Doom at Your Service: Episode 9
A surprise visit from our heroine’s aunt proves both comforting for our heroine and challenging for our cohabitating couple who are used to having more freedom. As the days pass, our heroine and all her loved ones are forced to confront her limited remaining time. For our immortal hero unused to dealing in the finite, this is no easy task. Meanwhile, in addition to the stress of her best friend’s illness, our romance writer has some drama of her own involving one persistent ex and a certain stoic editor.
Myeol-mang narrates that he once wanted to eat, sleep, and love like humans. But he realized he could never be like mortals who have places in the world and then leave. He can only watch over them instead.
Now we’re back to him asking Dong-kyung to choose between her and the world. Dong-kyung stares at her aunt, her eyes full of emotion. And then she runs away, scared of the look in her aunt’s eye. Myeol-mang watches bemused as Soo-ja chases Dong-kyung down the street.
Jumping back to our other surprise encounter, Ji-na opens her door to find Hyun-kyu standing there. She doesn’t even let him explain why he’s there before she shuts the door in his face. After collecting herself, she says through the door that she’ll meet him downstairs.
Joo-ik sees her rushing around and offers to leave. Ji-na reveals that it was Hyun-kyu at the door and apologetically asks Joo-ik to wait a bit before leaving to avoid misunderstandings. Joo-ik agrees but looks bothered, despite saying there’s no need for her to apologize.
In a café, Hyun-kyu admits he knew he shouldn’t come to Ji-na’s apartment uninvited, but he missed her. That’s why he came back to Korea and the reunion – for her. Less than touched, Ji-na remarks that he’s always done whatever he wanted.
We flash back to Ji-na confronting him at school after hearing about his going abroad from other people. She’d accused him of using how much she liked him to get his way all the time. Ji-na broke up with him, tired of always being the one to give in.
Now, Hyun-kyu argues he was immature back then and regrets how he handled things. Ji-na points out that she waited and waited in vain back then, but he shows back up and gets to see her exactly when he wants. It’s nine years too late.
Hyun-kyu only came to answer her question about why he’s back and encourages Ji-na to forget him if it makes things easier for her. It’s not that simple for Ji-na. Seeing him takes her back to a time she’s not sure she wants to revisit. “Still, I liked it all,” Hyun-kyu says. Ji-na walks away without responding.
Outside, Soo-ja chases Dong-kyung around the block. Dong-kyung hides behind Myeol-mang, but Soo-ja still manages to get her in a headlock. They finally go inside where Soo-ja formally introduces herself to Myeol-mang who Sun-kyung has already informed her is Dong-kyung’s boyfriend.
Soo-ja clearly wants to talk to her niece alone and suggests Myeol-mang head home since it’s so late. Myeol-mang starts to say that he and Dong-kyung live together, but Dong-kyung rushes him out the door and sends him “home” under her aunt’s watchful eye. Dong-kyung slips him her phone so she can call later and shoves him outside.
Once they’re alone, Soo-ja gets emotional as she says she understands that Dong-kyung kept her illness a secret so she wouldn’t be a burden. Since Soo-ja took her in, Dong-kyung has always acted like “a polite guest” in their home. It’s no wonder she got sick with all that stress. “Until when are you going to act polite?”
Dong-kyung fights tears as Soo-ja shows her the entire suitcase full of clothes from Canada she’s stockpiled for Dong-kyung. There are clothes for every season, and Soo-ja is determined that Dong-kyung will get to wear all of them. When Dong-kyung worries she’s “stolen” Soo-ja’s life from her, Soo-ja tenderly strokes her hair and says her life was freely given.
Meanwhile, Hyun-kyu arrives home and sees Joo-ik’s phone light up with a message from Ji-na asking if he got home okay. Emerging from the shower, Joo-ik sees Hyun-kyu looking at his phone, but Hyun-kyu doesn’t say anything about the message.
That night, Dong-kyung slips away to call Myeol-mang. He mentions the resemblance between Soo-ja and Dong-kyung’s mom, so Dong-kyung explains that they were twins. She always felt like she was looking at her mom when she looked at Soo-ja, but seeing her mom again showed her their differences.
Dong-kyung thanks him for letting her see her parents and promises to think of a wish for herself. She gets awkward and weirded out by talking to him on the phone, but she has one favor to ask before hanging up.
The next day at the hospital, fake doctor Myeol-mang tells Soo-ja that Dong-kyung is on a waitlist for a promising clinical trial. She can start treatment in two weeks and doesn’t need to be immediately hospitalized. Soo-ja asks eagerly if Dong-kyung can survive. Myeol-mang confidently responds that he’ll save her.
Soo-ja leaves with a lighter heart and asks where Dong-kyung’s boyfriend’s hospital is. Dong-kyung lies that he’s an American doctor. Soo-ja jokes that this doctor was better looking than Myeol-mang and heads to pick up her husband Kevin from the airport.
Dong-kyung takes Myeol-mang to buy a phone which he finds unnecessary, but he enjoys the experience anyway. Myeol-mang then takes her on a job where he poses as the teacher of a little boy who’s graduating. Dong-kyung takes a graduation photo for the kid and his grandmother.
Myeol-mang later explains the little island school is closing, and the boy’s teacher recently passed away. When Myeol-mang says the teacher should be at “the garden” by now, Dong-kyung brings up the goddess and how she’s seen her in a hospital gown. For Dong-kyung, hearing that the goddess spends each lifetime sick as payment for the sins of the world puts her own suffering in perspective.
She wonders what a peaceful world would be like, so Myeol-mang freezes her in time for a moment. During that moment, the world was truly peaceful because it was without doom. Dong-kyung narrates that that moment of peace felt like an eternity.
While Soo-ja takes her husband with her to visit her sister at the columbarium, Dong-kyung narrates that humans’ lives are filled with impermanent things of impact like dreams, regret, memory, love, and people. Looking at Myeol-mang’s name (Saram) in her phone, she notes that it sounds like the word “sarang” (love) which, for some reason, makes her regret naming him that.
Dong-kyung calls Myeol-mang out to join her on her first shopping spree. She buys more shoes for Sun-kyung than he could ever wear and an expensive pen for Ji-na to remember her by. When another woman wants to buy the purse Dong-kyung has her eye on for Soo-ja, Dong-kyung pulls the cancer card and walks out the victor.
Myeol-mang’s mood has been increasingly melancholy as she’s gone about happily spending her money. After loading up on presents for others, Dong-kyung drags Myeol-mang to take a photo together. He thinks back to their earlier conversation about how these things are for those left behind and asks why she wants a photo. Dong-kyung says you never know who might see it.
Despite his feelings about it, he poses for the photos with her. Dong-kyung smiles as she looks at them on her phone later – these have his real face – and sets one as his phone’s background.
That night, Myeol-mang takes her for a fancy meal in her dream. They’re joined by Soo-ja, Ji-na, and Sun-kyung who are all sporting the gifts Dong-kyung bought for them. Dong-kyung smiles to see her loved ones eating and laughing together.
In the morning, Dong-kyung wakes to find reality isn’t so different from her dream. Soo-ja made breakfast and called Sun-kyung and Ji-na over to eat. While the four have a family meal, Myeol-mang goes to visit the goddess.
From the other side of her bedside curtain, Myeol-mang promises not to cause any more trouble or make the goddess worry. He no longer wants to see Dong-kyung abandon the world and is determined to make sure it doesn’t happen.
Before he leaves, Myeol-mang shares that he’s always pitied the goddess more than he’s resented her and thanks her for creating him. On the other side of the curtain, the goddess sits with a bloody hand clasped over her mouth.
At LifeStory, CEO Park throws a fit when he hears five of his writers, including one of their top earners, are refusing to renew their contracts without Dong-kyung as their editor. Joo-ik scathingly advises him to fix the problem rather than disrespectfully yelling at all his employees over it.
Joo-ik is so distracted worrying about how Hyun-kyu saw that text from Ji-na that even his colleagues notice. He finally marches down to the café to talk to Hyun-kyu, but Hyun-kyu brushes him off. Unfortunately for Joo-ik, his father chooses this moment to walk in.
His father loudly wonders what his son is doing relaxing in a café rather than working, which catches the attention of CEO Park at a nearby table. Hyun-kyu jumps in and tries to make it look like Joo-ik’s father was addressing him, but it might be too late. While he literally holds onto Joo-ik’s father so Joo-ik can escape, Hyun-kyu suddenly realizes that the woman Joo-ik was with outside the café that day was Ji-na.
As they head up to their apartment later, Hyun-kyu directly asks if Joo-ik knows Ji-na. Joo-ik says yes and wants to explain further, but Hyun-kyu claims he has somewhere to be and heads back downstairs.
Hyun-kyu calls Ji-na asking where she is and shows up moments later at the laundromat in front of her place. As if it’s any of his business, he demands to know if she has someone she likes or is seeing. This dude then spouts some misogynistic nonsense, essentially trying to call dibs on a human being by completely disregarding Ji-na’s feelings and telling her to date him over anyone else because he liked and dated her first.
Elsewhere, Myeol-mang meets Dong-kyung to recharge her bracelet. When he goes to leave, Dong-kyung holds him back. If she wants to live, is he able to grant her more life? Myeol-mang honestly answers that Doom doesn’t have that power.
Dong-kyung expected he couldn’t but had to ask. Since he can hear thoughts, he must be aware of how everyone is smiling at her while hiding their pain which is probably even greater than hers. “And you?” she asks. She feels Myeol-mang willing her to live, looking at her with soulless eyes.
How does he think she feels seeing that? Myeol-mang says vaguely she only needs to do as she first thought. About what, I’m not so sure. I’m also not sure how that was a relevant response to her question.
Later, Myeol-mang stands in front of an old tree that’s barren and dying. An elderly man stands beside him and says he misses the flowers, but it’s natural for all living creatures to die. Myeol-mang thinks of Dong-kyung and goes running. (Does Doom not have a faster means of transportation?)
Myeol-mang may not be afraid of disappearing, but he is afraid of not being able to see Dong-kyung anymore. “Like a fool, I just realized that I don’t have much time left,” he narrates. He rushes up to Dong-kyung as she stands on her rooftop.
“I love you,” he blurts out. “I’m in love with you.” Dong-kyung stares at Myeol-mang, speechless. We’re now at D-50, halfway through Dong-kyung’s 100 days.
This episode zeroed in on the ticking clock and how Dong-kyung and Myeol-mang are feeling the pressure of the looming deadline. Although it seems a little strange that Myeol-mang is only now realizing their time is limited, as an immortal being, this is entirely new territory for him. When you’re used to eternity, it must be hard to wrap your head around having to think in days. I can see how his sudden realization that he’ll likely lose her no matter how this all turns out led him to confess in no uncertain terms. Now that he’s gotten over the fact that he has feelings, he’s pretty direct about them. I appreciate how honest he is with Dong-kyung as a whole. He doesn’t lie or sugarcoat things to make her feel better. They’re able to be honest and straightforward with each other, which I hope means we won’t have to deal with the dreaded angst of miscommunication later on.
Now onto our resident awful communicator Hyun-kyu. I was willing to give him a chance at first, but the second he acted like Ji-na was territory he staked his claim on, I was done with him. He shows up almost a decade after ghosting her and has the nerve to behave like he’s owed her attention and affection. That confession, if you can even call it that, was so self-centered and entitled. I knew he liked to make things all about him, but the way he entirely dismissed her feelings was another level of selfishness. When he actually told her to date him even if she had feelings for someone else because he “liked her first,” I about gagged. I really, really hope Ji-na continues standing up for herself and doesn’t take him back. I loved seeing her call him out and finally get to say her piece after all those years. She said what she needed to say and didn’t let him control the narrative. Hyun-kyu said he wasn’t expecting anything from her, but then disrespectfully demanded answers about her love life like a day later. I hope Ji-na realizes she deserves better treatment than this.
Joo-ik has really made an unnecessary mess of this situation, hasn’t he? I was afraid he’d get found out before he could fess up. The frustrating part is that all this drama could’ve been avoided had he just not been sneaky for no good reason. At so many points, he could easily have said to Hyun-kyu, “FYI, I’m working with your ex.” When Hyun-kyu was reading that text from Ji-na would’ve been a perfect time to bust that explanation out. He and Ji-na are nothing more than colleagues right now, so there’s no reason to treat it as this earth-shattering secret. Joo-ik and Hyun-kyu are peas in a pod with their inopportune silences. Where did they both learn such dreadful communication skills? I guess it wouldn’t be dramatic enough if they were good communicators.
I feel like there’s been a lot more filler as we dip into cutesy romance territory. Not that there’s a problem with cute romantic moments, but there’s so much emotional baggage to deal with here that isn’t being fully tapped into. We’ve kind of skimmed over the reactions of Dong-kyung’s friends and family to her illness and the way everyone is processing (or not processing) it. Even before Dong-kyung’s illness, they’ve had to deal with family trauma that still hangs over them. I’d love to delve further into their family dynamics and how they dealt with Dong-kyung’s parents’ death. I want more scenes like the heart-to-heart between Soo-ja and Dong-kyung where Soo-ja called her out for always acting like a guest in her own family. Dong-kyung’s guilt over “burdening” her aunt – although it’s obvious Soo-ja doesn’t feel that way – has made her fade to the background in her own life. It’s taken a terminal illness to break her of that, but I’m glad she’s finally learning to live more vibrantly.
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