K-Drama Premiere: “Times” Gratifies With An Intriguing Narrative As Characters Try To Forge A Time-Warped World
A tragic event from the past seems to inevitably take into varying forms as Times‘ protagonists conspire to change the course of time.
Seo Jung In has a thriving career as a journalist with a reputable life as the president’s daughter. Seo Gi Tae, her father, is a beloved head of the state who rose to power through just means. Things are looking well for them, until, Jung In gets dragged into an unfamiliar world.
OCN’s fresh weekend offering, Times, serves us with a narrative that seems to challenge the laws of physics. Premised in two co-existing but different timelines, the drama aims to showcase a storyline about distorted chronologies and butterfly effects.
Premiere Week Recap
A Sudden Lapse In Time
Seo Jung (Lee Joo Young) works as a top-notch journalist in DBS network. Fearless, she covers the most controversial news in the country and is unafraid to get into unchartered territory her contemporaries would not dare step into. Critics, however, mock her success as an eventual consequence of her father’s accession to political power. But she shrugs negativity off as she’s fully aware of her potentials.
Seo Gi Tae (Kim Young Cheol), the country’s president, enjoys a flourishing political career with a strong public approval. The president is an upright and principled man whose only business is a satisfactory public service for his people. However, his success is the envy of people who wants his position.
Jung In has nothing to worry about her life as she continues to do her daily routine with strong commitment. But an unexplainable twist of fate changes the flow of things. As if waking from a deep slumber, she suddenly finds herself in a small, shabby workplace that houses “Daily Search”, a small media outlet. People whom she had never met before appear to be her colleague.
Bewildered, Jung In immediately heads to DBS office only to be told that they don’t have a record of her as their employee. Security personnel drag her outside of the premise as she insists on speaking with her superior.
In a news flash, the news anchor delivers an update about Seo Ki Tae’s death where the murdered politician’s supporters call for justice over his death few years ago. Kim Young Joo (Moon Jeong Hee), a member of the National Assembly who was Seo Ki Tae’s close ally and friend, arrives to fetch Jung In from the embarrassing scene the latter got into with the DBS security officers.
Things become too overwhelming for Jung In to process. However, she has no choice but to slowly settle with the fact that her father is already dead.
The Strange Phone Call
As Jung In concedes with the current reality, she begins to work as news reporter for Daily Search, and deals with a temperamental boss on a daily basis
One day, an accident causes severe damage to a telecommunication facility which consequently disrupts any form of telecommunication services within the area.
However, Jung In receives a phone call from an unknown number, for which the reason of the call displeases her. The caller happens to be, Lee Jin Woo (Lee Seo Jin), a field reporter for a small news agency called “Times”. He reminds Jung In about the interview she agreed to give him.
Unable to recall any previous interaction with the caller, she rejects the idea of meeting him in person. But after a series of prodding, she finally gives in to the request.
The two set up for a rendezvous at the shrine of War Memorial Of Korea. Something was off when both of them already got into their meeting place, but was unable to find each other.
While talking on the phone, Lee Jin Woo lets Jung In hear the noise in the background, which happens to be coming from Seo Ki Tae’s campaign rally, in his bid for the presidential post. Jung In was completely stunned by what she heard over the phone.
Believing it was some kind of a prank, she goes to the police to file a complaint against Lee Jin Woo. However, police files reveals that Lee Jin Woo was murdered few years ago. She then learns that the news outlet, Daily Search, was what’s left of Times.
Mission To Save Seo Gi Tae
Jung In goes to see her boss and asks him about Lee Jin Woo. It turned out that her superior was Lee Jin Woo’s close friend and colleague. Jung In’s sudden interest about Lee Jin Woo infuriates her boss.
He then reveals how much she had hurt Lee Jin Woo’s pride after she turned down, at the last minute, her promised interview with him five years ago. To defend herself, Jung In reasons that her conversation with Lee Jin Woo just happened earlier that day, something her boss would never believe as his friend had been dead for years.
Regardless of how absurd the idea is, Jung In concludes that she and Lee Jin Woo live in different times, spanning five years in between. The tables have turned when it is now Jung In who’s vexing Lee Jin Woo to speak with her over the phone.
Initially skeptic, Lee Jin Woo finally accepts the supposition when Jung In’s information about a pre-meditated crime to kill him was accurate. Thanks to her, he gets to extend his life.
Jung In sees this incongruity as an opportunity. After enlightening Lee Jin Woo about this baffling truth, she implores his help to save her father from the imminent tragedy that is about to unfold.
With only a day left before Seo Ki Tae’s death, Lee Jin Woo agrees to track down the perpetrator of the looming murder. With sufficient information available in the year 2020, Lee Jin Woo successfully followed the trail of the assassin.
Twisted Flow Of Time & Butterfly Effects
Even the smallest change in the course of events brings subsequent impactful changes in the current flow of time. Jung In, who lives in 2020, sees the abrupt process of warping as some events deviate from the actual occurrence in Lee Jin Woo’s time.
The mission to save Seo Ki Tae has been a tedious one. Nevertheless, the statesman successfully avoids his bloody assassination.
That could have ended Jung In’s misery. Unfortunately she faces another devastating news after learning that her father had been killed in a hit-and-run accident.
Once again, she races against time to stop his father’s death.
Premiere Week Afterthoughts
Riveting, Times‘ premiere week featured an eventful story that spans two word lines. That said, it means that two realities exist which are five years apart. While the two realities uniquely move through spacetime, these are evidently interrelated.
The first episode shows a major lapse on Seo Jung In’s timeline that she appeared to have oddly jumped into another timeline which brought dramatic changes in her reality.
The storyline follows the simple logical principle of the “Chaos Theory” as in other narratives using the same premise. The concept states that any distortion in the course of the actual events from the past, no matter how minute it was, consequently creates an impact in the future.
The second episode depicted this principle so well. Changes have manifested through the process of time-warping as soon as alterations are done.
Although the series has a convoluted plot, which involves jumping back and forth in time, it isn’t confusing at all.
The element of thrill was injected so well in the idea that the ability to change the past can be a double-edged sword- it could either work in one’s favor or it could aggravate the present predicament with one small distortion from past actions.
Overall, the premiere week has shown a lot of promise for yet another engrossing series from OCN.
Catch Times every Saturdays and Sundays at OCN channel, 10:30 (KST). The series is available for streaming at Viu and iQIYI.
- K-Drama Sneak Peek: “Times” Presents A Riveting Time-Crossing Plot Centered On A Mission To Halt An Imminent Murder
Images & Videos: OCN
Streaming Platforms: Viu & iQIYI