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Queen In-hyun’s Man: Episode 16 (Final)

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?

 
FINAL EPISODE RECAP

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.

 
HEADSNO2’S COMMENTS

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.

 
JAVABEANS’ COMMENTS

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.

 
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Muchas graciasss

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This drama has spoilt all other dramas for me, forevermore :(

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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!)

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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

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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.

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I agree entirely

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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 :D

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*

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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.

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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

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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

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

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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...

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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

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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.....

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

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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,,,

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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."

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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...:-)

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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!

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Does anyone know the ringtones that rings while he is in the jail (when he hang himself in the jail) ?
Please email me at [email protected]. Thanks.

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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?

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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?"
"Kisses!!"

Heh.

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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.

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Ditto. Still listening to the OST and moping.

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

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There's I Do, I Do?

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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

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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....

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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 :)

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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!

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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.

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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!

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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!

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

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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.

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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.

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

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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.
:)

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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! :)

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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....

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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.

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wow. very well said. :)

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Convincing arguments. Thanks for yr thoughts.

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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!!!

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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!!!! ;)

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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).

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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*

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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? :D

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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.

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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.

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

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But it still would be outside the studio.

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yeah!

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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!

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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.

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

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

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

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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.

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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! >.<

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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!

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Ohmygosh the best surprise EVER. I LOVE YOU!

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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!

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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.

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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.

http://english.chosun.com/site/data/html_dir/2012/06/07/2012060700503.html

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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")

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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.

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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. ^^

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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.

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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!

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Agree!

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!

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Wow I totally didn't realize the "In-Hyun" couple as a combination of their real names. Love it even more :)

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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?

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& 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.

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

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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...

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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

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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 ;)

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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!!!

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

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that and all those pay phone motifs. it's poetic that she's "calling" him, both literally and figuratively.

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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.

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

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

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@glo

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?

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

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

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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.

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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.

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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 :)

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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.

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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! ):

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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..

HOPE THEY GET MARRIED..FOR REAL

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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.

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

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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 :)

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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:

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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.

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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?

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My thoughts exactly!

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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.

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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

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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! :P

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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.

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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

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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.

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I meant I was happy the talisman was destroyed.

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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 =/

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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.

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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?

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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

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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!

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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.

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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

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I was thinking the same,JB! :o 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!!!! :D

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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.

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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.

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thanks for the recap!!!!

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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! :D

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

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