REVIEW: Bewitching, beguiling Familiar Wife is a joy to watch

If you’re experiencing the worst in your married life or had frustrating life in general, don’t you wish you had the power to get back in time and reset everything—from the time you met your horrific partner and even change your fortunes to find a perfect wife and a perfect life?

This is the premise of the wonderful and amusing fantasy Asianovela, Familiar Wife, wherein Paolo (Ji Sung) and Aileen (Han Ji-min) play a couple faced with so many telling circumstances that often lead to marital tussles. And during the first part of the series, Paolo had been on the receiving end of Aileen’s wrath—from failing to fetch their children from school to public humiliation at a supermarket over shaving cream.



Paolo would always wonder why the Aileen she knew has changed a lot since they first met—a sweet and adorable girl madly in love with him. Really, this situation is truly relatable for a lot of husbands!

And when he crossed paths with his college crush Kyla (Kang Han-na), Paolo would go into throwback mode to the time he missed his chance to date the beautiful school cellist to a concert because he encountered a young Aileen at a bus.



He became Aileen’s savior after he witnessed someone trying to molest her and acted as a witness against the molester. Because of this, Paolo failed to meet Kyla at their rendezvous, dashing chances of getting close to his dream girl. Instead, Aileen pursued him and showed affection towards him for his chivalrous act, They would soon become closer through the years and get married. Then fast forward to the present, life continued to become a living hell for Paolo because not only did he experience a lot of tongue-lashing from Aileen when he got home, he also gets the raw end of several misfortunes in the bank he works for.

It came to a point when Paolo did an errand for his boss to drive to the wake of a client’s mom, and he noticed something was amiss with the road he was familiar with—it had a toll gate. And when he approached it, the self-serve toll gate asked for 500 won for him to pass through. He tried to drop coins that amounted to 500 won but they were not accepted. He would then take out an old 500 won coin an old man gave him in a train after he was the only person who helped him when he stumbled. When he dropped the coin inside the toll gate repository, the gate mysteriously let him through.



When he did pass, his car accelerated and went out of control until it seemed it went to another dimension. That was when he woke up in the year 2006, on the day he was going to meet Kyla at school and she would invite him to watch the concert together.

After experiencing the same situations that happened that day, he would again meet Kyla as a student asking if he could with her to the concert. After he said yes, a delivery rider would sideswipe him and he would wake up once more several years into the future, with Aileen still his wife and experiencing the same misfortunes and quarrels like before.

His squabble with his wife went to a head after Paolo purchased a gaming console, and Aileen discovered it. She again was furious about it because Paolo, she construed, had spent money for his own pleasure rather than for the needs of his family. Paolo would storm out of their house livid at Aileen for constantly berating him on matters that he think she should understand.



He would however discover that things aren’t what their supposed to be—seeing a friend’s mother, who he knew was already dead, and a scar on his wrist that he knew he didn’t have. It seemed it was an updated reality from the time first went back in time.

Paolo remembered the toll gate that led to his “dream” of going back to 2006, and said he will try to return to that area and see if it still existed. If it wasn’t there, it confirmed his suspicions that he has indeed gone insane.

But when he drove back to the area, the toll gate was still there and he tried and succeeded in passing through with another 500-won coin he got from the old man. After experiencing the same mysterious acceleration passing through another dimension, Paolo would again wake up to that day in 2006, when he was to meet Kyla for the date he missed.

And when he did meet Kyla again at school and accepted her invitation to watch the concert together, he would now dodge the approaching delivery rider and again encounter the young Aileen inside the bus on his way to meet Kyla. But this time, Paolo knew that if he didn’t interfere in bringing Aileen’s molester to justice, he would not get to know Aileen, and they would not get married. Another person, a lady, instead did the heroic deed and the reality of him and Aileen becoming husband and wife faded.

This meant Paolo now had the time not to disappoint Kyla and he indeed showed up to bring her to the concert. There they became more intimate and sealed the night with a kiss. Paolo again would then wake up at several years into the future. First he thought the person beside him at bed was Aileen, but to his great surprise, Paolo discovered he now had Kyla as his wife—which is from that specific updated reality wherein he was able to date Kyla and began their romance.

With Aileen seemingly enjoying her single life in this new reality, Paolo was definitely ecstatic with his upgraded life—from having a beautiful and supportive wife to an opulent, successful and extravagant existence. He had also been a favorite at the office since Kyla’s father is an investor in the bank he works for.  Indeed, a 180-degree turn. 

While he is happy and contented, Paolo realized something that made him regret his actions of resetting his life—his children with Aileen was now non-existent.



And when Paolo thought everything was over between him and Aileen, forgetting his cell phone inside a convenience store would seem to change all that. Even with the reset in their realities, it seemed they were destined to meet—Aileen was the one who took hold of his lost cell phone and Paolo set up a meeting with her to retrieve it—not knowing that she is his familiar wife from another reality.

Familiar Wife’s narrative is very enjoyable to follow, given that viewers would certainly relate with all the characters, especially that innate desire to reset their lives when they felt their decisions were wrong and the life they are living had been a disappointment.

Ji Sung and Han Ji-min were quite exceptional in their believable and well-developed portrayals, with Kang Han-na offering a delectable supporting performance. But what really caught everyone was the impeccable writing that truly fascinated and entertained everyone watching. Yang Hee-sung, who also wrote Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo, again gave us a catchy, beguiling, and bewitching story of pushing that familiar time warp, alternate reality genre of fantasy dramas into a very delightful presentation.

Catch Familiar Wife weekdays after Magandang Buhay on the Kapamilya Channel.