Hi Bye, Mama! : Episode 13
I’m channeling our hero this week, wanting to clutch everyone and protect them at all costs. But now more than ever, protection is the last thing that they need. Time is ticking away, communication has yet to be had, and it’s all because our characters are afraid of hurting each other. The truth can be painful, but if they keep holding it in, the consequences could be much worse.
EPISODE 13: “A Story I Could Not See”
We see Kang-hwa and Yuri’s happy marriage life transitioning into Kang-hwa struggling to live his life alone. “The time that had been flowing with us,” Kang-hwa narrates, “suddenly stopped one day.” One day, while sitting outside, Kang-hwa holds back tears as a couple passes by.
Ghost Yuri caresses his hair, telling him not to cry. She narrates, “Time stopped for the person I love because of me. I prayed that it would start flowing again.”
Hyun-jung urges Kang-hwa to date Min-jung, saying it’s what Yuri would’ve wanted. Ghost Yuri does, in fact, want Kang-hwa to call Min-jung, but he still feels too guilty to do so. He wonders what Yuri would think if he could see him, and beside him, she sighs and calls him an idiot.
Back in the present, Kang-hwa runs to Yuri’s house, having just learned her secret. When he sees her, he immediately starts crying, repeating over and over that she saw everything. Yuri starts crying too, so hard that she can barely comfort Kang-hwa as he drops to his knees and tells her that he’s sorry.
Hyun-jung and Geun-sang are at the restaurant, thinking back to when Kang-hwa dropped Seo-woo off. Before leaving, he’d turned to Hyun-jung and accused her of knowing this whole time, that Yuri had been a ghost the past five years.
The couple try to figure out what to do about their friends, when Min-jung walks in. Min-jung is surprised to find Seo-woo there without Kang-hwa, and Geun-sang quickly covers for him, saying that he had an emergency at the hospital.
Kang-hwa and Yuri relocate to a park bench, where Kang-hwa hesitantly asks, “Weren’t you hurt watching me live a happy life without you?” Yuri answers that she was, making him apologize again, so she continues that it hurt even more to see him do everything, including cry, alone.
He says that he should’ve just endured all that, but she argues that he endured enough; he doesn’t have to keep blaming himself. He bends over, his head in his hands, and she reaches out to touch him only to pull back. Instead, she reminds him that he loves Min-jung a lot. “I’m not your person anymore,” she says. “You can let me go.”
Meanwhile, Yuri’s parents lie in bed wondering why Kang-hwa came over. Dad expresses that he feels sorry for Kang-hwa and Min-jung in this situation, saying he would have opposed their marriage if he knew Yuri was going to come back. But Mom says that she wouldn’t change a thing; she wouldn’t want Kang-hwa to suffer.
Back outside, Yuri realizes that Kang-hwa doesn’t know all the details she told Hyun-jung. If that’s the case, she asks, who was the one to reveal her secret? He explains it was a guy dressed in black who claimed to be her friend, and she panics, asking him where Seo-woo is now.
Kang-hwa doesn’t understand, so Yuri has no choice but to confess — she tells him that her sticking around the past five years resulted in Seo-woo seeing ghosts. He remembers Seo-woo’s sticker on the family photo and it clicks. Though he’s shocked, he merely tells the crying Yuri that it’s okay.
Kang-hwa returns to Hyun-jung’s restaurant, and he’s so out of it that he walks right by Min-jung and Seo-woo. Min-jung calls him back, asking what’s wrong, and he pulls himself together to lie that he’s fine. He smiles down at Seo-woo and picks her up, holding her closer than usual.
Late into the night, Kang-hwa sleeps in Seo-woo’s room, not letting her out of his arms (which is the sweetest picture). Min-jung almost goes inside but decides to stay by the door, sighing. Meanwhile, Yuri sobs in her room, which doesn’t go unnoticed by her family.
The next morning, Yuri’s mom heads out to pray. As it turns out, Yuri is already at the temple, banging on Midongdaek’s door and demanding to know where the “exorcist bastard” is.
As Midongdaek urges Yuri inside, we see that the ghost family is watching from afar and now worried for Seo-woo’s safety. Inside, Yuri paces the room, scared that there’s nothing she can do. Looking at her sympathetically, Midongdaek tells her that it’s not over.
“Your daughter can stop seeing ghosts,” she says. “Don’t worry and just trust me.” For now, they just have to prevent the exorcist Guk-bong from confirming Seo-woo’s ability. And since Yuri’s 49 days are almost up, Midongdaek encourages her to do the things she wants to do.
The two later run into Mom, and Mom recognizes Midongdaek from before, when she let it slip that Yuri was among them. Yuri just guides Mom back to the car, and Midongdaek watches them, wondering how Mom is going to handle losing her daughter a second time.
On the ride home, Yuri explains to Mom that she visited the temple because she and Midongdaek are buddies. She asks why Mom came, and Mom replies that she can’t stop her routine of praying — what if the heavens were to take Yuri away again? Oh man, my heart.
Saddened, Yuri changes the subject and asks if there’s anything Mom regrets not doing with her. After a beat, Mom says, “I’m just happy to be with you. I don’t want anything else.” Yuri hangs her head, unable to say anything else.
All morning, Kang-hwa is stuck by Seo-woo’s side, afraid to leave her alone for even a second. He insists on taking her to school, but before they leave, Min-jung brings up his desire to hire a different pickup helper. If he doesn’t have a reason, she’d rather keep Yuri.
Kang-hwa glances at the picture on the fridge, of Min-jung and her unnies. Min-jung follows his gaze and tells him that he can tell her whenever he’s ready. At that, he comes to a decision and asks if she can come by the hospital later; he’ll tell her everything then.
Yuri stops by the restaurant, noticing ghost Sang-bong sauntering out. Geun-sang comes out as well, ready to console Yuri, but Yuri just looks up at him and wonders what he did to attract a ghost. Naturally, the dude freaks out, running down the street (from nothing), while Yuri just heads inside, haha.
The neighborhood moms see Kang-hwa taking Seo-woo to school and immediately start gossiping (because what else do they have to do?). One mom insists that they saw Kang-hwa crying with the kitchen worker at the park.
At work, Kang-hwa is called in by Dr. Jang, who wants him to start observing his surgeries. Kang-hwa smoothly states that he wouldn’t do well under those circumstances and hurries out before Jang can stop him. Kang-hwa pauses by the OR, remembering Yuri’s blessing to let her go, but he doesn’t seem ready.
At the restaurant, Hyun-jung cuts into Yuri and Min-jung’s conversation, saying that the place is a business, not a mom cafe. Min-jung smiles and says, “I love it, though, having a place I can stop by in my neighborhood.” She then gets up to leave, telling Yuri to have a good time with Seo-woo this afternoon. At the door, she turns back and hesitantly asks if they’re really friends (aw). Yuri and Hyun-jung answer that of course they are, allowing her to leave happy.
Once Min-jung is gone, the girls’ smiles fade, Hyun-jung saying that things wouldn’t be this hard if she’d never encouraged Kang-hwa to remarry. But Yuri is grateful that she did; if anything, Yuri blames herself for coming back and intruding into their lives. Outside, Min-jung stops by a street vendor selling jewelry and decides to buy three friendship bracelets. She’s about to leave when someone grabs her arm — one of the neighborhood moms.
The mom admits that she actually likes Min-jung, so she feels she needs to tell her about Kang-hwa and his “affair” with the kitchen worker. Min-jung scoffs at the very idea, even when the mom mentions that the couple were seen crying together. She dismisses it as a silly rumor and walks away.
Yuri takes Seo-woo to the park, giving her some playtime with Dad. Yuri leaves to buy some drinks, just as Dad rests Seo-woo on a bench. As he’s showering her with affection, an old woman dragging a cart falls to the ground. He tells Seo-woo to stay where she is and rushes over to help the woman.
As soon as Dad’s back is turned, however, Seo-woo notices some young children and follows them. Yuri returns to find Dad frantically searching for Seo-woo, and Yuri drops her drinks in shock. By this time, Seo-woo has wandered off to a busy street, unaware that Guk-bong is closing in on her.
Kang-hwa is finally ready to tell Min-jung the truth about Yuri, but when he meets up with her, she’s frantic, having just gotten off the phone with news of Seo-woo’s disappearance.
Kang-hwa, Min-jung, and Yuri run through the streets, desperately calling for their daughter, but there’s no sign of her. By the time it gets dark, Min-jung is sobbing and Kang-hwa is holding her, telling her it’s okay. Yuri catches up to them, looking so scared and guilty, and Min-jung yells at her, “How could you lose her?!”
Right then, Yuri notices a young ghost boy waving her over, towards the nearby playground. She rushes over, climbs up the ladder, and gasps to find Seo-woo sleeping in the upper hideout. When Min-jung climbs up, Seo-woo jumps into her arms, crying, “Mommy!” Beside them, Kang-hwa and Yuri nearly collapse from relief.
We rewind a bit, to when Seo-woo first wandered off. The ghost family was with Pil-seung in his car, fawning over him as always. They figured that they’d be ready to go up to the heavens once he got married and started a new family. They then noticed Guk-bong walking down the sidewalk, right towards little Seo-woo.
The family acted quickly, the dad Dae-choon appearing before Guk-bong and flailing about to distract him. This allowed mom Bong-yeon and daughter Young-shim to grab Seo-woo’s attention and lead her away. They eventually got her to the playground, telling her to stay up in the jungle gym for a game of hide-and-seek.
The lady ghosts moved out to start looking for Yuri, only to run into Guk-bong, Dae-choon in his grasp. Guk-bong demanded to know where they hid Seo-woo, but they remained silent. With that, Guk-bong grinned and threatened, “Let’s just go up then.” Ahhh, no!
Yuri finds shelter at Midongdaek’s, knowing she’d worry her mom if she went home and cried. She expresses to Midongdaek that her coming back to life must be a punishment and not a reward. After all, she says, she’s only made everyone around her unhappy.
We flash back to after Seo-woo was found, when Yuri followed the family home. Min-jung couldn’t even look at Yuri, telling her to leave them alone. Once Min-jung took Seo-woo inside, Kang-hwa tried to comfort Yuri, again saying that it was okay. Crying, Yuri snapped, “It’s not okay at all. You aren’t okay.”
Hearing this, Midongdaek reassures Yuri that humans are usually unhappy because they worry about tomorrow instead of today; Yuri doesn’t have to blame herself. Yuri isn’t all that convinced, but she does smile when some of her ghost pals come in and squeal that they missed her.
Kang-hwa puts Seo-woo to bed and then joins Min-jung in the living room. He’s hurt when she starts crying silently, and he immediately tells her that it’s not her fault. But she argues that what happens to a child should be the mother’s fault — is she not a mother? Why does he have to say it’s not her fault?
Furthermore, she’s tired of him constantly saying he’s sorry or that he’s okay. She’s tired of him shutting her out when it comes to his first wife; he has to open that door to let her in. “That’s the only way I can truly be Seo-woo’s mom,” she cries. After a long pause, he turns to her and finally lets it all out: their pickup helper is Yuri. The Yuri.
At home, Yuri lies in bed with her head in her mom’s lap. She asks Mom to sing her the song “Pine Tree,” the song she used to sing to her when she was a baby. Mom is happy to oblige, and as she does, we see that Yuri used to sing the same song to Seo-woo when she was still in her belly.
At Hyun-jung’s restaurant, the three girlfriends hang out as if they’ve been best friends for years. Hyun-jung and Yuri head out for an errand, leaving Min-jung to look after the store.
Min-jung walks around, looking content, when she comes across Hyun-jung’s bulletin board. Her eyes land on an old photo of Kang-hwa and Yuri with Hyun-jung and Geun-sang.
“I couldn’t see the time they spent together,” she narrates, “but their time has been passing by diligently.”
I’m really conflicted right now because, as much as I love the drama, the tragedy is starting to weigh me down. It feels like the drama dragged out its problems for one too many episodes, stretching out the melancholy as far as it could go when it didn’t need to be stretched. The endings always leave room for progress, but by the next episode, we’ve only taken small baby steps. I’m hoping that with this ending, we get that big step towards confrontation and some kind of resolution. The drama has no choice — we only have three episodes left. There couldn’t have been a more awful time for Kang-hwa to tell Min-jung the truth (the poor woman had been through enough that day), but it had to happen. Yuri, and us viewers, are running out of time.
The problem with the Saturday episodes is that they’re mostly filler. Yuri keeps saying she’s going to hide the truth, then that usually fails; Midongdaek keeps saying she’s going to take care of everything, then that usually fails. And, unfortunately, when things go wrong, all Yuri can do is stand there and cry. I feel for her so much, but I wish she’d do more than break down whenever she gets caught in her lies. I wish… urghhh… *pulls out hair* I wish she’d just gather all her friends and family into one room and bring them in on what’s happening. Obviously, that would be too easy, but it seems cruel to lead them on into thinking she’s back for good. Her mom is suddenly so hopeful and it’s tearing up my heart!
While I am frustrated, there’s always so much good that comes out of these episodes. Kang-hwa and Yuri finally sat down and talked — for a good chunk of time, too — and they were able to convey where their hearts were. Kang-hwa really needed to hear Yuri say that he was allowed to move on, that she wanted him to move on. It’s still hard for him to accept that, and honestly, I think it’s because she hasn’t allowed herself to move on. She stuck around for five years, and you can’t convince me it was entirely because of Seo-woo. Like the bumbling ghost family, she kept making up excuses to stay. Now, if she doesn’t leave, the pain that her loved ones are experiencing isn’t going to leave either.
Of course, Yuri leaving doesn’t mean that she has to leave everyone’s hearts. She’ll always be Kang-hwa’s love, always be Seo-woo’s mom, and hopefully, always be Min-jung’s friend. To reach this kind of outlook, however, they need to put some work into it. Rather than say that everything is okay, that none of this is anyone’s fault, they need to fight for each other. No more “woe is me,” you got it?
Getting back to the ghost family, I’m actually scared that that’s the last we’ll ever see of them. If that’s the case, I’ll be so sad for them, even more than I already was. (They won’t be able to say goodbye to Pil-seung!) Still, despite all their antics, they were always loyal to Yuri. Their efforts to save Seo-woo proved that. Seo-woo has so many people on her side, come to think of it, and that makes her quite the lucky girl.
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