Pandora: Beneath The Paradise – K-drama Episode 1 Recap & Review

Secrets, Faded Memories & Painful Pasts

Episode 1 of Pandora: Beneath The Paradise starts with Pyo Jae-hyun, the Chairman of Hatch, launching a revolutionary neural input smart patch called Clover. He is joined on the stage by Jang Do-jin, CEO of Hatch who introduces Gu Sung-chan and Red. Red is a chimpanzee integral to the Clover project. They use the smart patch on Red to showcase how effective Clover is. In the end, Red does exceedingly well in the survival game and this proves their patch is effective.

Elsewhere, Hong Tae-ra is on her way to meet Hong Yoo-ra while watching the launch of Clover. She gets distracted while driving and nearly runs a dog over. She manages to save its life but nearly gets into an accident in the process. She gets out to apologize to the driver and the passenger starts laughing at her for being startled.

The laugh of the passenger and the barking of the dog triggers Tae-ra to remember being chased by a dog in a forest when she was young. The near accident happened around Hanwool Mental Hospital and Tae-ra tries to recall where she first heard the name.

She gets a call from Yoo-ra asking her to come help since her launch is experiencing problems. Yoo-ra is losing her patience as everything is not ready and the VIP guests are expected to arrive soon.  Tae-ra leaves a message for her husband, Jae-hyun congratulating him on the success of Clover and heads in to help  Yoo-ra.

As she fixes one of the mannequin displays, Yoo-ra pulls a cable running under the ladder and Tae-ra loses her balance. She desperately clutches on the chandelier nearby but it loosens and she falls hitting her head. Yoo-ra pretends she is concerned but she intentionally wanted to hurt Tae-ra.

As Tae-ra falls she has another memory of falling from a high place before but she is unable to recall the place. She also has a memory of being in what looks like a prison and someone addressing her as No.50. Men start coming at her and she keeps fighting them off in an intense fight to survive.

Back in her current reality, Tae-ra is rushed to a hospital as her husband answers press questions after the success of their Clover launch. The journalists are interested in knowing the next step for Do-jin who is a chaebol from the Kumjo Group. Do-jin explains that they will use the smart patch in human memory therapy. One journalist, Park Joon-ho in particular stands out with some hard-hitting questions.

Joon-ho asks if Do-jin started the project to cure his wife Ko Hae-soo’s trauma. Hae-soo is the daughter of the former President of Korea who was assassinated 15 years ago. After witnessing such a tragic event, Hae-soo lost her memories. This question sets Do-jin off but the next question about a possible merger with Kumjo pisses him off further. Do-jin replies that  Kumjo and Hatch have been keeping a healthy distance. He asks Joon-ho to be more professional and stop running his mouth about baseless rumours.

Seeing that Do-jin is about to lose his cool, Jae-hyun steps in and announces he is offering free services through his healthcare nonprofit. Reporters use this opportunity to ask him whether he will be running for the presidency in the next election. Do-jin is caught off guard by Jae-hyun cryptic response.

Once they get to their office, Do-jin asks Jae-hyun if he is really running for the presidency and what will happen to their company.  Jae-hyun confesses that he got an offer recently from Kyung-Rok’s party and he is considering it.  Jae-hyun jokes that if he is elected he will only be gone for five years and asks what Do-jin thinks if he really decides to run. He also warns Do-jin to be careful with Joon-ho as he is not one of their own even though he works with Hae-soo.

Away from the relentless press,  Sung-chan checks in on Red. He and Dr Yang are cautious to see if the patch will have any side effects on Red. Dr Yang is sure that Red will be fine.

At the hospital, Yoo-ra asks Dr Kang about Tae-ra’s condition. The doctor explains that Tae-ra’s memory circuit has been stimulated and she will recover her memories soon.  He also adds that Tae-ra should stop taking her medication. Yoo-ra tells him that she expects no slip-up and gives him a parcel of money.

While still unconscious, Tae-ra continues to dream about a young girl fighting and later being chased by a dog. She wakes up startled with Yoo-ra acting concerned by her bedside. She is curious if Tae-ra has gotten her memories back. Tae-ra confesses that she has been dreaming about fighting with someone. She thinks the girl fighting is her but she is not sure. Yoo-ra encourages her to remember. They switch the subject to the successful launch of Clover and Tae-ra asks if Yoo-ra will attend the party later.

Yoo-ra promises to attend and says she would like to see someone she missed. Tae-ra assumes that she means Pyo Ji-woo, her daughter. However, Yoo-ra meant Do-jin who she is having a torrid affair with.

Night rolls by and the friends meet up for the party. Tae-ra keeps having memories of being chased by a dog but she ignores it and focuses on getting ready. Do-jin offers to go to his place to get a wine that he has been saving to celebrate the success of Clover. (They live in the same neighbourhood). At his place, he meets with Yoo-ra but their rendezvous is cut short by Hae-soo who returned early after her meeting was cancelled.

Yoo-ra hides in the bathroom and intentionally leaves an earring behind when she departs. Hae-soo finds the earring and starts suspecting her husband. She asks Do-jin at the party if someone stopped by the house but he raises his voice at her and angrily leaves. In the meantime, Yoo-ra announces that she is seeing someone but doesn’t mention who.

Hae-soo has been under a lot of pressure at work and dealing with her memory loss. Most people at her workplace think that she got the anchor position because of her family connections. She insists that she got the position on her talent but they still like to make cutting comments about her family connections.

Joon-ho, a colleague is after her husband and she also received a strange package with a picture of a girl called NO.50 . The package also had a letter telling her that the girl is related to her father’s death. It also suggested that she starts her investigation at Hanwool Mental Hospital.

On the other hand, Jae-hyun gets a call from Kyung-rok wanting to know if he has considered their offer. Jae-hyun tells him that he is thinking about it and has not chosen a political side yet. Kyung-rok becomes curious if Jae-hyun wants to run as an independent candidate. His fellow politicians advise him to destroy Jae-hyun if he fails to join their party. One of them suggests they check if Red has a chip in his brain and destroy Jae-hyun’s public image.

After the party, Yoo-ra says goodbye to Ji-woo and has a small chat with Tae-ra who gives her a necklace as a gift. Tae-ra thanks Yoo-ra for taking care of her since she first lost her memories. She feels Yoo-ra played a huge role in her current happiness and she is grateful.

Yoo-ra asks if she has remembered more but Tae-ra tells her it is still hazy.  Yoo-ra reminds her that she should stop taking her medication and asks her to call in case of any problems.

At home, Do-jin and Hae-soo get into a fight. He feels he was humiliated by her question at the party but Hae-soo doesn’t understand why a simple question triggered him. He is also angry about the questions Joon-ho asked at the press conference. He refers to her lost memory as a thing of the past and that annoys Hae-soo. She is still living through that nightmare, her memories are not back and she is yet to catch the people who killed her father.

She lashes out at him for being inconsiderate and reminds her that he was the only one who stuck by her side through her lowest time. He insists that she should be grateful that he was by her side. He angrily leaves and Hae-soo decides to follow him. Unfortunately, she is unable to track him as she nearly gets into an accident. As expected, Do-jin meets up with Yoo-ra. Hae-soo goes home and tries to commit suicide but is stopped by Tae-ra.

Tae-ra has a different kind of marriage compared to Hae-soo. Jae-hyun is loving and considerate. He is also a good father and so far we have no reason to think otherwise. However, this is a K-drama and only the first episode.

As the rainy night rages on, someone trespasses on Hatch and kills Red. The next morning, Sung-chan is heartbroken to hear the news. The three of them – Sung-chan, Jae-hyun and Do-jin – were enjoying some rafting. Jae-hyun was asking Do-jin to end his affair when the call came through. They rushed to the office to find Red dead and Jae-hyun insists on catching the culprit on their own instead of involving the police.

As this unfolds, Do-jin’s mom holds a four-hour-long prayer at the temple and gives the monk a hefty offering. Tae-ra also sees Hae-soo talking to Joon-ho about finding the man who delivered the package. Joo-ho was unable to find him as he used a fake delivery company and an unregistered number.  He was also puzzled why the man gave that a lead and yet refused to leave his name to receive the 1 billion Won reward.

Hae-soo confides in Tae-ra that she is investigating the lead sent by an anonymous source about her father’s death. Tae-ra offers to go with Hae-soo to Hanwool Mental Hospital. As Hae-soo asks questions and gets bureaucratic red tape, Tae-ra wanders the grounds and finds what looked like a prison in her hazy memories and dreams.

She walks around and memories of what happened in the building begin to come to her. She realizes she is the girl they referred to as No.50. The episode ends with her remembering an intense training that took place in that building.

The Episode Review

This is only the first episode but we are already captivated by the secrets each character is keeping. I find Yoo-ra suspicious but I am yet to understand her motive behind wanting to hurt Tae-ra and pushing her to remember her memories. Are they really sisters?

Do-jin is having an affair with Yoo-ra but why can’t he just divorce Hae-soo if he’s done with their marriage? Why is he holding on to this marriage? What happens when Hae-soo finds out? I reckon she will be better off divorced but given her mental status, is she ready to go through a public divorce?

If Tae-ra is really No. 50, then does that mean she is the one who killed Hae-soo’s dad? Who was training young people and creating assassins that can get away with killing a sitting president? Also, Jae-hyun vowed to love her whether she remembered her past or not but won’t her past complicate his dream to become president in th future?

Things are just getting started but it looks like we will be in for a thrilling story of revenge, betrayal and pain. We better buckle up for this one.

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