You and I, the Intersection of Two Universes
Episode 1 of Crash Course in Romance begins with a boy racing through the corridors at school. Ominous music plays as he heads out to the balcony, turns to face someone… and then we fade to black.
Our setting for Netfli’x latest K-drama is the Gangnam academy district. This is Korea’s private education mecca. High education means a higher stature in society and as such, the rich get a head-start here. Not everyone is rich though. Enter stage right: Nam Haeng-Seon. This bubbly woman works running her own food shop called Nation’s Best Banchan.
While Haeng-Seon stumbles before she even starts, one person who’s already high flying is math tutor Choi Chi-yeol. He’s on commercials, has billboards all over the place and his face is a mainstay of the Gangnam academy district. In fact, he’s known as the “One Trillon Won Man” and that’s because he knows how to manage his time better than most. He’s *ahem* done the math. Sorry, I’ll see myself out.
When a prospective rival begins doing online classes on the day of the June mock, Cho Chi-yeol is having none of it. He’s not happy that Song Jun-ho is on his turf so he begins immediately going against him, taking all his views away. In fact, the poor guy falls off a cliff and dwindles down to less than 100 views. Chi-yeol clocks up over 50k views.
We then meet a handful of kids that are part of this academy. Su-A is the star pupil but she’s not happy when she learns she’s further back in the classroom from Chi-yeol. As for Hae-e and Sun-jae, the pair get along like a house on fire, riding the bus together and enjoying each other’s company. Hae-e takes a flyer for Chi-yeol’s classes, before she heads home and greets her mother, who happens to be Haeng-seon. There’s also her uncle, Jae-woo, who’s pretty eccentric.
While Chi-yeol uses all the tools of the trade to get his class to pay attention, discussing all sorts of difficult math equations, Haeng-seon has her own stamina, entertaining the academy mums who show up at her shop. She seems to have absolutely no time for romance, which is pretty similar to Chi-yeol too, who feels the same way. Some of this, however, could be related to a strange vision he keeps seeing of a student running toward him.
Speaking of which, a school kid rushes over at Chi-yeol’s place and enters without asking late that night. He manages to get her out but before she enters the taxi Chi-yeol has called, the girl throws her arms around him and forces a hug. Chi-yeol does his best to get her off but unfortunately someone from afar snaps pictures of them together.
Meanwhile, Jae-woo ends up with a fever and is taken into hospital. Haeng-seon is there to help him, and between eking out a living with her shop, looking after Hae-e and trying to do the best she can, she’s run pretty thin. Haeng-seon keeps her stamina, wiping her brother’s brow, and tries to make the most of this difficult situation.
After a tough night’s sleep, one that sees Chi-yeol sleeping on the floor in a sleeping bag, he receives a call urging him to check Studyhard.com. Unfortunately, Chi-yeol is trending with those pictures taken the night before with the student.
While he’s told by his assistant that the situation will blow over in a few days, the student itself posting that they’re together romantically is enough for him to stress out and cancel the lesson planned for that afternoon. Chi-yeol is malnourished, he’s not sleeping right and he’s super stressed. He needs to take better care of himself and his assistant, Dong-hee, is worried.
At the hospital, Chi-yeol spots Jae-woo snapping photos of him. Given he has a picture of a tiger on his jacket, Chi0yeol has a hard time believing that Jae-woo has taken a picture of it and a big misunderstanding ensues. In fact, Jae-woo charges out the hospital and tries to run away.
The thing is, Haeng-seon has unbelievable stamina and is super fast. Chi-yeol does manage to evade her though, charging into the men’s bathroom. There, he checks the phone and realizes she was right, it’s only the tiger he took a picture of.
Outside in the corridor, Chi-yeol throws the phone over to an approaching Haeng-seon but she misses it and it slams on the floor. She’s shocked to notice the screen has cracked completely and rushes off. Haeng-seon realizes this is yet another cost to add on, and even worse, Jae-woo is crushed when he finds his phone screen cracked.
Hae-e is having a rough time at school. Given they’re not as rich as the other mums and dads, Hae-e lashes out at Haeng-seon. claiming she doesn’t care as much given she’s her stepmother. Well, she’s actually her aunt and is looking after her but still, the point remains.
It absolutely crushes our protagonist, as Hae-e leaves. For her, life is unfair and she’s frustrated. The other parents manage to get helpers or dry cleaners to do their assignments but for Hae-e, she has to try and do all of it herself. She has no time to study and as such, she’s struggling in class. When Haeng-seon chases after her, Hae-e eventually apologizes but she also wants Haeng-Seon to help enrol her in Chi-yeol’s class.
As for Chi-yeol, he’s had a rough day and between the running and the class scandal, he ends up getting food… from Haeng-seon’s shop. It’s absolutely life changing for him. It’s basically the moment where the chef critic eats the ratatouille in Pixar’s movie, Ratatouille. This food actually gives him a reason to put food in his mouth and he’s overcome with emotion as a result.
The Episode Review
Crash Course In Romance gets off to a great start with a really solid episode that takes parts of shows like Sky Castle and blends it in with the quirky romance and comedy seen in series like Secretary Kim. The blend of influences actually works surprisingly well and this series already has a lot going for it.
The editing is absolutely on-point, switching effortlessly back and forth between Chi-yeol and Haeng-Seon, eventually colliding together into a lovely moment at the end as these two are on course to falling into one another’s lives.
The soundtrack is really good so far too while the acting across the board is great. Roh Yoon-seo was one of the best actresses in Our Blues last year and she’s equally great in her role as Hae-e here. You can completely empathize with her character and understand just why she’s so annoyed and this chapter captures that so well, explaining her woes in a way that doesn’t make her seem like a completely brat.
This looks to be quite the promising K-drama and if this is a sign of things to come, we could be in for an absolute banger of a drama!
You can read our full season review for Crash Course in Romance here!