Black Dog – K-Drama Episode 1 Recap & Review

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Being a teacher nowadays is no easy feat and by the looks of things, it’s even more difficult in South Korea. TVN’s new drama, Black Dog is set to show us the difficulties teachers face and in particular, short-term ones. Although a little slow to begin with, the first episode manages to set the scene quite well, showing us the tragic past of Ha-Neul, which has shaped the person she has grown to be. She’s already facing some tough challenges but looks determined to succeed.

We begin in 2007 with three school trip coaches driving along the road. While most of the kids in one are getting quite excited, a young girl, Ha-Neul, calls her mum before the weather starts turning. As they plunge into a tunnel, the coach hits a car and crashes, spinning around onto its side. All the students and teachers manage to come out without too many serious injuries, but they soon realise that Ha-Neul is still on the coach.

One of the teachers, Young-Ha, decides to go back to save her despite the protests of his colleague. Unfortunately, he’s hurt too and after reaching her, a policeman arrives to help her out while he stays behind and struggles to walk. Suddenly, an explosion engulfs the tunnel and kills Young-Ah in the process.

During Young-Ha’s memorial, his mother and wife despair as the school refuses to release any compensation for him. To their shock, they explain that he wasn’t really a teacher but actually a temporary one. Ha-Neul watches this conversation which upsets her greatly, as she feels responsible and wonders why he saved her. Determined to find the answer, she heads to the tunnel and vows to find the reason why.

Fast forward to 2019, Ha-Neul is studying to be a teacher and applies to be a short term one, just like Young-Ah. She’s also been visiting his wife, Lady Song, all these years and while helping at her restaurant, she gets a phone call from Daichi School with a job interview. After hanging up, the vice principal discusses with the principal about hiring only short term teachers with no experience, before heading to a training session on how to fill college records application for students, led by Do Yeon Woo.

The next day, Ha-Neul arrives for her interview, along with two other prospective candidates. As the tests get underway, she makes a mistake and thinks she has failed. After the candidates leave, Ms Park and Young-Tae clash, as she wants to know who was chosen, because of connections they have in the school. We then see Ha-Neul later finding out in a forum that the school already had someone in mind and she was just a filler.

The next day, Ha-Neul finds out she actually got the job and receives a one year contract. As the teachers find out, the principal tells Ms Park that she got in because she’s the niece for one of the teachers, Moon Soo-Ho, who is also the head of administration.

Ha-Neul heads to school for her first day and soon hears that her uncle works there, which makes her realise that the post on the internet was probably about her. She meets Yeon-Woo who gives her the cold shoulder, mentioning that teachers should care more about students than politics. Ha-Neul’s day doesn’t get any better; after struggling to understand the administration side of her new job, she heads down to the cafeteria where a teacher asks her if she knew about her uncle working at the school. She insists that she didn’t know and apologizes if anyone was offended.

Ha-Neul decides to find her Uncle to confront him about her application. She tells him she will resign by her own accord and wonders why he didn’t tell her. He then reveals that he had nothing to do with her admission and advises her to stay for one year then apply for a permanent position. We also see that Ms Park was listening to their conversation and just as Ha-Neul gets ready to leave, Ms Park tells her she can quit if she wants to do something better, but a teacher who leaves their students is an unqualified one.

After work, Ha-Neul decides to visit Lady Song, but as she looks through the window, she sees that she’s crying and ignoring her call, upset by some previous customers who made some bad comments about her late husband. After a very tough first day, Ha-Neul struggles to stay composed, holding back tears but with determination, she makes her way in for the first day back with the students and decides to face Ms Park, which is where the episode ends.

I must admit that I’m quite intrigued by the direction this new drama is taking. While the episode was quite long and felt a little slow, Black Dog has an interesting story and Ha-Neul is a character you can’t help but root for. She’s faced with many challenges already and her colleagues don’t seem supportive at all.

I’m looking forward to see what will happen next and how well she’ll manage to teach her students. She will undoubtedly want to make a difference, especially knowing that the reason she chose that position was because of the teacher who saved her. Black Dog has certainly got potential; the acting is quite good and the premise is interesting but whether it will become one of the better Korean Dramas worth remembering, remains to be seen for now.


Black Dog is available to watch on Viki. Feel free to click here and sign up now to check this show out!

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