It wouldn’t be wrong to call Jun Hee “that girl.” The women of romantic stories often have to be for the audience to be able to root for them. But the one extraordinary thing about her is her sense of right and wrong, which we see in hindsight when we realize that despite Si Heon dying a number of times for Jun Hee, she still chose to cancel their love story for the sake of someone else’s life. It may sound harsh, but it is worth considering just how strong her moral compass was or how much she cared about other people over herself.
From the beginning, we saw what Jun Hee was like only when she was contrasted against Min Ju. In the first two episodes of A Time Called You, both Min Ju and Jun Hee spend time being depressed for different reasons. While Jun Hee was mourning her boyfriend and how she did not understand or appreciate him in his final moments, Min Ju was suffering from a bad home situation. Both women were 18 years apart in age and many years apart in timelines. Min Ju was chronically shy, and the only reason she had friends (Si Heon and In Gyu) was that one of them had a crush on her, and the other was a great wingman. The boys were nice people, but if not for one’s interest in the girl, they might have ignored her for the rest of their lives. In some ways, we see why Min Ju liked Si Heon over In Gyu. He was instantly charming, and though he was there just to support his friend, he was the one who initiated and facilitated things, causing Min Ju to see him first over others. When she was rejected, she also took that a little too personally, having no practice or support system to deal with such situations.
Then came Jun Hee, who was the opposite of Min Ju in every sense of the word. She was a lot more outgoing, not to mention that she was a 36-year-old woman in the body of a teenager and surrounded by such as well. She had been through the phase everyone was still struggling to understand, and she knew what she had to do and how she had to be to get ahead with things or hold her own. And since she was older, she was better at sports and studies than Min Ju. But it is also an unfair comparison because we must remember that for the most part, Min Ju was in survival mode, which means that she couldn’t have been as high-achieving as she wanted to be.
At the moment, Jun Hee was a bright person who easily made friends with everyone. She was initially interested in Si Heon because of his similar looks to Yeon Jun, but when she realized that they were not connected in any way whatsoever, she left him alone. However, once Si Heon discovered that the girl catching his interest wasn’t really the one his best friend had a crush on, the rules changed for him as well. Min Ju liked him for his cheery brightness, and Si Heon liked Jun Hee because he found someone who ended up matching it. The world might say that opposites attract, but truly, it is the discovery of common values that forms those lifelong bonds, and Si Heon found them with Jun Hee. We never really knew who fell first between them both, but it wouldn’t be wrong to assume that Si Heon fell harder.
At the beginning of A Time Called You, in the fight between Jun Hee and Yeon Jun (Si Heon), she does not want him to follow her abroad because she wants him to build his own life along with her. Her words may have been harsh, but the intention was that he achieve everything he wanted for himself instead of just being with her. She wasn’t wrong that a relationship with such sacrifices wouldn’t last. And this is another contrast that tells us the kind of person Jun Hee is. Si Heon had died not once but twice for the sake of his love. He had spent his entire adult life aligning himself with Jun Hee. It is another thing that Jun Hee wasn’t aware of all this, but it is unmissable that she had maintained her strong sense of individuality. Her moral compass remained unaffected by the actions of others.
Jun Hee had come to care for Min Ju. She initially went back in time to protect her from Chan Yeong, but that also revealed to her just how much Min Ju had suffered as a person, and she was willing to let go of it all by allowing herself to be killed. Jun Hee couldn’t work hard enough to stop Min Ju from doing what she was about to do. Yet, when that did happen, Jun Hee’s life could have continued as before in her own time. After all, Min Ju may have suffered, but she did not always take the moral high ground, and some of her actions could have possibly created a rift between Jun Hee and Si Heon, especially when she lied to him.
Also, Min Ju was quite immature in not allowing Jun Hee to protect her initially. But here is the thing: Jun Hee never lost sight of the fact that she was older and had more experience; therefore, she had to be a bigger person. It may seem like common sense, but we are pointing it out because it would have made the perfect excuse for Jun Hee to ignore Min Ju’s suicide and just live her life with Si Heon. But that wasn’t the kind of person that Jun Hee was.
Unlike Si Heon, who lived his life for her, Jun Hee knew that there were others that she had to care for. This makes us think of the writers of the original Taiwanese show, Someday or One Day, who said that the story was about the strong emotions of adolescence that end up affecting one’s life. We got a look at Si Heon and Min Ju’s adolescence but never that of Jun Hee, when she lived her life as herself instead of as Min Ju. She must have lived a well-rounded life for her to have such a broad-minded view of everyone around her and the strength to stand by it all. That is why she found it in herself to jeopardize her love for the sake of a girl (Min Ju) with whom she had nothing to do. Jun Hee saved Min Ju many times over, just as she was destined to do with the whole time travel exercise, even though she had to go above and beyond for it. This makes her the ultimate hero of the story.