Bloodhounds – K-Drama Episode 1 Recap & Review

Episode 1

Episode 1 of Bloodhounds starts in December 2020 during the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic. Kim Gun-woo finishes his boxing training and gets on a bus to go back home. A drunk man causes chaos on the ride back, and Gun-woo uses his skills to tackle him and help the passengers on the bus. However, once he gets home, Gun-woo is disheartened when he overhears his mother apologising to someone for not paying their debt.

News reports claim that due to the recession, there are a lot of construction projects that have been left under construction. Director Hong, the owner of an under-construction hotel, talks to the Vice President of a leading bank, asking for more money to be able to finish the project. The man refuses to lend Director Hong any more money after the initial 400 million won.

Just then, Kim Myeong-gil, a loan shark, joins the meeting and offers to help Director Hong in order to loan him the money. He claims that he has helped Director Hong’s father many years ago during the IMF crisis in South Korea. Myeong-gil retorts that he was trying to right the wrongs of other merciless loan sharks by using his money for good.

Myeong-gil offers to invest the entire 100 billion to help Hong with his hotel business, since he will be running the hotel himself. Myeong-gil starts presenting his terms for the investment and claims that he needs to have a casino on the topmost floor of the hotel, a bar in the basement and a quarantine zone due to Covid-19 restrictions.

On his car ride back home, Myeong-gil tells his driver and his girlfriend that he had managed to get Hong to take a loan from him and how they should start preparing hostesses for the bar they would run at the hotel. The next morning, Gun-woo has a boxing tournament. He is calm and composed in his fights and is known to be a one-punch man, usually defeating his opponents with one punch.

For the final round, he finds himself fighting Woo-jin, a former marine soldier turned boxer named. Woo-jin is the opposite of Gun-woo and is cocky about winning over Gun-woo. Determined to defeat Gun-woo, Woo-jin tries to bear the blow to his ribs and fights back. However, Gun-woo hits him back on the same spot and defeats Woo-jin to win the competition and the prize money of 10 million won.

Woo-jin is sent to the hospital and is mocked by his coach for being defeated despite being a mariner. Outside his hospital room, Gun-woo waits for Woo-jin and offers to treat him to a meal. Woo-jin is mad at Gun-woo for defeating him but then agrees to go out on a meal with him. While eating, Gun-woo tells Woo-jin that he used to part-time a lot.

He states that he helps his mother out because they had a lot of debt due to his father, who sued a large corporation and ended up losing the lawsuit. Woo-jin tells Gun-woo that he’s the son of a bronze-medal winning Olympic Boxer – Hong Song-guen. He started boxing when he was in Grade 6, while Gun-woo claims that he started boxing about three years ago following his military service.

Gun-woo starts talking to Woo-jin formally since Woo-jin is two years older than him. Woo-jin is shocked to learn that Gun-woo was a mariner too and his senior in the military. Woo-jin treats Gun-woo with respect because of their positions but Gun-woo asks him to speak casually.

The two bond over the meal and exchange phone numbers to keep in touch. Woo-jin promises to make Gun-woo street-smart in time. He also tells Gun-woo that they should stay away from Loan sharks after Gun-woo picks up a card at the bus station. These sharks are taking advantage of the desperate conditions of people after Covid-19 hit.

Gun-woo also mentions how his mother’s restaurant owner hadn’t reduced the rent despite the pandemic and that they were in dire need of money to survive. Later that night, Gun-woo goes to his mother’s bakery and gives her the prize money he won from the fight. He asks her to pay off their uncle for the money he had loaned them. On his way back home, Gun-woo can’t help but notice a black car that was tailing him.

Meanwhile, Myeong-gil has asked his employees to look for people who had huge debts to pay off and bring them in for a meeting. Myeong-gil’s girlfriend – In-yeong as well as his employees start talking to people who had huge loans to pay off. They trap these people by claiming to pay the loans off immediately and adding a 5% interest on the amount which was less than what the banks offered.

Myeong-gil’s employees claim that they were a Government issued loan agency that was aiming to help small business owners sustain the recession due to the pandemic. These innocent business owners, including Gun-woo’s mother, sign the contract and borrow the money from Myeong-gil’s agency.

Unbeknownst of this, Gun-woo goes to his gym to practice but learns that the gym had been shut down temporarily because one of the members had tested positive for Covid. His trainer asks Gun-woo to rest but he is not sure what to do. Gun-woo calls Woo-jin, asking to hang out but the latter sends him his address and invites him over.

On his way there, Gun-woo spots a woman attacking a man. He runs after her, seeking answers, but she attacks Gun-woo asking him to stop meddling in things he has no knowledge about. President Choi is an old, wheelchair-bound loan shark. One of his borrowers comes back to return the money he had lent her family.

He asks the woman to pay off other urgent debts but she claims that she needs to pay Choi back for his kindness. Hyeon-ju, the woman who got in a scuffle with Gun-woo, shows up at President Choi’s office. She is his granddaughter and tells him that she had got money out of a borrower by stealing his watch worth 20 million won. President Choi doesn’t approve of that as his loan was only 10 million won.

Hyeon-ju tells him that he needed to stop lending money without interest but the old man claims that saving a family is the most precious form of interest there is. She then tells him that the borrower was trying to scam poor people by taking out loans under their name and using the money for himself. President Choi is concerned that she’s putting herself in danger by meddling with people in the prison.

He calls Mr Moon, looking for a skilled fighter and bodyguard, who’s also an honest person. Meanwhile, Gun-woo and Woo-jin are killing time chatting about what is important for a boxer. Gun-woo thinks that a boxer should have a kind heart but Woo-jin claims that making money is more important. Woo-jin does not agree with Gun-woo’s ideology and tunes out of his rant about being a good person.

Woo-jin then tells Gun-woo that he used to work as a gym trainer for kids but ended up losing his job during the pandemic. Gun-woo asks him to start working as a food delivery agent to make money and work on his non-boxing muscles as cardio. Woo-jin wonders that since Gun-woo has won the Rookie of the Year tournament, he will soon be competing in the Super Series.

Gun-woo claims that the series had been postponed due to the pandemic and adds that all he could do is wait and train. That night, Myeong-gil and his loan shark friends celebrate their success in giving out as many debts to small businesses as possible. He learns from Assemblyman Park that the Mayor of the city will also support their casino bid. After getting confirmation from the Mayor, Myeong-gil bribes the assemblyman that helped him and kicks him out. They then start going out to recollect the debts one by one.

Myeong-gil’s men decide to go out to the small businesses and tell them about a ton of conditions that are included in the loan contracts. They tell Gun-woo’s mother that she has to pay the 40 million won principal amount as well as 20% interest on top,  according to the conditions mentioned in the loan contracts. She threatens to call the cops when Myeong-gil’s thugs break down her shop.

She calls Gun-woo for help and he runs to help his mother. He fights the thugs and beats them all single-handedly, leaving them in a bloody pulp. Myeong-gil shows up at the restaurant and asks his bodyguard, a huge man, to fight Gun-woo. Gun-woo tries his best to keep up but is soon overpowered by the man and ends up passed out in front of his mother, covered in blood.

Myeong-gil asks Gun-woo to work for him because he has grit, but the boxer spits in the loan shark’s face. Infuriated by the insults, Myeong-gil strikes Gun-woo with a knife on his cheek as the episode comes to an end.

The Episode Review

From the beginning of the episode, it’s clear that Myeong-gil is a very suspicious character. I’m sure that he is the bad guy but something about Director Hong makes me think that he too could be someone influential. While having the same last name is not very uncommon in South Korea, Woo-jin could well be a chaebol himself. Is he Director Hong’s brother?

It is possible that after taking Myeong-gil’s money and being conned by him, something happens to Woo-jin’s brother – Mr Hong that would make him want to seek revenge on Myeong-gil. It’s nice to see this show using Covid-19 restrictions to their advantage. Since the pandemic affected the entire world in an equal measure, viewers from all around the world can easily relate to the things happening in the story.

While President Choi seems like a good man in this story, actor Heo Joon-ho’s character from Why Her? makes me doubt his true intentions! Woo Do-hwan certainly looks good during the boxing tournament and it’ll be interesting to see more of his awkward but shy energy in this show.

Next Episode

You can read our full season review for Bloodhounds here!


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