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.

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