While You Were Sleeping Title: 당신이 잠든 사이에/While You Were Sleeping Chinese Title: 當你沉睡時 Classification: Fantasy, Legal, Romance Scenes: 32 (35 minutes/scene) Communicate organize: SBS Communicate period: 2017-Sep-27 to 2017-Nov-16 Broadcast appointment: Wednesday and Thursday 22:00 (2 scenes consecutive) Synopsis This is a pre-delivered show. Taping started on 2017-Feb and completed 2017-July. The show is about a lady, Name Hong …Read More »
While You Were Sleeping Episode 1 Recap
We’re off to a good start for SBS’s new supernatural romance While You Were Sleeping, which is beautifully shot, cleverly written, and full of warmhearted characters. I’m reminded again that I love the way Park Hye-ryun writes her heroines—funny, sassy, prideful to a fault, totally flawed—because the way her character is written is making me like Suzy in this role. It’s not a thriller, it’s not a melodrama, and it’s not a rom-com… but it is all of those things, with a touch of fantasy and a lovely melancholic touch throughout. Whatever you want to call it, I’m in.
EPISODE 1 RECAP
On a snowy night in Seoul, time seems to flow backwards. Cars and people move in reverse, and snow falls up into the sky.
A woman with a scratch on her face sees a man walking toward her, blood streaming down his face. She runs into his arms, dropping a hair-tie in the process, and says, “I believe you. Because I’m me, I can believe you.”
As they embrace, time stands still… and then everything begins to move in reverse again.
The same young woman, NAM HONG-JOO (Suzy), wakes up from what must have been a dream, looking very different with longer hair. She writes down what she remembers, muttering at how absurd it was, as Mom comes in and nags her about her pigsty of a room.
Hong-joo says she hugged a stranger in her dream, which is crazy because she’s not the type to throw herself at men. Mom agrees that she shouldn’t, not looking like that anyway.
Mom wants to know if the stranger was handsome, but Hong-joo reminds her that she has a boyfriend. Mom counters that she’s been on two whole dates with him, and keeps prodding about Dream Guy since Hong-joo’s dreams have a habit of coming true.
Hong-joo barks that this one will not… and then freezes at the sight of Dream Guy standing across the street from her house. Mom heard that they’d be getting new neighbors, and wonders if the two handsome boys are brothers.
They are brothers, in fact, and Little Bro shoves a rice cake into his hyung’s hands. Hong-joo’s Dream Guy, JUNG JAE-CHAN (Lee Jong-seok), pouts at his little brother’s insistence that they pass out rice cakes to their new neighbors, calling it old-fashioned.
Hong-joo panics when Jae-chan heads straight for their house, and tells Mom that he’s the guy she hugged in her dream.
Jae-chan puts on his nicest smile for the intercom as he rings the doorbell, only to be met with Hong-joo’s cold reply for him to leave and never come back. He’s stunned at the rejection and yells over at his brother for making him do this. Little Bro just guesses that he didn’t smile.
Jae-chan swears up and down that he smiled, and Little Bro decides that if the girl is that rude, Jae-chan should date her because they’re a perfect match. Pff.
Sometime later, Hong-joo sits at the bus stop while complaining to Mom over the phone for taking the car, and then panics again to see Jae-chan walking in her direction. She’s so engrossed in her plan to avoid him and appear disinterested that she ignores the schoolgirls who ask her to move aside so they can sit on the bench.
Jae-chan happens to sit in the seat right next to hers when there are plenty of others available, so she moves one seat over, and he follows suit. She does it one more time just to be sure, and he scoots over again to be next to her. So she’s suddenly convinced that he’s trying to seduce her.
She stands up to give him a piece of her mind and blurts, “I’m not interested in you!” at the exact same time that he stands up and tells the schoolgirls that they can sit together now. So embarrassing.
The schoolgirls snigger at her, and Hong-joo is so mortified that she gets on the wrong bus and just stays on—one that happens to be plastered with a giant ad for He’s Just Not That Into You. LOL.
Jae-chan smiles at her, finding the whole thing amusing, but as the bus pulls away he connects Hong-joo’s voice to the rude intercom girl across the street and yells after her.
Hong-joo tells Mom about it that night at their samgyupsal restaurant, convinced that Jae-chan has fallen for her. When a customer comes up to the counter to pay, Hong-joo is distracted by the sight of familiar objects—the man’s lighter, the bandage on his finger, and even his face, which we see in a flashback to a dream.
Hong-joo says that she dreamt about that man lighting a cigarette on a snowy night with that bandage on his finger, and the moment he did, he caught on fire. Mom takes her seriously right away and runs out to stop the man at his car.
Mom tries to ask for his lighter and cigarettes, saying that they’re bad for his health, but the man just shoves them off. Hong-joo shouts through the window, “Ajusshi, you’ll die if you smoke that!” but of course he doesn’t understand just how literally she means it.
He pushes them into the street and drives off, and Mom shows Hong-joo the lighter she stole from him in the tussle, hoping that it’ll change things. Hong-joo is more cynical and says it won’t: “It’s no use. It’s all his choice and his fate.”
Mom argues that if you know, you have to change things. But at that moment, snow starts to come down, just like in Hong-joo’s dream. Hong-joo: “You can’t change it. Who would believe such crazy talk?”
Hong-joo continues in voiceover as we watch the cigarette man find a second identical lighter in his car before stopping for gas: “That I saw you in my dream, that my dreams always come true, so if you want to live, you have to listen to me—how would anyone believe such nonsense? Even Dad couldn’t believe it and went like that. You can’t change the future. Knowing doesn’t change it.”
And just like Hong-joo says, as if it were predetermined, the man lights a cigarette and ignites the leaking gas all around him, sending his car and the entire gas station up in flames.
In the morning, a group of staff workers from the prosecutor’s office swoon at a picture of the handsome new prosecutor arriving today, who happens to be Jae-chan. His new office manager, MOON HYANG-MI (Park Jin-ju), thinks his looks warrant a cake.
Her former boss, prosecutor-turned-lawyer LEE YOO-BUM (Lee Sang-yub), feigns jealousy over her shifting loyalty, but then pays her tab. He says that he should congratulate Jae-chan on his first day too, and they’re surprised to hear that Yoo-bum was Jae-chan’s tutor when he was young.
Hyang-mi thinks Jae-chan looks too smart to need a tutor, but Yoo-bum says he was always in last place in school. In flashback, we see Little Jae-chan proudly read “justice” as “just ice,” to the horror of his tutor. (Man, is this the third time Nam Da-reum is playing younger Lee Jong-seok?)
The story is a bit disheartening to Hyang-mi, whose coworkers worry that she’s in for a tough time with a new boss who’s not the sharpest tool in the shed. She says optimistically that he’s still a prosecutor, so how bad could he be?
Cut to: Jae-chan posing for a series of selfies in the hallway with his new ID tag, like he’s fifteen and on a field trip to the prosecutor’s office. They cringe, and when Yoo-bum calls out to him, Jae-chan recognizes him right away and calls him “hyung.”
Jae-chan seems less than enthused when Yoo-bum leads him into his old office like he still works here, bragging about the cases he tried. Jae-chan gets introduced to his team’s lead investigator, Chief Choi, who dutifully tends to Yoo-bum’s coat out of habit.
Yoo-bum says he came to congratulate him on becoming a prosecutor, except he makes sure to refer to Jae-chan as a snot-nosed kid. Hrm, looks like you’re here for your ego. Yoo-bum offers his help with anything he needs, calling it a win-win, but Jae-chan doesn’t seem eager to take him up on it.
As Yoo-bum answers a call, he mindlessly rips and rolls up tiny bits of paper, which Jae-chan clocks with interest.
It takes him back to his youth, when Yoo-bum had done the same thing while teaching him the meaning of “win-win.” Yoo-bum had said that Jae-chan’s father offered him bonuses for every time Jae-chan raised his rank in school, and he hatched a scheme to forge Jae-chan’s report cards and split the money.
Little Jae-chan had scoffed that his father, a cop, would throw them in jail if he found them out. But Yoo-bum had insisted that they wouldn’t get caught, and lured Jae-chan with the idea of buying that motorcycle he’d been dying to get. He’d said that Jae-chan would get his bike and his father would be happy about his grades, calling it a win-win.
Hong-joo has another dream, in which she wakes up in the hospital near Christmas time. She holds a letter in her hand from her mother—a list of things to do in the event of her death, including bank accounts and insurance policies. Oh no.
She asks the woman by her bedside if Mom passed away because of the accident she caused, and she begs to be told that this is a dream.
She wakes in tears, and continues to sob as she writes down the details of her dream: “Aunt, long hair, Mom’s will, because of an accident I caused… Mom…”
Mom notices her swollen eyes when she comes out of her room, but Hong-joo lies that she just ate ramyun last night. Just then, a news report shows the cigarette man from her dream dying in a gas station fire.
Hong-joo is numb with shock, and then suddenly runs into the bathroom and starts cutting her hair in wild desperation. Mom pulls the scissors out of her hands and asks what’s wrong, and Hong-joo cries that it happened just like in her dream.
Mom says that they couldn’t do anything about it, but Hong-joo is inconsolable as she wails, “It doesn’t change! Mom, what do I do? What do I do?” Mom hugs her in worry as Hong-joo sobs.
She ends up telling Mom about her dream, and Mom just laughs sweetly and asks if that’s why she cut her hair. Hong-joo says she had long hair in her dream, and vows never to grow it again.
Mom says teasingly that Hong-joo’s looks were mostly due to her hair, and tells her with a comforting hug that she won’t die so easily. Hong-joo says in a tiny voice, “You’re all I have in this world. So don’t leave me alone, okay?” Ohgod, now I’m terrified.
Despite what she says to Hong-joo, that night Mom takes out her bankbooks and starts writing out a will. Noooooo. The calendar behind her says it’s February 13, 2016.
The next day, on Valentine’s Day, Yoo-bum buys a bouquet of flowers and is surprised to run into Jae-chan outside the restaurant (in the middle of taking more embarrassing selfies, naturally).
Jae-chan says he’s here on a date as well, when Hong-joo runs up to them and greets Yoo-bum. Er? She and Jae-chan turn to each other in a mix of surprise and antipathy, and Jae-chan is extra shocked that she and Yoo-bum are dating.
Yoo-bum suggests that Jae-chan and his date join them, and Hong-joo and Jae-chan nix that idea in unison. As they head inside, Yoo-bum makes sure to patronize Jae-chan as usual, patting him on the butt and acting proud that he’s all grown up and has a car, when it seemed like just yesterday he was buying him a motorcycle.
Flashback to 2003. Dad had discovered Jae-chan’s motorcycle because he’d gotten into an accident, and accused him of stealing it. Jae-chan swore he didn’t steal it, and ended up confessing to forging his report cards with Yoo-bum for the money.
Dad had been so proud that he’d framed every one of Jae-chan’s report cards to display on his desk, but at Jae-chan’s confession, he threw them all in the trash, heartbroken.
Jae-chan sighs in the present thinking of that memory, and then notices the snow begin to fall.
Hong-joo is distracted through dinner when Mom doesn’t answer any of her text messages, and she thinks back to having blown out the candles and checked the stove before leaving, but then realizes that she left the front door open.
The worry is too much for her and she bolts up to go check on Mom, and Yoo-bum offers to drive her car for her because she’s never driven in snow before. Gack, I just realized she’s wearing the same outfit from the opening dream sequence.
Meanwhile, Mom is on her way home as usual, except a young man in a baseball cap is on her tail the whole way, like a creeper. He follows her all the way to her front gate, and Mom jumps in fright when he calls out to ask her something.
Hong-joo calls Mom repeatedly as Yoo-bum drives, and she sighs in relief when Mom finally answers and says she left her phone at the coffee shop, but a nice young man brought it to her. Phew.
Hong-joo can finally rest at ease, but she asks Yoo-bum to take care of her mother in the event that she causes an accident. He’s confused, but he promises to protect her and her mother.
He looks over at her, and in that instant, a figure tumbles over the hood of the car and falls to the ground in a bloody heap. Oh shiiiiiit. Agh, it’s the young man in the Batman cap who returned Mom’s phone. He lies in a pool of blood, not moving…
The car careens into a lamppost and Hong-joo’s eyes flutter open for half a second, and then when she wakes again, she’s in the hospital. She can barely focus her eyes and searches the room for Mom, but the only familiar face she sees is her aunt’s.
She fades again and then wakes up for good this time, and is shocked to see how long her hair has grown. Craaaap. Aunt says it’s Christmas Eve, and the other ajummas in the hospital room say that she’s been asleep for months.
Hong-joo asks for Mom, and Aunt says tearfully that Mom held on for so long just waiting for the day that Hong-joo would wake up. She explains that someone died in that accident that she caused (interesting that no one ever mentions Yoo-bum in all this), and that in order to pay damages to the young man’s family and to cover her hospital bills, Mom had to sell the restaurant and the house, and work night and day without rest.
One day she collapsed in exhaustion, and fell down a flight of stairs to her death. And just like in her dream, Hong-joo opens up her mother’s will, which lists her accounts and ends with: “Don’t blame yourself.”
She begs her aunt to tell her this is a dream: “I have to wake up. Why can’t I wake up? Tell me this is a dream, please! I don’t like this dream!” Aunt urges her to keep it together, saying that she might be facing trial for the accident. Hong-joo doesn’t understand why when she wasn’t the driver, which is news to her aunt.