Episode 10 by EE
And we reach our halfway point on the show with a little episode featuring Min Young unknowingly doling out an emotional beating to our hero, who must be thinking “I came back from the dead for this?”
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The show opens with the chryon: 4/7/93 (3 months later)
Sun Woo’s just coming home from his stay in the hospital, still bandaged on his hand. There is an ajumma/aunt staying with him and his mother. She comments that it is gloomy, but now that he is home the mood should turn around. Sun Woo asks about Hyung, ajumma says he is most likely at the church, his fiancé is Catholic and they are planning the wedding in a Catholic church.
Sun Woo looks out his window and sees mom in the courtyard, staring blankly from a wheelchair. Mom appears to be in her catatonic state.
1993 Sun Woo reads his diary from 12/31/92. We flashback (within a flashback) to then end of the previous episode, with Sun Woo telling Young Hoon about being visited by future Sun Woo, figuring out he will die of a brain tumor.
Sun Woo is writing in his diary on 4/7, thinking back to when he first came home earlier that day.
Sun Woo walks in to the courtyard and approaches his mom, she is completely unresponsive. Ajumma reaches up and tilts mom to face Sun Woo. She smiles and recognizes him, calling him by name but she also thinks he is coming home from school and doesn’t remember why he was in the hospital. Ajumma tries to remind her, and mentions that Hyung Jung Woo is getting married soon.
Sun Woo is writing these memories in his diary (perhaps filling in the time that he was away?) and her recalls meeting Shi Ah while he was recovering at the hospital and Hyung introduced her as Sun Woo’s future niece.
Sun Woo also thinks back to finding Hyung and Choi signing paperwork (estate papers?) in the living room. In his journal, Sun Woo gripes that Hyung “gave away” the hospital without a fight. Sun Woo thinks he is an idiot. Sun Woo is clearly upset that his brother gave control of the hospital over to Choi, who just flashes Sun Woo a sickening “cat that ate the canary” smirk. Sun Woo is working out his frustrations in the diary, clearly “speaking” to his future self. He wants to know if Choi killed his father, and if Mom will recover. He is also concerned about whether he outlives the tumor. He writes “if you survived and are reading this, I am waiting. Please come back.”
2013 Sun Woo reads these journal entries from 1993 while fixing himself some tea. He appears to have some sort of pain, which causes him to drop the kettle. He manages to burn himself in the process, which is possibly an allegory for his bigger journey of trying fix something and inevitably getting burned by fate.
There are more tweaks to this alternate timeline as Sun Woo now has a female co-anchor. Additionally, he is still taking some sort of medication and he is experiencing headaches.
His Director comes in to talk to him about his burn, Sun Woo tells him not to worry as it is his palm and not readily visible on television. The Director says he needs to get his act together, that their mutual future is tied to the success of the Choi story. He notices the meds, he asks if he has headaches again and suggests he get treated. He jokes about the possibility of a brain tumor. Sun Woo says he knows what a brain tumor feels like and this is different. The Director is confused (he clearly did not get the brain tumor memory in this timeline) and Sun Woo says the Director must have a poor memory. Sun Woo remembers his tumor but others do not.
Min Young sends him a set of cheery texts leading to a countdown and a photo of her trying on her wedding dress. He doesn’t seem happy, it’s one punch to the gut from the ex-girlfriend who is now marrying someone else.
His new co-anchor, Lee Joo Hee, notices his bandage and starts cooing over him. (I do not like this girl, and in the brief flash of her in the teaser for this episode I had already decided I am against her. I don’t mind Kang Seo-joon, Min Young’s doctor fiancé. In fact I feel sorry for him because it isn’t his fault the girl he loves was already claimed in another timeline. But Lee Joo Hee is cut from the more conventional female second lead stock: meddling, overly pushy, and almost pouty.) Good news is Sun Woo doesn’t seem to be having that either.
That saucy minx continued to test my patience and fixed Sun Woo’s tie, cooing and purring. (The retching sounds came from me.) The skinship did not go unnoticed by the production team. Sun Woo starts with a story about policemen accepting bribes, which Hyung is watching at home. Sun Woo may as well admonish his brother directly.
After work, Sun Woo is standing outside in the rain, and Lee Joo Hee (I think I will just call her Hussy) drives up in her red sports car. She offers a ride, and doesn’t believe him when he says he already has one. She keeps pushing, offering to go out, get drinks, to pick his brain for advice. (It is all hussy-speak for “I want you, preferably naked.”) He keeps cool and turns her down, saying she is a more experienced anchor and shouldn’t need help from him. He is saved by the bell, or in this case Young Hoon, who pulls up just as The Hussy was making her third go-around at trying to coax Sun Woo out. Young Hoon says he is a fan of The Hussy and that Sun Woo shouldn’t brush her off. I get that maybe he is trying to soothe his Min Young wounds, but really. Sun Woo can do better. Sun Woo asks for more pain meds, Young Hoon asks if it is headaches. Sun Woo says he knows there is no tumor, but he still feels it. Young Hoon has been enforcing regular check ups since 2007.
Then they go to dinner and Sun Woo talks about reading his journal entries. He cannot remember who he was then, the younger Sun Woo is living his own life and the present Sun Woo only learns about it from the journals. He has no connection to his prior self.
The happy couple comes to the restaurant and Sun Woo is not too jazzed. Young Hoon says he was surprised they are still together, he takes the blame for setting them up.
Young Hoon says “go ahead, hit me if you must” and to his surprise, Sun Woo playfully slaps him. Young Hoon seems shocked, and maybe a little hurt (as in upset, not physically hurt.) Sun Woo laughs it off.
The happy couple gives gifts of outdoor jackets to Young Hoon as a thank you for setting them up. He is uncomfortable accepting them in front of Sun Woo. Sun Woo asks where his gift is, Min Young says Sun Woo should be giving them a gift as her uncle (another kick to the teeth). Sun Woo says he will get them something very nice, and he will make sure it is extravagant because he will not be able to attend the wedding. Allegedly he has to be in Japan for business.
Min Young’s mother is talking to Min Young on the phone about Sun Woo missing the wedding when Hyung comes home. She thinks it is a story, that Sun Woo is still mad about whatever caused their fight. Hyung Jung Woo walks in on the end of the conversation. His wife still doesn’t know why they fought, but she is pretty upset about Sun Woo taking it out on Min Young.
Min young and Seo Joon are setting up the stereo equipment that was Sun Woo’s gift to the couple. She makes a run to the store and calls Sun Woo. She starts by telling him not to date his new anchor (finally someone talking some sense about this lady), and goes on to say her mom is suspicious about his reasons for missing the wedding.
She says he won’t want to miss seeing her in her wedding dress. He says he has already seen it (meaning their “wedding” in the original time line I think. It was simple, and certainly not a gown.) Thinking he is referring to the picture she texted earlier, she tells him she will be FAR more glamorous on the actual wedding day. She goes on to say how she resembles a goddess, he insists that is not her style. He says he is not looking forward to seeing her in a wedding dress at all. He asks if being married will make her happy. She says she doesn’t know, that she feels pressured. He asks why she would agree to marry in those circumstances. She asks if he has any advice, as her uncle (kidney punch). His advice is to be happy. She says thanks for the speakers and for him to take care.
Meanwhile at home, Seo-joon is ready to test the stereo and finds The Bodyguard Soundtrack. He sings a little “I Will Always Love You” (and I want to slap the words out of his mouth. Again, I *like* him but I was just thinking so territorial about it. Like “That is not your song. Stop. STAHP. Put the album down, step away, and woo the girl if you must with ANYTHING else.). He pulls the sleeve out and sees something on it.
Min Young comes home and he asks her to write out “I will always love you” in English. Her handwriting matches the sentiment written on the sleeve, dated 12/23/12 in Pokhara. He knows she was in Nepal on that date and suspects she has been cheating. She tells him she got the record from her uncle Sun Woo. She also points out that it is signed JMY and she is PMY (Park Min Young).
After he leaves, she tests it herself. The writing does look similar. As she writes again, she begins to have a fuzzy memory of making the inscription herself, with Sun Woo lying in the bed behind her.
She thinks back to Sun Woo saying “I may have made a mistake, the mistake of making Joo Min Young into Park Min Young.”
Back in the Park compound, Sun Woo looks at her wedding dress photo in super sullen mode. He gets up and sees his guitar is magically becoming inscribed.
Exactly 20 years ago, Sun Woo is marking it. He is afraid his future self may not read the diaries (or that he may have lost them). He explains to Young Hoon that he would not have thrown out the guitar it was a gift from his father. He knows Sun Woo still lives in the house because it is on his driver’s license.
Present day Sun Woo hears a faint scratching noise in his room and watches as etchings appear on the support beam in his bedroom. He walks out into the hallway, watching them materialize.
1993 Sun Woo begins making inscriptions all around the house asking his future self to return to 1993, asking if he treated the tumor, and if he survived. “Keep your word.” He carves, the characters magically appearing in front of present day Sun Woo. “You must.” Sun Woo wonders how long his young self will keep doing this, he no longer has the sticks and there is nothing left to gain. As if to dispute that line of thought there is a ring at the gate. It is Min Young.
She asks about Joo Min Young. She shows Sun Woo the record sleeve and asks who wrote it. She tells him she remembers being in Pokhara together. He tells her she is drunk or confused and It is impossible, he has never been to Nepal. She knows he wasn’t her uncle at that time, she wants an explanation. He offers to drive her home.
He snatches back the record, and as he heads up the walkway to the house he looks at the sleeve. She thinks again, undoubtedly this time, of the hotel room. Standing on the balcony in the morning. Seeing him in the bed, as a small smile spreads across his sleeping face. This is when she made the inscription. She knows it is true. She runs to him, and kisses him with the same feeling of all their kisses in Nepal. Her tears come up to the surface and all she mutters is “It was you” as Sun Woo thinks to himself “The memory stays, the soul stays, the pain stays. Throwing away the incense sticks was not the end of it. I am paying the consequence for playing God. For the rest of my life.”
So it does look like Episode 10 Sun Woo did bring his memories back from the dead, but is apparently not getting the flashes from his former self any more. This gives me reason to think that his Hyung also has residual memories from alternate time lines. It’s entirely possible that he did not know at the time (and still doesn’t know) that the little daughter he may have never met in the original timeline ended up dating his brother. They certainly seemed estranged and on top of that, Sun Woo didn’t start seeing her until after he claimed his brother’s belongings.
I was pretty much muttering “no, no, no, no” once Min Young came home and Seo Joon asked her to write out that lyric. I was so happy she finally earned a puzzle piece on her own, and it is so deliciously angsty that HE knows and SHE now knows but it doesn’t change the face that they are family. And that the incense sticks are wallowing in the early 90’s. Sun Woo seemed pretty resigned for the majority of this episode, that there is nothing he can do. I hope that having Min Young back will give him that reason he needs to resolve his past. It might mean a quest to find more incense sticks, and it might mean we get some answers about what happened to the sticks he left behind. I get how Sun Woo feels. Seeing Min Young remember it all smashed my heart into tiny pieces, I only hope Sun Woo is ready to pull himself together.
Reading EE’s recap made me realize how awesome almost all of the characters are in Show. Maybe that is why they all put Hussy in sharp contrast. This leads me to believe the did that on purpose. Same with Choi. I mean, really? Licking his lips in delight as he signs the papers that give him total control of his vast empire the hospital? You can almost hear him cackle inside. You hate hate I hate you Choi Jin-chul! As the romance begins again with Min-young, and it will, Hussy will give uri Min-young the motivation to make a decision soon.
Musical interlude: “Marry HIM, or marry ME. /I’m the one who loves you, baby, can’t you see?”
I love how Young Sun-woo and Adult Sun-woo have cut ties. Whether it was the brain tumor that physically altered his cells that hold memory, or a deity/the gods/fate/Mother Nature stepping in and putting Adult Sun-woo in time-out, it feels right. It’s a little tricky what Sun-woo brings from this version of himself, for instance, does he forget all the courses he took at that age? But I tend to allow script-writers elasticity in my suspension bridge of disbelief when I love the stories and characters this much.
We were discussing in the comments the differences between JMY and PMY. JMY, who had a tougher life and needed to be independent, is more mature than PMY. PMY grew up in a secure and wealthy household and tends to act spoiled. As the two women merge into one, I wonder which personality takes control.
Linguistic note: En francais, and I am sure this is true of other languages, “nine” and “new” come from the same latin root. I didn’t notice this until the building scroll….9 …News….. I read neuf and said to myself: NEUF! To be clear, the word for News is les nouvelles, so we get this sentence “Je regarde les nouvelles à neuf,” but still the connection is there. What a novel thought on the part of the writers!