49 Days: Episode 5
Oh man, Jung Il-woo whining “Noonaaaaa” in a schoolboy voice is just about my favorite thing. Especially since I can make-believe he’s talking to ME.
We’re hardly reinventing the wheel here, but I like where these characters are going, and how some developments are taking us into places I hadn’t anticipated. Villains aren’t entirely blackened souls — maybe just really, really dark gray — and there’s a lot of amusing bickering going on, with a healthy dose of “I-totally-lurve-you-but-nobody’ll-notice-if-I-cover-it-up-with-gruffness-right?-Wait-what-do-you-mean-overcompensation?” Yeah, there’s a lot of that. It makes me giggle every time.
SONG OF THE DAY
49 Days OST – “아무일도 없었다” (Nothing happened) by Jung Yeob [ Download ]
EPISODE 5 RECAP
Ji-hyun (in Yi-kyung’s body) beats In-jung in the race to get to her house first to retrieve the seal. She introduces herself to her mother as Ji-hyun’s friend and has the benefit of knowing how to explain her presence to a mother who’s never heard of this particular friend before.
She says she’s a friend from an online cafe, and lent her a magic-trick video that she needs now. She reminds Mom that last year, Ji-hyun performed a magic trick at her parents’ anniversary, which they’d practiced together. Mom’s still wary about never having heard of her, but Ji-hyun says (a little sadly) that it’s because she’s just an internet friend.
Ji-hyun finds her wayward seal in the kangaroo pouch, but in her haste doesn’t notice that the necklace inside gets pulled out. She takes the magic CD, and on second thought, also a digital camera — but she whispers up to the Upstairs Boss that she’s just borrowing it, not stealing.
On her way out, she tears up at the sight of her exhausted mother, and tells her to eat something. She adds that Ji-hyun adored her mother and wanted to become a mother like her, which is just the thing to pick up Mom’s spirits. She’d always thought Ji-hyun was Daddy’s girl, so it moves her to hear that Ji-hyun did love her just as much.
Mom eagerly asks if Ji-hyun said anything else about her, but before she can get an answer, In-jung buzzes the gate. Realizing she has seconds to slip away, Ji-hyun hurries out and ducks behind a tree just in time to avoid being seen.
A flashback shows us how Ji-hyun came up with her plan to retrieve her seal:
The Scheduler had told Ji-hyun to use her head, since your IQ improves while in spirit form (lol, I love these rules — they’re arbitrary, but that’s what makes them entertaining). Ji-hyun had guessed that he must be telling her a hint on purpose, making the Scheduler stammer a denial. Ha. He may be breaking rules for her, but obviously he can’t let anyone find out.
Ji-hyun had thought about it, then gotten the idea that DUH, while she’s in this body, nobody has a clue that she’s Ji-hyun. Man, if this is proof of an enhanced IQ, I shudder to think how earthly Ji-hyun ever functioned in this world.
Thinking of how she has thwarted her cheating fiancé, Ji-hyun goes off skipping happily.
In-jung comes in with the excuse of having left behind her cell phone, but her search turns up nothing in the kangaroo doll. She wonders if Ji-hyun’s mother found it, and asks Mom casually about the dolls. But Mom and the housekeeper are more concerned about In-jung’s suddenly odd behavior; for instance, despite living together “for all those years,” In-jung had forgotten that Mom doesn’t eat certain things.
Considering that In-jung had been Ji-hyun’s bestie for a decade and lived with the Shin family, it’s interesting that she’s handling them all wrong, and arousing suspicion in the parents now. Clearly she’s not going to get anywhere with this doll issue.
Mom sighs that she should’ve fed Ji-hyun’s sad-looking friend earlier, which pings In-jung’s radar. An unknown friend?
When she reports the latest news to Min-ho, In-jung can’t let go of her suspicions about that friend. Min-ho dismisses her concern, pointing out that there’s no motive for that friend to be involved. Nobody knows of their plans, so there’s no need to take that seal. He adds that everyone carries at least one deep secret — a comment that makes her look at him sharply. So what’s his secret?
Time’s ticking, and they have to take care of payment on the Haemido land deal soon. Min-ho assures her he’ll take care of it, sure that he can think up a way out with a little more brainstorming.
At the restaurant, Kang continues to be bothered by Yi-kyung, having run into her at the hospital. He tells Manager Oh about the encounter and concludes that she must really be terminally ill after all. Firmly in denial about caring, he sighs that he wishes he’d sent her along that first day, and wonders why Manager Oh hadn’t stopped him.
In contrast, Manager Oh is totally on to the undertones here and finds amusement in Kang’s frustration. He asks if Yi-kyung worries Kang so much, which makes Kang hasten that he’s not worried, he’s bothered. Yes, of the “hot and” variety.
Manager Oh’s like, suuuuure (he and I are on the same wavelength, we are), and adds, “Trying to hide it doesn’t mean it gets hidden.” Kang sticks to his protests and gripes that she’s just as troublesome as Ji-hyun. Which should be as telling as any positive declaration of interest, really.
Ji-hyun comes to the restaurant despite it being a day off, and searches for a hiding place for her seal, thinking it unsafe to leave it at Yi-kyung’s apartment. She ducks out of sight to avoid being spotted by Manager Oh, and that leads her to Kang’s living quarters, where they both overhear him singing (badly) in the shower. Ha. Cute guys singing well is attractive, but cute guys singing badly? Adorable.
Ji-hyun notes how cheerily he’s singing, misinterpreting this to mean that he doesn’t care at all for his injured friend in the hospital. She gripes that it’s worse because he’s perpetrating this affront to decency to a song she particularly likes. Or, you know, it could mean THAT OTHER THING. Oh sigh, poor, naive and not-so-bright Ji-hyun. One of these days, two and two will equal four.
This scene also gives us this:
You’re welcome. God bless Korea and their fixation with giving the men gratuitious nekkid shower scenes whenever they return from army duty. Some traditions really are meant to be preserved.
When Kang comes down to the restaurant, to his surprise Yi-kyung is participating in cleaning day. Despite her willingness to continue, he orders her to go home, referencing her illness. At her continued resistance, he takes the matter firmly in hand — literally — by giving her the ol’ trusty wrist-grab and pulling her outside.
The gesture has Manager Oh’s impressionable wife gushing, “He’s even cooler than Kim Joo-won!” Perhaps recognizing the problem with such romanticizing, Manager Oh sighs, “Dramas these days are ruining women.” I’ll say.
Yi-kyung clocks Kang’s ill-concealed worry over her health and quips that he must be feeling sorry for giving her a hard time, and tells him he only has a little longer to put up with her. He jumps to the conclusion that she’s referring to her impending death, with that whole “48 days left” thing. He asks, “That’s not true, is it?” She merely answers, “It’s 42 days now” and calls it a rare disease: “What I can say for sure is, if you stick through just 42 more days, you’ll never have to see my face again.” She offers that as a promise, assuming he’ll be glad to hear it.
To cover up his… hurt? disappointment?, Kang gets grumpy and calls her horribly mean, and gruffly retorts that she can clean or not, whatever, like he cares, hmph.
She’s not fooled though by the facade, and thinks to herself that he’s pretty considerate and gentle with Yi-kyung: “He was heartless only to me.” Inadvertently she’s hit it right on the head, since that’s exactly what he was trying to achieve, given that his problem was his heart.
Kang finds himself staring at her throughout the day while Ji-hyun cleans, trying to ignore her but jumping in to help as needed — which he does silently, as though hoping that ignoring the issue will make it not real. His behavior doesn’t escape the eyes of Manager Oh and his wife, who look on amusedly.
Kang hesitates for a moment when Manager Oh tells him the piano needs tuning, which indicates to us that a piano-related issue/flashback/moment of poignancy is in the forecast.
Min-ho broods over how to fix this land deal problem, and in particular thinks back to his earlier meeting with the doctor, who’d said that Ji-hyun had very little brainwave activity — she’s virtually brain-dead. The doctor had told him that it’s just a matter of her guardians coming to accept the reality of her case.
He does look pretty upset, but one can’t be positive whether it’s driven by sadness over his fiancee’s health or just guilt. I’m going to give him the benefit of the doubt and say that both are probably at play, though I won’t go so far as to guess which has a bigger role.
He overhears Ji-hyun’s father arguing with the doctor, and in his vehemence Dad grabs his head in pain. He waves his doctor buddy aside, but here in K-dramaland, we know that an older character never experiences mysterious, unchecked physical pain that doesn’t flare up later at the most conveniently inconvenient moment. Daddy Deathwatch in three… two… one…?
Min-ho takes him out for dinner and finally confesses that he didn’t actually complete the contract before Ji-hyun’s accident. Dad is stunned and upset, and with shaking voice, Min-ho tells him the truth about Ji-hyun giving him lipstick instead of her seal. And in order to sell her land without her seal (akin to a legally binding signature), they’d have to declare her incompetent.
Ah, now his tactic becomes clear. Min-ho speaks in a perfectly acted display of hesitation and pain, with enough faux sincerity to make him appear the genuinely bereaved fiancé. He says, “I can’t do it, Father.”
He defers to Dad, telling him to make the decision, saying tiredly, “I just want to be by Ji-hyun’s side” as he submits his resignation letter.
Well, played, Evil Villain. Well played indeed.
Manager Oh presents his wife with a candlelit pasta dinner that evening, explaining that she’s a carb fanatic. However, out of consideration for her health, she sticks to Korean food every day excepting monthly cleaning day.
He sends the youngsters away to eat at a separate table, where Ji-hyun picks at her food, which of course doesn’t go unnoticed by Kang. He also notices how she picks out the bay leaf — reminding him of Ji-hyun’s own distaste for them.
Ji-hyun’s in a glum mood, and the happily married couple provides stark contrast to the truth of her own love life. She sighs that she’s envious of them, and had wanted that for herself.
She catches him staring at her, and he quickly looks away and changes the subject. Ji-hyun knows that he’s just trying to cheer her up, and teases him for it, lightening the mood. Afterward, he gives her her pay, which she receives gratefully.
But the melancholy mood returns as Ji-hyun walks home thinking of how there’s nobody crying for her but herself, wishing that she had just one person in front of whom she could let loose and cry.
That prompts an exasperated exclamation from the Scheduler, who sits on a nearby playground swing dressed as a high schooler (his uniform is embroidered with the name “Scheduler”). He narrates a text message as he types, calling her childish and silly.
Ji-hyun stomps up to him to take issue with his mocking of her, and he looks up with big, innocent eyes, saying, “Noona, I was just tweeting.” Ha!
Ji-hyun joins him on the swings and tells him proudly that she found her seal after all, and that her memory really is better now than it used to be. We know that the Scheduler’s irritation with Ji-hyun is mostly bluster, but that doesn’t stop him from complaining anyway about missing a concert waiting for her.
Sigh, you boys of 49 Days — would it kill you to actually say what you mean once in a while, rather than translating your feelings into Disgruntledese? Getting Ji-hyun to translate it back into humanspeak is about as effective as plugging it into Babelfish, and her meager IQ hardly helps.
Wanting to talk out her feelings, Ji-hyun tells the Scheduler that today was her wedding day. But instead of marrying, she stuck it to the guy she was supposed to marry, and ran off in glee. Funny, ain’t it? The Scheduler replies that life’s a comedy.
Ji-hyun reminds the Scheduler that he told her she’s his third case of the 49-day challenge, and asks what happened to the other person who chose to collect tears. She’s eager to know if that person succeeded, but he reminds her flatly that it’s classified info.
She pouts, but he tells her that it’s not like finding out what happened to the other soul would change her case, so she’s better off planning how to capture her tears.
It’s sorta cute how Ji-hyun chatters on that night to Yi-kyung, despite the whole she-can’t-hear-you thing. Admittedly Ji-hyun can be a little annoying, but she’s really growing on me, like a little yappy dog you can’t quite decide is annoying or endearing.
The Scheduler opts to call Ji-hyun out of the apartment via phone rather than going in himself, which would be easier for them both. All he can say is, “I don’t like that room. I don’t know why, I just find it uncomfortable.”
He takes Ji-hyun to a department store that’s closed for the night, and tells her to pick out anything she likes. He adds, “Isn’t shopping the best thing to cheer up women?” Aw.
(Also? He has the best expressions ever. Cracks. Me. Up.)
With his magical powers, he puts her in various outfits with a wave of a hand. She finds the clothes too short and bare, calling him a pervert and demanding that he take ’em off. The Scheduler may not be human, but he IS male, and he asks pointedly, “Really?”
She blusters that she’s gonna kill him, but he reminds her that he’s already dead. He goads, “Are you that unconfident in your figure? I guess you’ve been letting yourself go.”
She says he’s mean to treat her like this “on a day like this,” to which he counters that not marrying Min-ho was the best thing to happen to her. He has a point, and with that, she approaches her shopping spree with new enthusiasm. She even chops off her hair, proving once again that Felicity was on to something.
The Scheduler comments on her before-and-after transformation, and she says that her good mood comes from realizing that she has two people on her side — him and Kang. He makes sure to say he’s not really on her side, but she’ll take what she can get.
She muses at how Min-ho, once thought to be the best guy in the world, has turned out pretty fearsome, while mean ol’ Han Kang actually has a heart. Isn’t it always the way?
The friends pick at their breakfasts, and Seo-woo indulges in a bit of pity by sighing over what would have been if Ji-hyun weren’t in her accident. She starts to complain about Ji-hyun’s stupid idea to show the bridesmaid dress to Min-ho, and In-jung, already on edge, tersely tells Seo-woo to let it go.
Seo-woo finds In-jung’s behavior strange, and that sets her off too. She cries, “Are you Ji-hyun’s only friend? I am too!” In-jung ignores her and leaves.
Ji-hyun (the spirit) hangs out in Yi-kyung’s convenience store, waiting for her turn to take control of her host, which is when she notices Yi-kyung nodding off at her shift and realizes that her daytime activities are taking a toll on the body. Well, the girl’s not fast but at least she isn’t callous. I can’t help hoping that one of these days Yi-kyung gets some solid rest.
On their way out, Dr. Noh comes up with his usual smile and offers to buy Yi-kyung breakfast, which Yi-kyung pointedly ignores. Ji-hyun assumes this is her boyfriend, but Dr. Noh goes on to say that he was 100% responsible for the death of “that person.” That’s why he quit working at the hospital and came to live quietly in this neighborhood, where “I lived like a dead person for two years.”
He had finally come out of his funk after that, and had seen Yi-kyung working at the convenience store six months ago. “It’s been five years for you. You shouldn’t live like this for so long.” He urges her to let go of her bottled-up feelings, and says he’ll be able to help her as a psychologist.
She turns to face him and declares, “I hate the you who remembers that time. I hate those words, too. I don’t need it.”
He presses anyway, saying she has to unburden herself, and offers to be her friend. That offer raises her hackles, and she rejects him flatly.
At home, Ji-hyun looks at Yi-kyung sympathetically, wondering which loved one died. She realizes that her parents may end up like this too, and that thought brings her to tears.
Once she’s in her body for the day, Ji-hyun flips through the family photos stored on her borrowed digital camera and promises to return to her parents somehow. She’ll start with the list she’s drawn up of possible criers, which includes friends from school and the like.
Unfortunately, she doesn’t have anybody’s phone numbers, so she asks Kang for his permission to use his computer. Not even fazed anymore by her over-the-top requests, he assents.
She finds phone numbers online, and supposes she can contact one person a day. But she has the added complication of working from 11 am to 11 pm — when to meet them?
Min-ho times a fake phone call so that Ji-hyun’s father will overhear him arguing and ask about it. That’s how he re-introduces the pressing concern of declaring Ji-hyun incompetent, because without her land, they can’t carry out their Haemido deal.
Dad returns the resignation letter and tells Min-ho to find another way. Min-ho again plays the reverse-psychology role, insisting that he wants to quit the job and take care of Ji-hyun, while Dad can look after the company.
By taking this approach, he gets to play the good guy — which deflects any potential suspicion away from him — while Dad is the one shouting at Min-ho to man up, instead of cowering at his fiancee’s bedside. The tactic succeeds, and he texts the all-clear message to In-jung, assuring her that everything has been worked out.
Min-ho meets with a certain Director Jung, who calls him impressive for his aggressive handling of the matter. Director Jung and Daddy Shin will cover payment for the Haemido deal, with the additional provision that if they’re unable to pay back the amount within a certain timeframe, they’ll have to relinquish their stake in the deal. A caveat: if they find Ji-hyun’s seal, they’ll proceed with the terms of the original contract.
I’m still not clear on the finer points of the deal, but what I get from these manipulations is that it appears Min-ho is maneuvering Daddy Shin into position to be ruined, so that he can swoop in and take over.
Kang sees Ji-hyun peering down into his office and hanging back, so he cuts to the chase, asking what she wants this time. Ji-hyun has a matter to “negotiate” with him, and reminds him that he’d once scoffed that this ain’t no freelance part-time job. Well, would he be open to making it one?
She’s done her research and is prepared to lower her hourly rate a full dollar, pointing out that his original pay was actually below minimum wage. She says that she doesn’t have many days left to live in this body, and has a lot of matters needing attention. Kang calls her out for borrowing his computer to research minimum wage rates, calling her quite shameless, and asks if she thinks he’s likely to agree.
She ponders the matter and then decides he’s not, and sighs that she’ll have to quit and find a different freelance part-time position, then. Lucky for her, Kang’s bickering is more of the mating-dance variety and not the I-want-you-to-quit kind, so he leaps up to stop her from leaving and says he was just joking. He agrees to the freelance thing, and even increases her pay to the stated minimum wage. Oh, you are so smitten. Gone. Whooped. Hook-line-sinkered.
Min-ho arrives to talk business with Kang, just in time to see Yi-kyung (well, Ji-hyun) bursting into laughter as she admits she was joking, too. Kang even laughs in response.
Back upstairs, he’s bothered at the way Ji-hyun’s expression goes from cheery to glaring at the sight of him. He calls her over and takes her to task for her behavior, saying that if she doesn’t want him to misunderstand her feelings (i.e., that she’s interested in him), she should act in a manner that avoids such misunderstanding. He cites her standoffishness, the way she ignores looking at him, and how she vacillates between friendly and unfriendly attitudes.
He wants an apology, and that really gets her goat — but she remembers the Scheduler’s warning not to break the necklace, and obliges.
Min-ho assumes that her attitude change came upon hearing he was engaged, and asks how she found out he has a fiancee. She asks whether he still has one, and he replies, “I do, but—”
Ji-hyun cuts him off and tells him she’s an employee with no interest in his personal life. Kang overhears this exchange — and we can note that it’s the second time he’s witnessed awkwardness between these two — and steps in just as Ji-hyun steps away.
The boys relocate downstairs, where Min-ho asks what’s up between Kang and Yi-kyung. Kang answers that she’s just an employee, so Min-ho tells him to fire her, because she’s too disdainful.
At Kang’s deflection, Min-ho calls him out for giving her special treatment. Kang turns the question around on him, saying that Min-ho — usually so charming and open with women — is unusually terse with Yi-kyung.
Kang says that if they were to take Ji-hyun out of the picture, Min-ho’s behavior is textbook indication that he’s attracted to Yi-kyung. He recognizes the signs — because he’s intimately familiar with them — of having feelings for her, but being unable to say that and instead engaging with antagonism. “It’s the stuff of childish, immature bastard men.” Well, at least he knows it.
Min-ho bristles at the suggestion and gets all upset, and decides to leave. The thought of being attracted to Yi-kyung hadn’t even crossed Min-ho’s mind, but on his way out, he wonders incredulously if it could be true.
He intercepts her and asks why she looks at him so scornfully. She asks quite saucily if perhaps he interprets scorn in her gaze because on some level he feels he earned it.
Provoked, he steps toward her and grabs her arm. Staring, he mutters, “You’re acting pretty funny.” Just as a third party comes into view.
Ooh, interesting. I like this development a lot, because I hadn’t anticipated that Min-ho would be tripped up by an unexpected attraction to Yi-kyung. Although Min-ho’s still in firm villain territory, I prefer villains to struggle and be confused by their own emotions, rather than being coolly manipulative like evil puppeteers.
It also makes In-jung’s situation more interesting, because I’ve been pretty curious to know more about her as a character. In contrast to the initial implications (that she’d be the standard boyfriend-stealing backstabber), she’s turning out to be a pretty conflicted character, one who just got in over her head. Clearly her love for Min-ho has made her his puppet, and she has gone along with everything he has masterminded. One gets the sense that she has an active conscience, but has allowed him to override it. She probably rationalizes everything despite a growing sense of misgiving, so to see that her anchor — Min-ho — may betray her as well must be a pretty big shocker. Will she break away, or sink into more despair?
Both Kang’s and Min-ho’s feelings for Yi-kyung are really driven by Ji-hyun, which makes sense, since they’d both had feelings for her before. But love (or romantic liking) can’t be sustained by an attraction that is 100% physical or 100% mental, which is where this drama takes into interesting territory. If both boys fall for Yi-kyung, how much of that has anything to do with Yi-kyung herself, and how much is due to Ji-hyun? When the dust settles and souls resume residence in their permanent homes, will there be any residual feelings for the former body-soul arrangements?
As for Reaper Boy, the suggestions are growing that he is, in fact, Yi-kyung’s dead boyfriend. I like that we’re given plenty of hints, but that enough of the story remains a mystery to keep our curiosities piqued. And while Dr. Noh copped to responsibility for the boyfriend’s death, given that he’s a psychologist suggests that it wasn’t a case of malpractice or physically hurting him. Perhaps he means he had ignored signs, or given him bad advice that led to the death. That falls into the theory that perhaps the Scheduler had committed suicide, and that has some correlation to his current Reaping job.
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- 49 Days: Episode 3
- 49 Days: Episode 2
- 49 Days: Episode 1
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