I believe I’m not alone in preferring Se-joo/ Jin-oh’s modern bromance as compared to their past lives’ iterations as besties, Hwi-young/ Jin-oh. While I do enjoy the camaraderie between Hwi-young and Jin-oh, as they assume seemingly harmless personae as a romance writer and a club owner in Japanese Occupied Korea while secretly joining forces as Resistance fighters, I prefer the ankle nipping and head butting between Se-joo the human and Jin-oh the ghost.Although we don’t get that many scenes of the 30s, what is evident in those short flashbacks is the guys’ mutual trust and their unspoken agreement to protect Soo-hyun. Past Jin-oh appears to play the role of a doting hyung to Hwi-young, coaxing him to take things easy and even forking out money to buy a typewriter for him. In return, Hwi-young defers to him whether it is to help stitch up Soo-hyun or write his grand masterpiece for the Resistance movement.
Then again, Hwi-young’s personality is greatly different from Se-joo. While both of them are introspective in nature and a little clumsy when it comes to social niceties, Hwi-young is more receptive and trusting. Unfortunately, Se-joo WAS juz as trusting in the past, until he was betrayed by people whom he deemed as family members. Right now, he is this prickly, overly paranoid and friendless author, albeit a famous one.
The “change” in present day “Hwi-young” (aka Se-joo) is not lost on Jin-oh, who (as a ghost) has retained much of his personality in the past. He still tries to play hyung to Se-joo, no matter how antagonistic the latter can get and how “unwelcomed” some of his suggestions are. But in a way, Jin-oh’s advice is much needed.
While Se-joo may be a popular author (and has a huge female fan base), he doesn’t have that much EQ with women – as can be seen from his hilarious foot-in-mouth attempts at trying to mollify an angry Seol. Poor Se-joo genuinely doesn’t understand why Seol is upset when he claims to have told her the “truth” – that he sees Soo-hyun in her. Seol, of cos, interprets it as she reminds him of a painful lost first love, and she is nothing but a Doppler-ganger stand-in. (ouch)
Se-joo’s over-the-top habit of not trusting people or friends enough translate itself physically into this thick booklet of contract (with over 100 terms and conditions) drawn up between himself and Jin-oh. The mere idea of having to bind a ghost to a contract is rather silly, since what WILL happen if the ghost renegades on it – you can’t sue him in court, right? Se-joo better hide that contract well, in case someone, like Tae-min, stumbles on it, and uses it as a weapon against Se-joo.
But while the budding bromance between Se-joo and Jin-oh is mainly made up of bickering episodes, both guys sing the same tune (whether it is in their past life or present one) on one thing – Soo-hyun/ Seol. I think even without much goading by Jin-oh, Se-joo will attempt to “break up” Tae-min and Seol, judging by his Freudian slip when he blurts out the burning question on his mind on whether Seol likes Tae-min.
Unfortunately, (or fortunately?) Se-joo isn’t going to fully admit his romantic interest in Seol, and subconsciously uses Jin-oh’s instruction to “remove all male competition” as an excuse to see her for now. While Seol is unable to see Jin-oh, we can. We see the potential love triangle walking side by side along the streets or sharing a meal, much like how the threesome spend time together in the 30s.
On one hand, it is kinda sad that the playing field is not level in this current timeline. Seol doesn’t see the other guy who has loved her for centuries. On the other hand, invisible Jin-oh adds a rather weird dynamic to the group, since Se-joo has to refer to him in a roundabout way, which is open to all sorts of misinterpretation. For example, when Se-joo ties Seol’s laces for her, he is outwardly referring to Jin-oh, the guy who is Seol’s secret admirer. But it can also indirectly mean himself – cos we are quite sure Hwi-young also likes Soo-hyun, but like Se-joo, is too shy to admit it.
My only hope is that the bromance doesn’t end in tragedy, like it most surely did in the 30s.