It’s been awhile since I had an ending that left me pondering on what actually happened. I wanted to write this post as a service to what a great drama Nine has been. It definitely locked itself as one of the top dramas for 2013. Seriously, this is the only drama that satisfied me from beginning till end this year (so far). Anyway, back to the main point, the ending was definitely very open to interpretation. I was searching for something plausible in several forums but I mostly got fan girls who wanted to have their happy ending to happen. I’m sure Nine was aiming for something more than just that so I decided to come up with my personal theory on it. I don’t expect it to be the right one but just to shed some light on things. It would be nice if someone would discuss these points I’ve raised.
The ending was strangely satisfying. It played out how the new timeline shows parallelism in terms of romantic development with the original timeline. It was more of a fan service since the whole episode was generally cute and happy. The importance of this whole sub-plot was to show that Sun Woo and Min Young are a fated couple. No matter how many attempts to change their future have occurred, they will always choose one another.
The other message this drama was trying to conjure was creating your own destiny. Your decisions now will affect your future. You have to trust that you’re making the right ones. This was a very poignant monologue from 1993 Sun Woo and pretty much encapsulates the whole drama. I don’t think much people focused on this aspect since the everyone wanted the paragraph above to happen more.
What made the ending rather open-ended was because some details were not resolved. I’m particularly curious about the rules for when the sticks run out. It was never explicitly stated. Regardless, there are two main questions left unanswered.
1) Did Sun Woo get to live?
It’s both a yes and a no. 2013 Sun Woo did die in 1993. But because he was able to change his future, he was able to create a new timeline wherein everything fell into place properly. He was not sick with a brain tumor. He knows the truth behind his father’s death. Jung Woo turns himself in. Choi Jin Chul served his sentence. He has his reporter job and more importantly is still together with Joo Min Young. Since everything was fixed and laid out by 2013 Sun Woo of the old timeline, there was no need to go back in time to fix things in this new timeline.
Since the drama ended just before he went to Nepal, we never reached the part of the new timeline where he would die in 2013. This is why everything is left up to our own discretion. Although in a voice over in the last few minutes, Sun Woo mentions how the fantasies can become realities. It happened in the beginning because of the sticks, but without them it can only come true because of his choices. This new timeline is more or less the final timeline because he can’t go back to the past anymore…. so it’s more likely 2013 Sun Woo would survive and let those choices take its course permanently.
2) Why did 58-year old (technically 57 since the brother died in January) Sun Woo reach out to the brother’s hands in the Himalayas?
This seems to be a prequel or where everything started. 2033 Sun Woo probably got hold of some incense sticks during that time. One of the stick’s rules was it could only travel 20 years back into the past. If that’s the case, then he couldn’t change what happened in 1993. I’m sure 2013 Sun Woo is just like 1993 Sun Woo with regard to wanting to know what happens to his life after. If his 2033 self told his 2013 self, his 2013 self probably wouldn’t buy it. He had to create a situation where his 2013 self would attempt to piece everything together and have his life changed.
I came up with that theory because of the rumors of a season 2 in the making. I don’t think they’ll continue it from where the new timeline is since everything is more or less perfect.
There were some who tried to connect the ending to the first episode since it comes to full circle where the brother died with the incense stick. Some observant people noticed how Lee Jin Wook was looked more like his 58 year old self in the first episode. I think this was just coincidental. The writers don’t actually write up all 20 episodes ahead of time so it’s impossible for them to have made a perfect connection between these two events.