The Kdrama “Familiar Wife” Review- Episodes 1 to 4

Published Categorized as Kdrama Reviews

“Familiar Wife” is one of the most anticipated kdramas of 2018’s second half, it boasts a great cast, Han Ji Min, Ji Sung, Kang Han Na, Jang Seung Jo and VIXX’s N are playing the leading roles.

It tells the story of a man named Cha Joo Hyuk who goes back in time tampering with his faith; he ends up changing the future of all the people around him as well.

The idea is rather interesting but it also rings a bell, a lot of kdrama fans were reminded by “Go Back Couple,” another amazing drama about a husband and a wife who divorced and miraculously went back in time, they found love again and went back to live their lives in the present.

I have seen a lot of people commenting things like ‘this drama is so similar to ‘Go Back Couple,’they decided to remake go back couple?’

I, too, was actually reminded of “Go Back Couple,” and the problem is that “Go Back Couple” was an amazing drama that is hard to top, not just any drama with basically the same genre, plot direction, characters description can compete.

“Familiar Wife” is familiar yet also a bit new, but I must admit I wasn’t so happy with the premiere; I was somehow disappointed with the way the main characters were written.

Let’s talk about each section of the drama separately

The Plot

I know this may sound like a child complaining about not liking characters, but I really really dislike Han Ji Min and Ji Sung characters both equally. I don’t mind not rooting for a character or two in the drama, but its risky to write two equally despicable main characters. That was a bold move from the writer’s side.

Cha Joo Hyuk works at a bank, he is nice, a bit too nice, understanding (most of the time), romantic and has a weak-ass character, he is inferior to his wife and actually fears her. He is also inconsiderate of his wife’s struggles, child-like and doesn’t even know how to be a father.

Seo Woo Jin (played by Han Ji Min) is a despicable disrespectful rude wife who has anger management issues. She doesn’t know how to communicate; she does all the work and basically is a mother to her husband as well who is oblivious to the trouble she’s going through partially because she just doesn’t tell him what’s going on with her and miraculously expect him to figure it out.

She doesn’t mind disrespecting him in front of everybody, she physically abuses him, hits and treats him like a fucking child.

I was extremely taken back when I saw the first two episodes; I was so shocked with the presentation of the characters.

I am not a child who can’t handle mean characters in dramas but those two characters really really get on my nerves, I can’t stand people who behave like this in real life, so I am having trouble accepting these characters or even giving a shit about what goes on with them.

Seo Woo Jin has two children who are still growing and in a difficult phase, she is a working mom, I get that she’s struggling with the children, the chores, and her husband, but doesn’t EVER give her the right to disrespect him. Cha Joo Hyuk’s fear of his wife is understandable.

I am a woman too, I say this knowing well that men (in general) are like children, they need to be told what to do, their brains don’t operate the same way ours does. He’s screwing up but that doesn’t give her the right to disrespect him like that.

Imagine if the roles were reversed, Korea would’ve rioted by now. I hate how they try to downplay it into something not so significant. Instead, viewers (mainly women) are siding with Seo Woo Jin even when what’s she’s doing is basically domestic abuse.

I know, I know, we will probably get to see her side of the story but never under any circumstances are you allowed to verbally abuse and disrespect him in public, that’s just wrong! That’s called domestic abuse and it goes both ways.

Cha Joo Hyuk is a coward who couldn’t care less about his children. He goes back in time and changes his fate, he completely disregards his two children and forgets them in the process.

All of this was because of the way he was domestically abused by his wife, he reached a point where he just wanted to go back in time, change his fate (in a way that won’t hurt her) and get the hell out of that failed marriage.

I am not justifying what he did, its difficult to root for his character. The worst thing about Cha Joo Hyuk is that he isn’t even remotely reminded by his children, which makes him very unlikeable.

I can’t believe the writer will expect us to care about them. I obviously don’t like either of them even after watching four episodes, I still don’t like them both, both were in the wrong.

I say this because; again; I am reminded by “Go Back Couple” where the first episodes show both sides of the story, it touched our souls and we understood that they had misunderstandings that piled up and led to divorce.

Both lead characters were actually lovable to a certain extent. I also loved how they just struggled because they missed their son who didn’t even exist because they went back in time.

In comparison, “Familiar Wife” two leads are very unlikeable; both leads are selfish and annoying to degrees that are beyond redemption, almost!

Things do pick up in episode 3 and 4 but there is still that aftertaste of their previous characters that I am still struggling to shake off.

I can already tell whats gonna happen in future episodes. He will fall back in love with her again, he will start remembering his children and will miss them dearly, his marriage to his unfaithful wife will be shaken and possibly destroyed.

He will realize he ended up making the wrong decision and that he shouldn’t have tampered with time and messed things up.

He will slowly realize that the way he actually lived in the past is a lot better than the way he’s currently living, so he’ll go back in time and try to set things back.

The plot is rather predictable and I doubt anything too unusual/unexpected would happen. Having watched a lot of kdramas with the concept of ‘time’ and ‘time travel’ I kinda already know what kind of lessons they’re trying to teach the audience.

Of course, my prediction could be wrong, in fact I am praying I will be proven wrong because that would make things a lot more interesting. It will make me want to stick around.

After helping that man on the subway Cha Joo Hyuk was given two coins, he used both of them so I am assuming he’s now stuck in this present time and will have to go about fixing his mistakes in the present time.

Again, this is similar to “Go Back Couple.” I hope that he will be given more coins that he can use to travel back in time because if what I wrote above was all there is to the plot, I will be very very disappointed.

Please writer-nim don’t do this… I will believe that Ji Sung and Han Ji Min chose a great project…

The Casting

Han Ji Min and Ji Sung are two of my favorite actors, they don’t always choose the best projects but they give their best in whatever they do.

Again, in “Familiar Wife” they give 100%, truly professionals. I just loved how they embodied their respective characters.

The casting choice is spot on!

I hated the main characters except for actor Jang Seung Jo’s character. In both versions, he was such an adorable likable character. I like the aura the actor gives, too bad he’s married in real life. Besides, his looks are to die for; he’s a blend of JYJ’s Jaejoong and Ji Chang Wook.

I love him! I am in love for the 57th time with a Korean actor who doesn’t even know I exist. I can’t wait to see more of his great acting in this drama, he’s a scene stealer.

I also must say I loved VIXX’s N character, he is such a brat, and I can’t wait to see more of him. I loved how real every character is and how they truly embody their respective characters.

The Chemistry

I must also say I really liked the chemistry between everybody.

This is the difference you get when you watch pros in kdramas, unlike shy awkward idols taking leading roles they obviously don’t deserve; “Familiar Wife” cast doesn’t feel awkward at all.

Han Ji Min and Ji Sung are pros, Ji Sung is happily married to actress Lee Bo Young and is a father himself, but this doesn’t restrict him from giving his all. He is very sweet and suits Han Ji Min well, very very well.

Episode 4 featured their young selves’ scenes, I noticed just how adorable the two looked together, they don’t even feel awkward at all.

Ji Sung and Jang Seung Jo also don’t feel awkward; it does feel like they are old friends who have been working together for a while. Ji Sung’s chemistry with Kang Hanna is also surprisingly good.

When he changed his fate and woke up next to Kang Hanna’s character Lee Hye Won, it didn’t feel awkward to me. I was pleasantly surprised by that and I loved it.

Koreans are good actors in general but I found that a lot of them are shy in real life and don’t easily mix well, this means that in kdramas the entire main cast has an awkward atmosphere surrounding them in the first couple of episodes.

You can easily feel it.

“Whats Wrong with Secretary Kim” cast had amazing chemistry, everyone pointed that out. This was one of the reasons that made it such a successful drama, the chemistry and not being awkward around each other played an important integral role to its plot, the same applies to “Familiar Wife.”


“Familiar Wife” feels familiar but is also different and definitely worth the time, it’s a bit frustrating at times but things got a lot better at episode 3 and 4.

I am curious to see what happens next, I hope that there will be a shocking factor that will pop up when we least expect it.

If it turns out to be good, I will be writing a more detailed spoiler free and spoiler review of the drama. We’ll have to wait and see.

What about you guys? Did you like the premiere of “Familiar Wife”?

If you found this review interesting and you’d like to watch “Familiar Wife,” click here.

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By Jass K.

Hi, I am Jass k. I discuss some of the hottest currently airing kdramas on this site in form of reviews an/or recaps, join me in the discussion~

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