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The Light in Your Eyes: Episodes 1-10

Is it possible to be cocky and poignant at the same time? Because that’s how I feel about this show. I’m still gobsmacked at how The Light in Your Eyes had such confidence in the story it wanted to tell that it didn’t mind confusing some of us if it meant staying true to its heroine’s story. Which gives last week’s episodes a lot of impact, polishing an already good show. And though magic watches aren’t real, there’s no rule that says you can’t start a show late. Especially a show like this one.

(Note: this review covers the events of episodes 1-10. Please hold on to your spoilers and episodes 11-12 feels until the follow-up post later this week. Thanks!)

 
MEET THE YOUNG HYE-JA

The show throws us a twist right from the start when KIM HYE-JA (played by Kim Hye-ja, heh) walks in on a young man’s “48-hour sleep challenge” broadcast. Hye-ja notices that the webcam is streaming and the bored audience is now making comments about her. She sits down and chats with them until someone asks, “How old are you, Grandma?” to which Hye-ja matter-of-factly replies, “Me? I’m 25 years old.”

The channel erupts in laughter and virtual candies (convertible to cash) at her humor, but in a much younger voiceover, Hye-ja insists that she really is 25.

Young Hye-ja (played by Han Ji-min) continues that she has a magic watch that can turn back time. She found it half-buried in the sand when she was a little girl and discovered its powers by accident. Being a kid, she used those powers without much thought. Like sleeping a bit longer in the mornings before school or restarting exams to get higher scores.

Later, she noticed her watch has a catch: when she rewinds the time, her biological clock stays the same. So every time she pulls back the clock she becomes a little bit older than everyone else. By the time she’s 10, she’s used the watch so much that her puzzled and worried family has to keep whipping out her birth certificate to prove her actual age to others. Hye-ja decides to minimize the damage by not using the watch anymore.

When we next catch up with 25-years young Hye-ja, she’s in the middle of her Nth attempt to become a news anchor. It’s been her dream since high school but the dream seems fuelled more by heart than actual skills. After a series of failed interviews, she’s started to lose even the heart part of it and stopped submitting applications while she stays at home and “prepares” some more.

Hye-ja’s family lives in a rundown neighborhood marked for redevelopment. Mom (Lee Jung-eun) runs a hair salon where the water pressure is none, the boiler keeps breaking down, and the regulars are a trio of grannies who pay for perms in vegetables. Still, Mom rarely complains about her lot. She only gets mad when faced with nonsense. Too bad her children are full of it, so she’s pretty much mad all the time.

Dad (Ahn Nae-sang) drives a dilapidated cab and is the sweet-but-silent type of husband. He dotes on his children, especially Hye-ja. It’s not uncommon for the father-daughter pair to sneak out to a small udon place to drink and talk about life and escape Mom’s wrath.

Hye-ja’s sliiightly younger-looking older brother YEONG-SOO (brilliant casting of Sohn Ho-joon) makes up the rest of the family. He’s a struggling VJ who’s too lame to be funny and too unskilled to finish any of his viewer’s challenges. His only goal in life is to eat samgyupsal–a useless dream that always brings out Mom’s infamous wrath, to the point that Yeong-soo once sealed off his whole room to grill pork in secret and ended up almost dying from asphyxiation.

Though the whole neighborhood assumed that Yeong-soo tried to commit suicide, Hye-ja and her friends know that Oppa is really just that stupid. A fact that is doubly-insulting for friend HYUN-JOO (Kim Ga-eun) who used to be head over heels for Yeong-soo. After that deeply-regretted phase of romanticism, Hyun-joo is now an overly practical girl who doesn’t have any dream to chase. She helps out in her family’s small Chinese restaurant–a job that sparks shenanigans the whole series between her and her food-obsessed first love Yeong-soo.

The last friend of the trio is SANG-EUN (Song Sang-eun), a girl who’s been an idol-in-training for 10 years. Despite her agency renewing her contract, it’s obvious they gave up on her when she describes the new terms: “I can use the practice rooms whenever I want, sing whatever I want, do whatever I want… as long as I don’t tell anyone which agency I’m from.”

Still, the three best friends support each other’s endeavors. Whether it’s Sang-eun’s singing, Hye-ja’s hate of her successful hoobae, or Hyun-joo’s efforts to forget that Yeong-soo exists.

In the midst of this quarter-life crisis, Hye-ja meets LEE JOON-HA (Nam Joo-hyuk), an up-and-coming reporter. He’s a favorite hoobae of Hye-ja’s one-sided college love, JANG-HO (cameo by Hyun Woo).

Jang-ho is a seasoned reporter who covers civil wars and humanitarian crises. Naturally, when he introduces his two favorite hoobaes to each other, Joon-ha looks interested in Hye-ja. An interest that evaporates when she turns out to be ignorant of current events. Joon-ha quizzes her about her dedication to broadcasting: what kinds of stories she wants to cover, what she’s done to gather experience, what she thinks about fieldwork versus reporting from the studio… his pointed questions hit a sore spot with Hye-ja. She returns from the college reunion feeling talentless and even more convinced that she’s not meant to be an anchor.

Hye-ja is still smarting from Joon-ha’s comments when she runs into him at the neighborhood redevelopment protest. She asks what a “cool” reporter is doing there when their tiny concerns aren’t newsworthy to people like him. After her impassioned speech, the sweet granny that Hye-ja was assisting (Kim Young-ok) introduces Joon-ha as her grandson, here to join the protest. Hye-ja is embarrassed but Joon-ha is impressed. Initial antagonism now gone and with a cute boy checking her out, Hye-ja hilariously restarts the protest with softer chants.

Joon-ha’s grandma is also eyeing the lively and considerate Hye-ja as her future granddaughter-in-law. Heh. Though Joon-ha pretends nonchalance in front of his grandma, they’re both disappointed to hear the (false) rumor that Hye-ja is getting married soon. It doesn’t stop Joon-ha from being drawn to her though.

One night, Hye-ja is drinking her self-doubt away after a female sunbae offers her a job as an erotic-scene dubber. (It came with the practical advice that as anchor-rejects, they have to earn a living somehow.) Joon-ha joins Hye-ja’s pity party and the two end up playing the “who’s more miserable?” game. Joon-ha wins when he says his mom abandoned him, his dad is better off dead, and he wants to turn back time so he can live in an orphanage instead of making his poor grandma suffer while raising him.

A drunk Hye-ja sobs at his story and takes out the magic watch she was going to restart her dream with, offering to turn back time for him instead. But before she can use the watch, Hye-ja stumbles and headbutts the table, giving herself a forehead gash and a free ride home on Joon-ha’s back.

She wakes up not remembering anything in the morning. Since Mom’s ladle whacks are proving unhelpful, Hye-ja escapes to Dad who tells her in between pouts that her “new boyfriend” took her home, which makes Hye-ja squeal in delight (and Dad pout harder, heh).

She runs into Joon-ha a couple more times around the neighborhood. Through him, she learns to accept her old, niggling thoughts that it’s okay to look for something else to do in life. Meanwhile, she teaches the always-gloomy Joon-ha that it’s okay to love your imperfect self. She tells him, “I don’t dislike myself. I can’t say I love myself dearly, but I think I’m all right… you should love yourself more. It will help you become more generous with yourself.”

Yeong-soo, in a rare spark of awareness, gathers there’s more to Hye-ja’s recent drunken binges. He gets his little sister to confess that she’s giving up on her dream. He pats her in comfort for maybe 2 seconds before immediately announcing it to the whole house. LOL

Mom aka Hye-ja’s biggest supporter is angry and disappointed. She used to joke that she can’t wait to close the salon and tour the world when Hye-ja becomes rich, but what really bothers Mom is Hye-ja giving up without a plan. Though that nuance is lost in between the ladle whacks.

Dad barely manages to hold the door for Hye-ja, and with Mom waiting to pounce just outside her room, Dad and daughter end up hiding together. Hye-ja apologizes to him for being a failure. He jokes that she was meant to be Miss Korea anyway, if only she drank more milk as a kid. And besides, she doesn’t have to be a news anchor to buy him the promised taxi. Aww…

It’s extra sweet, making Dad’s death the next day extra cruel. Hye-ja repeatedly rewinds the clock to try and stop Dad’s accident. Each day she manages to run a little bit farther, ride the bike a little bit faster. But she can’t seem to catch up to him. She pays for each failure by watching Dad die.

Tired of witnessing tragedy repeat itself, Hye-ja wonders if it’s something she can’t change after all. She asks Joon-ha what to do if you need to save someone but you keep failing. He answers that if it’s someone that *must* be saved, then giving up is out of the question. Hye-ja thanks him for confirming she’s in the right path and goes back to repeating the day of Dad’s accident until she fiiinally manages to squeeze through and change Dad’s future from being hit by a speeding truck to crashing safely into a wall instead.

The next day, Hye-ja jumps out of bed and runs into the kitchen to find Dad alive with a bit of a limp but otherwise looking okay. She’s so happy that it takes a moment to register that the whole family is looking at her strangely. When she stares at the mirror, she finds an 80-year-old Hye-ja staring back.

MEET THE OLD HYE-JA

Though the show deals with a lot of mixed storylines, the main focus always goes back to Hye-ja’s struggles as a new 80-year-old woman.

Hye-ja’s first reaction is of course to use the watch to undo things, but for some reason, it’s broken and couldn’t be fixed. Once she realizes she’s stuck in an old body for real, she shuts herself in her room for days and refuses to see anyone. One night, she decides to end her life and leaves her family a goodbye letter. She climbs up to the rooftop she and Joon-ha used to visit and throws the broken watch away.

Joon-ha happens to be drinking in an alley below. When Hye-ja’s sneaker slips and hits him in the head, he shouts up at the strange grandma that this height isn’t enough to kill you. It will only injure you for life. Then your family will have to take care of you which defeats the purpose of wanting to leave in the first place. He advises her to keep living no matter what because that’s the best way to keep your family un-miserable.

Unbeknownst to Hye-ja, while she was locked up in her own room, Joon-ha’s abusive and money-grubbing father has returned to terrorize his grandma. On top of this, Joon-ha feels adrift after hearing the various neighborhood rumors that Hye-ja left for Germany, got married, and left without saying a word. One night, a desperate Joon-ha beats himself up and frames his father to get him locked up. He instructs his grandma to keep up with the lie so they can finally have peace, but grandma sneaks out the next morning to give a statement in favor of her son. She returns with a vague excuse and apologizes to an unknowing Joon-ha. It’s the last thing she says to him because when he comes back that night, grandma has died alone in her sleep. While Joon-ha presides over grandma’s wake, his father arrives, cops in tow to question him for false charges.

This is the state he’s in when he crosses paths with the old Hye-ja: his grandma dead, his only friend missing, and his future as a reporter now ruined.

Still, his dark logic is enough to stop Hye-ja’s suicidal thoughts. Hye-ja tries to carve out a place in the family by doing more household chores. She also makes an effort to get to know her new limits, enlisting Yeong-soo to run impromptu physical tests: climbing steps (5 to run out of breath, 10 to start creaky knees), running track (impossible), singing IU’s famous high triple-note in Good Day (another impossible). She also asks Mom to take her to the hospital for a full body checkup, though Mom has to drag her back out when she strangles the doctor for complimenting her “young-looking” 55-year-old organs.

Hye-ja has barely accepted her new self when she overhears Mom and Dad arguing about the cost of her maintenance medicines. It sends her packing again. This time to live a short life alone near the sea. But her wisdom hasn’t improved with age and she’s scammed out of all her belongings at the bus station. A cab driver stops and offers to take her to the beach for free, which was just the concerned man’s ruse to take her to the police and find her family. She refuses to tell them anything, creating a ruckus in the station as the group of officers beg her for her name, address, or fingerprints.

Joon-ha, the traitor, happens to be there for questioning and tattles that the grandma lives in his neighborhood, though he doesn’t know where exactly. The officers take both of them for a ride, and as luck would have it, a sniveling Yeong-soo knocks on the patrol car, asking for help to locate his “granny” while describing Hye-ja to a T. They leave him to piggyback his tired grandma home.

Back in his room, Yeong-soo waves Hye-ja’s goodbye letter in her face and scolds her for (potentially) breaking Mom and Dad’s heart by running away. He then uses the same letter to blackmail her into running his errands. LOL. It’s annoying but also sweet. Grandma or not, Yeong-soo treats Hye-ja the same as ever, which helps ground her. Though it’s hard to feel grateful when you’re now the neighborhood loser’s lackey.

Hye-ja reveals herself to Hyun-joo and Sang-eun too. The girls claim that it’s okay, she’s still the same Hye-ja they love, but there’s obviously some adjustment needed as they keep slipping into formal speech and sitting politely in front of her.

Though her friends and family try their best to make the new Hye-ja feel welcome, the rest of society says otherwise. There’s this depressing scene when the fire alarm goes off inside the mall. Despite Hye-ja being one of the first people to get into the elevator, when the overcapacity warning flashes, everyone eyes her disdainfully for not volunteering to die get off first. (WTF, people?!) It’s proven to be a false alarm, but the experience and the realization that her life doesn’t matter as much as others breaks sweet Hye-ja’s heart.

One day, Hye-ja runs into Joon-ha who ignores her. She follows him home only to find him taking care of a dog that looks like her pet, Rice. When she checks at home, Dad tells her Rice went missing a couple weeks back. Hye-ja becomes convinced that Joon-ha’s new dog is hers. Hye-ja tries to take Rice back, only to be attacked or ignored repeatedly. She keeps coming back with her old clothes or even her old smell (the smell of soju LOL). Joon-ha watches dispassionately as this strange grandma begs Rice to remember her and the time they spent together, not knowing that the words are also meant for him.

Though Rice never ends up recognizing Hye-ja, Joon-ha takes pity on the old lady and gives Rice to her family when Hye-ja’s father comes knocking. Even though it’s revealed later that this isn’t the same dog, (Yeong-soo tells Mom in a panic that “Rice” grew a new pair of balls, LOL) her family keeps up the ruse.

Hye-ja drops by Joon-ha’s house to thank him for Rice and bring food for grandma, only to find the memorial set up in the bedroom. Before Hye-ja can react, Joon-ha’s dad enters to ransack the place. Hye-ja hides and watches as Joon-ha catches his dad in the act and the two fight over grandma’s death, with the father accusing Joon-ha of hoarding the insurance payout.

Joon-ha looks so done with life after his father leaves that he barely reacts when Hye-ja pops out from her hiding place and awkwardly leaves. Still, the sight of her home-cooked meals sparks something in Joon-ha. He finds her at the udon place and shares that today was grandma’s 49th-day ritual. They drink in a sort of truce until Hye-ja introduces herself as Hye-ja’s great aunt as an excuse to pry into his life. Joon-ha keeps acting like Hye-ja was just an acquaintance, so Hye-ja unknowingly digs deeper into his wounds by talking about how her niece felt close to him, until Joon-ha gets fed up and walks out.

Hye-ja hears a couple of ladies talking to her mom about this Hyoja Exhibit Hall/Senior Daycare and how convenient it is to have their old relatives out of their hair during the day. Hye-ja checks it out but figures it isn’t for her, only to turn back in shock when she hears Joon-ha take to the stage to sing for the elders.

At first, Hye-ja assumes that Joon-ha is doing investigative work. The exhibit hall is like an open scam: they entertain the elders to sell overpriced health supplements to them. She pulls Joon-ha aside to offer help in going undercover, but the puzzled Joon-ha answers using his “exhibit hall face” (very polite and smiley, but also blank) that he really works there. Later on, she watches as Joon-ha uses reverse psychology to sell the supplements. She scoffs at the gimmick but ends up getting a box herself. Heh. Who can say no to that angelic face?

Still, Hye-ja knows it’s a bad thing. She tells Hyun-joo and Sang-eun all about the exhibit hall and how she hates everything about it, especially the old people. She complains about the icky grandpa who fell in love with “Hee-sun” noona (her fake name) at first sight, the rich grandma who looks down on everyone, and another who stuffs candies in Hye-ja’s mouth without asking. Hyun-joo and Sang-eun laugh along with her, making jokes about how old people are slow and weird. Hye-ja grows uncomfortable until she shouts at them to better watch out because they’ll get old too. It’s not old people’s fault their bodies are failing.

Now in a tiff with her friends, Hye-ja goes back to attending the exhibit hall. She happens to notice that the snobby Chanel Lady is very friendly with Joon-ha. Hye-ja watches as Chanel Lady buys a box of supplements and asks Joon-ha to send it to her son in the US, only for Joon-ha to secretly leave it in a shelf full of unsent mail. Hye-ja confronts him about lying to the old lady, and he answers back that the son never responds so his lies actually makes the Chanel Lady feel better. A perfect give and take. Hye-ja is appalled at his mercenary attitude and threatens to expose him, but he tells her that if it offends her so, she can just stop coming to this place which she obviously hates so much.

The ever sprightly Hye-ja spots Chanel Lady a couple more times around the neighborhood, every time throwing someone’s assistance back in their face, scolding a clerk for talking loudly about adult diapers or refusing to wrap them in a less conspicuous packaging. During one of these encounters, Chanel Lady leaves her phone behind and Hye-ja is forced to follow her home… to a motel. Hye-ja learns from the custodian that the motel’s name (Motel Prague) reminds Chanel Lady of the overseas trip she went on with her late husband. She’s been staying there after her husband died, waiting for their son to come back.

Understanding the lonely Chanel Lady better, Hye-ja befriends her by listening to stories about her family and past adventures. Hye-ja’s carefree attitude about their age also rubs off on Chanel Lady. Soon, the two become fast friends. Hye-ja starts to understand why Joon-ha might be doing Chanel Lady a favor after all, pretending to give her a line of communication with her son. Through her, Hye-ja also learns the missing piece in Joon-ha’s story: the fact that he can’t be a reporter anymore because of what he did to his father.

Hye-ja looks for Joon-ha to apologize about interfering in his life decisions, but Joon-ha is in a dark mood after his thuggish co-worker accuses him of acting upright while setting his sights on the rich Chanel Lady’s money. (Joon-ha refuses to sell insurance policies to the elders with the exhibit hall named as beneficiaries, a far larger scam than expensive health drinks.)

Hye-ja tries to comfort Joon-ha, saying that she knows he’s a good person, but he doesn’t want her expectations because he knows himself that he’s at rock bottom right now. He begs her to leave him alone as he’s barely surviving, and Hye-ja is shocked to realize how damaged he is inside. Hye-ja comes home to the sound of her parents fighting and cries at this broken new reality, praying hard to return to the time when everything was okay.

She wakes up miraculously young again with Dad alive and completely healthy. She also gets to Joon-ha just in time to prevent him from hurting himself and framing his father. With Hye-ja there to support him, Joon-ha doesn’t sink into despair and even asks her out on a date. At the end of which she makes him promise to become a reporter no matter what, while he makes her promise to be his girlfriend no matter what. But Hye-ja finds herself fading and realizes it’s a dream. She hugs Joon-ha and apologizes that she can’t help him after all.

Having dreamed away her frustrations, Hye-ja wakes up filled with resolve to live her current life instead of wallowing in regret. She agrees to do Yeong-soo’s Hye-ja broadcast in exchange for 90% of the profits, hah. She also cheerily picks up Chanel Lady so they can go to the exhibit hall together, making light of the fact that they wear diapers now. We see her being friendlier with the exhibit hall regulars and appreciative of the facilities. It marks another milestone towards Hye-ja embracing her age.

THE RETURN OF THE WATCH

Hye-ja’s acceptance of her lot is tested one last time when she sees an old man in the exhibit hall wearing her not-broken magic watch. The catatonic grandpa only shows signs of (angry) life when you talk about his watch or, strangely, when Joon-ha approaches him.

Before Hye-ja can formulate a plan to get her watch back, the grandpa stops coming to the exhibit hall. Hye-ja asks the police for help looking for him but they dismiss her. Outside, she spots a young man wearing the same watch and tries but fails to chase him. Her day doesn’t get any better when she finds her parents’ divorce papers hidden in a box at home. It makes it even more imperative that she find the watch and set everything back to rights.

Hye-ja won’t let the grandpa out of her sight the next time he shows up at the exhibit hall. Armed with proof that the watch can bring back one’s youth, she tells Joon-ha that “Hye-ja” is looking for a way to come back. You can see him struggling to not care, but he can’t help but ask when. “Soon” is all Hye-ja can promise.

“Soon” means that same afternoon as Hye-ja makes a desperate dive for the old man’s watch, in plain view of everyone. It gets her kicked out of the hall for stealing, and even Joon-ha won’t believe that the watch was originally hers. She keeps saying she needs to fix her life and his. Joon-ha, tired of this grandma swinging repeatedly from acceptance to denial, begs her to stop trying to fix him too.

Later that night, Hye-ja discovers that Dad didn’t just sprain his leg in the accident. He lost it from the knee down. She’s devastated that the watch took something else from her family and can only apologize to Dad over and over. She thinks to herself, “I thought that the fair price for Dad’s life was my youth, dreams, and love. But it was as foolish as a kid trying to buy an expensive gift with only 10 cents in hand.”

Thus reminded of the consequences of messing with time and fearful of what it will cost to get her youth back, she turns her efforts to repairing her broken family now. She takes Mom to the secret udon place, making Mom laugh that the “secret” was just a dingy old spot that serves noodles. She praises Mom for putting up with her kids and frustrating husband, assuring Mom that she’ll side with her in a divorce. Mom cries into her noodles, and I can’t help but wonder how much it’s been bothering her all these years to not have the affection of her kids as the “bad cop” in the family.

Hye-ja gets permission to visit the hall again. She apologizes to Watch Grandpa and says she hopes that whatever he used the watch for was worth it.

Hye-ja lets Joon-ha go too. She tells him that her niece Hye-ja has no plans to return after all, but that she wishes the best for him. Joon-ha reveals that he’s planning to leave to. Now there’s nothing and no one to wait for, it’s goodbye for them.

There’s one more thing that needs to be settled though. Joon-ha finally tells Chanel Lady the truth about her son not responding to the letters. She’s saddened to learn that the replies were fake, but on the morning of Joon-ha’s departure, Chanel Lady tells him that she found her son in Seoul. Joon-ha takes her to the address and waits for her outside. She comes back twenty minutes later gushing about her grandson and how she’s set to have lunch with them on the weekend. She then sends Joon-ha off at the airport as a way of saying all is forgiven.

Joon-ha’s flight is delayed until the next day but before he can board, the cops ask to take his statement: Chanel Lady was found floating lifelessly in a river that morning. There’s no evidence of foul play but Joon-ha doesn’t think it’s suicide either, as she was looking forward to reconnecting with her family. Filing it as an accident, the cops are about to dismiss Joon-ha when new evidence comes to light. Chanel Lady named him the beneficiary of her insurance payout.

The seniors and their relatives are in an uproar, making sure that no one else signed over their rights to Hyoja Exhibit Hall. But one of Hye-ja’s granny friends shames the rumor-mongers for even thinking that Joon-ha would do such a thing, citing all the instances he went out of his way to take care of them. Meanwhile, Hye-ja is causing another ruckus at the station demanding to see Joon-ha, knowing he’s in a dark place again with no one to comfort him. He’s no longer alone though. Hyun-joo, Sang-eun, and Yeong-soo also arrive, Hye-ja’s senior friends in tow, to demand the release of Joon-ha.

But the best defense comes in the form of Chanel Lady’s farewell letter, sent by mail to Joon-ha. In it, she admits that her son was very curt to her and didn’t want to talk about his family. He also declined her invitation to reconnect. He obviously doesn’t need or want her in his life.

Joon-ha is released. He presides over the wake (because useless son is consistently being useless by refusing to show up). The show twists the knife further by finishing Chanel Lady’s letter. In it, she thanks Joon-ha for writing the fake letters, and she wishes to be reborn as his mother.

Hye-ja approaches a mourning Joon-ha and tells him the 80-year-old version of young Hye-ja’s speech. “To others I’m an old person with nothing to look forward to and no point in regretting anything… but I’m important to myself. I hope you and your life also mean a lot to you.”

Hye-ja checks in on Joon-ha a couple of days later and finds him in (relatively) better spirits. He reveals that he’ll push through with his delayed trip to see the Aurora Borealis, and suddenly Hye-ja realizes just how important she was to him.

Back when they were doing their pity party, Joon-ha called himself an unwanted child, a mistake. Hye-ja suddenly blabbered on about her dream to see the Aurora Borealis. She explained that they’re a natural anomaly. No one planned for them to exist, but they’re beautiful just the same. (Aww, no wonder Joon-ha fell for you.)

In the present, Hye-ja asks him if he doesn’t hate her niece. After all, she left without a word, promised to return, then broke that promise too. Joon-ha says that he can’t hate her or her niece because they were the first people to cry for his pain. It made him realize that he was the one who made himself suffer the most, by failing to value himself. Hye-ja cries once more and urges him to hurry and leave so he can see the Northern Lights and think of her niece.

The next morning, the exhibit hall boss, HEE-WON (Kim Hee-won), and his lackey barge into Joon-ha’s house. Hee-won seems convinced that Joon-ha is hiding some inheritance from Chanel Lady AND planning to report him to the police for selling insurance policies to their charges. They take Joon-ha and lock him away while they hatch an Evil Plan™ to make quick money.

Hye-ja senses something is wrong and Joon-ha didn’t leave on his own. She visits the exhibit hall and is surprised to find it reopened (it had to close down after the insurance scandal in Chanel Lady’s case, even though Joon-ha was cleared of charges). Hye-ja discovers that Hee-won is organizing a “field trip” for the elders, but not everyone is invited. When Hye-ja does a head count, those who didn’t buy an insurance under Hyoja’s name were left out. Watch Grandpa tries to tell her something about Joon-ha, but he’s wheeled away by one of the lackeys.

Hye-ja still figures out Hee-won’s dastardly plan to orchestrate a travel accident with all the insured seniors. She also knows they’re hiding Joon-ha to stop him from revealing their plans. Hye-ja, with the help of the ex-gangster grandpa who has a crush on her, organizes the remaining seniors to mount a two-pronged rescue.

You have to watch it to believe it, because it’s equal parts brilliant and absurd. But basically, Hye-ja’s team manages to (1) “release” the seniors waiting for their picnic bus under watch of lots of thugs, and (2) rescue Joon-ha and Watch Grandpa from the bowels of Hyoja Exhibit Hall. And this with only a has-been gangster, a blind grandpa, a pair of old twins who wouldn’t hurt a fly, a grandma on a walker, a dog-lover grandpa, and a kleptomaniac grandma on her side.

The group of seniors and the rescued hostages go on a trip, laughing in the bus at their escape. Later, they all sit companionably at the pier, watching the sunset. When Hye-ja approaches Watch Grandpa to fix his blanket, he shakily takes off the watch and tries to give it to her, dropping it in the process.

Hye-ja sees an inscription at the back of the watch and hears her younger self saying, “It’s HJ and JH for Hye-ja and Joon-ha” followed by glimpses of the watch looking brand new on a display. Joon-ha in a tux with old-fashioned hair, Hye-ja beside him in a wedding dress.

Hye-ja hunches over in pain as a barrage of memories come rushing in. When she stands up to try to get her bearings, she’s alone on the pier. In the distance, Mom and Dad arrive with an ambulance, Dad repeatedly shouting Mom! Hye-ja turns back to the sea and finds the young Hye-ja standing there in mourning clothes, a box of ashes on one hand and a little boy’s hand in the other.

We see her memories, scenes that we’ve watched for the past few episodes, superimposed over parallel scenes of a different era. A little boy in a car accident. A beaten-up Joon-ha. A proposal in a field.

Hye-ja wakes up in a hospital room and we see that when she calls out to Mom and Dad she’s seeing totally different, younger faces. A man who looks like Joon-ha walks in to confer with her doctor, introducing himself as Dr. Kim Sang-hyun from the senior care center.

Hye-ja thinks to herself, “It feels like I woke up from a long dream, but I’m not sure if it was the younger me dreaming of when I was old, or the older me dreaming of when I was young.”

In a moment of lucidness, she tells us that she’s suffering from Alzheimer’s.

 
COMMENTS

Oh no… ohnonono, Hye-ja. This was totally unexpected though it explains the sometimes confusing mix of mundane and fantastical that we’ve seen so far. It makes sense in retrospect, but I don’t think the show was doing it for us to play a guessing game. Light has always been about following Hye-ja’s journey as best as it can. From the physical, emotional, and social aspects of growing old… now it turns out it’s been showing us her mental struggle to make sense of her reality too.

Should you watch, knowing the twist? My answer is a resounding yes. In fact, it’s improved by knowing the twist because the sharp turns in tone and logic make more sense. And instead of puzzlement, you enjoy the scenes more because you understand what’s happening. Unless you hate being sad, because the rewatch is full of tiny, heartbreaking details. Like that scene when Hye-ja shows up at Dad’s work and pretends to be his mom. The look of surprise Ahn Nae-sang gives Kim Hye-ja when she says that, and the sad look he gives her when everyone else is gone and she apologizes for pretending to be his mom. ( Only during the rewatch did I understand what Dad meant by his answer, “It felt reassuring because you stood on my side.” How much loneliness and gratitude was packed into that line? To have your parent beside you and also NOT have them beside you anymore… it’s just cruel. Why do these things happen, World?

They say that memories are tied to emotions. That’s why when our capacity to remember starts to fail, the moments which mean more us to are the ones that get left behind. I’m not expecting a happy ending because Alzheimer’s doesn’t have one. But I’m taking a little comfort in the fact that if Hye-ja is holding on so stubbornly to these memories, there must be something precious there. She’s lived a precious (not easy) life. Not a lot of people even have that.

I hope that the final episodes show that part of Hye-ja that she’s trying hard to hold on to. Not necessarily the youth or the health, but the part where she was really happy. Maybe it’s dumb to be attached to a fictional character, but her brain is fighting so hard to push her story to the surface, I want to at least preserve those memories for her.

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it's here! MARY!!! *finger hearts*

plus, 100,000 STARS....
; )

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wait, were they CANDIES??? must be the translation differences on sites...

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Yeong-soo calls it star candies sometimes, but the donation animation looks like a candy so I went with that. :)

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loved this write-up/weecap(?) -- thanks for touching upon all the important moments!

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Thank you @mary for the recap, and the place to share our thoughts.

I am left with no words, but I'll try with these :

Dazzlingly beautiful.

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You're an angel Mary!

The whole series definitely calls for a rewatch. It'll be so different knowing the twist like what you said Mary.

This drama has the best twist I've ever seen in the entirety of my drama-watching life. B R A V O

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Even dumb Yeong-soo suddenly becomes this considerate grandson on rewatch. Now I imagine he's dumb and lazy but actually cares about two things in life (1) samgyupsal, (2) making his grandma feel at home. T____T

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1 totally understand the love for samgzupsal
2 I cry TT__TT

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Yeong-soo was maybe a bit on the «too-much» scale, but he was a MUCH NEEDED comedic relief to all the real going on.

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Can you imagine how they pitched it to Sohn Ho-joon though?

PD: Look, we're going to make this beautifully sad show, and we need you to distract the audience to recreate this disoriented feeling we want to convey.
SHJ: Okay. What kind of distraction you thinking? Pretty boys? Hot shower? Flexing while serving coffee?
PD: Uhm... more like eating dog food and foot shavings.

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I remember readin an interview how Nam Joo-Hyuk and Sohn Ho-Joon were a bit confused. While one described the drama as sad, the other said it's a funny drama.
It would be interesting to watch their reactions when they see the completed show. It must be a weird juxtaposition, when the scene you personally experienced filming, suddenly seem different.

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*cries* I've been wondering whether I should pick up the show from episode 4 where I'd last left it. Since I know the twist, it might not be as fun. Thanks for addressingthe question straight away @mary. I think I definitely will.

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Oh, I think it'll be okay. The twist packs a punch, but it's a beautiful, emotional story either way.

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The only downside to watching knowing the twist is everything has this tinge of bittersweet in it but it grounds everything so it isn't necessarily bad. And maybe knowing the twist won't turn you into a sobbing mess at the end of 10. So it's like you're spreading your tears around instead of crying in one go...

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Thank you @mary for doing this recap. I wasn't expecting it to be this good. Bittersweet indeed and it's a sobbing mess for me!

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Just so you know, I had spent at least an hour or two post ep 10 discussing it alone or with @bammsie so I could understand and cope with the shocking ending. It's maybe a good thing knowing the outcome, and you'll catch way more details than us now!

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I've actually started it at episode 4 and then watched it from the beginning but meanwhile I've delivered a baby so didn't have time to catch up. Thanks @mary for the recap, when I'll finally find my sleep I can watch the rest. I don't mind spoilers, I can relax after!

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O___O A baby beanie! Congrats! :')

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Thank you 😊

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Congratulations @kerouregan! May your baby love to sleep (eventually) so that you can too.

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Thank you, he loves to sleep, just so much to do during a day + the older one feels little bit abandoned and because of breastfeeding there's less sleep for me during the night. I've forgotten how it was with my first one, I just need to sleep whenever there's an opportunity to take a nap.

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Congratulations!😊😊😊

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👶=😳😭😵🤤😴😌 😉😆🤗

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For the observer from the outside: 😂😂😂😂😂😂

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The twist just killed me and it makes me want to rewatch everything. Everything just suddenly makes so much sense and you realize why some of the characters acted like they do, and it make some of the scenes even more amazing and heart warming. I was thinking about how the scene when her daughter in law/mother was going to file for divorce and she said she'd always be on HER side. It just makes me cry thinking about it even more now? And know realizing why her son/father was acting like he was towards her. It made no sense at the time, but the twist just explained everything.

I saw a lot of complaints about things "dragging" and wanting the young Kim Hye-ja back and needing more romance development, but I feel some people expected/wanted to watch a different drama than this is. This wasn't a romance between two young beautiful people at all. There are millions of those out there, but not many dramas like this. It was so much more. And yeah, you do need the twist to realize everything and yes you gotta stick around for 10 hours for everything to come together, but it's just so worth it.

I would completely recommend this to anyone. It started out as a fantasy and ended up so true to life it's almost uncomfortable at times. And the last time I cried this much was during Dear My Friends. I think Kim Hye-ja might be my favorite actress now that I think about it.

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Aand you don't know what happened to her husband (haven't watched past ep. 10), but you see her going out Avenger style with her buddies in the most amazing way ever to save him and she does! and it's great, but it just makes me think she's imagining being able to save him from his fate, when she really wasn't in reality. And now I cry some more.

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I wrote somewhere else that I feel like I got on a bus to Miami, saw a sign that said "Miami 180 miles," took a nap and woke up in Des Moines. This wasn't the series I signed up for and, if I am honest, probably wouldn't have started, but I am glad I have watched it. Everything twists 90 degrees when you get to the end of 10. I have to give it to the writer, they really captured Alzheimers in a way that only someone deeply empathetic with the condition could do.

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You woke up in Miami, OH, not Miami, FL. And yes, I’ve been to both places.

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Yes, Mom and Dad's reactions make a lot more sense on rewatch. :( I remember being so pissed off why Dad won't just eat Hye-ja's anchovy lunchbox at the start, or why he keeps sighing and can barely look at Hye-ja. An ungenerous part of me was thinking back then, "Look, I know it's hard for you to look at her, but it's already hard for her to look at herself. Get yourself together and treat your daughter like usual." And then you realize that he looks at her and he wants his mother back so badly. I'm T____________________T

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It pissed me too! I was wondering what was the big deal about the anchovies. Most of all, I couldn't understand why Dad was so defeated and different especially towards Hye Ja.

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Before the twist, I thought the point of the anchovies was that she kept insisting that they will make his leg heal sooner, while the father couldn't tell her that there was no leg to heal... Your reasoning sounds right after the twist, but I still think my take was valid too.

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Pls make me understand. Did all of the things happened in the past epi really happened? Or she was just imagining that she could have done those things before?

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Which things though?

All the stuff about her looking 25 and being 25 was just her delusion and never happened. She was always an old lady with Alzheimer who lived a pretty sad life.

The part that is mostly real but combined with fantasty is after she "used" the watch saved the her father and when her father had limp and and new job and there was tension in the house, that was the real time line.

Everything with Joon Ha was just again imagination, probably brought on from the doctor looking like him. The things with Joon Ha did sort of happen in a way to him in reality (back in the past), but she kind of re-imagined it and saved him when she couldn't in her reality.

But the actual past with bad wings was her literal actual past.

Eh, I hope this makes sense lol

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So Yeong So (Grandson) was just pretending to be her brother or it was just part of her delusions too?

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He was pretending. Some of the silly stuff with him was just flat out fantasy she was imagining, but for the most part he was going with she believed. They were told to go along with her delusions. Her family did, but her son(father) had the most issues with it. But he had other issues with his mother as well that ep 11-12 explain.

Some of the people are just delusion/imagination of course, but I think her family were really there and just going along with her.

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I noticed sometimes the camera would pan left and sometimes right. That usually has to do with going backwards or forwards, past/present, etc. Did you notice anything about the camera work giving us clues?

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What I can interpret from all the scenes is that, at the begining it was only a dream, a dream that showed her desire to live a different kind of life (new path but with the same people that made part of her life).

Then it showed "reality" when she aged. It showed how her son and daughter-in-law was living with a mother who had the first symptoms of alzheimers. It all made sense how her father treated her so coldly (it will be explained better in the last two eps), but the daughter-in-law played along with it.

I don't think So Yeong So the grandson was the same as the one showed with her in the hospital. Actually, I think she saw her brother in her grandson (the real grandson seemed to have a restrained relationship with the parents), while the one that made the videos actually resembled her "real" brother from the 70s (so I interpret that she really was thinking of her real brother, so I don't believe the grandson was playing around with her).

It also made me believe that the events of her house when she found out that she aged and the events in the hospital were apart by a few years. She had brown hair before (though colored), but she was able to walk everywhere and doing other things too, like cooking and cleaning. But in the hospital she had grey hair, she was frail and she could barely walk. I interpret the first part as the begining of alzheimer, and the hospital scenes as the advance of the disease...

Very beautiful and sad show!!!

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Yeah, this makes total sense to me after watching the last two episodes. I don't think the son was playing along, so much as she was just imagining him in these weird situations her weird oppa would be in.

And yeah, I think she did live at home and that's in the first stages of her disease and we finally see her when she's near the end of her life.

The beginning when she's 25 she meets Joon Ha who is happy and she's young and she wants to start all over again, when she aged it seemed like somehow reality started to seep in a bit but she still hung on to some of the past since nobody else had aged at all.

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We thought we were in for a romantic drama with a slight fantasy element. One where there was always that magical spell (or in this case watch) to depend on to put everything back in its place in the final hours. The twist made it more than that. It plummeted us into a stark reality where everything was already past and set in stone. But bravo to the writers for taking that chance and knowing where they were headed the whole time.

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I honestly thought it would end with dad realizing something was up (that's why he was acting so moody) and then giving up his life to give his daughter back her youth and she lives happily ever after with sexy NJH. Alas, was not to be but I wouldn't change things for the world.

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I was thinking something similar. But that Joon-ha had the watch, and at some point he'd rewind his time to before his dad found them in their new house (before Hye-ja started rewinding it for Dad). So he'd age a couple of months and Hye-ja would go back to her 25-year-old self.

It seems our twisty drama minds are still no match for reality.

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Haha...I thought along the same lines too! Yeah, Nam Joo Hyuk and Han Ji Min were cute together but more than that, I had always felt sad that Hye Ja aged overnight and 'lost' her youth. So I wanted her to get back to normal.

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THANK YOU MARY!!!!!

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Mary, I love that you opened with "cocky and poignant." Cause it really was so gutsy, and I admire the writers for telling the touching and difficult drama they wanted to tell. A drama so different and so ambitious in scope and heart. If I didn't like anything else about it, I'd love it just for that.

(I liked a lot more about it)

I was so invested in the young-trapped-in-old Hye Ja and her family and friends, and in her relationship with Joon Ha. And I am still in awe that a twist that in one fell swoop destroyed all of that also put something even more meaningful in its place. Bravo to the whole cast and crew.

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Every comment made about this show up to episode 10 should get an irony flag now. But I think my most ironic, saddest and unfortunately most prescient was this one:

"While it remains very good, it is becoming more and more depressing. I'm getting scared that she will never be able to "turn back time" because in real life none of us can. And her quest to do so, if the show's themes stay what they are, will ultimately be fruitless."

It did intrigue me how the show could be so fantastical and yet so realistic at the same time - in a way that made it sad. And just sad. Not tragic, not epic, not sweeping. Just sad. Ordinary, everyday, sad. It's not an emotion that kdramas usually go for and, even when I was confused about this show and where it was going, I was impressed by the writer's bravery in pursuing something that's so unusual on television.

The events at the end of episode 10 just grounded everything perfectly. All I ask is that the final two wrap this up in a way that makes it coherent and allows us to see where her fantasy world and the real world intersected.

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Clearly this drama is a rare gem that should not be missed.

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I thought of your comment you quoted a couple of times as I kept watching this series and kept realizing that you were probably right. We weren't going to get a neat and tidy fix for Hye-Ja's aging problem. And, well, you were so right. It can't be fixed but everything is just as it should be. She was not cheated of a full life lived.

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Hands down the best little serendipitous find of a drama in years. I came in expecting little and left at the end adoring every minute of it. So much said. So sad, poignant yet hopeful. Loved, loved, loved it. I cannot recommend it enough. It is a drama that celebrates ordinary. Mundane everyday things that slip by if we don't take the time to stop and cherish them. Letting go of the past. Not longing for a better tomorrow. Living for the moment. Squeezing every last ounce of joy there can be had in the moments of the day, be it work, study, relationships, life.

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This show seems to be the Korean version of The Notebook. I was always wondering why her younger version was dressing in such an old fashioned way compared to the rest of the cast and now I have the answer to that...
Quite sad but still beautiful.

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So it wasnt a magical watch afterall? It was Hye Ja with alzeimers all along? Or everything that has happened in the prev epi was just part of her dream? O really cant understand. Huhu

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No magic at all. She was just confused and thought her son and daughter in law were her parents.

Everything with Joon Ha was just her desire to see him again and save him. She's just reliving her youth, but none of it is real. You can really understand her "Father" now after knowing everything.

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We don't know yet which of her memories are true and which aren't. But it seems that the magical watch at least is false. It's just a plain watch with an inscription she gave to (the real) Joon-ha for their wedding many years ago. Hopefully the last two episodes will explain things.

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I just finished the last two episodes. I'm so confused tbh ㅋㅋㅋㅋ after knowing that she actually has alzeimers I'm wondering which part was real and not. Anyways hands down to the writer. This needs a rewatch.

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I haven't been able to bring myself to watch the last two episodes yet - just even thinking about it makes me tear up.

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They completely wrecked me, but at the same time it was worth it and this is coming from someone who refused to watch the last episode of Scarlett Heart.

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I adore this little show, twists and all.

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Let me just start by saying I hate this drama. But not in the typical way. The first episode was filled with joy, comedy and had me expecting the same in other episodes as well. I was happy to have found a fun drama with wonderful cast that is fun to watch and has a fantasy element - the time travel - with a bit of twist - a side effect of time travel. But man was I wrong. I watched other episodes even though they were starting to get sad, hoping that Hye Ja will get the motivation she needs to start looking for a way back to her youthful self, I mean she didn't get to experience life and get happy, beautiful memories. But I lost faith in that and dropped this drama. Only to read in a news article that there is a twist - she has Alzheimer's and everything was just her imagination. I saw the part of the episode where she admits she has a disease and lost my marbles - got feels I didn't know I had. After this episode I watched all the others. I'll stop here, because I don't want to spoil anything for those who haven't seen episodes 11-12 yet.

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I almost dropped the show at around 8 or 9 but figured I should just continue and finish it. SO GLAD that I did or else I would have missed this gem.

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It's not what I signed up for (And hope NJH and HJM act again in something that doesn't completely destroy me since they look fantastic together), and I usually completely hate the whole "it was all a dream" trope, but damn if this show didn't do everything really well, completely shock me and break my heart at the same time.

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This drama destroyed me. To think I almost didn't start it because I was burnt out on time travel.

This line "It feels like I woke up from a long dream, but I’m not sure if it was the younger me dreaming of when I was old, or the older me dreaming of when I was young" was so sad and poignant and brilliant.

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Thank you for this wonderful recap. You must have poured so much time, effort and tears into writing this. I was expecting a kind of wee cap, condensed summary of some sort, I didn't know I'd get this super long and wonderfully written piece. I love it!

There are many things I love about this drama. One of the things I like best is how the show allowed us to experience as much as possible Hye Ja's world as an Alzheimer's patient. It needed to 'fool' us at first about the magic watch fantasy or time travel as some believed in order to have the intended impact. I remember viewers including me complaining about the show losing its way, meandering, at times brilliant and at times muddled. I'd imagine that is probably how the world feels like to Hye Ja.

The fact that the magic watch didn't exists nor did some characters and the stories tied to that imagined world does not negate everything that led up to ep 10. Those messages would still resonate and be as powerful.

The perceptiveness of the writing about aging, family relationships, parent and child, husband and wife etc is very good. The best I've seen before in a kdrama.

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Ahhhh I legit teared up reading this. This has certainly been the best ugly (but good) cry drama of 2019. Such a good drama.
The little details are what draw you in and the touching moments keep you there.
This is such a nuanced drama and I am so glad there is finally a review for it. I haven't seen the last 2 eps yet (probably tonight, need to prepare the tissues first)

Such a well done drama! I can't say it enough.
Kim Hye Ja (the actress) is a gem! You can tell she is a seasoned actress by the way she gets all the emotions just perfectly!

It is amazing what a drama can do when it digs deep into the seemingly simple life of a senior. It is a side you don't often get to see in a sea of rom-coms, thrillers, etc (which I also love, don't get me wrong) but this was a refreshing drama. So offbeat so loving. Kim Hye Ja (the actress) better win a bunch of awards for this show!
The rest of the ensemble was amazing as well! Nam Joo Hyuk, Park Ji Min, her family and more!
It tore my heart when Chanel grandma passed away! ahhhhhhhhh

So if anyone hasn't seen this drama, and you are ok watching a melo ish drama, go watch it!! ^.^

Now I should go prepare my eyes and my tissue box for tonight's last 2 episodes.

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Like others have said, I applaud the writer and production for sticking with the story for 10 whole episodes even though it was dangerous ratings-wise. But I loved it from the very beginning. It was so funny and touching, if a little random at times, and the acting was wonderful. I've not started rewatching again yet, but I definitely will to see all that I missed the first time around. Thanks, mary, for recommending it in the first week in What We're Watching!

And, of course, thanks for this recap! I always look forward to reading your posts. Evil Plan™ 😂

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I love that the pre-episode-10 Yeong -soo is last seen in the trunk of a car out to sea on a long, hot trip to Africa. I mean, these writers are hilarious! What a perfectly wacky end to that imaginary version of Hye-ja's pesky brother. :)

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That was long but I enjoyed reading it and you’re awesome, Mary! Thank you for the recap. And you already rewatched the drama? I have to rewatch the whole thing myself to see those tiny details I missed.

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I really love this drama. And i whole-heartedly agree that it is improved knowing the twist ahead of time because it lead to greater enjoyment instead of puzzlement. If it were a book, then one can always reread but in a drama where some ahjummas like myself may not have a chance to rewatch, then so much is missed because one either dismisses the puzzling elements or don't recognize them until too late. There are so many little things that one would acknowledge and understand if one understands what the writer is going for. The grief is greater and deeper if we know the situation from the beginning. Episode ten made me think that all these old ladies who watch dramas are affected by those dramas to a "fantastical" degree in the old sense of the word. Only an ahjumma who has seen tons of drama thrillers would have a dream world like that.

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Much to my embarrassment, I now remember that I criticized the show for failing to get details right - the styling of old and young Hye Ja's hair. Then I thought that they should at get either Han Ji MIn or Kim Hye Ja to wear a wig so that their hairstyles look similar. Aging overnight doesn't mean you get a haircut too.

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The story was jarring until I knew what was going on, *but* I watched despite the confusion because the acting is incredible!

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Thanks fo this! I’m excited to watch this now o know what it’s about. I had stopped at episode 3, not knowing if I would contrinue, but the fanwall and fellow Beanies’ Reactions to episode 10, put it at the top of my watch list. Thank you for the recap!

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Such a captivating story! I love the two best friends and the lazy brother!

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Thank you, Mary, for weecapping this show.

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A small 'giveaway' to the show's true intent, for me, came from the recurring theme of 'sunsets'. The number of melancholy scenes where the sun was setting on the darkening horizon, that's not a theme for a magical reality rom-com where the girl returns and gets the guy.

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Ok so I finished the show yesterday and only saw this today. I read this in full, and now I'm crying again. I need help. Where's my useless oppa to lift the mood?

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Annyeonghaseyo

Annyeonghaseyo

Annyeonghaseyo!!

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I'm an emotional wreck and I'm crying and laughing at the same time.

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*big big hugs*

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Now we can all say, thank goodness for the useless oppa.

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Usually I would drop shows like these like a hot potato because I am so not into melos. But I think the mixed bags of ridiculous hilarity and the melo really works to balance this otherwise depressing story. It never once put me off and I also never questioned what the motivation of the story is or what message it was trying to send because it was just so enjoyable to watch everything unfold as it is, logic or not.

Probably helped along by the fantasy element weaved in at the begining. Now looking back, I'm thinking the reason why they added the fantasy element was so that viewers can suspend their disbelief and have patience until all is revealed, and when all the treads finally converge together.

I love the idea of the exhibit hall. The concept was fresh and I don't believe I've seen something like that before. I find Nam Joo Hyuk totally captivating in this. All the cast were phenomenal and who can take their eyes of Kim Hye Ja (the actress)? It was a truly wonderful production and if they had ended it there at episode 10, I would not have any complaints. But it's such a treat to be able to see more of this wonder cast and the conclusion of this little gem.

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I wish this would have been recapped instead of some of the other snoozefests going on 😑 2019 has been a big drama slump for me but this show now has me intrigued!

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It's hard to predict which shows are worth it. Honestly, I wasn't very keen when I thought it to be some time travel thing. I totally wasn't expecting such an awesome drama as this.

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Is this worth watching? I watched the first two episodes a long time ago, and then I watched the last episode, but I still don't know if I want to watch it or not. Is it confusing?

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It's confusing in the sense that each episode will have an entertaining or heartwarming arc. One moment you're getting LOL then the next you go aww... If you don't know the twist, it feels a bit weird when the show jumps between storylines.

But if you already know the twist, it removes that 1% problem and makes it a heartachingly good show. It's definitely worth a full watch for the touching stories about love and age and dreams and life.

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It's the best drama I've seen in years. And no, I don't find it confusing at all. Just don't go in expecting a cute and light time traveling romance and know the older Hye Ja is the actual MC.

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The final two episodes could be a standalone feature film in their own right. Watch the series knowing that the story is going 'somewhere'. Any confusion is deliberate and-designed in because the writer has a destination in mind.

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The twist in episode 10 was AMAZING! Having said that, I am still felt blubbering "wait what??" about certain things...I understand HJ's fantasy about Joona to some extent, but what about all those times when she went to look for "joona" at his house. Was the doctor actually living there, or was she talking to some other random guy or no one at all? Did she ever get a dog from joona/ or some stranger or was that a complete hallucination as well? I have seen my own grandmother fight this horrible disease and it was heartbreaking to see her live in her own fantastical world with hallucinations that had no connection to reality whatsoever. I feel this urge to understand what happened in this series so that in some way, I could understand what my grandmother might have gone through as well.

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So, I keep thinking about this drama, which I guess is evidence in itself that this was different and interesting. The last 2 episodes really created an interesting twist. But now - weeks removed from the gut reaction that the last 2 episodes can have on you, maybe I have become more cynical and frustrated about the whole series. Without trying to give away the ending and twist, I will just say that there were certain scenarios in the series that was put in there to DELIBERATELY mislead the audience (bro getting locked in the car, fight scene that the bro filmed, etc.). I understand that the intent was to make the audience go, "but how then...." - but i do think this was taken to an extreme. There is a way to make the audience think they know the entire story and then introduce the twist, and it's something entirely different to purposely mislead them without ANY clues as to what to expect later on (for all it's faults, Sixth Sense really is one of the few movies that did this perfectly!). The extreme level of "mis direction" in this series makes me now wonder whether the writer/s really even knew how they were going to end the series. Can it be that they just came up with the twist ending to end the series because they were floundering??? Because there is honestly no other explanation for why some of the scenes were there.

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I love this discussion.

Like everyone else, I was expecting a time travel/fantasy kind of romance. I thought it was odd that the drama lingers on too long on the old Hye Ja. It was actually brilliant now that we know what the drama wants to bring out.

In retrospective, I find this style reminiscent of Haruki Murakami books. I have read a few of his books and I find some similarities, eg. The slow, lingering on the ordinary, mundane lives interspersed with fantastic elements, in the end, although the reader is left wondering what is real or logical or not, it was a still a beautiful read.

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At one point, I was even bored with Hye Ja going to the daycare center. I knew early on that this was a 12 episode drama, I wondered how will they resolve Hye Ka going back to her 25 year old self and save Joon Ha? Now, it all makes sense doesn't it? It also turned out that they had enough time to wrap up the drama beautifully.

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Will start to watch again. I promise. Thank you mary.

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Ive just finished ep 10 and I don’t think I’m smart enough to understand this show. Can anyone tell me what is happening? 😂

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Sorry the final recap is delayed. But if you keep watching, it will make sense. The end of episode 10 explains part of it: she's confused about what's real and what's not, and we're watching the show through her point of view.

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Ahhh Mary! Thank you! I could finally come to this and your recap makes me miss the show even though I *just* finished it!! The first 10 episodes were really so different from the last two that those seem a life apart! I can't wait for the last recap! *send you candies and lots of fighting spirit*

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What about the 2 friends who were beside her at the first half of the episodes? Why would they act tgt with her?

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Can we hope for an episode 11-12 recap just to finish it off, or is the series too far behind us to expect it to be covered now?

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There will be! I'm really sorry for the lateness, I'm fitting the writing in between my tech minion duties. T___T

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Actually i didnt understand the twist can somebody explain it to me?.

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this drama is one of unforgetable one .. the twisted story makes me laugh .,feel love and cry in the end a full package drama you must watch!!!

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