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Empty playground in the rain. (Is our couple in the phone booth? Yes? Ah, no…)
A very silent pair is driving somewhere — reflecting on the consequences to come perhaps? At a red light, Sun-woo asks Min-young if she’s cold and gets her a blanket. Should they go to the hospital? She demurs and he takes her home for fever medicine.
Even before they go in the house, Min-young is passed out in the front seat. Sun-woo carries her to his room and puts her on the bed. We see the album sleeve is still out with the “I will always love you.” Quickly, Sun-woo grabs towels for her. She becomes alert enough to refuse to go to the ER. She wants to stay there. He brings over the change of clothes anyway, and starts to unbutton her shirt.
Flashback 6 years ago
At a norebang, the new employees have to entertain the other CBM workers. Min-young and the other one are dancing and singing their hearts out.
Sun-woo is late to the party. Outside the room, Sun-woo comments they are making a horrible noise, then opens the door –onto Min-young’s head! Down she goes, out even before the count, and Chul-min scolds Sun-woo for beating her up. He’s trying to refuse responsibility but ends up taking her to the ER anyway.
Min-young (pig-tailed like a four year old? Maybe six.) suddenly awakens. (I should completely hate her for that hair, but gol-darnit, she’s cute.) Ornery Sun-woo introduces himself as her Sunbae, but she has never seen him before.
He launches into a scolding and a warning in an attempt to scare her into listening.
He doesn’t like: “People who can’t control themselves when they are drunk. People like you. You pulled my hair on our way here. You threw up 3 times on my clothes. You kept making fun of the taxi driver because he was bald. You kept crying about getting a piggy-back-ride, and I hurt my back while carrying you. You made the entire ER a mess. You told everyone here that you’re a reporter for CBM. You embarrassed us. You’re the worst. Joo Min-young. I got you now. Your work life isn’t going to be fun now. You can anticipate it.”
Min-young’s dreamy eyed response is: Yes.
He’s surprised, however, that she doesn’t resist. Instead, she has fallen in love.
She keeps looking up at him with saucer-eyes and finally tells him she thinks he’s awesome. LOL She acts all flirty and asks if he has a girlfriend, and helpfully informs him that she doesn’t have a boyfriend. He calls her an idiot, and she covers her face with her hand. (OMG. I can totally see how they became a couple.)
She asks why he called her an idiot, and he tells her because she is.
Min-young has recovered all their together memories, too. She’s not too sure what it all means, but she misses the other version of her life.
Outside the storm rages with thunder and lightning. Inside, Sun-woo looks out at the rain.
Then makes a suggestion (one of my favorite for any Romeo and Juliet couple)
“Let’s leave together.”
To go where? She asks.
“Where no one can find us. If you ask me to live with you far away, I would gladly do it. If you say that it’s okay that we stay as family, I will just be a good uncle to you. (Heart shattered into a million pieces here.)
If you want to see me sometimes without anyone knowing…I’m okay with that too. (Shattered heart shatters more.)
I will do anything you like.”
This is all too too much for her to take in at that point. She remains silent.
“So which is it?””
There is such hopefulness and despair in his expression as she listens. He knows that in this reality, they have very little chance of staying together.
Min-young shivers and cries. Sun-woo goes off to make her soup. Both lost in thought of their grim future. When he brings back the food, she is asleep. He wipes a tear from her cheek.
As he gets up to put the soup tray down, he notices the words are coming off the guitar as he watches. What is changing? We see young Sun-woo in 1992 is wiping away the old words. “Why didn’t you come?”
Present Sun-woo sees the newest words being written. “Did you get it?”
Get what? Sun-woo says out loud.
“What I sent you.” 1992 Sun-woo writes as if in response.
Young Sun-woo turns out his bedroom light, and present Sun-woo finds the diary.
He reads new entry about how a black envelope was sent over from the Police department. It is the incense (and I am yelling. FFFFFFFFFFFFFFFck!) The Noona brings him food and lets young Sun-woo know they found his fingerprints on it! Strange, he writes, he has never seen it, but it has his fingerprints. That is why he guessed it belonged to Adult Sun-woo.
Present, Sun-woo finds the box in his closet with the incense holder. He opens it and finds the two that he left in 1992 on purpose. Epic scary music plays, and we all wonder what the new consequences are. Young Sun-woo included a note in the bag.
“I kept these 20 years for you,” and wants to know why he didn’t keep the promise to go see him. We see him place the bag in the closet.
Sun-woo turns to look at sleeping Min-young as thunder and lightning crash and flash.
At Young-hoon’s hospital, Young-hoon finds a completely miserable Cute Hoobae telling him how Min-young has been missing for 24 hours.
Young-hoon catches Sun-woo as he leaves his mansion to go out.
Why is Min-young staying with him? Young-hoon wonders.
In Young-hoon’s eyes, this is a complete reversal of Sun-woo’s earlier decision to forget their past life. Sun-woo defends himself saying the whole thing is his fault to start; he can’t make Min-young suffer alone as her memories keep coming back. He tells Young-hoon “YOU are the only one that can help her.”
Sun-woo recalls their conversation before he drove away to see Hyung. They talk about the scandal that would erupt if they announce their niece/uncle love. He shows Young-hoon he found the cursed incense sticks.
Min-young wakes as Young-hoon administers an IV, and tellingly calls Sun-woo Sunbae instead of Samchoon. Sleepily, she says she is glad that her uncle isn’t her uncle, and hey, why DID you matchmake a guy and me? Young-hoon has no excuse. She tells him she can’t get married as she is already married.
In a flashback, Sun-woo and Young-hoon return to the discussion of the cursed incense sticks. Young-hoon even refers to them as the devil’s work. Isn’t Sun-woo afraid after all that happened? Sun-woo says he’s scared to death, but this thing that he already didn’t have control over is becoming less manageable.
It is way bigger than he thought it could get. Other people’s wills whom he didn’t tell anything to have changed. Min-young is getting her memories back and Young Sun-woo sent the sticks of his own volition.
He has realized that he didn’t decide to use the sticks, the sticks found him.
Sun-woo is going to talk to Hyung because it was Hyung who started it all. Maybe they can bring everything back to the way it was. Young-hoon isn’t too sure.
Cute Hoobae is standing sad in front of his possible future father in law, admitting he can’t find Min-young with two days to the wedding. When he leaves, Hyung tries to get her again on the phone.
Sun-woo, to Hyung’s surprise, shows up.
Sun-woo shows Hyung the incense. “It’s not incest,” he explains, “since you are not her father.”
“What are you saying?” Hyung cannot be more confused, until Sun-woo informs him that Hyung died in the Himalayas to get the incense sticks, at which time he becomes a LOT more confused.
Chul-min finds Sun-woo at the CBM offices and puts him in a headlock.
Young-hoon phones Sun-woo, who is sitting in at his desk. Sun-woo informs his friend that now Hyung knows everything. EVERYTHING from the beginning. We see Hyung sitting outside near the water thinking thinking thinking. The world is literally spinning around him as he recalls Sun-woo’s story. Sun-woo laid before him all the things that have happened in the past year. That Hyung died. That he found a time machine. That Hyung wanted to stop Dad’s death. That he wanted to get his girl back. Even though Hyung keeps asking “What?” it starts to make sense.
We see a mini-flashback of Young Hyung asking Shi-ah how she got his phone number. Hyung is recalling the man at the murder scene, the fact that Sun-woo came out of nowhere to pummel him.
The emotional conversation when Sun-woo called him on the phone. Sun-woo tells Hyung that while he knows that he didn’t kill their father on purpose, he won’t forgive him for not confessing all those years ago. Choi changed for the worse on that day. It was starting then that the new more evil Choi started to get power. Hyung needs to have the courage to confess.
If Hyung sets it right, everything will be set back. But Hyung has to agree.
Even after the sun sets, Hyung sits lost in thought by the water.
Sun-woo in the conference room at the studio, looks at his watch : 7:02 PM. Waiting. The phone rings. Hyung tells him he believes him. Things he didn’t understand back then make sense now. He confesses how much he has regretted his actions the last 20 years. He hasn’t slept well since and hasn’t been able to forget. It has been torture and he wanted to die.
Hyung thinks the sticks give them a god-given opportunity to fix what has happened. He did consider turning himself in all those years ago before leaving the country. If Sun-woo can go back and convince young Hyung to turn himself in, he thinks he will choose the right thing.
We see Sun-woo put the CCTV footage onto a VHS tape.
We see more of the conversation between Hyung and Sun-woo. It means that almost everything will change for Hyung. He loses his wife and daughter, so he wants to be assured they will be OK. They talk about how Hyung felt something was wrong – that his life doesn’t matter more than everyone else’s happiness.
Hyung invites his wife out to a fancy dinner pretending he just felt like it. Yoo-jin brings up Min-young.
Sun-woo holds the VHS tape. Hyung advised Sun-woo that if he goes to the 1992 record store before 9 PM, Young Hyung would be working there.
Before lighting the incense, Sun-woo takes steps to avoid being found out this time; he lets his staff know he will be napping for 30 minutes and not to disturb him. He locks the door. Young-hoon gets a text informing him that things may change after the next half hour. Young-hoon’s response to his friend is not to mess around. What about his cancer?
He barely survived the last go around. Resolute, Sun-woo takes out the incense and prepares to time travel, lights the stick and disappears.
Young Hyung is counting the cash, and Yoo-jin comes in to tell him she is going to fetch Shi-ah from a friend’s.
Someone calls and we see Young Evil Choi’s incredibly scary face (ew!) holding a photo of Adult Sun-woo, but it doesn’t register for Hyung then.
Past Choi tells him to call if he sees the man in the photo. They have to get rid of him to help everyone.
Hyung immediately calls his brother, wanting to stop Sun-woo from running into a possibly dangerous situation back then, but it is too late.
Young Hyung holding a photo of Sun-woo goes up to the record store. Sun-woo greets him and Hyung, with wide eyes and shaking hands, hears Evil Choi’s voice over to get rid of him.
Episode 12 felt like a bridge from the first half of the story to the second. All the people that the time travel affected the most are in on it now. It was D-day: Decision time for them. Min-young slowly realizing she preferred the first version of her memories. Sun-woo deciding he won’t give up Min-young if she will accept him while capitulating to what he thinks Fate via the boomerang incense sticks expects of him. Hyung accepting responsibility for what he did in 1992.
LJW looked especially handsome in every single shot tonight. It is a wonder what not having to pretend you have a brain tumor will do to improve your looks!
PS: I got real real close to guessing how the sticks come back to Sun-woo. I praise myself.
From this episode, it reminded me of a few things I think we are still not sure about. Who shoved Daddy Park? (I know we didn’t see it, and I thought Sun Woo didn’t see it because he looked away. And maybe the subs were not totally accurate when he tells Hyung Jung Woo that he saw him kill their father. I could have said something similar like “I know you killed father”.) Was that actually Hyung’s body found in the Himalayas? Did Min Young have a good relationship with her Step-father Joo? Obviously, she turned out okay but she also chooses to keep an ocean between them. As a former time traveler, why doesn’t Hyung have memories of the previous timeline? It seems like his conversation with Sun Woo filled in some gaps he was vaguely aware of, but he never appeared to actually *know*.
I think we are lucky that Sun Woo’s visits to the past are limited to 30 minutes, I am hoping that is not enough time for Choi to catch up and dispose of him. And he has come back from the dead before. I don’t know why Sun Woo did the incense from the studio rather than in his car, near the record store. That seems like he is wasting valuable time in the past to get over there. Yes, yes I know he has to be at the studio to do the news. But he has run off from the news desk before. And he even has The Hussy to run the show in his absence. I want him to use these last two sticks wisely, and he doesn’t seem to be off to a good start.
Credit subs: Dramafever