TV / Movies

K-Drama Premiere: “Familiar Wife” Takes Predictable Route Made Striking By Impressive Acting

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A second chance to life and love whirls the story of Familiar Wife.

Tried and tested actors Ji Sung and Han Ji Min did a great job in the opening week of Familiar Wife as a couple struggling to keep their roles in place for their family, but the small grudges they keep to themselves escalate owing to their personal issues.

The pilot episodes threw in polished storytelling and expected neat portrayals, along with a fantasy premise that looks ready to season the narrative aiming to appeal to people with a penchant for romantic comedies.

Familiar Wife

Pilot Week Recap

Cha Joo Hyuk (Ji Sung) works as a salaried employee in a bank, while Seo Woo Jin (Han Ji Min) is a massage therapist. Their typical everyday life circles to their jobs and taking care of their two kids and extended families.

Joo Hyuk, who often has to face the ticking bomb temperament of his wife, seeks the comfort of his friends when he gets to the bad side of Woo Jin. Meeting his first love Hye Won (Kang Han Na) aggravates his emotional saturation as he learns how she knows he is married, and she used to have a crush on him.

A flashback of college Joo Hyuk parades showing how he missed an evening date with Hye Won, when he helped out Woo Jin to file a complaint against an ajussi, who groped her behind while on a bus.

Woo Jin traces Joo Hyuk, and offers a part-time job to become her tutor. But things change, when Woo Jin’s father died leaving his family behind.

Familiar Wife

After catching up with Hye Won, they bid goodbye as Joo Hyuk goes back to the reality that his work life remains parallel to his despondent personal life, as he struggles to earn brownie points from his immediate boss because of little trouble he does at work.

After visiting the funeral of his acquaintance’ mother, he drives back to Seoul and passes through a strange toll gate that does not accept new coins. A 2006 coin, provided by an old man he came across with from the subway earlier, eventually lets him pass as the car zooms fast, and he wakes up to his old college self on the day that he got invited by Hye Won to watch a cello recital.

Joo Hyuk wakes up from what he thought to be a vivid dream, not knowing how a strange mark has appeared on his wrist. In order for him to buy a gaming console, he compromises documentation processing for a loan he was processing, not knowing that it will cause him another trouble at work when the auditors realize his mistake. To rub salt to the injury, his wife learns about it, and finds her drowning it in a tub of water, spurring a big verbal spat between them.

Familiar Wife

With none of his close friends in reach, he heads to where his acquaintance is in the province, and is surprised to see his mother to be alive. He concludes his vivid dream to be true, and throws the old coin to pass through the road that lets him travel back in the time to change his fate.

Having the knowledge of what would happen in the future, he ignores Woo Jin’s predicament with an ajussi inside the bus and attends the cello recital with Hye Won as planned.

After the date, the two exchange a sweet fleeting kiss, triggering Joo Hyuk to open his eyes to a different bedroom. He notices a woman beside him and feels happy that his life has changed when he sees Hye Won asleep on the bed.

The next day, Woo Jin is seen starting her day with a morning run in a fresh face.

Familiar Wife

Afterthoughts

True, it is hard not to compare Familiar Wife with KBS2 TV’s Go Back Couple since the character sketches and plot have resemblances. But we still have to await on how it will go with Familiar Wife since it seems to be focusing on the “changed present life” of the main leads, rather than staying on their past lives to find the reasons why they fell in love with each other.

Also, only the hero seems to be time traveling. We should also have a clear picture of how the time warp will be executed since it will mostly keep the story in place.

Familiar Wife airs on tvN every Wednesday-Thursday.