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A young woman with a perfect life lands in a coma & is presented with two options: pass on into the great beyond, or spend the next 49 days collecting tears shed by three non-relatives who truly love her.

A young woman with a perfect life lands in a coma và is presented with two options: pass on into the great beyond, or spend the next 49 days collecting tears shed by three non-relatives who truly love her.

Episode 1 Episode 2 Episode 3 Episode 4 Episode 5 Episode 6 Episode 7 Episode 8 Episode 9 Episode 10 Episode 11 Episode 12 Episode 13 Episode 14 Episode 15 Episode 16 Episode 17 Episode 18 Episode 19 Episode trăng tròn (Final)

49 Days: Episode 1

by javabeans

I like!

49 Days had a slow ratings start (8.6%), but when I’m talking about dramas that hook my interest from the get-go, the ratings discussion is really just an afterthought. I was much more interested in seeing whether the drama would be able to capitalize on its promise, & although I approached warily, I found myself responding really well to the first episode.

The story itself didn’t hold many surprises — it was all given away in the promos và premise descriptions — so what made it work was the relationships the drama has built, & the characters who hint at being much more than meets the eye. Even if that means that for this hour, we had to lớn sit through a LOT of Nam Gyuri‘s acting, which ranged from badly stilted khổng lồ middling. But everyone else? I’m excited.


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We’ve covered the cài đặt in all the pre-premiere posts, so without further ado:


We start out with scenes from modern life in Korea, và the clips converge on a central theme of birth & death. Old life passing, making room for the new.

Playing a guitar on the ledge of a high-rise (because, sure, why not?) is our pretty-boy Grim Reaper (Jung Il-woo), looking over his domain with a detached eye.

Down below, a traffic jam strands three young ladies in a cab, with an engagement ceremony fast approaching. The stressed-out bride — er, fiancée-to-be — is about to thất bại it; SHIN JI-HYUN (Nam Gyuri) has many nicknames, one of which is “crybaby,” and she’s about to prove its aptness here.

Averting disaster is her stalwart best friend, SHIN IN-JUNG (no relation) (Seo Ji-hye), who urges Ji-hyun và their third friend PARK SEO-WOO (Bae Geu-rin) to make it on foot. When Ji-hyun’s heel breaks, it’s In-jung who gives up her flats và runs on in her stocking feet.

Elsewhere, an architect works at his desk, only looking up when he is reminded that the engagement ceremony is approaching. This is HAN KANG (Jo Hyun-jae), who dresses in his suit và heads toward the venue.

A classic misdirect makes us think (if we haven’t read the plot synopsis by now) that he’s the late groom-to-be, and he tugs nervously at his tie like a bachelor with cold feet. But no, it’s a fake-out: He bursts into the ceremony as it’s just winding down.

The happy couple isn’t greatly disturbed so there’s no big drama here — at least, until we pan back to lớn Kang’s uncomfortable face và realize that no, he’s not the fiancé. He’s the guy who wishes he were.

It’s one of those subtle things we don’t realize right away, but comes through the more we see Kang in the couple’s presence. In fact, the dynamic niggles at my memory… Where have I seen this before? (Aside from every other drama ever.)

Ji-hyun greets Kang with friendliness, but he coldly ignores her & focuses on talking to lớn his hyung, fiancé KANG MIN-HO (Bae Soo-bin). We get the sense Ji-hyun is used lớn being snubbed but keeps trying because she wants to win Kang over, but he’s not having it. (AH! It’s Love, Actually.)

Case in point: Min-ho asks Kang to lớn hold Ji-hyun’s hand because she keeps tripping over her dress, and he stutters an excuse lớn avoid it. She’s miffed at his rejection, but Kang is working in self-preservation mode here, and just trying to lớn get along without being found out.

The only person to lớn pick up on something in Kang’s behavior is Ji-hyun’s dad, who looks at him quizzically. Min-ho explains that they met while he was studying for his MBA in the States. Kang is a high school classmate of Ji-hyun’s, & “practically a genius” as an architect.

Now on the other kết thúc of the income bracket, we have poor tuy vậy YI-KYUNG (Lee Yo-won), who hunches in her tiny apartment eating a bowl of instant ramyun for dinner, looking like all the life has been drained out of her eyes. She trudges lifelessly lớn her soul-sucking job at a small convenience store, where she works in a dull daze. Even when a customer tries to lớn engage her with a friendly smile, she looks right through him & dismisses him.

Ji-hyun’s father is called away from the engagement ceremony with an upsetting call, and he stumbles home drunk that night. Guess the news must’ve been bad, because he urges the kids to lớn marry right away — like, this month. They protest, but he reverse-psychologies them, asking, So of a sudden you don’t want to marry, is that it?

Clearly there’s some reason prompting them lớn hurry — I’m guessing it’s financial, related to Dad’s investment business — but he doesn’t divulge it.

The hasty wedding isn’t what Min-ho or Ji-hyun had planned, but they dutifully go along with it, và Min-ho makes his official proposal lớn seal the deal. Then, they điện thoại tư vấn their wedding buổi tiệc ngọt for dinner that night (where, we may note, Kang acts distant toward Ji-hyun but happens lớn know all of her food preferences).

The happy couple reminisces about their first meeting, which spins us off into a flashback lớn a hiking trip that Ji-hyun had gone on with In-jung.

What started off sunny và invigorating had turned dark & rainy, và the girls had been separated in the woods. Min-ho had found her huddled & shivering in the woods, and carried her to safety và called an ambulance khổng lồ tend to lớn her.

Kang is already hating being here at all, and as he listens to this lãng mạn story, it’s all he can bởi to will his head not khổng lồ burst. He keeps his arms crossed grumpily và endures the adoring couple.

And while In-jung is the model of the perfect, caring, thoughtful best friend, I suspect there’s more there, too. (Granted, I’m keeping in mind what I know from her character description.)

For example, everything In-jung does and says is perfectly sweet. & I don’t suspect her of being a scheming backstabber (not yet, at least). But she has an overcompensation thing going on, lượt thích she’s trying khổng lồ will herself to lớn be happy for her friend, in the way that Kang is trying to lớn will himself not khổng lồ shoot himself in aggravation.

The girls go through the wedding plans, with organized In-jung on đứng đầu of the to-do list. As an example of how sweet but dim Ji-hyun is, she exclaims that her bridesmaids ought lớn wear the same wedding dress when they marry — ostensibly lớn save money, but kind of mind-numbingly self-absorbed, no? But her friends are well aware of her cute, simple ways and laugh along with her.

In-jung had until recently been Ji-hyun’s roommate, but upon the wedding, her old room will be turned into a study. Usurped in more ways than one, perhaps?

It’s the dead of night (well past 3am) when Yi-kyung’s convenience store is held up by two robbers wielding a knife. They demand money, but find her contained reaction a little unnerving. Seeing that she doesn’t even flinch, one growls, “Do you wanna die?” She challenges him, “Stab me.”

The cops arrive khổng lồ arrest the failed thieves, và even the police officer tells Yi-kyung incredulously that she should’ve handed the money over khổng lồ keep herself safe.

The boys meet up for an early-morning workout session, & Kang asks Min-ho lớn relieve him of groomsman duties. We can surmise his reasoning for wanting out, but he’s also got his reputation for indifferent detachment working in his favor, and Min-ho assumes he just finds such things tiresome. He lets his friend off the hook, and says that it was Ji-hyun’s affection for tradition that they had persuaded him khổng lồ join them in the first place.

Min-ho recalls that Kang had been intending to track down a woman once he came back to lớn Korea — which suggests he’s newly arrived — và says that it shouldn’t be so hard to find a person in such a tiny country. Kang deflects this, though, which makes me suspect that he may have been looking for his old friend Ji-hyun. (And, perhaps, found her too late?)

Kang tries to avoid Ji-hyun when he runs into her later, but she follows him and tries again to engage him. She explains that she wants all her & Min-ho’s closest friends to be a part of their big day, and Kang has a double claim — he’s Min-ho’s closest buddy, & also her old friend.

Kang sets her straight, saying that they are NOT friends, thankyouverymuch, prompting Ji-hyun lớn wonder if he’s still holding a grudge from “that time.” Whatever happened, it’s clear that he IS still thinking of it, while Ji-hyun scoffs that if anyone should be feeling bad over it, it should be her, not him.

Not wanting to lớn delve into old wounds, he tells her flat-out that he doesn’t want to lớn be a part of the wedding party, & that yes, it’s because of her. He assures her he’ll treat her properly as hyungsoo-nim (my brother’s wife), so she can be satisfied with that.

Ji-hyun is hurt by his rejection, & fiddles with her fingers in a recurring nervous tic. She tells her friends that Kang really is a jerk, & they advise her to lớn let go — why does she insist on calling Kang a friend when he hates her? She sighs that as much as he can be a pain in the ass sometimes, she doesn’t hate him.

Ji-hyun is surprised to lớn hear Min-ho gọi Kang sensitive, but he tells her that Kang has dealt with a lot of pain, lượt thích the proper k-drama hero he is.

Complicating the dynamic (I’m sure) is the fact that In-jung works for Ji-hyun’s father. Min-ho also works for Future Dad-In-Law, meaning that In-jung is his secretary as well. Eep. I’m sure that isn’t problematic, eh? Especially since her boss’s wife lớn whom she must defer is her best friend from high school. Even if nothing dramatic were to lớn happen, you get the sense that something’s gotta give, here.

Ji-hyun goes shopping for her bridesmaid’s dresses, taking particular care to find a dress that’ll look pretty on In-jung, since she’s picked out a groomsman lớn match her up with. She takes the dress with her to lớn have her friend try it on.

Hot Reaper Boy speeds along on his motorcycle, on his way lớn a scheduled, uh, appointment. Pulling over, he consults his smartphone… er, smartdeathwatchdevice. He’s got five minutes till the scheduled demise of a Mr. Kim Jin-soo, & settles back lớn wait.

At the same time, Yi-kyung stares dully at her calendar — okay, lady, you’re starting to be a real downer — which is fixed on an old date: March 15, 2006. She puts on a black dress, suggesting that she lost not only a loved one but also herself on that day.

Yi-kyung takes the bus to lớn a particular location, carrying a desiccated rose, not noticing that she is passed by the Reaper or that she is being followed by a man.

She crouches by the road, next to a warning sign indicating a dangerous accident-prone area. A flashback takes us back khổng lồ some time ago, when the bloodstain was fresh on the road. A young man’s body toàn thân had hit the ground here.

Making a sudden decision, Yi-kyung rashly steps into the busy road, directly into the path of an oncoming truck. She closes her eyes khổng lồ await impact.

But a man dashes into traffic khổng lồ spin her out of harm’s way, and they hit the ground safely.

The truck, on the other hand, swerves to lớn avoid her. What results is a multi-car pileup on the highway, which catches the Reaper by surprise — I bet he thought it’d be a lot easier figuring out where his body toàn thân would end up, but now he’s got a dozen cars to choose from. The Reaper sighs in frustration, just as the guy in front of him — stuck in traffic in his oto — clutches his heart.

Ji-hyun isn’t initially caught up in this nightmare wreckathon, but when a motorcyclist skids in front of her, she swerves to lớn avoid running him over… và that sends her into a truck, the force propelling her out the windshield.

Landing on the ground, her eyes flutter xuất hiện and she gets lớn her feet, apparently unharmed. She looks around to lớn get her bearings, glancing over at the nearby oto — hers — where people yell at the young woman inside. Which is her.

Shock. Her real body toàn thân is hunched over và bloody. Ji-hyun tries lớn touch something, but her hands only ripple into the man in front of her, and nobody can hear her. Oddly enough, one dude looks straight at her, khổng lồ her relief. But the next moment, he’s gone.

Ji-hyun gets into the ambulance with…herself…and watches her body failing to respond lớn revival attempts.

In the hospital, Yi-kyung’s rescuer watches over her body. He’s the kindly fellow who’d tried to smile at her at the convenience store the other night, which doesn’t entirely explain his presence but suggests he may have been trying lớn gain her attention for a while now.

When she wakes up, he’s gone, & she looks just as depressed as she did before. Perhaps even more so, since she’s still alive.

Ji-hyun watches as her parents and Min-ho rush into the emergency room, distraught lớn see her lying prone and hooked up lớn machines. They break down as her body toàn thân is wheeled into surgery, and Ji-hyun screams out to lớn them, but she’s kept strictly on her side of the Great Divide — her voice goes unheard, và her touches are repelled by some cosmic mojo.

Reaper Boy walks through the hall, & Ji-hyun remembers that he’d seen her at the accident site and chases after him. The rules of her condition establish that she cannot travel through solid objects, though, so she has to lớn wait on the other side of a door until a living person opens it for her.

She joins the Reaper in another hospital room, where he awaits his time to lớn step in. Spotting her, Reaper Boy gripes, “Shin Ji-hyun! Why don’t you pay attention when you drive?!”

But before he can talk khổng lồ her, he’s got a job to do. The man in the hospital bed flatlines, và his soul literally leaves the body just as the doctor pronounces him dead.

Reaper greets Dead Man & leads him away, where a celestial portal opens up with a wave of the Reaper’s hand. Dead Man steps inside the elevator, on his way to the After.

The Reaper indicates that she should follow him, and he takes her lớn the rooftop for a chat. She asks if he’s the Angel of Death/Grim Reaper, but he’s indignant to lớn be called such a passé term: “I’m a Scheduler.” His job is lớn be there when a person’s scheduled lifetime is up.

She asks if she’s dead, which he confirms. Although his work today hadn’t been about her, thanks lớn the accident, the plans had a last-minute hiccup: “It’s the case we Schedulers hate most — when our Schedules get messed up!”

Well, sooor-rrrry Mr. Snippy! It’s too bad that death was so inconvenient to lớn you.

Ji-hyun wasn’t scheduled to die today, và Mr. Not-A-Reaper explains that every so often, a troublemaker arises khổng lồ mess things up. Lượt thích today’s attempted suicide.

If there’s anything worse than dying, it’s finding out that you weren’t supposed to die. Ji-hyun clings to hope that he’d made a mistake, insisting futilely that she can’t be dead.

And true, Ji-hyun’s not dead yet, not technically. But she is as good as gone, & the Scheduler shows her what he means by taking her khổng lồ her hospital room.

Her friends burst in, in shock and grief, and listen in horror as the doctor declares her body in a vegetative state; she’s “practically brain-dead.”

The Scheduler tries to lớn lead Ji-hyun away. She freaks out, thinking he’s about to lớn guide her to lớn the hereafter, she tries to lớn run. But you can’t cheat death, and there’s no escaping him.

He tells her he won’t force her on that stairway elevator lớn heaven. Which means, she’ll have to decide khổng lồ get on it herself.

So he lays out the deal:

In his time as a Scheduler, he’s had two previous cases lượt thích hers, where the people died as a result of someone else’s unexpected action. She has two options: Either decide that she’s ready khổng lồ move on khổng lồ the afterlife anyway, or find three people in the world who truly love her. This she can prove in the khung of tears shed while thinking of her.

The rationale is: Those tears indicate that this is a life with enough value to lớn grant another chance.

The Scheduler adds caveats — family members are excluded — but Ji-hyun is thrilled, since this plan seems pretty easy to lớn her. After all, her hospital room was host to lớn more than three tears already.

But the Scheduler smirks — not all tears are created equal. She must collect three pure tears. To lớn illustrate, he takes her to a funeral và instructs her khổng lồ observe carefully the tears of the attendees.

The Scheduler describes what she’s seeing: That lady sheds tears of pity, that one is crying in consolation to herself, và the other lady is forcing them out of courtesy. When the tears drop, they dissipate into a puff of color, indicating that they’re not “pure” tears of love. By contrast, pure tears of love burst into a flare of white mist, as demonstrated by one funeral-goer. That woman, therefore, truly loved the deceased. Too bad she’s her sister, which would negate her tears in Ji-hyun’s case.

On the other hand, the deceased’s husband cries green tears — they’re sad, but still tinged with hope for his own future. The Scheduler tsks-tsks as he looks over the other color-tainted tears in the room, sighing, “Humans sure are complicated.”

Still, Ji-hyun is confident she can accomplish this in her allotted 49 days, và accepts the task.

Next, the Scheduler takes her lớn the convenience store and briefs her on the profile of the woman whose body she is allowed lớn use: Yi-kyung is 28, grew up in an orphanage, & graduated from university after studying hotel and tourism. She worked in a Seoul khách sạn for two years, was unemployed for a year, then had a string of convenience store gigs.

Ji-hyun doesn’t approve of her body — that disheveled hairstyle, và those clothes! — but the Scheduler tells her that this woman is connected to lớn her. He doesn’t clarify what Yi-kyung’s critical role was in determining Ji-hyun’s own fate.

Ji-hyun is instructed khổng lồ act only after Yi-kyung falls asleep, so she waits in Yi-kyung’s dingy apartment till her host comes home from her graveyard shift.

Once Yi-kyung falls asleep, Ji-hyun hovers over her as her soul is absorbed into the body. Moments later, Yi-kyung awakens — or should I say, Ji-hyun’s Soul In Yi-kyung’s Body. (We need a name for this. Ji-hyun-kyung? Ji-hyun’s Soul? The Host?)

In any case, Ji-hyun’s Soul gets up in her unfamiliar body, & acquaints herself with her new (temporary) home. Trembling in excitement, she declares tearily, “I’m…Shin Ji-hyun!”


We’ve already established that I love the premise of 49 Days. There’s something about that category of Second Chance At Life stories that really works for me — it’s a universal theme, and one that everyone ought to lớn be able lớn relate to. There’s a dash of whimsy in the idea, but it’s not a far-fetched work of fantasy — I think this drama is really more about the real-world aspect than the supernatural element of Reapers & souls and the afterlife.

Plus, I LOVE shows like Dead lượt thích Me — which is fabulous, if you haven’t seen it already — & Flowers For My LifeWho Are You?, which play with the idea of learning khổng lồ live through experiencing death.

Then there’s the bit where Ji-hyun’s host happens to be this Walking Dead of a character. I appreciate this choice from several angles, the most basic one being that these two almost-dead girls will somehow renew life into each other, in a metaphorical và literal way. It’s what Who Are You did so well, in explaining why the host toàn thân was chosen. A drama like this needs some concrete rules (you always need rules when you’re dealing with fantasy elements, otherwise you just chiến bại all grasp of reality), and if the choice were arbitrary, we’d have some tricky moral areas to giảm giá khuyến mãi with. (Such as: Is it fair, or ethical, lớn hijack a random stranger’s life, even temporarily?) But Yi-kyung is directly responsible for the crash(es), so it makes sense that she would be host khổng lồ Ji-hyun’s second chance. I’m willing to go with it, because the drama establishes that Yi-kyung hijacked Death. The rule works for me.

It also suggests that Death isn’t always prescribed, which is a thought I like. It means that not all deaths are preordained by some elevator-wielding God, & that you have a choice lớn divert the course of events with a (rash, impetuous) act of không lấy phí will. Cold comfort, maybe, but oddly reassuring nonetheless.

As for the characters:

As I said, we all know how this story gets going, so what carries the episode is really the characterizations. Often a drama will have actors I love playing characters I most decidedly vì chưng NOT love. That makes me sad. While it’s too early lớn weigh in yet on 49 Days, I lượt thích that so far, everyone seems normal & fair, just dealing with their personal struggles in their quiet way. I can see In-jung turning into a cold bitch, but if she does, I think we’ll get to lớn see her develop into that, rather than landing there fully-formed with a slitted eye và an evil cackle. Seo Ji-hye is a lovely, nuanced actress so I’m looking forward to what she does.

Lee Yo-won is an actress I’m not super excited about, but based on the few minutes we see of her as Ji-hyun, I think she’s got the ability khổng lồ cover the range needed, going from washed-out & leaden lớn bright-eyed and bushy-tailed in (literally) the blink of an eye. She’ll need to be sharp và smart with her transitions lớn carry this role, và I think she’s equal khổng lồ it.

As for Jo Hyun-jae — I confess that I haven’t liked a lot of his roles before. It’s a case of liking the actor but having his characters leave me cold. But I LOVE where they’re going with Kang, even if it’s super-obvious what’ll happen và loaded with a fair number of cliches. I bởi vì suspect that with a different actor, he might not be as relatable or sympathetic, though, and I’m liking what he’s doing with his eyes. Maybe it’s from the maturity that comes with undergoing military service, or maybe it’s from his father’s death, but he’s got this haunted, sad look about him that seems new, which really works those heartstrings.

I’m not actually a huge fan of Love, Actually, but there’s something super compelling about that romantic conflict — of loving your best friend’s girl, and wanting them to lớn be happy, and stepping back to avoid trespassing on that.

Only, in true k-drama style, here we’ll get him his heart’s desire, kind of. (They’re setting him up with Yi-kyung, but it remains to be seen whether it’s Yi-kyung proper or Ji-hyun’s Soul In Her Body). Plus, the drama paves the way for him to vày so without guilt because we’ll have Ji-hyun’s fiancé (presumably, I’m guessing from promos) reneging on his love khổng lồ the heroine first. (In Min-ho’s defense, he does think she’s not long for this world. Then again, maybe that’s added indictment, not defense.)

Lee Yo Won, Jung Il Woo, & Nam Gyu Ri star in this popular thắm thiết comedy about a young bride who gets a second chance at life - by possessing the toàn thân of another woman.

Shin Ji Hyun prepares for her wedding lớn Kang Min Ho, but an unfortunate accident causes her to kết thúc up brain-dead in a coma.

Ji Hyun relishes her new body toàn thân when she possesses tuy vậy Yi Kyung. She applies for a job at Han Kang's restaurant.

Ji Hyun discovers Min Ho & In Jung's affair behind her back, & their schemes against her father's company.

Desperate to thwart Min Ho and In Jung, Ji Hyun races to find her seal. She learns of her best friend and fiance's long history together.

Depressed about her reality, the Scheduler takes Ji Hyun shopping lớn cheer her up. Meanwhile, Min Ho can't shake off a growing attraction towards Yi Kyung.
Han Kang continually butts heads with Yi Kyung, who continually reminds him of Ji Hyun, in an attempt to lớn cover his feelings.
Ji Hyun becomes Min Ho's housemaid using Yi Kyung's body, but her activities lead to lớn negative consequences for the real Yi Kyung.
Yi Kyung's presence at Min Ho's home unsettles In Jung. Meanwhile, Han Kang can't forget Yi Kyung despite firing her.
Ji Hyun's father's brain tumor worsens, prompting him to lớn write up a new will leaving the company to lớn Min Ho.
Her 49 days almost halfway over, Ji Hyun faces the very possible reality that no one around her truly loves her.
Ji Hyun goes on a tìm kiếm to thank the person who cried for her, while Kang searches for the truth about Ji Hyun/Yi Kyung.
Ji Hyun starts to thua kém control of Yi Kyung during the day, which leaves Yi Kyung confused. Yi Kyung takes a stroll on memory lane.
Worried that Kang is onto her secret, Ji Hyun is more determined khổng lồ take care of the Min Ho situation before her 49 days.
Ji Hyun learns about the Scheduler's past and confronts him about it, which causes him khổng lồ put things in perspective.
Yi Kyung recounts her backstory for Dr. Noh, but they are not alone. Kang takes Ji Hyun to visit her father in the hospital.
Yi Soo recounts his heartbreaking his past with Yi Kyung. Kang và Min Ho fight over Ji Hyun while Seo Woo confronts In Jung with the truth.
Both Kang và Ji Hyun race to lớn stop Yi Kyung from running away. Min Ho tries lớn exorcise Ji Hyun's spirit.

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Kang and Ji Hyun deliver the seal to lớn her mother and attempt lớn tell her father about Min Ho. Yi Kyung also receives gifts from Ji Hyun.
Ji Hyun is able to lớn recall her adventure during the past 49 days & receives a visit from Yi Soo, but why?