by concreteroads, April 3, 2013

Episode 4 Recap
Hello! concreteroads will be doing the recap for Episode 4 of Nine: 9 Times Time Travel.
So sorry for the delay guys! >.>
We begin on December 23, 1992 at Myungse Hospital, in the office of one Dr. Choi Jin Chul. He's on the phone with a Director Oh, and gets increasingly agitated as he makes promises about convincing somebody else and sealing a deal in the few days.
As he exits the hospital, he bumps into a man--it's 2012 Sun Woo, as shots of a stick of incense burning in his car in the present day prove. They stare at each other for a long moment, before they apologize, and Dr. Choi drives off in his car. Sun Woo enters the hospital. He pauses when he sees the signs pointing towards the director's (his dad's) office, and smiles. A nurse comes up and asks him what he's looking for, since the hospital's closed. He remembers this nurse from when he was a student, wandering around the hospital looking for his dad. He inquires as to where the director is, followed by "Dr. Park Jung Woo" (meaning that his brother was a doctor too), but is told that they've already gone home for the night.
With twenty minutes left on his watch (he has about half an hour per full incense stick now), he catches a taxi and hurries to his house. On the way, he spots his brother sitting in a restaurant, and stops the taxi to go see his brother. His brother is drinking alone, and is a complete emotional wreck, sniffling and wiping back tears. Seconds after the restaurant owner comes in and asks after Sun Woo, Jung Woo collapses onto the ground. Sun Woo helps his brother back into the taxi. The restaurant owner comes out asking for payment. Sun Woo is about to pay, but realizes that he only has brand new bills, and quickly grabs Jung Woo's wallet instead.
While returning his brother's wallet to his coat inside the taxi, Sun Woo finds something else that his brother had tucked in there: a letter addressed to Kim Yoo Jin, a final letter to his love.
In front of the house, their taxi pulls up just behind their dad's car. Dad sees Jung Woo asleep inside and gets kind of angry. Sun Woo quickly gathers his composure at seeing his dad who's been dead for twenty years, and introduces himself as Jung Woo's friend. Dad asks: "Did he cry over a girl?", shocking Sun Woo. The dad slams the door, and instructs the help to carry Jung Woo up to his room.
The stick of incense burns out, and Sun Woo arrives back in the present. He opens his brother's notebook, to find the name Kim Yoo Jin written there as well.
Christmas Eve, 2012. We wake up with Min Young, who has possibly the fluffiest, girliest, most adorable room ever. She browses through couple pics on her phone of her and Sun Woo, and then shares a series of adorable texts with Sun Woo (who manages to consistently make me swoon). He grins like a little boy when he reads her ridiculously lovey-dovey text, and it's adorable.
His doctor friend Young-hoon calls, threatening to report Sun Woo's tumor to his boss and get him fired, if he doesn't hurry up and get himself hospitalized. Sun Woo grins and turns sees a rack of Christmas cards in a convenience store, which brings something to mind.
Christmas Eve, 1992, Young-hoon drops by the study hall, looking for Sun Woo. The study hall lady tells him that he's the only one still studying, it's Christmas Eve. He goes to his desk and finds a Christmas card from Sun Woo. It's not what he expects, however. The card reads: "To my friend who is on duty in the ER on Christmas. When you receive a letter on December 24, 2012 at 10 AM from me, you will know what this card means. See you in 20 years." It's a card from 2012 Sun-woo!
Back in 2012, Young-hoon wakes up to the sound of his phone ringing. It's his daughter calling to ask, basically, if he remembers that he's taking mommy out to dinner for Christmas Eve, hint hint hint. Of course he doesn't really have a choice in the matter, and promises to be home by 6-- even though of course, he forgot to make the reservation. As he hurries online, he spots an email from Sun Woo. Of course it's the twenty years later Christmas card that Sun-woo promised, and it contains the audio file Sun-woo recorded previously while searching for the incense in the Himalayas, about how his brother died in search of a time machine that now he's hunting. Of course Young-hoon thinks his poor friend is going nuts, succumbing to his illness, or both... until he suddenly remembers that mysterious card from twenty years ago.
Young-hoon adorably goes wild and runs out of his office, screaming like a mad man. He runs all the way to Sun-woo's office, so wild-eyed that his assistants are hesitant at first to let the crazy man in.
Sun-woo shows Young-hoon the incense sticks--he still has 7 out of 9 remaining. He insists that he must fulfill his brother's wishes first, but Young-hoon insists that he should go back and warn himself about the tumor instead, to save his life. But Sun-woo can't think of a way to do so without driving his past self insane, and so refuses for the time being.  Gah. Despite the overacting in this scene from Young-hoon, their friendship kills me. I just know they're going to put my heart through the wringer later on.

We also find out that Sun-woo happened to be there when his father died in the fire, and that his father died on December 30, 1992-- six days from now. The reason he visited the hospital at the beginning of the episode was to scope out the building's layout so that he can act decisively when he really needs to. His brother also had a second wish, aside from saving their father. Sun-woo found out about this second desire when he found his brother's letter to Kim Yoo Jin. She was a woman four years Jung-woo's senior, a former band singer and a widow with a young daughter. Of course their father wouldn't have approved, and forced them to split up.
To learn more, Sun-woo went on a second trip, to the record shop the woman owned in 1992. Only there, he found the woman's daughter, Yoon Shi-ah, crying--because her mother, Kim Yoo-jin, had read Jung-woo's final letter and attempted to killed herself from a drug overdose. Luckily, Sun-woo's presence means that Yoo-jin gets taken to hospital in time and saved. Later, according to Sun-woo's research, she moved to the US and eventually dropped off the radar after 1997. 2012 Sun-woo gives the daughter Jung-woo's number and tells her to contact him.
Back in the present, Sun-woo and Young-hoon discuss the ramifications of his actions in the past, wondering when changes to the present will pop up. Min-young runs in and clings to Sun-woo, telling him to look couple-y, since their coworkers are watching. They didn't believe that they were really properly dating (Min-young: "They think I badger you and you scold me all the time"; Sun-woo: "That's true, you badger me and I scold you") so Min-young brought them here to prove a point. She asks Sun-woo to make a big heart, and although he throws his typical "Let's break up" line back at her, after more begging, he complies, and makes the awkwardest, adorablest heart over his head ever. Of course he gets ribbing from the coworkers ("it's not like it's Kim Tae-hee- you'd do that for Joo Min-young?!"), but he just takes it like a champ and grins.
A call breaks their little date, however, as a nurse reminds Sun-woo that he forgot to visit his mother as he intended. At first he plans to put it off until the following week, but Min-young urges him to go.  At first he makes excuses, but then remembers a Christmas Eve years and years ago, when he ditched Mom before. He rushes out; Min-young thinks he's going to visit Mom in the present, but of course he intends to visit Mom in the past, when she still had her full mental faculties.
20 years ago, Sun-woo was planning to go out with Mom for Christmas Eve (it was supposed to have been a family dinner, except Dad and Jung-woo ditched) when he got a last minute call from the girl he liked, asking him out to a movie. At first he sticks to his family, but when the girl says she'll just call up another guy instead, he changes his mind fast. He lies to his mom, telling her that one of his friends got into an accident and that he has to go check up on him, as the Class Pres. Mom lets him go of course, and sits at home alone, staring wistfully at the Christmas tree. Aw.

And awwwww more, as Mom walks up to the same movie theatre, to buy a ticket for the exact same movie. I know we already saw this scene (in the flashback, Sun-woo picks up the glove the lady sitting behind him dropped, only to turn around and come face to face with his mother), but a second time, it's still awkward and awful. What's worse is how supportive Mom is, as Sun-woo begs her to please shhh and not alert his crush to this embarrassing situation, and she complies. The second time Sun-woo turns around, she's gone.
2012 Sun-woo enters the movie theatre and finds Mom before she goes in. He purposefully bumps into her, and even steps on her glasses to prevent her from being able to see the movie. (Well. That's one way to do it, I guess.) He takes Mom to a glasses shop, to  spend more time with her. His time running out, he calls Mom a taxi and sends her home. When she arrives and opens her purse, she discovers a present (a necklace) and a card inside. Of course it's from 2012 Sun-woo, although he addresses it to her from past Sun-woo. And, cutting back to Mom in 2012, still in hospital care, she has the same necklace around her neck.
Sun-Woo comes back to Min-young, and although she peppers him with questions, he sticks to his cryptic story of going to see his mother. She brings up her mother as well, envying his close relationship with his mother. She tells him that she was never close with her mother, as she was always emotional and tumultuous to be around. She even had to change her name because of her mother, twice.
And, confirming my suspicions for the past two episodes, we cut back to Kim Yoo-jin's daughter, calling the number 2012 Sun-woo gave her.
Meanwhile, Min-young tells Sun-woo that her mom changed her name because a fortune teller said it was bad luck, and then her surname changed too after her mom remarried. Her old name? Yoon Shi-ah.
Sun-woo's jaw drops. My suspicions are confirmed.
In 1992, young Yoon Shi-ah calls the number that 2012 Sun-woo gave her over and over again. Just when she's about to give up, a man--Jung Woo--picks up.
In the present, Sun-woo looks on in horror... as Min-young disappears.

End of episode.


Okay, fine. I saw this coming ever since the whole brother thing was introduced, and these past two episodes made my suspicions even bigger, once we found out that the brother had a love interest in 1992.

But arghh. I actually did not want this to happen, and was hoping that the show would find a way to give us high stakes and dramatic tension without having Min-young so directly tied to Sun-woo's time travelling actions. Unfortunately, this twist does throw the perfect wrench into the story, and the side of me that isn't squealing and swooning all over this couple can understand why the storyline worked out this way. Because what better conflict could there be? Sun-woo has the power now to fulfill his brother's wish, but it would mean destroying his own happiness (and he has so little of it already T__T) in the process. While the previews do seem to indicate that Min-young's disappearance is a false alarm (well, obviously, where would the show be with no heroine), they also show that some big changes are going to happen next--and this final scene, more than anything, is a warning for our long-suffering hero. Sure, he can change the past and get everything he wants--but that means risking the things he has and loves in the present. The classic time-traveler's dilemma.

Between that and the fabulous small moments--between Sun-woo and Young-hoon, between Sun-woo and Mom--this show has me hooked.

Episodes Recapped: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20

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