Numbers – K-drama Episode 1 Recap & Review

A Rough Start to a Journey to Seeking Justice

Episode 1 of Numbers is a rollercoaster ride of events right from the beginning. The episode starts with little Jang Ho-Woo running from something or someone; it isn’t clear what he’s running away from. He goes to Haebit’s Construction Site, where Jang In-Ho, who seems to be the owner of the construction company, finds Ho-Woo and takes him in. Jang In-Ho has a daughter named Jang Ji-Soo.

Jang In-Ho tries several times to find Ho-Woo’s parents with the help of his friend, who’s a police officer, but he isn’t successful. So, Jang In-Ho decides to adopt Ho-Woo.

Fast forward to ten years later, a group of accountants from a prestigious accounting firm, Taeil Accounting Firm, come to inspect Haebit Construction company. They then go to have lunch at a nearby cafeteria owned by Woong Cheon-Ja, Jang In-Ho’s close friend. While they’re there, they start talking about Haebit Construction, which catches Ho-Woo’s attention. Ho-Woo helps Cheon-Ja at the cafeteria.

Ho-Woo tries to tell Jang In-Ho what the accountants from Taeil Accounting Firm were saying about Haebit Construction Company, but Jang In-Ho brushes him off.

Later, while at Cheon-Ja’s house, Ho-Woo and Cheon-Ja see on the news that Haebit Construction company will be liquidated. This means that Haebit Construction has been declared bankrupt, and its assets will be sold off to pay off its creditors.

Ho-Woo rushes to the construction site and finds the workers protesting against the people from Taeil Accounting Firm taking over Haebit Construction. Ho-Woo then joins in and tries to fight them off. Just then, Han Seung-Jo from Taeil Accounting Firm comes and tells Ho-Woo to give up fighting for Haebit Construction as there’s nothing he can do to save it.

As expected, Ho-Woo confronts him about this liquidation order, but Seung-Jo mocks him and brags about the power that Taeil Accounting Firm has. Then, a bulldozer comes in and destroys the construction site.

Later that night, Jang In-Ho takes his life by jumping off a building at that same construction site, which completely breaks Ho-Woo.

Ho-Woo tries to seek help from different accounting firms to make sense of the liquidation notice from Taeil Accounting Firm, but no one is willing to help him. That is when Ho-Woo decides to take a CPA course that will enable him to join Taeil Accounting Firm and find out what really happened regarding Haebit Construction’s liquidation. He tells his friends, Song Yeo-Jin (who’s Cheon-Ja’s granddaughter) and Kong Hee-Sam about his plans to seek justice for Jang In-Ho and Haebit Construction. However, they’re skeptical about his plans.

Ho-Woo still goes ahead with his plan, taking a CPA course, and is eventually hired by Taeil Accounting Firm. It’s clear at this point that Ho-Woo is a very determined fellow.

Unfortunately, Ho-Woo is faced with obstacles right from the beginning of his job at Taeil Accounting Firm. Word quickly goes around that Ho-Woo never went to the university and instead took a CPA course to become an accountant. This puts him at a lower level than the other staff at the firm, who went to the university to become accountants.

Ho-Woo was hired through a blind test that didn’t look at the applicant’s academic qualifications. From the start, Ho-Woo is shunned by everyone at the company. He’s not even given any assignments nor hashe picked any team leaders to join to work on projects.

Elsewhere, Taeil Accounting Firm’s vice president, Han Je-Kyun, finds out about Ho-Woo being hired to work in the company with his academic qualifications. Han Je-Kyun is Seung-Jo’s father, which explains why Seung-Jo seemed quite arrogant when confronted by Ho-Woo earlier.

Sim Hyeong-Woo, a director at Taeil Accounting Firm and pretty much Je-Kyun’s right-hand man, tells Je-Kyun that Seung-Jo was the one who hired Ho-Woo. Weirdly, Seung-Jo pushed for Ho-Woo to be hired, considering their altercation earlier.

Later, Ho-Woo and the other new employees at the company are given a tour of the headquarters. They then attend an orientation meeting. All this is headed by Jin Yeon-A, a senior associate and the person in charge of training new employees at the company.

During the orientation meeting, Yeon-A mentions something about the fate of a company’s financial situation that lies in the hands of an accounting firm. This basically means that Taeil Accounting Firm has the power to decide whether or not a particular company that is their client should be deemed bankrupt. This is regardless of their financial situation.

Ho-Woo then remembers Seung-Jo telling him about how Taeil Accounting Firm had the power to decide Haebit Construction’s fate the day it was declared bankrupt. And as expected, this makes Ho-Woo angry that even people in the orientation meeting notice it.

Taeil Accounting Firm is working with a media company called People’s Entertainment. Je-Kyun wants Taeil to hide the fact this company is on the verge of bankruptcy. However, Kang-Hyun, who’s in charge of this project, is skeptical about the move.

Ho-Woo is still being shunned by everyone at the company. One day, he bumps into Seung-Jo at the headquarters’ rooftop. Ho-Woo has been looking for Seung-Jo since he began working at Taeil Accounting Firm. Seung-Jo had noticed how Ho-Woo was publicly shunned by a senior associate when he asked for a task to work on.

Seung-Jo begins telling Ho-Woo that he’s not being shunned because of his academic qualifications but because he hasn’t proved that he can do his part well as a team member. Seung-Jo then tells Ho-Woo that even if he were in charge of a project, he wouldn’t pick him to join his team.

Ho-Woo then decides to prove himself by doing minimal tasks for other people at the company. This doesn’t work because the workers there take advantage of him. They even call him “pushover Jang.” This upsets Seung-Jo because he is actually experiencing challenges of his own in the company. Employees silently look down on him because he is the company’s vice president’s son.

Later, Seung-Jo meets Je-Kyun, who tells him he will fire Ho-Woo. However, Seung-Jo threatens to ruin things for him at the company. The episode ends with Seung-Jo telling Ho-Woo that he’ll join his team.

The Episode Review

To say that this first episode is suspenseful would be an understatement; I was on the edge of my seat the whole time.

One thing that’s great about this episode is that it gives viewers an elaborate backstory for our main character, Ho-Woo, before taking us to the main storyline of the show. While I admire Ho-Woo’s determination to get justice for his adoptive father, I’m a little afraid for him because of how his anger quickly takes control of him.

Now that Seung-Jo had asked Ho-Woo to be part of his team at the company let’s see how things go. We only expect a lot of twists of events in the upcoming episodes, given how things have ended in this one. I mean, who would have expected Seung-Jo to seemingly take Ho-Woo’s side at Taeil Accounting Firm, given their rocky start at the beginning of this episode?

Next Episode

Expect a full-season review when this season concludes!


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