Episode 1 of My Name begins with Jiwoo preparing for the day ahead. She wakes up early, headphones in, as she works out in her room. Sergeant Cho happens to be waiting outside her apartment though, following in a car as she heads to school.
Jiwoo bears the brunt of bullying from her classmates, partly thanks to her dad being a junkie. In fact, later that day Jiwoo is even issued a transfer given how “uncomfortable” she makes the other students. Its her 17th birthday, as it turns out, and this isn’t exactly a great present.
Jiwoo at least gets some retribution, singlehandedly taking out the bullies harassing her for so long in an impressively choreographed scene.
Jiwoo heads home where her father, Donghoon, rings and tells her he can’t make it. It’s the final straw for her, as she tells her dad not to come back and that he’s useless. Only, he does come back. In fact, outside the front door a gunshot pierces the air. Another sees Donghoon collapse, blood staining the area. Donghoon keeps his daughter inside, protecting her as a final courageous act before he passes away.
Jiwoo attends her father’s funeral of course, but so too do a lot of Donghoon’s gangster friends. Among those is Mujin, the leader of this operation, who tells her that he was a loyal man and a good soldier. He also fails to disclose exactly who killed him. And worse, Sergeant Cho and the other detectives drop the case looking into his murder.
Now, given Donghoon was on the top Most Wanted list and in hiding for three months, it’s not much of a surprise.
So with little other choice, Jiwoo turns to Donghoon’s gangster buddies. Specifically, she heads in to see Mujin. Given her lack of resolve in killing, he tells her to leave.
Jiwoo is not ready to give up though and an unwanted guest at her door eventually prompts her to head out that night to try and find information on her dad’s killer. She even offers a 5 million won reward too. Jiwoo stupidly walks right into a trap, with her money lost and tied up in the back of a car for her troubles.
However, Mujin returns and saves Jiwoo from a nasty demise. This young woman is hellbent on revenge, claiming she can handle anything. Well, Mujin takes her down to a run-down gym on the docks, where a guy called Gangjae shows her the ropes. He wishes her luck, claiming she needs to do the laundry and dishes from now on to prove herself.
Jiwoo certainly has heart though and after-hours she trains on her own, refusing to give in and not letting her peers get the better of her. Mujin shows up in a suit and encourages her not to fight to win – but fight to kill. Specifically he tells her to go for the vitals in a big fight, donning boxing gloves and encouraging her to fight him.
This sparring session eventually culminates in a big group skirmish, with Jiwoo one of the last ones standing, against prized fighter Gangjae. Who will come out on top?
The Episode Review
My Name gets off to a decent start with a gripping opening episode that immediately helps you warm toward Jiwoo and her struggles. She clearly has a big heart but her bloodlust inevitably leads to trouble, as seen with those punks out in the street.
The revenge mission a simple setup, with Jiwoo’s resolve easy to understand completely empathetic. Now, a part of me thinks Mujin could be involved in some way but given I’m writing this as I’m watching the show, then we’ll have to wait and see if that holds any weight or not.
For now, slick camera work and some decent fight choreography really help this one stand out, with some compelling characters to boot too. This first episode looks like My Name could be another hit for Netflix, who have absolutely knocked it out the park with their k-dramas this year.