I’m not too sure what to make of Reunited’s genre – it swings from romcom to melodrama to family sitcom to coming-of-age within 1 ep. But what I do know is Reunited has been entertaining and thought provoking thus far.
- Yeo Jin-gu (from Orange Marmalade) as Sung Hae-sung. The boy who returns from the dead – 12 years later.
- Lee Yeon-hee (from Gu Family Book) as Jung Jung-won. Hae-sung’s almost high school girlfriend, only thing now is: she is 12 years his “senior” when he returns from the Other Side.
- Ahn Jae-Hyun (from Blood) as Cha Min-joon. Jung-won’s boss at SNT, an Italian restaurant where she works as a junior chef. Min-joon likes Jung-won, and has been anything but reticent in telling her about his interest.
12 years ago: Hae-sung and Jung-won are best of friends (or possibly something more, given by their teasing banter) and school mates in the same high school. On Hae-sung’s 19th birthday, Jung-won and his family plan a surprise party for him. Unfortunately, Hae-sung calls to say he is returning early. To allow themselves more time for the birthday celebration’s preparation, Jung-won fibs that she lost her wallet in Art Room, and tells Hae-sung to retrieve it for her. Hae-sung can’t find her wallet, but finds his brother’s classmate (a class bully) bleeding with a head wound in the Art Room. Panicking, he bikes down to seek help, and gets into a fatal accident.
12 years later (or now): Hae-sung “wakes” up, disoriented from a “nap”, to find that 12 years have passed for some reason. In addition, he appears to have attained some super powers – like being extra strong, and able to hear exceedingly well, to name a few qualities. He bumps into long-time friend (now a police officer), Ho-bang, when he gets hauled into the station for causing a ruckus. Ho-bang is initially shocked to see his dead friend (after having juz paid his respect at Hae-sung’s grave), but comes around to the idea that Hae-sung is back.
Hae-sung manages to locate Jung-won’s address, and finds out she is in heavy debts from loan sharks – of whom one of the loanshark’s runners is his younger brother, Hae-cheol. Using his newfound powers to good use, Hae-sung “rescues” both damsel and his brother in distress by beating up the loansharks till they are too scared to 1) ask for Jung-won to pay up, and 2) continue using Hae-cheol as their recruit.
Jung-won is both glad and spooked out that Hae-sung has returned. She allows him to stay together with her, but has to introduce Hae-sung to everyone else (including her boss, Min-joon) as her “cousin”.
Gradually, Jung-won and Ho-bang reunited Hae-sung with his former classmates, all of whom are shocked but glad that he has somehow returned alive.
But while his friends are receptive to his return, Hae-sung realises his family members aren’t. Reason: He was accused of being the murderer of Class Bully, and his family members suffered from discrimination as being a “murderer’s” next of kin. Other than his second brother, Young-joon, who is now a doctor, the rest of Hae-sung’s family members led pretty hard lives after his death. In addition, they have separated and lost contact after Hae-sung’s demise.
As mentioned in my opening, I’m unsure where Reunited is going. And also…who are the OTP. While Hae-sung and Jung-won may LOOK like a potential OTP, there are just too many obstacles (some of which are insurmountable) in their way. I don’t consider the 12 year gap between them to be a barrier, though it is hitting both of them hard to realise that one is being called an “ahjumma” and the other is still considered hot property by cutesy high school girls.
The biggest mountain that stands in Hae-sung/ Jung-won’s way would be…Hae-sung. Exactly WHAT he is, we don’t know. He definitely ISN’T alive in a technical sense. In that case, will he return to where he came from? Even though Jung-won et al may have a chance for a proper farewell and closure this (second) time round, I think I’d better prepare tissues. (I hate melos) Even if Hae-sung stays, there’s still going to an issue with him not aging and all. Then we will have a Goblin-esque ending where he has to “wait?” for Jung-won to reincarnate? Based on how Reunited’s narrative goes, I don’t think reincarnation is in the pic.
Then there’s this strange Ahjusshi in Black (played by Ahn Kil-kang), who appears to be the same type of species as Hae-sung. (and is he that grey cat who has been meowing outside Jung-won’s flat?) If Hae-sung isn’t the first of his lot to return, I wonder what is the purpose of sending once-dead people back home? If it is to unravel and prove Hae-sung’s innocence, he doesn’t even seem inclined to clear his name. Especially when he (like us) begins to suspect Young-joon (his brother) is the murderer.
Possibly his return has to do with reuniting his family members? Imo, I find he has to shoulder some blame for causing the rift between his family members. Although he isn’t an A-star student like Young-joon, Hae-sung (the high schooler) is matured for his age. He takes on both the roles of Daddy and Mummy to his little brothers and sisters, and Caretaker to his aged Granny. So much so the entire family (save for Young-joon, who is annoyed at his “mothering”), rely on him. And when he dies suddenly, they are literally left without a tether or support.
And I think Hae-sung is coming around to realise that (and starting on the guilt-tripping), cos he discovers that he is unable to help his now not-so-little brothers and sisters or continue to shelter them against harsher reality. In a way, his discovery is like a parent who suddenly wakes up one day and finds his little girl/ boy is no longer a dependent, but an angsty teenager.