KBS’ Reversal of Fate: Frustratingly Promising Premise Falls Short

No spoilers.

I’ve been watching Korean dramas for a while now. But all of them so far have been the big, 2x a week primetime miniseries. I only recently discovered that Korea also has daily dramas and comedies that run on weekdays.

And my first daily drama, Reversal of Fate (다 줄거야 / I’ll Give You Everything), just concluded its English-subtitled run on KBS World.

The series tells the story of two daughters switched at birth for revenge and the repercussions more than 25 years later.

We learn through flashbacks that Boyeong, a simple teacher in a small village meets Gong Jung Gil and they fall in love. What Boyeong doesn’t know is he is a married man and father. A confrontation then occurs between Boyeong and Jung Gil’s wife Yong Shim (both pregnant with Jung Gil’s daughters) where Boyeong is humiliated. They end up giving birth at the same hospital and feeling betrayed, Boyeong plans revenge by switching the babies, hoping to give her own daughter, Yeonghui a better life by being raised by the more affluent family. In turn, she is cold to Yong Shim’s daughter, Namju, now in her care.

And so comes the reversal of fate, only not as Boyeong expected. She’s married into a wealthy family while the Gong family has struggled all of Yeonghui’s life, making enough money just to get by.

More than 25 years later, their paths cross, and the pain of the past returns. But now, the daughters are unwittingly competing for the heart of Doctor Lee Gangho.

Family secrets, a love triangle, working class vs. wealthy business owners; Reversal of Fate has all the ingredients for an interesting soapy drama.

And by all means, it certainly is the typical soap opera.

What the series stumbles on is its portraying of the characters as all inside a gray area. Are we supposed to root for this character? Or hate this one? Should I feel sorry for this character? Or should I care less seeing this character in pain?

While usually, cookie cutter good vs. evil, hero vs. villain characters prove to be uninteresting. Reversal of Fate could’ve used some clearer-cut characterizations. During its 150 episode run, there often were times when each and every character induced a smack to the forehead, a roll of the eyeballs or good SMH (shake my head) either by their questionable and sometimes downright stupid decisions and out of nowhere personality shifts.

It helps to have likeable characters on a series. Reversal of Fate was plagued with frustrating character decisions that would ultimately bring the story back to square one. Annoying moves that would end up meaning nothing anyway.

The premise sets itself up for what should be a good soapy ride. And even though Reversal of Fate was a morning drama in Korea, it still had much potential to be a fully rewarding experience.

While it has a solid and likeable cast, they were held back by what could’ve been a tighter, deeper script (and equally likeable characters). The series ended with what possibly was its strongest week of episodes and an example of what the series should have been in its 24 previous weeks (longer on KBS World).

Still, it wasn’t a complete waste of time and understanding it was never meant to be as ambitious as even a primetime daily drama, Reversal of Fate was a frustratingly promising series that just fell short of really turning into something great.

Starring Hong Ah Reum, Yoon Ah Jung, Park Jin Woo, Kim Jung Wook, Oh Mi Hee, Jung Sung Mo, and Kim Mi Kyung

5 thoughts on “KBS’ Reversal of Fate: Frustratingly Promising Premise Falls Short

  1. what happened in the end? i missed the episode where it left of at the airport when namju is back and asks “wheres mom?”

  2. SPOILER for those who haven’t seen the end yet…

    @andrew It turned out that Yeonghui had been sending Namju letters as Boyeong, having everyone pretend she was still alive so as not to hinder Namju’s recovery. But Namju had figured it out a while back that her mother was really dead.

    When they are all back in Korea, Namju is revealed to have met a guy in the States and will go back to him after her visit home. Meanwhile, Gangho and Yeonghui reunite and promise to start over again. Basically a happy ending for all. 🙂

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