I haven’t seen a really great time travel show in quite a while and, unfortunately, after watching Must You Go? that statement is still true.
Min Yoo-Jung’s life is turned upside down when she meets an obviously delusional young man named Park Yoon who claims he is a famous musician from the Joseon era. After following her home, he’s eventually able to convince her that his far-out claims are true. Having no place to live, Yoo-Jung allows him to stay with her and, while he is helping her make her dreams of being a singer come true, the two begin to developed romantic feelings for each other.
Finances are the main challenge in Min Yoo-Jung’s life. She dreams of becoming a singer but for the moment simply plays her guitar and sings songs she’s written for passersby on the street. To make ends meet, she lives in a tiny rooftop apartment, works part-time at a convenience store, and takes on odd jobs like playing the Gayageum at parties. Every now and then, Yoo-Jung has a bought of déjà vu – seeing herself back in the Joseon era with a kind man near her.
When Park Yoon, a talented and famous Joseon musician, finds himself in a strange new world he clings to the first person he meets – Min Yoo-Jung. He gratefully accepts the invitation to stay with her but feels bad that there is nothing he can do to repay her kindness. He does his best to adjust to his new situation, even going so far as to begin to learn how to read and write Hangul. Park Yoon is very supportive of Yoo-Jung’s dream of becoming a singer.
Lee Won is an idol with a large and loyal fan base. He is in love with Yoo-Jung and is doing what he can to help her get into the music industry.
Jung Do-Young is the sophisticated director of JM Entertainment. She is instrumental in bringing Park Hoon through time and into the present.
The most talented and well-known musician in Joseon is a man by the name of Park Hoon. He is part of the upper class and travels near and far listening to the music throughout Joseon. While alone, enjoying the songs of the birds, he hears a young woman named Min Yoo-Jung singing and, after saving her life, becomes interested in her. The fact that she is a lowly slave doesn’t deter him from pursuing her and the two fall in love. When people discover their relationship they are not thrilled about the beloved musician falling for a lowly slave, who happens to be the daughter of a traitor, and decide to put an end to it.
Lee Won, who is part of the noble class, was engaged to marry Yoo-Jung before her parents were killed for treason and she was sold into slavery. Although he can no longer marry Yoo-Jung, he still likes her and isn’t happy that his friend, Park Yoon, has come to love her.
Jung Do-Young is a fortune teller who is in love with Park Yoon. She is heartbroken he does not return her feelings and is jealous of his relationship with Min Yoo-Jung. While reading Yoon’s future, she tells him that if he stays near Yoo-Jung he would eventually be the cause of her death.
Twenty-one-year-old Kang Chan Hee, better known as Chani, plays the part of the time-traveling musician Park Yoon. He began his entertainment career as a child actor and has been in several TV dramas as well as feature films. Last year (2020) Chani was honored by being nominated for the Best Idol Actor Award, for his role in the mega-popular drama Sky Castle, and for the Male Entertainer of the Year Award. He recently acted in True Beauty and also sang two songs on the drama’s soundtrack. He began hosting Show! Music Core in 2019 and was even nominated for the Male Rookie Award in the variety category at last year’s MBC Entertainment Awards.
Park Jung-Yeon, who played Min Yoo-Jung in the show, began her acting career last year playing the adult Cho Seo-Woo in the last few minutes of the drama Hi Bye, Mama! and followed that up with the role of Empress Myeongseong in the drama Kingmaker: The Change of Destiny. Jung-Yeon is 23-years-old and majored in Theater and Film at Hanyang University.
Multi-talented Lee Seung Hyub, also known as J.Don, is a rapper/singer/songwriter/guitarist/pianist and a member (and the leader) of the band N.Flying. His talents don’t stop with music because he’s also been a model for Buckaro (a clothing brand) and did a photoshoot for the magazine Nylon. Including Must You Go? he’s acted in eight different shows, three of which I’ve seen – Entertainer, Save Me, and Best Chicken. With all his musical abilities, coupled with the fact that he played the part of idol Lee Won, I was really surprised we didn’t get to hear him sing in this webdrama.
Playing the part of Jung Do-Young is Kwon Ji-Eun’s first acting job. She began her entertainment career in the music industry as a member of S.E.T. under the stage name TaeE and then was the first person announced, under the name Jian, to be a member of the girl group Lunarsolar, which debuted last year.
A time-traveling man from the Joseon dynasty finds himself in the 21st century and falls in love with a kind woman. Will he go back to his time or stay in hers? See, it sounds really good, doesn’t it? And it is good, super good – IF the drama you’re watching is Queen In-Hyun’s Man. Unfortunately, as I mentioned in my first paragraph, Must You Go? is miles and miles away from even being close to really good.
My biggest complaint about this webdrama is the writing. The show has the look of a big Kdrama but the writing seemed very amateurish. I read that Must You Go? had two screenwriters, Eo Seo-Jin and Park Sun-Jae, so I looked up both people to see what other things they may have been involved in. Must You Go? was the one and only thing credited to Eo Seo-Jin which, given the fact that I saw the writing to be the biggest obstacle for me liking the show, didn’t surprise me. However, when I checked out Park Sun-Jae I was flabbergasted to see not only a bunch of things crediting him but the very entertaining webdramas Special Laws of Romance and Mute listed under his name. Really? The same guy who wrote those also co-wrote Must You Go? That’s difficult for me to believe. I liked Special Laws of Romance, and I really liked Mute. How could the same guy also have written this? Go figure.
The following are some things about the show that bothered me…
1. The plot is more about reincarnation than it is about time travel. We’re told that the present-day main characters got there through being reincarnated. Okay, that makes sense. However, Park Yoon asks Jung Do-Young how it is that she can remember the past so vividly after being reincarnated and she gives him/us a really lame answer – “I don’t know.” Come on! If a writer is going to have that be a part of the story, and a character is going to ask the question the audience is also wondering, you have to have a better answer than, “Beats me.”
2. I wish the writer would have told us how the present-day Lee Won and Yoo-Jung knew each other. He is a top idol and she is a struggling wannabe singer, so how in the world did these two very different people meet? Was he an old family friend, a classmate, a neighbor…? The writer didn’t need to take time to show us their past but one or two sentences of how they became acquainted would have helped clear up the fog and explain why he loved her.
3. It made no sense at all to me that Jung Do-Young would have used Yoo-Jung to bring Park Yoon to the present when she knew he had chosen Yoo-Jung over her centuries ago. Was she actually thinking that she could win him over this time? She had to have realized she’d lose once again if he ran into Yoo-Jung and yet she still fixed it so that Yoo-Jung was the first person he’d meet when he arrived in the present. If someone was needed to play the Gayageum for him to appear, why didn’t she learn how to play it herself?
4. There’s a scene where Park Yoon, during Yoo-Jung’s audition, begins to harmonize with her. She just starts playing the guitar and singing and he automatically knows the song and can join in? That made no sense at all. The least they could have done was have her whisper to him something like, “You know that song I’ve sung 100 times before at home Well, I’m going to sing that one.” That would have let us know he knew the song because he had memorized it from hearing her sing it so often but she just starts singing and he joins in with some lovely harmony and the correct words? Nope… Kdrama fans aren’t gullible enough to unquestionably go along with that.
5. Although it may seem like the show has a time travel plot, the story is really about reincarnation. Yes, Park Yoon does time travel but after seeing one “Joseon era” scene, I was totally confused at how that was even possible. Without giving anything away, all I can say is, it’s a really important scene that should completely eliminate the idea of him being able to time travel.
6. Since the drama’s main characters are musicians/singers it made sense the webdrama would have a bunch of scenes having to do with music. Unfortunately, Park Jung-Yeon, the gal who plays Min Yoo-Jung, was shown playing the guitar on multiple occasions and it’s clearly obvious she wasn’t really playing it. Do You Like Brahms? and Tomorrow’s Cantabile are two dramas whose directors knew exactly what kind of camera angles were needed to make their actors appear to really be playing their instruments. Must You Go?’s director, Lim Jae-Kyung, either doesn’t possess that kind of filming knowledge/skill or didn’t worry about making the music match what we were seeing. Now, if that had only happened once or twice it would have bothered me but I would have just brushed it off. Sadly, there are way too many scenes where that visual-auditory mismatch happens. And there’s one scene that shows a girl singing for an audition and her mouth doesn’t even come close to syncing with the vocal in the song. Yikes!
Must You Go? is based on a webcomic of the same name and only has eight episodes, each just 30 minutes long, so you can get through it in just a few hours.
In one of the Joseon scenes, two jealous girls are being mean to Yoo-Jung while she is cleaning the floor and one of them whacks her on the right side of her head with a wooden bowl. However, a few seconds later she is bleeding on the left side of her forehead. “Oops!” Another Joseon scene shows Park Yoon out in the middle of nowhere, writing in a book. The problem is, in those days you needed to dip your brush in ink to write and there’s no ink anywhere near him – he’s just standing in an open area. “Oops!” In a present-day scene, while waiting to audition, Yoo-Jung is practicing out in the hall, playing her guitar without a capo, but when she stands up to go on stage there’s a capo on her guitar. “Oops!” Then, Yoo-Jung and Park Yoon walk backstage, each carrying their own microphone, but as they walk onto the stage neither one is holding a mic, in fact, there are two microphones already set up for them center stage. “Oops!”
The music in the show is very pretty but one ballad is extremely overplayed. I wish I could tell you its title but I couldn’t find out what it was called. It’s the one Yoo-Jung is constantly singing. You can have too much of a good thing, you know.
As I mentioned previously, Must You Go?’s aesthetics are very good. The ancient scenes look just as authentic as the historically-themed big Kdramas and the present-day scenes fit in perfectly with Yoo-Jung’s lifestyle.
Sadly, I just couldn’t bring myself to be generous and give Must You Go? a good score. It didn’t make it onto my least favorites list but it does have loads of shortcomings I just wasn’t willing to overlook.
Acting is fine
Scenery/setting fits well with the story
Music is pretty (one song is overplayed)
Plot leans more on reincarnation than time travel