Nine Episode 1
A man battled the snow blizzard and held on to an incense stick in his dying moments.
We shift to Park Sun Woo, a news anchorman having troubles when the plane took off. He was welcomed by Joo Min-young, a junior news reporter at work who has expressed adoration towards him.
Sun-woo headed to the excited Min-young, he kissed her and proposed a 6-month marriage offer to her surprise. Caught off guard, she agreed to the instant love offer and happily assumed herself to be his tour guide. When she realized that he was not joking about the wedding talk, she bickered about his idea of offering a lifetime love offer but he reminded her that he got it from her. And we flashback to when she begged him to date her for 6 or 3 months. They engaged to a sweet heated argument about the sincerity of his intentions, and Sun-woo emerged victorious.
He dropped by at a police station to face the sad news of his brother’s death in the frosty Himalayas.
While he flips over his hyung’s possessions he found a picture of the last time they met together. His brother asked him for some money because he was on a mission to go back to when their family was happy.
Sun-woo settled in his hotel room to rest. He noticed the incense stick which he remembered to be what his brother was holding when he died. He lit it up but he didn’t notice that he was briefly transported to a snowy field. He thought it was just a lucid dream and a side effect of his existing medical condition.
Sun-woo went back to Korea and did his regular job. He was supposed to do a live interview to Chairman Choi Jin Cheol for his stem cell therapy breakthrough. It was a smooth interview but Sun-woo surprised the newsroom and the Chairman by throwing allegations of the hidden casualties and unethical procedures done for the research.
The newsroom was in frenzy because of the unscripted outburst. Sun-woo was scolded by the station director and he revealed to him how his family suffered because of Choi Jin Cheol. He added that his imminent death because of a brain tumor can’t even compete with the old man who caused his family’s downfall but he should at least expose his evil-doings because he owe it to his family.
On their way to the base camp of an expedition they will be covering, Min-young asked for some time and called Sun-woo to ask him again why he was setting a dating timeframe. He gave an excuse that getting attached breaks someone’s heart because he can’t reveal his dying status to her yet.
Nine Episode 2
Min-young called Sun-woo’s bestfriend-doctor, Young-hoon, and he revealed to her the extent of his medical condition. On their way to the base camp she was crying and cursing the man she loves who will soon be dying.
Sun-woo visited his schizophrenic mother who can’t recognize him. He got a text message from his work assistant about the status of the exclusive interview he initiated. He met the broadcast station’s director and he rejected his resignation telling him they will be supporting him on his claims.
Sun-woo rested in his room and lit the incense stick again. He thought another epiphany stroke as his surroundings changed revealing his room when he was in high school.
He saw an old beeper and went down to see his mother calm and sober, but when she saw her son’s future self she freaked out, Jung-woo from the past defended their mother and hit the aquarium which wounded his nape. He went back to his room and it changed changed to current time. Wondering about the weird epiphany, his phone rang and he spoke with the evil chairman who convinced him to set the things straight, but Sun-woo won’t budge and warned him to stay away from him.
Outraged from the phone conversation, he noticed his bleeding neck and got the friendly ire of Young-hoon who was still convincing him to start on chemotherapy.
He told him about his lucid dreams but he just went on his bromance spiel of not listening to him. They went for a drink and Sun-woo learned that Min-young already knows his condition.
Sun-woo watched the news coverage of evil chairman’s arrival when his head got attacked by a searing pain. The technical team who knew Sun-woo and Min-young’s supposed love affair played cupids and told her that her lover was in the room. She agreed to extend her long distance message but launched a jaw-dropper by showing her middle finger as her message to him.
Sun-woo asked for a satellite phone and asked the Himalayas team to have Min-young on the phone.
MY: “You’re an asshole! I don’t want to see you ever again. Proposal? I didn’t give you an answer yet so don’t count on that.. Just be alone quietly, and leave quietly. 3 months? You can’t do that even to your pets! Do you take me for granted? At least make an excuse!”
SW: “Excuse? You want to hear the facts or the fantasy? You want me to tell the truth? When I heard that I was dying, I had two things in my mind. The first one was, who will take care of my mother… and the other thing was a steamy night with you before I die. I also can’t believe that. There are a lot of pretty girls in the world. It was not the models in my computer, not the glamorous female anchor hitting on me, but it was you I was thinking of having this hot bed scenes.”
MY: “I asked you to make an excuse and not to sexually harrass me.”
SW: “I’m just telling the truth. If you go out with someone, remember what I told you. If a man says that he will be happy seeing you smile for the rest of his life, he is a liar. If someone talks like me marry him. He is an honest man. Are you disappointed? You want me to tell the fantasy version?”
“For the last 5 years, you were just a junior at work who have still a lot to learn. But your mind was always fixed on being a girl. When I learned that I’m dying, I realized something… I have loved you for the past 5 years. I realized that there was not a moment that I didn’t love you. But it was too late. That’s why I wanted to be with you for the remaining months to give you everything I could. If you knew I was sick, I thought I would never see the smile of the girl I love again. Why is your smile important? I’m trying my best to be cheerful, but I really want to cry a lot of times everyday. It’s not just a smile. It is everything for me.”
Sun-woo accepted her rejection and demanded her to write an apology letter for her being unprofessional in the camera. He went back to work and received a phone call from the cleaning lady about a beeper ringing. He then remembered his back to the future hallucination and asked for the number ringing the beeper. He dialed the number but it was not in service. A courier was dispatched to get the beeper.
Sun-woo called doctor-friend and explained to him his theory that everytime he lights the incense, he sort of wrinkling time. He deduced the possibility of narcotics causing the vivid wild imaginations but his mind can’t rest to the idea that the incense was doing it, and if he’s not drugged nor crazy, why was it happening?
Sun-woo asked his assistant to research the beeper’s origin and left back to his dresser. Wanting to prove his theories, he burned the incense again, and went back 20 years ago. While the station frantically looked for the missing anchor, Sun-woo surveyed the room he was in and spotted a newspaper that confirmed his speculations.
Just then the beeper ring, so he called the number and spoke with Sun-woo-of-20-years-ago.
Nine Episode 3
Sun-woo got back in the present in the nick of his scheduled broadcast airing but he was still bothered on the idea that he could be wrinkling time.
Choi Jin Cheol watched Sun-woo’s report and got the confirmation from his secretary of Jung-woo’s death. Sun-woo also got the affirmation that the beeper was his from 20 years ago.
He called Young-hoon about what he discovered, and he too remembered the incident when his beeper went missing and the strange burglar in their house. He still can’t believe of the absurdity of what’s happening as his friend also remembered the events.
In the past timeline, Sun-woo entered his brother’s room and interrupted him of the love letter he was writing. He muttered about his strange conversation of his missing beeper but he was called by their father.
Present time Sun-woo looked for his high school diary and saw an entry of him about his strange phone encounter with the man who took his beeper. He browsed at his brother’s mini notebook about his Himalayas visit and read his writing about nine incense sticks.
Young-hoon told Min-young about Sun-woo’s High School hallucinations and his going back to Nepal to check on his hyung’s unfinished business.
Sun-woo looked for the lodge where his brother stayed. He started on a voice diary for doctor friend about his quest to follow the footprints left by his brother about the incense-sticks-time-machine urban legend.
He told doctor friend how Jung-woo hyung obtained information about the 9 incense sticks alleged mojo and that his brother failed to witness its supernatural powers because the blizzard took him.
Sun-woo has to use the remaining time of the stick in his possession to go back from when the lodge was still functioning to grab the remaining 9 sticks.
Just as he inferred he landed back to when the inn was still running and has to force his way to the room’s occupant to retrieve the incense sticks.
Time was ticking and the enraged couple staying in the room was not helping, as the man fumes over Sun-woo’s barging in and the incense tube rolled on the room’s floor. He was chased by the man and just as the incense he left was dying, the incense tube was tossed in the air… Sun-woo mustered his strength, reached the tube and appeared in the snowy field delighted of his goal’s success.
While Sun-woo listened to a Whitney Houston LP, Min-young stepped in quipping about their 3-month relationship and they could even go directly to the honeymoon part.
So off the love couple went to a sweet sharing of love sheets.
Nine Episode 4
In the past time line, Sun-woo’s aboji was in his office at the hospital talking with someone over the phone about some documents under his care. He headed home and bumped with Sun-woo who time-traveled in that time.
Sun-woo took a cab and saw his brother drowning in liquor and wondered about the source of his heavy heart. Jung-woo fell down from alcohol intoxication so he dragged him to the waiting taxi cab. Sun-woo discovered his hyung’s love letter to a girl named Yoo-jin.
Sun-woo went back to the present time just as 20-year old Sun-woo came to get his drunk brother.
The next morning Min-young woke up from the alarm and smiled reading Jun-woo’s text message. He told him to just rest because they had an exhausting honeymoon. He told her they will have dinner since it’s Chrismas eve. She pouted at his inability to inject some sweetness in his message like “ilove you baby, all i can think of is you when i wake up”, but Jun-woo just dismissed it and replied that it’s better for them to break up. She grinned expecting his response, so she texted it to him. Sun-woo beamed and responded how he won’t be able to do it, but he liked hearing it. Min-young contemplated on the numbered days she could probably have with the man she loves.
Young-hoon called Sun-woo and warned him to proceed with the treatment. Sun-woo went to a trip down memory lane and reminisced his seasoned friendship with the doctor.
In the past timeline, Young-hoon received a strange card telling him that he will be receiving a letter on December 24, 2012 at 10 am. He looked at the card and noticed that it was manufactured from a future date.
Present time Young-hoon woke up from his wife’s call and fumbled at a dinner reservation he forgot to make. He got the voice diary email from Sun-woo and his jaw dropped remembering the Christmas card he got from him 20 years ago. He freaked out at the unconceivable situation happening and rushed to see Sun-woo.
Sun-woo spoke how he wrote the Christmas card and the email in 30 minutes but it took him 20 years to receive it.
Young-hoon was still bewildered at the whole time machine idea. He showed the remaining 7 sticks to his friend but Young-hoon was still fuzzy about the supernatural happening. He coached him to go back in time so he can saved himself from the tumor but Sun-woo wanted to fulfill his dead brother’s wish first and reasoned that he will be needing to convince his past self to the nonsensical thought and it will raise pandora’s box of question. He told Young-hoon how he will devise a way to go to the hospital naturally but he has to do his brother’s earnest wish to go back in the time when their father was caught up in the flames.
In 6 days, he will sojourn in time to save his father and gather evidence that will pin down evil Choi Jin Cheol. Sun-woo realizing how his brother went to the extent of gathering the 9 sticks also wanted to locate the woman his brother loved so much who based on his assistant’s research was a widow with a child, and that could be the reason why their father was against their relationship.
Sun-woo visited Yoo-jin and found her daughter crying as she thought her mother was dead. Yoo-jin lay unconscious from alcohol abuse. He gave her daughter his brother’s phone number and asked her to call him so her mother will feel better.
At present time, Sun-woo phoned Young-hoon about what he did, and the latter was worried that it could change something in the present, but Sun-woo was nonchalant of its repercussions as nothing has changed yet, and he was just merely giving a second chance. Young-hoon joked not to waste all the sticks as he wanted to change his wife, and on cue, blithe Min-young appeared in their dinner date.
Min-young grabbed his head and requested him to show a big heart because her production team thought that she just begged him to date her, Sun-woo agreed to their observations but she was firm with her pleading. Sun-woo did as she requested to Min-young’s happiness because she won the bet with her sunbae. Min-young still high getting the see-how-much-iloveyou request mumbled how she was heartbroken for five years but now she felt like she should be in guinness world record. Sun-woo smiled and answered a phone call from the nurse of the hospital where his mother was. She urged him to pay her a visit but he replied that it was too late, but he got a memory snap of the first time he stood her mom up on a Christmas eve so he asked Min-young to wait for him as he will do something quick.
Sun-woo-20-year-ago has to sit with his mother on Christmas eve dinner but he got a call from a girl he likes who asked him to watch The Bodyguard, he initially declined but when she countered it with just asking another guy, he gave in and made excuse to his mother that he will be going somewhere. He met up with the girl, and present-time Sun-woo avoided breaking his mother’s heart by stopping her from going inside the theater. They chatted while waiting for the eyeglasses to be fixed. He hailed a taxi for his mother and when his mother searched her bag for her wallet, she saw a necklace gift from her youngest son, and in the present time, we see omoni wearing that necklace.
Sun-woo went back to see Min-young and they talk about their mothers. She uttered how she had a rough relationship with her mother and how her mother changed her name as per a fortune teller’s advice. He stopped on his drinking when she blabbered how her name used to be Shi Ah. He asked her to repeat what she said and it hit him that he was talking to the daughter of his dead brother’s first love.
And then we went back to Shi Ah calling her mother’s boyfriend Jung-woo.
Nine Times Travel Series Review
Captures credit to Hancinema.net/dramabeans/yobosayowordpress