Trading Thoughts: Nine

I’m excited, y’all!! I hereby bring you the first joint post this blog has ever hosted! Woot!

Most of you know by now that I’ve fallen into the habit (trap? heh.) of taking a show apart for its review, and examining each little gear and piston, and writing up a storm in the process.

Although I never specifically set out to write epic reviews, it’s become a bit of a trend on this blog now, and I’m grateful to those of you who actually enjoy coming on these epic journeys with me. Thanks y’all. It means a lot, really. ❤

In the midst of all you wonderful peeps who put in the time to read my reviews and share your thoughts with me, I discovered a particular sort of connection with the lovely Betsy Hp who hosts Creating Volumes.

If you’ve been following the comments threads in some of my reviews, you might have noticed that Betsy Hp and I sometimes exchange (very) large chunks of thoughts. It’s like her thoughts inspire me to more thoughts, which then inspire her to more thoughts.

It’s often a cycle that evolves and grows and gives birth to new and completely unexpected thoughts and ideas, which, Too Cool.

I then said (only) half in jest to Betsy Hp, that we should try joint-posting, just to see what these thought babies might look like, given the room to grow. And so – ta-dah! – here we are! *blows noisemaker*

Join us as we dive – with our thinking caps firmly on! – into the twisty world of Nine!

How This Works

Before getting into this post proper, I recommend that you take a read of what we’ve each already written about the show, coz our respective reviews are the springboard for this particular conversation. And you know I always say context is everything. 😉

You can check out Betsy Hp’s Reaction Post here and her review here. And you can find my review here. If you really can’t spare the time to read our reviews first, well, this should still work. Mostly. I think.

Oh, and this is going to be just bursting with spoilers.

Ready? Come talk drama with us!!


kfangurl: So I clearly had trouble with the emotional hook – or for me, lack thereof – in this show.

Betsy Hp: I think some of the elements that pushed you out were the very elements that pulled me in. The twisty writing is right up my alley. I love plots that twist and turn and demand you pay attention and then reward you for doing so.

(That last bit is important. Sometimes twisty writing is just a way to cover up the sloppy plot.)

The writers obviously had the story scripted out. There were some bobbles but not any real loose threads or dropped plots. And I love time-travel if it’s handled well — and this drama handled it well. (Making the two times parallel did a lot to keep the tension up.)

kfangurl: Definitely agree with you on the payoff being crucial with twisty writing! I hate when twisty writing turns out to be an attempt to cover up sloppy plot. Worse, when that attempt fails, coz then we feel doubly cheated, right?

It’s really interesting how we reacted so differently to the writing in Nine.

Betsy Hp: I agree with you about Jung-woo’s death not being all that moving. But I think that fell more into the “makjang mood” trap. Which, I do agree got too excessive there and therefore pushed me out of the story for a beat or two.

But once we were back into time-travel excitement I was right back on board. 🙂

kfangurl: It’s fascinating to me, that for you, it was the makjang stuff that took you out of the emotional engagement for a bit. Whereas for me, the makjang was a secondary factor – though it still did affect me, to be sure.

With the possibility of a timeslip to fix each new twist in the plot, I felt like the stakes were lowered.

My internal monologue would go something like, “Jung-woo’s dead?…” Or, “Min-young’s his niece?… Well, let’s see how the show fixes that. We’ve got X timeslips left, I wonder how they’d make that work..”

Compared to a regular non-time-travel show, where there are no timeslips allowing one to go back, and all solutions must take place in the here and now, I felt the stakes were somehow lowered in Nine, coz there’s always the possibility of some kind of do-over.

And because of the lowered stakes, my emotional investment just turned out to be less too, I guess.

Betsy Hp: Hah! Proof that writers should write what they want, because there are so many different tastes out there and someone will like it, so if you enjoy it, do it. 🙂 Because your thought, “Well, let’s see how the show fixes that” is exactly what pulled me in. 😀

Though I’d think more, how will Sun-woo fix that, which shows I was inside the story. But yeah — it was triggering the kind of questions I enjoy. (The makjang felt like Sun-woo, and the plot, spinning its wheels — kind of sinking into the despair of it all. I liked it when the tinkering got going again.)

I’ll also add I completely agree with you about the 3 emotional hooks that worked for you. Maybe if they’d concentrated more on those elements — cracking Sun-woo’s armor, playing up Jung-hoon and Min-young’s involvement — instead of sinking into makjang stuff…

Though… I can see how the surprise!incest and Sun-woo’s despair do tie into those three things. Just — if they’d done it better.

(Helpful advice from me to the writers: Do it like that, only better! ;P)


kfangurl: Ok, so given that Nine was brought to us by the same team that gave us Queen In-hyun’s Man, I find it pretty fascinating to look at where these 2 shows are similar – AND different as well.

Betsy Hp: Yes, like how it’s interesting that both dramas had their core relationships be pretty much right and perfect and lovely right from the get go. Neither character had to grow to recognize the love right before them.

That was especially true of Nine. Sun-woo does have to have his moment of realization — but it happens just before the drama starts. And, of course, Min-young’s known all along.

So getting the couple together in the first place obviously isn’t what interests the writer — it’s testing how important that love is — what would you sacrifice for it? With QIHM, Boong-do has to weigh his entire world and also his duty against Hee-jin.

With Nine, Sun-woo has to weigh his brother’s happiness (and I think you could also say Min-young’s — but his original reason for not “fixing” his mistake was his brother’s happiness) against his own.

Which can make for a really deep romantic story (see QIHM) and gave the romantic storyline in “Nine” a lot more oomph than it could have had if it’d been more focused on Sun-woo realizing he was in love with Min-young.

He had to know exactly what he was giving up to make his initial sacrifice meaningful. If that makes sense. 🙂

kfangurl: Great point. In fact, I think beyond giving oomph to the romantic storyline, in handling the story that way, Nine shifts our focus to bigger things than the Big Love Line, which is too often the only focus of many dramas.

Not that the Big Love Line is a bad thing, coz I do love me some well-done romance. But once in a while, it’s nice to have our focus elevated to bigger questions and larger issues.

I actually liked that the love line in Nine occupied a more supporting role sort of space, allowing us to explore bigger questions like, “What price, playing God?”

There’s also the question of nature vs. nurture (which I’m only just seeing now, thanks to being fresh-ish from my White Christmas review), ie, how much do we change because our circumstances change?

And how much of our person is part of our essence, that remains across any given set of circumstances, and in this case, timelines?

We see this played out in all our characters, but we see it most in Sun-woo, Jung-woo, and Min-young. As their circumstances change across timelines, there are always certain constants about each character, while other facets of their personalities shift.

I found that thought-provoking.

Betsy Hp: Ooh — good point about keeping characters in a similar… I guess you could say emotional space, so that we can more readily see the changes the actual circumstance change brought. (Mostly for Jung-woo, I think. Because Min-young stayed the same in essentials.)

Which does mean this drama really does center on Sun-woo. He’s the only one able to change emotionally because, in many ways, his circumstances don’t change in that he’s aware of the changes. If that makes any sense at all. 🙂

kfangurl: Hm.. Keeping them in a similar emotional space is one thing.. I think what intrigues me more isn’t quite the similar emotional space.. It’s the question of what forms the absolute core of these characters. That, come what may, these are things that don’t change about them.

Like for Min-young, part of her essence is her attraction to Sun-woo. Whether in the past or the present, whether as his colleague or his niece, there’s just something in her that is drawn to Sun-woo.

We do see that given a different timeline and a different childhood, Niece Min-young has a somewhat more sheltered (pampered?) air about her, versus Original Min-young who became independent much sooner due to different circumstances.

Part of Young-hoon’s essence is being a loyal grumpypants bestie to Sun-woo. And part of Sun-woo’s essence is approaching his life with a proactive sort of determination.

We see this in both Sun-woos, and what’s interesting to me, is that each Sun-woo uses that proactive determination in a different way.

Original Sun-woo uses it to time travel, and to the very end, believes fiercely there is a way out. New Sun-woo uses that proactive determination to decide how he will look at life and live it, choosing to live the life he wants, and loving the girl he wants, never mind what went before.

In that sense, I don’t really see a whole lot of change in the characters.. the changes we see are peripheral, almost.

They remain pretty true to their core, and as circumstances shift along with the timelines, I feel like we get to divide what is core and what is peripheral, in these characters. If that makes sense, heh.

Betsy Hp: It does make sense. Though… the circumstances that did change with the time shifts were smaller things, relatively. I think the question the story was ultimately wrestling with was your first one: what price playing God?

And apparently the cost was: *bam* “Your girlfriend’s now your niece! How you like them apples?” 😉

kfangurl: Um. Oopsie?


kfangurl: So I wasn’t too bothered by the similarity between Sun-woo and Lee Jin Wook’s character in I Need Romance 2012, though I did notice the similarity was, well, there.

Betsy Hp: I noticed the similarity between this character and his INR2012 character, too. Odd that I despised the INR2012 character and adored this one.

Lee Jin-wook is really, really good at banter and boyishness. I did find his character sexy in INR2012… until he just kept on keeping his secrets (I think right to the very end? or close enough anyway) and holding the female lead at arm’s length.

That was a difference that changed everything in “Nine”. He wasn’t a cipher and, while he kept secrets from Min-young, they weren’t kept for long. She was able to find them out. So there wasn’t the power issues that bugged me in INR2012. Mystery solved!

kfangurl: That’s true, that the 2 characters were different beyond the surface similarities.

Another difference that I’m just thinking of now, is in the attitude each character takes towards their lives.

Lee Jin-wook’s character in INR2012 was basically fatalistic while in Nine, Sun-woo is all about taking things into his own hands and doing everything in his power to solve things and set things right. Right to the very end, he refused to believe that there wasn’t a way out.

Night and day, in that sense.

Having said that, though, there’s something about Lee Jin-wook in both shows.. I have difficulty feeling connected to him as a character. I can’t speak for more than these 2 shows since that’s all I’ve seen of him.

But in both shows, I felt disconnected from him. In Nine, I felt mentally engaged by Sun-woo. But even though there were times that actual tears left my eyes during some Sun-woo scenes, I just didn’t feel emotionally close to his character the way I usually do with a lead character.

I.. can’t explain it.

Maybe it’s not him.. Maybe it’s me. Or maybe it IS him. I dunno.

Betsy Hp: Hmm… You know — that might explain why I was more enraged by his INR2012 character (as opposed to the female lead — and yes, we’re talking relatively here ;)) than you were.

That lack of emotional connection? Because I did connect to both his characters — just the first one really, really angered me. (And I love your point about that character’s fatalism, because that can frustrate the heck out of me. So even more explained.)

But now I’m wondering what it is that pulls me into a character and what doesn’t. Is it actor-specific? I think it definitely can be.

For example, Lee Seung-gi is an actor that has to work to pull me in. I don’t know why, but part of the reason I was impressed with The King 2 Hearts was that I ended up really caring for his character in a way I’m not used to with him.

But otherwise — I get that he has an adorable smile but it’s an intellectual thing. I don’t melt though I can see how it might melt others. (This might be why I don’t love My Girlfriend is a Gumiho as much others did.)

So is it a style thing?

Because I do think Lee Jin-wook has a fairly set style (you know, based off the two dramas I’ve seen him in — I cannot claim expertise here!) — he definitely uses his grin to convey charm and boyishness and I think he has a pretty set speaking meter as far as tone and speed and he does this blank-look thing as a comedy beat.

Those things work for me — I like them — but I’d say they’re… acting tricks or tics that he relies on.

I wonder if… would a really good actor be able to pull you so far into the emotional world of his character it doesn’t matter if his surface tics are the sort of thing that work for you?

So maybe it’s more Lee Jin-wook is a serviceable actor but not a great actor and if his particular bag of tricks don’t do it for you you’ll enjoy the story for the story but that emotional connection won’t be there?

At the same time — I think he did a great job being Park Sun-woo. I think he was well cast to play that part and I’d have a hard time seeing someone else in the role…

Hah! I’m kind of walking a line here where I really like the character but I can see how it could be hit and miss because there’s definitely a style there.

kfangurl: Yes, I definitely think the actor himself has a lot to do with whether I’m pulled into the character’s psyche. I’d consider that part of the actor’s skill, talent and charisma too. I think.

Sometimes, knowing that actor outside his roles detracts from my ability to connect with him in character. And sometimes, it actually helps. Weird, I know.

To go off on a tangent, I was completely drawn into Joo Won’s characters in both Gaksital and Ojakgyo Brothers.

But I think knowing his aegyo side in 1N2D would not have helped me, coz I really want to see him as the cool, charismatic characters that he plays in both shows.

On the other end of the spectrum, seeing Lee Seung-gi in 1N2D actually endeared him to me, and I found it easier to like the characters that he plays.

I wasn’t too taken with him during my first watch of My Girlfriend is a Gumiho, but one watch of The King 2 Hearts and several episodes of 1N2D later, I actually liked him significantly more on my re-watch of MGiaG.

Coming back off that tangent, though, I definitely agree that it has a lot to do with the actor’s skill.

And Lee Jin Wook strikes me as a competent actor, who’s not (yet?) ah-mazing. I see the similarities in both his Nine and INR2012 characters partly because of those acting tics that he uses.

And yes, I do wonder if I would’ve felt more emotionally connected to the character in a different actor’s hands.

But, well, we’ll never know (unless they do a Nine remake sometime?). That said, Lee Jin Wook did a very decent job of being Park Sun-woo.

Betsy Hp: Aaand… now I want to see a variety of different actors doing the exact same scene. 😀  Just to see how they’d handle it and how I’d react to it and… yeah, I’m this kind of dork. 😉


Betsy Hp: In your review you’d mentioned that both Jung Woo’s (young and adult) were acted rather woodenly. I personally thought it was an acting choice. Because the character is, in a sense, sleep-walking through his life at this point.

Acting aside — I really loved and ached for Jung-woo. I feel like he’d had a hard row to hoe his whole life, and that he’d managed to shield his brother from it. And then it got even harder and he got bad advice and took it and just… shut down from that point onwards.

I think my sympathy stems from his conversation with his father just before the big death scene. When he comes to his dad and tells him he’s going to marry Yoo-jin and he’ll give up the hospital and any inheritance — basically taking the punishment.

And his father tells him it was never his in the first place and denies being his father and then attacks his mom and…

I felt like that gave us a taste of what Jung-woo’s life had been like up to that point. That his father had always been distant and cold at best (maybe even actively disliking Jung-woo), that his father had always treated his mom with a certain amount of contempt.

(I got the sense this wasn’t the first time she’d been beaten by him.)

Jung-woo was fatherless in many ways.

My thought was Sun-woo, as the younger brother (the one the father was sure was his) had been sheltered from a lot of that. For one, his dad would have been at least kind and loving, even from a distance.

For another, he had an older brother who (per those scenes when he came barging into Jung-woo’s room to share his weird day or when their mom was calling Jung-woo to go get his brother) was involved and interested in his life.

So I took those two things (Jung-woo having a bad upbringing; Jung-woo caring for his brother) and added those into his character and his weakness — while, yes infuriating — made sense.

And because he was definitely haunted by his weakness it felt okay to sympathise. Since he didn’t turn it on anyone else (become abusive himself, for example), it felt like a good person made to endure more than he could handle alone.

Not that I want to go too extreme and argue that Jung-woo is heroic! He’s not. He definitely falls victim to his own weakness and deals with it (or tries to, anyway) by running away, leaving Sun-woo effectively orphaned.

Just… I could see the hows and whys that got him to that place. So I still felt for him.

kfangurl: Wow, those are some pretty insightful observations, Betsy! I think it’s the sympathetic bent of your personality that helps you tease out these things. That, and give love to dramas that not everyone loves, heh.

Ok, I do feel more sympathetic towards Jung-woo as a character (kudos to you for accomplishing that!).. And I do see more vividly – now that you’ve laid it out – how his circumstances would have shaped him.

Betsy HP: Hee! Yay — mission accomplished! 😀

(That might also be why I’ll really, really hate dramas that let me down? Because I gave them so many chances and still they turned on me. 😉 )

kfangurl: I confess I probably still feel less sympathetic towards him than you do. Mainly because I believe that while our circumstances do play a big part in shaping who we are, we don’t have to be defined by them.

I wanted Jung-woo to rise above those circumstances and choose to be a stronger person, and I think that’s where I was often disappointed.

Granted, Jung-woo was really young at the time that all the worst things happened in his life, so it’s hard to expect someone so young to be strong in the face of overwhelming circumstances.

I do wish, though, that over time, (and he had a lot of time; 20 whole years, in fact) that he’d have overcome that part of himself, and found courage within himself, to live his life in a more empowered, less impotent manner.

I suppose, though, that if he had, then we wouldn’t have much of a drama?

Betsy HP: Yes, Jung-woo was definitely weak. I think we got glimmers of the strength he might have had if he’d been better fathered in his last… I can’t think of a word… existence?

Where he confronted his “father” (which — I have a hard time thinking of Dr. Choi as his dad in any way shape or form; I know he’s the biological daddy, but that’s it) he showed strength there.

(Okay — that was his second to last existence. Closest to what he becomes when the final change comes around though, right? *headache*)

But yeah — he’s definitely not the hero. He has a hell of a time rising to the occasion and needs several kicks in the butt to get there. Which is why he’s always a step behind. (He dies in the mountain — Sun-woo makes it through. There’s a reason for that, I think.)

kfangurl: And it’s the same reason he’s not our protagonist too, I think. Imagine having Jung-woo’s lens on throughout the drama. That would be a totally different experience – and probably not a pretty one. Eek.

Betsy Hp: Yeah — my sympathy would dry up pretty quick if I had to follow him around watching him not making decisions all day. 😛


Betsy Hp: You totally blew my mind with your throw away comment: “As an aside, I’m particularly tickled by how Lee Yi Kyung is all hardworking & nerdy in Nine, when he was a little gangster brat in School 2013.”

I was like “whaaa?” And then I had to look up Lee Yi Kyung and his actor pics look totally different from Young Hoon. So then I was very frowny faced because I couldn’t quite place him. And then I looked up his pics from “School 2013″ and… mind blown!

I totally adored his character in “School 2013″ and his frustration when his two best buds were fighting and yet I didn’t make the connection at all. I cannot believe it’s the same actor even as I see it’s totally the same actor. That is totally awesome. Talk about acting chops!

kfangurl: Hee! I think part of it is the styling.. He was styled really differently in School 2013. The middle-parted hair and the big-framed glasses did help to disguise him quite well in Nine. It was just his smile and manner of speech that clued me in.

To me, his acting is still rough around the edges, but I do see an upward trend.. I thought he did a lot better in Nine than in School 2013.

Or maybe Nine just gave him more room to shine.. I’d believe that, since his role in School 2013 was really quite a minor one. I loved him as Young-hoon though. So very adorkable!

Betsy Hp: Styling is definitely a huge part… but I kind of pride myself on seeing past that to at least pinging to an actor looking familiar.

(I watched a lot of B-scific tv back in the day and they were all shot in Vancouver so there was a lot of actor crossover and spotting familiar faces became a game. I’ve had some training, is what I’m saying. ;))

Probably the smallness of his School 2013 role played a part in my missing him, too. But I’m impressed he went for an entirely different role, anyway.

Means he’s learning. (I’ve spotted the class clown from School 2013 in Two Weeks — but in many ways he’s playing a similar character.)

kfangurl: Yes, I definitely like that he’s not simply picking similar roles. I think the Young-hoon role did stretch him a little, as an actor, and I liked seeing his range emerge. I hope he keeps picking interesting roles.

Y’know, he’s been brat, and he’s been nerd. I guess it’s time for him to play a 2nd generation chaebol prince? Heh.

Betsy Hp: The cool thing about k-dramas? I’d be more shocked if it didn’t happen. 😉

kfangurl: Hey, maybe he’ll show up in Heirs? Practically every cast member would be a chaebol prince or princess. Or so it seems.


kfangurl: Ok, the OTT-ness of Evil Choi so did not work for me.

Betsy Hp: I think this is a personal taste thing (I had an easier time with the sideways walking guy in Return of Iljimae as I recall, so maybe I have more of a taste for farce or something? ;))

Something I know to be true about me is I do enjoy exaggerated stories — operatic feelings and emotions and bloodspray — probably a bit more than the next person.

(I blame my parents playing Wagner for me as a tiny little one. If The Flying Dutchman is your favorite bedtime story, it’s going to shape you. ;))

So I really liked how Dr. Choi got more and more frazzled and mouth-breathing and fell out of dignity as he revealed his evil, selfish, greedy side. I do see that there’s no real dimension or depth to him.

But… sometimes I just like the villain to be a villain. I did like that he was smart. So his silliness in his OTT badguy-ness didn’t translate into foolish plans that were too easy for Sun-woo to get through.

I also liked that, since he wasn’t conflicted about being bad, he went all out. That he would go so far as to kill a child…

Putting Sun-woo up against someone who really would go that far, so he couldn’t rely on basic human decency kicking in, meant Sun-woo had to plan for and react to the worst case scenarios.

And since I was all about watching Sun-woo react to worst case scenarios — I was happy with my villain.

kfangurl: Heh. It’s cute that you liked Dr. Choi’s OTT villain.

I clearly didn’t take to the OTT interpretation of the character very well.. Mostly because he was the only one in that space, and it felt jarring to me among a cast of characters who mostly seemed normal. But hey, at least someone’s appreciating him!

I wonder how many other viewers liked him too? Maybe I’m just the odd one out, and everyone else thought he was a fun villain to hate?

Betsy Hp: Well… I’m not sure it’s a sign of love but… there were a lot of gifs. 😉 I honestly have no idea, though, how viewers took to him. We should do a poll! 😀

kfangurl: Ooh, but what if nobody answers the poll? Then we’d look.. pathetic. (sadface) Ok, y’know what, guys, if you want to let us know whether you loved or hated Evil Choi, tell us in the comments, m’kay?


Betsy Hp: Loved, loved, loved your pointing out Sun-woo reaching out for his brother as he’s wheeled away. In a sense, this whole adventure was Sun-woo reaching out for a brother that had turned away for some unknown (to him) reason.

kfangurl: Ooh, I love how eloquently you put it, Betsy, that it’s really all about Sun-woo reaching out for Jung-woo. That even in our first and last scenes, Sun-woo is always reaching out to Jung-woo.

How apt, coz this is something that rings true across timelines and circumstances, throughout the show. A story of one man reaching for his brother, across time and space.

Betsy Hp: Hee! Mutual love-fest for the win! But yes, if the opening and closing scenes makes up the encasing time-travel loop, I think they also make up the encasing theme. This is really about Sun-woo saving Jung-woo. His father, as it turns out, is a by-the-way.

The important story here is his brother.

I do kind of hate that their mom never really gets better. She’s probably one of the most tragic characters in the story and it’s too bad Jung-woo doing the right thing and confessing doesn’t… I don’t know, magically heal her or something.

I feel like she got tangled up with two not great guys — well, one evil guy and the other at the very least a self-righteous jerk — and never managed to get untangled. Ah well — at least her sons turned out well and loved each other.

kfangurl: Yeah, I really wish their mother somehow got better as a result of the time-traveling and fixing of things. I kind of feel like she was forgotten, almost, y’know? I would’ve taken anything. Even if it’d just been a small improvement in her condition.

Without it, she felt like a very static character – to the extent that she could’ve been a piece of furniture and it wouldn’t have made much of a difference.

Betsy Hp: I wonder if the mom was a dropped thread? Except Jung-woo mentions her at his last lunch with Sun-woo before heading out to Nepal. (She’s doing better — but not while he’s around, which… weird choice. Not only do we viewers not see it — her sons don’t see it.)

It is interesting that they turn the dynamic so completely around where it’s the younger brother looking after and saving his older brother.

I mean, I surmised that Jung-woo probably did a lot for Sun-woo when they were kids, but we don’t actually see that in the drama. What we see is Sun-woo risking everything (and at one point losing everything) for his older brother.

I don’t know that there’s any deep meaning to that — but I like it.

kfangurl: I totally agree about Sun-woo taking on the role and responsibility of the older brother for most of the show. But I have to respect Sun-woo for refusing to go over his brother’s head and make those decisions for him.

He insisted that Jung-woo make those decisions, and he resolved to live with whatever Jung-woo chose. So in a way, it was like Sun-woo was helping Jung-woo to grow up?

Betsy Hp: I think you’re exactly right. Just as he did for his younger self, he was being a father-figure for Jung-woo. Giving him the chance to make the right choice. Pretty cool. (So we have awesome father-figure stuff going on, but the mother… nothing.)


Betsy Hp: So their romance was a given — in pretty much all the modes. Which is interesting in that Sun-woo doesn’t have to work to earn Min-young’s love. It’s more, he has to find a safe place for their love to happen. Or maybe, give himself permission to let it happen?

The last scene when he’s flying out to Nepal and he’s made the decision to screw fate and love the girl he loves — allow what will be to be… It’s the closing scene on Sun-woo’s life. He knows that his time-traveling persona died in the past.

I got the sense that he was throwing away a sense of responsibility that he’d have to shape things. He won’t time travel to “fix” things — even if given the opportunity. Instead he’ll live the life he wants to live and love the girl he wants to love.

kfangurl: Ooh, interesting insight! And it makes sense. Min-young’s always loved Sun-woo. It’s just part of who she is. And in each timeline, there’s always something preventing Sun-woo from allowing that love to be.

First, the brain tumor, then the whole she’s-his-niece thing. And later, it’s Original Sun-woo’s warning to young Min-young.

So, when we look at it that way, the drama – as far as the romance goes, anyway – is always about Sun-woo deciding that he is going to let it happen. Brain tumor? I’ll love you anyway. Niece? I’ll love you anyway – if you want me to. In the end? I’ll love you anyway.

Betsy Hp: Oh. My. God. *squee!!* and *thud* That is totally my favorite kind of romance!!! Seriously, where a guy with incredibly high standards and purposes and whatevers realizes he’s willing to, and going to, risk it all for love. I loves it!!!

Yeah, it can be done completely wrong (100 people die — but I’ll love you, doesn’t quite work) but when it’s done right? Favorite thing ever! So you’ve just pointed out yet another reason why Nine worked for me. Thanks, kfangurl! 😀

kfangurl: You’re welcome? 😀 I don’t know how I ended up being the dot-connector there, but I’m happy to take the credit. *bows*


kfangurl: I freaking LOVED the bromance between these two! (Or, should I say, four? Since there were 2 pairs of them?)

Betsy Hp: Loved it too! 😀 Loved Young-hoon as the loyal Watson to Sun-woo’s Sherlock. Young-hoon made for a great foil — giving Sun-woo someone to bounce ideas off of but also coming in with existential warnings that turned out to be, unfortunately, fairly accurate.

(Time travel is dangerous and there is a price to pay.)

I also liked that, while Young-hoon definitely brought the humor, he was also pretty sharp himself. He does actually save Sun-woo’s life through his own sleuthing and tenacity. I really did love the relationship between Sun-woo and Young-hoon.

kfangurl: I also love that the two men are quite different at heart – Sun-woo’s all scientific and analytical about everything, while Young-hoon is more philosophical – and yet, they are so inseparable and their bond runs so deep.

There’s something about that dynamic that gives me an extra shot of warm fuzzies. I think it is because they don’t allow even these core differences to keep them apart. Like, bromance trumps all. D’aw.

Betsy Hp: The peanut-butter to his chocolate. 😉 (I’ll let you pick which is which.)

kfangurl: I’m gonna pick Sun-woo as the peanut butter. He’s saltier.

Betsy Hp: And nuttier! (‘Cause he’s got crunch…? I’ll stop.)

kfangurl: Although, Young-hoon could be pretty nutty himself. Remember when he ran screaming through the hospital, arms flailing?? If I saw that, I’d call him nuts.

Betsy Hp: Best reaction to time travel. Ever.

kfangurl: Evar.


Betsy Hp: Loved this story line! Seriously, loved it. Sun-woo was so kind to his younger self. And I loved how much his younger self seemed to hero-worship Sun-woo (which — guy saves your life — kind of hard not to ;).

I also loved that his younger self was smart enough to work through what kept Sun-woo from keeping his promise to meet with him. It was really cool to not only have the younger version around, but to have him doing things as well.

kfangurl: I was also really taken with how kind Sun-woo was to his younger self. And how much younger Sun-woo looked up to and trusted adult Sun-woo. That really was a huge highlight for me.

Betsy Hp: I think it gave that final episode, with the younger Sun-woo all grown up, more emotional weight than it would have if we didn’t know this version of Sun-woo.

So, even though time-travelling Sun-woo dies, it’s like a part of him does continue living. A part that he put a lot of effort into protecting and guiding.

It really was like a father-son relationship. Even to the point of the now matured Sun-woo making the decision to ignore the warning time-travelling Sun-woo gave little Min-young and instead follow his advice to decide for himself.

He stepped outside his “father’s” path and started walking his own. If that makes sense.

kfangurl: OHH! LOVE your father-son insight! It rings so true throughout the span of their interactions.

And at the end, New Sun-woo making his own decisions is totally reminiscent of the moment that a young man chooses to live by his own rules instead of his father’s. Momentous and necessary, in the process of him becoming his own man.

You so smart! 😀


Betsy Hp: A little cookie that I think might have been deliberately placed was Chief Oh’s references to mentoring Sun-woo up through his reporting career.

He was constantly there as a father-figure to Sun-woo (an awesome father-figure!) from the very beginning. So time-traveling Sun-woo sending his younger self to then Reporter Oh for help doesn’t change their relationship much. If at all.

Which! Makes me wonder if there’s this built in paradox that Sun-woo has always been shaped by time-travel in some way or another. (Who was the original holder of the incense sticks who fixed what needed fixing then left the nine sticks behind?)

How many times can a loop get played? We know the loop we see play out in the drama is encased in a larger loop of Jung-woo dying on the mountain and twenty-years-older Sun-woo coming to rescue him. Is there another loop crossing that one?

Because Sun-woo becomes something completely different than what his family had planned for him. And the first Sun-woo we meet is a reporter while his brother is a washout with at least mental issues if not drug addiction issues.

Why a reporter? Wouldn’t he have been more impelled to take on the family enemy on the home turf of medicine? Wouldn’t he feel more impelled to honor both his murdered father and his tragically broken brother by taking up the doctor mantel they’d both dropped?

His best friend goes on to study medicine. I’m sure it was expected, right up to the moment his father dies, that Sun-woo would be studying medicine, too. So I imagine they were planning on attending the same schools.

Without a Chief Oh to show him what the power of reporting can be… how did Sun-woo make that switch? And how would they have crossed paths without an outside nudge?

Or… I might be overthinking things. 😀

kfangurl: Ooh.. I like that cyclical train of thought!

All valid questions that I hadn’t even given thought to. It totally makes sense that Sun-woo would’ve picked medicine instead of journalism.

That the show doesn’t show us the reasons for that does give rise to the question of whether this time travel thing is somehow cyclical even though it’s not shown to us as such.

Wouldn’t it be fun if they did a special episode or something, to show us that B-side?

I do really like the idea of loops interacting with one another and affecting one another, and that what we happened to see in Nine, was just the one loop, is all. But that it doesn’t negate the existence of or interplay with other loops. Oh, the possibilities!! 😀

Betsy Hp: DVD writers commentary, I tell you. It’d be awesome. 🙂

kfangurl: SOLD. Where do we sign up for that?


Betsy Hp: I saw Sun-woo as the rock thrown into the water. The water is effected one way (closer rings are clearer, etc.) but the rock has its own experience.

I think the objects (the record, the incense) and the memory staying with Sun-woo was part of the time-travel paradox. Because he had jumped to the past and then came back, he developed an awareness that should be impossible.

He actually created the world he came back to — it wouldn’t have existed without his travelling through time.

So he was, in many ways, outside that world. It’s why his memories were wonky compared to those around him and it’s why the objects specific to him remained with him. He was no longer fully of that world.

It’s a paradox — which is why I think he decided it was useless to pursue the answer. It was philosophy (interesting but not really important) and he had things to do.

But, with each leap his separation from the world he was creating got stronger, and the result was his being stranded in the past. Which I think becomes the answer.

Once his travelling is done — the sticks run out — he has no link to that world anymore. The sticks became his link with that first leap.

kfangurl: Woah, that’s a bit of a mind-bender you have there! Verryyy interesting stuff.

I like your explanation of Sun-woo becoming more distant from the world that he creates with each timeslip.

It is robust enough to provide us with some answers that the show never explicitly provides: why the objects stay with him, why his memories behave differently than that of the people around him, and most of all, why he got stuck in the past.

Betsy Hp: I don’t think he had to die at that point in time — but I don’t think he’d have ever had a way back. So he would have been fully abandoned. No ties, no identification.

(And I doubt he would have approached any of the people he knew. He wouldn’t want to burden them. Especially his past self.)

I had thought that, once he died, the world he’d created would collapse in on itself. But I think that’s probably too dramatic and too Sun-woo centric.

The drama constantly referred to forces bigger than Sun-woo, God or Fate or some sort of Powers That Be. We stop seeing that world after Sun-woo dies because it’s Sun-woo we’re following. But there’s no reason it doesn’t continue on.

kfangurl: Well, I’m of the opinion that the world Original Sun-woo creates continues to exist beyond his death.

There’s no rule that says what we create can’t continue to exist in our absence – particularly with this idea, that Sun-woo gets more and more distanced from the world he creates.

In fact, I’m thinking that his increasing distance, in some ways, implies that world’s increasing “independence” of him, if that makes sense.

Betsy Hp: Ooh, you just gave me this lovely aha moment. Because isn’t that parenthood? Kid’s continue on even if you’re absent. Maybe the link is too tenuous but… Sun-woo was such a father to so many people in his past. So that’s my leap. 😀

kfangurl: Parenthood! I like that analogy! And that’s why, to me, it feels like that there is a timeline where a Young-hoon and a Min-young grieve for a Sun-woo who never made it back from his final timeslip.

Betsy Hp: I think that part is left up to the viewer to decide — do you like the idea of multi-verses created by every decision made? Or do you prefer that universe to collapse into the one with young Sun-woo so that Min-young and Young-hoon aren’t left bereft?

(I like that the writers leave it open — not doing anything that definitively states it’s one way or the other — instead just ending that story with Sun-woo’s death. Sometimes when you try to tie bows too neatly it kills the soul of the story. I like leaving it up to the viewer.)

But I think the big philosophical question of the drama is, how do you handle fate?  

Since Sun-woo is our hero and he seems to be heading for a happy ending at the end there, I’m going to say the writers lean towards — don’t overthink it, live how you want to live, love who you want to love.

Whereas his brother — who always needs some kind of rescuing — is really hung up on his past and how it shaped his fate and if he could change it things would get better.  

(The time he was at his strongest was when he was confronting his birth-father and basically saying, “our ties are our ties — but I’m done with you and moving on,” so again — not getting hung up on past issues.)

So maybe by using the incense — a tool used to meddle with the past — you tie yourself to the past and end up opting out of your future.

kfangurl: Yes, I do feel like the show’s emphasis is live how you want to live, and love who you want to love – looking towards the future rather than the past.

LOVE your sum-up too: by choosing to use the incense to meddle with the past, you choose the past, and thereby choose to opt out of your future.

Profound Betsy. That should be your new nickname, maybe? Heh.

Betsy Hp: Hah! And now I’m picturing the looks on people’s faces when I introduce myself. “Hi, I’m Betsy. But you can call me Profound Betsy!” Hee! I’m not sure it’d go over. 😀

kfangurl: I’ll call you Profound Betsy, even if no one else will.


kfangurl: Ooh. That Ending. So many possibilities!

Betsy Hp: I think there’s a lot of cookies stuck in the drama about time-traveling occurring in more places than just the story we’re following.

I rewatched the last two episodes (and the very beginning of the first episode) today and — while I think Jung-woo dropped a hint that maybe he was going to Nepal for the incense (his pointing out how strongly Sun-woo looks like the man who helped them way back when) — I’m not sure it’s that version of Jung-woo, necessarily, that went up to the mountain and started to die and then got rescued.

For one, Sun-woo follows on his heels really, really quickly.

(He flies out that evening — while his brother would have left around the same time Min-young did at the earliest. Since she was heading out just when Sun-woo was coming back from lunch with his brother.) So — just logistically — it’s a tight time table. Doable — but tight.

But we also see Jung-woo get rescued in the very beginning. Which doesn’t happen in the story we’re watching because Sun-woo is coming to claim his body. Then there’s whomever stuck the incense in the mattress in the first place.

And then there’s the oddity of Sun-woo choosing to become a reporter. (When young Sun-woo is talking to Reporter Oh, he specifically says the idea had never occurred to him before. So what triggered it?)

kfangurl: Ooh, good spotting, that young Sun-woo said he’d never thought of being a reporter before. I hadn’t picked up on that as a clue, but now that you mention it, it just kinda thickens the plot that much more, doesn’t it?

Betsy Hp: It does! So I think, honestly, the writers put that stuff in for funnsies. It’s the kind of thing that, if you enjoy this sort of thing, can be a lot of fun spinning out theories and possibilities. But they don’t set anything in stone because it’s not necessary.

It definitely tells us Sun-woo isn’t fated to die young — because here’s an older Sun-woo. But other than that? What would you like it to mean? (Which, by the way, I love. Because this is the kind of thing I enjoy. :D)

kfangurl: Yes, I do agree that the writers put some of that stuff in just to tickle our minds and bring forth lots and lots of ideas, theories and discussion, and may not even have made up their minds about the actual version of the story that they are telling.

My preferred interpretation is close to your multiple interacting loop theory, that there are other loops and other Sun-woos out there, making decisions and time-traveling. Which makes that final scene really flexible in the interpretation. (Which, cool!)

It could be our New Sun-woo, coming back from 20 years in the future. Or it could be another Sun-woo from another loop.

Or my favorite one (which, I admit, is a bit of a stretch), a Sun-woo from another loop, approaching Jung-woo in the mountains, in an unveiling of what really happened in that moment, in episode 1.

Betsy Hp: I would seriously love to get, like the writers’ notes or dvd commentary with the writers where they talk about it. (Where do we sign up for that?)

What did they have positively nailed down? What was loose? What was, oh dear Lord, we didn’t mean that at all but… hey it works, we’ll roll with it!  

kfangurl: Ha. Wouldn’t it be a hoot if the writers actually turned out to not have thought of any this stuff that we’ve been chewing on? Like, how this show is all about one man reaching out to his brother and all that?


We’d be like magicians, conjuring up analysis out of nothing. That could be our superpower: Analysis, activate! ;D

Betsy Hp: If it comes with a super cool power-activating ring for each of us? I’ll take it! 😀

kfangurl: It does, actually! So I’d like to propose a toast – to our very first joint post, and many more to come, hopefully! – with superpower rings activated!

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Drama Fan
9 years ago

Hi! And I finally made it to this post. I read right after I finished watching Nine, to date, one of my favorite korean series but I was so overwhelmed with thoughts! I didn’t think I could be able to write them down. So here I am, after a few months, trying my best to be concise and articulate 😉 Here are some thoughts on your thoughts. Some can be a bit random. I wish I hadn’t forgotten details of the drama already. Darn this memory of mine!

Emotional hook:
KFanGurl said: With the possibility of a timeslip to fix each new twist in the plot, I felt like the stakes were lowered. My internal monologue would go something like, “Jung-woo’s dead?…” Or, “Min-young’s his niece?… Well, let’s see how the show fixes that. We’ve got X timeslips left, I wonder how they’d make that work..”

I felt the opposite. To me, each plane of existence was different. To me, for example when Sun Woo died, I felt it deeply. Two reasons, one is this attachment I feel for fighters, characters who fight to survive until the end, when the survival instinct kicks in etc, for some reason, is something that moves me deeply. You mentioned it in your review Kfangurl, his resilience. It moved me. But also it was because, despite things being able to “get resolved somehow” I knew that the Sun Woo that died, was the time traveler! he was the one I loved. I also loved young Sung Woo but his future was going to be different, different experiences, in my view, create a different person (here is the nature vs nurture question the series raises).

To me, the angst increased every time he time traveled! because in my understanding he wasn’t fixing anything but messing everything up more. When she didn’t remember him. I cried! because this is not her! this is not the woman he fell in love with, they might want to sell me the idea that it is “her soul” or her essence? but I don’t care! She had different parents and memories, therefore it was NOT exactly her :p

When Jung Woo finally does something for his brother, and tries to tell his younger self to confess, to me this is is bigger than “sacrificing his life”, he is “sacrificing his current existence” he is sacrificing ever marrying the woman he loves, being the father of Ming Young, etc (btw, this is also the moment I start to understand and sympathize with the character)

So yes, anxiety level, angst level was super high for me because I saw the stakes as always very high, with every decision made.

Nine Vs Queen In Hyun’s Man
While I enjoyed Queen In Hyun’s Man as a romance, I prefer Nine for the reasons you mentioned. The questions it asked. The larger themes, etc

Lee Jin Wok
The thing with me is, every actor that I see for the first time, has the good luck of being perceived by me as the character, regardless of his abilities unless he is terrible! To me Lee Jin Wook is Sunwoo. Sunwoo is Lee Jin Wook for now. I become a little more picky as I start following the actor in different works 😉 In this occasion he convinced me, I liked his character very much, connected with him and I attributed his quirks to the character (again, because it is my first time seeing him).

I loved this kid as young Sunwoo. I see so much potential in him as an actor. My favorite scene of his was when the killer was chasing him. I felt his fear so vividly.

Evil Choi
I am completely with KFangurl on Evil Choi being the only sore point for me in this drama. Every time he did that Ohhhh ohhhh ohhhhhh face! I was kicked out of the “fantasy”. He started out like a scary villain and ended up like a silly caricature.

Loved all of them, between real brother Sunwoo and Jungwoo, between Sun Woo and his younger self, Sun Woo and Chied Oh (I so love this actor to pieces!) Sun Woo and Young Hoon (eeeepiccccc!!!!)

The kissing
While the romance wasn’t what kept me watching, I appreciated the chemistry between the leads and the real kissing so so soooo rare in kdramas 😉

Finally girls, your theories on the theme of parenthood, amazing! These are thoughts that didn’t occur to me at all, but give so much more meaning to the drama (whether it was intended by the writers or not)

9 years ago
Reply to  Drama Fan

Wow, Drama Fan!! You weren’t kidding about having a lot of thoughts! And to have incubated your thoughts for several months before giving voice to them – wow.

Sounds like Nine really managed to hook you, it sounds like you were firmly and completely on board for the ride that Nine was serving up, and that can only be a good thing. I wish I was able to be as immersed in the show as you!

You make a thought-provoking point, that the version of Sun Woo who died, is a different person from the Sun Woo who survived because of the different experiences that they lived through. That really does beg the question of nature vs. nurture: how much of the essence of who Sun Woo is as a person is inborn, and how much is due to the shaping of experiences. In real life, I actually do believe strongly in the impact of nurture. For instance, I believe I would be a pretty different person today if I’d lived a different version of my life instead of the one that I did live. At the same time, I suppose there is an essence that is inborn. And to make the ending of Nine more palatable and acceptable, I kinda have to believe that the essence of Sun Woo is, to a some extent at least, inborn. It’s only with this thought that the ending sits well. Ish.

At the same time, I rather like the idea of there being many timelines and many Sun Woos walking on multiple planes of existence. That tickles my imagination, even while part of me as a viewer grieves at the death of the Sun Woo that we saw die in the past.

Oh, I did love Hyung Sik as young Sun Woo!! I thought he did an excellent job, and I really felt for his character. I felt that he was wasted in Heirs, to be honest. He is capable of so much better, which we did see here in Nine.

High five on agreeing on Evil Choi. His OTT-characterization didn’t work for me the way it worked for Betsy. But then, y’know, Betsy’s just the more forgiving kind, I’ve realized 😉

Gosh, yes, the bromance! I enjoyed all the bromances, but in particular, the interactions between young Sun Woo and Young Hoon made me smile. Those 2 are just so cute together. Y’know, it’s just too hard to pick a favorite, coz as I typed that, I remembered how much I loved Chief Oh, and also the dynamic between Sun Woo and his younger self. Heh.

And the parenthood theme! Credit for that goes to Wise Betsy, who joined the dots to form that parenthood connection. Definitely some thought-provoking stuff around that, eh? 😀 Sometimes I do wonder how much of the meaning we derive from the show was actually intended by the writers, and how much we are conjuring out of “nothing” ha. But, if it fits, it’s all good. That’s what I like to think anyway 😉

9 years ago
Reply to  Drama Fan

I second Kfangurl’s wow! 😀 I love your thoughts — and I love that this is a drama that encourages its viewers to chew over what they’ve given us. So basically I’m happy all around. 🙂

I totally agree with you about time-traveler SungWoo and young SungWoo being different people. It’s a more painful way of looking at it — but as you say, their experiences shaped them into different people. And time-traveling SungWoo took the dangerous and doomed path. He saved young SungWoo (which was so, so awesome! and yes — one of the many cool bromances on the show), but it meant he had to sacrifice himself. *sob*

Regarding Evil Choi… Yup, I’ve totally resigned myself to being one of the few (only?) people to get a kick out of him. 😉 I’m not sure that it’s me being kind so much as having a high tolerance for (or maybe a twisted attraction towards?) that kind of campy acting. (Kfangurl — I think we talked about that sideways walking man in “Return of Iljimae” and how he was a bridge too far for you, but I got to the point where I kind of adored him… I think it’s a similar thing. Huh. Maybe it is kindness? A willingness to embrace the crazy? Anyway — Evil Choi — I liked him. 😀 )

Hyungsik was so, so awesome! And yes, he was so sadly wasted in “Heirs” (true of far too many actors, honestly). Though! I was pleased to see how well he handled playing a totally different, comedy-based character. (If either of you have the opportunity to check out the drama special, “Sirius” I recommend it. He plays the younger version of the twin brothers and he does an awesome job at it.)

And so much yes to the real kissing! It’s something I’ve come to highly appreciate about the cable shows. 😀

Finally — I’m so, so glad you commented on this Drama Fan! It reminded me of how much fun it was creating this post with Kfangurl — bouncing ideas off of each other and seeing where they led… I love that kind of thing. 🙂

10 years ago

So kfangurl, what kind of peanut butter are you? Smooth or chunky?

And Betsy, what kind of chocolate are you? Dark? Milk? Swiss? Truffles or a bar?

10 years ago
Reply to  DDee

Ooh.. Good question!! I’m gonna say.. honeyed chunky peanut butter? Coz I’m mostly unruffled and smooth (coz I don’t get upset easily), and I have a little sweet to my saltiness (therefore the honey).. And I’ve got just enough spunk to give me a lil bit of crunch? Or maybe I’m just a little nutty at heart? ;D

And just for fun, I’m gonna say that Betsy is.. sweet milk chocolate (coz she’s generally so sweet, y’know) of the Swiss variety (coz she’s a classy lady that way), with dark swirls (coz she does have a taste for dark sometimes?) Hee! Correct me as needed, Betsy! ^^

10 years ago
Reply to  kfangurl

Totally agree with your peanut-butter type — honey with the spunky/nutty crunch (must have both!) 😉

And for me… Sweet milk chocolate on the outside but a dark chocolate ganache for when I’m chortling over the blood-spray and other dark things. 😀

10 years ago
Reply to  BetsyHp

Hee. The mental image of Sweet Betsy actually chortling over blood-spray is giving me a case of the giggles! XD I don’t care for sweets much, so I actually had to look up “ganache” – I’m pretty chuffed that my estimation of your chocolate type is pretty darn close to your own! 😀

10 years ago
Reply to  kfangurl

I’d buy that peanut butter. It sounds delicious! And Betsy’s totally a truffle–Truffle Betsy and PBJ-KFG! 😉

10 years ago
Reply to  DDee

HAHA! Truffle Betsy! That’s perfect! XD Although, I hafta say there is no jelly in my peanut butter.. So I’m counter-proposing HPB-KFG (which rhymes!) for the honey peanut butter 😉 Which totally exists, btw.. I’ve actually eaten it & it is YUM ❤ Have I mentioned that I have a real soft spot for peanut butter? ^^

10 years ago
Reply to  kfangurl


10 years ago
Reply to  DDee

LOL, now you want my peanut butter secrets, do you? I’m happy to oblige.. Just coz sharing is caring ;D The chunky honey peanut butter I had is by Skippy, under their Super Chunk series; they call it the Roasted Honey Nut.. If you like your honey peanut butter creamy, they also have a smooth version, as do Peter Pan, jif and Smucker’s ^^

10 years ago
Reply to  kfangurl

Set! Thanks! I eat my PB out of the jar, I fool myself into thinking I’m getting my protein. And sorry for hijacking this with comments nothing related to Nine. I’ll stop now 🙂

10 years ago
Reply to  DDee

B-but, you ARE getting your protein! Isn’t that what fitness peeps do too? XD Hee! And no need to apologize.. Tangents are essential to actual conversations (Betsy & I went off on SOOO many long and wonderful tangents while chatting for this post!) and they are soo much fun!

Plus, we DID talk about peanut butter in our post, after all, so.. it’s sorta related anyway? ;D

10 years ago
Reply to  kfangurl

I lied. One more silly comment: TB & HPB-KFG r the OTP of EDD. LOL TTFN.

10 years ago
Reply to  DDee

Bwahaha!! I’m chuffed that I could actually de-code that message, DDee!! XD That’ll have to be the ultimate challenge on this page. Not the actual reading of our post, but the deciphering of this comment! ;D

10 years ago
Reply to  DDee

Oh my gosh — best tangent ever! I’ve seen the honey-peanut butter in stores. Not my particular cup of tea, but both my sisters adored honey & peanut butter sandwiches. (I prefer peanut butter and banana. I don’t actually have much of a sweet tooth.)

Also! I was able to decode your message, DDee! I feel so internet savvy. 😉 (Also, being referred to as an OTP warms the cockles of my heart, I must admit. )

10 years ago

You two do create content when you get together, don’t you. 🙂

Nine was not my thing but it was really fun reading about your thoughts and theories. Especially as I’m not one to go into that sort of in-depth analysing myself. Dramas are mostly just entertainment to me and it’s very seldom I get the urge to scratch the surface to ponder any further on them.

I second the idea of a discussion on A Wife’s Credential. A wonderful and quite thought provoking drama with some truly great acting. I just marathoned it myself not long ago.

10 years ago
Reply to  Timescout

I know, right?!? All we ever had to do was get together on a comments thread, & stuff would come spilling out! So much, really, that this joint post thing was just *begging* to be at least tried out! Now that we’ve tried it, I think we’re both pretty taken with it and we’re figuring out the details of this new Thing of ours ^^

Sounds like A Wife’s Credentials is getting bumped up the list as we go! Once both Betsy & I get around to watching it, we’ll have a heap to say, I’m sure! And, YAY that you’ll be joining us as we activate our analyzing tendencies together! 😀

10 years ago
Reply to  Timescout

I’m glad you enjoyed reading! 🙂 I’m the sort that adores digging into things when they hit me the right way, but I know it can kill the enjoyment for others. (Part of the reason I think Kfangurl and I clicked is we share that digging instinct. ;)) So I’m really glad to hear the post is readable and fun.

And yes — A Wife’s Credentials is definitely moving up the list. We can’t promise speedy turn-around. But we can definitely promise a very thorough analysis. 😀

10 years ago

WHOOPIE! I can’t think of two more suitable people than the two of you to do something like this! You two are like the OTP of epic dissection. More! More!

I wished I liked this show more, and I see why it has a lot of fans–it’s well-made and juggles the multiple timelines efficiently so you never feel lost. But I just couldn’t connect with the story. I got very little pay off frm the middle onwards to the end, emotionally and/or intellectually. It could’ve had something to do with LJW’s performance which I felt was a little one-note. Without come connection to his story, I felt alot of the larger questions of fate, god, etc rang a little hollow.

Plus, ohmygeerd, the romance was just… *facepalm*. I wish I saw more of SW’s relationship with his mother and his bestie, instead of the blessed gf. The nail in the coffin: in the last episode, that supposedly flirtatious struggle on the office couch which came off like he was attacking her, that was an epic fail. I felt a little disturbed by that directing/acting misfire.

So what’s next guys?? Could you pleeeese pick a show that I liked next time? How about A Wife’s Credentials?! PLEASE?! So much to talk about there! 🙂

10 years ago
Reply to  DDee

OMO!! The OTP of Epic Dissection?!? I LOVE that!!! 😀 You’ve hit the nail on the head, DDee!! THAT has got to be the name of the very particular connection I’ve felt with Betsy over the course of several mega comments-section drama discussions. So.. Betsy’s the chocolate to MY peanut-butter? (She’s sweeter, that’s why I pick her as chocolate, heh)

In terms of your feelings towards Nine, I think I resonate with you a little more than Betsy might.. I felt more disconnected to LJW than she did, and as a result, that made the emotional connection rather lacking, for me. (Also, it’s good to know that my disconnect from LJW maybe wasn’t just me!).. I was *intellectually* stimulated by the show, though.. I kept running through possibilities in my head as I watched, trying to figure out the what next, AND trying to keep track of all the changes-via-timeslip prior. That kept my brain mighty busy, so it felt meaty and robust on a mental level. If they’d managed a stronger emotional connection, though, that would’ve really made me happy camper.

I appreciated that the romance wasn’t the center of this universe, and there were some moments that I really did like. I hafta agree, though, that the scene you mention was a little.. awkward for me to watch. I really do wonder if I would’ve felt differently if Sun-woo had been played by an actor I felt more connected with? But definitely, DEFINITELY, yes to more screentime with the besties. Sun-woo and Young-hoon were sparky and adorkable in ANY timeline, and I would’ve loved to see more of their bromantic tough love! And the Mom! I wanted evolution AND resolution with the Mom! That felt like such an oversight on the writers’ part!

Also! YAY that you’re enjoying our new “thing” – we do want it to be a Thing, and we’re tossing ideas around at the moment. Not every drama lends itself to Epic Dissection, so we want to choose well. I haven’t seen A Wife’s Credentials yet (I suspect Betsy mightn’t have seen it either), though I’ve heard good things. At this moment, I’d say it’s a future possibility given its reputed meatiness – if Betsy feels the same way – but you probably wouldn’t see a Trading Thoughts post on it very soon ^^ Don’t worry, though! We’re working on picking good stuff! ;D

10 years ago
Reply to  kfangurl

Jumping in this conversation to say I kind of side with DDee on this one, though with less irreverence, maybe? Hee.
I do admit to being intellectually invested, but often my brain would go: “Okay. Too pat.”
I think it’s a type of storytelling one needs to develop a taste for. (I think Betsy loves it, right Besty?) All those twists either makes the audience go: “Ooh, smart!” or “Blergh! Stop messing with me.”

And so glad to know LJW “non-fans”, because believe me I thought I was the only one. Frankly, he kind of creeps me out. =X That smirk. >.< LJW fans, please understand. Maybe if I see him in a role where he's less smirky I'll like him? Maybe.

Another gripe with this show was with the director. I know this can be subjective, but I'm not a fan of his style. He makes dramas into a video-game. There's no linear visual storytelling. Some may like that about his style. How it then demands multiple watches to get the clues? Still I call it sensory overload. hah.

And that scene in the couch definitely irked me. I thought I was the only one there, too. Good to know DDee didn't like it, either.

10 years ago
Reply to  Maybee

Ooh, that IS a very fine line that writers need to dance on.. Managing twists in the story that will seem oh-so-smart, without making the viewer feel manipulated. As one who’s felt burned before, I have to agree that I hate that messed-with feeling. I felt it less in Nine than I did in White Christmas though, so I feel like Nine did a better job at it.

Y’know, having seen SO much LJW love in the blogosphere arising from Nine, I’m really quite surprised to find that you ladies weren’t quite feeling the LJW magic either. Ok, so he didn’t creep me out like he did you (phew!), but he did leave me feeling like *something* was a little bit missing from my protagonist, and that less-than-satisfied feeling did niggle at me.

The non-linear storytelling was interesting to me, most probably because I didn’t feel manipulated like you did? If I’d felt manipulated or messed with as a viewer, I’m pretty sure I’d have had major-ish issues with the non-linear storytelling forcing me to work hard *at BEING manipulated* which, really, is like making me work hard to get my face smacked. And who likes that, right?

10 years ago
Reply to  kfangurl

Yeah, the twist storyline is right up my alley. 🙂 It’s a huge reason I enjoyed Nine so much — but if it’s not your thing, there’s not a lot Nine could do to swing you to its side, I think. Because really, the plot was the thing.

And LJW totally worked for me as Sun-woo! 😀 But I’ve only seen him in two dramas and I hated his character in the other one, so…

And the romance worked for me, too. (Hee! This is turning into a list of reasons that I liked Nine.) Which might be why the couch scene didn’t bother me. She attacked first and it was obviously a friendly tussle, not a real threat… I don’t know — for me, the context was there to make it silly sliding into sexy instead of a physical dominance thing. But if it’s not working in the first place — then the context isn’t as settled and… yeah, awkward.

It was all thrown at the viewer at once, though. I wonder if they could have done more to establish the relationship during the makjang lull. For me, I love the template they used (goofy girl, cold guy) so it was very easy for me to get on board and fill in any blanks on my own. But that’s because of what I brought to the story rather than what the story brought to me. If they’d worked more to establish why this girl for this guy throughout the drama, I think it would have been better. And since even I found the middle section draggy — maybe that’s where they could have done it.

I’ve had A Wife’s Credential’s rustling about in the back of my mind for a watch — so this bumps it up. 🙂 As Kfangurl said — it wouldn’t be soon… But frankly, I’m just thrilled we’ve (a) done our first post and enjoyed so well we definitely want to do it again and (b) you want us to do more. 😀

10 years ago
Reply to  Maybee

You and me Maybee, high five! Although he didn’t creep me out, I just found LJW not very engaging. But I do think he could pull off a smirky asshat role though, if that was all he was required to do! I know what you mean about the director’s style. I didn’t mind it so much until I started to lose patience with it in the end when I felt like we kept flashbacking every five minutes.

10 years ago

Yay! I’m so, so excited we’ve finally got this done and out for the world to see! 😀

10 years ago
Reply to  BetsyHp

Right?!? When we first named it, it felt like we’d named a new pet. But now that it’s gone live, it feels like an actual child, almost! Like, lookie at our little thought baby, isn’t s/he/it the most amazing baby, EVAR?? ;D

Ooh – PARENTHOOD. Didja see what just happened there? All that talk about parenthood in our post has actually rubbed off! XD

10 years ago
Reply to  kfangurl

May your fecund fecundity give us more crown-worthy Heritors.

It sounds creepy, I know. Had to say it. =X

10 years ago
Reply to  Maybee

PWAHAHAA!! XD That IS bordering on creepy – especially in the context of my toaster proposing to Betsy’s bread slice! >.< – but SO funny!! XD So in short, may our combined profundity have great fecundity?!? It's kinda unweildy, but it sure makes us sound sma.. er, I mean, profound! ^^

10 years ago
Reply to  kfangurl

Go make brain babies. Now. Go, go, go!

PS Wonder what would result from a toaster-bread union? Hmm.

10 years ago
Reply to  Maybee

HAHA. You just gave me a mental flash of that gummy brain fetus from Dr. Jin! Which, ewww! XD

And the offspring of a toaster-bread union.. I’d say, really crunchy lil bread crumbs? ;D

10 years ago

Awww! 😀

This was such a meaty and entertaining read. Loved the chance to see the wheels churn! Profound Betsy the Champion of the Underdog and the Appreciator of All Dramas Unloved is indeed profound.
And you’re a great facilitator, kfangurl.

This joint venture’s a brilliant idea. Hope there’s more to come.

PS The last picture’s so cute!

10 years ago
Reply to  Maybee

Thanks! 😀 We were hoping for both meaty and entertaining, so I’m glad we’ve hit them both.

And my title keeps getting longer… if I get in trouble and I can just swing that at a person and take them down easy. 😉

10 years ago
Reply to  BetsyHp

hehheheh. Bludgeon ’em with the thing. But remember: He Who Wears the Crown Must Bear Its Weight.


Oh and the 1st pic … that’s kfangurl’s work? Wow. It’s so creative. Good job, good job.

10 years ago
Reply to  Maybee

Aw, thanks Maybee!!! 😀 So glad you enjoyed our (I was gonna say “little,” but I don’t think that’s the right word since we talked in such large chunks!) drama chit chat.. We had so, so much fun doing this, that we’re pretty excited about doing more of these joint posts, wheee!

As for the pix.. I can’t take credit for creating them from scratch (y’know, since I *didn’t* – heh) but I’m happy that you like ’em! I had a lotta fun tweaking them for our post, & I especially giggled a lot while working on the romantic toaster, hee!

And Profound Betsy the Champion of the Underdog and the Appreciator of All Dramas Unloved bears the weight of that crown really well.. She’s still gracious &.. functioning! under the weight of all that.. profundity! ;D

10 years ago
Reply to  kfangurl


Looking forward to more profound profundities that are sure to profundicate. =D

10 years ago
Reply to  Maybee

Ooh, we do hope for profound profundities.. But I don’t think we want to profundicate, though! XD And now my tongue is all twisted up, with all your fecund profundity, Maybee! XD