Welcome to Samdalri Ep 1 and 2 Review: Ji Chang Wook and Shin Hye Sun narrate growing up as contrasting beings

The latest on our list is Welcome to Samdalri, a tale of two contrasting personalities, Ji Chang Wook and Shin Hye Sun, as childhood friends reunite after a turn of events. Here's our review.

Published on Dec 04, 2023  |  08:09 PM IST |  1M
Ji Chang Wook and Shin Hye Sun in the official poster for Welcome to Samdalri; Image Courtesy: JTBC
Ji Chang Wook and Shin Hye Sun in the official poster for Welcome to Samdalri; Image Courtesy: JTBC
Key Highlight
  • What we know about Ji Chang Wook and Shin Hye Sun starrer Welcome to Samdalri
  • Our views on the initial two episodes of Welcome to Samdalri

Welcome to Samdalri, featuring Ji Chang Wook and Shin Hye Sun as childhood soulmates who drift and then reunite in a turn of fate, premiered worldwide on December 2. The much-anticipated drama set on Jeju Island and partly in Seoul came into existence by Kwon Hye Joo under the direction of Cha Young Hoon. As the drama unfolds over the course of 16 episodes, viewers are expected to be taken on an immersive journey with its key characters, Jo Youngpil and Jo Samdal.

About Welcome To Samdalri

Welcome to Samdalri, the highly anticipated K-drama created by Kwon Hye Joo and helmed by director Cha Young Hoon features a talented ensemble cast led by Ji Chang Wook, Shin Hye Sun, and Kang Young Seok.

In the picturesque setting of Jeju Island, Welcome to Samdalri follows the intertwined lives of childhood companions Jo Yongpil (Ji Chang Wook) and Jo Samdal (Shin Hye Sun). Tragedy strikes when Yongpil's mother falls victim to a weather forecast mishap, compelling him to pursue a career as a weather forecaster to safeguard his community's elders. His unwavering commitment to accuracy, however, brands him as a headstrong troublemaker.

Meanwhile, Samdal, adopting the name Jo Eun Hye, pursues her aspirations in fashion photography in Seoul. When life takes an unexpected turn, she finds herself returning to her roots in Jeju Island. Reconnecting with Yongpil, she rediscovers a bond that transcends time and trials. Despite past incidents that drove them apart, their enduring affection for each other remains resolute, guiding them back into each other's lives.


Watch a sneak peek of Welcome to Samdalri here.

The 16-episode show premiered on December 2, 2023, and will air on JTBC every Saturday and Sunday at 22:30.

Episode 1: Tears of the Dragon

Episode 1 introduces childhood friends Jo Yongpil and Jo Samdal in 1994, unveiling their opposing dreams: Samdal's ambition to leave Jeju Island contrasts with Yongpil's desire to remain rooted. Fast-forwarding, Samdal, now known as Jo Eun Hye, thrives as a photographer in Seoul. Yet, her career faces upheaval due to betrayal and scandal while Yongpil navigates a passionate yet unrecognized career in weather forecasting on Jeju Island.

The episode culminates in a reflective note, revisiting their childhood aspirations. Samdal's resolved determination never to return to Jeju juxtaposes her eventual flight back to the island, marking a poignant contrast to her earlier dreams. It intricately sets the stage for its characters' intertwining lives and divergent paths, teasing the complexities they encounter and leaving unresolved tensions between their ambitions and past commitments.

Episode 2: The Soulmates' History

Episode 2 delves into the aftermath of Samdal's scandal, forcing her family to flee to Jeju Island to escape press intrusion. Yongpil considers leaving for Seoul but hesitates upon learning of Samdal's troubles. Their return to Jeju Island sparks community curiosity and family discord. Samdal's emotional turmoil remains evident as she navigates her complicated feelings about her cheating boyfriend.

The episode recalls the notorious reputation of Samdal and her sisters, evoking chaos and confinement upon their return. Yongpil's visit rekindles past memories, leading to an emotional encounter by the shore where Samdal rescues him. The episode ends with Yongpil quietly supporting Samdal by attending her failed exhibition.

It intricately explores the characters' interwoven lives, highlighting their struggles, past conflicts, and the turbulent aftermath of their return to Jeju Island.

Our review of Welcome to Samdalri's episodes 1 and 2

Welcome to Samdalri appears set to encapsulate the charm reminiscent of Hometown Cha Cha Cha, painting a narrative that sees an urbanite reacquainting herself with her roots among the locals. The potential revival of romance between Yongpil and Samdal hints at a promising storyline poised to unravel the depth of their relationship.

Samdal's workplace scandal strikes hard, serving as a poignant commentary on the capricious and unforgiving nature of the entertainment industry. It's a stark reminder of how a single misinterpreted incident can swiftly unravel one's life.


The series' inaugural episode skillfully blends humor and drama, offering a captivating introduction to Samdal and Yongpil. If this initial offering is any indication, the show appears to promise a compelling and enjoyable journey ahead.

The exploration of Samdal and Yongpil's shared past proves enthralling, teeming with love, mutual respect, and unresolved emotional baggage. Their on-screen chemistry resonates profoundly, adding depth to each shared scene. The show adeptly balances humor and poignant historical context in their interactions, maintaining a delicate distance between them until their anticipated reunion halfway through the episode.

The revelation surrounding the 'Terrible Three Sisters' adds layers to the narrative, while the looming response of their stern mother to their return amplifies curiosity about the show's future direction.

In sum, the drama establishes a sturdy foundation in its premiere, leaving audiences eagerly anticipating the unraveling of the storyline in forthcoming episodes. The delicate interplay of past and present, coupled with the palpable chemistry between the lead characters, hints at a series that will continue to captivate and enthrall as it progresses. With promising character dynamics and a blend of heartwarming and emotionally charged moments, Welcome to Samdalri sets a promising stage for what's yet to unfold.

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ALSO READ: FTISLAND's Choi Min-hwan and LABOUM's Yulhee part ways 5 years after their marriage

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About The Author

Saumya is Journalism & Mass-Communication graduate with a specialization in digital journalism. She comes with nearly a


Credits: JTBC

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