Private Lives – K-Drama Episode 3 Recap & Review

Jeong-Hwan’s Story

Episode 3 of Private Lives begins with a similar introduction to that of the first episode. Only, this time we see things from Jeong-Hwan’s perspective.

He arrives at the wedding hall but finds himself confronted by a whole group of thugs. Desperate to get away, he manages to evade the guards and make it into his car, racing away from the wedding hall.

Back at the wedding, Joo-Eun is a mess. As she stares at her wedding dress, we cut back in time to see Jeong-Hwan and Joo-Eun getting a place together and talking about kids. Handing over her bank details, Joo-Eun even offers to help out with the deposit.

As they move in together, the pair start enjoying food but as Joo-Eun tastes the kimchi stew, the scene slickly changes to the present. Our protagonist wallows in self pity and winds up blind drunk, bemoaning her luck and just how she managed to be duped by this guy.

With Joo-Eun struggling and continuing to drink alone, it’s up to In0-Sook to try and comfort her. She convinces her friend to keep fighting until the final breath and encourages her to hold on for now.

This inevitably brings a very smug Han-Sook to the roof who obviously rubs it in that he was right. He chuckles but manages to hold back slightly as Joo-Eun asks who filmed this documentary. The only information he has, is that Jeong-Hwan, the presumed team leader from GK, is the one responsible.

This immediately brings her to GK in a bid to confront the man. Only… this Jeong-Hwan isn’t the same one. As we later find out, he’s actually working with Jeong-Hwan and his name is Seok-Ho Woo.

She decides against trusting him though, despite his insistence that they go for dinner and talk this over. Scoffing at the notion, Joo-Eun walks away empty-handed. It seems to trick her though, as the real Jeong-Hwan dodges a bullet.

Instead, Joo-Eun gets on the internet and finds numbers for various spy detective agencies. Getting nowhere, her day is made worse by a delivery at the door. That delivery happens to be a picture of her and Jeong-Hwan.

Wee then cut back 1 year ago to see Jeong-Hwan at work. He has a whole team at his fingertips – two in fact – and he manages to blackmail one of the workers at GK with incriminating evidence of him having an affair. As fate would have it, he happens to be working at the very same spy detective agency Joo-Eun phoned originally.

A woman named Sophia Chung (who’s really Bok-Gi) arrives and hires Jeong-Hwan to find a guy called Edward Kim. Looks can be deceiving though – a common theme in this drama – and despite the run-down setting he’s apparently the best spy in town.

It’s a complicated plan in truth, one that involves players at GK itself in on what’s going on. He seems to be working with them, with the ones at the top pulling the strings and finding targets to go after. He shows a picture of Jae-Sook Kim to General Manager Kim and it appears this man is an arsonist.

From here, we cut back to 2008 for a brief flashback. Kim Jae-Wook was known as Edward and he starts a fire in the woods with the intent of hitting a phone company. As they leave the crime scene, Edward is gleeful over what he’s done but Jeong-Hwan seems to be getting cold feet over what he’s got himself mixed up in.

As he heads out for a drink with this General Manager, he’s encouraged to marry and settle down. This is, of course, to make sure he blends in and doesn’t stand out in a sea of other people. Given he’s currently dating Joo-Eun this appears to be why he’s suddenly decided to marry her.

He’s caught in the middle of this big scheme with GK and they’re convinced that what they do is helping move the country forward. Although Jeong-Hwan is a scammer, he’s part of something much bigger involving murder and a staged suicide. The witness to this – Yoon-Kyeong – was also found dead in the river.

There’s a brief glimmer of 2019, with Jeong-Hwan breaking into someone’s garden but it’s a fractured scene and unclear exactly what’s going on here. I’m sure we’ll find out more in the upcoming episodes.

As we skip forward to 2020, Detective Kim rings Joo-Eun and brings her into the police station. As she shows up, news breaks that Jeong-Hwan has been involved in a car accident 10 days prior. This car crashed into a guard rail and tumbled down to the ground. His ID card and several belongings appear to point that it’s definitely him that’s died… but is he really?


The Episode Review

You can’t trust anything we’re told in Private Lives, especially if the previous two episodes are anything to go by. Personally, I think Jeong-Hwan may well have fabricated his death to try and escape the vicious cycle of GK who seem to be ruling over everyone.

The drama is pretty decent though and it’s definitely interesting to see his side of the story. The actual hierarchy and what’s happening at GK is still a bit confusing – perhaps intentionally – and the back-and-forth time jumps feel intentionally obsfucated to make things difficult to piece together.

This week abandons the humour completely too, in favour of a more straightforward and structured espionage noir. It’s not a bad thing but tonally this show hasn’t quite settled into a consistent rhythm just yet. It’ll be interesting to see quite where that falls in the upcoming episodes.

Still the ending leaves things open and the puzzle-box editing means we still haven’t got the whole story surrounding the past for these two protagonists. What does the future hold for these two? Only time will tell!

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  • Episode Rating
3.5

2 thoughts on “Private Lives – K-Drama Episode 3 Recap & Review”

  1. Same! The flashbacks (? I don’t even know anymore) were confusing vs present time. Appreciate the recap!

  2. just wanted to thank you greatly for reviewing this series! episode 3 lost me and it seems that no one else is writing about this–your recap made it easier to understand what was going on and organize the events in my head without needing to rewatch the episode.

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