Following Signal, Lee Je-hoon takes on another time-space-mind-twister drama again, this time with a huge dose of romance…
- Lee Je-hoon (from Signal) as Yoo So-joon. Time traveler and also CEO of a real estate company. By chance, he finds out he is going to die in Mar 2019, alongside Ma-rin. His impending death spurs him to try to figure out how to prevent it, and he thinks Ma-rin may be the key to escape the Grim Reaper.
- Shin Min-ah (from Oh My Venus) as Song Ma-rin. She used to be a popular child actress, now all grown up and trying her best to hide from this embarrassing fact. But her not-so-elegant drinking habits end up making her the butt of internet paparazzi news, with many making reference to her nationwide childhood nick – “Bapjugae” (give me rice/ food).
Being a time-travelling tale, Tomorrow’s narrative hops, skips and jumps all over the past, present and future in the debut. To facilitate my writing, I shall rework eps1/2 in chronological order.
9-years ago: Ma-ri and So-joon met on a subway, and the former accused So-joon of taking her pictures in secret. Ma-ri has ALWAYS been ultra-sensitive to her past status as a child actress, and the paparazzi hasn’t been kind to her either. They find all opportunities to snub her and post as un-glam shots of her where possible. Not difficult when Ma-ri has pretty poor drinking habits, and after a few rounds of shots, usually makes herself a Public Nuisance No. 1.
Insistent that So-joon was “another one of those anti-fans”, she dragged him out of the train. So-joon, who at that time was unemployed, was glad to escape his naggy parents who were in the same train carriage. Lucky for them, but not so lucky to the rest of the passengers, the train met with a horrific accident and all on board were killed. From that incident onwards, So-joon possesses the ability to time travel, using the subway train as a medium. The trains that travel away from Seoul via the accident site will take him to the future and vice versa. On his first unplanned time travelling, So-joon met Doo-shik, another time traveler, who befriended him and taught him the rules of time travelling, such as never meeting your past/future self during the travels (which can compromise the traveler’s life and existence).
Present time: On one of his many “trips” to the future, So-joon stumbles on his death date, which is in March 2019 in a traffic accident. Doo-shik, who is also at the accident site, orders him to return to the present, but also suggests he tries to prevent the future car collision by locating the lady who died alongside him. The lady turns out to be Ma-ri, the same person who dragged him out of the subway 9 years ago. (though So-joon doesn’t know this until the end of ep2)Ma-ri, who works as a small time photographer for internet shopping businesses, dreams of having a career in (serious) photography.
But Lady Luck is not on her side, and she gets snubbed for trying to hide her “acting failure” behind the camera’s lenses. On the way home from a frenemy’s wedding, she bumps into So-joon (who is actually there on purpose). So-joon knows that Ma-ri will die from an accident, and decides to save her, in order to help prevent his own future death. Unfortunately, Ma-ri’s first impression of So-joon is he’s a creepy stalker.
Initially, So-joon tries hard to be in Ma-ri’s good books, hoping to see if he has a chance to figure out why she is the “key” to preventing his death. But like in every good romcom, intentions and actions go awry and Ma-ri assumes So-joon likes her romantically. So-joon tries to backpedal – more so when on one of his short “trips”, he discovers to his horror, that he and Ma-ri are married, in 3 months from now. (lol)
Too late, the damage is done. Ma-ri firmly thinks So-joon is a lovesick puppy, who is trying to hold on to a shred of his pride by refusing to admit he likes her. Then again, even while So-joon is telling himself firmly NOT to care, he ends up doing things for Ma-ri against his best intentions…
One thing about knowing your death date – you will proactively try to prevent it. But, as Fate would have it, the stuff you do now to forestall your future death may ironically be the same reasons why you die. So I won’t be surprised if So-joon “interventions” now may actually be the cause of his and Ma-ri’s deaths in future. While he thinks saving Ma-ri from getting knock down by a truck in today’s time line MAY allow him to figure out a way to prevent their deaths together, his action may also be the reason why he will die – with Ma-ri next to him.
Call me pessimistic, but I still get that sinking feeling that So-joon’s current actions will be what will contribute to the car accident in future. On the bright side, maybe he may only bring on THE accident, but evade Death altogether. Something along the line of Oh Hae-young, Again, where Do-kyung’s premonitions still turn out to be true, but with different endings. Cos while Tomorrow is a time-travelling story, it also subtly points out that futures CAN be changed. So-joon’s foreknowledge of his marriage (in 3-months’ time) is successfully reversed once he “sees” what happened. So as early as ep2, Tomorrow slips in the possibility of an alternative ending to So-joon’s 2019 vision.
Another interesting take-away from Tomorrow’s debut eps is while knowing the future can bring several (material) benefits – So-joon used his foreknowledge to a great advantage in real estate and land purchases – it can also damage a person and his interpersonal relationships. So-joon’s buddy and subordinate, Ki-doong, never fails to remind him that his foresight is alienating him from his friends and co-workers. So while knowing which plot of land to purchase and develop is good for the company, undercutting his staff’s recommendations (no matter how jovially) only upsets them and his staff feel So-joon belittles their efforts. Similarly, So-joon’s foreknowledge of his friend cheating on his girlfriend/future wife causes him to treat his friend with disdain in the present – but said friend has no idea why and only thinks So-joon is being stuck up.
Maybe living (fully) in the present is Tomorrow’s message to the audience.