A Time Called You – K-drama Episode 1 Recap & Review

The Birthday

Episode 1 of A Time Called You begins in 1998. Min-ju is listening to Seo Ji-won’s ‘Gather My Tears’ while manning a record shop and two boys watch her from outside. The taller boy realises that his friend, In-gyu likes her and he drags him inside. They surprise Min-ju who is shy and awkward as she stammers through the Tall Boy’s questions.

He tries to buy Ji-won’s record but it is out of stock and she offers to call him when it is back in stock. He tries to get In-gyu to put down his number but he refuses. Tall Boy gives his number and Min-ju looks out curiously as she watches them leave.

It cuts to the 21st century where Jun-hee works in a high-end corporate office. She looks exactly like Min-ju and it will be her birthday the next day. While she is cheery, her friend, Na-eun realises that she is still hung up on her ex, Yeon-jun. Turns out, he is dead and looks very much like the Tall Boy from 1998.

While attending his one-year memorial service, Jun-hee breaks down as she recalls one of their last conversations. She had wanted to go to the New York branch for a year but he didn’t want to be separated. He was even ready to quit and follow her. She leaves the church but Yeon-jun’s sister follows her out and comforts her.

It is revealed that he died in a plane crash but they never recovered his body, so Jun-hee refuses to believe he is dead. The reason he took the flight before her birthday was that he was probably going to propose on her birthday as he had an engagement ring.

It cuts to a flashback on the day of Jun-hee’s flight. Yeon-jun who is an artist gifts her handmade jewellery box. He acts as if the ring is hidden in the box but at that moment, she has other things in her mind. She is realistic and tells him not to give up his life to follow her to New York. But he is idealistic. She wants a stable future for them while he wants to spend all the time they have together.

She misunderstands and thinks he is insecure and that they might break up. And so she leaves for her flight on that bad note. At present, she feels guilty and hopeful and rushes to open the jewellery box. She spots a hidden compartment but tears up when she sees it is empty.

In 1998, Min-ju misses the school bus but Tall Boy and In-gyu come to her rescue. They have scooters and Tall Boy suggests that she should ride on In-gyu’s. He smiles as In-gyu is nervous and Min-ju holds his shirt. But they are still late and the teacher gives them detention. The teacher doesn’t even recognise the quiet Min-ju as a student and Tall Boy stands up for her.

In the 21st century, it is Jun-hee’s birthday and she misses Yeon-jun. Elsewhere, a long-haired, scarred man with a cane watches the news about the one-year anniversary of the plane crash and how some of the bodies have yet to be recovered. In the office, Jun-hee continues to look miserable as Yeon-jun always surprised her on her birthday.

Someone gifts her flowers and for a moment she is hopeful, thinking it is him. She runs after the delivery guy who turns out to be the scarred man but the elevator separates them before she can see his face. At that moment, Yeon-jun’s sister calls to say that she has officially registered him as dead which shocks Jun-hee.

That night, Chan-yeong, a popular artist friend of the couple, calls her over. He gives Jun-hee the last of Yeon-jun’s belongings that were in their workshop. She spots a painting of a high school girl running (quite similar to Min-ju when she missed the bus). In a flashback, she remembers asking Yeon-jun about the girl but he had just laughed and teased her. 

After meeting with Chan-yeong, she keeps texting Yeon-jun’s number about her day but the messages go unread. Suddenly, an Instagram account named ‘in search of lost time’ sends her a photo of Tall Boy, Min-ju and In-gyu. She is stunned and messages back but doesn’t get a reply. It is revealed to be the same scarred guy with the cane.

In 1998, the kids are in chemistry class and Min-ju is the smart, quiet kid who knows all the answers which impresses In-gyu and Tall Boy. The teacher tells them to split into groups of 3 and the boys join Min-ju who is alone. Tall Boy smiles as he makes In-gyu and Min-ju sit together and complete the assignment. 

As for Jun-hee, she shows the picture to Na-eun and another close colleague and asks for their help in investigating. She assumes that Tall Boy is Yeon-jun and they look online till they find that the photo was taken on film, scanned and posted in 2008.

In 1998, we go back to the record shop-first meeting and Min-ju smiles as she looks at Tall Boy’s number. His name is Si-heon and he suddenly barges into the shop alone and asks for her name.

The Episode Review

Episode 1 of A Time Called You is off to a great start. The 1998 storyline gives us a nostalgic feel and the characters are reminiscent of old K-dramas complete with Jeon Yeo-been’s Min-ju as the frustratingly clumsy and shy female lead. Meanwhile, the present-day storyline is dark and gloomy. 

The guy with the scar looks like Ahn Hyo-seop who plays Yeon-jun and Si-heon. So could the scarred guy be Yeon-jun or Si-heon for some reason? The K-drama hooks you in from the beginning. It is definitely nothing like what the trailer or even what the summary portrayed. Instead of a simple time-travelling romance, it has an extra intrigue factor.

Is there a sinister reason behind the plane crash? Is the girl in Yeon-jun’s painting Min-ju? Did he travel back in time due to the crash and is now in his 50s with the whole long hair and moustache get up? He is probably trying to warn Jun-hee or make her go back in time as well to solve the plane crash conspiracy. So many questions in just the first episode, phew!


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You can read our season 1 review of A Time Called You here!

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