cop out and cheat (aside for the fact that they’re being shallow and not even trying to see that phone = communication, communication = love, love = memories) is that for us in 2012 and the present, the phone is so integrated and intertwined in our everyday life that we dont even think about it as a luxury anymore. it’s just a necessity of life. But as someone mentioned, the phone as a tool of communication would have been nothing short of magical in past times, which is why it was so important to this story. We the technology generation have become so desensitised to technology which is WHY we see it as a cop, cuz pft, a phonecall? thats nothing in this day and age.

          But once again if you look past it and see it AS communication ONLY then you will see the whole picture. Boong do’s letter, the communicating mechanism for his time was what started to trigger hee jins memory. It was his joseon way of reaching out to her to prove his love THROUGH communication. and then her phone call to him, the PRESENT days communication mechanism was the culmination of her memories and HER 22nd century way of reaching out to him to prove her love THROUGH communication.

          See the perfect parallels in story telling?

          • Kittymommy

            Wow wonderlust I’m in awe of ur writing, train of thoughts, detailed explanations and I can feel ur intense love for QIHM and how u ‘get’ wht writer Song tried to convey through ur post.
            Ur comments always delighted me, as it allows me to hv deeper understanding of everything especially the ending (which I already love btw).
            This is the testament of how magnificent QIHM is, to evoke such intense & intelligent debate.

          • ilovemandoo

            Thank you for your insightful comments. Hopefully more people will stop fixating on the phone and actually focus on the more important matters (like you said– Death rules). I can understand that we are desensitized to the technology and are more inclined to believe that a piece of paper, a “talisman” written by a monk, is more magical. However, even if they don’t necessarily agree with what you’re saying, they need to at least consider these things otherwise we as an audience aren’t doing the drama justice.

      • 36.9.2 Ginko

        “Death first people, forget the phone. So tired.”


        But I agree with you on everything. And I’m in awe of your perfect analysis. Your post was perfect, just like the show.

        Thank you.

        • Asiatic rock

          Thank you so much for the analysis Wanderlust. You’ve explained every thing so beautifully.

          And yes its really bugging me as well to see people so caught up in the phone thing that they dont let their minds go beyond it. This drama has been making the people to use their heads from the beginning. Looks like people keep missing the insights given by the drama throught out 🙂

    • 36.10 hartofseeker

      whew!! props to actually writing all of that! I seriously admire your affection for the drama to write this much =D

      just to clarify… (since i know i said the whole “i wish it ended at ep 14 thing) I LOVE the questions brought up in ep 15– because you’re right, it addressed the issue of what would happen if the persons who prayed for and wrote the talisman passed away.

      BUT that’s kind of in hind-sight… since if not for ep 15, that QIHM-universe law would not have existed– that the functionality of the talisman rested on the well-being of its creators… it was a move by genius scriptwriter to bring that question in adding that law (i say adding because we only come across the rules of the talisman as Boong Do discovers them, so we can’t ever say we saw the entirety of it… but then it worked because the rules never self-contradicted). so if it ended in ep 14, it’d be a bit uneasy a thought of having to protect that talisman your whole life (maybe lock it in a safe in the bank or something) but it wouldn’t be unreasonable to assume that as long as the talisman isn’t damaged, everything will stay fine as it is

      again, that’s not to say i don’t like the “new” rule in ep 15 that the writer added, because that IS the dark side to this time-traveling tale that the author dared to explore. HOWEVER… it seems like too ambitious of a move by the writer… it MAY be possible to resolve the dilemma in ep 15 in along the lines of the resolution presented in 16… it’s just that as javabeans says… “If you don’t set up the resolution adequately, then it becomes a last-minute cheap trick… This is the difference between leading someone naturally to a conclusion, and pushing them there by force. ” in writing ep 15, SHE KNEW she only had one more episode after that to close the conflict introduced in ep 16… perhaps she should have worked out an extension since she wrote scripts for 1-8 early already– she was probably writing these ahead… perhaps she could have paced ep 16 better, to work the phone/whatever exactly the talisman was into the story and introduce it, or leave less for guesswork/complications.

      Of course, this is also the desires of viewers having accumulated high expectations for this drama: “Everything was so well-placed that I was convinced it would be perfect through and through.”– Javabeans

      if not for that, i’d agree– that IS a pretty darn good finale =P

      • 36.10.1 starlight

        hii heartofaseaker, the rule in episode 15 wasn’t a new rule at all. It was never explicitly started but it had already been established in prior episodes of how it was tied to yoonwol and boongdo, but despite that it would sill not bend to the will of of the user completely. That’s why it had to be destroyed, and that’s where the rule came from. If it is tied to yoonwol, then it makes absolute sense that if she dies and the monk dies, it ceases to work. If your motherboard crashes, you will be unable to use your computer despite their being so many other parts. just like how cutting it affected it’s power, then the magic and devotion used to create it will change it too, specifically like the monk said, especially it was used for selfish desires. Even though boongdo paid off his debt to queen Inhyun and sulking, his faking death and going to heejin is still considered selfish so even if yoonwol didn’t die, the talisman would silk find some way to bring boongdo back until he could accept death willingly and unselfishlessly give up his life 🙂

        • kent

          I am writing it all over the places since you argument is that the writer did not set up the final from early episode than 15, than you are so wrong. Phone was always there, didn’t u see the Hee-jin flash back when she was in the car crying???? it was significant that as few others pointed out that phone is the only thing that connects them after the magic of talisman. Bong-doo travels 300 yrs in modern times and than uses the PHONE to get to Hee-jin. The phone always was the second to talisman for the connection of our leads. Drama did signified the importance of phone from very beginning it just that some viewers did not catch it. Not so much as write’s lacking..

    • 36.11 ladida

      Slow clap of perfection.

      • 36.11.1 wanderlust

        ladida, you wouldn’t be the one that runs that WordPress with the analysis of QIM and other dramas I just found right? Cuz if you are then it’s an honor! I just recently commented on your ep 15 review and posted your links in soompi in the QIM tread, your writing is marvelous!! does jb know about you cuz she should 🙂

        • ladida

          Oh, wow, thanks! Ummm…yes, I am, I run it with my sister. QIHM is just so wonderful, but the ideas were fueled by the great fanbase over at tumblr. They don’t only make gifs anymore! and hi, nice to meet you! 😀

          • wanderlust

            super nice to meet you, I have to admit if finished this analysis of it days ago but reading your blog made me add in stuff that I’d missed about how the talisman was basically doubt itself 😀 that’s why you’re thinking our thinking is so in line with eachother LOLOL lovely to see you’re a dramabeaner too and so glad I found your blog! But I noticed your sister isn’t watching this drama? You need to ey on that, stat 😀

            shall be following your blog and stuff very closely from now on, it totally relieved my withdrawal symptoms reading and NOTHING over the past week has been able to do that 🙂 Thanks times a billion!

          • j

            Wow!! So you’re the one who runs the Idle Revelry blog? A.ma.zing! Love your post (although I have only read your reflection of ep 9-12) ;). It really brings a new dimension of QIHM for me to look at. And of course it just makes me love the show more and more.

            Again, thank you for your wonderful and insightful post.

    • 36.12 Ilovemandoo

      I still am a little disappointed but I’ve come to many of the same conclusions as you. As a result, I am becoming more and more reconciled with the ending. However, my personal theories disagree with you one point. I think that the cellphone has become the modern equivalent of a talisman. Which is why it’s able to turn on even in the Joseon era. When it works because she is calling him, it doesn’t seem to be working based on modern technology (which is why I wasn’t upset about the battery) but based on some kind of magic that is working only in that crucial time– when Boongdo has accepted death and Heejin is calling him back. Even before, he had to die each time to live, and this was the final time (because he had no selfish intentions).

      I’m also glad that the drama didn’t end at ep 14 because I personally think the basis of the power of the talisman was Yoon-wol (the monk too but on a lesser extent). It wouldn’t have made sense for them to continue living with the talisman, especially when it was based in the love of someone who is not Hee-jin.

      As for speculation about the original ending, I think that this was the intended ending (otherwise why include phones as a motif? Or why have it so that Hee-Jin has never previously been able to call him back before? And what about the drama’s tag line?). I don’t think the writer did it just to appease fans with a happy ending. Overall I’m so glad I watched this drama. It is going down in my all time favorites.. * w * <3

      • 36.12.1 Ginko

        @Ilovemandoo, did you read the letter from the QIHM’s writer to fans? Joonni posted her fabulous translation of the letter on her website.


        From the letter, writer-nim said that they handed in the final script a little earlier than usual. So yes, I believe the ending was the original ending. The writer knew what she wanted, she didn’t pull a fan-service ending like other drama elsewhere.

        • ilovemandoo

          Ill go read it right now. Thanks for the link! I thought it was the original ending but I said that mainly for the people speculating that it wasn’t the original.

    • 36.13 wanderlust

      Last thing I’ll say hopefully is that if you’ve already written the ending off and are getting caught on the surface things like reception for a phone call then there’s nothing anyone can say to change your mind because you will keep harping on and on about the surface which does not show everything and will keep using that surface to defend your arguments. That is the mos detrimental form of learning I think, as said in moon that embraces the sun that an answer does not change just because you don’t like it and of you insist on keeping your eyes closed its really up to you. My analysis is for those who are open to seeing things differently and finding out stuff they’ve missed because even though I think I know everything about this drama, peoples opinions and analysis keep on opening up new realms for me. I thought I was being open minded and insightful but really I sill dont see the whole picture because there’s so much material to go on which is why I love it. So sorry if I’m coming off as trying to shove my views on others, I just hate seeing selective and willing ignorance and wish that you could open your minds and hearts to see all sides like queen inhyuns man has opened our hearts (and mouths) 🙂

    • 36.14 ladida

      Wanderlust, I’m just gonna add this link to your FABULOUS post because we agree on so many things. It reiterates some points about the phone as well as has a list of what other folks have written about the ending of the show:


      I’ll add that I think it’s telling that the problems folks are having with the ending of the drama aren’t thematic or narrative inconsistencies, but little things like Boong Do coming in from the rain dry and the phone’s battery still working (something which you’ve already explained)–things that we would forgive any other drama, if we would even notice them at all.

      Also that I think it’s awesome that in the end it’s Hee Jin, the one who everyone calls stupid, the ~passive~ one who could only wait for Boong Do, the one who loves fiction and believed in her own memories when everyone around her told her she was crazy, the one who’s memories got taken away from her without her consent (because Boong Do made that decision on his own) SHE is the one who saves our clever Joseon’s scholar’s ass. Every time Hee Jin has been in control, their romance was more solidified. In episode 6 she stands up to Dong Min and declares that Boong Do is her boyfriend. In episode 8 when Boong Do gives her the car (which is a symbol of her power) she tells him a story (because Hee Jin believes in the power of fiction; how freakin’ beautiful is that? Boong Do loves to read, but out heroine loves stories and understands the power they have) about how if he were a con man they could end up together and he ends up committing to their relationship and promising to come back. In episode 11 it’s her standing up to Soo Kyung and being angry as hell and running to the phone booth (her being active) that allows them to reunite. She’s always pushing their love forward.

      It’s when she’s not in control that things go to shit (like when Soo Kyung has her phone). Boong Do left his phone with her when he went back to be “executed” in episode 14, taking some power away from her, and that’s why she didn’t know he was all right and she ended up sobbing her heart out. Notice that when Boong Do returns to 1694 in episode 15, the talisman returns to him and doesn’t stay with Hee Jin. Because the talisman, being an object of doubt–and Hee Jin being the one who suffers the most from it’s status as such because she’s the one who waits–can’t wreak havoc when it’s with her. It took something as disastrous as Yoon Wol’s death for for it to leave Hee Jin. The talisman is an object that they exchanged between them several times. It’s doubt, but it’s also trust. When he gave it to her at the beginning of episode 15 it was a moment of trust and it also showed that he knows that it’s safer for them when it’s with her. So when it’s Hee Jin that calls him back, when it’s Hee Jin that saves them and their romance, it’s yet another wonderful circular thematic plot point.

      “You called, so I came.” It’s a sappy line, but really, it’s so powerful and says so much about the dynamics of their relationship. I just…I cannot with how awesome this show is.

    • 36.15 Betsy Hp

      Really, really like your post, wanderlust. Personally, the ending worked for me. It made sense on a visceral level even before I started thinking about it. (Which I love! Because it’s always fun to have something that only gets better as you dive into it.)

      And I totally agree that ending at ep. 14 would have been a cop-out. The Talisman was all about Yoon-wol’s love for Boong-do. To truly come together, Hee-jin and Boong-do needed a connection that was about them. And the first thing Boong-do asked Hee-jin to get him, when he’d decided to stay, was a cellphone. That it became imbued with the power of their love (as the Talisman was imbued with the power of Yoon-wol’s love)… that made sense to me.

    • 36.16 dramabliss

      Absolutely agree! Daebak explanation!

    • 36.17 Nam

      I go with your argument no. 6, Wanderlust.
      That it was He Jin and Boong Do’s love that brought them together.

      The phone was just an accessory so even if it didn’t exist Boong do would still be able to cross time when he “tried” killing himself. The first sign that no.6 was the probable explanation was that Hee Jin was able to remember and feel Boong Do, overcoming the effects of the burnt talisman. This is the first sign that the parts of the future was beginning to leak into the past or vice versa.

      So why did Boong Do cross over just when he was about to die? Because his “death” and the strong emotions and connection that both He Jin and Boond Do felt reached its peak thereby thoroughly opening the floodgates/wormhole. Hence, He Jin was able to call Boong Do not because the phone had magical powers but because at that exact moment both HJ and BD were on the same “time/space”, which is neither in the past or future but in the present.

      I think the main reason why some people have a hard time believing what happened is because there was no visual effect that clearly stated what happened which had them guessing if it was the phone, his death or whatever caused the time leap.

      BUT if you saw what happened when both Boong Do and He Jin was in the palace courtyard, when BD’s color started to turn from B&W to colored back and forth, you would realize that it’s really their emotions/love that forces their realities to overlap. Hence, you wouldn’t have been dumbfounded by BD’s sudden time leap at the end.

      People don’t like mind boggling plot twist that challenge logic. They want to be spoon-fed and be told of the mechanics of the whole thing if they were to believe it. And if there’s no mechanics then it’s better to have a silly magical talisman as teleporter because magic is much more logical at this point. Bleh.

      • 36.17.1 Kittymommy

        “People don’t like mind boggling plot twist that challenge logic. They want to be spoon-fed and be told of the mechanics of the whole thing if they were to believe it. And if there’s no mechanics then it’s better to have a silly magical talisman as teleporter because magic is much more logical at this point”
        I’m too chicken to write this afraid might riled up some people. Thank you!! for saying this

    • 36.18 momosa

      Thank you so much for articulating this.

      Hope those who see this drama at a superficial level (in Ep16) will have a change of mind, to honour the writer(s) brilliant & intelligent effort for such a great piece of work.

      It is the best I have watched so far.

      • 36.18.1 Anomymous

        Yes. If viewers will to watch carefully, one will notice the clever subtly of the show. Even the landscape of Joseon & modern time are different in the palace court scene where both Hee Jin & Boong Do appeared in the same frame in ep 16. Go back & watch – how the modern building disappeared when the camera panned to Boong Do (Joseon) and reappeared again when the camera panned toward Hee Jin (modern). Such care in the details. Love. Love. I’ve not seen any show that gives such consistent & due diligence to details like this show. Am really completely awed by it. Great writer, great directing, great care in handling the details, everything is just great with this show! Period.

    • 36.19 dduk

      Can I give you a hug because seriously your explanation of the ending is just awesome.

      I thought the ending was NOT a cop out, but was rather poignant and sweet. The original talisman was just a piece of paper that was blessed by the monk and Yoon Wol. If it wasn’t for them it would have just been a piece of paper with some fancy writing. The talisman was just a vessel for the… I guess you can say “power’ that helped BoongDo transport to the present. You can see that the cell phone was just a vessel. The thing that is should be most important is what made him come back to the present not the electronic device that he just had.

    • 36.20 floyd

      wow @wanderlust, your in-depth exploration of the underlying meaning of the ending is excellent. I already loved the style of the ending, but your comment gave me more insight and more love for this drama. I really admire your passion and intelligent analysis! <3
      On the other hand, we are all different individuals, so it's natural to have different reactions and level of engagement with this drama. The bigger the drama is, the more intense the discussion gets. It comes down to each person's character, stage in life, past experiences, understanding of the language and culture, and in what circumstances/ conditions each individual find gratification or disappointment. The writer is also a unique human being; nobody expects the audience to agree 100%, or to feel the emotions or purpose that the writer expected to express. Some people watch it with a shallow intent (yup I watched the whole of BOF just to gawk at Kim Joon, and for the OTP to pair up), some people don't feel the drama or just feel flat (I never felt emotionally connected to any Hong Sisters' drama, despite trying and all the peer pressure), some people will dislike it no matter what (eh…don't kill me JGS fans but I just cannot get on board the Jang Geun Seok ship……i swear it's the outfits and makeup he wears to perform…) so whatever people feel or take away from QIHM, it's ok. More importantly, isn't it amazing that a little cable drama that was so under the radar became so hugely popular just by word of mouth and recommendation? This alone, speaks volumes for the cast, crew and production team. And it gathered so many brainy, witty people to discuss the plot fervently, and also equally as many shippers/fangirls to gush together. I am equally in awe of all the perceptive and discerning recaps and comments, as well as BD's shoulders and how well BD and HJ kiss. And also how wonderful it is to have platforms like DB, soompi and other blogsites where people of all different nationalities, race, age, occupation, gender can come and share our love for k-dramas, especially for non-korean speakers like myself. Like i mentioned before, QIHM will always remind me of falling in love, and has rekindled my love for k-dramas. Aren't you Koreans proud? I am proud for you guys! And for the team and cast getting their due recognition! LOVE

    • 36.21 Onees

      Bravo!!! Love everything about the drama. With your view Wanderlust, I’m loving it even more. Bravo again!!!

    • 36.22 jingelbells

      wow. A great argument. 🙂 all those reasons I cant even put into words, you did. Thank you. From the bottom of my heart. 🙂

    • 36.23 chuaeyo

      DAYUMMMM girl!!! very well put. wasn’t it such a coincidence that all these unravelled just when ‘new’ evidence [which was boong do’s letter] came to light?

      • 36.23.1 wanderlust

        It wasn’t a coincidence at all- if you look closely it’s because of the events in the past of him being found out to still be alive and taken for interrogation in the palace was what allowed the prime minister finding the letter and keeping it as well as writing in his diary about Kim boong do- the documentary that led to heejin remembering was established BECAUSE of boongdo getting arrested and deciding to die. If he didn’t run away and accidentally leave the letter behind for the prime minister to find, then in the present, the prime ministers descendant wouldn’t have found it and given it in to the museum. without that letter, the historians and writers of the documentary wouldn’t have known at all about boongdo and researched him further and since there’s no documentary, there would be no heejin being asked to narrate. Those two events are the cause and effect of eachother, it didn’t just happen. Nothing in this show ever “just happens.” hope that made sense 🙂

    • 36.24 shapi

      Agreed. The show would not be as near perfect if it ends at ep 14. Ep 15 (which has become my all time favourite) totally blew me over in it’s depiction of the depth of BD’s love for HJ (who is much more of a taker than a giver in their relationship). If only ep 16 could have ended better.
      But I can go with “love transcends all odds” without bickering too much over the technical details as to how it’s been carried out as long as the talisman is destroyed for good, and the couple is given a chance to live out the consequences of their decisions in the present.

    • 36.25 Soso

      OMG Wanderlust, I think I love you. Wow, even if I were scoffing at the phone thing, your passionate explanation would have sold me. Thank you for your really thoughtout detailed analysis!

    • 36.26 merlyunho

      wow…. you should join the writer team in her next drama. just saying. maybe this is what they meant all along, since all this drama was about is cause and effect, and it was true. one thing always led to another. when boong do tried to hang himself, which is clearly a selfless behavior, one that gets a nod from the Gods and whoever holds the greater power up there, or any mystical power that made it possible for him to time travel. And then heejin became suffocated and finally remembers everything, which should not have been the case since it doesn’t line up with the talisman’s nature, something was already up since heejin gets her memory back, something’s breaking the talisman’s power, their love has overcome the talisman, and to wrap everything up, a phone call might practically seemed a little too simple in this story, since they built a world so intricate and magical of their own. i love that the thematic message’s still there. love’s going to overcome everything. maybe it was just the matter of the phone call that seemed to bug everyone, if it was done more beautifully, with more preparation, so they could find another object or another cause to enable boong do to go back to 2012, we’d be more in peace. i admit i feel a little betrayed after seeing how speedy and hassle-free boong do’s last time traveling was, because i hoped for something more dramatic and over the top, something that i myself wouldn’t even begin to imagine. but i’ll continue to defense this drama to no end because 19 and third quarter of it was pure bliss. everything was executed so well that i don’t know what kind of drama that would top this one off in 2012.

      everything was spot on, the writing, the plot, the directing, the editing, the cinematography, the casting, the acting, the costumes, the music, and THE CHEMISTRY.
      Holy hell they could burn anyone’s TV screen simply by just staring at each other.

    • 36.27 lyra

      malariamonsters of tumblr sent me here to read your comment. and I LOVE IT.

    • 36.28 Fay

      Wanderlust, your observation is so well-thought out; I wish I had that sort of insight. I came here not to find answers, but to connect with those who shared the same love for these two characters that I have. By whatever method they ended up together, isn’t that enough? This is a drama that I will revisit again, if for no other reason than to watch the kisses♥

    • 36.29 Gasenadi

      Exquisito! Mil gracias, Wanderlust. Searching for yr comments will now become my obsession.

    • 36.30 hallyuholicmom

      totally agree with you wanderlust. im all thumbs up to the writer. don’t sweat the small stuff…in the first place the show specifically made sit in a magical-mythical-voodoo like premise. so why fuss over something that at the beginning not very so logical at all (given that we are on the 21st century scientific-techie world…and time travelling talisman?). what batteries and mobile phone issues!? gaah!

      boong do’s “death analysis”, i also thought so…

      this is “worldly” perfect drama for me. daebak!

  37. 37 AnitaLotti

    I simply don’t get why people can accept magic in the form of a paper talisman written by a monk but not in the form of a piece of machinery manufactured by Samsung. The first device carried the feelings of loyalty of Yoon-Wol and the second operated on Hee Jin feelings for Boong Do.

    There is no explanation as to how the paper talisman worked its magic of transporting Boong Do into the future but the fact that there is no reception in Joseon time and the battery cannot possibly have lasted a year results in a big discussion?

    Has the mystery quota not been met as we kind of understand how a mobile phone works? Is this a bikeshed colour problem (Parkinson’s Law of Triviality)?

    • 37.1 Atiras

      i guess the paper talisman has more mystic element to it than today’s modern gadgets which we are more familiar with i.e. knowledge of how they work. 😉

      think about a verbal magic chant versus a digital phone message. consequently, in the new drama ‘i love lee tae ri’, the body altering magic happens in a cell phone. 🙂

  38. 38 stars4u

    One gem of a drama this is…

  39. 39 hipployta

    When the phone rang on her end and didn’t get the “phone number does not exist” I already felt hope…so I am perfectly happy with the ending…the fact that I was watching a live stream and in the Soompi chat when Ji Hyun Woo dropped his bomb made the experience even more awesome

  40. 40 Mia

    I really like this drama, it’s not perfect, yes, but I don’t have anything to dislike about it. I am really happy about the actors and actresses performances! the characters are awesome too! this drama became one of my favourites ^^
    Thank you HeadsNo2 for recapping this <3

  41. 41 ninji

    I loved the ending in front of the screen. Kissing. Because they are the kissy-couple after all.

  42. 42 Shiku

    My second favorite OTP *sniff, sniff* So happy for them and am happy the leading lady ended with such a nice guy instead of the usual jerk leading man.

    I love the fact that the finale didn’t seem rushed at all unlike all the other dramas that don’t plan properly.

    • 42.1 Shiku

      Oh and finally that saying makes sense ‘To live is tod die, to die is to live.’ It really came full circle bravo writers and all the cast/crew.

    • 42.2 Ilovemandoo

      Off topic but what’s your favorite OTP? 😮 just curious.

      • 42.2.1 Shiku

        Jumong and Soseono – the ultimate power couple! It was a relationship based on equals. They trusted each other 100% and were always there for each other in their time of need. She worked tirelessly getting funds and provisions that would help build his nation even if they were apart. She ultimately sacrificed their love and happiness and left him for the sake of their other kids when his first wife came back (darm you Yesoya!).

  43. 43 alua

    I didn’t even watch this drama (not yet) but your recap had me teary!


    It’s gonna be flood of tears when I do actually get to watching QIM!

    • 43.1 Still recovering from what was QIHM (aka MsB)

      Reading it and seeing it is two different things that’s for sure! Reading ep 15 before seeing it helped because had I watched it and then read, I would have been an emotional mess!

  44. 44 comradeS

    Oh, how I loved this show. I remember trying to find English subs when it barely started, and slowly, how it gained momentum in its fanbase, to the point that I was watching episodes RAW, reading three different sets of recaps, and then watching the episode again with English subs. Oh, all the fangirling. So much fun.

    After the show ended, the writers wrote a thank you note to fans, and one thing that was said really bothered me. Basically, it said that the writers wanted to write the perfect hero, a man that you can only make up, since this is a fantasy drama and all that. Why can’t we all ask for that kind of guy? Kim Boong-do is one of the main reasons that I loved this show, because he was GOOD. I feel like there are other K-drama heroes that are like Kim Boong-do in goodness (Lee Bum-soo in Giant, Park Yong-woo in Jejoongwon, Daniel Choi in Baby-faced Beauty etc.), though they don’t happen as often as our Kim Joo-won heroes, which is a shame. Maybe a man as good as KBD isn’t as wonderfully handsome, intelligent, and rich, but I think that to say KBD is only fantasy, is ridiculous.

    Anyhow, thanks to QIHM creators and participants who made this one of my favorite K-dramas. I loved every bit of it.

    Oh, and one thing the ending with the cell phone call. In the letter KBD wrote about having to give up everything because the talisman allowed him to live when he should have died. I feel like the cell phone call worked, because it was the moment that KBD gave up the last thing that he was still holding on to: his life. So for me, the ending worked.

  45. 45 Helen

    XD Javabeans, that is exactly how I felt at the end! Hee Jin calling back Boong Do didn’t work for me that well, but I had trouble grasping the little dissatisfaction in my head, since no one around me was having problems with the happy ending. I was also too desperate for the happy ending, so I decided regardless of how the drama got there, I would accept it! After you explained it in your clear and thoughtful words, I can think more logically of the ending. ^^

    And you are right, Queen In Hyun’s Man still trumps a lot of the other dramas this year! I recommended this drama to all of my drama-watching friends every time I saw them. Haha, they shake their head whenever they see me jerking up and down, knowing that I am about to start brainwashing them with QIHM goodness. XD

    • 45.1 starlight

      Helen, I honestly think EVERYONE had problems with the ending, some just foisted it off cuz they got a happy ending and others have raged and disowned the ending and sad they’re gna stop at 14. Wanderlust makes an excellent point for this, her post is above yours just search for it, hopefully you can see some stuff you’ve missed 😉

      • 45.1.1 Ilovemandoo

        This pretty much. I think the more you think about the ending, the more you’ll appreciate the thoughtfulness of it. Just give yourself time, Helen! And no need to feel like you have to accept other people’s theories. But do stay open minded because you may start to understand something you didn’t before and become more satisfied with the ending.

  46. 46 toritorisan

    Finally! A fantasy drama with a fantasy and happy ending! This drama wasn’t my favorite of all the time traveling and fantasy dramas I’ve seen so far, but it really had smart writing. Although the “logistics” of how the time traveling works is not exactly clear (especially the cel phone ending), I am glad that the drama ended up with BD going back to the future and having a happy ending. I was really getting tired of fantasy dramas that have realistic endings (i.e. 49 Days, Rooftop Prince). With a happy ending, whether it be possible or not, we can enjoy the drama for what it is: Fantasy (and don’t have to over-analyze).

  47. 47 citrone

    If only we could have seen InHyun took a photo of the talisman with her phone!!

    The drama was great on the overall. One last bite felt bitter at the end. Hope we remember the taste if all bites and not the last one.

    I see lots of reasoning posted about the phone. As JB said, if there is that many explanations out there, then it means it is not explicit enough. If only they could pull that of too.. Then it would be perfect. But I am pretty happy with near-perfect solutions:)

    • 47.1 Ilovemandoo

      I don’t think the cellphone could have called him back with a picture of the talisman. The talisman does not exist anymore, and its powers don’t either since Yoon-wol and the monk are dead. Hence why only Hee Jin can call him back to the present.

  48. 48 anais

    Although I already wrote this on Joonni’s episode 16 recap, I feel the need to assert that the phone isn’t a deus ex machina:

    Short version first
    “The finale was – quite contrary to the prevailing complaint of a deus ex machine – SOOOOOOO intelligent and thoughtful. …A finale that holds up life-affirming power of memory, especially when events in history would attempt repeatedly to erase such existence from collective memory. Memory as key to existence and identity. After all, one’s own memory of oneself is so vital to one’s sense of identity (as Alzheimer’s and dementia patients’ suffering all too sadly demonstrates).

    Memory as key to existence and identity. How beautiful is that? Hegel would have loved this drama.”

    Long version
    “I’ll admit that at first I too thought the phone was a deus ex machina. But then, I realized that it was Heejin and her yet again remembering Boongdo. I love what this drama has to say about the power of remembering. I am reminded specifically of the existential conversation between Boongdo and the younger monk, a convo during which they debate the value of a life that knows how its own future will unfold versus a life in which but one other soul recognizes/remembers its existence. Boongdo chooses the latter, saying that it would be worthwhile for him if even only one person remembered him as Heejin had done. I didn’t think much of that conversation then, but now – after the finale’s emphasis on Heejin’s memory – I find myself reminded of the value placed on memory by various peoples and traditions. Memory as the key to existence for African Americans, for Holocaust survivors, for various peoples with tenuous ties to history due to genocide or historical manipulation. It is then even more wonderful that Heejin recovers her memory as a result of a documentary on Untold Stories of History. Especially since the historical context also dealt with stories and histories that could have been lost to us, e.g., Queen Inhyun, whose own story has managed to come down to us although we will never be able to authenticate its author. I also am reminded of the memoirs of Lady Hong, the wife of Crown Prince Sado and the mother of King Jeongjo. The historical richness we would have lost had her memoirs been lost to us.”

    Lastly, about body vs. spirit
    “Oh, one more thing about the body vs. the spirit. The first time I thought of it was in relation to the talisman after it was first damaged. How the spirit is literally embodied and cannot be dissociated from the body, which is why I love it so much that Heejin has such visceral reactions demonstrating her spiritual connection to Boongdo. (And why I would have been so grossly dissatisfied with a reincarnation ending.)”

    • 48.1 dramabliss

      Anais, really really love this explanation, placed as it is in the context of a philosophical paradigm.

      I am of the same opinion (as I have posted upthread) but you explain it better, imho. 🙂

      • 48.1.1 anais

        Thanks, dramabliss.

        I’m frankly a bit over all the hoopla over the phone, the phone battery, the tie, Boongdo’s appearing in a perfect suit. Whatever.

        The point is that her memory of him was strong enough that it defied magic and time-space continuum, never mind mundane concerns such as keeping a battery charged. I said on Joonni’s that it was her love that activated the phone. That’s poetic, more poetic than I’d ever have anticipated from a k-drama.

    • 48.2 Gasenadi

      Magnificent! Especially the collective, historical memory in the documentary triggering Hee-Jin’s personal memories. The more I read yr comments, ppl, the more AWESOME this drama and its writers get. Thanks.

  49. 49 Yuhotarubi

    HI !!!!!!
    finally the end !!

    I love this entire drama from the very begining all the way to the end. But one thing didn’t get to my mind; which is using the phone as the new talisman, I really didn’t understand that point, I was kind of hoping for something else not sure what it is but something more magical perhaps, but the happy ending was satisfying.
    Anyway, the drama was great and I’m very glad that I watched it.
    thank you javabeans and HeadsNo2 for recapping 16 episodes of this series.

  50. 50 sarang

    I have to say I found the ending poignant and beautiful, I’m not going to try to convince others why the cellphone talisman worked, but it did for me. QIHM is my vote for best drama of the year, stellar casting, acting, directing, writing, and overall just a joy to watch.

    • 50.1 sarang

      Also one more thing, how awesome was that epilogue? I busted out laughing. *wipes away tears of joy*

      • 50.1.1 Ilovemandoo

        Aww I was laughing and crying at the epilogue.

      • 50.1.2 dramabliss

        yup, found it hilarious!

      • 50.1.3 Onees....was tracnhi

        The epilogue was hilarious! I loved the writer even more for adding that in. Loved it and the whole drama to bits. Best of the best!!

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