You know what fans want? Happy Sun Woo.
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The episode begins with Shi-Ah standing near Sun Woo broken and bloody in the phone booth near the record store. The man who heard the car wreck steps into the alleyway, commenting on the clear weather when he sees Sun Woo and the little girl. He probably called the authorities, and a small crowd gathers.
Shi-Ah’s mom comes looking for her (she says something about Min Young . . .is that the name of the teddy bear?) Mom says they are leaving, despite Shi-Ah’s pleas that she knows the injured man and she thinks he is dead. Mom is really not keen on hanging out with dead men in the alley, mark it as one more reason to flee Korea and never look back. They get into the cab and Shi-Ah looks at her finger, the one that made the pinky promise.
In 1993, Jung Woo is saying his goodbyes at the Park house (which we have seen pieces of this before when current time line Jung Woo was getting his “new” memories). Jung Woo knocks on Sun Woo’s door but Sun Woo can’t bring himself to answer. Jung Woo takes one last look at Sun Woo’s window before climbing into the police car.
Sun Woo receives an invite from Chul-Min, who takes him to dinner. Time Travelling Sun Woo was right placing his teen self in Chul-Min’s care, Chul-Min is following up with the teen now that the trial is over. He reminds him that Jung Woo’s sentence was light and that the court understood it was unintential.
Chul-Min reminds him that he shouldn’t hate his brother. Sun Woo says he is thinking about becoming a reporter. He admires Chul-Min for bringing justice when they were unable to go to the police. Chul-Min says the life a reporter isn’t easy: you have to be smart and visually pleasing (he gestures to his own face HA). Sun Woo says he is smart and will work hard. Chul-Min agrees he has the tenacious personality a reporter needs, and if he does well in school he will make sure there is a place for him at CBM.
Back at home, teen Sun Woo listens to a voice message from Time Traveling Sun Woo. Elder Sun Woo starts by saying it is his final message to his younger self. He explains he is about to leave and he will no longer have the power to return. Teen Sun Woo should not try to contact him again; there is nothing else he can tell him. Elder Sun Woo says he knows Sun Woo is smart and that he will make good decisions. These decisions will form the future Sun Woo. He knows he will look in the mirror one day and see himself. “I will see you in 20 years” he says. Teen Sun Woo erases the message.
Teen Sun Woo writes in his diary. He says it is his final message to his future self. He echoes many of the same things his elder counterpart said, he will no longer try to guess the future or worry about what happens next. He will trust his decisions, because the man he met seemed like a good person. “You are brave,” he writes. “And I won’t try to contact you. I am a man of my word. You knew that, right? I will see you in 20 years.”
Next scene is at a tunnel, with sirens blaring. It is 14 years later, 2007. Reporter Park is on the scene, looking around past the blockade and inside the tunnel. It appears to be a nasty car accident and as they are taking the victims away, they notice one is missing an arm. Sun Woo finds it, and is telling his camera man he thinks it is a murder scene.
Sun Woo calls Chul-Min from the news van on the way back from the scene. Chul-Min wants him to come by the work party but Sun Woo complains he nearly escaped death reporting a story. They banter a little and Sun Woo reluctantly agrees to stop by. He smirks as he hangs up.
We are back at the work party, with Min Young bouncing up a storm in the norebang. Sun Woo enters and clocks her with the door. Again. (This is starting to feel like a lot of rehashed material, such is the way of the final episode I guess.)
Min Young wakes in the hospital. She asks who he is, he tells her he is Sunbae. She says she is Joo Min Young (I was a little worried she would have some third identity) Sun Woo reads her the riot act. She got sick on his jacket, she implied the cab driver was an excellent lover because he is bald, and made a scene in the ER announcing she works for CBM.
Min Young follows Sun Woo into a taxi, literally butting her way inside the car. She asks the driver to drop her at the nearest subway station . . . but it happens to be right across the street. So she fumbles and says she needs a specific line, just to stay in the car with Sun Woo.
She is happily chatting at Sun Woo, who is trying anything to avoid talking to her. He leans over and tells her “You should never meet a man like me” which causes bells to go off and freaks her out. She has the cab pull over and all but runs from Sun Woo.
He asks one of the other reporters what is up with Min Young, and apparently Min Young had been asking about Sun Woo. Does he have a criminal record? Maybe he is a rapist? Was he involved in a scandal? The reporter had looked at her like she was nuts.
He finds her talking to the two interns and confronts her, saying he wants to speak to her privately. He does the dreaded wrist grab and drags her into the conference room (where they broke up in a previous timeline). She’s still scared of him, but much like she did in a previous time line he points out that anyone can see inside so he’s not likely to do anything.
She says she cannot date him; she mentions a traumatic incident but refuses to give any details because he will think she is really crazy. She really wants to keep her job at CBM, but asks him not to approach her. She happens to think he is very sexy, especially when he is barking at her. Sun Woo seems surprised; maybe he doesn’t keep mirrors around the house?
Min Young enters Sun Woo’s dressing room. He’s asleep on the couch so she drops off his script and takes a peek at his slightly exposed neckline in the process. She decides to lean in for a better look, maybe nudge the shirt aside a bit, and totally gets caught.
Sun Woo turns the tables on her and appears to be holding her in a choke hold when Chul-Min walks into the dressing room. Chul-Min knows the early stages of flirtation when he sees it, and just backs out. Sun Woo playfully wrestles Min Young, saying she’s the one with naughty intentions, feeling him up while he sleeps.
Driving to film a report, Sun Woo falls asleep in the van and his head tilts over and rests on Min Young’s shoulder. Not one to let such an opportunity pass, Min Young takes out her camera and makes sure to snap some cuddly selcas.
Sun Woo wakes up and apologizes for leaning on her, she says it is fine and he can lean if he wants. He insists he is a man of his word, he promised not to touch her and he won’t. She pouts and secretly he smiles.
Min Young is at home when her phone rings, it is Sun Woo. He is asking her to come to the movies. Cue “girl tries on everything in the closet montage” and she walks in all smiles . . . only to see a bunch of the newstaff just past Sun Woo in the lobby. She is humiliated, Sun Woo seems amused. She sniffles during the movie, and he asks her what is wrong. She says she thought this time was for real, and that it is about time he asked her out. “According to who?” he says. She snidely congratulates him on keeping his word.
Sun Woo is in a hotel in New York and Min Young calls him. He chides her about the cost of international calls, but she tells him she is at the airport on her way to him and that he better have something fun planned. (These little vignettes are cute and all, but they really aren’t giving us much in terms of story. And okay, I know we aren’t getting any plot twists here in the final hour but I don’t know if we needed them).
Sun Woo walks into a restaurant and meets up with Jung Woo. Jung Woo tells him that their mother is about the same, but she is talking a little bit here and there. He also says he is a little surprised each time he sees Sun Woo recently, he looks a lot like the man who helped them “back then”. If Sun Woo knows what he is getting at, he doesn’t say it but shrugs the comment off. He asks why Jung Woo never got married, but Jung Woo doesn’t really answer. Sun Woo says they are not the type to get married, but if they did there is a girl he likes having around. She keeps him from being depressed. Jung Woo says he is going to Nepal (and there is a red parka next to him). He mentions that his girl is also going to Nepal, maybe he will introduce her once everyone is back in Korea.
Sun Woo goes back to the station, looking for Min Young who should be heading off soon. He finds her in the dressing room, she was trying to call him but he left his phone in there. He locks the door and leans in; there are more accurate (but inappropriate) words for what he is doing, so I will call him a tease. She is sitting there, eyes closed, lips pursed . . . and nothing. She asks what is stopping him and he says he is reminded of his promise not to touch her. He doesn’t want to ruin anything and Min Young insists there is no trauma; he should go right on ahead. One of the interns knocks, looking for Min Young and she tells Sun Woo to hurry up and she is almost out of time. He then makes with the big time smooching.
She gets to the elevator and starts to get mad, and comes back to confront him. She is convinced this is what “that person” warned her about, that Sun Woo would just play with her and leave her to die a virgin. Sun Woo is clearly lost. What is she talking about? What person?
“There was a man” she explains “and he looked like you. He told me to stay away from a man who looked like him, that he would ruin my life” Sun Woo starts to brush it off as crazy talk, but then he seems to remember being in the phone booth and saying those words to Shi-Ah. Sun Woo asks her when it was, she tells him it was right before she left to come to America in 1993. She tells him it was near where she lived in Seoul, and that the man died. The intern busts in and says they have to leave now. Min Young takes off saying “Don’t call me, I won’t answer if you do.”
She is in the plane, ready for takeoff when he does call her. And she answers, because . . . well you can’t NOT answer that face. He immediately starts yelling at her for not heading “that person’s” advice: she should have avoided Sun Woo at all costs because she will get hurt. “What will you do when I die?” Min Young is beyond confused, but she has to turn off her phone and promises to call Sun Woo when she lands.
Maybe over the last 20 years he had forgotten, but now he thinks about the events of 1993 and looks at himself in the mirror. He sees himself as he is in 2013, then the teen Sun Woo sees his reflection in the mirror, and then the adult Sun Woo is in the reflection looking back at the teen. He thinks about how he promised himself he would see him in 20 years, and there he is in the mirror.
Sun Woo books his plane ticket for Nepal, and starts to get dressed in a very familiar black suit and white shirt. He even picks up a watch at the airport with a dual time function (comes in handy when you need to count down 30 minutes). Young Hoon calls him (AND WHERE HAS HE BEEN ALL EPISODE LONG? Sheeeshhh) and Sun Woo explains that it was more than just the tumor, his former self died stuck in 1993. He thinks Min Young is the key to his fate, so he must see her in Nepal and he is about to leave. He rhetorically asks Young Hoon if it is possible to fix things since he knows what happened or since it happened in the past is it already his fate?
Sun Woo sits in the airplane and in voiceover we hear his message to himself (the self that died in the phone booth). He says he is sorry that Time Travelling Sun Woo’s will didn’t work, Min Young loved him anyway in spite of the warning. He goes on to say that it is possible his final words to Min Young left such an impression that she fell in love with him “at first sight” meeting him again as an adult. And maybe setting him up with Chul-Min lead him to become a reporter. If those things are possible, he might be able to save Sun Woo. But he believes it is a fantasy. “What would you have done?” the voiceover continues, as Sun Woo leans back in his airplane seat. “I will just keep things simple. And believe in the fantasy I want to believe. And love the person I want to love.”
Then the credits happen and I scream . . . but wait there is more OVER the credits.
We see Hyung Jung Woo on the side of the mountain, in his red parka. He is clutching the incense and a man in a yellow jacket approaches. He looks up, blinking at the glare of the sunlight. The man removes his sunglasses and maybe the face is rounder, more wrinkled but it is familiar. “Long time no see, Hyung” he says and reaches out a hand ala Creation of Adam on the Sistine Chapel.
EE’s Final Comments
Okay I know I know . . . not everything was tied up in a bow. And I am okay with that. I like having the impression that the characters still live on after the end of a series (or a movie). And I swear I don’t have a problem with an ambiguous ending (for example, My Name is Kim Samsoon was great. I didn’t need for them to be married to be happy about it). But I wanted SOMETHING solid. Like YES Min Young and Sun Woo got married or YES he outlived the previous Sun Woo (and wearing that same black suit? The minute he got in the airplane I was thinking “no no no, don’t wear that and get on a plane. Or go sky diving . Or enter a tornado zone.” I was convinced he was in it to be buried in it. Then we get the epilogue, which mellowed me on totally hating the end because (my take on it, anyway) this means he lived and collected Hyung’s remains and the sticks and 20 years down the road used one and only one to save Hyung. There is a whole philosophy behind this that says the whole reason he and Hyung remained unattached is to limit the ripple effects when they time travel. So maybe he was with Min Young . . . maybe not.
On the series as a whole it was one of the better ones. I would probably place it in my top ten. From there is goes into two categories: Would I recommend it? and Would I re-watch it? Recommending a show comes with a few caveats. For example, Dream High was fun but it is certainly a little silly/campy. And probably more suited for someone who knows a little about Kpop or even dramas to “get” some of the meta humor. Nine is fairly accessible, but also overly long (I think it was 4 episodes too heavy). The stretch in the middle where it was just about making us suffer for our OTP would also be a factor in re-watching it. I would probably skip over some scenes BUT at the same time I think I need a better count of the sticks and some of the details. From last week, I was thinking about going through the series again, but the ending left me feeling a little “meh.” I don’t feel like we won, but I don’t feel like we lost either. It’s hard to get excited about something that’s just going to leave you feeling like *shrug*.
Finally I want to thank Jomo for giving me this venue to babble about this series each week. I loved pouring over the details and picking and conspiracy theories and I really liked seeing the responses. I hope we have at least entertained you with our take on the show, this has been a lot of fun for me and the feedback we have received has been so wonderful. It was a lot harder than other recappers make it look but I am immensely honored that even a handful of people sought these recaps out and joined in the discussion. I hope to be able to entertain you again soon ☺
I liked it! I smiled and grinned and laughed and OMG that kiss! Do it again again again!! And dammit if Lee Jin-wook didn’t look extra extra hot when they let him be the teaser and the pursuer. Nobody but nobody can lock a door like LJW. He can lock my door anytime. Yes, thank you for the fanservice, Show. I deserved it for watching him die all those times. Even the repetition of their first meeting was fine with me, EE, because both of them are so cute. For me, this finished on the right note. Hopeful and happy. It isn’t a masterpiece but what final episode is?
I have a strange relationship with final episodes. It’s kinda dislike/hate. There are some series that I have not finished, and don’t plan on it. The reason is there were some series I love love loved and the last episode killed whatever happy feelings I had received from it. There are some series that I loved the ending for but still sobbed simply because it was over. There are a few – which cannot be named here, but if you email me I will tell you – where the final episode had me sobbing myself to sleep for three days.
Endings are difficult to write because in reality, there is no such thing. The momentum that drove a couple to be together doesn’t stop at the altar or the dissolve into END credits. If they marry, statistics show they will prolly have kids, and we all know how that can kill romance. Did you ever notice that Shakespeare never writes about happily married couples? (I read that in a book.) Is it because he never met a happily married couple, or is it because nobody wants to read about or be entertained by them? I completely agree with EE that Kim Samsoon had one of the better written and presented endings because they didn’t solve for the “ever after” part of HAE. Gone with the Wind had a great sad ending because it also showed that nothing just ends: “After all, tomorrow is another day!”
I would recommend this show to anyone. The series kept me on the edge of my seat the entire time and I loved the characters. I do feel satisfied that things rolled out in a logical manner, although I do question in what version of everyone’s life bearded Sun-woo shows up in the mountains to talk to Hyung. Could someone please help me out here?
Did anyone else notice that when Sun-woo answered his phone call from Min-young, it was the parka picture?
I want to thank EE sooooo much for encouraging me with this project. There is no way I could have done it alone, and it wouldn’t have been fun if she weren’t along for the ride. We hope to keep collaborating like this because she is one of the wittiest people I know, and while we don’t agree on everything, that makes for better conversations.
I have to thank the Readers of the World! Thank you thank you thank you! We started out as a lone (OK two lones don’t make sense) voice in the internetness and look how big the audience became! Here is hoping that we can find another series to work on that would interest you all. It would have to be something that nobody else is recapping, though. Any suggestions?