As of the 19th, 49 Days came to an end with its 20th episode finale. For some it was a bittersweet, for others it felt incomplete. I do have to say that, regardless of how I felt about the ending, I was crying buckets. And for a person that rarely sheds a tear, that is saying something. The writing, which was really amazing, carried this drama through ’til the end. (With a few final bumps.)
I have read all over the internet for the past day, about how some people are so happy over the ending. They call it bittersweet and meaningful. I call it a disappointment. Now, of all people, I can surely appreciate tragic endings. And the Yi-soo and Yi-kyung storyline was certainly a beautiful one. It had emotional impact and a message that, while death is the end, it is also a beginning. There was much appreciable symbolism throughout the series in that regard.
But I have to disagree on the note that Ji-hyun’s ending was in any way appropriate. I understand the meaningfulness of the 49 days that she spent. In her own words, it was a gift. Nonetheless, I still cannot feel satisfied with the way the series was ended. We spent 19 episodes going through the roller coaster alongside Ji-hyun, eventually forming some kind of attachment to her and cheering for her to get with Kang. Some people call it “realistic,” but when I watch a drama I am not necessarily looking for realistic. When it has a sort of supernatural tone with reapers, the whole point kind of becomes fantasy. Not to the point that it entirely loses its grip on what is real and what is not. But television in general is, to some degree, a form of escapism.
I have watched and appreciated sad endings before. In dramas, in manga, in anime… But this one left me feeling a little empty in the end. Would I rather her live and get together with Kang? Well, that is the direction I expected the drama to go in. Frankly, a cliffhanger would have probably left me feeling happier than this.
Also, throwing Yi-kyung in as Ji-hyun’s sister felt like an unnecessary “twist” that just really mucked up an otherwise well-thought out storyline. I think most people can agree on that part. While it is nice to see Yi-kyung with a family, it felt like an unneeded throw in. The drama would have been better off without that.
On a positive, I can understand the implied message that has been underlying the entire series. It is beautiful and it is touching. For the series itself, I have to give props because it was far better than I had anticipated when I started it. But I can’t help also feeling a little let down.
To keep away the throes of depression, I think I will go watch the Hong Sisters’ The Greatest Love that will have me laughing until I eventually find myself crying again. (Because inevitably, their series do that to you, too. But I have always been satisfied with the endings they have written.)