Somewhere in this hodge podge of romance, action adventure sci-fi and politics is a plot in search of a better script. Judging from all that I've seen in the past 7 episodes the potential for greatness was always there. The drama makes big claims, it wants to be weighty, it has tried to be mysterious keeping us all intrigued with a trail of breadcrumbs but there's little doubt that it is flawed project from the start. The stakes, we are constantly reminded, are high but the show using non-linear storytelling and an overabundance of flashbacks undermines its earth-shattering claims and diminishes any sense of urgency that the audience should be feeling. Instead the pacing is all over the place and the narration is weighed down by familiar tropes that often don't really enhance the way the package is delivered.
I don't think there's really anything that complex about the time travel side of things. From beginning to end it has been consistently about the problems associated with a temporal loop complicated by the possibility of temporal displacement if the past, present or future selves intersect. To my mind the confusion comes primarily because of the heavy-handed use of flashbacks. Flashbacks are used here for all kinds of reasons. Some provide glimpses of the leads' past while others give insight into the wartorn dystopian future. I'm not convinced that we needed that many scenes showing how Seo-hae and dad were living and surviving post-apocalyptic Korea. I don't see the point of us seeing her training regime after all this time. This is the sort of thing that would have been better shown at the start or not at all. But I suppose they needed some way of filling 16 episodes.
Certainly the show has to deal with some element of character. That's to be expected. But for one reason or another it feels clunky and not well integrated into the overall storyline. For me Tae-sul's character arc is better written and there's a sense of journey and growth. It's not that I think Park Shin-hye does badly as Seo-hae but her character isn't as well served here. It almost feels that her entire role in all of this is to be Tae-sul's bodyguard love interest. At least her training regime and skill set points to that. That said, I'm okay with the romance even if the leads don't have sizzling chemistry because it is quite an important feature of Tae-sul's evolution and it feeds his determination to do better than previous failed attempts at thwarting Sigma's foul plans.
Episode 14 offered some hope that Tae-sul is starting to think and act out of the box. It's obvious that some kind of sacrifice is expected especially when the story via Sigma has been sledgehammering us with a zero sum game all throughout. How many times has "is it the girl or the world" been thrown at our faces? Far too many I'd say. However, the question now is whether the show will be true to itself. I fear a cop out resolution. Of course that's just me bracing myself for the worst. Who knows the show might just surprise me a tad with some consistency.