We are always on the lookout for a good supernatural drama, and Tomorrow has a lot of potential to fill our cravings. Though, the grim reaper trio’s tasks are not for the faint at heart. They are the last hope for those who can’t see a way out of their situation and find death to be the easier solution. Is the life-saving team worth the magical hype, or is this a pass for us?
Dark Magical World
Often times mythology in Kdrama can be so much fun, even when we’re dealing with Grim Reapers. Tomorrow is not that type of drama. Goo Ryun (Kim Hee Sun) and Im Ryun Goo (Yun Ji On) work together in a special division within the Grim Reapers Unit trying to save people before they commit suicide. They rely on gadgets and scare tactics to convince people. Enter bumbling but adorable Choi Joon Woong (Rowoon). He’s hard at work trying to find that allusive corporate job, and he happens upon a man about to jump off a bridge. He interferes with Goo Ryun’s plans and ends up in a coma. He’s given a choice, work for the grim reapers for six months and wake up, or stay there and the coma will last for three years.
Drama Geek: After realizing what their division did, I wasn’t sure I’d be able to hang with this drama. I’ve had to deal with some of this up close and personal over the last few years, and it’s not something I like to see trivialized or the people made into selfish humans. What has kept me watching is the care and concern the team has for these lost souls and the hope they give them. It’s nice to see them acknowledge how hard it is for these people.
Kmuse: I always am willing to give reaper dramas a chance. That is one of my favorite fantasy tropes and this show is doing it right. The fantasy element is just enough to counteract the very serious subject matter. So far I am a big fan of how the story is combining the worst traumas of being human and having a second chance with a little bit of magical help.
MiataMama: As an avid fan of otherworldly themed dramas, giving Tomorrow a try was a given. I wasn’t prepared, however, for the seriousness of the storyline. While the subject matter may be a bit difficult to watch, I appreciate that this drama is bringing additional awareness to a very big (yet often ignored) issue in Korean culture.
Queen of the Afterlife
When Choi Joon Woong enters the underworld (Jumadueng) he’s brought to an office to await the Jade Emperor. We’ve seen Kim Hae Sook puttering around all the employees in the different divisions giving them healthy snacks, and cheering them up. She appears to be your typical ahjumma, but when she walked through the door dressed completely the part of a Jade Emperor ready to rule over everyone, this Fangirl was not shocked.
Drama Geek: I am LOVING her in this role. She’s both powerful and seems to truly care for her underlings. The bond she seems to have with Goo Ryun has piqued my interest and I’m excited to see their relationship unfold further.
Kmuse: I am not sure there has ever been a Kim Hae Sook role that I have not enjoyed. Being the Jade Emperor in Tomorrow is no exception. I second Drama Geek’s opinion that her connection with Goo Ryun is more than Emperor and demon underling.
MiataMama: I adore Kim Hae Sook – she is a FABULOUS actress and absolutely perfect as the Jade Emperor!
Angel, Vampire, and Reaper
For those of you who haven’t done a deep dive into Lee Soo Hyuk‘s impressive filmography. He’s played a few mythical creatures and he has the perfect look for all of them. His job in this drama is pretty straightforward for a grim reaper. People die and he collects their souls to take them to heaven or hell. He is against the special division trying to save people and makes it known to both the Jade Emperor and to Goo Ryun’s team.
Drama Geek: He’s sexy when he’s playing a bad guy. Sorry, I just love that side of him. I do hope to see his backstory with Goo Ryun a bit more and I kind of hope they’ll dance around each other with the possible romantic tension I’ve seen so far. She doesn’t have any of that type of chemistry with Rowoon and I kind of like the idea of just the dance with Soo Hyuk without much focus on it.
Kmuse: Lee Soo Hyuk has this amazing face that is full of angles that just screams “other”. It is no wonder that he keeps getting offered roles in fantasy dramas. I am also really interested to find out his character and Goo Ryun’s backstory.
MiataMama: Judge me if you like, but Lee Soo Hyuk was the biggest reason I decided to begin watching this drama! While I’m always hopeful his next project might be one where he gets the girl, I can’t say that I’m disappointed with his grim reaper role in this story – I am here for all the cool stares, growling retorts and perfectly tailored suits!
Case of the Week
The team has an app that sends out an alarm when someone has really high bad energy indicating they may do something dangerous. Goo Ryun is pretty aggressive in her tactics and when Joon Woong is added to the team, he seems to not know what to do but ends up being the softer side that they were missing. He sees that only being scared of killing yourself is not enough to keep you from wanting to die.
Drama Geek: When you find out that Goo Ryun originally went after horrible criminals to drag them into hell to face real consequences for their earthly actions, you do understand why she’s not exactly the best at her current job. She uses violence when it’s not needed. I won’t go into detail about the cases they’ve covered so far in episodes 1-4 since we haven’t all watched those episodes, but I do like how each case seems to show that Joon Woong’s addition will bring about what all the team members might need.
Kmuse: Joon Woong’s mix of competent and marshmallow is really winning me over. He definitely has that other outlook, you might say humanity, that the trio really needs to be effective. Joon Woong is quickly becoming the heart of the team.
MiataMama: I find the team dynamics quite interesting – I’m at times stricken by the extreme tactics of Goo Ryun and equally grateful for the moments of tenderness and care that Joon Woong unwittingly brings to the mix. I haven’t seen Rowoon since he appeared in Extraordinary You, and I just have to say I’m really impressed with how he’s grown as an actor!
The stories this show wants to tell seem timely and connected to societal issues. Suicide is prevalent and the conditions that make it an easier option than living are not fun or pretty. The world-building of the underworld is still being shown, but I don’t think we’ll get a ton of explanations on how things work, just that they do. There is a fantastical feeling to it all, but it’s filtered through a darker lens.
Drama Geek: I’m here to see how the team gets closer and how their backstories will unfold. There is purpose in their mission and I hope that it will all make sense in the end. Goo Ryun and the Jade Emperor are the keys to whether it’ll all go south since the Emperor has given her the assignment to save someone. Who will she save? Is it really going to be worth everything they all go through or will we get to the end and be disappointed? I have been burned by almost all fantasy dramas lately so I’m watching this one with tamped-down hope.
Kmuse: I am liking the two episode story arcs within the big main story. The shorter plot lines that follow one person’s journey away from suicide really work. I think if it was more than two episodes per story I would get too bogged down and depressed. I really need those happy wins to counteract the depressing aspects. As Drama Geek said, we have been burned a bit with fantasy fusion dramas. Will have to wait and see if Tomorrow will break that bad drama streak.
MiataMama: Tomorrow is definitely a dark fantasy, and the journey of this story, for sure, not to be embarked upon lightly. However, I see a lot of room for hope and redemption within this story. And I’m already invested in how things will unfold each week, both for the souls struggling to keep going, and the underworld guardians fighting to protect those lives!
Until the next alert,
Dramas With a Side of Kimchi
4 thoughts on “First Impression: Tomorrow”
Episode 6 was one of the most beautiful, non-romance themed stories I’ve ever seen in a K-drama.
I have to add that after watching episode 6 this show is not about the fantasy but about the people and that means it will not disappoint. The stories will make whatever they come up with worth it.
I love the conversation format of this review 🙂