Forest of Time 1
Episode 3 of Tomorrow starts with Jun-Woong joining Ryeon’s team. First up is a crazy elevator ride, all the way to the Risk Management Team office. It’s a complete mess, although it used to belong to the Special Crimes Unit. They were responsible for escorting souls to Hell. It used to be led by Ryeon too, which explains why she’s so comfortable here – and how she’s come across to work with the Death Angels.
Now that Jun-Woong is going to be part of their team, he needs to follow a code of conduct. He’s going to be given a new name (imaginatively titled Wun-Joong) and he’s told not to use his powers in the wake of humans or intervene in human affairs. Except to stop suicides I guess?
Anyway, Jun-Woong is put in a tough position when he learns his next case is linked to someone called Jae-Soo. This happens to be his best friend, whose levels have spiked dangerously high.
With suicide looking very likely, we dive back through time to see how the pair first came to be friends. It happened by accident, with Jae-Soo bullied and Jun-Woong trying in vain not to get involved. Eventually though this led to the pair becoming good friends, looking out for one another.
Back in the present it turns out Jun-Woong’s new identity means he looks physically different to everyone around him. When he comes bursting into the police station, claiming to be Jun-Woong and trying to get help for Jae-Soo, it takes Ryung showing to save his skin. He apologizes to the officers and speaks sternly to the new Reaper.
Now, it turns out Jae-Soo hasn’t left his house in a long time. He’s failed his police exam but they need to get him outside before they can even think about helping him. Dressing as cult members obviously doesn’t work, so Jun-Woong messages and encourages his friend to head outside. He does just that, suddenly charging through the streets.
Jae-Soo is eventually found at the hospital, where he notices Jun-Woong in a coma. He believes the message sent to his phone was actually from Jun-Woong, but of course it’s the Reaper version and not this comatose body.
Jun-Woong happens to be nearby but when he approaches, he suddenly collapses in the hallway as he gets close, leading to doctors rushing into the room to try and stop Jun-Woong’s comatose body from going into cardiac arrest.
Ryeon and the team show up, explaining that if Jun-Woong gets too near his actual body, it could actually cause him to die. All of this is in the contract he didn’t read, as Ryung-Gu explains that he reads everything properly – and Jun-Woong should have done the same thing.
Jae-Soo’s depression isn’t helped by him deciding to get drunk, given alcohol is a depressant. As he sits outside, Jae-Soo reflects back on how hard he worked and the sacrifices he made to try and make it into the academy. Unfortunately all of this counts for nothing as he fails the exam three times.
Jun-Woong is desperate to help his friend but in order to do so, he believes they need fried chicken to rekindle those old feelings of joy and empathy. Speaking to the King of Heaven, Ryeon tentatively broaches the subject of heading back in time, which is something these Angels can do. Anyway, they’re only going back to pick up chicken so because of this, the King agrees to let them go.
Time travel brings up a myriad of different issues and problems that probably won’t be addressed in this drama but for now, the pair head back and decide to follow Jae-Soo’s father.
It’s here we see Jae-Soo’s earlier mention of the IMF incident hitting hard on the family. They’re struggling to pay for his wife’s hospital bills and Jae-Soo’s tuition fees are taking a battering too. Eventually they have their things taken away, as Jae-Soo watches in horror as his life spirals out of control. It seems this was the start of his depressive downturn.
Ryeon is reluctant about staying in this timeline, incase they change anything, and decides to head back to the present. Before they leave though, she allows Jun-Woong to say goodbye to Jae-Soo. He listens as Jae-Soo’s father decides to drop him off at the hospital, promising to bring him fried chicken. Hearing this, the pair follow on from behind.
Now, it would appear that Jae-Soo’s father actually killed himself in the past, determined to get an insurance pay-out to help his wife and son. Just before he hits the oncoming truck though, Ryeon and Jun-Woong suddenly charge in front of them and manage to stop the car. Jae-Soo’s father swerves but we don’t see if he actually hits the truck or not.
The Episode Review
I’ve used the term tonal whiplash before but my gosh does Tomorrow take it that to the absolute extreme. Now, don’t get me wrong there are parts of this show that work really well and a few of the jokes are well-timed. More often than not though, jumping between the ideas of suicide and depression straight into a big slapstick comedy moment diminishes what this show is trying to do.
The humour in something like Taxi Driver worked because it played on the emotions of the characters and leaned into the absurdist angle. It also knew when to tone it right back and not put a slapstick comedy moment in. Tomorrow doesn’t do that and instead decides to try and spring slapstick comedy alongside very real issues surrounding suicide and death. The result is something that works as well as yoghurt mixed with kimchi.
The characters themselves are interesting though and the dynamic between Jun-Woong and the rest of the Reapers is fantastic. That’s easily one of the best parts of the whole show and hopefully that will keep up through the series.
Either way though, it’s too early to tell where this one is likely to go next, but it does appear that we’re into the realm of time travel and changing the past. How will this story be resolved? We’ll have to wait and see.