It’s been a hectic couple of weeks as I weathered the crossover of new dramas starting and my previous batch coming to an end. So it was with great excitement that I finally found the time to dive into the newest Jang Ki Yong drama, Born Again. Read on to see my unfiltered ramblings below.
But first a quick synopsis:
Life, death and second chances take center stage in this story about three people whose intertwined destinies travel through space and time with haunting results. It’s the 1980s and Detective Cha Hyung Bin has devoted his life to criminal justice, and his heart to Ha Eun, a bookshop owner suffering from heart disease who keeps her illness a secret. But Cha Hyung Bin isn’t the only one pining after Ha Eun: serial killer Gong Ji Chul has also fallen in love with her. Their lives collide with tragic results, but 30 years later, they’re reincarnated and fate brings them together again. The more time passes, the more their new lives become tangled in the devastating web of history. Will they manage to escape the past, or be forced to come face to face with it? (MyDramaList)
The Tragic Trio
I’ve got to hand it to Jang Ki Yong – he really immerses into his angsty roles. As Gong Ji Chul, he radiates a slightly more tortured and mentally fractured version of his Come and Hug Me leading role. However, in this story, his moral compass wobbles and falters, leaving me very emotionally torn as I observe his love for the ‘literary angel,’ Ha Eun.
Ha Eun, played by Jin Se Yeo, is beautiful and compassionate and is a lover of books. (Reminiscent of bookworm Belle come to life as she leads a class, reading passages from her favorite book, Wuthering Heights.) But her struggle with a bad heart causes both our leading men to suffer from knight-in-shining-armor syndrome. They’ve both decided they love her most and have each vowed in their own way to protect her until their dying breath. Spoiler alert: this isn’t going to end well.
I was delighted to see another favorite actor of mine, Lee Soo Hyuk, had taken on the role of Detective Cha Hyung Bin. Maybe it’s because I’ve only seen him as aloof and stand-offish in the past, but I felt a bit at odds with his portrayal of this particular character. Maybe it was his 1988 haircut, (giving him more than a passing resemblance to Spock from Star Trek) that threw me off!? Either way, I think I need to observe his present day character more before I make more judgments.
Where Is This All Headed?
The first two hours were purely backstory and set-up for the series ahead. Honestly, this part, in and of itself, was a very well done mini-story arc – almost felt like I was watching a movie. I’m very curious though, to see how things go forward from here. Will our ill-fated trio remember their past lives? Will history repeat itself? I’m just not sure what to expect at this point!
Random Observations and Final Thoughts
I enjoyed the period references, details, and props used during the staging of the past – definitely gave me Signal and Tunnel nostalgia. I would like to petition an alternative to the typical serial-killer trope though. There has to be an equally intense but unique plot device for K-cop drama land! Ideas anyone??
I’m going to keep following this drama for a bit to see how things begin to play out in the present – fingers crossed it’s not TOO melo! Drama fans, have you had the chance to check out Born Again yet? Drop down to the comments below and let me know where you think this is all might be headed.
Until the next drama,
Dramas with a Side of Kimchi