Netflix’s South Korean fantasy drama show ‘A Time Called You,’ starring Ahn Hyo-Seop and Jeon Yeo-been, charts the romance between two lovers separated by time and fate. The show follows Han Jun-hee, who fails to move on from her boyfriend, Gu Yeon-jun, even a year after his tragic death. However, after discovering a mysterious cassette player that transports her to the past in the body of her lookalike, Kwon Min-ju, Jun-hee finds herself faced with a boy, Si-heon, who looks just like her past love. Presented with a second chance at love or a chance to change the past for the better, the two lovers maneuver through time to arrive at their destinies.
The series equips an unconventional method of time-traveling and delivers an engaging narrative revolving around the fight between destiny and free will. Given the maze of setbacks and timelines that Jun-hee and Si-heon navigate throughout the show, viewers must be curious to know how their story concludes. Therefore, here’s everything you need to know about it! SPOILERS AHEAD!
A Time Called You Recap
The show starts with two parallel storylines in different years. In 1998, Si-heon noticed his best friend, In-gyu ’s growing crush on their shy and loner classmate, Min-ju, and befriends her after approaching her in her uncle’s record shop. Fast forward to 2023, her lookalike, Jun-hee, mourns her boyfriend, Yeon-jun. After a minor fight between the couple regarding Jun-hee’s relocation to New York for work, Yeon-jun boarded a flight to America to surprise his girlfriend, only to meet a bitter end after drying in a plane crash.
A few days after Yeon-jun’s death anniversary, Jun-hee anonymously receives a photograph of three schoolkids, two of whom look exactly like Jun-hee and Yeon-jun. When the woman investigates, the photograph leads her to Cafe 27, to Min-ju’s uncle, who informs her the girl in the photo died the same year it was taken: 1998. Meanwhile, in Min-ju’s time, she becomes close friends with In-gyu and Si-heon and starts to develop feelings for the latter.
However, on the night of her birthday, when she confesses to Si-heon, he turns her down. Shortly after, Min-ju gets in a car accident. Back in 2023, Jun-hee opens an anonymous package sent to her and finds an old cassette player with the song, ‘Gather My Tears,’ by Seo Ji-won. Although she doesn’t know it, the player and cassette belonged to Min-ju and Si-heon. After listening to the song on the bus ride home, Jun-hee wakes in 1998 inside Min-ju’s body.
Jun-hee retains all of Min-ju’s memories and believes her life as Jun-hee to be a dream. Likewise, she assumes Yeon-jun was a figment of her imagination modeled after Si-heon. However, as Jun-hee continues to live Min-ju’s life, the people around her notice the stark difference in her personality but chalk it up to the traumatic accident. Simultaneously, the police discover that Min-ju was attacked by someone on the night of her accident and try to find the culprit.
Eventually, after her life as Jun-hee fades further and further, Jun-hee abruptly travels back to 2023 after being woken up on the bus. Although Jun-hee tries to explain away her time as Min-ju as unreal, she soon realizes it was real after a chat with Min-ju’s uncle. As such, wondering if Si-heon could hold a way back to Yeon-jun, Jun-hee returns to the past after listening to the cassette again. Nevertheless, Si-heon presents a much different picture than Yeon-jun, which annoys Jun-hee. Still, the two continue to get closer despite In-gyu’s feelings for Min-ju.
Jun-hee also tries to figure out who attacked Min-ju to try and prevent her murder on October 13, 1998. Employing In-gyu and Si-heon’s help for the investigation, Jun-hee tries to share the truth about her situation with them, but to no avail. Soon, Jun-hee travels in time again at another inopportune moment. However, 2023 holds a life-altering revelation for her this time: an older-looking Yeon-jun in Cafe 27.
After Yeon-jun shares his story with Jun-hee, she finds out that he’s Si-heon. In 2002, Si-heon got in a bus accident while listening to the cassette and got transported to 2007 in Yeon-jun’s body. From then on, Si-heon lived as Yeon-jun, finding Jun-hee and starting their love story. To do so, Si-heon used everything Jun-hee told him about her “dream” back in 1998 as Min-ju.
The reunited couple can choose to live out their lives together now. Nevertheless, Jun-hee decides to go back to 1998 one more time to save Min-ju from dying after discovering that In-gyu committed suicide because of her death after being blamed for her murder and serving time.
A Time Called You Ending: Does Jun-hee Change the Past and Save Min-ju?
Min-ju’s survival remains the central focus of the protagonists throughout the story. Although Jun-hee’s transportation to Min-ju’s body renders her confused and lost at first, she gradually starts devoting her time to preventing the girl from dying. Since Jun-hee is stuck in Min-ju’s body for an indeterminable period of time, part of her motive is also colored by self-preservation. If Jun-hee remains in Min-ju’s body until October 13, she will die with her.
Still, after meeting Si-heon in 2023, Jun-hee realizes that dying in your lookalike’s body doesn’t have to mean the end because your soul can be transported back to your original body. Si-heon’s soul has managed to survive through the same logic after he boarded the flight with knowledge of his impending doom as Yeon-jun. Nonetheless, Jun-hee fails when she attempts to travel through time using the cassette tape.
As such, the couple arrive at Cafe 27 to discuss strategy with Min-ju’s uncle and decide to dig into Min-ju’s case through old archives to gather clues about how to prevent it. While Si-heon looks at their school records, he finds a student in 98 who looks identical to Chan-yeong, his close friend from his life as Yeon-jun. Alternatively, Jun-hee, after failing at her own research, finds Chan-yeong at her doorstep.
Eventually, after Jun-hee divulges the information behind the cassette’s time-traveling abilities, Chan-yeong uses the device to travel to 98, where he lives in Chan-hi, his older brother’s body, who is Min-ju’s classmate. In 1998, when Chan-yeong was a kid, he became infatuated with Min-ju and wanted to kill and preserve her like a pretty butterfly. Therefore, in 2023, after attacking Jun-hee and killing Si-heon when he comes to the woman’s rescue, Chan-yeong steals the cassette to kill Min-ju by traveling to 1998.
Once Jun-hee puzzles the picture together, she returns to 1998 in a final attempt to save Min-ju. However, Jun-hee becomes trapped inside Min-ju’s head. Min-ju, keeping Jun-hee locked away, tries to imitate Jun-hee and live her life, but everyone notices the difference in Min-ju. Eventually, the realization that people only liked Min-ju when she was controlled by Jun-hee weights down on the teen girl, driving her to extreme measures.
Min-ju decides to let Chan-yeong murder her so that everyone can remember her as someone valuable for years to come. Even though Chan-yeong fails to kill her, Min-ju takes her own life in the end, ignoring In-gyu’s protests from nearby. As a result, Jun-hee wakes in her body without any means to travel to the past anymore due to the cassette’s damaged state.
Yet, Jun-hee tries one more time, begging the universe for another chance and tapping into her longing for Si-heon. As fate would have it, Jun-hee succeeds and manages to prevent Min-ju from jumping out of the window in the nick of time with In-gyu’s help.
Do Jun-hee and Si-heon Reunite?
Regardless of the time or situation, Jun-hee and Si-heon find each other again and again. However, the cyclic nature of their relationship means that both characters have distinct, chronologically different impressions of their relationships. In Jun-hee’s case, when she first meets Si-heon, he’s in the body of Yeon-jun and is already in love with Jun-hee from when he met her in 1998. Similarly, when Si-heon first meets Jun-hee, she’s in the body of Min-ju and already knows Sin-heon as her late boyfriend Yeon-jun. Therefore, the two are destined to be together, with their fates feeding into each other.
However, there are side effects to their timeless romance, namely, Min-ju’s death and In-gyu’s consequent suicide. Furthermore, the sheer existence of the cassette player poses a threat to Min-ju’s life. If Jun-hee hadn’t used the player to travel in time, Min-ju wouldn’t have been pushed beyond her limit, and Chan-yeong wouldn’t have traveled through time to kill her. Yet, without the cassette player, Jun-hee would never travel back in time and met Si-heon in 1998. Consequently, Si-heon would never travel in time and meet Jun-hee as Yeon-jun.
It’s a classic time travel complication akin to the grandfather paradox. Jun-hee has to destroy the cassette tape, but doing so would erase her from their current existence and reset the timeline. Despite the cost of their love, Si-heon and Jun-hee decide to do the right thing. After allowing themselves one last day together, Jun-hee asks In-gyu to destroy the cassette and the tape. As a result, everything following Min-ju’s initial car accident gets reset.
Min-ju never gets attacked by Chan-yeong and goes on to live a regular life. Likewise, Si-heon forgets all about Jun-hee, with every evidence of the memories they made together erased from existence. Nonetheless, whenever he hears ‘Gather My Tears,’ a weird feeling tugs at his heart, telling him he’s missing something terribly.
Ultimately, 2011 rolls around, and Si-heon boards a bus in Seoul. By a twist of fate, Jun-hee, a few years younger than Si-heon, given their different times, gets on the same train. Once both characters notice each other, they realize the chance meeting is something monumental and perhaps not chance’s doing at all. After Jun-hee leaves the bus, Si-heon, pulled to her, follows after.
As the pair take each other in under a snowy sky, faint memories of another reality tell them that the other person is immeasurably significant to them. Thanks to the universe, Si-heon and Jun-hee reunite again, this time as their own selves in their own time. The couple will likely go on to have a happy future together, even if the memories of their alternative lives never fully come back to them.
Do Min-ju and In-gyu End Up Together?
Although Si-heon and Jun-hee find their way back to each other through a blessing of the universe, In-gyu and Min-ju only have to deal with their own insecurities to see each other. From the beginning, In-gyu has had deep feelings for Min-ju and constantly looks out for her. When In-gyu takes the blame for Min-ju’s death to grant her the wish of being remembered as a murder victim, he proves his irrational care for her. Having dealt with bullying from a young age due to his deafness in the right ear, In-gyu understands what it feels like to be lonely.
Despite having Si-heon as a close friend, In-gyu struggles to find someone who truly understands him. Likewise, Min-ju, who feels perpetually unloved due to her tough family life and shy demeanor, has never met someone who understands her. She casts big expectations onto life, only setting herself up for failure. Instead of realizing that she could have something real with In-gyu, Min-ju chooses to fall for Si-heon, who is clearly uninterested in her. Furthermore, Min-ju’s infatuation with him is only a fantasy since she barely knows him.
Therefore, once the timeline resets, Min-ju remembers everything as a faint, far-off dream. As such, she has a better understanding of her self-destructive tendencies and tries to fight against them. She starts by appreciating In-gyu for always being there for her. Although the pair don’t expressively get together by the show’s end, we see the beginning of their relationship as they let each other in.