If there’s one thing I vividly remember about Tomorrow With You, it’s the love between the main characters. Their love for each other was strong and mature. They conquered even the harshest repercussions of time traveling. Yoo So-joon (Lee Je-hoon) and Song Ma-rin (Shin Min-a) met in a peculiar coincidence but they proved that a lasting relationship is a result of our choices. Tomorrow With You was not a perfect drama but its poignant take on the adage “love conquers all” made it one of the most underrated K-dramas in recent years.
Time-traveling CEO meets a struggling photographer
Our main couple didn’t have a typical K-drama meet-cute. Well, it could have been “cute” if not for the tragedy that followed their encounter afterward. A younger So-joon was riding a KoRail train with his parents when he was suddenly accused by a female passenger of taking her pictures secretly. This agitated female passenger turned out to be Ma-rin or famously known as a has-been child star nicknamed Bap-soon. Aware of the unwanted attention from the subway passengers, Ma-rin asked So-joon to alight at the next train stop to talk. So-joon willingly joined her in hopes of escaping from his parents who asked him to help in their charity work that day. And while Ma-rin and So-joon engaged in a heated argument, the train who just had left the station exploded – killing passengers on the spot, including So-joon’s parents.
Of course, the two characters were strangers during this ill-fated day, which was why they both didn’t recognize each other when they met again many years after. So-joon went on to live a completely bizarre life as a time traveler. He discovered this ability while visiting the accident site. The reason for the time skipping ability (or the magic behind it) was not really explained in the drama, but they presented it in a way that’s integrated into reality. This was also why I couldn’t categorize it as fantasy despite its paranormal element because everything felt so real and natural. He also met another time traveler named Doo-shik (Jo Han-chul), who taught him the basics of time traveling through the subway. During one of his time traveling adventures, So-joon saw his demise. He was set to die in March of 2019 in a multi-vehicular collision. He was supposed to pass away along with another person – Ma-rin – and So-joon was determined to stop this event from happening.
Doo-shik suggested that So-joon change his future by meeting this girl he’s supposed to die with. Doo-shik told So-joon that if he marries and brings another life into this world, maybe things would not turn out as it’s supposed to be. And their best option for a potential wife was yes, Ma-rin. She’s also going to die with him so why not save both, right? Sounds like a good plan but this would need the cooperation of the other party. And Ma-rin was not an easy person to deal with. She had many insecurities and she’s struggling to live every day. Her child acting career continued to haunt her everywhere she goes, and her photography gigs were barely enough to make a living. And to make matters worse, Ma-rin’s original future was a double whammy. She was supposed to get hit by a speeding truck and become paraplegic until her last day.
On paper, the main couple’s story could feel melancholic, but in execution, So-joon and Ma-rin were two spirited individuals who met by chance and toughened by time. They shared a deep connection because they both survived the train explosion. I was initially skeptical if So-joon’s feelings for Ma-rin were genuine because the idea of marriage was just randomly brought up by Doo-shik. But man, these two were a match made in heaven. They both had strong personalities but when they’re alone, they act like teenagers feeling giddy about each other. They do the most couple-y things in dramaland including the cringe-worthy, cheesy stuff! Lee Je-hoon and Shin Min-a looked so good together!!!
The main story revolved around So-joon’s fight against time as he did everything to save both him and Ma-rin from the unfaithful day. Of course, as with every motion picture tackling the time-skip genre, tinkering with time could only affect the space-time continuum which would then result to multiple alternate universes. And these alternate universes weren’t really in favor of So-joon still. He was supposed to go missing; somebody would get killed; Ma-rin wanted him to break up with her, and a million other different sad scenarios.
And even though the second half of the drama was a bit messy in terms of the time-traveling science, the progression of the story was its main flaw. It shifted from saving the couple from the tragic accident to defeating the villain character. And my only frustration about it was that all characters (yep, even Ma-rin) had no complete trust in So-joon, which just worsened the situation. Doo-shik, Ma-rin, So-joon’s friends Ki-doong (Kang Ki-doong) and Se-young (Park Joo-hee) all acted in their own terms despite So-joon’s efforts, thinking that they’re doing what’s right and what’s best for So-joon. It’s frustrating to watch honestly because everyone kept So-joon out of the loop!
But aside from that, Tomorrow With You is still worth watching just because of the power that Lee Je-hoon and Shin Min-a hold. Their chemistry is one of K-drama’s bests and the acting was effective! My personal favorites were those moments when So-joon or Ma-rin messaged either themselves or their other halves in the future. They were hellbent on saving each other’s lives that waiting is never just an option – it’s a must. And even though I was scarred by some of Ma-rin’s decisions in life, I was happy she pulled through the years of being alone. The determination to be together, even if it takes years, was what made their relationship last beyond its expected due date. They were able to beat Father Time because of their love.
🚆 Doo-shik’s fate is the most fitting of all – an annoying character whose good intent was marred by his wrong decisions. I never understood why he had to leave his family, too. His only acceptable contribution was he is the bridge that introduced So-joon to Ma-rin, that’s it.
🚆 I wish the story also talked about why the subway was able to travel through time. It’s such an interesting concept! It also gave me some Back to the Future vibe.
🚆 Tomorrow With You also dished out some random life realizations
🚆 It’s interesting to see how the drama’s creative team imagined how the future looked like – transparent phones and all.
🚆 Can we get another drama from Lee Je-hoon and Shin Min-a but this time, a light-hearted romantic comedy? I’ll be a sure hit no doubt!