Our hero gets a chance to fix things, and decides to spend his magic on others, rather than selfishly. So far so good. But has he thought through the consequences thoroughly yet? What about repercussions?
He gets one.
A BIG one.
Episode 4 Recap
✿ ❀ ❀ ✿
Flashback December 1992
Young(er) Choi is on the phone in his office. Desperately trying to convince someone to wait a few days. He only needs a signature! President Oh, on the other end, doesn’t seem think so. Choi slams his desk and hops madly, making me giggle. Choi decides to change his tact, brings it down and asks Oh to calm down, then promises
“Three days. Just give me three days.”
He hangs up, brings in and lets out a big up-to-know-good breath, and then leaves the office. The receptionists are watching someone get elected president on the TV, and wish him a good evening.
Outside, a man striding quickly in a dark coat bumps Choi’s shoulders.
It is our hero. In a quick flashback, we see incense a-burning in his car.
Sun-woo apologizes to Choi, asks if he is OK, and then stares him down for a full count of four before Choi goes to his car.
It is a lot creepy how this stranger keeps looking at him as he pulls away. Choi even checks the rear view mirror to see, and yes, still there.
Sun-woo smiles a knowing – dastardly?- smile, and enters the hospital (And for some reason, I think he looks like Onew.)
The hospital is empty, he reads the signs pointing to the “Director” and “Assistant Director” offices. A receptionist/nurse approaches to ask if he needs help, and she tells him the hospital is closed. Mini flashback to Young Sun-woo calling the same, but younger version nurse “Noona.”
She wants to know who he is, and he lies and says he’s a student from a long time ago who missed him his teacher. They say good night.
The receptionist can do math, so she knows that wasn’t possible and tells the other nurse about the strange encounter.
Sun-woo goes out and grabs a cab to Seong Buk Dong. He keeps checking his watch.
Sun-woo comments that the car model is “Prince” and Mr. Driver is proud of his spankin’ new car.
As they drive by a diner, he spots his Hyung, and tells the cab driver to pull over and wait.
Inside, Hyung is very upset and drunk as a skunk. Sun-woo looks at him do a shot of soju, and the Ahjumma comes in and asks for Sun-woo’s order. Suddenly, Hyung falls out of his seat onto the floor.
Sun-woo calls “Hyung!” and drags him into the taxi. Ahjumma comes out and tells him someone’s got to pay the bill!! Sun-woo pulls out his wallet to pay, but noting he has modern bills. (Footnote: the 50,000 Won bill didn’t come out until 2009), he gets Hyung’s money and pays with that.
While removing more current currency from his brother’s wallet, he finds a letter addressed to Kim Yoo-jin. Opens it and reads it. It isn’t a love letter to a one sided crush as I had suspected, but a break-up letter.
We see Dr. Dad Director being chauffeured to their palatial estate. The cab with his sons pulls up, and Dad walks over to inspect. Sun-woo gets a good look at his father and is visibly moved to see him alive after all those years. He introduces himself as a student.
With disgust, Dad asks if Hyung got drunk over a girl. He calls Jung-woo good-for-nothing, then orders his driver to bring him in. Sun-woo seems to be looking at his father with new eyes. Didn’t he know he father was a bastard?
Burning incense in the present reminds us that time is about up for Sun-woo. Within seconds, Sun-woo materializes back into the car. By the time Driver Jang gets to the cab to pull Hyung out, Sun-woo is nowhere to be seen, confusing the hell out of the cab driver.
We see Sun-woo has copied the name and address from the love letter. He sits pensive in the car.
In a very bright apartment, Min-young’s extremely annoying talking alarm wakes her up at 7:00. The unpacked luggage in her room indicates she just arrived. On her phone, she browses through Nepal honeymoon photos with Sun-woo, ( and I get very very jealous of what happened after those kisses.) (You think I am kidding, but I am not.)
A text from Sun-woo interrupts our reverie.
What follows is lovingly sent and received messages between lovers.
Sun-woo tells her to sleep in today. She wonders why he is being so nice to her. He says their honeymoon probably tired her out. (I bite my tongue.)
They make a date for Christmas Eve dinner, and Min-young reproaches his texting style. Where’s the love? She says she wants to hear “I love you soooo much, Sweetie Pie. I only have you on my mind.” Buing buing.
Sun-woo’s reply: Let’s break up. LOL That makes Min-young laugh too.
She sends back “I love you soooo much, Sweetie Pie. I only have you on my mind.” Buing buing.
She calls him selfish and he says, “That’s why you love me.”
She sighs, and remembers Nepal where with great confidence, Sun-woo tells her he has trapped her for life. Goldarn he is sexy.
Sun-woo gets a call from his friend the doctor, Young-hoon, who rants at him without taking a breath to get his ass into the hospital stat or he’s going to tell his boss on him. Then hangs up on Sun-woo who has said nothing. He laughs and glances over at the Christmas card display in a store window.
Flashback 24 December 1992
Young Young-hoon goes into the study place and asks if Sun-woo is there, but he isn’t. We find out that Young-hoon is quite the study-fiend even coming in on Christmas Eve.
Inside the card reads:
“To my friend who is on-duty at the ER on Christmas. When you receive a letter on December 24, 2012 at 10 AM from me, you will know what this card means. See you in 20 years. Merry Christmas. Sun-woo.”
It doesn’t escape Young-hoon’s notice that the copyright date on the card is 11/2012.
(Not sure if cards are that detailed in ©, but, oh, well.)
Getting the card was strange enough but that makes it really weird.
Adult Young-hoon sleeps at his desk, and a phone call from his daughter wakes him up.
He lies that of course, he made dinner reservations for Christmas Eve. He does the half heart “Daddy loves you, too!” gesture, which makes me go “Aw” since she isn’t even there to see him. Then rushes online to make them for real.
He notices an email from his buddy, who prolly doesn’t email that much. Before reading it, he raises his fist to threaten Sun-woo, then opens the Christmas card email. There’s an attachment of Sun-woo’s voice recording from Nepal dated Dec 22, 2012. It’s the one where he talks about losing his brother who was in pursuit of a time travel machine. Young-hoon remains unconvinced, almost dismissive and gets up to light a cigarette. Then drops the lighter and cancer stick when he recalls the Christmas card from 1992.
“If you receive mail on December 24, 2012, at 10AM, you will know the significance of this card. See you in 20 years. Merry Christmas.”
Cue Cute Hoobae, who opens the door as his Sunbae rushes at him like a bat outta hell, screaming and pulling his hair like a madman in front of the receptionist. (I LOL for a minute, then rewind and rewatch.)
At the CBM office, Sun-woo is watching the tape of his Choi interview. He is interrupted by Bum-suk who informs him a weird visitor is there. His friend?
Young-hoon sits down, catching his breath and gets right to it: Christmas card. Twenty years ago.
Young-hoon knew his friend would remember. He tells him that only an hour ago he bought the card, delivered it and wrote the email.
( It makes me very happy that this show decided to skip over all of the “You’re nuts! Time Travel? You are hallucinating! Let’s spend way too many conversations having you prove it to me.”)
“Isn’t it really amazing?” Sun-woo asks like a little kid. “How did my brother find this?”
He hands the incense container to Young-hoon who examines it.
Next scene Young-hoon walks limply back to his office. Cute Hoobae barrages him with questions, which he brushes off. He goes into his office and sits, completely dazed, recalling the conversation.
Young-hoon understands the implications immediately, and is a little impatient with Sun-woo for talking about saving Hyung.
You have to survive. Listen, go back get yourself have a brain scan starting when you turn 30, and everything will be hunky-dory.
Sun-woo, however, gets a little too serious saying how meeting his future self would influence his past self in an unforeseen way, blah, blah, blah… He can’t take that chance. He’d want to know way too much other information.
(ORLY? We know you have seen Back to the Future, because the poster was on your wall…)
Sun-woo plans on coming up with something subtler. And anyway, he’s not gonna die tomorrow.
Sun-woo insists Hyung wanted to save his father.
Since his father died on December 30, 1992, he’ll wait six days, then go back and rescue him. Plus, he’ll get Choi convicted when he was a nobody. Kill two birds with one stone.
The fact that Hyung had a girlfriend explains why he went in search of additional incense sticks. Following up on the name and address on the letter, Sun-woo had his intern investigate the woman. Her name was Kim Yoo-jin, worked in a record shop. The shop was passed on to her from dead husband whom she had met when they were in a rock band together. There was a daughter named Shi-ah.
Hyung probably wanted to change how it ended between them.
Incense stick burning in the car, we see Sun-woo go up the stairs to the record shop.
He tells Young-hoon, of course his father would never allow a marriage to that type of girl.
Sun-woo finds 8 year old Shi-ah holding a phone about to call 119. Shi-ah is crying. Her mother is dead, she tells Sun-woo. He finds the girl’s mother in the back, bottle of pills by her motionless body. When he lifts her head, she throws up a little.
Shi-ah keeps crying, while Sun-woo assures her that mom is not dead. He goes to call the ambulance with his cell phone, but OF COURSE IT DOESN’T WORK IN THE PAST, sillies! (Who would put a working future device in a time travel show?! Geez.)
In a voice over, the intern continues his report on Yoo-jin’s life, ** This means Sun-woo didn’t save her life with his intervention. ** She moved overseas to the States, and relocated a few times taking low paying jobs. There was no information after 1997.
With three minutes left on his stick, Sun-woo calls Shi-ah over. Sun-woo lets her know her mom’s melancholy and drinking were because her boyfriend couldn’t see her anymore.
Sun-woo gives her Hyung’s phone number encouraging her to call him.
Tell him to come to the ER.
The nurse interrupts them to let Shi-ah know her mother has regained consciousness. The girl runs to see her and turns around to find Sun-woo gone.
We get this weird hallway Hitchcockian scene tilt.
Sun-woo is in a restaurant, and on the phone fills Young-hoon in on what he did with giving Shi-ah Hyung’s phone number.
Young-hoon wonders if it’ll work out this time between them, and Sun-woo muses, “Well, it was a big regret for him. No matter how scary dad was, he would take her back.”
Young-hoon wonders what could have changed because of it.
Strangely, Sun-woo remains confident that it won’t be a problem. In reference to his Hyung and the girlfriend becoming a couple or not, he says the words “If it still doesn’t work out, then they were never meant to be. (This makes me very worried.) We won’t know unless the girl calls him.”
Min-young runs into the restaurant, and Sun-woo tells Young-hoon his date is here so he’s hanging up. Young-hoon tells him not to gloat, that he wants a chance at time travel so he can change his wife.
At what? He asks.
They look outside and two of the CBM workers are watching them from their car. Min-young says “They think the only reason you invited me to dinner was because you felt sorry for me. ”
It’s true, he says.
She asks for a Christmas present, a favor.
Would he do the BIG heart thing with his arms.
He pulls her arm off and refuses.
Just this one time? The BIG heart?
He says again. “Let’s just break up.”
Come on, she pouts. “For five years I pined for you, and you can’t do this one thing?”
He tells her he can’t.
But the CBM guys outside are jeering at her.
Hurry. I told them you’d do anything for me and that you madly in love with me.
He does the BIG heart for a second, then tries to re-assume his dignity.
They call her on the cell. She brags “See? I told you so.” To make it worse, they want to talk to Sun-woo. The guys express their extreme disappointment in him. For god’s sakes, it’s not Kim Tae-hee, but Joo Min-young. How embarrassing for them.
He tells them to shut their traps and get lost.
They make a tiny heart with their two hands. So funny.
Min-young crows what a super girlfriend she is. She waited five years for him and all she asked in return was the BIG heart. How great is she? Sun-woo drops the gruff face and smiles. You can tell he is having a ball with this love sh^t even if he won’t admit it.
His phone rings, and it’s the nursing home. He had forgotten to go see his mother.
Not that she was aware anyway, but…
He hangs up, remorse written all over his face.
In the present, Sun-woo admits it wasn’t the first time he blew off his mother on Christmas Eve.
Suddenly he makes a decision. He tells Min-young he is going to see his mother, even though not three minutes ago he claimed it was too late.
“Just give me thirty minutes and I’ll be back.”
She offers to go, too, but he tells her he’s not going to the nursing home.
Flashback to 1992
Young Sun-woo comes downstairs dressed to go out and waits for his mother.
He gets a call from his girl, So-ra, who at the last minute got tickets to a movie that night. The Bodyguard. Doesn’t he want to go with her?
Ah, but Sun-woo made plans with his mother that night, so he almost declines.
It is only when she says she’ll go with Chang-min instead, he changes his mind. Fine. He’ll go.
He returns to the living room and lies to his mother that his friend got hurt, and needs him, and sorry, and runs out. Mom is alone and looks unhappily at the sparkling Christmas tree.
We get to witness some of young Sun-woo’s charm with the ladies as he flirts with So-ra, who is in lurve with him.
They go inside. There is an awkward moment when they bump into each other sitting down then end up in uncomfortable silence.
Outside, Mom shows up (ut-oh!) ad buys a ticket for The Bodyguard and enters the same theater.
Adult Sun-woo arrives. He goes inside looking for his mom, then stops while the crowd passes by, and recalls the rest of what happened that night.
Mom snuck in and sat in the row directly behind Sun-woo and his date, dropping her glove as she sat. After Sun-woo returned it, he waved her off, begging her not to talk to him. She raised her fist at him, but he does the whiney thing (that I don’t think I could resist either he’s so damn cute) and she smiled without bitterness.
So-ra asked what’s up and he said nothing. When he turned around again, mom was gone. (Poor thing!)
Now we are back to when Adult Sun-woo is looking at his mom.
As she turns to walk away, he grabs her, rather aggressively I might add, and even though she has never seen this (very handsome) man before, the next scene we are at an optometrist where he is paying for her new glasses.
He hands her a cup of vending machine coffee and they sit to chat.
(I deduce the reasons she stays with him are 1. he really doesn’t gave any bad intentions and she senses this, 2) he reminds her of someone –that being her son.)
He very very sweetly asks about her, and she shares her regrets about having children who no longer have time for her. She frets that she took him from watching the movie, but he tells her truthfully that he didn’t go there to watch the movie. He evades her question, “Then why…? by smiling wordlessly.
There is a little (maybe not red) flag going off with her, and she asks if they know each other.
He remains elusive, but smiles the most adorably we have seen yet, having fun with the fact that he talking to his mother and pulling one over on her at the same time. He giggles and she asks why, and I die because he is so freaking adorable.
Glasses are ready, and the guy hands them to Mom while we see a close up of her bag. Sun-woo puts her in a cab, even going so far as to give the driver her correct address. Boy likes to take some risks, doesn’t he?
She thanks him and he tells her so sincerely that he enjoyed meeting her today.
The car pulls away, and Sun-woo looks longingly after it and Oma turns for one last look.
She comments that he’s kinda weird. He smiles again, very satisfied with what he has done.
When she gets home and takes her wallet out to pay the driver, she finds a card and a necklace from Sun-woo in her purse. (I don’t think anything could have made me happier as a mom) and she is beyond thrilled. I cry.
Mom sits motionless and emotionless in her wheel chair with one difference from before. She is wearing the heart pendant – still after 20 years.
She comments that he took exactly 30 minutes. He confounds her almost on purpose by telling her he saw his mother, talked to her. Even though Min-young knows mom is non-communicative.
She relates that she and mom aren’t that close because life was rough for them, and Mom wasn’t exactly stable. In fact, Min-young says, she had to change her name twice because of mom.
She hasn’t always been Joo Min Young.
Suddenly we go simultime split screen ‘92/’12
Shi-ah climbs up onto a chair with Hyung’s number in hand. It rings, but Hyung, resting on a couch wearing a white (doctor’s?) robe doesn’t pick it up.
Min-young narrates a fortuneteller told her mother that the name was unlucky, so they changed if from Shi-ah to Min-young. That stops Sun-woo with the glass just at his lips.
Later, she changed her last name when her mom remarried from Yoon to Joo.
“What?” he asks as pieces start falling falling into place in his head.
“Your name was what?”
The intern’s voice tells us again in a voice over that Yoo-jin had a daughter named Yoon Shi-ah.
Flashback to Shi-ah calling Hyung’s number. This time he answers and Yoon Shi-ah introduces herself.
Tight close-up on Sun-woo’s wtf expression. The camera pulls back and we see he is all alone at the table. (And Jomo says What the actual f^ck?)
I did NOT seeing it coming. I admit. Others claim they knew all along, but not me!
I love this messing with time sh^t.
By the way, take a look at the lead photo for this recap. Do you see what I see? Behind the cup? Yes, it IS the Whitney Houston Bodyguard soundtrack. Yes, I did notice it! Pretty cool, our creative crew. I bet there are many more examples of hidden clues throughout this show that I haven’t discovered.
The cute loving relationship between this pair is something I will miss. I felt that Min-young was exactly what Sun-woo needs at this bleak time in his life. She is willing to do silly things to keep his spirits up, and he is willing to loosen up a little to keep her happy. Whatever type of relationship they had over the past five years must have been close. Based on how happy she was waving at him when he arrived in Nepal, right before he planted that smooch on her, I think they had fun together. Sun-woo may not have been outwardly affectionate towards her, but you get the impression he paid attention to her and teased her. While it is horrible that a brain tumor was the catalyst to make him face and profess his love, it must have run very deep. EE suggested that SW not getting the tumor could force a different reality for our couple because maybe his motivation to confess to her would be gone. Hmmm…