Tomorrow -- Episodes 1 & 2: Suicide Is Not a Choice but a Desperate Cry For Help
Tomorrow, the drama is finally here, and it has everything I like. From the beautifully talented Kim Hee Sun to the pleasing Rowoon, to Lim Ryung Gu (Yoon Ji-on), and especially the gorgeously sexy Lee Soo Hyuk and that beautiful voice of his. I can listen to him recite the phone book and still be forever captivated. To add to the visuals, the drama tackles the underworld of life after death, particularly suicidal deaths, its shaming stigma and its impact on those left behind, but also those who attempt it.
Despite it only being the first week, what makes Tomorrow as a drama and Goo Ryun (Kim Hee Sun) stand out is she's a grim reaper willing to take risks to save lives. One who understands that suicide is not a choice or selfish act, but a cry for help, which I sense she relates to because of her own backstory. Unlike her, Park Joong Gil (Lee Soo Hyuk), the Escort Team Lead is more of a traditional grim reaper who believes people are the culmination of the choices they make, and that suicide is a selfish choice. And rather than be saved, they deserve to be cast to the damnation of eternal hell. But then, I am sure he has his own story too. As for Choi Joon Woong (Rowoon), at first glance, he may seem like the weakest link, but I think he's actually the heart of the Risk Management Team.
But the pleasant surprise for me with this drama is that it undertakes such a serious and dark issue, with such a light tone, hoping to bring much needed awareness to break stigmas that contribute to unnecessary shame and misunderstanding of those who attempt or commit suicide, and that is not an easy feat. I applaud everyone involved in bringing such a project to light on the small screen. The drama is lavish in its interpretation of the underworld, or Junadeung, as it's referred to in the drama. It's pleasant, bright, almost happy in how the people who live in it feel appreciated, which is so different to how other dramas of its genre interpreted the gloominess of the underworld in the Tale of the Nine-Tailed, for example. The difference between Taluipa, the Gatekeeper, and Junadeung's Chairwoman Jade Hwang expertly played by the mighty Kim Hae Sook.
I understand why many see suicide as a cowardly or selfish act, given the pain felt by those left behind. It's much easier to judge someone when one is far removed from the many factors that contribute to suicide, but more the inability to understand that those who attempt or commit it do not do it because they want to die, but rather because they want to end the unbearable emotional pain, and consider the finality of death the end to the pain and burden they become to others. So in that sense, I get why no one thinks there is a need for Goo Ryun and her risk management team.
I like that Tomorrow gives a completely different outlook on grim reapers who, rather than cause death by collecting souls, try to save them, and makes those who seek death realize there is hope in life, no matter how bleak it may seem, and that the choice should always be life over death. And what I appreciated most about the opening week is the message and courage to shed light on the effects of bullying on the bullied first and foremost (the trauma mentally and physically), but also the bullies, especially those who become celebrities -- choices have consequences
The message is loud, clear, and relevant -- every time we turn our heads, one celebrity or another is in the news for teenage bullying. The message is that people (teenagers and adults alike) have to be weary of the choices they make, because some choices can follow a person to their grave and beyond. Life is karma -- what one gives they get in one way or another and when least expected. I am looking forward to losing myself in this fantasy world with the beauty of Kim Hee Sun, the pleasantness of Rowoon, and the mystifying sexiness of Lee Soo Hyuk and his voice, but more the message behind the story. Watch Tomorrow here