Edited by Yang Young Jun
Translated by Cho EK
JTBC’s Reflection of You is a work that makes viewers feel uneasy. It almost triggers us to feel the subtle tension and anxiety that permeates the whole series. Although the drama is filled with a heavy atmosphere and provocative content, it somehow catches my attention.
People often say, “I am the author of my life.” It may sound cliche at first, but if someone takes your spot in your own life, would you be able to forgive the person? Reflection of You asks these kinds of questions and tells a story from the perspective of a woman who has been stripped away from everything due to another woman’s desires.
The drama begins with a shocking scene in which Jeong Hee Joo (Go Hyun Jung) throws a dead body into a pond. The scene then flashes back to the time when she hasn’t killed anyone yet. Before everything had happened, Hee Joo had a perfect life as a successful artist and as a member of a wealthy family. One day, she receives a call from her daughter’s school that a school art teacher has assaulted her child. The teacher oddly reminded her of someone she knew in the past, but she didn’t have the time to think further. The teacher kept mistreating Hee Joo with an unspeakable attitude, and it was then she snapped and slapped her just like how she hit her daughter.
A few days later, the art teacher comes to Hee Joo’s house. She then gets down on her knees and says, “Hee Joo, long time no see,” with tears in her eyes. The art teacher turns out to be Goo Hae Won (Shin Hyun Been), Hee Joo’s old friend who helped her learn the art. Knowing that Goo had dated Seo Woo Jae (Kim Jae Young), the man she had an affair with while Goo was still seeing him, Hee Joo senses that something strange will happen. However, things haven’t gotten to the worst part yet. Soon, Seo Woo Jae appears before her, who she thought she got rid of back when she ran away from him, choosing her wealthy life over her love. The reunion of the three brings Hee Joo on the verge of losing everything but gives Hae Won a chance to punish the one who took everything away from her.
Love, betrayal, revenge, and murders are all the cliches of makjang dramas we all know of. However, Reflection of You is different from the other dramas that are just filled with these hackneyed ideas. Instead, the series gradually unravels the characters’ intertwined past and provides a fun mystery in the storyline. At the same time, it brings each character to life by delicately depicting their personality and situation, making a big difference from other existing makjang dramas.
The most impressive part is the detail that stands out during the emotional scenes. If you follow each character very carefully, you might get too attached to one of them and feel strongly about things that happen in the series. You might even feel for Hee Joo, who has no choice but to become selfish to protect herself, or Hae Won, who desperately struggles to get her everything back in life. Of course, the actors play a significant role here. If it weren’t for Go Hyun Jung and Shin Hyun Been, who played these characters just the right way, I would not have been able to feel these complex yet subtle emotions throughout the drama.
However, although it is very well-written, its emotionally draining story may scare off some of the viewers. No matter how well-plotted the mysteries are and how well-described their psychological welfares are, it is almost too painful to follow the characters’ very emotions (especially if you get too attached to Hae Won). It is also frustrating that Haewon’s revenge against Hee Joo is not getting anywhere near where we want it to be. In addition, its unique heavy mood may have the chance to keep the original viewers away from the series or fail to attract new viewers into the series.
It is no exaggeration to say that the real story of Reflection of You has just begun. There are still many mysteries to be solved, and Hae Won’s goal to regain her life went up in smoke thanks to Hee Joo and Woo Jae. As a viewer, I hope Hae Won gets her revenge and lives happily ever after, leaving all her past frustrations behind. Who would care what happens to Hee Joo and Woo Jae, especially when they ruined someone’s life to fill their petty desires?
Verdict: It’s a very well-written psychological thriller, but now it’s time to show us satisfying revenge (6.5/10)
Editor Yang Young Jun: There is at least one good part in every movie or TV series. A media geek who isn’t picky with genres.
Translator Cho EK: I’m a big fan of Korean dramas and movies.