My Name 2021 Season 1 Critical Analysis

My Name 2021 is a crime-thriller Korean series starring Han So-heePark Hee-soon, and Ahn Bo-Hyun, released by Netflix on October 2021. This series revolves around the life of a teenage girl, Yoon Ji-woo (Han So-hee), who witnesses her father’s death and sets out to avenge him with the help of the Mafia.

Maneuvering in a Grey world!

Yoon Ji-woo's dual life
Yoon Ji-woo’s dual life

Most of the time, one can perceive life’s events as right or wrong, happy or sad, black or white, but in reality, it is a bleak grey world. My Name (2021) continuously portrays this aspect of life in the grimmest ways using the themes of betrayal, deceit, secrets, irreplaceable loss, fear, and anger. The moment things seem to go her way, something goes wrong. Finally, even her lover is taken from her. Ji-woo ends up taking up the lives of many (Mafia members) to avenge her father, not thinking about their life. Does this make her a villain? Or does it make her a Hero? Are the Mafia not human too? Are all her actions justified? The series makes one question right from wrong. It proves that villains are created, not born. In the end, it is always just each individual’s subjective view.

Seeking Personal Justice

Yoon Ji-woo, although a cop herself, is dissatisfied with the justice system. Personal justice gives no heed to social norms and moral values. It is something intrinsic within each person. A resolution through this individualistic viewpoint may not be accepted by the justice system that caters to society entirely and judges situations from a legal standpoint.

Mu-jin ordered Ji-woo to join the police academy
Mu-jin ordered Ji-woo to join the police academy

Ji-woo’s erratic behavior at the beginning of the series, where she’s on a wild goose chase to grab hold of her father’s murderer, suddenly takes a turn when she falls in love with her co-worker, Jeon Pil-do. Her readiness to adhere to the law and approach her situation in a systematic judicial manner was due to his influence. Having lost him, she went back to her old ways. Finally, choosing the darker path of revenge and kills Choi Moo-jin.

My Name (2021) Portrayal of Revenge to Cope with Loss

Ji-woo’s father was shot to death right in front of her while she stood behind the door, helpless. Left alone in the world, she had nothing else to motivate her but vengeance. Her drive to kill her father’s murderer was so strong that she gave up living a normal life for an incredibly difficult and grotesque life with the Mafias, where Mu-jin (who she believed was her father’s dearest friend) trained her to become a killing machine.

My Name 2022: Finale, Ji-woo gets her revenge
My Name 2022: Finale, Ji-woo gets her revenge

With one betrayal after another, her thirst for revenge only grew stronger. The last scene of the series shows her finally getting her revenge. Battered and bruised but somehow alive, she does not seem content or happy. The only thing that came from vengeance was the development of a monster. She visits Jeon’s family grave, giving a final farewell as a broken monster with no one but herself. One thing is for sure, she came in fighting and went out fighting, without having the fear of death.

No spoilers yet! To find out who the villain was, watch the series, which is currently available on Netflix!

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