Since watching the premiere of 49 Days last week, I found myself impatiently waiting for this week’s episodes. (*whisper* I even counted down the days.) I was excited to find out what would be revealed this week, and I was even more excited at myself for being so excited about a new drama. How many months has it been since I last looked forward to the upcoming episodes of a currently airing drama? Three months? Four months? In other words, too long!
(Ahh, so much excitement in one video!)
But today, after viewing episodes 3 and 4 of 49 Days, I was left… disappointed. The brisk pace of the drama that I enjoyed from last week has suddenly slowed down to a crawl. Mama Blue agreed, and observed that the drama was starting to drag (Her words: “너무 질질 끈다”). The entire episode 3 was spent on Ji Hyun moping around (first in Yi Kyung’s body, and then again as herself – double whamming for us viewers!) about her fiancé and her best friend’s betrayal. It’s understandable and a necessary step in the story, but it’s also true that it’s not particularly interesting to watch for the viewers.
(1) Ji Hyun moping in Yi Kyung’s body. (2) Ji Hyun’s soul moping.
And episode 4 may as well be titled “The Race Against Time in Search of the Missing Seal.” But frankly, although we want Ji Hyun to find the seal before Min Ho so that his takeover plan will fail and she’ll help save her father’s company, how many of us really give a crap about that seal? I’m willing to bet… not many. I agree that adding in the business takeover angle adds to the story to give Min Ho and In Jung’s betrayal that much more urgency to Ji Hyun, but the drama producers misconstrued and gave TOO much focus to that angle (cue in the dramatic music at every mention of “where can that seal be?!”), when that’s not why the viewers are tuning in to watch the show.
I notice that this is a trend with So Hyun Kyung’s dramas where she struggles to find steam around episodes 3 and 4 of her dramas, and then picks it up again after episode 5. I’m praying (and am hopeful) that this is the case here.
On second thought, the pace might not have been the real problem. What we had it coming merely came. For instance, from the get go as soon as we saw Min Ho and In Jung meet up at the hotel in episode 1, it wasn’t too big a leap to guess that Ji Hyun’s “accidental” meeting with Min Ho at the mountain and again at the movie theater might not be so coincidental after all. However, when things turned out exactly as we predicted, I couldn’t help but feel, oh, didn’t we go through this already, when in fact, that instance was the first revelation of it for our protagonist.
There are so many different aspects of this drama that are still unknown to the viewers (ex. Yi Kyung’s past, the Scheduler’s identity, and the identity of the psychiatrist/stalker), and although I do not suggest revealing these all at once (after all, we just finished episode 4 so far), slowly revealing this one by one (mixed in with the more predictable aspects of the drama) would help keep the viewers on their toes during the entire series even as we go through the more banal (but necessary) part of the story. Balancing this out is the key.
But despite these criticisms, I still remain intrigued by and curious about how the story will unfold, and I remain fully committed to seeing this drama to the very end. And of course, why wouldn’t I? Even in the latest episodes, I LOVED watching the interactions between Ji Hyun and the two (adorable!) men in her life (umm, or is it in her death?). This is definitely one of 49 Days‘ major strength, and one that the creators should play up.
Reason #1 (Yeah, you!) Reason #2 (And yeah, you too!)
What is it about us women and our delight in seeing men get exasperated from having to bend their own rules, despite themselves, for a woman that they strangely and slowly feel attraction to? It’s a disease, a disease I tell you! One that the Korean drama industry has made an entire franchise out of because they know that it gets to us every. single. time. But shoot me. I still want to see how far Kang and the Scheduler will go for Ji Hyun (or will it be for Yi Kyung?).
And in particular, I am completely smitten by Han Kang’s character, the “I need to fire her, but why can’t I… OMG, she’s choking/going to get a cut on her fingers/sprained her ankle” boss. In the past, I’ve always found Jo Hyun Jae to be an actor who is sufficient at what he does, but lacks that “something” that makes him connect with the viewers. Here, however, perhaps it’s the attractiveness of his character, but I find myself being sucked in to his Han Kang character, trying to learn more about what lies beneath than meets the eye. And besides, how can you NOT fall for his “I’m so frustrated but I can’t help myself” look? (Sigh, I’m such a fangirl.)
To conclude, I will end it with my favorite scene from episode 4, one that I suspect would not have translated very well from Korean to English. Upon failing to find the seal, Ji Hyun (in Yi Kyung’s body) hits her head, only to have the Scheduler appear to admonish her. Instead, Ji Hyun surprises the Scheduler by appearing glad to see him (I bet that was a first for him!), and then dares to thank him for helping her out earlier (oh, the horror!) by giving her the hint about opening the door.
The Scheduler jumps up and protests (a little too strongly, may I add) at the suggestion, and exclaims, “이여자가 스케줄러 잡을 여자네!” (Literal translation: “This woman will catch a scheduler!”)
This is a variation on a commonly used phrase of so-and-so “will catch a person” (사람 잡네). It is frequently used to describe a situation when someone is wrongly accused, and he is in protest that the other person is trying to bring him down (“catch” him) with the false accusation.
The use here is so funny for the following reasons: (1) the Scheduler had the foresight to quickly adjust the phrase to fit his situation (“This woman will catch a person” was changed to “This woman will catch a scheduler”); (2) the idea that a person can “catch” a scheduler is hilarious, but then we remember that this is Ji Hyun we’re talking about and we can only nod that it’s very much possible; and (3) our knowledge that little does he know that she really WILL bring this particular scheduler down as he breaks his own rules for her in the future. And that, I want to see!