Maestra: Strings of Truth – K-drama Episode 1 Recap & Review

The Protest

Episode 1 of Maestra: Strings of Truth begins with the introduction of world-famous conductor Cha Se-eum. She threatens a fellow musician with a gun for being late and returns to South Korea after 20 years.

Yoo Jeong-jae who loves his horses is informed that she has returned and is taking over the Hanphil orchestra. The members riot to have Se-eum as their conductor but their popularity is down and they need her. All of them have different perceptions of her but all are biased.

She arrives a day earlier and meets with the members even though it is the end of their shift. She is curt but fierce and some are mildly impressed. They play the Mission Impossible theme for her as a welcome gift but she stops them midway. She critiques them and has them practice till they are perfect and the members go back to their initial negative perception of her.

Her husband, Kim Phil picks her up while someone watches. The couple has been away from each other for 3 years and while he plays the piano for her, she falls asleep. Meanwhile, Violinist Lee Ru-na quits her part-time gig as she doesn’t need to go abroad anymore to meet her role model, Se-eum. As she practises early the next morning, Se-eum joins her.

Concertmaster Park, Se-eum’s senior and father’s friend is glad to work with her as he only has 1 year left for retirement. However, she replaces him with Ru-na because of his weakening finger. He points out that 20 years ago, she didn’t show up and Hanphil was expelled from the National Orchestra.

She simply says that she will repay that debt. In a flashback, she drops her violin’s bow and then her baton in two instances and is then seen choking a woman. At a music school, Kim’s students congratulate on his wife’s return but when he turns, his smile falls. Alone, he calls someone.

On her official first day, Se-eum announces Ru-na as Park’s replacement. Drummer Ma Yo-sub is upset and walks out with everyone. CEO Jeon Sang-do claims that there are procedures in place but she points out Ru-na’s talent while the next-in-line concertmaster, Su-jin is a nepo chair and an average musician.

Intrigued, Sang-do strikes a deal – in 3 months, she should double the paid attendance rate. She laughs and promises a 95% increase while watching Park resign.

Later, she visits her sister and their father who runs a violin shop. In her childhood bedroom, she again relives memories of choking a woman. She tells her father she needs time before she is ready to visit her mother. He is understanding but his happiness bursts when she tells him about firing Park.

Kim looks wistfully at a kid while on his way to visit his father-in-law. Se-eum intercepts, gives an excuse to cancel the plan and makes him take her home. She asks if he regrets not having a kid and he says no awkwardly. As for Jeong-jae, he runs an investment company. He invests in a game just because it is fun. His friend notes the deranged look in his eyes when he says he will meet Se-eum. 

At Hanphil, only some of the chairs show up but Se-eum continues to practice. She threatens to replace those missing and Sang-do is forced to personally convince them. He thinks he is successful as everyone agrees but there is a catch he isn’t aware of.

They show up extremely early, lock the door and prepare to join another orchestra which will be led by Assistant Conductor Oh. As Sang-do struggles to find the key, Se-eum arrives and breaks the door. She finally bursts and says if they like being third-rate they can leave. No one does and she begins practice.

It is going relatively smoothly but she looks disturbed when Jeong-jae shows up. He pushes the fire alarm and walks up to her at the end of Maestra episode 1.

The Episode Review

Maestra episode 1 is definitely off to a good start. Even for those who haven’t seen the original, Philharmonia, the K-drama has its own charm. It is fast-paced and gets right into the action. The main leads are characterised well including Ru-na. The husband-wife relationship definitely catches our eye as it is cordial and strained but they still seem fond of each other. We are either going to hate or love Jeong-jae.

Everyone is super overdramatic as if they are the adult version of theatre kids and it is entertaining to watch them get overwhelmed by certain elements while non-musicians would probably not even understand the magnitude of their problems. However, the K-drama does a good job of adding other mystery elements, workplace politics and extramarital red herrings that will have fans of different genres interested.


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Read our season 1 review of Maestra: Strings of Truth here!

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