Some Youngspirin, Please.
It has been one day since “Faith” ended.
It has only been one day since “Faith” ended.
It has already been one day since “Faith” ended.
How are you doing guys? Me? Good. Except when I listen to the “Faith” OST and my heart starts squeezing inside my chest. I think I need a Youngspirin for this.
Faith (Main Title-Choral.Ver)
I don’t know why it hurts so much when the drama ended happily but it does. When I think about Young and Eun-soo, tears come to my eyes.
I’ve written and pondered so much about “Faith.” Yet, I didn’t know how much I would be affected by it or how deep the drama had seeped into my heart. I think the final episode has a lot to do with this feeling. It wasn’t perfect but in my eyes, it succeeded in really emphasizing how much Young and Eun-soo loved each other, how much every (good) character in the drama loved each other, and exactly how incredible their journey has been from episode one to episode twenty-four. All of this hit me really hard and I’m still reeling from the pain and beauty of it. It’s not easy being loyal and faithful. It’s not easy to grow in character or remain constantly good. And it’s not easy to love that much but Do-chi, the Suribang, the Woodalchi, Lady Choi, Gongmin, Noguk, Young, and Eun-soo did it. They stayed true to each another and themselves. They were faithful in their love and care for each other till the very end and forever.
Many of you had lingering questions about the time-travel concept in the drama and I was hoping to get to them as soon as I had time to work it out myself and put it properly into words. But as I expect to not have enough time in the next few days, I am just going to copy here SH‘s awesome analysis she left in the comments for episode 24 recap. I was amazed at how clearly she organized it. THANK YOU SO MUCH SH. You are an angel and genius.
Maybe this has been explained elsewhere or in the comments here already. But this is how I understand the concept, granted there are a few things unexplained. In chronological orders:
1) One fine night in 2012, Eun-soo gets kidnapped by Choi Young to Goryeo to heal Queen Noguk. This is where Ep. 1 begins.
2) Ep. 1 to 24 is Eun-soo first time traveling and living in Year 1350 Goryeo.
3) Toward the end of Ep. 24, Eun-soo goes back to Seoul to gather medical supplies to heal a frozen Choi Young.
4) After a quick gathering of medical supplies, she goes through the portal.
5) But the portal takes her 100 years back to Year 1250.
6) Immediately after she realizes she’s gone to the wrong time, so she goes back to the portal to try another time-travel. But the portal is already closed.
7) She stays in 1250. She presumably heals a lot of sick people of that era while waiting for another chance to go through the portal.
8) While in 1250, she also leaves clues so that the Eun-soo of 1350 will remember what to do. The writing in her diaries and leaving a message in the film canister.
9) She also has time to figure out time travel dates (maybe not exact times) but at least she knows, from her previous time travel calculations in 1350, what formula and calendar to use.
10) Once she is positive about a date, she prepares herself for another travel through the portal.
11) When she gets to the portal, it is not immediately opened. It takes an unwavering Faith that this time the portal will take her to the right place, only then the portal opens.
12) She goes through it. It brings her back to Seoul. In her voiceover, we hear about this memory, longing and connection that would make her meet him again. Unlike her first time-travel in Ep. 24, this time she doesn’t even glance over modern Seoul because nothing in her heart belongs to 2012.
13) After a mere second in Seoul, she goes back through the portal.
14) This time it takes her to 1355 and there she finds Choi Young.
It’s that simple. Time is linear (but circular). She didn’t have any memory of her time travel experience in Ep. 1 because she hadn’t gone anywhere yet. Those clues were left there because her future self in Ep. 24, who had experienced everything from Ep. 1-24, knew the dangers in 1350.
Surgical tools, diary and mini projector have some significance.
-Surgical tools are to reaffirm the legend of Hwata – an emphasis on Hwata being a myth, a story is told and exaggerated from generation to generation. The 1250 Eun-soo with her advanced medical skills obviously would make people notice and connect her to the legend of Hwata. The myth lives on and on, so that people like Jo Il-shin knows. JIS knows about Hwata’s myth in Ep. 1 and convinces the GM to ask Choi Young to go kidnap Eun-soo in 2012. The story comes full circle. I don’t think Eun-soo intentionally wants to perpetuate the myth of Hwata. It’s more like she’s a doctor and her duty is to save lives, which is very consistent with her character. So while waiting for the gate to open in 1250, she puts her skills to use. This is also where Son Yoo’s grandfather’s story comes in; she saves people who would have died without her 21st century medical skills. In essence, her one year’s stay in 1250 shapes history, like a butterfly effect.
-The diary. She knows from her 1350 self that this diary will play a significant role, so whatever she does with this diary in 1250, Ki Chul will have possession of it in 1350. From the content of the diary, we see some solar flare calculations, which is helpful for her to figure the date to retry time travel. Some notes about what will happen in 1350 based on her personal experiences – Choi Young using his frontal attack and Choi Young is trapped while rescuing the scholars. Eun-soo already has those memories, so she makes notes to herself knowing this diary will find her in 1350 eventually. Everything is circular in away.
-A message in film canister. Again from her 1350 memory, she knows that day Choi Young and her travel to the portal. Without that message, they would have gone to the border and waited there, and effectively everything after Ep. 19 would not happen. Noguk would be killed; the history of Korea would be changed and Choi Young would be left devastated like what is written in that message. So she writes that message in 1250, leaves it under a rock (remember her looking at a direction of where 1350, Eun-soo and Choi Young embrace). Things become circular where there is no beginning or end.
-The mini projector. This one is not directly related to saving Choi Young. It is symbolic to show that there are people waiting for her in 2012 – her mom and dad. When Choi Young asks her to stay, he mentions there are people at the other side waiting for her too, and their journey to the portal reiterates that point. She needs to say goodbye to her parents, to people who love her in 2012. A mini projector of her parents is a way of remembrance, of her saying “goodbye” figuratively. It also solidifies her faith in finding Choi Young. I suspect the reason she can’t get back to the right time initially is because she wavers a little bit. That voiceover about her lacking faith “that day” and her looking over modern Seoul show us that wavering commitment. Thus the portal takes her to the wrong time, to Year 1250. Once she says her “goodbye” to her parents, and putting full faith in finding Choi Young, the portal takes her the right time, to Year 1355.
The question of time and duration:
First time she gets back to Seoul, it seems she has been missing only for a few hours in “modern” time. I suspect when the fortune-teller tells her in Ep. 1, that she’ll be gone for a year, he is referring to her time in “Goryeo”.
But in Ep. 1, we see that Goryeo time seems shorter than modern time. My justification for that is that the portal is unpredictable; it is predicated on Faith and Destiny. Choi Young is destined to meet Eun-soo and take her back to Goryeo in time to save Noguk in Ep. 1.
In essence, the concept of time is intangible; it is dependent upon a person’s faith. It takes Eun-soo a year of traveling to find Choi Young, while daejang waits for her four years from 1350 Goryeo onward.
Eun-soo’s presence in the past is destined to shape the history of Korea that she and viewers know. She believes that Choi Young is alive because her traveling to modernity shows that modern Seoul is still the same, nothing is changed. If Choi Young dies that day, then it would have created a butterfly effect that would alter history.
Like SH wrote, there are still a few things left unexplained. And what makes it harder for us viewers to figure it out is the fact that some scenes originally in the script were cut out. I also doubt Writer Song has it all completely worked out herself. I am a huge fan of time-travel stories and nobody ever gets it all right because we just can’t comprehend as human beings what time-travel is and how it works because of our limited scientific paradigms and vocabulary to express such a complicated process. So undoubtedly, there will always be something left unexplained or some gap in the logic.
So after reading what SH wrote and nodding along to everything, I still have one question that I hope you guys can answer. What about that vision/dream Eun-soo had of Young dying? Was it just a projection of some inner fear that she had of him dying?
I read everyone’s comments to the final recap and because I can’t reply to every single one, I want to express here my gratitude for your thanks and sharing your ideas, opinions, interpretations, scenarios, and analyses. Many made me teary again because you guys showed so much love for the drama, many made me want to hunt you down personally and give a big bear hug for the general awesomeness, and many made my brain tingle. Now I have some new ideas for new posts. I can’t believe there is still so much to say about this drama. Gosh, you guys are so awesome. Everyone should start a blog! Seriously, if you haven’t done it already, you guys should go back and read the comments to the final recap. Lots of things to think about there and lots of things to make you appreciate this drama more. Young orders you to!
Top picture from Lee Min-ho’s twitter @ActorLeeMinHo. Bottom picture from SBS.