Revenant – K-drama Episode 1 Recap & Review

The Growing Shadow Within

Episode 1 of Revenant starts with a man called Gu Gang-Mo getting out of a taxi on a rainy day and quickly entering a house. An older lady reading a book calls out to him but he ignores her and hurriedly locks himself in a room. The man seems scared as if something is following him. He grabs an item and a book from his bag, questioning what he did wrong.

A knock is heard and it sounds like the old lady, Kim Seok-Ran, is asking him to open the door because someone is following her. He hesitantly opens the door but it is not his mom on the other side. He is surprised to see a version of himself who asks him to remember that he opened the door. Meanwhile, his mom makes her way to the room and finds her son dead. It looks like he committed suicide.

Elsewhere, a young woman called Gu San-Yeong makes her way on a busy street. She ends up on a bridge and it looks like she is contemplating suicide. On the other side, below the bridge, are two men. The older guy, Yeom Hae-Sang, is explaining to the younger guy, Kim Woo-Jin, that he has a history of suicide. Hae-sang believes there is an invisible hand behind most suicides while Woo-jin thinks injustice is to blame. It turns out that Hae-sang is at the bridge to save people contemplating suicide.

As they talk, Hae-sang notices a change in the water tide and frantically begins running towards the bridge. He mistakes a woman talking on her phone to be the one trying to commit suicide but it ends up being a man who gets out of his car and jumps off the bridge.

In the meantime, San-Yeong gets a message from her mom that some voice-phishing offenders were arrested. San-Yeong and her mom are victims of a voice-phishing scheme and are hoping the arrest will help them recover the money. Unfortunately, they are wrong, corruption makes it easy for the offender to bail himself out by the next morning.

After crying their heart out at the police station, San-Yeong and her mom, Yoon Gyeong-Mun, return home. Although San-Yeong is angry at her mom for losing their money, she promises to work hard and take care of her. She is worried that her mom’s sick heart will give out if she stresses too much. They are already running behind with the rent and hiding from the landlady. This is why San-Yeong is working twice as hard to make ends meet.

She gets ready to leave for her part-time job as a chauffeur but her mom gets a strange call and insists they go somewhere together. On the way there, Gyeong-Mun reveals to San-Yeong that she has been lying to her about her dad. San-Yeong thought her dad died when she was young but it turns out her parents divorced and decided to live separate lives. However, her dad is truly dead this time, and San-Yeong needs to pay her final respects. Of course, San-Yeong is shocked but her mom doesn’t give her room for more questions.

They get to an old house and Seok-Ran finally meets her granddaughter.  San-Yeong and Gyeong-Mun pay their respects. They all seem awkward with each other so Gyeong-Mun insists on leaving immediately. Seok-ran insists that she must give  San-Yeong something that her dad left for her.

She gives San-Yeong an old, partially burnt, red hair ribbon and the minute San-Yeong touches it she feels strange. She sees a young girl wearing the ribbon and hears someone saying, “She took it”. All this time, Gyeong-Mun waits outside and once San-Yeong comes out and shows her the ribbon, she throws it away and asks to leave.

She warns San-Yeong not to touch or take anything from the house but doesn’t explain why. San-Yeong is frustrated with her mom and feels it is unfair that she can’t take the ribbon. She  calms down after seeing how worked up her mom is so they leave without the ribbon.

On the way out, San-Yeong runs into Hae-Sang who asks if she is Gang-Mo’s daughter. San-Yeong explains she is but quickly excuses herself as Gyeong-Mun is getting impatient. As she leaves, Hae-Sang notices that her shadow is strange. He goes in and introduces himself to Seok-Ran, who chases him away because he has too many questions about Gang-Mo’s death. He heads back home and we see he has a whole room with Gang-Mo’s pictures and research.

Meanwhile, Gyeong-Mun refuses to tell San-Yeong about her father and what happened to them. The next morning, San-Yeong receives a message from Hae-Sang asking her to contact him. San-Yeong oversleeps but the ghost in her leaves her body and traces the voice-phishing offender. The ghost leads the offender to kill himself.

The real San-Yeong wakes up late and hurries to get to work. This time she is running food delivery errands. She keeps getting messages from Hae-sang but since she doesn’t have his number, she starts wondering if it is a new scam. As fate would have it, she coincidentally meets Hae-sang while running an errand. Hae-sang is a folklore professor and was contacted to check if a finding on a construction site is a cultural asset. He clears the site for construction but suggests they hold a rite first. The land owner and construction workers find his request strange so they ignore it.

After handling that, he talks to San-Yeong and explains that he never knew her father. He notices that San-Yeong’s strange shadow has gotten bigger. He warns her that the people around her who she dislikes will start dying. San-Yeong doesn’t believe that she is possessed by an evil spirit and thinks he is trying to pull an exorcism scam.  She asks him not to contact her unless it is to hire her for errands.

Hae-sang offers to hire her to drive him so they can talk. San-Yeong takes the offer but gets tired of Hae-sang’s evil spirit talk. Hae-sang keeps saying that he can see ghosts and spirits. He tries to explain that there are good and evil spirits and that he wants to know why and how San-Yeong was possessed. Before San-Yeong leaves, Hae-sang suggests that she takes a good look in the mirror.

Upon getting home, San-Yeong receives a visit from two police officers, Lee Hong-Sae and Seo Mun-Chun. They want to know what San-Yeong was doing the day the voice-phishing offender died. San-Yeong is surprised to learn of his death but she has an alibi.  Nonetheless, she starts thinking about what Hae-sang said. She looks in the mirror but doesn’t see anything different.

Officer Hong-Sae thinks that Mun-Chun is barking up the wrong tree since it is clear that the offender killed himself. CCTV footage shows him being alone and San-Yeong was nowhere near the scene. However, Mun-Chun wonders how San-Yeong’s fingerprints were found at the scene. Mun-Chun feels something is off because his first case was similar and he has never been able to solve it.

He later meets with Hae-sang and gifts him some socks for his birthday. Here, we learn that they know each other from way back. Hae-sang is the son of the victim in his first case. Mun-Chun doesn’t believe Hae-sang’s statement that his mom was killed by an evil spirit. Mun-Chun has been looking for the culprit while Hae-sang has been looking for the evil spirit. Years have passed and none of them are any closer to getting their mark.

Elsewhere, a young woman called Baek Se-Mi is in search of a house to rent. She visits a house but the tenants seem strange. She is running out of time and as such, she decides to take the unit. Se-Mi is San-Yeong’s friend from high school and she pays her a visit to congratulate her on her new place. Se-Mi is sure that the house is haunted because she keeps hearing a young girl crying and plenty of strange noises. San-Yeong is not having it and is sick of hearing about ghosts. She decides to have a sleepover at Se-mi’s place as a result.

Later that night, some young boys stop by and start taking photos of San-Yeong and Se-Mi as they sleep. San-Yeong wakes up and sees them. She immediately starts chasing after them but fails to catch up. As a result, they decide to report the matter to the police but the authorities brush them off saying it will be hard to catch the culprits.

On their way back from the police station, San-Yeong discovers the body of one of the culprits. It seems like the culprits are being chased by an evil spirit too but is it San-Yeong’s? The death of the second culprit leads San-Yeong to start questioning if Hae-sang was right. She decides to pay him a visit to the university he teaches at.

Hae-sang listens to her and notices that her shadow has not grown bigger. That means that the evil spirit in her didn’t kill the young culprit who took their photos. He insists on seeing a picture of the young dead culprit so they go to his funeral service.  While there, San-Yeong sees the other two culprits and starts chasing them. This time, she catches up to them and they confess but insist they didn’t kill the other kid.

San-Yeong asks about a third boy who had the number 4237 written on his hands. The boys get scared after hearing this and ask her how she knew about Jung Hyun-Woo. They run away and Hae-sang stops San-Yeong from chasing them again. He explains that the boys are possessed too and San-Yeong worries that means they might die.

Hae-sang asks her to go home and promises to fix everything. He assures her that she had nothing to do with the kid’s death. Before leaving, he warns her to be wary of doors because they also act as openings to the other world. San-Yeong refuses to take Hae-sang’s advice and still chases after the boys.

Concurrently, Hae-sang meets with Mun-Chun to see the file on Jung Hyun-Woo’s death. It turns out that Jung Hyun-Woo committed suicide. They suspect he was a victim of school violence and took his life. Hae-sang believes that Jung Hyun-Woo became a vengeful ghost and is after the other boys. He decides to visit Hyun-Woo’s home and investigate further. He realizes the number on Hyun-Woo’s hand is the door passcode, and so he decides to check the house. In doing so, he starts hearing a young girl crying.

San-Yeong manages to find one of the boys’ homes. She runs into Kim Jin-Wook and he explains that Hyun-Woo’s ghost is chasing him. Jin-Wook has been getting calls from Hyun-Woo’s ghost and all he hears once he picks up is a girl crying.  As they talk, San-Yeong sees  Hyun-Woo’s ghost in the mirror.

The Episode Review

This episode has us hooked right from the first scene through to the nail-biting, edge-of-your-seat ending. This is a great opening to this dark supernatural thriller, one that sees both Kim Tae-Ri and Oh Jung-Se delivering and not disappointing either.

I can’t wait to delve into the next episode and see what happens to San-Yeong now that she can finally see Hyun-Woo’s ghost. She can no longer deny that ghosts and spirits exist, so does this mean she will be able to see the evil spirit in her? I guess we will have to tune in for the next episode to find out.

Next Episode

Expect a full-season review when this season concludes!


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