365: Repeat the Year: Episodes 1-2
If you had the chance to go back in time one year, and relive that year over again, would you do it? What would you change, and how would you know what to change? MBC’s new supernatural thriller, 365: Repeat the Year, offers this chance to ten lucky people — but are they really so lucky? Or are they just desperate to fix what’s gone wrong in their lives?
EPISODE 1 RECAP
January 11, 2020
Somewhere in a deserted field, a limousine speeds down a country road, then hurtles off a cliff. Elsewhere we see several people freeze and fall to the ground, then wake up again.
January 15, 2019
A handsome man enters a jewelry store and chats up the pretty female employee, and we see them looking around a big fancy house. In voiceover we hear: “Ahn Kyung-nam, known as the DiCaprio of Cheongdam-dong. It takes him exactly forty-eight hours to approach a woman and take every penny from her, including her property, real estate, and everything he can take. Then he suddenly disappears, changes his identity, and reappears on the scene.”
The man walks down the street looking at his phone, and another man collides with him. He drops his phone and scratches the screen, and the other guy throws cash in his face and walks away. Our guy follows him and snarkily returns his money, and the second guy takes a swing, but our guy easily twist his arm until he’s writhing in pain.
It turns out that our guy is actually a cop named JI HYUNG-JO (Lee Jun-hyuk), and he and his partner, SUN-HO (Lee Sung-wook) have been trying to catch AHN KYUNG-NAM (cameo by Yoo Geon). Nearby, rookie cop Soon-woo leads Kyung-nam’s girlfriend over. Hyung-jo suddenly remembers something and runs off right in the middle of the arrest. LOL.
At a bookstore, a webtoon artist who goes by the pen name “Maru” holds a book signing event for the latest installation of her popular series, Hidden Killer. Her real name is SHIN GA-HYUN (Nam Ji-hyun), and she’s barely civil to her fans, refusing pictures and insisting that the line be cut off before the event is up so that she won’t have to stay a moment later than necessary.
Apparently, Hyung-jo is a huge fan, but he skids into the store just as the cutoff happens. Looks like he won’t be meeting his idol today, which is probably for the best, considering Ga-hyun’s mood.
Back at the station, Hyung-jo gets teased for leaving in the middle of an arrest for an autograph that he couldn’t even get. He and Sun-ho bicker over who actually caught Kyung-nam — technically Hyung-jo got him, but he didn’t even know who it was due to extensive plastic surgery, so Sun-ho wants the credit because he cuffed him. Okay, they’re so cute together.
Hyung-jo works late, so it’s dark when he finally gets home. He’s met by a man named Myung-chul, who’s freshly out of jail after Hyung-jo arrested him years ago. Myung-chul pulls a gun and informs Hyung-jo that after seven years in prison, he’s been told that he has a brain tumor and only has three months to live.
Myung-chul says that he doesn’t want to die alone, so he’s already killed both the prosecutor who indicted him and the judge who sentenced him. He tells Hyung-jo that he’s his last target, but he decided that he wants Hyung-jo to live in pain for the rest of his life.
He shoots Hyung-jo in the thigh, then grins at him evilly: “Guess who I borrowed this [gun] from?” He tells Hyung-jo to go home, because he left him a gift. Oh no…
Hyung-jo staggers home, but at first it seems as though nothing has been disturbed. He checks in the bathroom, and his face contorts in anguish… there’s blood everywhere, and his partner and beloved mentor, Sun-ho, is lying dead in the shower.
Ga-hyun suffers through a painful physical therapy session, then uses a wheelchair to get herself to the nearest bus stop. Whoa, she’s apparently partially paralyzed from the waist down. It starts to rain, then across the street she sees her manager and her colorist walking together to meet her. They run over, worried about her, but Ga-hyun insists on leaving alone, though they follow her anyway.
When they get to Ga-hyun’s home, colorist JOO-YOUNG (Do-hee) seems to feel awkward and makes a store run. Left alone with WOO-JIN (Im Hyun-soo), her manager and fiance, Ga-hyun snaps at him to say what he clearly wants to say. He says that the marriage dinner with his parents for this weekend had to be postponed, but Ga-hyun guesses that they don’t approve of him marrying her because of her disability.
She says she no longer wants to marry him anyway, and lies that it’s because his career is too humble for someone at her level of success and fame. She says she’ll contact his company to send her a new manager, then goes to her room. Hurt, Woo-jin calls after her that she’s not the only one who’s tired.
Ga-hyun holds in her tears, and soon Joo-young returns from the store. Ga-hyun tells her that she broke off her engagement with Woo-jin, and that she’s ending her relationship with Joo-young, too. She snaps that Joo-young is just using her for her connections until she can make her own debut, anyway, but that she’ll still put in a good word for her.
Joo-young fights back and tells Ga-hyun that she’s being cruel after everything they’ve done for her. She says that Ga-hyun’s legs aren’t her only disability, but that she’s even more broken on the inside. She goes, and we see that Ga-hyun is now truly alone — she even lost her dog, Maru, recently.
We switch to Hyung-jo, who’s sitting in his living room with Ga-hyun’s dog. He’s coincidentally given the dog the name Maru after his favorite webtoonist. He hasn’t been back to work since Sun-ho’s murder, and when he visits the station, he’s overwhelmed by memories of his old partner.
His boss, Detective Ho, asks when he’s coming back, but Hyung-jo says that every time he tries, he hears Sun-ho calling his name. He hands Team Leader Ho his resignation, but Team Leader Ho tears it up.
He tells Hyung-jo that Myung-chul had surgery on his tumor, and it was successful, which means that he’ll spend a long time in prison paying for the murders. Team Leader Ho urges Hyung-jo to see a therapist, and even offers to recommend him to the best facility in the country. Hyung-jo walks away, insisting that he really has resigned.
While sitting outside with Maru, Hyung-jo gets a very mysterious phone call. A woman’s voice tells him that a KTX train will derail tomorrow, and that two people will die and fifty-eight will be injured. She says she’ll call him tomorrow and hangs up, and he dismisses it as a prank call.
But in the morning, the news reports the train derailing, with exactly two deaths and fifty-eight injuries. The woman calls Hyung-jo again, and he accuses her of being responsible for the accident. She says that it may look that way, but there’s no way for her to have predicted the number of casualties. She explains, “When a certain date comes, I go back to the past and live my life over again.”
She offers Hyung-jo a chance to travel back in time with her, and instructs him to come to Jian Clinic on Saturday if he’s interested. Coincidentally (or possibly not), that’s the name of the clinic that Team Leader Ho mentioned.
Hyung-jo shows up on the appointed day, curious to see what this is all about. On the way in he runs across Ga-hyun, though he doesn’t know who she is since he didn’t make it to her fan meeting. They’re led to a room where there are nine other people waiting anxiously to see if this mysterious woman’s claims are true.
She arrives last, a well-put-together woman who introduces herself as psychiatrist LEE SHIN (Kim Ji-soo). She tells them that yes, they can literally travel back in time, or “reset” as she calls it.
EPISODE 2 RECAP
Shin tells the prospective travelers that they won’t physically travel back in time, but that their minds will go through a gap in time and space back to their past bodies, but with their current memories intact. Hyung-jo asks why she chose them, so Shin explains that she made calls randomly, and that they’re the ones who showed up to learn more.
She tells them that they can leave if they like, but that they’ll lose the chance to go back in time. She says that they will leave in one week, and that they can only go back one year, to January 11, 2019 at 10 a.m. One man objects, saying that’s not far enough to accomplish anything, but Shin smiles indulgently and tells him that he can change a lot more in a year than he thinks.
She turns on the TV just as they’re announcing the winning lottery numbers. Shin calls out the numbers before each one is announced, proving that she already knew the winning numbers because she’s lived this day before. A couple of the potential travelers start writing the numbers down, but Shin tells them to memorize anything they want to remember, since they won’t be able to take anything with them.
Shin tells everyone to come back on Saturday if they decide they want to go back with her, and that she’ll respect their decisions if they don’t return.
Hyung-jo visits Sun-ho’s grave, and he recalls the day they met, and how Sun-ho once took a knife in the gut to save Hyung-jo’s life. Right there, Hyung-jo decides to take this chance if it means he can go back and save Sun-ho’s life.
On Saturday, ten of the eleven people return to Jian Clinic, with the exception of the pregnant woman who was worried about her baby not existing if she went back a year. Shin tells them that they’re leaving right away, and that she’d like them to come back to Jian Clinic a week after they return to their pasts.
They load up into a limousine, and the ride is silent and awkward as they’re taken out of the city and into the countryside. Some of the travelers sit quietly with their thoughts or listen to music, while others try to memorize things they want to remember. Eventually the limo arrives at its destination, and without warning or preamble, it hurtles full-speed off a cliff, taking Shin and the travelers with it.
Hyung-jo wakes up exactly one year prior, right in the middle of receiving a beating from two thugs, heh. Luckily, Soon-woo and Sa-kyung from his team quickly show up and subdue the thugs, so Hyung-jo heads back to the station. He wilts when he doesn’t see Sun-ho anywhere, but then Sun-ho grabs him from behind in a headlock.
Hyung-jo spins away reflexively, then just stands there staring at Sun-ho like he might cry. With a tiny little, “Hyung…” he launches himself at Sun-ho and hugs him tightly, refusing to let go when Sun-ho complains. (I’m not crying, you’re crying.)
Not far away, Ga-hyun wakes up in a park, her legs burning from the hot coffee she spilled on herself when her body briefly passed out. She leaps up and dances around from the pain, then belatedly realizes that her legs work and starts jumping even harder. Joo-young runs over with Maru on a leash, and Ga-hyun is thrilled to see her dog again, not to mention her friend.
We see little snippets of the other travelers resuming their lives: One woman, who was wearing an engagement ring, looks at her wedding invitation which is dated in February. The security guard fills out a lottery ticket with the numbers he memorized. The man who appeared homeless in the future now wears a suit, back at his high-powered office job.
The young woman with short black hair now has long red hair, and spends her time in class staring at social media posts of a particular handsome young man. Another traveler seems to be taking a test, while the frizzy-haired boy plays video games in a gaming room and the older gentleman opens his cafe.
Ga-hyun holds her fan meeting again, but this time she’s a lot friendlier to her fans. She consents to photos, to Joo-young’s surprise, and instead of closing the line early, she agrees to stay late for anyone who got in line before the end of the event.
The day of Sun-ho’s death arrives, and Hyung-jo is conspicuously missing from the team meeting about catching Ahn Kyung-nam. In the middle of the meeting, Hyung-jo casually walks in with Kyung-nam and his girlfriend in handcuffs, having decided to cut through all the BS and just catch them himself, hee.
He trades shifts with Sun-ho, giving him his night shift. He goes to Myung-chul’s home, and when he sees Sun-ho’s killer’s face, he has to power through the traumatic memories in order to be kind to him. He gives Myung-chul some health drinks and asks if he’s found a job, and Myung-chul says he’s mostly unemployed.
Myung-chul suddenly passes out so Hyung-jo rushes him to the hospital. He stays while Myung-chul is treated, and once he’s released, they go out for drinks. Myung-chul admits that he’s resented Hyung-jo, the prosecutor, and the judge for putting him in jail because it makes him feel better to focus on getting revenge than to take responsibility for his crimes.
Hyung-jo has another flashback, but he brushes it aside and asks half-jokingly if Myung-chul is planning to kill them all. Myung-chul bursts out laughing, then says that he might have died today if not for Hyung-jo, and that he feels like seven years’ worth of anger have been washed away.
Later, Hyung-jo puts Myung-chul into a taxi and sends him home. But once they pull away, Myung-chul tells the driver not to take him home, but to Namyeon-dong, where the judge lives. Craaaap…
He breaks the side mirror on the judge’s car and sets off the alarm, and when the judge steps outside to investigate, Myung-chul stabs him in the chest with a knife. But the knife is stopped by the armored vest the judge is wearing, and Hyung-jo steps outside the gate to confront Myung-chul. Yes!!
Thinking ahead, Hyung-jo had Soon-woo pose as the taxi driver, so when Myung-chul had changed his destination, Soon-woo had texted to Hyung-jo where they were going. Hyung-jo had gotten there first and fitted the judge with the armored vest, allowing him to surprise Myung-chul and arrest him, saving three lives.
Hyung-jo goes back to the station where Sun-ho is still working, taking him some fried chicken for dinner. Sun-ho asks how he knew what Myung-chul was planning, but Hyung-jo tells him to just know that he saved his life today. Sun-ho reminds him of the Hidden Killer fanmeet, and Hyung-jo whines that he even traveled back in time and still missed it, hee.
On a later day, Ga-hyun is walking Maru when he suddenly pulls his leash from her hand and runs off. He goes straight to Hyung-jo, who’s walking nearby (almost as if he remembers him… how interesting). Hyung-jo and Ga-hyun recognize each other, and they figure out that in the original timeline, Hyung-jo adopted Ga-hyun’s dog when he got lost while she was in the hospital after her accident.
Ga-hyun asks how Hyung-jo knows Maru’s name, so he says he named him after his favorite webtoon artist. Ga-hyun tells him that that’s her, and that she uses her dog’s name as her pen name. Hyung-jo buys Maru a collar with his name and Ga-hyun’s number on it in case he gets lost again, and he asks for an autograph as repayment, but Ga-hyun says that she doesn’t socialize with her fans.
Because of meeting Hyung-jo, Ga-hyun missed Maru’s vaccination appointment, so she heads home early — and finds Woo-jin and Joo-young making out on her sofa. Damn, I had a strange feeling about them. With Joo-young’s lipstick still on his face, Woo-jin begs Ga-hyun to let him explain, but she just turns and walks out.
She sits in the park, thinking about times that she saw Woo-jin and Joo-young together in the original timeline, and now those moments take on a whole new tone. She returns home and asks Woo-jin and Joo-young whether they were going to continue seeing each other even after she and Woo-jin were married. Their guilty faces answer her question, and Ga-hyun says that she’s grateful to them, because she thought she was the only nasty one.
Suddenly switching to jondaemal, she fires them both on the spot. Before they go, she says, “I hope you two stay together to the end. If you stay together, you’ll always be reminded of me. Stay together with a memory that makes you feel ashamed and makes your relationship uncomfortable.”
Ga-hyun storms up to her bedroom, where she tears down the pictures of herself with Woo-jin and Joo-young. She cries herself to sleep, and doesn’t wake up until her phone buzzes in the morning. It’s a reminder that it’s been one week since the reset, and she’s supposed to go back to Jian Clinic.
She runs into Hyung-jo again on the way in, but she’s in no mood for his bubbly greeting. The travelers all reconvene, most of them looking much happier than they did a week ago, and they exclaim excitedly when they see Ga-hyun on her feet.
Shin joins them, and they notice that one traveler, the deliveryman, didn’t show up. In a sad voice, Shin informs them that he’s dead.
I feel a little strange calling this drama fun, but oh boy, this is fun. I love shows that raise existential questions and set out to answer them, and 365: Repeat the Year has already raised several interesting questions. What would you do if you could go back in time and change something about your life? And if you did, would that change end up for the better, or would it make things worse? Ga-hyun has already learned that going back to regain her health didn’t stop her from losing the two people she loved most, and she might lose even more as she relives this year. One of the travelers even lost his life, and we don’t even know why he went back in the first place. Hyung-jo managed to save Sun-ho from being murdered, but I’m already scared — what will be the cost of those lives?
On a technical note, I noticed a lot of subtle and not-so-subtle things that really impressed me and make me eager to see more. When Hyung-jo found Sun-ho in the shower, everything went to black and white, except for the blood, which blazed a horrifying crimson. Every interesting camera angle at the clinic was gorgeous, and the way the scene where the limo went off the cliff was shot was really dramatic. The acting is really fantastic already, too — Lee Joon-hyuk and Nam Ji-hyun are rock-solid as always, pulling my heartstrings with their grief, then again with their doomed happiness to have a second chance. But even the actors portraying travelers we’ve only seen briefly so far have already impressed me, such as Yang Dong-geun’s intensity and Ahn Seung-hyun’s aloof attitude that’s obviously a wall hiding something serious.
I really, really love the character of Ga-hyun for Nam Ji-hyun — it’s a big break from the kind of character she normally takes on, and I applaud her willingness to play a more nuanced, difficult character. This is the fourth drama of hers that I’ve recapped, and while she showed a lot of range as a child actor, as an adult lead she mostly plays young, upbeat, lighthearted characters. But the character of Ga-hyun is dark and heavy, with her disability and her demons that seem to show up in her art, and I can imagine Nam Ji-hyun will greatly enjoy exercising her acting chops with this one.
And then there’s the mysterious and slightly unsettling Shin, who I do not trust one single bit. How convenient that she just happens to have this ability, and is offering it for free (so who’s paying for that fancy facility, then?). I find it interesting that her name means “god” or “deity,” which makes me wonder if she’s even human at all. We know very little about her, but I’m certain that she doesn’t have these people’s best interests at heart, and that there’s definitely something in all this for her. She’s doing all this for a reason, and I don’t for one second think it’s something the travelers would willingly give if they have the choice.
There are still seven travelers we know practically nothing about, and I’m very curious to see what their stories are — why they chose to go back in time, and what they want to accomplish. On the surface, they didn’t seem to be in situation quite as dire as Hyung-jo and Ga-hyun, more along the lines of money or relationship issues. But I doubt that Shin chose them as randomly as she claims, and I wouldn’t be surprised if their reasons for traveling are why she picked them. All I know is, I can’t wait to find out.
- Premiere Watch: 365: Repeat the Year, A Piece of Your Mind, Welcome, A Couple’s World, Unique Chef Moon, Rugal
- Lee Jun-hyuk, Nam Ji-hyun return to the past in new teaser for MBC’s 365: Repeat the Year
- Cast of 365: A Fate-defying Year gather for script reading
- Nam Ji-hyun considers 365: A Fate-defying Year with Lee Jun-hyuk