Nine: Time Travel – Episode 20 Final Recap

miscWritten by EE

You know what fans want? Happy Sun Woo.

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1The 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.

2Shi-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.

3In 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.

4Sun 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.

6Chul-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.

7Back 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.

8Teen 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.

11A truck is coming into the tunnel and Sun Woo steps aside only to realize the evidence/arm will be crushed if he leaves it there so he jumps in front of the truck and snatches up the arm.

12Sun 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.

13We 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.)

14Min 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.

15She is clearly twitterpated, and asks if he has a girlfriend.  He just glares.

16Min 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.

17When she gets home, Min Young looks him up online, and remembers the man in the phone booth.

19Min Young is actively ducking Sun Woo around the news studio, even shutting the elevator door in his face.

20He 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.

21He 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.

23She 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?

24A little flash tells us it is 2008

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.

26Sun 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.


27Driving 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.

28Sun 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.


29Min 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.

30She asks him if she at least looks pretty, he says nothing but hands over his popcorn and grins once she turns her head.


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).

December 2012

32Sun 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.

34Sun 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.

35Like a lot.

36No . . . seriously

37And there is some of this

38Then he tells her to go.

39She 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?

40“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.”

41She 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.

43Maybe 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.

44Sun 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?

45Sun 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 ☺

Misc 2Jomo’s Comments

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?

parka minyoung

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?

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99 Responses to Nine: Time Travel – Episode 20 Final Recap

  1. Tehlimau says:

    Thank you Jomo and EE, for all the recaps! I loved the ending! Agree with Jomo that although it was mostly fan service, it was logical fan service, and after seeing SW die so many times, hurt, stabbed and battered, the final episode showed us a Sun Woo without darkness. Future SW did one thing right then, he made the world a better place for 1993 SW to grow up without baggage and bitterness. AND LJW was so HWAT with all that teasing and cheeky grins (Be STILL, MY HEART!)

    I love how all the themes come into play – the use of mirrors throughout came to the fore when SW looked at himself 20 years later. Regardless of the timelines, and the changes the incense wrought, characters stayed true to themselves, and made the same decisions, and loved the same people.

    I liked how SW realised the 2013 SW may have inevitably had a hand in his original fate, creating a deep impression in young MY so that she fell in love with him again at first sight, and how his interfence led to young SW becoming a reporter. His final decision to love who he wanted to love for me meant that he wanted to be with MY forever and he decided that since he knew he was going to die in the past meant that he SHOULD avoid time travelling.

    Now the last scene is open to intepretation. Some said it meant that Hyung died anyway (but he said he was going to Nepal for a conference, no mention of looking for incense), and SW then travelled back from 2033 to rescue him which explained the greeting, “Long time no see” and beard. I prefer to think that SW retained/remembered his memories of the past timelines and upon landing decided to rescue Hyung so that he did not have to time travel anymore and can live happily ever after with MY. Not too sure how he developed the beard though. 😀 Nevertheless I thought it was a brilliant ending. Mondays and Tuesdays will be lonely again.

  2. Julia the Berkshire Beanie says:

    I have a completely different take on the ending.

    SW gets on the plane to Nepal chasing after MY. Of course, he is going to check in with his brother while there. He finds out his brother is hiking, goes after him, and saves the day. No time travel needed. Brother leaving for Nepal and MY leaving for Nepal happens at the same time (refer to restaurant scene).

    So of course once SW says “Believe in the fantasies you want to believe. Love the girl you want to love.” he has resolved to marry MY and live happily ever after with her. Kiss kiss, love love, happy happy. all is right with the world and no more time travel to fix things is needed.

    Yeah I loved this drama! Best of the year 🙂

    • jomo143 says:

      “He finds out his brother is hiking, goes after him, and saves the day. No time travel needed.”
      Maybe, but what about the beard?

      • Julia the Berkshire Beanie says:

        wild guess … he spent a week in bed with MY making love and growing a beard before he goes looking for his brother 🙂

      • jomo143 says:

        That is an AWESOME guess!

      • nomad says:

        Where is this 2032/2033 that people are talking about? I rewatched the final part and looked everywhere on my screen, but couldn’t find it?

    • antoniazc says:

      that was my first thought about the ending… then i read the 2033 (must be 2032?) going back to save hyung and make me doubt my first impression, but it made my head ache, i mean did he go back to save an alive hyung from 2012 or an original hyung from the original story line in 2011 (remember he died a year before SW discovered him) so he can avoid everything that happened (but then he would have cancer…)
      i don’t know i think i will stick to my first thought, they never use sticks, they all live happily ever after, that’s the good thing about open endings, you can decide wich ending you want… i’m with SW here: “Believe in the fantasies you want to believe. Love the girl you want to love.”
      about the beard??? well some hair grow fast (i can tell you 😦 ) maybe SW is one of those… :))

      • scifiwritir says:

        The line about believing the fantasy you want to believe reminded me of the final episode of the American show last year called AWAKE. In that, the hero simply chose to hop into another reality at the end.

        The beard bothered me too. The hair seemed grayer. Was it middle-aged Sun Woo? Or was it just snow on the beard?

        I DO feel that one can mess up someone else’s life with an incense stick and with bad advice. Dying Sun Woo affected the lives of his future self and Min Young by his dying dire warning…(I’ll add that they were bitter, love-denying, and sacrificial) and that had as far-reaching effect as those cursed sticks. I tend to think the writers had him say all that because A) he wanted to spare her the trauma of having two fathers, being niece/lover etc. But I also think B) the writers just wanted to make the last episode show a reason for Sun Woo’s avoiding Min Young.

        I like the ending enough but I have a sour feeling of disappointment, and a feeling that the writers lacked either the courage of their convictions or were as confused as the rest of us and wanted to look clever. Ah me, I hate feeling disappointed in a drama I loved.

    • fuu1130 says:

      But didn’t brother Jung Woo went to the Himalayas around January of 2012? And MY and SW went there at December 2012.

      I’ve finished this series weeks ago already but the last scene really broke all my brain cells. I had a guess though: maybe when SW went to the Himalayas, he had also recovered his brother’s remains including that one incense stick JW was holding, but this time, he waits for January 2032 to come so that he can time travel back to January 2012 and save his brother.

      But then again, the 1st version of SW has already used up all of JW’s only incense stick to retrieve the other 9 sticks. When the old man lit up an incensed stick from before when he was in the hospital, it just went into ashes because it was already used by SW. So the bearded SW isn’t supposed to be able to use JW’s one stick again… Or maybe not? Or am I still making sense here? HAHAHA Sorry, I’m really at a daze on that last scene.

      Nevertheless, THIS SERIES GAVE ME THE THRILLS!!! ♥

      • Fried Chicken says:

        I think you’re right, because that explains everything (kind of.) Sun woo probaby did wait 20 more years so that he could save hyung, but then,
        1. Where did he get the incense?!
        2. Didn’t he learn his lesson or something? Because he said that the incense kind of ruined his life, and he just barely got it back. He’s going to risk it again at the age of 58? Huh. Oh well, it’s a kdrama.

  3. pigpanda says:

    Haven’t commented before, but I added to your statistics of people around the world. Just wanted to say thanks for recapping the show, complete with LJW photos :p, and so diligently on time too (:

  4. JoAnne says:

    My take: all the Sun Woos had to happen to bring it to this point. What I can’t decide: does it pick up here in the endless loop (probably not, because 1) beard and 2) he’d have to leave his brother to die OR does this iteration start off yet another alternate reality with yet another Sun Woo. I’m left picturing infinite universes of good – no, EXCELLENT – kissers, some living happily, some dying of brain tumors, some trying again, some triggering yet more universes.

    Only one real hanging thread for me – the mom. One flash of hey wow during the final episode I finally notice this: younger and old Sun Woo have very similar voices. As far as I’m concerned, best I’ve seen so far this year, one of my top 5 ever, perhaps one of the top 3. Have to think about that. And yes, I need to watch again because you know we missed stuff, right?

    ALSO: I CALLED IT IN EPISODE ONE. squeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

    • jomo143 says:

      What did you call?

      • EE says:

        I think Joanne called it, that it was Sun Woo approaching Hyung on the mountain. But I am not 100% sure if that’s what she is referring to . . .

      • Jo says:

        Yep, that’s exactly what it was – I said back then wouldn’t it be cool if it was SunWoo who was the shadow. Someone was asking about what he said there to his brother and DF translated it correctly, although I won’t spell it correctly, Olimanida or however it is – it’s always translated as ‘It’s been a long time’ ‘Long time no see’ etc

  5. total_newbie_to_k says:

    First of all, thank you for recapping this show. You were a beacon in kdramaland covering this wonderful, entertaining, underrated series.

    I am very happy and satisfied with this last ep. For most of the part I was grinning from one ear to the other, because they gave us the much needed happiness after so much angst. The present Sun Woo will go to Nepal and finally get the girl. He will face fate and they will be happy. Amen!

    Now to the confusing part over the credits. What reason would present Jung Woo have to look for the incense sticks? Why would he need to time travel? The murder case of his father is solved, he’s got a fairly good life. So, Sun Woo finding Jung Woo short of dying is another reality, which is a little forced, but could lead to Sun Woo not dying in the altered past and therefore creating another happy ending. (Otoh was bearded Sun Woo supposed to be 58 yrs old? Did he somehow survive his death in 1993 and came to find his brother?) So, like any good (time travel) story they didn’t solve every twist and turn, but they left us something to think about.

    This show was very well written, well acted, well paced and got less logic holes than so many others out there. I read a lot of criticism for Jo Yoon-Hee, but to me she is a likeable, very cute actress and I enjoyed her Min Young. There are far more despicable female characters out in Kdrama than is good for us, but she sure isn’t one.

    To me Nine is one of the best Kdramas I ever saw and I’m so happy I had the chance to watch it ‘live’ and unspoiled.

    • total_newbie_to_k says:

      OR: Did Jung Woo die in the now reality, SW identifies him, finds the incense stick, knows how to use it, waits 20 years and goes back to save him?
      But still, why would JW need to use the incense in the first place and wasn’t his body supposed to be one year out there? Which would place his time of death somewhere around Dec 2011. SW identified him Dec 2012 in the first ep, if I’m not mistaken. In ep 20 they meet for dinner Dec 2012.

      As I said, they left us something to think about!

      • annefam says:

        I have those same questions!

        The beard SW who saves his brother in the mountain can’t be a continuation of the current JW (on the plane).

        SW on plane: Dec 2012
        JW’s death: Jan 2012

        There’s no need for JW in the current timeline to look for incense sticks. He did his time & the bros are on good terms.

        I’m going to ignore the credits scene & save myself a headache.

      • EE says:

        I noticed the timing was off on dinner with Hyung too…in the original timeline it was December 2011. However, that Hyung was manic and obsessed with putting things back. I think this Hyung is in an alternate timeline where he is more centered and calm. Maybe he is destined to go to Nepal, it’s just a year later in this timeline. Why he still wanted the sticks is also up for interpretation. Redeem Choi? Fix mom?Maybe he remembers that alternate Sun Woo died.

      • Julia the Berkshire Beanie says:

        I first thought JW would have traveled a year earlier, but it seems all the changes in the past led to JW and MY going to Nepal at the same time. MY was the key. MY was the reason SW got to Nepal in time to save JW. Fate it seems wants to pull the appropriate characters together to fulfill their destiny. Fate (and us viewers) seems to want a happy ending.

    • My impression is : as the camera panned to Jung Woo, there was still a hint of discontent on his face. He is lesser depressed but what moves his curiosity was when he is looking on the person who looked like the man who saved them both 20 years ago.

      Then…as the saying goes~ curiosity kills a cat.There~~

  6. Kit says:

    Great job, thanks

  7. Mina says:

    Thank you for the time and effort you put in recapping nine, when it started i kept hoping someone will recap it, and i finally came across your blog, truly grateful.
    on second thought, i’m only reading the recap, so i really didn’t understand the ending, so if someone would explain it to me, i suppose it’s opened to every viewer interpretation, and i’d like to hear the different views about it, for that i’d be really thankful.

    • Julia the Berkshire Beanie says:

      I second the recapping. Thank you so much. How much work recapping must be, and you delivered it so quickly. You did a good deed to keep me from exploding because I had no where else to discuss NINE. ha ha ha

  8. Alex says:

    Definitely one of best dramas i’ve seen in a while. I like that the ending in episode 20 is the same as the beginning of episode 1 where Jung woo looked up when he saw something. But at the beginning, if Sun woo is what Jung woo saw, then he shouldn’t have died in the first place right??? Sigh. Guess we’ll never know.

    • EE says:

      What if the opening scene of Jung Woo on the mountain wasn’t the Jung Woo we were presented with in the first episode but actually the Jung Woo as we know him in the final episode? A flash forward of sorts.

  9. scifiwritir says:

    Thanks so much for recapping. It gave me a place to share the NINE joy. About the ending, I generally don’t like open endings because I tend to think that any true story means the writer understands the outcome. Thus if the outcome is open, the writer is either unsure of his ending or uncommitted to it or wants to make viewers happy by purposely being unclear. After one journeys through creating a story, one simply knows everything about the characters and one’s theme…so one tries to share –in a very explicit manner– what the story means and what the journey has been all about. That said. This is a time-travel story and it’s a puzzle. So I’m assuming there are hints along he way.

    I think the last episode was good but kinda wasted too much time on the main OTP. This happens a lot in some dramas. They forget that we also want to know what happened to other characters. So I’m vaguely dis-satisfied with the ending. I would’ve liked to see what happened with Dr Choi in this timeline, for instance.

    I tend to think this is older Sun Woo coming back in time to save his brother since he might have been the hoverer in the beginning. Or maybe as a previous commenter said, maybe he knew the day of his brother’s death on the mountain and went on that day — the normal non-time-travel way– to save his brother. But he would have had to have had a flood of memories about his brother dying on the mountain. And we didn’t see the flooding memories.

    I still don’t know why Jung Woo had the incense stick. I might rewatch this one of these years to see if there was something about that. But I don’t know why Jung Woo would want to have the incense sticks in the future. We still don’t know what Jung Woo knows. And I’m cool with that. I don’t have to know everything. But now I’m wondering what the heck I missed.

  10. antoniazc says:

    First of all i must thank you Jomo and EE for all the recaps, i don’t know what would have done without them and witout comenting here and reading the comments… Thank you very much 🙂
    Second: I LOVE THE ENDING. i swoon all the episode watching a happy and sexy SW. i needed that so badly. i know it’s fanservice, but i think we all needed fanservice, and it was a good fanservice. as i said above i liked that it was an open ending. it would be difficult to tied all the knots, it would feel rushed and maybe we wouldn’t like some explanations… so i think it worked well here. as i said above i decide to believe that they all are alive in a happy reality where sticks won’t be needed, so the original and others timelines never happened. so why hyung have the stick? i guess we’ll never know. he was happy he needn’t change his past (save for daddy isssues) so maybe he found the stick by accident but our hero SW came to rescue him 🙂
    i must said somethings:
    I love LJW as SW and i also love young SW. i guess i’ll be watching Sirius and I Need Romance 2012. For sure LJW is on my to watch list, i’m already waiting for his next project. “Nobody but nobody can lock a door like LJW. He can lock my door anytime. ” agree!!!! seriously he might not be the best actor ever, but he’s a good actor, he’s extra hot and i need him in my live. SW enter on my list of best leading man ever!!!!
    and of course i love Nine, 10/10 without doubt, and one thing i like about the ending is that i’m sure i’m gonna rewatch the drama. a sad ending would prevent it 🙂
    i’m sad the journey ended. but i’m thankful i decided to watch Nine. one of the best dramas i’ve seen 🙂

  11. cass says:

    Great recap(s). Great drama ….. good ending.

    I was sort of left hanging, in that I wanted that final resolution of them living happilly ever after but I can take what I got. After all there were some superb kisses, some tears(mostly mine?), lots of angst, a couple of bedroom scenes and a Wedding of sorts across the 20 episodes. I like to think they had their happy ending, where the SW at the end went to MY just because he wanted to be with her. They had their honeymoon, they came back to Seoul, they got married.

    To be fair, I did have to go back and revisit Ep1 to remember what relevance the epilogue scene had, and of course ep 1 started with JW out on the mountain, collapsing, and then a shadow falling over him. In ep 20 final scene we actually see that it is Sun Woo (and I’m not knocking that beard AT ALL!! I put it down to him being one of those hirsute types that can look neanderthal after only 4 days;)). So he saved his brother AND got the girl!!

    MY WAS the key. She loved him no matter what. Through all their ups and downs, across all the timelines, she was the constant. I know that’s probably an over-simplification of the series, but I think it’s significant. No matter what else changed, HER love never did, and with his knowledge of the events of 92/93, SW realised that THAT love was the key to his life.

    But hey, that’s just a hopeless romantic’s take on it …… sigh.

    Great series. Definitely up for a rewatch Marathon soon, as I shall miss the gorgeous LJW rather badly!!

  12. Zain says:

    – It’s a perfect happy ending. There’s a 20 year difference between the past and the present and only the past can influence what happens in the present. For example, the past Sunwoo discovers the bag of medicine and exactly 20 years later, the future Sunwoo comes alive. So when the past Sunwoo finds out through Minyoung that the future Sunwoo dies in December of 2012, the future Sunwoo that we saw die in 1993 comes back alive in December 2032. How this happens is because the past Sunwoo finds out through Minyoung that he will die if he uses the scent so he doesn’t use it. He saves the scent after checking that his hyung died in Nepal with the scent.

    I found this comment from a Korean fan and I was wondering if u guys agree.

    Thanks for recapping! U guys did a great job. I loved this drama and I enjoy the ending. Especially the message about your future being dependent on your decisions and character.

    • Sara says:

      Thank you for the recaps Jomo!! I have to comment on episode 20. Here’s my take:
      Time Travel SW told 1993 SW to basically keep life simple and trust his decisions because they would be the right ones.
      The show begins with the end because time is simply a loop and the characters live in a time continuum. In episode 20, older brother travels to Nepal for a conference in the same time period as MY. SW follows MY and older brother because he makes a simple decision and doesn’t hesitate. He travels to Nepal. No matter what he knows from the past, a good younger brother will look for his older brother. He inquires and finds that his brother has gone off into the wild. As before, it is not a one-day trip, he must camp out to finally catch up to his brother, and that explains the bearded SW who finds JW at the end. Once he saves the brother, the timeline is altered slightly, similar to how the mother’s health is altered only slightly despite the time travels (she is speaking now). I am not sure the translation is “long time no see” or simply “good to [finally] see you,” as in I have found you when they meet in the snow. SW and the JW return to Nepal city where JW rests and meets the sister-in-law. JW now has a renewed reason to live as elder of the family. This simple act changes/slightly alters the timeline. They don’t use the stick (and can’t because this stick has already been used??), so the SW loves MY timeline is unaltered and there is no reason for SW to return and die. I love the ending story because it is different for everyone.

      • antoniazc says:

        i never thought of that but your right, he can’t use the stick because it was already used 🙂

      • jomo143 says:

        What do you guys think of this:
        What would have happened if SW resisted temptation and didn’t use that last stick up?

      • EE says:

        One of the wonderful things about the show is how open to interpretation it is. The way I saw the final line, whether he said “Long time no see” (which was how dramafever subbed it, I don’t know enough Korean to interpret it differently) or something similar, he seemed to place emphasis on the “Hyung”. Which to me said two things “Hey! It’s Sun Woo” AND “Even though I appear older than you, I am your younger brother.” You make a good point that Hyung’s incense stick was already used and therefore invalid but in the 20 years since Sun Woo got on the plane to Nepal I think it is possible he found or received a fresh one.

      • muupan says:

        I think differently. In my opinion, the old version 2013 SW who went back to 1993 might not die that time because new version 2013 SW go back to save him.
        Remember that,the new version JW survived from his death in Dec 2011, so he can met SW in Dec 2012 and he said that he went to conference in Nepal not went hiking! and sure, as we have seen from the last scene ,the new JW still has his one last and only incense stick!
        The theory is that the incense stick would be informed and given to new SW. New SW found out how to use it and then traveled back to 1993 to save old version SW and he accomplished then went back to 2013 again and live on.The old version SW lived on from 1993 til Dec 2011 and saved new JW. Now the old SW may also live somewhere ,as I guess.
        In conclusion :
        – new SW save old SW
        – Old SW therefore save new JW
        – New JW / new SW/ old SW live on til these days .
        – And so…the new SW may be able to get married with MY in the future.
        No recursive time-back loop anymore! Happy End!
        What do you think?

      • Uzma says:

        I agree with you on many things but as far as sticks are concerned, SW is fated to get them when he is 38. He can use them.It’s not the same as it was with the villain. Villain couldn’t use the stick because it was used by SW of his timeline i. e timeline A.

    • Todo tiene sentido 🙂 Si él (sun woo joven osea el sun joo 2) decide no utilizar los palillos porque por viajar en el pasado morirá, entonces inmediatamente en el tiempo que haya transcurrido despues de la muerte de sun woo cuando desaparece en el 2012 (que son 20 años porque desde que sun woo vivió entró como reportero, y conoce a MI yoon,, este tiempo es alterno al tiempo en que todos los demás personajes viven su vida despues de la desaparición de Sun woo). Entonces, por la decisión tomada por sun woo, aparece de nuevo vivo sun woo más adelante, veinte años despues (2032) como si siempre hubiera estado vivo, y como si se ubiera casado ya con Mi yoon y haya pasado tiempo.

      Pero aún me queda una duda, porque viaja al pasado el sun woo que tiene el fruto del conocimiento, Se supone que ya no tiene incienso (en caso k haya guardado el incienso que su hermano volvio a encontrar), ¡porque volveria al pasado a salvar a su hermano?¿por que su hermano se encontraba en la nevada, si iba a una conferencia? además se suponía que él (jung woo) ya habia expiado sus culpas porqué tendria k ir al himalaya(por su padre? o por su madre?) ?

      ¡¡¡¡¡¡¡Solo me falta encontrar la razón por la que Sun woo viaja de nuevo al pasado!!!!!, PORQUE PORFIN LA BARBA QUE me atormentaba tiene sentido!!SUN WOO por la decisión que tomará de no usar los inciensos entonces NO MORIRÁ EN EL PASADO POR VIAJAR,. el sun woo viejo volvera parecer en 2032 se encontrará con MI yoong de nuevo y con su amigo, se sorprenderan de que este vivo, pero se alegrarán.
      ¡¡¡¡¿por qué viaja al pasado Sun woo 1 (el viejo)??!!!! (ademas se supone que como los palillos ya fueron usados, si los prenden estos palillos por si solo se volverán ceniza),

      Mis dudas son:

      ¿cómo en sun woo1 ( el viejo), él que revive en 2032 y sabe de los inciensos, vuelve al pasado y por qué vuelve al pasado, si ahora es feliz, tiene vida y está con Mi yoong? ¿además ya no puede usar los inciensos por que se volveran ceniza, aunque tecnicamente si nunca los va a usar, entonces. pueden seguir funcionando? ¡pero porqué volvería a salvar a su hermano?

      • If it all makes sense ( I mean the young sun woo =”sun joo 2″) choose not to use chopsticks to travel because in the past die , then immediately you have time after the death of sun woo elapsed when it disappears in 2012 (which are 20 years because since lived woo sun entered as a reporter, and meet MI yoon , this time it is alternative to the time when all the other characters live their lives after the demise of Sun woo) . Then , by the decision of sun woo sun reappears alive woo later , twenty years later ( 2032 ) as if it had always been alive , and as if already married ubiera My yoon and time has passed .
        But I still have a question, because the sun travels back woo having the fruit of knowledge , and is supposed to have no incense (if k incense saved his brother returned to find),because a return to the past save his brother ? because his brother was in the snow , if I went to a conference? also supposed that he ( jung woo) had already atoned why k would have to go to himalaya ( by his father ? or his mother ?)
        I just need to find the reason why woo Sun travels back to the past ! ! BECAUSE THAT BEARD PORFIN tormented me makes sense ! SUN WOO take the decision not to use then incenses NOT DIE IN THE PAST FOR TRAVEL , . woo the old sun will return in 2032 apparently will meet again yoong MI and his friend will be surprised that this living , but be glad.
        Why Sun travels back woo 1 (the old ) ? ! ! ( also supposed to like and sticks were used , whether these sticks comprise ash alone again )
        My doubts are:
        How on woo1 sun ( old ), he revives in 2032 and knows of incense returns to the past and back to the past why , if now happy life is to have my yoong ? Besides you can not use incense ash that will return , although technically if you never going to use , then. they are still working? But why would save his brother ?
        help me please 😀

  13. Julia the Berkshire Beanie says:

    I’ve noticed on the shows I REALLY love, the ones that captivate me and I think about in the days between episodes and write posts about, when the end is near I suddenly become grumpy. This is before I have seen the final episode. I just have this great reluctance to let go of the characters I have been living with for months.

    So given my grumpiness, it is hard for any ending to be adequate. It is an emotional crescendo.

    That said, NINE’s ending satisfied me. I needed the happy fanservice parts in the last episode that other people found to be filler. I needed to be comforted. I needed to see them fall in love in the final timeline and wallow in the teasing smexy SW who even if MY has been warned away from him can’t help but be slowly captivated by her.

    No matter the circumstances, these two will love each other. In fact, I believe their love just grew deeper with each iteration.

    It took 4 minutes for NINE and SW to make me fall in love. The journey with them was time well spent.

  14. Julia the Berkshire Beanie says:

    Also, having rewatched NINE from the beginning, I have to applaud the continuity, the introduction of characters that I didn’t really notice until later when they had important roles, the repetition of certain elements. If you rewatch, try listening for every time “secret” is mentioned, for example. See how early the fantasy/love quote that is repeated in the final episode appears. Listen to the music. Admire the carefully designed 1990’s sets. Fall in love with all our heros all over again.

    It is a series worth rewatching. Yeah!

  15. Jwip says:

    Wow!! I really needed to hear comments from others about Nine!! You’re the only who recapped this, Thank you!!

  16. chickenwing says:

    I also believe that grown up Sun Woo did no time traveling and saved Jung Woo so that he can go on to be a doctor in china in 2013. A few days/weeks out in the wild = beard. The purpose of the ending was probably to show who Jung Woo saw in episode 1, so the mountain sequence in episode 1 may be what grown up Sun Woo experienced with Jung Woo while the follow up by police etc was what time traveling Sun Woo experienced. This is probably just the effect of time traveling Sun Woo’s trip on his last stick.

    It can’t be that Sun Woo waited till 2032 to travel back to save Jung Woo, because by getting Jung Woo to own up to his crime in the past, Jung Woo is supposed to be alive well into 2013. If Sun Woo has to travel back to 2012, it means that Jung Woo would have died in 2012 without Sun Woo’s help, which should not happen unless someone altered the past again. Also, if Jung Woo does not die, there is no way grown up Sun Woo would know about the sticks. Unless the original source (the guy who gave Jung Woo the one stick – and we still don’t know who he is) of the sticks informed Sun Woo.

    You mentioned him “recalling” being pinned under the phone booth. Personally I don’t think that’s what happened. I believe it’s the show just showing the moment and Sun Woo making the connection that “Ah that man who looked like him = Future Me”.

    Some loose ends I wished were dealt with:
    Jung Woo and Min Young’s mom – they don’t have to reunite. At least, let him be vindicated. The mom still refers to him as the coward who always runs away, when if she knew what really happened, he really was the man who faced up to his weaknesses and paid his dues. He could have ran away but he stayed. Just “surviving” and “being happy” feels like a weak ending

    The guy shrouded in shadow who introduced Jung Woo to the sticks – how did he know about the sticks in the first place?! I understand the theme is romance and family, but it won’t hurt if the time travel mechanic was explained a little bit

    • jomo143 says:

      I agree with you on the “promise to that man that looks like you” recollection. He was picturing what MY was telling him, not remembering it.

      • EE says:

        I concede that it is *possible* he is picturing it as Min Young describes it but I interpreted it as Sun Woo recalling/receiving the memory in that moment because a) his expression changed suddenly and b) the scene had details not given by Min Young (the rain, the alley, the phone booth).

      • antoniazc says:

        i also think they’re picturing what MY is telling SW. Not that he remember it, cause he can’t as it’s time traveling SW who would have the memories

  17. Waiting says:

    Thank you all so much for your time and effort. It was a big task and I truly appreciate that you all made such a commitment and shared with us! For all of the great comments and speculation, laughs and squeeing, I thank you for this as well. Admittedly, I watched this for distraction purposes and not really to heavily deconstruct, but it was so interesting to read all the takes on what did, would and will happen. Nine is my all time favorite Kdrama and I wish we could get a message to them all to say great job and THANK YOU….and go rest! 🙂

  18. delicatecloud says:

    Thank you so much for recapping this drama and i am so glad to have taken the journey with you in watching and commenting on it. I loved the drama and would highly recommend it. I love the ending too – although 2013 Sun Woo died in 1993, the younger Sun Woo have grown up and we now know why he became a journalist and have good relationship with his brother and have met Joo Ming Young, whom he could not but have his life entangled with hers. They all, the three main characters i.e. Sun Woo, Jung Woo and Ming Young, have come full circle as the drama took as back to the beginning. He is chasing after Ming Young as he recognized that she is his fate and he have to hold on to it. Moreover he knew that his brother would die in the mountains and he has to go save him – he knows what is important and he goes after that. The unanswered questions on the incense sticks i.e. rules of usage and why and how did Jung Woo tumbled on to them? To me it is not important – what i like is that SunWoo realized that he is the incense stick and knowing what you want in life and love whom you want to love is the most important and one should hold onto it. Then there is no need for incense sticks as your life is yours to live.

  19. total_newbie_to_k says:

    After one night of sleep I came to another, for me final, solution about the end.

    Jung Woo is destined to find the incense sticks. Fate happens, you can’t escape it. So even ‘new’ JW of 2013 finds the incense sticks during his conference. He is not consciously looking for them, they come to him. (Come on, we accepted body swaping in Secret Garden, didn’t we?) JW dies on the mountain. New SW learns about his fate, the incense stick is in JW’s hands and ‘new’ SW knows now how to use it. He also knows about the time of death of JW, because his attendance at a conference narrows the time line down. And he doesn’t have to find JW at a precise time. A time slot is good enough, because he knows the place where they’ll find the body. Being the fighter that he is, SW is not willing to accept JW’s fate. (He once said, when MY broke up with him, that he would always, always fight till the end and use the incense.) He waits 20 years and travels back to save his brother. “Long time no see.”
    The first scene of the show was indeed a flash forward to the end. Full circle.

    Unlike others I could live with the catatonic mother, a sudden healing would have been cheesy to me. But she improved a little bit at least.

    LOVE the show! Although Dr. Han deserved a better wife. But she is the destiny he has to accept. 😛

  20. Julia the Berkshire Beanie says:

    I really want to see these actors of NINE in other shows now.

    1992 Cast
    Park Hyung Shik – Sun Woo (18)
    Seo Woo Jin – Jung Woo (27)
    Lee Yi Kyung – Han Young Hoon (18)

    2013 Cast
    Lee Jin Wook – Sun Woo (38)
    Lee Seung Joon – Dr Han
    Um Hyo Sup – Chul Min

  21. audie says:

    thank so much for the recap! I love this drama so much! btw, can somebody please help me translate this? I think this article is about interview with the Nine’s screenwriter, Song Jae Jeong.

    Hope it can help us to understand the ending 🙂

    • chickenwing says:

      I too hope someone will.

      Anyway thanks to Google Translate, the second interview question
      Q.작품의 첫 장면과 마지막 장면을 연결시킨 구성이 인상적이다.
      = Configuration which connects the work of the first scene and the last scene is impressive.

      So I guess.. Yeah first scene and last scene are directly related

  22. Requiem says:

    So, am I the only one who’s completely confused by the ending?

    I guess here are some of my questions.

    1) Does Sun Woo survive? Or is he permanently disappeared after April 24, 2013?
    2) Is the first scene of the series actually from the last timeline? There actually isn’t a date set on the first scene. So, I guess it’s possible that the first scene is a consequence of everything. But what does that scene mean? Is it just a consequence of the changes?
    3) If the first scene is from the last timeline, did Jung Woo actually die in a similar scene in a previous timeline? Or is that the one and only timeline where that scene occurred?
    4) They show Sun Woo talking about how he wonders if everything that the future Sun Woo did made changes to what he would have eventually become. But every example shows that nothing really changed in each of his examples. So does that mean he’s destined to use the sticks again and die in the past?

  23. chickenwing says:

    1) Permanently disappeared. At least that’s what I think was implied, since he died in 1993 and couldn’t return

    2) Who knows. I don’t remember if there’s a date on the first scene. If there isn’t then it’s very likely that the ending is a continuation from the first scene

    3) If the first scene was from the timeline that led to episode 1-19, then Jung Woo met an unknown person (since the way that person was introduced suggests he was the villain responsible for Jung Woo’s death, because right after that scene it showed Sun Woo going to verify the death) before his death – that in my opinion is a waste of a potential plot device, since it never was explained. But it could happen, if the writing is not as coherent as I thought. But then if Jung Woo did not die after the first scene, then it could explain the significance of the ending

    4) I think he said after that it might be just a fantasy to be able to go back and change those individual situations that led to him being a reporter (told to meet Chul Min to pass him the tape) and loving Min Young (dying Sun Woo telling her to remember his face, possibly amplifying her impression of grown up Sun Woo). And he would live simply and love who he wants. I believe he didn’t use any sticks. Because after the changes dead Sun Woo made, Jung Woo would have lived unless someone changed the past again. So I think grown up Sun Woo’s choice to live simply was to go with the flow of the changes dead Sun Woo made and go save Jung Woo in the mountains. Only the writer knows if he died

  24. Ennayra says:

    Thank you so much for recapping Nine! I’m thrilled that I was able to discover your blog, and I’ll definitely be checking back in the future!

    As far as the final episode goes, yay for fan service. I loved the return of the Joo Min-young that didn’t have to cry all the time and wrap her brain around alternate timelines. And Lee Jin-wook, please come and lock my door.

    Am I the only one who’s really sad about the alternate timeline where Sun Woo died in 1993, Min Young lost her fiance on the day of their wedding (right after she lost her father), hyung lost his little brother, and Dr. Han lost his best friend? I’m attached to that timeline, since we spent 19 episodes with them. I only hope that Min-young can meet up with hyung, b/c for all intents and purposes he really his her father.

    Yes, I’m so so sooo happy that the Sun-woo in this episode got to live without the mystery of his father’s death driving him. I choose to believe that hyung went to his conference, so no one has any reason to stumble across any incense sticks and hike up mountains without gloves. Give me my Whitney Houston and a happy ending.

    Thanks to Nine, I have learned that time travel = no. Don’t do it.

  25. iviih says:

    Guys, after reading many comments and re-watching the ending episode, this is what I think:

    This SW of the new timeline didn’t need to go to past because everything was right in this new timeline: SW won’t die of cancer, SW is dating JMY, SW didn’t lost contact with his brother and he know the truth about his father death, Choi isn’t a powerful man, so why he would go back? He wouldn’t. And to make things better MY told him SW from 1993 died. So he knows what happened to original SW, he knows he died stuck on 1993.

    It seems eventually he’ll find the sticks, but since he has no reason to go back, he won’t, and by not going back, he’ll change the timeline of original SW. In the original timeline, original SW trying to fix things got stuck on the past and died – he didn’t marry MY, JW’s got depressed again after his brother and father died – HY lost his friend – nobody was happy.

    BUT, If new SW didn’t go back this will change the original timeline of original SW. Remember how everything SW from 1993 timeline did different from original SW, made the 2013 timeline change? JW even came alive again! So this time, the things SW from new timeline did, changes the original timeline again and by not going back on time, he saves original SW from dying! My guess is, He never travelled time, so older/original SW also didn’t, and this makes original SW come back to life, and he must be having a happy life because new SW isn’t changing anything and things were all fixed.

    SW from the new timeline didn’t go back, but it seems hyung JW will die anyway, so original SW (now older with what?50 years?? )that came back to life thanks to SW decisions from the new timeline, decides to go save hyung 20 years back, since JW died in this new timeline, and he has the stick again, SW from this new timeline saved the stick and didn’t use it, making SW from original timeline have the stick on 2033, and he knows when and where his hyung died, so original SW goes back 20 years to save hyung, and that is why he has gray beard and looks older, and that is also why he says ”long time Hyung”

    Well, this is what I understood after reading comments and re-watching the last episode over and over ^^ ~~

    • chickenwing says:

      I believe original SW would not come back to life. He was there in 1993 as a result of the sticks and his actions. Choi would have no reason to run him over if he did not just tie him up with duct tape and smack him with a baseball bat. Original SW was fully extracted from his timeline, even GPS cannot track him. So I believe unless past Choi was killed or more of the changes in the past were undone such that SW would not be in Choi’s radar – original SW cannot come back to life.

      If him not travelling back would lead to undoing original SW’s trips back in time, new SW would soon die of cancer, JW would be long dead, Choi would still be in power, SW would still be angsty about revenge. And original SW would be long dead by then, from cancer.

    • I like. 🙂 So everything matches, but I k was not necessary to save his brother. if you do it (sw of the orginal time line) has k off incense before it evaporates completely for k can return to its time once make the trip to the past. 🙂 If you do that, solved, he can go back in time and live well (and k and not become the living incense, since even a piece of incienzo Kedara) BUT NOW USED AS THIS INCENSE (AS WELL AS WE HAVE NOTE BEEN ON THE SCENE OF CHOI) THIS WILL NOT WORK BUT KEEP IT FOR 20 YEARS AND I WANT TO USE IN 1932. HOW THEN BACK TO THE PAST?

      returns do not understand why or how again, the scene continues to intrigue the credits. unless k sw is grown, but I have not seen any clues that says k is the old sw or k rn 1993 did not die because the other sw not use incense. 🙂

  26. jamok777 says:

    I got this theory from another forum and this is also what i think about the ending.

    For ease of understanding:
    2013 SW will be known as 2013 SW.
    Grown-up 1993 SW will be known us New SW. (Mind freeze – can’t think of any other short abbreviation )

    My take on the last two episodes:

    I. 2013 SW died in 1993 and that timeline “died” with him. Reasons to support this:
    a. Remember the PD nim showed the time on his watch at 8:07 when he died in 1993. The time YH listened to his messages was at 8.00 pm 2013; so that happened before 2013 SW died. The last 2013 timeline we saw was of MY crying when 2013 SW died in 1993 at 8.07pm which should be the exact date & time in 2013. We saw nothing of that timeline thereafter.
    b. In previous episodes, every time that 2013 SW went back to the past and returned, he changed/ tweaked something in his future and the people who knew retained full knowledge. There was no multiple timelines that continued on parallel with each change. This led me to belief that the writer nim was not playing around with the idea of multiple parallel timelines.

    2. New SW do not have full knowledge and full memories of 2013 SW. He probably had vague flashes of his previous timeline which I based that on the belief of karma, rebirth and past lives (all Hindu/ Buddhist beliefs). Reasons to support this:
    a) New SW only remembered one triggered memory from MY during their conversation in the room after the loooong kissing scene. (Pardon me a moment while I drool in memory. )
    b) The subsequent “monologue” with his past self when New SW was in the airplane was based on what he read from his diary in 1993 and the resurfaced memory of his interaction in 1993 with his 2013 self.

    3. None of the characters who previously knew about the changes in the past i.e. YH, MY and JW, retained any memories of the previous timeline. All they remember was their short interaction with the 2013 SW in 1993. Reasons to support this; from MY’s memories of her trauma to JW’s reference to New SW that he looked more like the person who saved them 20 years back to YH’s memory of curing his brain tumour. Nothing more than that.

    4. As New SW do not retain full memory of his previous timeline, he would not have known that his brother died in the original 2012/ 2013 timeline. And this is reflected in his own monologue. The flashbacks we saw was what New SW pieced together from his interactions with 2013 SW, the contact with his boss through 2013 SW & the warning given to MY by the 2013 SW which MY shared with him.

    5. Therefore, my belief is that in the last scene, JW was rescued by the 58 years old New SW. No. 4 above already negate the fact that New SW knew his brother was dying and where he would have died. No. 1 negate the fact that 2013 SW will return from the dead to rescue his brother.

    6. My deduction for the last scene.
    a) JW went to Nepal in Dec 2012 (of the new timeline) more or less cured but likely still with some regret (that he killed SW’s father). When he was told of the possibility that he could return to the past and change that one regret, his character still made the same decision i.e. to change his past. But he died trying.
    b) New SW during that trip to Nepal did not rescue JW (as he did not know) but he went to see MY to seal their relationship. This I believe happened based on his own monolgue; “I would keep it simple right now. I will believe in just what I want to believe. And I will just love the girl I want to love.” So there was closure in this relationship.
    c) However, JW died in that new timeline in Dec 2012 and New SW was told about it. He went to the police station to identify JW’s body and he retrieved that one incense stick. Now, remembering his interaction with 2013 SW and knowing how 2013 SW died, he probably decided to keep that one stick to be used later to rescue his brother in this new timeline. Therefore, when he reached 2032, he went back in time to save his brother; thus effecting a change in 2032.
    d) The 2032 change will likely be the last timeline change unless the saved JW decided to find the other sticks in 2013 and go back in time to save his Dad. If that happens, then the possibilities of more ripples is endless. Too mind boggling to think of that scenario now.

    • Requiem says:

      Thanks for your thoughts,

      That makes some good sense.

      I still wish the ending had been easier to comprehend.

      Like instead of the beard, adding gray to his hair would have made things more obvious.

    • EE says:

      Thank you Jamok777, this is pretty much exactly as I interpreted it but could not find a good way to explain.

    • jomo143 says:

      Wow! Thanks!
      I love to think about all the ripples and how THIS reality may not be real and everything could be happening now for the 1,000,000 iteration, we just don’t know it.

      Scares me a little, though.

    • Taylorelle says:

      This theory makes the most sense when looking at the last scene and how much older SW looks. He had the knowledge of 2013 using the incense sticks to travel back 20 years to the past and the single incense stick that was found with JW’s body would work to save his life. The only catch is SW probably made the right decision to wait until 20 years in the future to save his brother in order to avoid dying in 1993 as young MY saw. He also probably chose to avoid ruining her life since he seemed quite upset that she didn’t keep her promise to the dying original SW. With these pieces of information, he most likely decided to wait until 2033 rather than risk going back to the past.

  27. After Dr. Han prayed in the church, the incense gave itself to Choi.
    At the end of Ep20, there is still 5 minutes left to burn when it took itself somewhere.
    Who does it give itself to next? Someone who can save SW’s life? That means it has to be before 2013, like in 2011 when an older SW rescues JW with one incense.
    I wonder who went back to 1993 to save SW.

    Let’s see what happened in the 2 specials.
    For fun, I’m trying to picture the 2 SW’s both going back and havie 4 SW’s there at the same time LOL


  28. emilyrliu93 says:

    Sigh, the finale…kinda left me hanging emotionally. I really bought the romance, so I definitely appreciated the shippy scenes BUT I couldn’t completely be happy because all my emotions were invested in the ‘original’ SW and MY and YH, and I cant help but feel like they were left to live their lives in heartbreak. But I guess now thinking about it, does the ending mean that since new SW didnt time travel, all the shit that was ep 1-19 will be erased in original SW’s time and the original gang will still have their happy ending? And gosh the wedding, they totally played with our hearts with that. The scene with Shi-Ah and SW was just cruel. It was brilliant, but so so cruel.

  29. emilyrliu93 says:

    Oh, and thank you guys so much for the recaps. It was one hell of a ride.

  30. emilyrliu93 says:

    And am I the only one who’s missing all the lovey dovey in the first 2 episodes that we’ll just never get back again? They only become more precious in retrospect.. T_T

  31. cass says:

    I marathoned the series over the weekend, and a had a couple of thoughts and observations … the last time we saw the second version 2013 SW/MY together (before he changed timelines with the incense) was in episode 16 at JW’s funeral, as he walked away from her. SW never returned in that incarnation. We saw them together again of course, but only in flashback and/or another 2013 timeline.

    The other thing was, in that epic kiss in episode 20 ….. there was definitely tongue action!!!! (blushes to mention it but …… it was there!!!).

    Did I read Specials!! Two of em?? When will they be shown?

    • jomo143 says:

      I did read about those specials. The best part is the NG and BTS, the rest is usually replaying various parts of the show. I didn’t see the raws on my torrent site.

  32. tidus says:

    curious is there any real wallpaper of that parka picture on the phone of sun woo hehehe

  33. DarknessEyes says:

    gawd I have to say, i love this ending and hate it at the same time….after that many episodes, I was really hoping for something definite. But as the writers have sort of just left it up to us, I’m just going to say that the drama ended on ep 18 and SW did actually come back to the present, just for my sanity. Seriously, why not make an ending like that PDs?????? TT_TT

    and oh yeah thanks sooooo much for the recaps. I probably couldn’t have gotten through the show otherwise

  34. Mrmz says:

    Thank you for the recap and review!! It certainly clarified a lot of things!!! I still think this series is worth the recommendation. It certainly had interesting twist & turns and it was hard to guess whats going to happen next! 😉 I’m not a great fan of open endings and I do wish for a more clear ending but i don’t think its possible to get a satisfying ending but this ending left us with food for thought (trying to figure it out even after it ended leaving a lasting impression) but was also hopeful. I also liked that we sneaked a peak on how SW & MY’s relationship was is I presume it was that different from the first timeline, except with the whole burden SW was carrying and the whole dying from terminal illness. This led me into asking myself what made this timeline’s SW wait this long to confess to MY? I mean by 2009-2010 they were both 100% into eachother so y wait until the end of 2012?
    That is all for now, I hope we get to see more shows like that (not time travel but unpredictability). Well one nice thing about this show is how they fully take advantage of the “time travel” 😉

  35. feliciawst says:

    I agree with both of you on the ending. it kind of left me hanging so i needed to read recaps to understand better. Jomo, I did notice the picture of Min Young on Sun Woo’s phone. Think the crew made a mistake there. hehe but overall, i loved this show despite the ending. it made me think a lot to try and piece things back and such but throughout the drama, i was just so kept in suspense that i wanted to finish the show faster to know the ending. As for the epilogue, i think bearded, fatter Sun Woo came back from 2032. I’m guessing the incense only lets you go back in time 20 years. So if he wanted to save his hyung in the Himalayas, he had to wait for 20 years.

  36. YYL says:

    in my opinion , for the final ep ~

    so the final episode only showed the time slot of what was happening in the previous years before the “reality” in 2013 , so that meant time still went on for BOTH time slots … (because when it was in “reality” in 2013 , the characters would get flashbacks of what was happening in 1993)

    so that means when (little) Sun Woo found it he was going to die in 1993 in his own time slot , he didn’t use the incense stick [that was taken from Jung Woo’s death scene] to go back & instead went to marry min young , which then triggered “reality” Sun Woo in his time slot to come back to life and used that one incense stick so that in 2033 , he could save his brother by going back in time for 20 years. 🙂

    • jomo143 says:

      This is the best explanation of how and SW got the first stick.
      There may be holes I cannot see, but I am completely going with this explanation.
      Thanks, YYL!

    • fuu1130 says:

      This was what I was thinking too. But then again… remember when old man Choi lit one of the two incense sticks in the hospital? It only burned to ashes immediately, probably because Sun Woo had already used it (to convince 1993 Jung Woo to surrender to the police). reality Sun Woo had also used Jung Woo’s only incense stick (retrieved when JW dies in the Himalayas) to retrieve the 9 other incense sticks at Maruna Lodge.

      If the reality Sun Woo had already used it before, then the (little) Sun Woo, even if he waited for 20 years, couldn’t have used the JW’s incense stick. That incense stick might have ended up like the stick Choi first lit in the hospital.

      • DDiki says:

        It something very difficult to explain, because, I also remember, that in the first episode, when the brother is going to die, a person appears, so maybe the last scene is connected with the scene of the first episode.

  37. Snowden says:

    Why did JMY’s initials stay on the love note to SW even after Sun Woo changed the original timeline?

    Why could we not see Jung Woo’s images in the pictures recovered by the authorities in Nepal? We are told that the conditions dissolved his passport image, but even the polaroid of him and SW did not show his face. How “convenient” that his facial images were absent in the only identifying remeains. Is there some significance to this?

  38. Pingback: Nine: Finale | dramababble

  39. TCP says:

    Let me add one more hurray for this awesome drama… Hurray!

    My friend is not a fan of Korean dramas because she says there are way too many crazy, far-fetched things that go on. I agree, but where as she sees the plots as fake and illogical, I see them as creative and interest-holding. This show can logically have a “honeymooned” couple end up as step-niece and step-uncle because TIME TRAVELING changed everything! Anything is possible when you mess around with the past. What a cool way to make the “way out there” stuff believeable (if you can allow yourself to believe in time travel for just 20 hours of entertainment). As for the ending (the one that goes over the credits) I think it was perfect. Why? Because I believe the writer/writers wanted us to think and then think some more, and that’s exactly what we did. (I still haven’t been able to decided what and how it all happened.) I’m sure everyone who finished this drama went, “WHAT?… WAIT A SECOND… I DON’T GET IT!” No one just turned it off and said, “Well, that was a good show.” We thought, and played back scenes in our mind and tried to piece things together that weren’t even shown in the show. We guessed and debated with ourself and with others and asked people what they thought it all meant. And I’ve decided THAT is exactly what an excellent Kdrama is supposed to do. So, if you were confused at the conclusion of this drama – great… You got it!

  40. HSKY says:

    FYI: Min Young’s mum called the doll ‘in-young’ which is Korean for doll/toy, not her name.

  41. cmaverickd says:

    The way I see it is that JW dies bout the same time that we first see SW and MY in Nepal, however much time passes for SW to identify his missing, he gets his belongings including the incense stick, knowing how to use the stick because he was visited by himself when he was a teen he used the stick to save his brother he also would of known when his brother died, he waited 20 years and came back to save his brother, hence the grey beard and eyebrows

  42. April says:

    Has there been any supposition that he didn’t die in 1993, and that he aged 20 years while waiting to save his brother. Not the happiest of all theories, but Occum’s razor… I did love this drama all around, and it kept my attention from the first kiss to the last greeting.

  43. Gideon says:

    In ep19, the future SW says that “he is the incense” in his last message to Han. Therefore, I interpreted the ending when the bearded SW saw JW. This bearded SW is actually the soul of future SW that transformed from the incense that JW is holding.

    • Andrew says:

      Probably a late comment, but I ended up watching it again since it was airing on MNet America and it has me questioning the ending again after watching episode 19 today I decided to watch 20. I noticed in the subtitles it mentioning Future SW’s body was cremated. Think maybe it has anything to do with Future SW that possible shows up in the end?

  44. Katt says:

    So….is it the same characters but different timelines, when each one have different events? (Time travelling SW adjusting fate)

    I’m confused…

    • jomo143 says:

      Yes, if I understand your question.
      We see two versions of the characters. Let’s just talk about SW. The first iteration traveled back and forth in time, then got stuck and died in the past.
      His actions triggered changes in young SW’s path in life. He grew up differently, but somehow still met Min Young, still fell in love and married her.

  45. Deb says:

    Hello there, I would like to thank you for the recaps. I’ve always read them right after watching the episodes and it made me enjoy the watching experience more. Once again, thank you so much!

  46. ammz13 says:

    Sorry to repost, I think I wrote my original post as a result to someone’s comment – sorry!

    I know my comment is really late as compared to others, but I just finished watching Nine just now.. and something is really bugging me! There are so many comments, but I couldn’t read them all so I’m sorry if this has already been answered or speculated on….

    But did anyone else notice that in both the first and last episode, the metal incense holder/container is lying beside Jung Woo in the snow right next to the compass? Why is it even there? Isn’t he supposedly in the mountains using the compass while searching for the other incense sticks that are supposed to be in the metal incense holder in the first place? Let’s say he did find it.. so where are the other incense sticks? Or why isn’t the one in his hand shown as being used which would them explain how the container was there, but not why the incense sticks aren’t in it? Or let’s say this is another alternate scenario/reality… the same question stands: why would he be in Nepal in the mountains if he already had the metal container that the incense sticks would have been in? It just doesn’t make sense to me.

    Regardless of this confusing scenario, I really liked this drama, it was great! And yes, the writers definitely left a lot open to speculate upon, but this whole incense holder/container showing up in that mountain scene while Jung Woo is holding the one solitary stick in his hand just makes NO SENSE to me! I’m going to go crazy thinking about this on my own, help! LOL.

    Does anyone have any thoughts on this???

  47. prettysup says:

    Really enjoyed this show so much, and why didnt i discover LJW earlier? SO hottttt..

    About the bearded SW ending, i will just treat it as something the writers put in for possible sequence, so not going to be too bothered by it at this point.

  48. tera says:

    it took me more than two years to finally start watching this drama….It seems interesting but i keep putting it off because the leads actors are not really popular at the beginning. But lee ji wook really put me in my place. I fell in love the second he appear in this drama. I keep searching about him right now hehe..Park sun woo character suits him really well..*sigh~doki-doki*……
    Overall I love a story that give impact ending, but the ending in this drama is slightly confusing.
    To be honest, i feel ecstatic if this drama end at ep 10. Sun Woo died due to brain tumor after he knows the truth about his father death doesn’t seems like a bad ending to me. It’s satisfying…haha maybe because I’m weird. Sometimes sad ending like that make the quality of a drama soar….just my opinion.
    After ep 10, it seems like the story started to drag out. The romance and everything seems force and doesn’t look natural like the first 10 episode. Maybe because the writer want to tally the story with the epilogue and to make sure that audience will see happy sun woo at the end. But honestly the story started to lose its edge during the few last episode.
    Overalll, the drama is really good. It remind me of ‘operation proposal’, the japanese and the remake korean drama. The gist is he same though the storyline is different. Nine time travels was more exciting though…haha.

    I hope to meet Park Sun Woo(or his reincarnation) again in Lee Ji wook future drama. I miss the guy so much..*sigh*.:)

  49. Akiras says:

    Thanks jomo and EE for the recap.
    I am a die hard k drama fan and an addict since 2010. My first drama was Boys over flowers ..from then I always surf for blogs related to kdrama .I recently found your blog and I loved it . I heard from my friend that 1 kdrama was shoot in Nepal (Nepal is my country) so I was very curious and excited about it so searched for its recap and found your blog And I really enjoyed while reading and watching pics of LJW . Great job guys please continue recaping I will be cheering for you…………….
    …..lots of love from Nepal…

  50. Taylorelle says:

    Many thanks for the recaps. Since it’s an old show that I recently watched it’s good to read the thoughts and discussions of other viewers who watched it while it aired. I quite enjoyed this show and LJW whom I’ve seen in later shows. I fell in love with him in this though because I found his character rather charming.

    I quite like the last episode after practically 16 episodes of darkness barely ever punctuated with light. I guess after all that I needed to see young SW grow up, become a successful reporter and fall in love with MY with the hope of a brighter future considering he was dying from cancer since episode 1. Such an intriguing and poignant drama overall.

  51. Abhinav Choudhry says:

    It was a long time ago for you but i hope you are happy that the recaps you have written about are relevant even in posterity. Thank you.

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