Thursday, April 16, 2015

Nine: Episode 11, The Word I Hate the Most

Nine: Episode 11

We start up with the kiss and the montage from April 7, then Sun-woo tells Min-young not to ruin her life and goes to talk to Dr. Boyfriend, who is banging on the gate. He fobs him off; says the record is his, those initials are his ex-girlfriend's, and generally tries not to mess up the engagement. He calls a taxi; she sits in the back watching his reflection in the outside mirror. He lets her out a block from her house, tells her that girls often get nervous right before their wedding, and leaves watching her in the mirror. The next day she recalls that he said his girlfriend had amnesia and turned out to be family. [15:45] She calls him again but he sticks with his story: it's not real and it's disgusting.

Jump to Dr. Choi on April 9, 1993 at 2 pm. He calls hyung to his office and tries to get him to go to America. Hyung asks if Dr. Choi loved his mother when he was young. The answer: we all liked her. Hyung goes to see his fiance, Yoo-jin, at her record shop. She tries to get him to go and he tells her also that he won't.

Jump again to Dr. Choi on April 9, 2013 at 2 pm, getting out of his court hearing. He will likely get ten years. Chief Oh comes to congratulate Sun-woo and invite him out to celebrate their win. He tells him again to get his headaches treated. Yoo-jin comes to meet him in the foyer, saying hyung is taking depression meds and can't sleep. She wants them to make up but he refuses, saying they both are having a hard time.

A dark city-scape shows us it is night. Dr. Choi's lawyers advise him to stall and counter-sue and delay the verdict. Trials are all about time, they say. Nice thing to say in a time-travel show. He yells at them it won't shorten the verdict and to just end it. They hang their heads lol and he pulls the kdrama tantrum of knocking everything on his desk onto the floor.

Back in 1993 Evil Minion [32:00] brings Dr. Choi the CCTV footage of Sun-woo paying for his mother's glasses at the optical shop, and they get a look at Sun-woo's face. Present-day Choi gets the new memory while dozing in his chair reflected in a small desk mirror. Ha. He doesn't realize it is a new event, he thinks he just suddenly remembered it. His 1993 self remembers bumping into that man outside the hospital and driving away looking at him in the rear-view mirror. His 2013 self puts those memories together and recognizes the man as looking like Sun-woo.

Sun-woo tries to be friendly with the lady anchor, but as they walk out together at the end of work he gets a call from Dr. Boyfriend saying he and Min-young had a fight and she is missing. The wedding is in three days, and he's worried. Actually she called it off. Sun-woo goes back into the office, sets his assistant to trying to contact her, and runs around town in the rain looking for her. He probably thinks she is doing something rash.

He goes home and finally at 3 am she calls. She explains how frustrated she is with this memory becoming clearer; that she even called the hotel in Nepal but they had no record of them being there. He asks where she is and she answers, “Where Joo Min-young first kissed her love of five years.” A flashback shows her drunk at a playground with some co-workers. She called him and when he arrived she tumbled down a slide, landed on him, and kissed him.

After we get a look at a red Dr.-Who-Queen-Inhyun telephone booth, he shows up at the playground. It is still raining and they are both drenched. She asks how he knew where she was. He replies, “You said it was our first kiss.” Now she knows he knows, and he knows she knows he knows. And we know he knows she knows he knows. He goes on, “You know the word I hate the most in the world? Uncle.” I love that line. It's eminently quotable. He pulls her in and kisses her and they wrap their arms around each other.

Up until now everyone except Sun-woo and Dr. Han have been oblivious to the timeline shifts. Hyung doesn't remember that he had been lost in the Himalayas. Because he married Yoo-jin he didn't ever go there. Chief Oh doesn't know Sun-woo had cancer once upon a time, because Young-hoon found the pills and they treated the tumor immediately.

Everyone had been dropped into a new life and gone on blissfully as though it had always existed. (Does anyone wonder what happened to Min-young's original stepfather?) But now two new people can perceive the shifts. Min-young remembers things she knows are different from the present but she doesn't know why; and Dr. Choi thinks he suddenly remembered something he had forgotten. The new memory didn't conflict with his present, so he doesn't know there are different timelines. However there is now a new one. Timeline Past5 started because Young-hoon found the pills, which caused him to change his actions. Timeline Past6 has now started because Dr. Choi knows something that will change his actions.

Running count – time travels: 11; remaining incense sticks: 2; Timelines: Past6, Present4.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Nine, Episode 10, The Memory Stays

 Nine, Episode 10

Three months have passed, it is April 7, 1993, and teen Sun-woo has just come home from the hospital. His mother sits in a wheelchair staring into space and only paying attention when someone touches her. The maid impresses me as being very gentle. Hyung has gotten engaged and turned the hospital over to Dr. Choi. Sun-woo wonders into his journal if his older self is reading it, or will ever visit him again, or is even alive.

Older self reads the journal while pouring boiling water. He suddenly gets a searing headache, spills, and burns himself. No more tumor but still has headaches? And how about that journal? It must be a real kick reading that thing every so often, watching the entries change.

In the tv station dressing room Sun-woo stands before the mirror taking pills. His hand is bandaged, but he doesn't favor it. His boss, Chief Oh, comes in saying it is his first night on air and he is the youngest anchor at CBM. [8:30] We know he has been on air already in this timeline so he must be moving up from late night anchor to prime time.

Chief Oh asks why the headache pills? He should get checked, maybe he has a brain tumor, haha. Sun-woo snaps back he's already had that; doesn't Chief Oh remember? The Chief doesn't get it but we do. And at least by that remark we know that he remembers the old timelines. Lady anchor Lee Joo-hee flirts with him annoyingly which sets off the technical staff making snide remarks. (How does she know his injury is bad if it's under the bandage and she can't see it?)

Hyung watches Sun-woo's anchor debut at the hospital, looking pensive. He seems fond of his brother, but unhappy.

Dr. Han picks up Sun-woo in the rain and they talk about the headaches and that they had just done a scan. Dr. Han had started him on regular checks in 2007 and two years ago there had been a small blot, but it's clear now. Pain is a residual in the same way that memories are, and objects brought from the past. So he is going to keep the headaches. But he can't remember what he was thinking in 1992. He has to read the journal every day to find out. This is weird because it's himself, and Dr. Han can remember just fine. But then his life hasn't changed. [19:30]

He makes an excuse to not attend Min-young's wedding but gives her a present of a hi-fi with a turntable. Dr. Boyfriend puts it together and finds the Record from the Past. It looks like her house is the green one of that row of cute colorful townhouses. Boyfriend finds a note written on the record sleeve: I will always love you, JMY and the date when she was in Nepal. He accuses her of cheating on him, and when she copies the note she starts to remember writing it. She was sitting at a table and Sun-woo was in a bed behind her. She recalls him saying he had made Joo Min-young into Park Min-young. Ah! It's coming back.

Sun-woo suddenly starts seeing messages appearing, [38:18] on his guitar, over the door, on the metal railing. Split-screen shows teen self carving it and adult self following along reading.

Min-young shows up at his house to say she remembers being with him in Nepal and asks how that could be. He keeps up the false front and tells her she's drunk. He walks away but she follows, grabs him, and kisses him. A montage of previous kiss scenes follows. “It's you,” she says. He thinks to himself, “The memory stays, the pain stays. It's the consequence of trying to play God.”

Min-young is starting to remember the original timeline, but she isn't getting a flood of memories the way the two others did. Perhaps that is because their brains were adjusted by knowing about the time travel. She is breaking the barrier herself and it comes slowly. 

Running count – time travels: 11; remaining incense sticks: 2; Timelines: Past5, Present4.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Nine: Episode Nine, Mirrors and Mirroring

 Nine: Episode Nine

December 31, 1992. Min-young's mother brings her to the 10 am funeral for Sun-woo's father. Dr. Choi comes and tries to calm a very nervous hyung. Mom admits that there was a witness that night. She had seen him before, when he had broken and replaced her glasses. This actress does an amazing job of going from looking healthy and pretty to being tired and wan.

December 31 (labeled 2013, but that can't be right) 10 am as well. Dr. Choi goes to the DA's office to testify. He wonders to himself if the witness could have been the person who gave Sun-woo that thumb drive. Meanwhile, Dr. Han sends Min-young away. She drives off watching him in her rear-view mirror, and then he calls an ambulance.

Back in 1992, Sun-woo is laid up in the hospital with burns. [10:20] When hyung comes to see him he blames himself for the death of his father and hyung can't bring himself to say anything. The scene shifts to 2012 hyung reflected in a mirror in his office, remembering that day and printing out a resignation letter.

Min-young shows up to tease him to go out for lunch. She supplies him with an excuse for the fight that might appease her mother: money. When they get back to the hospital they meet young Dr. Boyfriend and his parents. We see him first in the side mirror of his car. He has such nice teeth. His parents seem a little in awe of her father being chief of surgery.

Meanwhile, Sun-woo wakes up in the hospital after having a procedure to lower his intercranial pressure. Dr. Han discusses his case with the specialist, who is appalled at the swift tumor growth. Yes, we are all appalled. We can easily see a difference in the scans. Hyung returns to his office and signs his resignation form in a perfect, slightly sloppy English scrawl: Park. Out of an otherwise empty drawer (how can it be that empty – aren't drawers always chock full?) he takes a medicine bottle and syringe and pulls the cap off, reflected again in his mirror. But he is interrupted by Sun-woo on the phone. He tells hyung to be a good husband and father, visit Mom, and not take drugs. Otherwise his life is a waste. Then he drops the phone and collapses onto the floor.

Skip to 1992, December 31 at 8 pm; young Dr. Han shows up at Sun-woo's house to find it full of relatives and is told that his dad had died and he was in the hospital. Split-screen to 8 pm 2013, Dr. Han is waiting in a hallway, crossing himself. The nurse comes out to report severe swelling and the necessity of immediate surgery. More split screens of both Dr. Hans running up halls and down streets to different hospital doors. We have touching parallel scenes of Sun-woos opening their eyes to look up at distraught Dr. Hans. Young Dr. Han breaks down in tears to hear Sun-woo's story. Aww, he's such a sweetie. Adult Sun-woo tells his Dr. Han that he signed the papers because he knew Han would just forge his signature if he didn't. “Just kill me in peace,” he says. Hehe, cheeky to the end. Dr. Han claims passionately that he will save Sun-woo.

Young Sun-woo sends his aunt out for ice-water (since he calls her “imo” she is his mom's sister) so he can talk to young Dr. Han (his name is Young-hoon, so let's just call him that). How would you react if your friend told you that his future self had visited him? Even with an identity card from 20 years out? [27:40]

2012 Sun-woo is prepped for surgery. The bandage must be from that procedure they did.

1992 Sun-woo tells Young-hoon that he was warned that his father would die and it really happened. He is supposed to meet future self to find out about another person who will die but is hospitalized, so he asks Young-hoon to go.

Adult Dr. Han tries to call Min-young but she is covering a New Year's celebration and doesn't hear the phone. It reads 2012 on the banners, just sayin'. Young Dr. Boyfriend calls her, and I am glad to see that Sun-woo isn't the only clueless tactless guy in this story. He tells her his parents want them to get married. She tells him it's too noisy and hangs up. And may I say that I really don't like her hair.

Young-hoon waits, freezing, at the school grounds for two hours, poor kid, while young Sun-woo goes over and over the things his adult self had said: there is another life you must save; we need to have a long conversation for you to have a normal life. [36:40] He realizes that the person to die is himself. Young-hoon returns to Sun-woo's house to check the pager. Nothing. He doesn't want to accept that there is nothing he can do.

The surgery in 2012 takes too long, things start to go wrong, and the doctor decides to close. Dr. Han can't give up and takes over but Sun-woo's heart stops. They did a good job simulating surgery, even including a red patch on the skin where the defibrillator was. They pull the sheet over the body and turn off the operating room lights as Young-hoon turns off the light in Sun-woo's 1992 bedroom. Dr. Han sits, defeated, in the 2012 breakroom. And he looks really different without his glasses. Min-young calls and he tries to tell her what happened when he is suddenly flooded by new memories.

That night in 1992 he had found a packet of pills on the floor. Adult Sun-woo had dropped it during the scuffle with teen Sun-woo at the start of episode 7. It was labeled with the name of a hospital that didn't exist yet. Young-hoon called Sun-woo in his hospital room and described the pills to a doctor who said they were for brain tumor.

Dr. Han high-tails it to the OR, where they are cleaning up. They tell him the patient was taken to the ICU. He chases down a gurney with a patient covered in a sheet. Fearfully he uncovers the face – it's someone else. Why would they take a deceased patient to the ICU? The subtitles must be wrong. A door swishes open and he looks up to see a television in an office. On the screen is Sun-woo reading the news, a little wooden and wide-eyed. Dr. Han exults that he saved Sun-woo's life.

I am not sure why we keep seeing people caught in a mirror; perhaps because these people have been caught up in time-line changes. Perhaps just to point out that there are several scenes in this episode in which events are mirrored from 1992 to 2012. It emphasizes that time is moving in parallel. We do not have any time-travel in this episode, but we have change caused by it. Finding the pills in 1992 changed things, but no one remembers it and nothing changes, until the parallel moment exactly 20 years later. Because they found out about the brain tumor they now watch for it and treat it early. We have moved to a new timeline and  Sun-woo is alive again. Or did he ever die? He got treated and didn't die of a brain tumor at all. The old time-line dissolved and is gone, leaving only the new one. Dr. Han remembers it though, so I assume Sun-woo does.

Running count – time travels: 11; remaining incense sticks: 2; Timelines: Past5, Present4.