See You In My 19th Life was not able to hold up the hype and magic of its first few episodes. Maybe it needed more time or maybe some more mush, but it shouldn’t have fizzled out the way it did. This show could have been iconic. It had the timing, the attention, and the concept; all it needed was some thought and somewhat better writing that was capable of taking a risk or two. Sadly, that was not to be, and here is the recap of the series’ second last episode.
Why Does Ji Eum Avoid Seo Ha?
Last week, when Ji Eum’s hands went around Seo Ha’s neck, the See You In My 19th Life fandom collectively gasped at the possible fissure in their relationship. It had been such smooth sailing till now, and this wasn’t the kind of trouble in paradise that was likely to bring them closer in the future. Ji Eum remembered that her sister, Seol (who was Cho Won in her previous life), had been on the brink of death, and a man had told her that she would need the shaman bells to exchange with the palace that had the medicine Seol needed. Ji Eum worked as a dyeing specialist (we don’t know what else it is called), and she was preparing some clothes for the shrine nearby that Cheon Un (Min Gi) was in charge of.
Seo Ha, who was known as Han Ya back then, was his guard. Ji Eum had stolen the bells and was escaping with her sister when she was ambushed by Cheon Un and Han Ya. She had begged to take the bells, saying that she needed to save her sister, but she hadn’t been allowed to do that. Ji Eum remembers that Seol’s throat had been slashed, and Han Ya was standing there holding the bloody sword in his hand. She also remembers that she later tried to kill him. While she is still in this trance, Seo Ha tries to shake her awake, and that is when she tries to strangle him. Ji Eum remembers Seo Ha, aka Han Ya, being the one to kill her sister, aka Cho Won, potentially starting this whole cycle of remembering memories. When she snaps back to her senses and sees that it is Seo Ha in front of her, she withdraws from him. She tells him that he was in her first life and he killed her sister, but Seo Ha cannot make sense of it yet. He asks Ji Eum to remember who he is, and she asks to be left alone for a while. Seo Ha is acutely aware of the distance she is putting between them, but he knows he has to give it to her.
When he leaves, he gets a call from Min Gi asking him to meet. Right off the bat, Min Gi appears a little unhelpful, though he tells Seo Ha that he was there in Ji Eum’s first life. After finding that he cannot get anything new out of him, Seo Ha is about to leave when Min Gi tells him to help Ji Eum in any way possible. She has quite the fight ahead of her, and Min Gi believes that Seo Ha can help her. This is an early indication that Seo Ha might not be the culprit, as Ji Eum has remembered from her first life.
While Seo Ha is waiting for Ji Eum to come around, he sees that Director Lee is being sent to the prosecution. Remember how we said right from the beginning that Chairman Mun had to be the villain? The episode says that we were wrong, but we cannot fathom why. It turns out that he knew about Director Lee’s involvement in the accident right from the beginning, and he had even confessed to Ju Won’s mother and asked for her forgiveness. He sent Seo Ha abroad to keep him away from this mess and protect him from everything. He had been siding with Ms. Jang because she knew about what Director Lee had done, and if the Chairman did not listen to her, she would tell everything to Seo Ha. Basically, the Chairman always had good intentions for Seo Ha, but we simply don’t understand his method of protection. What good was it to never tell Seo Ha anything and let him assume the worst of his father and everyone in his family? What purpose did it serve to let the members of his family bully Seo Ha for his hearing disability while being distant himself and letting others tarnish his mother’s legacy, the hotel? Something is missing here in the script, and we are guessing that it was better explained in the webtoon that the series is based on.
On a different note, Ha Do Jin goes to meet Cho Won and tells her that his brother, Do Yun, likes her just as much as she likes him. He had to face many troubles in life and grow up faster than others after their father’s death, so he is a little tough in these matters. Cho Won realizes that she doesn’t know the full extent of the kind of person that Do Yun is and starts thinking about moving on from him since this relationship gives them both such pain. But hadn’t Do Yun already told Cho Won that he liked her? Why was this news to her then? We are detecting some missteps in the writing here.
What Was Min Gi’s Role In Ji Eum’s First Life?
Ji Eum gets worried about her niece from her previous life and therefore promises to save Ae Gyeong at any cost. She is tying this to her first life, where she was unable to save the person she loved the most, and she doesn’t want a repeat of that in her current life. Min Gi tells her that she has to recollect the entire events of her first life to know why she remembers everything, and she cannot solve her problems without that. In his words, it is not usual to meet people from your previous lives in the same form that you first met them, and that is why Min Gi cannot end his life. This makes us wonder whether he has taken his life before to reach a certain point or person.
Before Ji Eum can get to the shaman bells again, she tells Do Yun that she is keeping Seo Ha apart from her so that she can protect him. Seo Ha hears this and is at ease, knowing that Ji Eum is not avoiding him out of hostility or anger but out of care. When he sees her, he immediately goes to meet her, and the two make up. Ji Eum says that if she ends this cycle of past memories, she will be a normal person once again. Following Min Gi’s advice, Seo Ha decides to help her, and when Ji Eum holds the bells again, she remembers the past with more clarity. It wasn’t Han Ya but Cheon Un who had stabbed Seol. Han Ya had been trying to protect the sisters. At the end of episode 11 of See You In My 19th Life, we come to know that Su was not trying to kill Han Ya but Cheon Un. Han Ya had just come in the way, and when Su was dying due to the arrow, she vowed revenge on Cheon Un and that she would forever remember her past lives till she could give him the same fate that he had given her sister. It was Su’s own resolution that made her remember everything. She was the reason her brain remembered her past lives.
Something about this episode felt slightly choppy. We were very dissatisfied with the arc of Chairman Mun and the resolution of the father-son relationship. The relationship is going just fine, but we are certain that Do Yun made his feelings clear to Cho Won, yet she said that she did not know he felt that way. It would have been better if See You In My 19th Life had added two more episodes to its narrative and given a good ending to these storylines.