Frankly Speaking – K-drama Episode 1 Recap & Review

It Is A Lie

Episode 1 of Frankly Speaking introduces us to our main protagonist, Announcer Son Ki-baek. He is a hardworking man but a people-pleaser. He keeps everything inside and ends up getting used by his boss and co-workers. Point in case, he has to entertain his boss’s kids at work on their work experience day.

His colleagues pity but fault him for not speaking up for himself. Ki-baek is gunning for the main anchor spot and wants to avoid getting on his boss’s bad side. Most of his co-workers think Ki-baek will get the position as he is eloquent and has the looks. They all agree that he is competent, and it is only a matter of time.

Following the incident with his boss’s children, Ki-baek prepares to deliver the afternoon news alongside his co-anchor, Hye-heon. However, just as they are about to go live, Hye-heon receives a message that visibly unsettles her. This unexpected turn of events leaves her visibly distracted for the majority of the show. 

Elsewhere, we meet On Woo-joo, a variety show writer who works on a show called Men on The Run. She is on a blind date but is distracted by her phone. She shares with her date that writers like her never have time to date because of their demanding schedules. True to her words, she receives a call and hurriedly excuses herself to deal with a work emergency.

The emergency turns out to be one of the cast members of her show, Kim Seong-hun is refusing to participate in the shoot. His girlfriend ordered him not to interact with any females. Woo-joo asks to talk with his girlfriend and persuade her to allow Seong-hun to work with a female guest. However, he refuses to say who he is dating, which frustrates Woo-joo more. 

Back at the studio, we learn that Hye-heon got a threatening message from her husband. He just learned about her affair with Seong-hun and is in a rage. He storms into the studio and publicly confronts his wife. Ki-baek finds himself in the middle of the couple’s fight as the husband grabs him and tosses him around. Nonetheless, Ki-baek tries his best to continue with the show.

It gets messier, and the studio scrambles to switch off the signal. Sadly, by the time they manage to cut it, Ki-baek is already a trending meme. On the other side, Seong-hun runs from Woo-joo after learning his affair has been ousted in public. The scene simultaneously cuts to Ki-baek apologising to his boss.  The boss asks him to write an apology letter, and Ki-baek humbly obliges. 

On the other hand, Woo-joo protests before accepting any accountability. Won-joo’s boss wants to cancel the show if she isn’t able to get  Jung-Heon, an upcoming tarot singer, for their show before their rival. Won-joo refuses to accept this and takes it as a challenge to prove the show can maintain its ratings. In these two scenes, we see how different she is from Ki-baek. She openly speaks her mind and refuses to be discriminated against.

As for Ki-baek, the boss talks about his dream of becoming the main anchor. Ki-baek is pleased that the boss submitted his name, but the boss worries the recent scandal will affect Ki-baek’s chances. It is a 50-50 risk, depending on whether the board of directors will see Ki-baek’s sudden rise to popularity as a good or bad thing for the studio.

After the meeting with his boss, Ki-baek runs into a colleague who asks about a show Ki-baek turned down. Ki-baek is more than happy for the colleague to fill his spot. Through a conversation with his friend Ji-hoo, we Learn that Ki-baek has a troubled relationship with his family.

The stressful afternoon causes Ki-baek to start experiencing flatulence and stomach discomfort. Unfortunately, he and Won-joo accidentally get on the lift when the technicians are about to start their maintenance check. Unable to control his discomfort, Ki-baek starts farting, and Won-joo tries to open the elevator to get away. It takes a while, but finally, a maintenance guy saves them.

Later, Ki-baek tries to please his co-workers as he hears they will help choose the main anchor. He agrees to help a co-worker in a pickle and host a radio show where he eloquently reads poems. As for Won-joo, her team is unable to secure Jung-heon, who gives a stunning performance on their rival show.

In turn, Won-joo and her team pull an all-nighter trying to find the new diamond in the rough to introduce in their show. After Won-joo listens to Ki-baek on the radio, she decides to make him the new star of their show. Even though everyone knows Ki-baek doesn’t appear in variety shows and wants to keep a serious image, Won-joo is determined to get him.

The next day, Ki-baek gets bad news from his boss. Apparently, the big bosses don’t think Ki-baek is a good fit as the main anchor. The scandal is negatively affecting him, and he needs to change the public perception quickly.

The boss introduces Ki-baek to Won-joo, and they grab coffee. Ki-bael politely turns her down, but she insists. He is forced to lie that he has an ankle injury, but she immediately calls him out on the lie. For the rest of the day, Ki-baek struggles with writing an apology letter and keeping up with the work his colleagues dump on him.

In the evening, he meets with Ji-hoo, who advises him to stand up for himself. At the end of the day, Ki-baek gets a message from his boss. The boss went ahead and agreed on his behalf to do the show.

The following morning, Ki-baek arrives at the shoot location. At the same time, a famous idol, PN, greets his adoring fans on his way to the shoot. In front of his fans, he acts like a sweetheart, but behind closed doors, he terrorises the staff. Ki-baek accidentally hears him bad-mouthing his co-stars but doesn’t confront him.

The shoot starts well with the teams playing indoor dodgeball. Ki-baek and PN are on opposing sides and things get competitive. The two keep targeting each other and PN keeps on losing. The director and writers ask for a short break, and Won-joo calls Ki-baek aside to talk with him. She scolds him for going after PN when he is their biggest star. She says his fans provide food and drinks in every shoot and it is the reason he is always at the centre in any shoot.

Ki-baek denies being an amateur, and as he explains himself, he sneezes and grabs the wall to steady himself. He, unfortunately, grabs an open live wire and gets electrocuted. The whole building gets a blackout while Won-joo checks if Ki-baek is okay. He says he is fine, but that is a lie. 

You see, when he was electrocuted, it altered his brain chemistry. He is unable to keep his thoughts and feelings like before. The shoot is taken outside, and PN’s attitude gets worse. He calls Ki-baek a loser and hits a staff member, trying to appease him. Ki-baek loses his patience and grabs PN by the collar while scolding him.

He is about to slap some sense into the young idol when Won-joo tackles him to the ground. She asks if he has gone crazy, and he starts screaming. The episode ends with Ki-baek writhing on the ground, furiously screaming, “This is all a lie.”

The Episode Review

This was a fun and thrilling introductory episode that left us wanting to see more. When we first met Ki-baek, he was good at holding things in. Now, something happened after he got electrocuted, and he is a new man. In a way, the electrocution feels like a blessing in disguise because it is not healthy to live like that. We are curious to see what happens now that the dam walls have burst open. Ki-baek’s colleagues better watch out. 

The relationship between Jung-heon and Wom-joo also piques our curiosity. It seems like they know each other. Did they date in the past? This is just the first episode, but if the show maintains this momentum, it will be one of the funniest shows we have seen this year. We look forward to learning more about the characters while also enjoying the comedy.


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