Tomorrow season 1, episode 2 recap – “Fallen Flower 2”

April 3, 2022
Jonathon Wilson 0
K-Drama, Netflix, Streaming Service, TV, Weekly TV
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Summary

“Fallen Flower 2” has some tonal issues, but it establishes a structure of build-up and catharsis that keeps the whole thing watchable for now.

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3

Summary

“Fallen Flower 2” has some tonal issues, but it establishes a structure of build-up and catharsis that keeps the whole thing watchable for now.

This recap of Tomorrow season 1, episode 2, “Fallen Flower 2”, contains spoilers.


In my recap of the Tomorrow premiere, I made a point of saying that if this show was going to have a problem, it would be tone. And I was right! “Fallen Flower 2”, the second half of the first week’s double-bill, really leaped between knockabout slapstick and serious bullying and trauma with a little too much alacrity for my tastes. It’s still early days yet, so there’s a chance that this is all still the show just finding its feet, but it’s a worrisome complaint given how integral some of the show’s more morbid ideas are to its identity.

Tomorrow season 1, episode 2 recap

You can’t be precious about things. The kind of bullying and suicidal ideation presented here is very real to a distressing number of people, so I’m not of the opinion that its depiction should be censored and sanitized. And it works in how “Fallen Flower 2” depicts Eun-bi’s suffering, raising the larger issue of systemic injustices in Asian schools – how many films and TV shows have we seen that raise this issue as a particularly prominent one? – and helping to characterize Jun-woong, who is becoming the good cop to Ryeon’s bad. It does, admittedly, ask some awkward questions of the lore, particularly how interfering in memories technically works on a logistical level, but let’s not worry about that too much for now.

On a dramatic level, this is a simple process – it’s about letting us see how bad some people have it so we can enjoy the catharsis of them being avenged or “saved” or whatever; Taxi Driver, another k-drama, worked on this same basis.

The episode also does a good job of showing, through Hye-won, how little impact bullying can have on the person doing the bullying; how totally blasé they can be about it, even as the same attitudes and behaviours persist. Again, it’s a bit weird that Ryeon is so against Jun-woong’s interference given the supposed responsibility of the crisis management team, but perhaps that’s just me misunderstanding some worldbuilding details. Either way, this works, and because it works, the tonal issues are brought into starker focus. I just can’t fathom a scenario in which material of this weight should be in such close proximity to much lighter fare. It’s very bizarre, and borders on disrespectful, especially since, at least on an acting and logic level, Tomorrow actually works better as a comedy than it does a serious drama.

But that essential structure of build-up and catharsis works. Saving those who have decided not to save themselves is a worthwhile idea; if Tomorrow turns out not to be quite clever enough to really unpack it, then that will be understandable, if lamentable. That the punishment for the grim reapers’ potential failure is an endless torment and regret seems right too, especially when it comes to putting across why Ryeon is so jaded.

Since Ryeon is so jaded, Jun-woong’s idealism comes across as a stronger theme. His compassion makes him annoying and a liability, which is an intriguing angle, and when Ryeon eventually decides to take him back into the team after not wanting to work with him, it says something about their budding relationship that’ll probably be fun to witness as we progress. Thus far, though, Tomorrow really seems like a show that could go one way or the other, and right now, it’s very difficult to tell where it’ll end up.

You can stream Tomorrow season 1, episode 2, “Fallen Flower 2”, exclusively on Netflix.

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