“Compared to drama or romance, a thriller is more exciting.” So says Destined With You’s resident mysterious creep, Na Jung-beom (Ahn Sang-woo) and, as it pertains to Destined With You Episodes 9-10, points out the series’ weakness. Without a proper balance between the genres, the most recent episodes struggle to maintain the momentum of previous ones. That said, rather than the thriller stalker storyline taking precedence, the romance between Jang Shin-yu (Rowoon) and Lee Hong-jo (Jo Bo-ah) hits new heights.
At the beginning of Episode 9, Hong-jo is trying to flee from a potential stalker but starts to feel woozy. The camera goes out of focus, and she finds herself face-to-face with Kwon Jae-kyung (Ha Jun) when the lights in the park come back on. Suspiciously timed, Hong-jo can’t help but wonder if something is up with him. Her suspicions still linger when he comes to check on her later in the night while she struggles with a fever and further intensifies with a nightmare. With the stalker still out there, Hong-jo is clearly on edge and afraid.
Meanwhile, Shin-yu has had a relapse of some kind. While it’s not clear if the magic rude hands have returned, whatever happened must be tied to his encounter with Jung-beom. With no memories surrounding the incident available, once he wakes up, the mystery surrounding the meeting lingers in the air. But a later encounter between Jung-beom and Shin-yu’s honestly delusional and evil girlfriend, Yoon Na-yeon (Yura), might be evidence that evil is afoot.
While Shin-yu is asleep and no one knows what’s going on, Hong-jo tries desperately to reach him. While her feelings are a mystery to her, it’s clear that there is something more behind her worry. Shin-yu’s push-and-pull approach to their relationship doesn’t help either. This is evident when Hong-jo visits him, and he admits that he is more worried about his feelings for her than he is about his own health.
In her own way, Hong-jo wants to help him. She tells him she needs the spell book and manages to acquire it from his home. Realizing the curse cast on Shin-yu is a Love Destruction spell, she tries her hand at a spell in an attempt to help him. But there are forces working against the two lovebirds. The forces at play? Currently, Na-yeon and Jung-beom. The two are leaning into magic work of their own to use against the destined lovers, but the jury is still out on whether or not their spells are working.
All the work preparing for the fireworks festival comes to a head in Destined With You Episode 9. Hong-jo is running around making sure things go off without a hitch. Once things settle, her thoughts turn to Shin-yu. Missing him, she tries to call him. This, despite the fact that she knows it is likely futile since he informed her he was going on a trip to Jeju Island with his parents and Na-yeon.
However, in the flickering lights of the fireworks (which creates one of the most visually memorable scenes of Destined With You Episodes 9-10 and the series so far), she spots him. Slowly, they walk towards each other, embrace, and then, the scene transitions to their past selves in Joseon before launching viewers without explanation with a full recounting of their past lives’ childhoods.
While it has been long overdue for the story to reflect on the past lives of our love birds, the lack of explanation for why Episode 9 spends the remainder of the episode recounting their previous lives’ meeting is jarring. A transition flickering to the moments when Shin-yu’s ancestor embraced his loved one makes sense. The deep plunge after that moment with no apt connective element confuses more than not.
In Destined With You Episode 10, viewers are brought back to the modern-day with Shin-yu and Hong-jo embracing. “It doesn’t matter whether spells work or not. I love you,” shares Shin-yu, and Hong-jo admonishes him. He has Na-yeon, even though the audience knows that Na-yeon doesn’t have his best interests at heart. Despite her protests, he asks her to stay true to him while he tries to end things with his fiance for good.
This has things almost back to square one in the frustration department as this continues a cycle of will they/won’t they that has continuously plagued this series. Shin-yu overstepping by asking Hong-jo not to pursue his rival, Kwon Jae-kyung (Ha Jun), also highlights another problem the character has of overstepping boundaries. However, now that it has been revealed that Shin-yu recounts some of the memories from a past life, a new level of possession kicks into play. Hong-jo, on the other hand, doesn’t seem to recall her previous life.
The efforts to break up with Na-yeon are rocky in Destined With You Episode 10. Despite her still cheating on Shin-yu, she doesn’t consider it cheating emotionally. No, she loves Shin-yu, but acknowledges that he doesn’t fill the void in her soul. Despite the fact that this is clearly not a healthy dynamic, she refuses to let Shin-yu break up with her. She sobs. She begs. Then, she refuses to acknowledge it. Instead, once it becomes too undeniable that Shin-yu is going to choose Hong-jo over her, Na-yeon uses all of her connections to remove Hong-jo in whatever way she can.
First, she tries to put Hong-jo in her place. They go out, and Na-yeon gets hammered to see whether or not Shin-yu will come to take care of her. While he does come, it’s not entirely for the reason either of the women think. But that doesn’t stop Hong-jo from misinterpreting his arrival as proof that he has feelings for Na-yeon. Storming off, it’s no wonder that after an accidental incident with Jae-kyung, she agrees to be his date for an outing.
It is this internal conflict that manifests in an argument the next day when Shin-yu learns that she is still entertaining Jae-kyung’s affection. She rightfully calls out Shin-yu’s behavior, telling him that he continues to confuse her because of his lack of consistency and honesty with his emotions. He wants everything yet acknowledges no responsibility on his end. This prompts him to try to kiss her, but a surprise walk-in by his colleague forces the two apart. Hong-jo then goes on a date with Jae-kyung.
Jae-kyung changes plans, sparking some anxiety in Hong-jo. Taking her to the Han River in the winter, to an observer, it looks like the makings of a cute date. But as Hong-jo’s feelings have shifted away from Jae-kyung with Shin-yu’s involvement in her life, she is less able to find joy or appreciation in what Jae-kyung has done. Her mind is only on Shin-yu. Jae-kyung knows this and so points out she should forget about Shin-yu. He knows what he wants and confesses his feelings to Hong-jo. The audience is left hanging as to her response.
With the knowledge that Shin-yu is fixated on Hong-jo, Na-yeon calls in a favor from her father, the mayor, who tells Jae-kyung that he needs to transfer Hong-jo to a different department. Jae-kyung rightfully directs his anger at Shin-yu for his carelessness and selfishness. Shin-yu’s response after honestly just solidifies that image. He takes Hong-jo away before she can meet the mayor, and he takes her to the ocean.
Just when the two finally admit to each other that it’s time to stop hiding their feelings for one another, a wrench gets thrown into the mix. As Shin-yu goes in to kiss her and Hong-jo touches his cheek, an image flickers of the bloody red hand. The red hand that has plagued Shin-yu his entire life? Belongs to Hong-jo’s previous self. Is it the work of Jung-beom’s spell? Is it just more memories resurfacing? It doesn’t matter because as Shin-yu dramatically pushes Hong-jo away, the only thing that is certain is that the couple is back at square one, seemingly doomed to keep repeating this hot/cold cycle.
Destined With You Episodes 9-10 offer glimpses into the leading characters’ past lives. However, the wait, and the primary reason why many have been drawn to the series, has been too long. The series has spent a lot of time focusing on the hot/cold relationship between Shin-yu and Hong-jo. It has so far neglected any explanations surrounding the mystery of the original curse on Shin-yu. Despite the added element of the stalker, the continued reliance on the will they/won’t they trope wore out its welcome a few episodes back.
With six episodes left, Destined With You has a lot of ground to try to cover if it wants to achieve a successful ending. While Destined With You Episodes 9-10 have finally incorporated elements of past lives as well as finally solidified Shin-yu and Hong-jo’s feelings for one another, questions need to start to be answered. More urgency needs to be injected into addressing the Jang family curse. With their feelings on the same wavelength, here’s hoping that the much-needed tension and urgency ramp up so that the wait has been worth it. If not, frustration will reign.
Destined With You Episodes 9-10 are now available on Netflix, with new episodes airing on Wednesdays and Thursdays.
Destined With You Episodes 9-10
With six episodes left, Destined With You has a lot of ground to try to cover if it wants to achieve a successful ending. While Destined With You Episodes 9-10 have finally incorporated elements of past lives as well as finally solidified Shin-yu and Hong-jo’s feelings for one another, questions need to start being answered.