Race – K-drama Episode 1 Recap & Review

Denied Opportunities

Race episode 1 begins with Park Yoon-Jo setting up a 90’s-themed rooftop movie party to promote a client company, LOCOMON’s products. As she and other hired staff prepare, she realizes the seats won’t be enough for the guests, so she calls the company she hired seats from.

As she’s trying to get a hold of the workers, PR JOA’s (the company Yoon-Jo is working in) general manager Lee Sil-Yang, approaches. She informs Yoon-Jo that almost all the guests aren’t attending the party.

Yoon-Jo suggests inviting their friends instead, but Sil-Yang doesn’t think it’s a good idea. Yoon-Jo then remembers a girl, Shin Ji-Hyo, whom they had recently hired. Yoon-Jo asks Sil-Yang why Ji-Hyo isn’t there to help prepare. Well, Ji-Hyo snaps at Yoon-Jo, telling her that PR JOA’s CEO, Kim Hee-Young gave her a day off before officially beginning her job at the company.

Elsewhere, Rae Jae-Min is camping by himself. Back at Yoon-Jo’s party, guests, including her friend Heo Eun, begin to arrive.

Eun notices the party’s banner and asks who among the people at the party was born in the 90’s. Yoon-Jo looks around and realizes that she’s thrown a party where none of her guests were born in the 90’s. Yoon-Jo then asks her guests to participate in the “Last Words challenge with LOMOCON.”

She set up this activity where the guests write on a whiteboard what they would want their dying wish to be and take a picture holding the board. This activity is to promote LOMOCON’s cameras. Then, one of Hwa Ja’s (Yoon-Jo’s mum) friends, who attended the party, writes on the whiteboard that she’s dying (it may be she’s sick). Hwa Ja and her other friend begin consoling her, making a scene in front of the other guests.

Later that night, the guests at the party start watching a movie. Most of the guests are drunk, and Yoon-Jo is having a hard time trying to calm them down. Meanwhile, Jae-Min is also watching a movie at his camping site. After the party, Yoon-Jo is at Eun’s bar trying to find the right hashtag slogan to promote LOMOCON’s cameras on social media.

Eun tells Yoon-Jo that the ’90s hashtag won’t work, for obvious reasons. Yoon-Jo tells Eun that the client insists on focusing on the 90s when promoting LOMOCON’s cameras. She then remembers the client throwing a fit earlier that night at the party. It seems he didn’t like the guest turnout at the party.

Eun then asks Yoon-Jo why Jae-Min didn’t attend the party and mentions that the movie the guests watched was his favorite. (This explains why Jae-Min was watching the same movie as the one being played at the party). Yoon-Jo tells Eun that Jae-Min went camping and suggests he may have a secret girlfriend.

Back at the camping site, Jae-Min is still watching the movie when Choi Hye-Young, a reporter from Daeguk Daily, calls to inform him to take a look at the file she sent him. It turns out it’s an article about bribery being involved in choosing Seyong’s (the company Jae-Min works in) next supplier.

Jae-Min calls Hye-Young back and asks if the article can be done away with before it’s published in the newspaper. Hye-Young tells Jae-Min that the fact that the reporter who wrote that article, Jaerak-Ma, leaked the information about the article to her means that he knows she and Jae-Min are friends. Jae-Min concludes that Jaerak-Ma may want the article to be done away with. Jae-Min then calls his colleague, Mael Chul-Jun, to inform him about the article, but Chul-Jun is drunk.

The next day, Jae-Min meets with Seyong’s Strategic Management Division PR Team 2’s team leader, Song Sun-Tae. They drive together to go meet Seyong’s Sales Division Team 1’s team leader, Cho Jin-Seo, at Seyong headquarters in Seoul. On their way, Sun-Tae asks Jae-Min to meet Jaerak-Ma and ask him what he wants in exchange for taking that article down. Jae-Min informs him that he has already called and sent text messages to Jaerak-Ma several times, but he hasn’t responded, suggesting he may not want to speak to him.

They meet with Jin-Seo, and Sun-Tae tells him that the manager of Seyong’s factory at Changwon was the one who was interviewed for this article. Sun-Tae then tells Jae-Min to go talk to that manager. Jae-Min is taken aback because Changwon is 4 hours away. He also wonders if he’ll be required to return to Seoul if Jaerak-Ma calls back. But he agrees to go to Changwon anyway. Sun-Tae also tells Jae-Min to tell Chul-Jun not to report to work that day.

At Seyong headquarters, PR Team 2, including Jae-Min, is trying to deal with the article situation. It seems it has already been published.

At the PR JOA offices, Yoon-Jo and Sil-Yang are mad because Ji-Hyo has yet to officially report to the office to begin her job. Yoon-Jo then calls Ji-Hyo, but she doesn’t answer, so, Yoon-Jo leaves her a voicemail. Finally, Ji-Hyo calls Yoon-Jo and agrees to come to the office.

Ji-Hyo arrives in the office, and she and Yoon-Jo begin going back and forth about work-life balance. Ji-Hyo tries to justify her need to have a day off before officially beginning her job at PR JOA and turning her off when she was on her day off. She even threatens to quit if she doesn’t have the perfect work-life balance at PR JOA (the nerve of her!) Hee-Young then comes in and calms Yoon-Jo and Ji-Hyo down. She also allows Ji-Hyo to have another day off.

As expected, Yoon-Jo is upset by Ji-Hyo’s behaviour and goes to express her disappointment to Eun. Surprisingly, Eun takes sides with Ji-Hyo about her turning her phone off even though she had the day off. Yoon-Jo tells Eun that her argument with Ji-Hyo motivated her to work hard on the next project. It turns out PR JOA will be bidding for a marketing project at Seyong Cosmetics, which could well be a subsidiary of Seyong.

Meanwhile, Hye-Young and Jae-Min are walking towards Eun’s bar. Hye-Young expresses her disappointment because she can’t stop the article from being published. But Jae-Min assures her that it’s not her fault. It turns out, Jaerak-Ma didn’t tell Hye-Young about the article so that it could be done away with. Jaerak-Ma actually wanted Jae-Min to know about the article so the seniors at Seyong would pay him.

The group head to Eun’s bar, and Jae-Min introduces Hye-Young to Eun and Yoon-Jo. It turns out, Jae-Min, Eun, and Yoon-Jo went to the same middle school. And Jae-Min and Hye-Young went to the same college. Hye-Young and Yoon-Jo hit it off right away and begin sharing their challenges with working with people in their 20s.

Later that night, Yoon-Jo goes to her mum, Hwa-Ja’s house. Yoon-Jo asks her why she didn’t go to an academic high school. Hwa-Ja asks Yoon-Jo where all this is coming from, and Yoon-Jo brings up the issue of Ji-Hyo suggesting she isn’t a competent worker earlier.

The next day, Sun-Tae informs Jae-Min that he will be taking over Chul-Jun’s position as the head of agency management because of Chul-Jun’s unprofessionalism lately. (He’s mostly drunk when needed at the office). Of course, Chul-Jun isn’t happy about it, but Jae-Min advises him on how to get on Sun-Tae’s good side again.

Jae-Min mentions Seyong Cosmetics’ marketing bid presentation, and Chul-Jun asks him why he’s calling it a “bid” when the marketing agency has already been chosen. Jae-Min asks Chul-Jun if it’s a company called Earth Communications (Earth Comms) that has been chosen for the marketing project, and Chul-Jun confirms it. Later that night, Jae-Min goes to PR JOA offices to see Yoon-Jo. He finds her preparing for the Seyong Cosmetics’ marketing bid presentation and informs her that he works at Seyong and will be in charge of the presentations.

Excited, Yoon-Jo asks Jae-Min if he can pull some strings so PR JOA can win the bid, but, Jae-Min tells her it’s impossible. Jae-Min sees how hard Yoon-Jo is working to prepare for the presentation and remembers finding out that Earth Comms has already been chosen for the marketing project and PR JOA is among the agencies bidding for the tender. He then convinces Yoon-Jo to go out with him and have some fun.

The next day, Yoon-Jo is going to Seyong headquarters for the presentation when she stops to get a latte. She calls Sil-Yang, who’s at the hospital about to give birth. As Yoon-Jo is walking with her coffee, a guy riding a bike almost knocks her down, and she ends up spilling the latte all over her blouse. The guy apologizes and gives her his business card to call him later so he can make it up to her.

At Seyong headquarters, Chul-Jun informs Hee-Young that Earth Comms has already been chosen for the marketing tender. As expected, Hee-Young isn’t happy about it. She then realizes this is all Sun-Tae’s idea.

Yoon-Jo arrives at Seyong headquarters and finds Jae-Min ushering the other marketing agencies in. Just then, the guy who almost knocked down Yoon-Jo arrives. It turns out he is Seo Dong-Hoon, the owner of Earth Comms.

As Yoon-Jo is preparing for the presentation, Hee-Young finally tells her that Seyong has already decided to pick Earth Comms for the marketing tender. So, this presentation is just for show. The episode ends with Yoon-Jo seeing the head of Seyong’s PR department, Jin Byung-Man, and  Jae-Min congratulating Dong-Hoon and his team on their presentation. She realizes Jae-Min knew all along that Earth Comms was already chosen for the marketing project.

The Episode Review

To say that this show is relatable is an understatement. This first episode has painted a picture of how the real working environment mostly is. From corruption going on in companies to people getting opportunities on a who-knows-who basis instead of their experience, this show is an example of how the real working environment is.

While I admire how driven Yoon-Jo is, I feel bad for her since her efforts mostly go unrecognized. I’m eager to see what she’ll tell Jae-Min now that she knows he already knew the marketing project was going to Earth Comms.

Also, Ji-Hyo really paints a picture of how many people nowadays don’t take their work seriously and don’t know the value of hard work. I am already hooked on this show and can’t wait to see how the next episode unfolds.

Next Episode

You can read our full season review for Race here!

  • Episode Rating

Leave a comment