Edited by Kim Won Hee
Translated by Kim Hoyeun
The highly anticipated new drama from No Ji Seol, the writer who wowed us with the heart-fluttering romance in 100 Days My Prince, has finally dropped. Starring Jo Bo Ah and Rowoon, Destined With You is a fantasy romance. The plot unravels as low-level civil servant Lee Hong Jo and lawyer Jang Shin Yoo find themselves ensnared in a tale spun from an ancient sealed scroll that dates back over 300 years.
Lee Hong Jo (Jo Bo Ah), a ninth-grade civil servant working in environmental affairs, lives a solitary life devoid of friends and family, and even finds herself alienated at her new job. One day, she is tasked with clearing a rundown property where a murder took place, where she meets the land’s owner, lawyer Jang Shin Yu (Rowoon). Shin Yu casts Hong Jo aside to preserve the shrine, which is now in shambles, but oddly enough, Eun Wol (Kim Hye Ok), the property’s shamanic owner, grants permission to clear the place. Inside a securely locked wooden box found during the demolition, they discover a spellbook inscribed with the words “Magic Characters.” This is handed to Hong Jo as Eun Wol insists it belongs to her. Shin Yu, suffering from a hereditary illness passed down for generations, wants Hong Jo to cure him with a spell. But a love spell Hong Jo casts inadvertently backfires, leading them down an unexpected path.
Destined With You initially takes its time laying the groundwork for both Hong Jo and Shin Yu’s narratives, but it comes with some puzzling elements. Hong Jo diligently tends to her coworkers and takes on drudgery, yet she’s blatantly ostracized, led by team leader Gong Seo Gu (Hyun Bong Sik), whose own promotion was jeopardized by the mistake she made years ago. It raises eyebrows to see such overt hostility in a professional setting, even if it’s a necessary element in the coming storyline. Equally unsettling is Hong Jo’s near-criminal attempt to feed an unidentified potion to her workplace crush, Kwon Jae Kyung (Ha Jun), after being rejected by him.
Ironically, the drama kicks into high gear when Shin Yu unwittingly ingests the love potion Hong Jo created. The tension instantly dissolves into hilarity as Shin Yu, who once harbored only apathy, suddenly becomes enamored with Hong Jo and makes brash moves. Their contrasting reactions — a bewildered Shin Yu after confidently confessing his feelings to Hong Jo because of the potion and a flabbergasted Hong Jo — are comedy gold. Adding to the pleasure is Manager Ma Eun Young’s (Lee Bong Ryeon) return from a long vacation, swiftly rectifying the toxic office environment Hong Jo was subjected to.
The actors’ performances are unequivocally a standout. Jo Bo Ah convincingly portrays the lovable yet pitiable Hong Jo, yearning for affection due to her loneliness. Rowoon dazzles with his icy demeanor that eventually melts into a surprising, boyish charm. Their on-screen chemistry shifts smoothly from romance to comedy, engaging the audience with increasingly witty banter.
Hong Jo and Shin Yu’s romance is just getting off the ground. It’s been revealed that their connection doesn’t just come from a hasty love spell, but a fate that has been in motion since the distant past. With Jae Kyung, whom Hong Jo has feelings for, and Yoon Na Yeon (Yura), Shin Yu’s now ex-girlfriend, also entering the fray, one can’t help but look forward to the story’s unfolding. Although off to a rocky start, the drama promises plenty of twists and turns to keep us hooked. (6/10)
Edited by Kim Won Hee: I am a person who needs more than 24 hours in a day because there are so many things I love. I am amassing various genres in the jewelry box in my heart.