Tomorrow season 1, episode 3 recap – “Forest of Time 1”

April 8, 2022
Jonathon Wilson 0
K-Drama, Netflix, Streaming Service, TV, Weekly TV
2.5

Summary

“Forest of Time 1” provides a new case and some welcome character development and worldbuilding, but an inconsistent tone still undermines its stronger moments and ideas.

View all
2.5

Summary

“Forest of Time 1” provides a new case and some welcome character development and worldbuilding, but an inconsistent tone still undermines its stronger moments and ideas.

This recap of Tomorrow season 1, episode 3, “Forest of Time 1”, contains spoilers.


Another week, another case – this one also to be divided into two, presumably – and… the same problems, it seems. The big one remains tone. The latest episode of Tomorrow had the exact same problem as the first two, with awkward slapstick tomfoolery rubbing shoulders uncomfortably with very heavy themes and subjects, with a jarring whiplash occurring as the show moves from one to the other, often within the space of a single scene. For this problem to be so consistent across three episodes suggests to me that it isn’t going to be changing any time soon, which is a real shame.

Tomorrow season 1, episode 3 recap

As I also predicted, though Tomorrow admittedly made no secret of it, each week seems to revolve around a different case with the underlying lore and Jun-woong’s character development forming the consistent overarching threads. I still like Jun-woong, honestly. He’s a bit over-the-top and deliberately quirky, but I really think there’s a fair amount of charm there, and he’s a compelling figure to follow as he makes the transition here into the Risk Management Team.

Part of all this is naturally getting suited and booted for the job, but some of it is also about leaving his old life behind. He has finally landed the job he wanted, but he has had to give up most of his old life to get it; the swanky outfit comes with a new face and identity, the loss of who he once was, and the detachment from his family, who almost catch him back at home wistfully conversing with a photograph.

The case here even intertwines neatly with Jun-woong’s identity, since the person contemplating killing themselves is his best friend Jae-soo after failing the Police Academy exam three times. You can see how this also weaves into the show’s lore, as in the course of trying to save Jae-soo we also see Jun-woong learn the hard way about the dangers of getting too close to his physical body. It’s pretty decent storytelling all things considered.

And to be honest, Jae-soo’s devastation, brought about both by loss and failure to meet the lofty expectations placed upon him by society, is well-wrought, which makes it all the more irritating that the show’s inconsistent tone always seems to threaten to undermine these stronger moments. The heavier the material gets – a trip to the past complete with another narrative ticking-clock device detailing a young Jae-soo’s father being unable to pay for his wife’s hospital bills or his son’s education is particularly miserable – the more glaring the juxtaposition becomes.

I still think there’s some potential here, but as stated above I don’t really see a scenario in which the show moves beyond its tonal inconsistencies. “Forest of Time 1” ends on an obligatory cliffhanger, so it’ll be easy to tune back in tomorrow, but I imagine that impulse getting less and less pronounced as the season progresses if it doesn’t get a clear handle on what kind of stories it really wants to tell.

You can stream Tomorrow season 1, episode 3, “Forest of Time 1”, exclusively on Netflix.

View all

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.