My friend, EE, volunteered to get this blog up to date on the series by writing this fantastic recap of Episode 3, while I work on Episode 4. She brilliantly pointed out that DB has already done 1 and 2. I will provide links to those who need them in the First Impressions Post.
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Episode 3 Recap by EE
We open the episode with Anchorman Park Sun-woo lighting his incense stick in the dressing room of his studio, just as the intern calls for him.
We see that Sun-woo is no longer in 2012, but 1992. Sun-woo is immediately getting the impression that something is amiss, with Seo Taiji and the Boys performing on tv, the change in decor, and oh yeah…the newspaper that says December 21, 1992.
In 2012, the staff starts to panic when they cannot locate Sun-woo, he is supposed to be on air in seven minutes. They arrange for another reporter to fill in, and notify the correspondent news team in Nepal of the substitution. Sun-woo’s absence rattles both his boss and Min Young (since they are aware of his medical condition).
We see a make-up artist come into the dressing room and knock the incense holder a bit as she grabs a case. We then cut to the tail end of 2012 Sun-woo talking to 1992 Sun-woo (he dialed the number on the pager). He shocks his teen self by knowing details of where he goes to school and drops the “I know, because I AM you.”
Needless to say, this is very perplexing to 1992 Sun-woo. He asks for a repeat, but 2012 Sun-woo has been whisked back to the present when someone in the present extinquished the incense stick . He is able to step back into his anchor position just in time for the broadcast.
The first story is a summary of the Choi Jin-chul case. As the prerecorded video is running, Sun-woo thinks back to when he received the call from himself as a boy. I don’t know if this means the call prompted his memory (losing a pager is hardly the kind of soul crushing memory that lingers) or if his actions created a new memory.
He recalls Young-hoon telling him in 1992 to dial the pager again, and like magic that same pager starts going off in his 2012 pocket. His production team is not impressed with the noise or the antiquated technology, but thankfully he was not on camera when it happened.
Choi Jin-Chul sits in his office, watching Sun-woo finish the news. Choi clearly unpacked his cranky pants first upon his return to Korea. His minion reports that Jung Woo is in fact dead, that he died on a hike in the Himalayas. This gets a major eyebrow raise from Choi. Maybe that means something to him?
Sun-woo checks in with his intern about the pager. Before the intern finishes, Sun-woo interrupts that the number belonged to a study hall he used to go to as a teenager. It all seems to be confirming that he is not hallucinating, but actually bending space and time with a literal puff of smoke.
Speaking of confirming, Sun-woo runs all the pager stuff by Young-hoon, who also has memories of high school era Sun-woo telling him about the intruder and the missing pager, and the weird guy who returned the call. Young-hoon says he thought at the time that the weird intruder might have had something to do with Dr. Park’s death.
Consider it another point in Sun-woo’s “not crazy” column if Young-hoon is also remembering the things that occurred as a result of time travel.
1992, Hyung is in his bedroom listening to Eric Clapton’s Tears in Heaven. Apparently, Hyung has a broad spectrum of musical tastes as the camera also rests on a poster of French singer/songwriter Georges Moustaki. Above Hyung’s desk is a Nirvana poster. Hyung is several drafts into composing a “last letter to my love, Yoo Jin,” and this is probably why he gives Sun-woo the brush off when he tries to tell Hyung about the stranger with his pager. With nobody else to talk to, Sun-woo decides to document the incident in his journal, which 2012 Sun-woo digs up and marvels at.
This gets Sun-woo’s investigative journalist skills pumping and he goes to get Hyung’s small journal out of the box of possessions he brought back from Nepal. The entries tell how Hyung received the incense stick and was told the previous owner left 9 more stashed in a mattress in the Maruna Lodge, room #201. We never see the face of the man who gives them to Hyung in the flashback, and in English he says that the man who left them managed to fix his family so he no longer needed them.
Hyung, no slouch in the research department either, was able to deduce that the sticks length relate to how long he has in the past (a full stick of 30 cm = 30 minutes.)
Back in Nepal, Min Young is dining with her production crew, on their way out of town now that their story is complete. On the phone, she talks to Young-hoon, who tells her Sun-woo is on his way back to Nepal and she should really encourage him to have the treatment. She looks off the deck and over the courtyard, and guess who rolls up on his white horse (and by that I mean white rental car)? Yup, there is Sun-woo.
He doesn’t see her, but she thinks of Young-hoon’s last words about making Sun-woo happy – playing along to get him to do the treatment. She remembers Sun-woo telling her that her smile is what is most important to him. She shoots him a text and they have this cute little banter. She calls him her boyfriend, he playfully says he thought he was rejected, she tells him she takes it back and offers a hug. Cue goofy grin. It gets cut short when the Korean policeman who helped identify Hyung shows up, but he tells her thank you for cheering him up.
Sun-woo gets a guide to take him to the former site of the Maruna Lodge. He has to stop to take his pain meds and the guide warns him that blizzards can strike without notice, it is best to keep moving. He gets near the area and stops, his guide steps away. Sun-woo takes the chance to pull out a handheld lantern to house the lit incense stick. Clearly, he is the smarter brother as Hyung did not take weather conditions into consideration on his journey.
He arrives in rather pleasant weather and walks into the lodge.
Lionel Richie’s “Hello” is playing, and a man is at the counter with a stack of vinyl records. (Kinda odd for 1992 if you ask me, but maybe the guy is some sort of analog sound fanatic.)
Sun-woo checks his watch and notices he has seven minutes. No time for niceties, he busts down the door. He finds the sticks in a blue case, hidden in the mattress like the diary said. There is a bit of a scuffle between the guest in a towel, her male companion and even a few guest in the lobby as Sun-woo just tries to hold on to his precious time travel device.
Moments before his time is up, he grabs a record to shield himself from an attack. Ironically, it is The Bodyguard Soundtrack
Back in 2012, Whitney warbling and blue container still in his hand, he cheers his own victory. Sun-woo comes down from the mountain side, and runs into his policeman friend. They reminisce about the album, and Sun-woo says he has a clear memory of taking his first girlfriend to see the movie on Christmas Eve.
Back in town, he stops and buys a turntable. He is still in the opening notes of “I Will Always Love You” back in his room, when in walks Min Young.
She shows off her new dress, rattling about how she did some journalistic investigation and figured out where he was staying and decided to extend her stay. She has also considered his marriage proposal. She is accepting, saying three months will be fun and easy and at the end they will have a clean break: no muss, no fuss. Although this was his idea, he stares at her blankly.
She continues, clearly talking to maintain her cheery carefree facade. He calls her arrogant, which shocks her. He asks if she is just saying this out of pity, and that breaks the last of her pretense. Her eyes immediately well up and her tone goes from playful to a halting stutter. A smile spreads across his face, and he calls her foolish for not pursuing the story until the end. He chides her journalistic skills and gets up to lock the door. If she wants a honeymoon, he will give her a honeymoon.
It ends in Sun-woo’s voice over “When facing death, everything becomes crystal clear. Believe the fantasies you want to believe. Love the girl you want to love.”
And here is Whitney Houston singing “I Will Always Love You”