Trouble In Paradise
Episode 1 of Love (ft. Marriage and Divorce) begins with Sa Pi-Young at work. New band April Second are due to start playing on the radio, and this brings her into the studio to oversee the recording session along with Hye-Ryeong who arrived earlier.
Hye-Ryeong marvels at a band jamming as we immediately jump to a flashback of her and her husband Pan Sa-Hyun, on their wedding night. He mentions the moment he fell in love with her, which happened to be when she was playing the drums… which paves way for a flashback within a flashback (flashback-ception?) as this exact moment plays out. Sa-Hyun asks her to dress up and play the drums for her again, as we return to our present timeline.
Well, pure drama quickly escalates as a lady in a white shirt stands up and declares that Park Jae-Hun is her husband. It turns out the advisor, Lee Yeon-Hui, is the culprit and has been having an affair with him. In front of everyone, Yeon-Hui claims it was love. Love that eventually sees the room completely divided and this woman promising to humiliates her entire family unless she cooperates.
Yeon-Hui bites back though and tells her she knows the woman dated three men at once and even stole her best friend’s lover. There’s a whole stack of incriminating statements that paint this lady in a very unfavorable light, eventually ending with Yeon-Hui leaving the room and breaking down into tears.
The broadcast ends and producer Pi-Young, newly-wed Hye-Ryeong and Shi-Eun reflect on what’s happened over a drink. Together, they decide to make sure Yeon-Hui doesn’t come back and intend to fire her soon. As the conversation turns to husbands, our trio of ladies discuss their prospective love interests and how hard marriage is.
At home, Shi-Eun struggles to deal with the bombshell announcement of her husband, Hae-Ryun, asking for a divorce. She tries to put on a brave face, especially in front of their kids Hyang-Ki and Woo-Ram. When he returns from work, Hae-Ryun tells the kids they can drink wine and decides to head out with Shi-Eun. Together, they go in to the karaoke bar and continue drinking.
Putting on his favourite song, Shi-Eun convinces him to sing. Instead, he turns to her and asks again if he can leave. Shi-Eun struggles to hold it together, especially given they’ve been together for so long. He claims being the head of the family has been difficult. With the kids caught in the middle, it’s a devastating hammer blow for Shi-Eun to take, who leaves the room and walks away.
In the morning, Shi-Eun asks exactly how long this has been going on. He refuses to answer though and simply apologizes, walking away.
Meanwhile, Pi-Young and Yoo-Shin drive together but receive a big announcement when little Ji-A’s grandma, Mo Seo-Hyang, has returned to Korea and has already unpacked her things. There’s obvious tension in this family, culminating in Pi-Young sitting with her mother and telling her to go home. She doesn’t want her meddling in their family any more.
Well, Seo-Hyang is not taking no for an answer and instead turns her attention to Yoo-Shin. Alone, she divulges all the problems she has with her daughter. All of this hostility is apparently a misunderstanding over an accident in the past. This took the life of Pi-Young’s Father and she’s currently lashing out and blaming her.
She pleads with him to let her see Ji-A for once a month and eventually he caves, agreeing to talk to his wife about the situation. He even agrees to bring Ji-A over too.
With issues brewing for both Pi-Young and Shi-Eun’s marriages, we cut across to Sa-Hyun quickly looking up the meaning of his pig dream. Hye-Ryeong is obviously not happy about this sudden jump in the middle of the night. When they get back into bed, she talks about how it would have been a conceiving dream if they were trying, which gets him thinking.
Well, the next day he winds up on the phone to someone and tells them he had a conception dream. Sa-Hyun continues to check this when he’s at work too, looking up early signs of pregnancy on his computer.
Speaking of work, we’re back at the radio show next as Hye-Ryeong continues to work as a broadcaster between songs. Her opening comments even get a fair amount of praise from the boss. Shi-Eun however, is not in the mood to celebrate.
After work, she admits to the others that Hae-Ryun wants to break things off. Pi-Young is obviously devastated and despite him not saying the real reason, we soon find out what’s going on.
It seems likely that her husband has been having an affair but that’s not 100% confirmed, despite some incriminating texts suggesting he is. Pi-Young and Hye-Ryeong believe that’s the case as they also hear the couple haven’t had sex for over 2 years. Hye-Ryeong even jumps in and contemplates whether he may have problems in the bedroom.
On the way home, Pi-Young receives a message from her Mother breaking the news that she’s told Yoo-Shin everything.
We then jump back a year – but it’s not initially clear until late on in this scene. Shi-Eun gets all dressed up for Park Hae-Ryun as they head out for a fancy meal together.
After splashing the cash, he intends to get a hotel and have a romantic evening but she’s not into it. Given he’s a professor and there could be students about, she decides against it. This, Shi-Eun deduces, could be the reason why her husband wants to break up with her.
As the episode closes out, Pi-Young confronts her Mother as the two look set to come to blows at any moment.
The Episode Review
So Love (ft. Marriage and Divorce) kicks off with a relatively subdued and soapy episode, channeling those makjang (over the top, exaggerated soap opera style) vibes but on a lower level compared to the absolute absurdity of something like Penthouse.
So far the show has done a relatively good job introducing the three leading ladies and there’s definitely some intrigue with each of the storylines.
Some of the editing is a little confusing and jarring though, especially the flashbacks layered within flashbacks early on and the end segment involving Shi-Eun. This one in particular was incredibly jarring and not entirely clear whether it was the past or present timeline until quite late on.
Given the writer involved on this one, Im Sung-han, has been involved in various other makjang-styled productions over the years, we’re in for quite the twisty-turny ride over the weeks. Whether this can compete with the ratings of Penthouse when it returns next month though remains to be seen.
For now, Love gets off to an okay start.
What did you think of the opening episode? Who’s your favourite character so far? Let us know in the comments below!