Thursday, March 31, 2016

Nine Time Travels: Timelines Untangled


Nine Time Travels is a fascinating story and also rather confusing, some of it intentional. There are several ways you could designate different timelines, but except for the prologue and epilogue, which are problematic, I have come up with 6 present timelines and 7 past ones. You could argue for a new timeline being created for every time travel with the incense sticks, but that isn't by itself what causes the changes. It is when someone makes a decision that will change things from the original timeline, that we get a new one. The present timelines are easy to distinguish by the smoke that dissolves something that is being changed - you could call them smoke changes. The past timelines are identified by the incident that causes the smoke changes.

Abbreviations-- SW: Sun-woo          YJ: Yoo-jin                  TT: Timetravel
                          JW: Jung-woo         BF: Boyfriend              E: Episode
                          MY: Min-young       EM: Evil Minion

The events that cause the time changes are underlined.

PASTTIME TRAVELSPRESENT
Past1: the original past- JW and YJ break up, Dad dies, Choi takes the hospital, mom alone on Christmas, YJ goes to Am and marries, JW aimless   E1-Present1: the original present. SW and JW meet at cafe, SW flippant to MY, JW dies in Nepal, SW goes to get his effects, accuses Choi of graft
  1: snowy waste SW thinks it's a dream
E2- Past2: intruder, pager stolen; JW breaks aquarium, SW gets cut and pager 2: own room, sees past family SW has a cut and the pager from his high school study hall
E3- SW and Han talk about missing pager, Dad disapproves of YJ 3: in green room talks to self on phone SW thinks it is a hallucination, but reads notebook and learns of incense
Intruder at Maruna Lodge (SW) takes record and incense 4: retrieve incense sticks SW decides he might live, marries, MY writes on record cover
E4- Choi sees SW, JW is unhappy and drunk over breaking up with YJ 5: reconnoiter the hospital SW decides to make JW happy
Han, SW confused about card 6: takes Christmas card Han is convinced about incense and runs through halls
SW takes YJ to hospital, gives phone number to MY 7: goes to see YJ SW wants JW  and YJ to get back together
SW takes Mom to get new glasses, CCTV pix taken at optic shop.
Past3: MY makes call to JW; JW decides to marry YJ
8: takes Mom a Christmas necklace Care center calls SW, he remembers Mom had been alone for Christmas. Present2: MY disappears from cafe
E5- JW has been in America and become doctor   JW is head surgeon at hospital, Han and SW get new memories, MY has BF
E6- SW plans train trip, Choi tries to get Dad to invest in his research 9: visits teen self, takes minicams JW is depressed and taking drugs, Choi claims he didn't kill Dad.
E7- Past4: SW asks younger self for help, they fight, SW drops pills, plants camcorders in office; Dad visits home and dies later than originally   Present3: news article about the fire and the date on Dad's urn are changed
SW sees Dad dead on floor, Mom and Choi see him, SW chases JW and disappears 10: goes back to hospital  
E8- SW sees Mom-Dad-JW fight on tape; EM sets fire, SW leaves incense 11: retrieves tapes SW beats up JW at restaurant, gives Choi the USB, collapses at home
E9- At funeral Mom tells Choi about witness; young SW has burns and is in hospital; Past5: young Han finds cancer pills, decides on early checks   MY and JW meet BF's family, SW gets two surgeries and dies; Present4: SW alive because of early cancer treatments
E10- Young SW in hospital with burns; writes messages on guitar and railings   SW becomes main anchor, BF finds the record, MY remembers writing on it and kisses SW.
E11- EM brings the CCTV picture to Choi, he remembers same guy at hospital   Choi has court hearings, gets new memory of that picture; MY and SW meet at playground
E12- Incense is delivered to young SW, Choi shows pix to JW   MY is sick, SW finds incense, Han explains to MY, SW explains to JW
E13- Adult SW talks to young JW, EM stabs adult SW, JW goes to police 12: to talk JW into confessing SW is taken to hospital; Choi finds CCTV pix in storage
E14- Choi bribes police, destroys the tape, and threatens JW   BF slugs SW; SW and MY quit their jobs
E15-   JW OD's, EM is arrested, Choi visits JW in ICU
E16- Past6: housekeeper gives incense to cop, Choi calls EM, EM attacks young SW 13: Choi uses last incense in hospital Present5: incense disappears from Han; JW's funeral; Choi in court, gets incense from storage; SW swipes it
E17- Teen and adult SW fight EM; Past7 young SW gives Reporter Oh another tape, 14: SW rescues young self Present6: Choi's aides and car disappear, JW's funeral disappears, MY appears in wedding dress
E18- JW leaves wedding and confesses; Choi rams phone booth; JW and Choi sentenced   MY at wedding, Choi in shop, JW at China clinic, SW stuck in phone booth; Scene from Past7: SW meets parents
E19- SW in crumpled phone booth sees young MY; he dies. Present6 again: Han hears phone messages from SW; JW comes to Korea, visits Choi; Choi dies in crash
E20- YJ and MY go to America, JW goes to jail, Reporter Oh helps SW   From Past7: SW becomes reporter, meets MY at work; SW and JW meet at cafe, MY, JW, and SW all go to Nepal.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Nine Time Travels Episode 20: The Finale


Nine: Episode 20

Here we are at the last episode. It is the story of the new timeline created when Sun-woo went to Reporter Oh with the videotape. Jung-woo and Choi both go to jail, and in fact we only see Choi at the very beginning, when he rams the phone booth. We don't see what happens to him after he gets out of jail. Sun-woo grows up with Reporter Oh as a mentor.

We begin with little Min-young standing in the alley by the wrecked phone booth. The man in the next house comes out to check the weather and sees it, and immediately calls out to other people and they get the police. Yoo-jin comes looking for Min-young and hustles her away. I wouldn't want my child watching a homicide scene either. Look, they both have yellow raincoats. Cute! They fly away to a new life in America.

Hyung knocks on Sun-woo's door and we see handcuffs and the police standing behind him. Sun-woo refuses to talk but he looks out the window as they leave through the gate to the weeping of the housekeeper. He is still moping when Reporter Oh calls him up and takes him out to dinner. Oh tries to console him by saying his brother's sentence will be light, and he's seen lots worse stuff happen. Sun-woo decides to be a reporter because they were able to catch criminals that the police couldn't. Oh says that he ought to be a good reporter, and someday he will hire him and give him a chance. One of the few heartwarming scenes in this whole thing.

Young Sun-woo gets a phone message from his older self. [7:00] He was going back at noon and couldn't return, so to forget about him and just live his own life. “Every decision you make will make me. If you live every day the right way, you will find me in the mirror after twenty years.” Young Sun-woo writes a message to himself in his diary and leaves it at that.

Fourteen years later in 2007 we see young Sun-woo, now grown up, as a reporter at the scene of an accident. He jumps in front of a truck to rescue the victim's severed arm, and is nearly run down himself. So he's still the reckless type. Now-Chief Oh calls him about a company party. When he walks in late he accidently hits rookie Min-young with the door and is told off to take her to the hospital. Being pretty drunk, she pulls his hair and throws up on him in the cab and says embarassing things. Later he gets after her and says he hates people who can't control themselves when drunk. She just looks at him with stars in her eyes and asks, “Do you have a girlfriend?” hahaha.

She worms her way into his taxi and flirts until he tells her to lay off, and suddenly his worried face in the dark reminds her of the ajusshi she had seen in the phone booth. Immediately she wants out. The next day she asks a co-worker if Sun-woo has a criminal record or anything. She makes such a fuss that Sun-woo asks why. (Although dragging her by the arm is a bit much.) She says she's had trauma, and she likes him but she's afraid he'll ruin her life. He thinks she's nuts. [25:35] At least her hair is good in this timeline. Now we get some vignettes showing how their relationship develops over the next few years.

2008. Min-young walks into the green room to find Sun-woo sleeping on the couch. She goes in for a closer look and (Who would do this? It's sexual harrassment.) lifts up his collar to peek at his chest. He wakes up and she tries to run off but he pins her down on the sofa, saying she had been treating him like a rapist and now she does this? When Chief Oh walks in, she calls for help and he asks for the police. Chief Oh merely says, “Look at you two having fun!”

2009. Min-young gets into the news van and sits next to Sun-woo, who complains that she can't sit by him or he'll ruin her life. He falls asleep later, though, and when his head flops down on her shoulder she smiles and takes a selfie. He wakes and snipes at her, but then turns away and smiles to himself.

2010. Min-young in her cute colored apartment is overjoyed that Sun-woo calls her up to go to a movie. She spends a lot of time getting ready only to find that the whole department is there. She sobs during the movie that enough time has gone past and he could have called her but he demurs why should he? And then gives her a fond smile.

1011. Min-young wakes Sun-woo with a phone call. (His phone has the picture of her with the parka, and she hasn't even been to Nepal yet.) She's coming in from New York and wants him to meet her at the airport. It's her vacation. He objects but hops out of bed.

December 2012. Now we're up to when the drama started. [36:32] Sun-woo meets Jung-woo at that cafe. Hung is visiting, and there's no clue whether he's a doctor or not. They mention that their mother speaks sometimes. Jung-woo remarks that Sun-woo looks more and more like that man who helped them twenty years ago. Sun-woo looks a little conscious and says he doesn't remember. What? Doesn't hyung remember the other timeline? Did Sun-woo never tell his brother about the time-traveling? They ask each other about getting married and Jung-woo just shakes his head. He seems hesitant, not confidant. Does he still think about Yoo-jin? Sad. Sun-woo says that if he ever marries, he has a girl picked out who would never let him get depressed. So I guess he gets depressed. Jung-woo says he is going to Nepal (he has his red parka) and Sun-woo says Min-young is going there too, on assignment.

When Sun-woo gets back from lunch the other news staff are just leaving for the airport. He asks for Min-young and finds her in the green room. She complains he hadn't said good-bye and they bicker, and then he locks the door and lifts her onto the counter. He almost kisses her and then pulls back. “That reminds me,” he says. “I promised never to touch you. You said I would ruin your life.” She backpedals, someone knocks on the door and he goes ahead and kisses her. She leaves but comes back to tell him that this is how he is ruining her life, because he teases her and she will never get married. She tells him that long ago she saw a man who looked like him and had said to avoid anyone who looked like him because he would ruin her life. [46:00]

They replay the scene where he says that in the phone booth, but we can't tell if Sun-woo is remembering it. But he asks questions and she tells him that this man was really hurt, he told her that, and then he died. It was when she went to America, so 1993. She leaves with a co-worker but he remains, stunned by the news. He puts things together and figures out that his other self died.

She answers her phone on the plane just as they are telling people to put away their electronics. He asks her why she didn't stay away? What will she do when he dies? He looks at his last entry in the diary, which reads, “Did you get back safely? I will trust your words. I will understand my brother some day.” He orders a ticket to Nepal and as he packs he sees himself in the mirror [51:20] and the words come, “If you live every day the right way, you will find me in the mirror after twenty years.” And there he is. The same person he had seen as a boy. The image flashes several times between the young and adult versions, and perhaps at this moment his memory merges and both versions become one. “I will trust that I will make the right decisions.”

At the airport he turns in his bag (how did he have room in that little bag for that big puffy coat?) and buys the watch he used in all his time travels. Dr. Han calls and he tells him that he's going to see Min-young because she is the key to his fate. There was more trouble than the brain tumor; his future self from 2013 died in the past in 1993. Could that be a set fate, or can he avoid it?

December 4, 2012, he boards the plane and sits on the other side from before. He records a message to himself: I can no longer live without caring about the future. (Does that mean he has been flippant because his past trauma made him want to avoid making connections and being hurt again?) He wonders if these events were true. If so, he can save his future self and keep Min-young from being unhappy. But he decides it's a fantasy and that: I will believe what I want to believe and just love the girl I love.

The epilogue during the credits shows Jung-woo from episode 1 in his red parka, with his incense stick, lying in the snow. A shadow falls on his face; it's a man in a yellow parka who reaches out a hand. That scene obviously doesn't belong in the beginning because Jung-woo died in that timeline. Does he go out on the mountain a second time looking for the Maruna Lodge? Does Sun-woo find him on the mountain right then, or does hyung die again and Sun-woo uses the one incense stick, and only that one, to rescue him twenty years later?

Running count – time travels: 14; remaining incense sticks: 0; Timeline: Past7 has taken over.


Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Three Years of Kdramas


Here we come around to the Ides of March again. What a great day to have begun watching Korean dramas three years ago! We watched 23 dramas this year, and dropped just as many. I find that I don't have as much patience with drama tropes, fluff, and silliness. I need a good solid plot with good writing to enjoy a show. If course we need good actors, and good actors is more important than cute actors, which is a different standard than a lot of watchers have. As before, they are rated out of five stars.

1. Punch – Started the year with one with a great plot! A crooked prosecutor decides to fly right in order to protect his daughter and ex-wife after he gets a fatal cancer diagnosis. To do this he has to outsmart the machinations of his erstwhile buddy, the chief prosecutor. This is well-done and interesting, but with a bittersweet ending. ****

2. Two Outs in the Ninth Inning, also called 9 End 2 Outs. A man and a woman who have been platonic friends since childhood share his apartment after he sublets it to her when his company transfers him abroad, and then cancels the transfer. He becomes jealous of her boyfriend, and then they start falling for each other. ***

3. Let's Eat - A show about eating, with close-ups and discussions about food. Oh, and there's a plot about a legal secretary, the people in her office, and the insurance salesman who lives next door. **

4. What's Up! The students at a fine arts college learn to work together as they cope with personal problems and secrets, and with a famous professor who is always drunk. One side story is about a voice student who is afraid to sing in front of anyone, and then belts out an amazing finale to their musical production. **

5. Falling For Innocence, also called Falling in Love With Soon-jung – A cut-throat businessman is fighting his uncle for his father's company when he gets a heart transplant from a kind-hearted man who was engaged to a woman in the company. He starts to fall for her and becomes more like the man who died. ***

6. Warm and Cozy, also called Jeju Island Gatsby - A slow-moving show about a man who sells his restaurant to a woman he thinks is dying, but isn't really. They slowly become fond of each other over the interference of his annoying old girlfriend who really just wants his money. Yeah. We would have dropped it except for the cute storyline about his uncle and the lady pearl-fisher. **

7. My Girl – Cute show about a girl who works as a tour guide to pay off her father's debts and meets a rich guy who admires her ad-libbing skills. He pays her to impersonate a long-lost cousin to make his dying grandfather happy. The grandfather recovers and they start falling in love but are stuck with the impersonation. ***

8. I Remember You also called Hello Monster – An expat detective returns to Korea to find his kidnapped younger brother and solve his father's murder. There are two serial killers in this one, both of whom you come to sympathize with because of their rotten backgrounds. It's a very good story with a very lame ending. ***

9. Oh My Ghostess – Kim Seul-gi does a hilarious job as a virgin ghost who possesses bodies trying to find a man so she can move on. Park Bo-young does another hilarious job as the shy chef who gets possessed and acquires all the traits and mannerisms of the ghost. The poor head chef doesn't know who he's in love with, and neither do we. In the suspenseful second half of the story the ghost comes across another ghost who possesses people and finds out how she died. *****

10. Heard it Through the Grapevine – A serious, very well done drama about a young man who gets his girlfriend pregnant and marries her over the objections of his wealthy snobby parents. The baby is cute, the boy is struggling against his parents, and the girl is very smart and trying hard to get along with everyone. Eventually she wins over the staff, his mother, and almost everyone except his stubborn dad. ****

11. Twenty Again – A girl who had to get married lives in her husband's shadow and lets him push her around. When her son goes to college she signs up also, finds out she can do well, and meets a man who always had a crush on her. She's rather too na├»ve to be believable however, and there is a weak ending. ***

12. Miss Granny – this is a movie, very imaginative and funny. A grandma who feels unappreciated gets magically turned young again and gets to sing with her grandson's band. She finds out who really cares about her, and learns to interact with her family better. There is a surprise ending when someone else get turned young by the magic.****

13. King of Dramas – A young screenwriter is alternately helped and manipulated by an unscrupulous television producer, Anthony. He uses all kinds of tricks used by real dramas to gain power or audiences, so the catch-word from this show has become: What would Anthony do? ***

14. Dr. Champ – A young doctor is recruited to work at the Korean Olympic training camp. She learns from the senior doctor how to work with the athletes and trainers and to navigate power struggles. **

15. Miss Korea – To save his fledgling cosmetics company a young businessman talks his ex-girlfriend into entering the Miss Korea pageant and advertise his wares. Most of the contestants come from one of two beauty schools. The head of one is a classy, glamorous ex-Miss Korea. The other is her embarrassing slapsitck ex-assistant. ***

16. Plus Nine Boys also called Age Ending in Nine Boys – Since it is bad luck for your age to end in 9, it is a rough year for a family with a 9-year-old actor, a 19-year-old judo player, a 29-year-old travel agency agent, and their 39-year-old tv producer uncle. They all have joys and woes at work and with girls they like. ***

17. The Pirates – this is another movie. A humorous one set in historical times, about a whale swallowing the royal seal given to Korea by the Chinese emperor. Pirates, bandits, and the Korean army compete to find it first. It appears there is going to be a sequel. ***

18. Couple or Trouble – A spoiled, rich heiress fights with a repairman working on her yacht and dumps him and his tools overboard. Later she gets drunk and falls off the yacht herself, and comes out of the water with amnesia. They meet at the hospital, and since he needs a nanny for his orphaned nephews, he lies that she is his live-in girlfriend. ***

19. Splish Splash Love – two episodes. A high school girl afraid of taking her college entrance exams, steps into a puddle and falls into Joseon times. She teaches the king algebra and science, and helps him invent hangul; and realizes that she knows more than she thought she did, and gains confidence for the test. ****


20. Imaginary Cat – What could be cuter than a man and his cat? The man draws webtoons and the big orange cat makes sly remarks on the side. There is a girl who likes the cat and thinks it may have once been hers, and then starts to like the boy. Cute, but not a whole lot of plot. **

21. She Was Pretty – Slightly amusing story about a girl who was very pretty when young but has now apparently become ugly because of frizzy hair and red cheeks. She is afraid to meet a childhood friend who used to be ugly and is now very good looking, so she asks a friend to stand in for her. They both fall in love with the guy. ***

22. I Am Sam – The spoiled daughter of a mob boss gets a crush on a high school teacher and gets her father to put her in school with that teacher. They get involved with a student who has a sick little brother, and another one who looks tough but tries to keep his best friend out of trouble, as well as thugs from a rival mob. ***

23. Signal – Awesome time-travel police drama in which a detective from the past talks to a modern-day profiler over a magical walkie-talkie. The profiler is on a cold case squad with a woman who knew the detective years ago, before he went missing. Often dark, always intriguing, and full of surprises. *****

Friday, March 11, 2016

Nine Episode 19: Just Hang Up


Nine: Episode 19

It's April 24, 2013 (the supposed wedding day) at 8:00 pm. Dr. Han sits in his office looking at Sun-woo's phone, which also reads 8:00. How did he get it? He listens to the first message, which was Sun-woo saying the incense is mocking him and he is stuck in the past. The second one is an update that he is still stuck and asking how everything turned out. We see Sun-woo's watch, which says 12:40. Then Choi's car rams him.

We move to the same time in 2013; the wedding is late and people are starting to murmer. Sun-woo's friend from work arrives with word that he is missing. Dr. Han figures since Sun-woo went to see Choi that his car should be where the hospital used to be. (So now the hospital is gone.) He finds the car, and sitting on the curb next to it is a disheveled Dr. Choi. The wealthy, well-dressed version of him surrounded by lawyers doesn't exist. He turns and without a word drives away in his delivery van.

We return to Sun-woo, who has passed out but now comes to again, still in the rain. His watch reads 2:21. He leaves a third message to say he is badly injured but can't imagine his life will end here. He tries to move his leg and the side of the phone booth but can't.

In 2013 Min-young waits in her wedding dress until her dad comes to tell her it's too late and time to go home. The police check out Sun-woo's car, a tow-truck comes to take it away, and the reporter friend gives the small box from the front seat to Dr. Han. It's the wedding rings. Dr. Han sits on the curb waiting, until it grows dark. Jung-woo, who has just flown in, calls to ask the news. Shouldn't he have returned when the incense burned out? It has been over six hours. So 6:30. Han reports that Choi had been with the car. He was very changed, but must have been up to something, otherwise why was he there? Jung-woo says he knows where Choi would be. Has he been keeping tabs on him in this timeline?

Choi is in his shop drinking soju from a plastic cup when Jung-woo walks in, looking younger and thinner, actually. Maybe it's the haircut. [15:00] Choi gripes that the brothers ruined his life, and then admits that Sun-woo is dead and he did it. He cackles that it was a perfect crime, and tells Jun-woo to look up the accident in the police records. A distraught Jung-woo asks him why he couldn't have been a better man when he had a second chance at life. He has prayed for twenty years that Choi would reform, because Choi is his father. What an awful pair they are, he killed his father, and Choi killed his father's son. Choi is stunned too, and disbelieving, until he remembers what he had done to Jung-woo's mom.

Dr. Han and Jung-woo meet up at the police station, as the cops look through records of traffic accidents in 1993.

Dr. Choi drives drunkenly off to see Jung-woo's mom. He's been keeping tabs on her, too, because he knows what clinic she's in. He cries at her that she had told him the child wasn't his, as security hauls him away. She sits still unresponsive.

The police find the hit-and-run phone booth accident. A witness had heard a loud noise about 1:00 and seen a car, but thought the noise was thunder. The victim was found about 8:00 and when the police arrived at 8:30, he was already dead. They had pictures of the accident scene and of his work ID badge, which they thought was fake. Reading the file, Jung-woo and Dr. Han are devastated.

Min-young, reflected in a mirror, tries to call Sun-woo, with no answer. Her mom says the brothers are alike.

Choi calls Jung-woo, apologetic and wanting to meet, but Jung-woo hangs up on him. As he fiddles with his phone, he swerves and goes off the road, and that's the end of him. For this timeline, anyway.

1993 Choi is pacing his office when Jung-woo calls from the hospital. Choi threatens him again and asks if he is at the airport. Jung-woo just says, “yes,” and hangs up. So, the same response both times.

So now we are up to 8:00 pm again, with Dr. Han in his office. An hour before, the police officer had said there was an odd item belonging to the victim that had been saved in an envelope. When he opened it, it turned out to be a modern cell phone. The officer thought it was a mix-up somehow, but Dr. Han knew what it was and kept it. He put a new battery in it and played the messages. [37:50] The fourth one says he will think of a way to get back. We see him pitifully trying to attract attention by banging on the metal rail. In the next view it is dark, and still raining. He can hardly move, but he leaves a fifth message. “I think I know why I can't go back. The incense stick was me. When I lit it, I became the fruit of knowledge for other's lives.” We see a montage of events from the drama, including Jung-woo talking to the crooked cop. “It was an opportunity and a curse. It was me. I used all the incense sticks; my role is over. I won't ever be able to go back. I don't feel depressed; I won't have to feel guilty for playing God. It was never in my power, but His. For being a true friend to me in every life, thank you.” He passes out again.

Min-young in the mirror is listening to her mother guessing that he must have died because no one can find him. Suddenly she gets a new memory. When a child (exactly twenty years earlier) she had come upon a man lying in a crumpled phone booth. She recognized him as the man who had taken her mother to the hospital. He told her that if someday she saw a man who looked like him, to stay away because he would ruin her life. Adult Min-young bawls as she remembers making a pinky promise. He dies; his hand falls; his watch reads 8:07.

Sun-woo said he was the fruit of knowledge, referring to the fruit from the tree of knowledge that Adam ate. In both cases it not only gave forbidden knowledge but brought death as well. If his role is over, would he have died even without being hit by the car? He at least has no role with the people of the present. But you notice that his watch said 8:07 and no one else's went past 8:00. It has been suggested that his timeline extinguished when he died, because no one is shown after that.

This episode all happens on the same day as the last one, is still the timeline where the brothers had gone to the police, Jung-woo and Choi had gone to jail, and Min-young had an American father. Sun-woo had died in 1993 and his cellphone had been in the police station for twenty years. Him being the incense stick is an oddity. I suppose that means his life was connected to it and using it used up his life.

Running count – time travels: 14; remaining incense sticks: 0; Timelines: Past7 Present6.


Sunday, March 6, 2016

Nine Episode 18: Phone Booth in the Rain


Nine: Episode 18

We start up again on April 24, 1993 at 11:59 am when the wedding guests are realizing that the groom is missing. We have a brief look at Dr. Han in 2013 pacing the floor in his office and then taking his turn at being bug-eyed as he is hit with new-timeline memories at 12:00. Suddenly he is standing outside the church with his family. He has to ask his wife if it is Sun-woo's wedding. She thinks he is being silly because, of course.

We revisit 2013 with Min-young at the mortuary watching everything disappear in smoke. Then she realizes she is in a bridal gown with a bouquet of slightly wilted alstroemeria. Her mother and Boston lawyer stepfather, Joo Sung-hoon, are greeting the guests. Mom looks completely happy this time around and Step-dad looks like a nice guy (he gives Min-young a thumbs up) so why didn't we regret losing him before?

Now we return to 2013 Dr. Choi with the disappearing golf club and aides. He finds himself a little the worse for wear in a small crowded medical supply shop, with his hair standing straight up, wearing a plaid shirt and sweater instead of a suit. He remembers Sun-woo saying he would take away twenty years of glory. He does a pretty good godzilla imitation kicking his new delivery van.

Jump to 1993 to see what happened to Jung-woo. He comes out the church door, turns around to see Shi-ah, and walks away in the rain. And... he is standing in his white coat holding a syringe in a small clinic. There are signs in Korean, Chinese, and English; one reads: International Medical Mission. [11:00] He flashes back through a lifetime of memories to that same day in 1993. He had found his younger brother, injured, at a hospital, with Reporter Oh, and offered to tell them everything.

Poor 1993 Yoo-jin is having it rough being jilted at the altar. She cries and says he's done it to her before and she can't stand it. She is going to go away. Luckily she already has a passport and airline tickets for America.

Reporter Oh tells the whole story on air about the accidental death, Choi threatening Jung-woo, getting a gang member to help him, and bribing two police officers to cover it up. Sitting in the back of a cop car, Choi complains bitterly to Evil Minion that he wanted the witness dealt with, not a high school student; and Minion allows as how he was told to kill the kid.

When the police take hyung to visit Mom she is outside on the patio. Sun-woo watches through the window and refuses to talk to him.

During court procedings Choi tries browbeating hyung again, but he isn't afraid anymore. Hyung is awarded the ownership of the hospital and sentenced to three years; Choi gets four and a half. Sometime later Sun-woo calms down and goes to see hyung in jail to show him his college acceptance. He muses, “He told me I would understand later,” and when hyung questions who, he says, “It's a secret.” Standing in his mission clinic reviewing his memories, adult Jung-woo realizes what that meant, and smiles. [19:15] He asks another doctor what time it is in Korea and is told noon. That's when the wedding is, and he goes out to call his brother. He must be several time-zones away if it is hard to keep track of Korean time.

An ecstatic Dr. Han comes into the back room where our bride Min-young is waiting. He assures her that this is real and Sun-woo has changed things back. She looks rather blank and stunned. I thought she would look happy, but maybe she is ajusting to new memories.

And we see some. It's February 2013. Sun-woo is trying to sleep in Min-young's apartment and she is pestering him to propose. What? Didn't they say they got married that time in Nepal? They didn't get married yet this time around? He smiles to himself after she leaves. Jerk. Wait a minute. Isn't this the Sun-woo we knew in Episode 1 before he got serious? He is still in bed when her mother walks in a little later and surprises him. She doesn't know who he is, and neither does the Boston lawyer stepfather who comes in with the suitcases. Ha. Sun-woo is embarassed and not so arrogant anymore. He hides in the bathroom until Min-young comes in and steamrolls him into saying they are engaged. He looks crestfallen, but seems pretty happy later with her in the wedding pictures.

We see Jung-woo call from outside his clinic. There is a Chinese flag, so they must be in western China if they are several time zones away. He says he can't get ahold of Sun-woo. He calls himself Daddy and wishes her happy, and she bawls. Aww, she really loved him as a dad. He says he can hardly believe he is alive, and he is not unhappy in this life. They both obviously remember the other timeline.

We see the interview with Sun-woo and Min-young's parents when they first met. Stepdad is the big teddybear and Mom is the disciplinarian. Mom figures out that Sun-woo is the brother of the Jung-woo she had known. He says, “yes, how did you know?” She tells him her name and asks if he remembers her. We see his expression change as he does. Mom asks if he remembers Shi-ah; that Min-young had her name changed. He lookes lost. She asks if Jung-woo had married and he says no.

This is a weird scene. Why doesn't he remember? Memory is supposed to be a residual. Everyone else who was in the know before still knows. Dr. Han definitely does. We see him trying to call Sun-woo, who is late to the wedding, but the phone is out of service.

Back on April 24, 1993, 11:59, Sun-woo is still waiting in the phone booth in the rain. The timer on his watch hits zero and he still doesn't time-travel. We watch as 2013 Dr. Choi's assistants and car, and finally he himself, go up in smoke. The incense burns out and the ash stump falls over.  [40:15]  A little box appears on the front seat and then the incense holder and case disappear altogether. (That seems pretty final. The magic is extinct.) After ten minutes Sun-woo smiles wryly at the cosmic joke on him and records a message on his phone telling Dr. Han he is stuck in the past.

We pay a visit to Dr. Choi on April 24, 1993 at 12:30. He's still taped to his chair, but the custodian hears him yelling and gets him loose. Driving through the rain, he notices Sun-woo in the phone booth down an alley. 2013 Choi cheers as his 1993 self rams the car right into that phone booth. A man pokes his head out of an upstairs window wondering what that noise was, so Choi drives away. Sun-woo slumps to the ground and sits inside the wreckage as his blood runs and his eyes close.

What a mess. What are we left with? It is significant that the incense case disappeared, because that means

If Past7 is a timeline where hyung became a doctor and wasn't unhappy, he never went wandering around or looked for magic incense. Young Sun-woo's life would be different: he saw a stranger who said he was himself as a grown up. He figured out (from the pills) that he was going to get cancer and prevented it, and went to college while his brother was in jail. He never went to Nepal because he didn't have to claim his brother's body, he never got the little diary because it had never been written, and never had any incense sticks. If he kept the memory of alternate timelines, he would have aquired it in December 2012, when he originally found out, but it looks like he didn't.

One artifact of time-travel is that people don't remember what happened in the past of the altered timeline until the twenty-year anniversary rolls around. Adult Sun-woo didn't remember what his teen self had been doing and had to check his diary. The Sun-woo we see meeting Min-young's parents must be that teen Sun-woo who has grown up with this alternate life. He doesn't remember things that were different in the original timeline, and may never do so unless something triggers it.

Running count – time travels: 14; remaining incense sticks: 0; Timelines: Past7, Present6.