See you in my 19th life: opinion on ep1-2

The new TVN series on Netflix tells the story of Ban Ji Eum, a girl who remembers all her previous 18 lives, and Mun Seo Ha, a guy she met in her previous life and wants to protect. The story has a unique perspective of someone experiencing the continuation of their story while for other characters this story is a new one. Ji Eum already knows Seo Ha and his story, she doesn’t need this dive-in as if their story just started. However, for Seo Ha it’s all new and he needs time to know her better. When people start their communication on this different level it gives a very interesting dynamic. Quite fast Seo Ha remembered a 9yo girl who helped him and proposed at the first meeting, so I think it won’t be long before he realizes she’s the reincarnation of Jun Won.

On Twitter, everyone points out the fast pace of the drama but contrary to this opinion, I think the show is actually in a typical melodrama pace. Yes, we know a lot of things at once but mostly because Ji Eum has a huge baggage of 18 lives behind her back. But what really happened? She died and was reborn, set herself on a path to come back to Seo Ha so she can protect him as promised and be together as they were supposed to be since the beginning of her 18th life. Seo Ha took over his mother’s hotel and what? Nothing much actually happened. And it’s totally alright, the show is about the deep connection on a spiritual level, it doesn’t have to be very dynamic. We also have a mystery of the incident where Jun Won died and the mystery of why she remembers all her previous lives.

She was born old

I think it’s safe to say Shin Hye Sun was perfectly cast as Ji Eum. As if someone took a look at her role in MrQueen where she played young Queen (around 18yo) possessed by the soul of a modern-day 33yo chef. She not only portrayed the difference between male and female in one body but also could show us both a young and lively Queen and a mature chef, who is a goofball but still has more experience in life.

Ji Eum on the other hand lived many different lives, male and female, in different eras and died at different ages. She might say weird things and be chaotic but it has a different vibe. She does this perfectly calm, something an elderly person would do. Because after so many years, I don’t think people can really surprise her. The entitled bully can grab her hand and she won’t even raise an eyebrow. On the other side, Seo Ha showing protectiveness does surprise her in a way that she waits for him to remember her and be on the same level of their relationship as she is.

Episode 2 ended on quite an interesting note, with Ji Eum witnessing people dear to her mourning her previous life that ended so tragically. And remembering all those times when she lost someone and the pain she felt. Sad how the pain can be different after 19 lives and still could find new ways to hurt more.

A broken boy

Seo Ha, played by Ahn Bo Hyun has an interesting premise. He’s a deeply broken man and he needs someone’s help but will never ask for it. Just like when he was a child and didn’t like to be called a kid. Because his mother was sick and he didn’t wanted to be cared after because she has her own struggles with health. And he grew up into a man who won’t ask for help because he still doesn’t want to bother people. This is why the episode 2 call to Ji Eum is so significant. He asks to not pick up but he does need help and actually asks for it. This was a huge step for him. Especially with a strange like her (from his pov).

I was skeptical about Ahn Bo Hyun getting this role. I didn’t read the original webtoon so my concern was the chemistry between leads. And boy, I shouldn’t have doubted chameleon Bo Hyun and Queen of Chemistry Shin Hae Sun, they do fit well on screen.

What to expect?

I personally waiting for more exposure to her previous lives, those flashbacks and bits are very interesting. Does she define herself by the gender she’s born or just like with her actual age she doesn’t care anymore? How can Seo Ha be her first love if we saw her mourning people she lost, most likely lovers? What did they mean for her? And the little girl whose hair she brushed was her daughter? Did she try to find out what happened to her in the next life?

I find it strange that until she met Seo Ha she didn’t even try to find out what happened with her previous family. It’s her way to protect herself? But she decided pretty early on that she will back into Seo Ha’s life, and got obsessed with him, so she could have expected him still be in contact with her previous family.

With that being said, I’m intrigued by how the story will evolve and if we find out the answers to all questions above. Either way, I’m excited and waiting for new episodes to come.

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