Welcome Lee Hong-ki to his first lead role in a drama! *applause* I can’t say this drama is anything new or innovative, but it does have its charm. Yang Jin-sung is absolutely winning. I’m really enjoying her performance. I’m holding out a verdict until I watch a few more episodes, though.
Onwards to my recap. First recap I’ve done in a LONG time!
“Come Inside” – Lee Jae-jin of F.T. Island (from the Bride of the Century OST)
episode 1 recap
We open in the past, sometimes in the Joseon period presumably, where a gaggle of gossiping women peek in on a young, beautiful new bride and lament the loss of her beauty. Why? Because rumor has it that she’s going to die.
Well, that’s morbid.
Inside, her new groom asks if she believes that rumor, the one that says that the first bride of the first-born son of his family will be sacrificed to the ghosts of the house. I’d say the nervous look on her face means she believes it.
Outside, the gaggle of women tell the tale of the beautiful and curvaceous ghost who claims she is the wife of the household and sucks the life out of the living bride to maintain her beauty.
A woman (Kim Mi-kyung) stops their gossiping with a stern command and orders no one to enter the bridal area. Inside, the husband begins to unrobe his bride when he passes out, leaving her alone and scared.The lights go out, doors start to rattle and she is chased by a ghostly apparition into the woods. Her husband and a search party pursue and hear a scream, but only find her shoes by the edge of a cliff.
Cut to modern day where heroine Na Doo-rim (Yang Jin-sung) is happily snorkeling and collecting seafood. When she emerges she sees a woman in white jump off the edge of a cliff. She chases after her and grabs her wrist to pull her up when suddenly the woman in white opens her eyes, grins evilly, changes into what looks like the harbinger of death, and then turns back into the idiot jumper.
Doo-rim administers horrid CPR and the girl wakes up, complaining about how slowly Doo-rim rescued her. She proceeds to sob and wish death on the jerk who promised to love her for the rest of her life and then ditched her for another woman. Doo-rim kindly covers her with a jacket. Jumper says she’d understand if he’d left her if she’d had a body like Doo-rim’s. Doo-rim, understandably, is insulted and defends herself against the pretty ungrateful woman by saying love is nothing to jump for. It’s obvious to the Jumper that Doo-rim has never been in love and thinks it’s a shame. Jumper gives her a bracelet that she was told would bring love. Then she gathers her expensive new shoes, tells Doo-rim the bracelet might help her avoid dying a virgin, and saunters off.
A granny (Doo-rim’s granny named Pak Soon-bok and played by Nam Jung-hee) calls Doo-rim and soon she is changed and cutting up the abalone she’d just harvested. Then she’s off on a delivery in a red tracksuit.
Production is slow on a construction sight and workers aren’t being paid. They are waiting on an investment from a Taeyang group. The foreman, Jang Yi-hyun (Sang Hyuk), receives a call from his younger sister Jang Yi-kyung (also played by Yang Jin-sung) who is already quite different in personality from Doo-rin. She assures her Yi-hyun that he doesn’t have to worry. As they continue to chat, Doo-rim arrives on delivery (the camera highlights her bracelet) and in the most awkwardly cheesy of sequences, saves him from a falling cement brick, getting hit on her helmeted head in his stead. He stares at Doo-rim in shock (‘cause she looks just like Yi-kyung) and asks if her head is okay. Apparently, because she was trained in martial arts, getting hit in the head supposedly isn’t as damaging. He’s still worried and gives her his card. Then she runs off to deliver her meal.\
Yi-kyung calls back and hears there is someone who looks just like her. The way the conversation is cut is really terrible, but basically it tells us he rehashed the situation and that she doesn’t believe him. He chooses to eat on site and receives a mixed reception ‘cause of his high status and because of the late payments. He pours the construction head a drink and promises payment by the end of the month. His drinking skills earn him some points.
Cut to Lee Hong-ki’s entrance to massive fangirl screaming! Wait, that’s LIKE his entrance would be if this were real life, but in the story, it’s Choi Kang-joo arriving home after a business trip. Yi-kyung is there with flowers and a coy smile to welcome him. He coldly accepts the flowers to her displeasure and quickly breezes past her, cranky at all the noise.
Is it bad that I just want blond hair and a goofy Jeremy smile right now?
In the car Kang-joo asks his assistant, Lee Roo-mi (Jung Ah-young) for what he “asked for” while Secretary Kim (Kang Pil-sun) drives. He gruffly hands it to Yi-kyung and tells her to try it on. It’s a necklace. She pretends to be flattered while Roo-mi gives her dirty looks and Kang-joo couldn’t gives a flying fuck. Or a grounded one. No one answers her when she asks where they’re going and she controls her temper.
They’re off to a frosty meal and she attempts to get to know her new fiancé better. Her friends make fun of her for only having a fiancé in name. She feels better spending time with him. He tells her time is not necessary when she receives “the list” (of his likes presumably) from his mother. Wow, show. Way to take jerkiness to the extreme. She wonders why he didn’t go straight home from the airport and when a Japanese president of some sort walks by, we have our reason. He greets her in Japanese. (I’m sure Hong-ki has plenty of practice from all his Japanese albums with F.T. Island and their Japan tours!)
He introduces Yi-kyung to the Japanese woman, the president of the JR Group, President Kaneko, and then asks her to join them. She refuses him as the is the owner of the Taeyang group and she has already chosen a brand for her mall. But then she spots the necklace Yi-kyung is sporting and pauses. (I knew that necklace was getting too much camera time!) With tears in her eyes, the president reaches out to touch the necklace and Kang-joo spins a yarn about proposing and winning Yi-kyung over with the necklace. It is called “Eternal Love” the work of her late husband who also proposed to her with that necklace. The President Kaneko asks Yi-kyung how she feels, and it’s pretty clear what the answer is, “I feel used.”
Roo-mi reports to someone on the phone that Kang-joo landed the deal with President Kaneko and calls a board meeting. She congratulates him and he thanks her. Apparently she bid on the necklace in New York as he’d asked. Yi-kyung finally speaks up, asking Kang-joo if she’s his puppet. He answers plainly: Yes. She wasn’t expecting a normal foolish game of love, was she? Their relationship is purely business.
Yi-kyung runs into Kang-joo’s younger brother Choi Kang-in (Jung Hae-in) who had no idea his hyung was back in town. (He’s an idol in a the group “Monstar.”) The girl with him, Leeann (Kim Yoo-Jung), asks if Yi-kyung is one of is sasaeng fans and is chastised for being rude and introduces herself as part of some girl group or other. Yi-kyung quickly leaves and ignores his request to say “hi” to his brother.
Kang-joo checks out his mall where posters of LC9 (the group his brother Kang-in is supposedly in) hang everywhere. He’s not sure they’re image fits his mall’s. He wants it canceled. He also fires a woman who has been working there for three years because she smells of perfume and cigarettes. Well, since he’s already been established as a jerk, can we skip this part?
Yi-kyung gets scolded by Ma Jae-ran (Shin Eun-jung), her mother, for being insulted by Kang-joo’s business attitude towards their impending marriage. Really now? Jae-ran tells her to keep it to herself despite how unfair and rude he is. There is bad blood between Yi-kyung and Roo-mi as well, as was evidenced by the nasty looks before, but Mom doesn’t care about that either and reminds Yi-kyung that this marriage will save the company. Yi-kyung still hates it. It ain’t her fault. That earns her an undeserved slap and another lecture about how her marriage will save the business and their lives.
Can I slap her?
Kang-joo visits a beautiful hanok, his home, and is greeted warmly by the staff. He does the same. SHOCKER. He smiles?
He sits down for a drink with his parents and his mom (Kim Myung-hee played by Kim Seo-ra) is dressed in a hanbok. So, super traditional family living in their haunted hanok.
Dad (Choi Il-do played by Choi Il-hwa) compliments him on closing the JR Group deal. Mom Myung-hee is not ready to accept the deal as solid quite yet. Dad gives a lesson about patience based on a tea brewing analogy and mom complains about Kang-in not calling on his newly return hyung. Dad is happy/proud/not please/? that Kang-in makes his own money and mom says she never asked him to do that. His career (as an idol) stresses her out. Kang-joo smirks and says Kang-in will come home soon.
What did you do, smirky pants?
Yi-kyung and Yi-hyun chat with their mother about their day. He drank makgeolli with the crew, she sarcastically says that her day was “just fine.” She asks her brother about her lookalike, which earns him a warning look from mom.
Doo-rim takes off the bracelet, calling it a load of crap, and crawls into bed beside granny. The bracelet gets some screen time.
Jump to Kang-joo lighting some candles and having a flashback of being locked in a room. As he emerges from the family shrine, he meets the friendly female head servant and smiles again. I likes smiles. They pleasantly part ways.
Doo-rim shows off a picture of an idol group, “Monstar,” who are in reality LC9, to two fans. (I really liked their first album…anywho!) She is so ridiculously cheery and her hair is so terrible. Then she makes a delivery, chats up the beauty shop ahjumma, Bong-sook, and gets some free stuff before she’s off again. The shop ahjumma looks a little guilty about the neighborhood collection money she received.
In her room, Yi-kyung bitches about Kang-joo’s bitchiness and then mom looks in on her like a creepy old lady.
A psychic (Park Jung-hak) sees out a guest and then hurries back inside a hanok. He lays down and then starts to spaz and jerk. When he opens his eyes a ghostly apparition floats down and tells him she’s left her home empty for too long. When she leaves, a woman will arrive. He should give her everything she wants. He tries to refuse and shuts his eyes against her creepiness. Then she floats away. When she’s gone, he wonders who would be coming as he doesn’t have any appointments.
Then Yi-kyung’s mom comes and hands him lots of money. She heard he takes care of the Taeyang group.
Doo-rim diligently sells coffee and noodles outside the harbor and meets the two Monstar fans. They are ogling pictures of Choi Kang-joo and explain that he was voted one of the “Most Beautiful Chaebol’s in the World” as the heir of Taeyang group. He’s more famous than his idol brother Kang-in. The girls say that she looks like Kang-joo’s fiancée. Hehe. I see where this is going.
Doo-rim serves three men coffee and they tell her that they’ll pay later. She gets annoyed and asks for the money NOW. They hit on her and she beats them senseless. Hehe. They pay right away, and I’m pretty sure they overpay while she receives applause. She sells to her new fans.
Cut to a view of her martial arts photos while she does her bills. Granny brings in some sweet potatoes. Doo-rim wants Granny to go to the hospital because she’s been sick, but Grams doesn’t want to go. She thinks her disease is from the heartbreak of losing Doo-rim’s parents and doesn’t want to waste money on the hospital. Doo-rim protests – she wants to buy the best for her Grams. That makes the old woman smile happily. They’re a cute pair. She beats the t.v. into working so they can watch drama together.
The next day the neighborhood is in an uproar. Bong-sook, the beauty shop ahjumma, ran away with the neighborhood collection and the store deposit. Doo-rim freaks out and searches for the ahjumma at the station, but doesn’t find her. She collapses to the ground and has a good cry. Afterwards, she trudges home only to find her granny collapsed and rushes her to the hospital. The old woman needs surgery asap.
When it rains it pours. And if you’re in K-dramaland, it’s a monsoon.
Granny wakes up and cries about how cruel the world is to take the money she saved up for the neighborhood collection/lodging deposit. (I think the money was the savings of a bunch of neighborhood ahjummas placed into an account for safe keeping or something.) Doo-rim asks her not to worry and to take care of herself instead. Aw, yay.
Kang-joo’s dad listens to some horribly performed partitas and then is visited by Mama Kang-joo who says it’s his mother’s last wish that they maintain the house. If he wants to destroy it, he should also destroy the picture of his first love that is in the study. Hrm, he was the firstborn effected by the curse? Kang-joo definitely has to be the next first born for this story to roll!
Secretary Kim tries to prevent Kang-joo from working later, but fails.
Meanwhile, Yi-kyung is with her friends who ogle her necklace that is worth a Gangnam apartment. Eek. I’d be afraid to wear it. Among her “friends” is Roo-mi who says she would’ve thrown it away a long time ago. She’s basically poking fun as how much shit Yi-kyung has to put up with as Kang-joo’s fiancée – merely a business transaction for him. The look that Yi-kyung gives her is deadly. Later, Yi-kyung rubs in the fact that she, not Roo-mi, was chosen as the prestigious Taeyang Group’s daughter-in-law. Roo-mi won’t give up on him because they’re lifelong friends. She worked for him straight out of college because she believes they’re meant to be. She’ll take any chance to be with him.
Yi-kyung let’s out her inner bitch and promises that the marriage will happen, her family needs it. Roo-mi mocks her, calling her a beggar with no pride because her family is nouveau riche who can only suffer to be a puppet for money. As a last jab, she reminds Yi-kyung to wear the necklace to show President Kaneko at Kang-joo’s inauguration as Taeyang Group’s president.
So she gets ready, remembering that she is Kang-joo’s puppet, her mother’s puppet, her family’s company’s puppet. At the inauguration, Yi-hyun receives a note from Yi-kyung and seems alarmed. He delivers it to his mother:
Don’t look for me for a while. I’m returning the necklace to keep my last bit of pride.
Mom freaks out as Kang-joo and his parents arrive. It’s awkward.
We jump to Yi-kyung’s mom, Jae-ran, and Yi-hyun searching the house for her. Mom collapses with worry for her daughter. Yi-hyun promises to look for her.
And then there is another awkward cut to Kang-joo’s mother, Myung-hee, showing Jae-ran pictures of Yi-kyung playing hooky on the inauguration day. She doesn’t look like a girl with appendicitis. Kang-joo’s mom doesn’t care for excuses and wants to have the families formally meet. If Yi-kyung doesn’t show, the marriage is off the table. That leads to Jae-ran ordering people to find her daughter, terrified her daughter is going to let their company sink. It is in dire straights. All they need to do is get through the dinner. Yi-hyun has a plan.
Jump to a desperate Doo-rim looking for a loan and feeling put off by the fact that she needs a down payment to receive a loan. Whack. Yi-hyung drives to her town to find her. Her restaurant is closed, however.
Doo-rim is searching the papers for any kind of money opportunity and the bracelet falls out of her pocket. She slips it on, aiming to try the paper once more and that something lucky will happen. She finds Yi-hyun’s card and decides to call. She has nothing to lose. As she calls, he happens upon her and can’t believe his luck that the person he is looking is looking for him as well. She starts making excuses that she doesn’t feel well from getting hit in the head with a brick and asks for money for hospital bills. He decides to forgo the phone call and appears before her.
She’s a little surprised and more so when he asks her to put her hair up. He does it himself when she’s too stunned by the question to do it herself. He can barely believe the resemblance between her and Yi-kyung and gets right to the point: please be the fiancée to the Taeyang Group.
Admittedly I started this show for Lee Hong-ki as many a fan girl did. I wasn’t super hyped for the premise, or for any Chosun TV dramas. I haven’t seen any, but I’ve heard of the messes they’ve left behind. Still, I wanted Lee Hong-ki!
I was pleasantly surprised by Yang Jin-sung who really gets to show off her acting chops playing two different characters. She takes horribly typical Candy and Bitchy characters and makes them easy-to-relate to. I was left pretty cold by everyone else save for Granny. Lee Hong-ki was perfectly fine as Kang-joo, but there was nothing special yet.
Mostly I noticed how AWKWARD this whole episode was. What was with the editing. It was choppy and reminiscent of later episodes that suffer from lack of time due to the live shoot process. The story wasn’t difficult to follow because it was as cookie cutter as they come, but I was definitely jarred by scene changes that should’ve been a lot smoother.
In fact, this whole this was so cookie cutter than I’m hoping, praying, and yearning for something new if I am to continue recapping this. My favorite bits were with Doo-rim, who is refreshing. I hope she breathes life into the rest of the drama as she gets transplanted into the world of bitchy rich people, slappy moms, and not-smiling Lee Hong-ki’s.
You guys want more recaps of this one?