“Spring”, one of the best episodes of the season, recalls the horrors of the Japanese occupation to stirring effect.
This recap of Tomorrow season 1, episode 13, “Spring”, contains spoilers.
Memories are complicated, fragile things. Sometimes we cling to them, and sometimes we try to bury them, but either way, they’re ours; not always clear and accessible, but there, informing who we are and what we believe. So, imagine that they were locked away, inaccessible only to someone else. And then imagine that someone else had the same locks on their own recollections, implying that the two are inexorably intertwined. That’s the predicament Joong-gil and Ryeon find themselves in, but this long-term stuff falls quickly into the margin of a new case introduced in “Spring”.
Tomorrow season 1, episode 13 recap
The case involves a 91-year-old woman named Bok-hui, whose malaise is intimately tied to a woman named Yun-I with whom she grew up. Due to financial strife, Bok-hui pushed her friend towards a factory job in Japan, but the Japanese occupation of Korea led to her internment and eventual role as a sex slave alongside Jeong-mun, who is being escorted by new recruit Bo-yun, who has her own admiration of Joong-gil also stemming from the occupation.
Colonial occupation is pretty fertile territory for harrowing stories, and “Spring” allows the brutality of the era to do a lot of heavy lifting. Against this backdrop the episode spins a moving yarn about solidarity, as we see Jeong-mun’s interpretation of Yun-I as an almost angelic ray of hope within the darkness. She talked Jeong-mun out of suicide. She retained her positivity even with a broken arm and bought the other girls time to escape even at great physical cost to herself.
But Jeong-mun escaped into ruin; her parents having fallen ill and died in her absence. She drifted into isolation and obsession with a Japanese apology that never came. But she’s able to assuage Bok-hui’s guilt and convince her that if Yun-I were here, she’d be proud of her. The twist of “Spring” is that Bo-yun is actually Yun-I, having been escorted by Joong-gil way back when and become a Reaper just to be reunited with her old friends.
This is an obviously touching resolution, compounded by the revelation of Jun-woong’s previous incarnation being one of the Korean rebels who helped the girls escape; while he can’t remember his own past, he’s determined not to allow the world to forget what the women went through. It’s a lovely way to tie some of the show’s lore into real-life history, and it’s a poignant note to close one of the season’s best episodes with.