Red Swan – K-drama Episode 1 Recap & Review


The Flower Shop 

Red Swan episode 1 starts with viewers getting a glimpse of Oh Wan-soo’s life as a goodwill ambassador and the Director of the NOW Foundation. The NOW Foundation saves young people from the turmoils of war and helps give them a better future.

Currently, Wan-soo is at the UN offices to talk about her Foundation and raise money for a young girl, Balak. After her presentation, one of her staff members comes rushing to inform her that ISIS has threatened to kill her for her work in the Foundation.

The staff member is contemplating cancelling Wan-soo’s trip to the Philippines, but the latter refuses to let fear scare her. She insists on maintaining her schedule as planned and seems more displeased to hear her mother-in-law, Chairwoman Park, will be coming to the Philippines party. Chairwoman Park is the cliché rude, demanding rich mother-in-law that no one likes.

Elsewhere, we meet our protagonist, Seo Do-yun, who is secretly investigating the death of his beloved friend and partner, Ju-hyuk. His investigation leads him to a hotel where a deal is about to go down. According to the men he overheard talking in the toilet, the assassin who killed Ju-hyuk is in town.

The men’s boss is acting as the deal broker and is picking up the payment for the assassin. He disguises himself as a cleaner and gets into the room just before the deal goes down.

He is surprised to see a former colleague, Kyeong-ju, give the mafia boss money. According to Kyeong-ju, he is delivering money from the flower shop. Do-yun remembers hearing Ju-hyuk’s assassin mention on a call that the delivery for the flower shop was complete minutes after he completed his mission.

Do-hyun hangs back after secretly watching the deal. He then gets a call from Kyeong-ju asking to meet since he is also in Manila. Do-hyun agrees to meet as he is determined to find the truth. He couldn’t save Ju-hyuk even though he tried, but he wants to give his late friend justice. 

On the other hand, Wan-soo safely arrives in Manila, Philippines and hits the ground running. She has an interview with an  Arabian Crown Prince, and he willingly donates to her cause. Her husband later joins her. , Yong-guk, and from the outside looking in, you would think they are #couple goals. 

In the meantime, Do-hyun prepares himself to head to the Makati District, where he overheard the assassin will be carrying out a hit. Simultaneously, Wan-soo heads to the same place to check out a few things ahead of her auction party later that day. She is about to head out when a sniper starts shooting, injuring her bodyguard.

Chaos ensues in the streets as people start running for safety. Do-hyun quickly jumps into action and secures Wan-soo while shooting back at the assassin. It takes a while, but the two finally get into a car and drive off. Of course, Wan-soo is shaken to her core and can barely think straight. Once she gathers herself, she asks who Do-hyun is and why he saved her. He says he was a passerby, and he helped out of concern. 

Their car’s engine gives out, and Do-hyun quickly gets out to fix it. He notices a GPS tracker and informs Wan-soo that they might still be in danger, so he tosses it. He convinces her to come to his place, clean up and then figure out what happened. A scared Wan-soo agrees even though she tries to act strong.

At the house, Do-hyun treats his injury with the help of Wan-soo. He gives her his phone to reach out to someone and inform them she is safe. He suggests that she keep her location hidden and only tell the other party that she is heading to the embassy. Unfortunately, Wan-soo can’t call anyone since she doesn’t know their numbers off-head. Do-hyun helps her clean the blood off her face and drives her to the embassy, where her husband is waiting. 

He also gives a witness statement, and Kyoeng-ju finds out that Do-hyun saved Wan-soo. He calls Do-hyun and asks to meet ASAP. During the meeting, Do-hyun plays it cool and denies making any headway in the Ju-hyuk case. In turn, Kyeong-ju offers him a job at the Hwain Group. Of course, Do-hyun asks for time to think it through, and Kyeong-ju readily agrees.

Meanwhile, Wan-soo remains strong and tries to carry on with her day. She gets a call from her mother-in-law, but it is not a call of concern. Chairwoman Park wants Wan-soo to use her Foundation to bribe some Chinese businessmen. Chairwoman Park is offended when Wan-soo refuses and stands up for herself. In fact, Wan-soo asks her mother-in-law not to show up at the party. Chairwoman Park is so infuriated she threatens to kill Wan-soo soon.

After contemplating Kyeong-ju’s offer, Do-hyun accepts the job. To him, Ju-hyuk was more than just a colleague and a friend. He was like a brother who even donated his kidney to him. They had a pact to protect each other. Do-hyun hopes to find some answers at the Hwain Group after Kyeong-ju slipped up and mentioned they refer to the company as the flower shop. 

The next day, Wan-soo warns her husband against listening to his mom and bribing the Chinese businessmen. She then holds a press conference revealing that ISIS attacked her. This annoys her Chairwoman Park and Yong-guk because they want the attempt on Wan-soo’s life to remain a secret.

In her speech, Wan-soo makes it clear she won’t back down even in the face of a terror attack. She continues to plan her party and invites her nephew and his mom. Through a flashback, we learn that Wan-soo had a son, too, but something happened to him. Most likely, he died in a skiing accident. The episode ends with Yong-guk and Wan-soo arriving at the party, and Kyeong-ju introduces Do-hyun as the new bodyguard. Wan-soo seems so surprised to see him again.

The Episode Review

What a great start to this show! So far, we have action, marriage drama and mystery. Red Swan is definitely off to a good start. It is interesting to see the dynamics between these characters.

Even though we are just in the first episode, the depth of each character is perfectly drawn. For starters, we have Wan-soo; she comes across as a woman of steel, but deep down, she is nursing some emotional wounds.

I love that she is not the docile daughter-in-law who can’t defend herself. Wan-soo goes toe to toe with Chairwoman Park and refuses to take orders. We also have Do-hyun trying to find justice for his friend and ending up in Hwain Group.

While he can come off as a cold man, he is actually capable of so much warmth. Seeing his relationship with Ju-hyuk makes us realise that his death changed him. He is keeping his cards hidden because he doesn’t know who to trust. 

Lastly, we have  Young-guk and his mom. They are using Wan-soo for ulterior motives and don’t like that she is fighting back. We can’t help but wonder if Yong-guk and his mom had a role in the attempted murder of Wan-soo. We also have suspicions about what happened to Wan-soo’s son. There seems to be a lot of animosity and secrets at the Hwain Group. Will Do-hyun uncover them and find the answers he is seeking?


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