The Goddess Of Revenge – Episode 1 Recap & Review

The Shoes. It’s All About The Shoes.

As flames rage in the distance, episode 1 of The Goddess Of Revenge begins with two women staring at each another menacingly. In the distance, a baby’s cry interrupts them as a man stands waiting.

It’s an intriguing opener and one that immediately sees us cut across to the beautiful city of Seoul. Kang Hae-Ra is an influencer online, with lots of comments and people watching live. She’s got a fan signing at 7pm too, which she’s reminded of via the comment section online. Just to reinforce her position, we also see that she’s won awards for being the Best Influencer Too.

However, her pretty face tells a very different story. A nasty bruise across her left eye hints at an abusive relationship but she quickly gets this covered up by a professional make-up artist.

Sitting next to her however is Jee-Su. These two clearly have history going all the way back to the time Hae-Ra was a reporter alongside her. Jee-Su is immediately put in her place though as we cut across to Hae-Ra at her meeting that evening.

Meanwhile in court, Min-Joon works as a prosecution lawyer and remains cold and hostile toward a teary-eyed woman giving an impassioned plea against her boss.

After hearing another witness, Min-Joon manages to win the case and clears his client of the sexual assault allegations he was accused of. However, he also receives an egg to the chest for his troubles from a protestor outside. Min-Joon gets his frustration out at the gym before deciding to head out to cool off.

Hae-Ra heads out too but she finds herself stuck in traffic. Determined not to be late for her big signing, she decides to get the underground instead. On the way she runs into Hyun-Sung who catches her from falling as her heel flies off. It’s a typical k-drama moment of romance and one that’s followed up by him fixing her broken heel.

When she arrives at the meeting and greets her fans, Hyun-Sung shows up again and claims to be a big fan, handing over a bag with new shoes inside.

Outside, she notices Hyun-Sung being beaten by a couple of guys and eventually heads over to help. He simply tells her that in order to help her, she could head out and buy him a meal.

As they sit and eat together, he talks about his past and how he did everything he could to survive. He asks outright what he can do to be more like her, especially given how successful she is. He calls her a role model and offers her a drink to congratulate for a job well done.

A slick rotating shot then spins us to the next day as Hae-Ra finds herself in a daze and confused over what happened the previous night. As she heads into town, a whole flock of reporters show up and surround her, discussing an inappropriate relationship she’s been in with a reporter 10 years younger than her. Apparently a sex tape has leaked online too and all of this looks like a big nightmare for Hae-Ra.

Bookstores have cancelled all orders, Hae-Ra’s life is spiralling out of control and her agency have videos of her that they’ve been trying in vain to block. Even worse, her husband has filed for divorce after Hyun-Sung went to the media and handed over the alleged sex tape.

Her husband Hoon-Seok is furious too and tells her to find her own way to survive. She’s on her own now and even worse Jee-Su – the woman badmouthing Hae-Ra earlier in the episode – rubs it in and tells her she’s now falling in a hole. That hole doesn’t look like closing any time soon though as her house is put up on the market and her bank cards are frozen.

Meanwhile, Min-Joon receives a call surrounding Mi-Yeon. This case clearly has a lot of gravitas for him and he tells his associate to give the address over before heading out himself. Only unfortunately this doesn’t bring up any leads.

Hae-Ra’s fall from grace crescendos into living in a small unit. There though she suddenly realizes something. Thinking back to the video shown by her agency, the shoes she was wearing were black heels not the white ones given by Hyun-Sung. Does this explain the excessive number of shots of Hae-Ra’s shoes and feet this episode?

No, it doesn’t appear so given Hae-Ra shows up in the middle of the night to Goosan Agency where her old friend Eun-Hye happens to live. The camera is once again glued to her shoes. Hae-Ra receives a taser to the face for her troubles though but eventually they sit and talk together. They bond over their first reporting gig together, as we see Eun-Hye was quite the eccentric character. She accidentally left the flash on while taking pictures of someone.

Anyway, with no one else to turn to, she asks this reporter for help in tracking down Hyun-Sung and looking into thee story. Desperate to clear her name, she leaves after promising to pay up 1 million won in fees.

Hae-Ra starts working at Goosan Agency while her husband keeps tabs on her. Eun-Hye, in turn, keeps tabs on the restaurant too until she uncovers something pretty juicy. She plants bugs at the hotel and eventually stumbles upon some very shocking details, which she eventually reveals to Hae-Ra later that day.

Hae-Ra’s husband met with Hyun-Sung and a mysterious lady called Tae-On who happens to be the managing director of FB Life Insurance. All of this was one big trap for Hae-Ra and now she senses that she’s been played by her husband. Lusting for revenge, the game is afoot for our protagonist to try and get her revenge.

As the episode closes out, we cut back in time to see Hae-Ra and her husband fighting but Hae-Ra fought back and promised to make sure she doesn’t stand for this anymore. She’s going to trample him and that begins – back in the present – with a live broadcast of Hoon-Seok getting it on with Tae-On in their hotel room.

The Episode Review

The Goddess Of Revenge starts off with a relatively formulaic episode, one that includes all the usual k-drama hallmarks and a discerning number of shots featuring Hae-Ra’s shoes. While I understand this is a significant motif for the first episode of this story, it also feels a little over the top.

The story itself looks to be playing on the usual revenge-type arc, combining elements of espionage thrillers like Good Casting and Private Lives with a bit of courtroom drama and revenge stories like World Of The Married. So far the show doesn’t quite have its own identity but as the weeks tick by I’m sure that’s bound to change.

The contrived nature of Hae-Ra agreeing to go out for dinner with a super-fan without any back-up is a little disconcerting, especially given she doesn’t know the guy. Aside from that, the show gets off to an okay start with lots of potential for the upcoming drama ahead.

It’s not perfect but there’s certainly a decent amount of table-setting here for the main course to come.

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