One Day Off – K-drama Episode 1 Recap & Review

Unshackling the Mind

One Day Off (also called Park Ha-Kyung’s Travels) is an easy-going drama starting off with Park Ha-kyung, a high school literature teacher, pondering what it is that makes people want to “wander.” On a one-day trip away from her predictable and monotonous life, she walks to a temple. Frustrated from walking a long way, she sees a rock shrine and feels like pushing it over. She arrives at the temple, and a temple keeper named Jin-young appears. Ha-kyung says that she is only there for one day, much to the temple keeper’s disappointment.

Jin-young takes her on a tour, talking her head off, which contrasts with Ha-kyung’s quiet nature. Later, Ha-kyung goes to pray to a Buddha statue, but her grumbling stomach interrupts the chanting and she sneaks away to the cafeteria. Jin-young comes in and sees her slouching over her food and immediately calls another woman over, a yoga instructor, who shows Ha-kyung how to sit properly.

After lunch, Ha-kyung wanders around the temple until she eventually sits down and stares at a statue. A novelist joins her and asks her out to dinner in the nearby town. He also asks if she is married. She replies that she is leaving today and that she is single. The two go to have tea with the monk, and someone in the room farts while Ha-kyung stifles a giggle behind her teacup.

Ha-kyung tries to meditate, but can’t focus. Instead, she dreams of food and that rock shrine that she wanted to push over, and this makes her laugh at the thought. She quietens down when she notices Jin-young crying in her meditation.

Ha-kyung goes on a walk and contemplates again why people like to wander from home. Seeming to have found a little inner peace, she stops at another rock shrine and places a stone at the top. A woman, Jung-a, suddenly walks out of the bushes, scaring Ha-kyung. She has taken a vow of silence, but Ha-kyung still asks her for directions back to the temple which leads to a comical pantomime. Ha-kyung ends up asking to accompany the woman to wherever she is going, and together they listen to birds, eat berries, find fragrant pinecones, and watch the sunset.

Somewhere, a woman dances alone, thinking something that only makes sense to her: she cannot be anything, but she can be everything.

The Episode Review

This episode has not done a great job of introducing us to Ha-kyung. Because we don’t know much about her, and merely experience her gentle journey with her, there is little to pique interest (with the exception of that mystery woman at the end).

The fact that Ha-kyung has a sense of humor is also nice to see. But the comedic parts, though they are much needed, are very weak; much too weak to draw out a laugh or smile.

In the next episode, we’ll see where Ha-kyung goes for her next day out.


Next Episode

You can look forward to a full season review when this show ends!


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