Since See You In My 19th Life has ended, we have started feeling that the series did not quite live up to its potential. It was nice and sweet, but it felt like the series promised a lot more in the beginning that it did not quite deliver. The love story between Seo Ha and Ji Eum was the heart of the show, and maybe that is what let us down. What we mean to say is that Ji Eum was interested in Seo Ha due to the connection she felt with him from a previous life. But we never saw her testing her own feelings or falling in love with him for reasons other than that connection. We would be right if we said that it was not required, but still, it felt like the payoff of her struggle was missing. Maybe it also had to do with the fact that, as an audience, we fell in love with the actor, Ahn Bo Hyun, more than the character of Mun Seo Ha.
Ahn Bo Hyun was spectacular when he looked clueless or when he decided to flash his dimples on those rare occasions, but Mun Seo Ha was just the guy for Ban Ji Eum and nothing else. There were a lot of mushy and sweet moments, but something was not enough. Let’s say we ignore that, but we cannot deny that some parts of the narrative, like that of Ju Won’s accident or Cho Won and Do Yun’s love story, were dragged out and then hastily wrapped up. This treatment dealt to these subplots felt very jarring, and in fact, this is what made us privy to the flaws of Ji Eum and Seo Ha’s love story. We will still say that See You In My 19th Life was an entertaining watch, but it just wasn’t what it should have been. Regardless, now that the series has ended let us take a look at its recap.
How Are Ju Won And Ji Eum Related?
Ji Eum realizes that everyone is reincarnated multiple times. However, she was the only one who carried the memories of her past lives through them all. Ji Eum is sure that there are others like her, but she rarely meets them. In her 18th life, she was born as a girl named Ju Won, and she was friends with a boy named Seo Ha because the mothers of both the children were also friends. Ju Won says that it was only after meeting Seo Ha that she felt light and happy in all of her lives. Ju Won’s life was cut short in an accident where even Seo Ha ended up losing his hearing in an ear, and it was the first time that she wanted to remember her previous life in the next one so that she could meet Seo Ha again.
When Ju Won was reborn as Ji Eum, it was in a neglectful and abusive household. When she turned 8–9 years old, she ran away from home to meet Ae Gyeong, a woman who had been Ji Eum’s niece in her 17th life. Ji Eum tells Ae Gyeong everything, and from then on, she starts living with her. She even meets Seo Ha before he goes to Germany for his studies.
When Ji Eum grows up, she becomes an engineer and joins MI Group to be able to get close to Seo Ha. When he returns to Korea, it is to work at his mother’s hotel, and Ji Eum transfers there. She gets in due to the exceptional skill set that she has built over the course of her many lives. Seo Ha is apprehensive of her since she makes it clear to him right away that she is interested in him.
Over time, he starts falling for her while continuing to notice that she says and does many of the same things as Ju Won. At the same time, Ji Eum even meets Cho Won, who was her sister when she was Ju Won. As more time passes, Ji Eum reveals her identity to Cho Won and, finally, Seo Ha after they get into a relationship with each other. Things are all going well except for two major issues: one being Ju Won’s accident, and the second being Ji Eum’s memories of past lives.
Who Caused Seo Ha And Ju Won’s Accident?
This is the arc that we cribbed about being half-heartedly resolved. Seo Ha finds out that the accident of his childhood was deliberate, and he was the actual target of it, to begin with. That prompts him to investigate the matter in his own capacity, and he discovers from the hitman that it was his uncle, Lee Sang Hyuck, who was behind it all. This comes as a huge surprise since, after Seo Ha’s mother’s death, it was only Sang Hyuck who had been by his side from his family. Chairman Mun had always been noticeably cold towards Seo Ha, and everyone suspected that he had an affair with Ms. Jang, who had joined their household as a tutor for the kids and eventually took Sang A’s place at the hotel after her death.
Right from the beginning, the Chairman had always treated Seo Ha as if he couldn’t wait to be rid of him, and that is why he had made sure he stayed in Germany for so long. There was no other conclusion to be drawn except that the Chairman did not love his wife and considered his son, who had lost his hearing in the accident, an embarrassment. But it is only later that we discover that we misunderstood him. Seo Ha gets rid of Ms. Jang by presenting evidence of her corruption, and the Chairman is staunchly by his side. On the other hand, when Lee Sang Hyuck’s deeds come to light, and he goes to prison, it is revealed that the Chairman knew everything and that his coldness was a way to make sure that Seo Ha stayed safe, away from the family. However, Seo Ha was never meant to be the target of the fatal accident. It was the Chairman but Seo Ha and Ju Won just happened to be in the car. This entire line of reasoning makes no sense to us, but if it is good enough for the writers of See You In My 19th Life, we are not going to argue.
Seo Ha’s best friend is Ha Do Yun, whose father was the driver who passed away in that accident. Do Yun was aware of it, but he never told Seo Ha, and the latter was heartbroken when he discovered that years later. In fact, the driver who caused the accident was Ji Eum’s father, but she cut ties with him, and even Seo Ha tries to protect her by erasing evidence of this fact, which only serves to bring the two closer to each other. Justice is served at the end either way, and everyone is happy in whatever way they can be.
Ending Explained: Does Ji Eum Stop Remembering Her Past Lives?
Since Ae Gyeong is sick, Ji Eum knows that the only way to save her is to break this cycle of her past lives’ memories. Min Gi tells her that Hanna has already moved on by choosing to forget, but the catch is that choosing not to remember in the future means erasing the past’s memories as well. This means that Ji Eum would not remember Cho Won, Seo Ha, or Ae Gyeong. Ji Eum makes it clear to Min Gi that she does not want to take revenge on him for the events of her first life when he killed her sister and let her die as well. She says that it was over a thousand years ago, and she is not the same person, much like him, who is also in his 23rd life at the moment. Regardless, it is up to Ji Eum to take steps to stop the memories since it was her anger that started this process.
Ji Eum is worried because she does not know what forgetting Seo Ha and the others could mean for her. She knows she has to do this for the sake of Ae Gyeong and also for the safety of the others, as they will all be endangered if she does not take this step. When Seo Ha learns of her dilemma, he tells her to go ahead with whatever she needs to do because even if she forgets, he will come back into her life. He trusts the love that is between them and knows that it will remain constant whether the memories are retained or not.
Seo Ha also deals with his uncle, who is in jail, and tells him that the Chairman was grieving the loss of his wife, whether he showed it or not, and had those two bothered to communicate at that time, this entire mess would not have been created. While we understand Seo Ha’s sentiment, he seems to be forgetting about his father’s affair. This story arc was not well resolved at all. On the other hand, Do Yun has made peace with his father’s killer, and he has also confessed his feelings for Cho Won. They both decide to fight the taunts and gossip of the world hand in hand.
At the end of See You In My 19th Life, we see that Ji Eum has forgotten her previous lives, but the people are still there for her. Cho Won meets her in a dress shop and makes her acquaintance. She directs her to Ae Gyeong’s kimchi shop, where she meets her niece and Seo Ha once again. Later, Ji Eum runs into Seo Ha at the hotel, and he uses all of the lines she once used on him, back on her. Ji Eum lost her memories, but she never lost her loved ones, and they are there for her.
We will never deny that See You In My 19th Life was sweet and entertaining. Also, we are surprised that it was in the final episode that we discovered Ahn Bo Hyun’s dimples. Either way, we believe it is the first time that we have seen him have a game equal to that of Ji Eum’s, and it was sweet. We would certainly recommend this drama to others, though we would say that the webtoon also deserves a read to fill the gaps left behind by the story.