K-Drama Premiere: Mystery Melodrama “Born Again” Begins An Impactful Journey Of The Souls
Born Again sets off with a thrilling start. The chilling story of a past life moves its main characters’ souls to the future through resurrection.
Born Again is a mystery melodrama which will tell the story of three people brought together in their two different lives. It kicks off with its first four episodes with ratings 3.7, 4.1, 2.4 and 2.8 respectively. With the numbers dropping on the second day of its premiere, it is unsure how the series will be taken in the next weeks of its broadcast.
PREMIERE WEEK RATING
The drama is set to have the resurrection element in its core layering its thrilling story in motion. The present day timeline is used as a frame in the first four episodes. In those episodes, Born Again unveils the shocking fate of the characters in their previous lives. It sets the grounds for new adventures they will be going on as different people.
PREMIERE WEEK RECAP
The series starts in present day South Korea introducing the main characters in the present timeline. Jung Sa Bin (Jin Se Yeon) enters a bookstore in search of a book she had previously ordered. After being late by a few minutes from the time she was supposed to be there, the book was given to someone else, Chun Jong Bum (Jang Ki Yong).
She asks him for the book while he scribbles on it but all she gets is an offer to buy it from him. She gets annoyed and leaves but not before complaining to the store clerk.
When she goes outside, Sa Bin stands still to admire the snow but that puts her in the way of prosecutor Kim Soo Hyuk (Lee Soo Hyuk) who accidentally bumps into her and quickly apologizes. The scene ends with all three characters outside the street of the bookstore, each on their own path.
This timeline is resumed only at the end of episode four, where the three stand in the same subway. Jong Bum and Soo Hyuk exchange glances after which the latter feels a weird, sudden eye pain.
The scene swiftly transitions from the present to the 1980s timeline, teleporting the viewer back in time. The music, the streets, the public transportation and taxis, everything shown matches the atmosphere of the time and gives off a completely different feel. The new set is introduced prior to showing Jung Ha Eun (Jin Se Yeon) and immediately contrasting her character and that of her incarnation’s.
Cha Hyung Bin (Lee Soo Hyuk) is first shown at a scene of a crime where a young lady, dressed in white and a pair of socks, was stabbed to death. It is revealed to be the deed of a serial killer who goes after women with yellow umbrellas.
Before the scene ends, Hyung Bin suddenly feels pain in his chest. For a strange reason, he gets it every time as his future fiancé does. Ha Eun though suffers from a heart disease while he doesn’t.
The two later meet at the store she works at and as they enter it, from the darkness steps out Gong Ji Cheol (Jang Ki Yong) who has been watching her secretly.
The Father’s Curse
Gong Ji Cheol comes off as a weird person and a creep to other people, with his long hair covering most of his face and out of the norms character. The reason for his behavior comes from the suffering in his past.
The fault comes from the women in his life who were supposed to take care of him but instead abused him. His stepmother even left a scar under his left eye.
While he hopes for a better future and life, his father predicts a different fate for his son. Being revealed as the real serial killer, he hides in a closed-down building where he paints portraits of his victims and hangs them on the walls.
He claims Ji Cheol will surely end up like him, committing murder and being unable to stop once he starts. He encourages his son to accept his fate and become like him.
A Fated Meeting
Gong Ji Cheol stumbles upon Jung Ha Eun years ago, prior to her meeting with Cha Hyung Bin. At that time, Ji Cheol works at a construction site right near a church in which Ha Eun reads to others and teaches. He is immediately fascinated with her beauty and warm demeanor. Ever since, he starts to follow her around and silently watch over her.
After times of seeing each other at the church, Ha Eun approaches him to give him a book as a present. She then reaches to touch his hair and reveal his hidden eye. At first, Ji Cheol stops her, showing he is scared to show the scar, but she prevails with her soothing voice and words.
The two look at and properly greet each other. Ha Eun gives him hope of a better next life.
A Motivation For A Crime
After seeing a young boy, who Ji Cheol is fond of, dead, he is sure the person who killed him is the boy’s stepmother. At that time, it only brings him bad memories from his past. But later it turns to a reason for vengeance.
Meanwhile, Ha Eun finds out she needs a heart transplant that requires a specific blood type. Coincidentally, the young boy’s stepmother has exactly the same one as her. That becomes a good enough reason to Ji Cheol to murder the woman in order to save the kind girl he is in love with.
Ha Eun is by chance outside of the salon in which the murder occurs and enters to find a terrified Ji Cheol who was calling an emergency unit. Beside him was the woman’s body, laying her head in a pool of her own blood.
As she runs away and tries to call the police, Ha Eun ends up collapsing in the middle of the phone call. Ji Cheol had ran after her and carries her to the hospital, staying with her through the night.
Witnesses place Ji Cheol at the scene of the crime which Hyung Bin investigates in the first episode. Another person claims to have seen him burn the yellow umbrellas associated with the victims. This makes JI Cheol the prior suspect in the serial killing case.
Hyung Bin investigates him on his own and finds out his obsession with Ha Eun. He is determined to protect her at all costs and catch Ji Cheol.
From here on, the chase begins and the three are tangled together in an ill-fated set of events. The 4th episode is packed with breathtaking moments as it unfolds the fate of the three people involved
PREMIERE WEEK AFTERTHOUGHTS
The Past’s Atmosphere
As promised, we are taken back to the 1980s with the successful set prepared by the production team of Born Again. It is easy to spot the difference of how people had lived then and how they do now. There is attention to every detail which makes the story so much more intriguing.
Using a walkie talkie as a means of calling instead of the modern mobile phone and not being able to reach someone unless a phone booth was near, made the episodes more thrilling. Especially when danger was right around the corner.
Aside from feeling like a trip back in time, it also gives the vibe of another world, different from our own. The contrast is felt the most when we are brought back to the present at the end of the premiere episodes.
The Resurrection Theme
Born Again is a fantasy drama which uses the theme of resurrection. That alone makes us think about the fate of the characters in the past.
Resurrection can happen only when the body dies. It allows the soul to travel to a different one and have a whole new life. In most series, that is not something that would prick the mind before the show airs but in this case, it does.
The past life is set just a few decades back. This makes it impossible for the characters to have lived their lives to the fullest back then. It hints of the terrifying events bound to happen.
Story plot and character portrayal
Even if we don’t see much of the present day timeline, it is enough to notice how different each character is after their resurrection. It is quite interesting to see an actor play out different roles in the same drama, making it easy to compare them. It is also curious to see how the contrast of their lives and what their fate would be.
Expectations after reading the story sketch of the drama were not matched with the reality. Advertised as a love-triangle drama, Born Again has a lot more to offer about the depths of the characters’ personalities and their existence.
Despite its rather cheesy start with the scenes of Ha Eun and Hyung Bin, the drama takes on a dark path which will surely keep the attention going. It makes one wonder how things will unfold in the present day. Will it somehow connect to the past, other than just the main trio looking the same way?
Aside from them, it is sure to present other characters who have aged by now. Will they be reminded of the people they new years ago or will they slide it off as a coincidence? Will Sa Bin, Jong Bum and Soo Hyuk somehow end up remembering their last life or at least find out about it?
Born Again airs every Monday and Tuesday at 10 PM KST on KBS2 TV.
Image Source and Credit: KBS2 TV, IMBC, Sports Donga