Tomorrow With You: Episode 1
Who knew that traveling through time could be as convenient as hopping on a subway? tvN’s newest time travel drama Tomorrow With You introduces us to a fantasy world and a hero who knows what the future holds for him and one mysterious woman he’s somehow linked to. Getting to know a girl won’t be easy when only one of them is aware of what lies ahead, but neither of them will be prepared when one fateful decision opens up a new chapter in their lives.
EPISODE 1 RECAP
In the near future, December 2018, an intense Starcraft match is underway between renowned gamer Lim Yo-hwan versus an AI named AlphaCraft. Tensions run high in the arena, but Lim pulls out of the match, victorious.
A man revels from his living room, and the subjective point of view allows us to see his surroundings through his eyes. He muses that another year is coming to a close, and he buys a birthday gift before heading down to the subway.
Once the camera angle shifts, we can see his face—this is YOO SO-JOON (Lee Je-hoon), who remains calm as the lights above flicker and his fellow passengers disappear… and the subway car hurtles back to the present: June 2016.
As So-joon removes his winter coat, he explains in voiceover: “I’m a time-traveler. I take the subway and travel to and from the future.” He knows that there are people out there who’d like to know what their futures may hold, but he won’t take any of their questions.
This is because he takes no interest in other people’s lives, he narrates, as he walks past a street memorial adorned with photos and flowers.
Elsewhere at an outdoor wedding photo shoot, the entire bridal party laughs awkwardly when the photographer can tell that the bridesmaids aren’t close with the bride. She brusquely instructs the bridesmaid to the far right (Shin Mina) to fall in line with the others, and tells the happy groom that this must be his first marriage.
That doesn’t sit well with the bride LEE GUN-SOOK (Kim Ye-won), who reminds her bridesmaids through gritted teeth that they can forget the customary monetary gifts for the upcoming ceremony if they smile for the photos, and that does the trick.
So-joon swings by a cafe to see his friends KANG KI-DOONG and the birthday girl, SHIN SE-YOUNG. Ki-doong seems to know about his friend’s time-traveling ability whereas Se-young doesn’t, and So-joon uses vague terms to describe just how fashion forward her present is.
He has to run to attend to “a matter of life-and-death,” and his phone reminder provides the details: SONG MA-RIN, car accident. 4:14 PM.
During a break, the bridesmaids complain about being part of a wedding for a girl they’ve hated for fifteen years now. Still, they’re more impressed by their friend Ma-rin for showing up at all today.
Now we finally put a face to the name, as Ma-rin seeks out the photographer, hoping that she’d look at her portfolio. But the photographer recognizes Ma-rin as a former child actress, and the latter’s attempt to laugh off that comment is foiled by Gun-sook’s arrival.
When the photographer leaves, Ma-rin takes off after her, explaining that she and the bride aren’t that close. In truth, she’d hoped to meet the photographer today, having studied photography for seven years herself. Thankfully her persistence pays off, and the photographer grudgingly accepts her portfolio.
So-joon arrives at the park as the wedding photo session resumes, and passersby also recognize Ma-rin from her child actress days. Looking toward her, he narrates, “I’m going to change her fate today… because my life might be held in that woman’s hands.”
D-20 minutes. He passes the bridal party on the street, knowing that Ma-rin will decline a meal with the others and opt to grab a cup ramyun at a convenience store instead. She does exactly that, but then puts it back and exits, having noticed the strange guy following her around today.
D-5 minutes. So-joon runs up to get her attention by grabbing her arm and calling her by name, much to her alarm. Ma-rin flatly refuses his offer for coffee, and when he touches her arm again, she defensively wraps her arms around herself.
She says she doesn’t know him and walks away, but then we see a glimpse into Ma-rin’s immediate future if she steps into the crosswalk within the next minute: a truck slamming into her. Thus in a last-ditch effort, So-joon blurts out: “I-saw-you-in-the-street-and-I thought-you-were-so-beautiful-that-I wanted-to-have-coffee-with-you!” Smooth.
Still, those words successfully get Ma-rin to stop and ask how he knows her name. She stops him upon hearing that he knows her as the former child actress, and admits she feels uncomfortable. She refrains from speaking further, but So-joon encourages her to keep talking, hoping to stall her for at least another two minutes.
He can tell from her smile that she must be tired of constantly being hit on by strangers, and tries asking her out one more time. But Ma-rin declines and marches toward the crosswalk…
…And So-joon pulls her back from the oncoming truck just in time. Rather than thanking him for saving her life, Ma-rin plucks his arm off of hers and reminds him that he shouldn’t do that. She walks off, but then turns back to remark that he’s rather clumsy with his approach with women.
With that, she skips off into the street. Just as So-joon’s phone reminder beeps, he hears honking and a thud. Oh no.
He walks into the street, where Ma-rin is lying unconscious. The flustered driver swears he didn’t hit her; she fainted. So-joon knows she did and comments, “How can you pass out on your own?”
In the hospital, So-joon reads up on Ma-rin, who won viewers’ hearts at the age of six in 1991, when she played a girl who loved rice (hence her nickname “Bap-soon-ie”) in a 50-episode drama about a group of independence fighters.
As an adult, she’s infamous for her drunkenness, which is often captured on social media. Often times, she’ll sleep practically anywhere outside, and other netizens have seen her talking to a phantom in a pojangmacha.
So-joon is both amazed and amused by her life choices, but bristles upon recalling her earlier comment about his lousy game with women. Ma-rin comes to just then, wondering if she must’ve been in an accident.
So-joon reassures her that she’ll be fine, adding that it wouldn’t hurt to get her liver screened. Heh. When she tries to get up, he settles her back down onto the bed, saying softly that she might still be dizzy.
Ma-rin grows shy, which has So-joon toss her own words back at her about being clumsy. He says that if it’s fate they’ll meet again, and leaves.
A little later, Ma-rin’s mother anxiously rushes into the hospital, asking around for her celebrity daughter. Ma-rin ushers her mother outside, embarrassed that she’d still try to use her former fame with strangers. But what Ma-rin hates most is her mother spinning lies to her latest boyfriend, knowing full well that Mom will date someone else next month.
Climbing into a taxi, Ma-rin leaves her mother behind and checks to make sure she’s far away enough before getting out. As she rides the bus, we hear So-joon narrate that today was the first time he met Ma-rin in real life and the first time he’s saved someone’s life ever since his time-traveling trips began. He wonders, “Why would that strange, absurd woman and I end up dying on the same day and time?”
We catch up with Ma-rin, who takes pictures for an online shopping mall model, who wonders if they’ll ever find success. Her frenemy Gun-sook calls to enlist her help, slyly offering to put in a good word for her with the photographer via her new husband.
Ma-rin declines, knowing that she’ll be forever indebted to Gun-sook; she vows to become a successful photographer on her own. Cut to: Ma-rin accompanying Gun-sook to shop for home furnishings.
Gun-sook brags about her future husband, an executive director in a real estate investment company named MyReits. He’s the reason why the photographer made a fortune, so she took their wedding pictures to stay in his good graces.
While Ma-rin simply wants to know if the photographer has taken a look at her work, Gun-sook says she’s better off getting married and offers to set her up with her husband’s secretary/errand boy. Having heard enough, Ma-rin chokes Gun-sook before dragging her by the arm, barking at her to buy all the expensive things she loves to flaunt.
Speaking of whom, Gun-sook’s husband-to-be director KIM YONG-JIN arrives at the office with his secretary, and tells Ki-doong to take the next elevator.
But everyone immediately shows deference when So-joon shows up, since he’s the CEO. He asks if the secretary will be joining them before laughing it off moments later, and the four men head up together awkwardly.
So-joon breaks the ice, asking whether Director Kim’s upcoming wedding is his second or third. He’s told that this is the director’s first marriage, and when he hears there’s a ten-year age gap between the director and his bride, he gives the director a thumbs-up.
Director Kim puts on a presentation about investing in a city that he believes will be booming in about 25 years. He’s confident that there’s positive change happening there, so they should invest now. The other execs aren’t so sure, so Director Kim says he’s heard whispers that a rival company is eyeing that land.
But So-joon, who’s been busy playing games on his phone, chimes in that the area won’t turn a profit. Wait, have you seen it yourself? Getting up, he points to a mountainous area west of the city, arguing that this area will be cheap to buy now.
When asked why he’s chosen that land, So-joon casually replies that he’s working off a feeling. He then amends his statement by stating that his intel suggests that this presently unpopular land will be extremely profitable. Oh, and everyone should keep this among themselves.
But Director Kim would like to know where So-joon’s information came from, to which So-joon says he can talk if Director Kim will disclose his own sources. Ooh.
Keeping his tone light, So-joon points out that his opinions have always worked out for this company, whereas Director Kim spends his time entertaining bigwigs. He bats away the argument that this presentation was based on data and research until he finally raises his voice in frustration: “It doesn’t feel right!”
He calls an end to this meeting right then and there, which leaves Director Kim fuming. Afterward, his secretary wonders why their boss would even bother holding a meeting if he’ll end up ignoring any ideas anyway. It makes him wonder if So-joon is harboring a birth secret or influential connections, but Director Kim is too enraged to hear any ideas.
In their office, Ki-doong nags So-joon about being a little smoother around their employees when it comes to his future real estate predictions. So-joon thinks he couldn’t have gone easy on Director Kim’s suggestions, since he couldn’t very well say that he saw the plans fail in the future. He whines at Ki-doong to get his attention, then rattles off a series of lottery numbers… that Ki-doong quickly jots down. Ha.
Ki-doong barks that he doesn’t believe So-joon anyway, since his time-traveling buddy swore not to tell him anything about his own future. It then occurs to him that the numbers were a lie, and So-joon laughs, reminding him that the reason why he stays out of people’s lives is because the smallest adjustment in the present could lead to drastic consequences in the future.
“But recently… I got involved in someone’s life,” So-joon divulges. He says he heroically saved a person, which would normally get a grateful response. Ki-doong wonders if it was an acquaintance, or better yet, a woman. So-joon nods, and when his buddy asks if she’s pretty, he admits, “A tad.”
Ma-rin is busy cleaning her messy abode and admonishing herself for drinking too much, only to tell herself that she’ll keep drinking. She opens a dusty album containing a series of black and white photos when she gets a call from the photographer’s studio informing her that she’s been accepted.
Unfortunately, Ma-rin finds out that she’s scored a spot in the academy, not on the photographer’s crew. She gets a chance to confront the photographer herself, who believes Ma-rin is someone who failed as an actress and thinks she can just move from in front of the camera to behind it.
Stepping in front of her, Ma-rin speaks up: “You must think that what you see is all there is.” She says she was a fan of the photographer’s work because those photos went deeper than face value, and she took up photography to prove that what people see on the surface isn’t everything. When the photographer calls her Bap-soon, Ma-rin boldly states, “My name is Song Ma-rin.”
But the photographer scoffs at those idealistic statements, reminding her that she had her friend pull strings for her here.
On the subway ride home, Ma-rin thinks to herself how she was reborn here seven years ago. She’d gotten off at another station after getting into an argument with a stranger for taking a photo of her. As it happened, that decision had saved her life because the subway car exploded shortly afterward.
“I sometimes wonder if there must be a reason why I was saved [from that],” she thinks to herself. “Could there be something more special in the future waiting for me? I wish that were true.”
Unbeknownst to her, So-joon appears behind her in the same car on the way back from another time-traveling journey. He first turns away in surprise, then walks up her to say hello. He places a hand on her shoulder while remarking on this coincidence, and although she shrugs him off, he follows her off the train and asks her to dinner.
Pointing out that he keeps touching her, Ma-rin politely tells him to stop since he’s a stranger. He notes that she’s kept count and she replies that she’s old-fashioned like that. He teases that her word choice of “touching her” seems rather risqué when he would call it “holding onto her.”
She stops to ask if he’s from overseas, because he’s touched a woman he barely knows and doesn’t know when to stop. She walks away to pay her brief respects to the street memorial we saw earlier. So-joon says he didn’t know people still stopped by this place, but when she starts walking away from him again, he invites her out for a drink.
Next thing we know, Ma-rin is already on her second beer and enjoys the experience of drinking with a stranger. Worried that she’s drinking too quickly, he asks for food, but she refuses.
After learning that she’s a photographer, So-joon asks her for her age, which prompts her to narrow in on why he wants to know. She declares that this will be their final beer, and they drink.
Cut to: Drunk Ma-rin saying that she doesn’t look 31 years old, though So-joon says she does. He tells her that he’s 30, so she drops the formalities and asks in banmal if he’s employed. She interprets his initial pause to mean that he’s jobless, and So-joon explains that he’s the CEO of a real estate investment firm.
But she mishears him, thinking that he runs a neighborhood real estate agency. Calling him “Realtor,” she asks why he was so quick to obsess over her the first time they met. Offended, So-joon barks that that couldn’t have been the first time a stranger hit on her, and Ma-rin drunkenly winks back with a smile: “Noona understands.”
She later staggers to the bathroom, where he helps her keep the door closed and tells her to fix her clothes when she bursts out of the stall.
They keep drinking at another pojangmacha where So-joon agrees to not ever like her. Ma-rin asks what he finds so pretty about her—while people think it’s her eyes, she believes it’s her legs and shows them off. He calls her bluff to show him then, and she clams up, saying that she doesn’t sleep with guys so easily.
She doesn’t play the dating game, and she isn’t as innocent as she looks, so he’d better not like her, she warns. “You’ll only get hurt! I’ll rip your heart into shreds.”
So-joon sighs that he can’t tell who’s clinging onto whom anymore, but Ma-rin keeps drunkenly arguing her point—his friends will mock him for dating Bap-soon-ie, the former child actress who’s now a has-been. If they date, he’ll grow sick of complete strangers chewing her out like bar snacks: “Who knows? You could be one of them.”
He thinks she’s overreacting over some childhood fame, and while he doesn’t know what being a child actor was like, he does know that people are too busy leading their own lives to care about what goes on in other people’s lives.
He says she must have a lot of time on her hands to let those comments sink in, and when she gets up to hit him, he takes her wrist and says, “Life is too short to be hung up on the past.”
She hits him anyway, asking if he expected her heart to skip a beat at those words. He sits in the taxi with her, as she drunkenly murmurs that the sun will rise tomorrow.
As the subway whizzes by them, So-joon recalls the one trip to the future when he found out about his own death. It was in the future on March 25, 2019, when a major accident took place, and he saw himself and Ma-rin covered in blood and taken away by gurneys.
Before reality could sink in, a man grabbed him, saying that So-joon must return to the present immediately. Oho, another time-traveler? He was told that he could disappear if he didn’t return before his future self dies on this day at 9:15 PM.
When they safely returned, So-joon divulged that he previously couldn’t travel to that date, but he knows now that was because he’d die that day. He told his fellow time-traveler that he planned on living another fifty years, so the man suggested that he look for the woman who would die alongside him in the future.
So-joon was surprised to hear that he and that woman would die together in the same hospital. He argues that he didn’t even get a good look at her face, but the time-traveler encouraged him to look for her anyway: “She’s currently the only person involved in your death, and who knows? She could hold a key in saving your life. You have less than three years left.”
In the morning, Ma-rin yells at her disheveled shelf in the mirror, hoping that she didn’t embarrass herself too much. “You didn’t say your legs were pretty did you?” she wonders, then remembers saying it seconds later. She picks up her phone and chucks it away before reaching for it and covering the screen.
She braces herself and slowly draws her hand back to reveal a drunken selca. Uh, lots of selcas. Humiliated, she buries her face in her bed, refusing to accept anything that happened last night… and then runs over to hurl.
She’s still pretty hungover when she leaves her house, but declares that she’ll start anew again today because she won’t see “Realtor.” But then the nausea kicks in, and she curls up on the street.
So-joon is a stone’s throw away in his car with his fellow time-traveler DOO-SHIK (Jo Han-chul). He can’t believe that a woman like her could hold the answers to his survival, and Doo-shik says they’ll need to wait and see.
Doo-shik remarks that she’s pretty, to which So-joon says he cares more about what a person is like on the inside. He’s told not to worry since it’s not like they’ll live under the same roof or something, so So-joon decides to get to know her, but set clear boundaries.
He sneaks out of the car and approaches Ma-rin, who tries shuffling away and awkwardly commenting on the nice weather. He acts as if their paths just happened to cross, but they both know better, and before Ma-rin can apologize for last night, So-joon does so first.
He claims to have blacked out last night, so he’d like to apologize if he did anything wrong by her. He says he can’t remember anything, and when he contemplates whether or not to try to remember, Ma-rin tells him not to.
She does, however, point out that he’s speaking in banmal, and he finds it so natural that it makes him think they got much closer last night. He hopes that they “happen” see each other again, and he doubles back to give her an umbrella saying that she’ll need it.
She says she checked the weather before leaving today, and So-joon muses aloud: “Because it could just happen to rain.” Aww, that’s better. He waits until she’s gone to return to his car to ask Doo-shik for a favor, only to find him gone.
Ma-rin heads out to her shoot, where the model thanks her for saving her from losing her job. A sudden shower drives them to seek cover, and Ma-rin marvels at the rain.
Back home, So-joon is about to leave just as a drenched Ki-doong arrives. He reminds his friend that he said it’d rain today, and shuts down the idea of creating an app since it’ll put the meteorologists out of business.
Ki-doong remarks that So-joon’s trips to the “other world” have become more frequent as of late, and the friends make plans for later that day. So-joon then travels three months into the future to walk back into his own home…
…which is now lined with wedding photos of him and Ma-rin. He gapes at the portraits, and is spooked when Ma-rin appears in a robe behind him. She teases that he’s home early, saying that he’s being too obvious about being a newlywed.
Flabbergasted, he stammers, “Newly… newlywed? We’re… newlyweds?”
Back in the present, Ma-rin opens the umbrella So-joon gave her to take a happy walk in the rain.
Wow, what a whirlwind of a premiere; my mind is still trying to catch up. I’d been looking forward to Tomorrow With You since time travel is a theme I typically enjoy. It’s that dimensions-crossing quality and the fear of possible doom by one wrong move that keeps me intrigued, and at present (hur), this drama stirs my curiosity.
Narratively, time travel is always a tricky concept since the writer not only needs to know the desired ending, but also consider the alternative threads that are dependent on the characters’ decisions. I love that we were thrown into one of our hero’s trips to the near future through his eyes, which enabled us to establish the premise right away. As cool as that was, I have a lot of questions about the logistics and rules in this ability, starting with: Does no one either in the future or present see a man appear and disappear from their respective subway cars? I’m guessing not, since no one seems to react to our resident time-traveler So-joon, but perhaps that gives credence to his statement that people are usually too busy with their own lives to care about other people.
We don’t know when So-joon’s time-traveling ability began, but I do find it strange that for someone who is staunchly against sharing information about the future, he does drop small hints that could have a ripple effect, like the birthday gift or telling people about the weather. It makes me question where exactly he draws the line—does he make decisions in the present that will directly affect his own future and hopefully not for others? Basically what I want to know is if the rules here are more like Back to the Future with the potential for alternative realities or if So-joon is in a causal loop where no matter what changes he’s made, he’s still headed toward the same future.
What we can gather from So-joon so far is that he started time-traveling at an unknown date, told his buddy Ki-doong about his trips, found out about his own death, started searching for Ma-rin and saw her own accident in perhaps a different trip, and finally found her in our current present. I do wonder if the times he travels to are intentional, or if he hangs around and then comes back. I also question how much time passes in the present while he’s in the future, and if he ever returns to the same day. And I so desperately want to know how Doo-shik comes into play. I can already see myself falling into a rabbit hole of questions, which on one hand is a good thing because it means I want to know more, and on the other hand, I still want to wait for this dramaverse to establish its own boundaries of time travel.
So far, I do like Ma-rin, who has passion and speaks up for herself. Even when she and So-joon first met, she set boundaries with the potentially creepy stalker dude following her around all afternoon. Although there was some attraction, Ma-rin reminded him that he was still a stranger until that legendary night of meeting the drunk Bap-soon-ie. It can’t be easy trying to make a name as an adult when everyone, including her own mother, uses a quarter-century-old reference to put her in a box, and we don’t know how arduous the struggle has been. And as much as people know her only for her child actor days, Ma-rin also generalizes the population for thinking that’s all she is. So even though So-joon has no idea what it’s been like to carry an emotional burden like this one for the majority of his life like Ma-rin has, he has a point when he says that life is too short to be hung up on the past… Though maybe living in the present is better than worrying about the future.
- A mysterious future leads to wedding bells in Tomorrow With You
- Lee Je-hoon’s death prophecy and Shin Mina’s morning after in Tomorrow With You
- Love-smitten eyes and sweet handholding in Tomorrow With You posters
- Glimpses of a happy future with a stranger in Tomorrow With You
- New Year’s resolutions to spend Tomorrow With You
- Funny first winks in Tomorrow With You teasers
- Smiling along with Tomorrow With You
- Oh Snap! The time-traveler and his wife
- Shin Mina, Lee Je-hoon practice their bickering skills for Tomorrow With You