Was It Love? – Netflix Episode 1 Recap and Review

A New Hope

After the fantasy drama Mystic Pop-Up Bar, JTBC’s latest addition to Netflix is ‘Was It Love?’ bringing a touching and fun story as we follow Ae-Jeong’s adventures. The show has a lot promise with plenty of emotional moments, humour and interesting characters too. The first episode does a great job setting the scene with enough background to make it quite the intriguing prospect.

Episode 1 of Was It Love? starts in 2012 as No Ae-Jeong has an interview for Thumb Film accounting department. We learn that she has had many part-time jobs over the years but dropped out of university on her last year. When the interviewers ask her why, we cut to Ae-Jung’s daughter’s Ha-Nee being picked up by her grandmother. The teacher explains that the little girl is upset as the other kids asked her why she didn’t draw her father in her family picture. On the way home, Hyang-Ja has trouble trying to explain to her granddaughter why her dad is not around.

Back in the interview, Ae-Jeong tells them she had to drop out of school to raise her daughter by herself but doesn’t regret it. As they ask her why she wants to work in a film company, we see a flashback of 2006 in a cinema as the credit roll of a movie directed by Oh Dae-O and produced by Ae-Jeong. She explains that her dream was to become a producer before she became a mother so now she just wants any job in the movie industry. Back home, she receives a call from the company with the good news that she has been hired.

We then jump forward in the present as Ae-Jeong arrives home with Ha-Nee’s uniform from the dry cleaner as she is about to be transferred into a new school. We learn that Ae-Jeong is now a film producer but unfortunately the company is not doing well. However, she tells her mum that they are expecting a new investor to help and she is very positive about it.

In her office, the investor Koo Pa-Do enters while Ha-Nee arrives in her new school. Just as she gets told off for not having her name badge, her new teacher Oh Yeon-Woo comes to her rescue. Later in class, Ha-nee is not happy when she sees a boy getting bullied.

Back in Thumbs Film, Ae-Jeong finds out that the investor is in fact the CEO of Nine capital lending company and her boss owes them a lot of money since she unknowingly signed a joint surety agreement. She now has to pay the money instead as Mr Wang is not around. She begs him to reconsider but the men start threatening her family and give her two weeks to pay the money back.

While looking for her boss in his flat, Ae-Jeong gets called in to her daughter’s school. She arrives in the counselling office as it looks like Ha-Nee has been hurt from the bully earlier. Ae-Jeong quickly kneels to apologize and begs the parents not to take Ha-Nee to the violence committee. When the father of the boy finds out that Ha-Nee doesn’t have a dad, he tells her that children with only one parent should be raised more strictly. Ae-Jeong gets up and defends herself by saying she is Ha-Nee’s mother and father. She offers to pay for the boy’s hospital bill then leaves.

As they leave the school, Ae-Jeong sees the man from the lending company outside. She takes her daughter away but the latter stops her and starts crying. She tells her she never listens to her and blames her for being born as no matter what, the fact that she doesn’t have a dad never changes. The boy who was bullied speaks to Ae-Jeong and tells her that Ha-Nee didn’t do anything wrong as she is the only one who has ever helped him.

The next day, Ae-Jeong gets into the same bus Yeon-Woo happens to be in. As she bumps into him when the bus breaks, she recognises him as her daughter’s homeroom teacher. He then asks her if she really doesn’t recognize him. A small flashback then shows that they used to know each other.  As he gets off the bus, he tells her he missed her and promises to take good care of Ha-Nee.

Ae-Jung heads to see another investor to discuss her script proposal “Husbands over Flowers”. The man tells her that another company is now working with this project and reveals that no company will ever invest with Thumb Films. She heads to see the writer next who confirms that he has signed with someone else once he heard that Mr Wang has fled. She begs him to reconsider so he asks her if she will be able to bring the money to produce his movie.

Back in the office, Ae-Jeong and Hye-Jin find an old manuscript written by Cheon Eok-Man. She takes the contract she found in Mr Wang’s apartment and sees that it was signed by the same famous author which they believe will be their salvation. They then head to Pa-Do’s house next and show him the copyright contract they have, which Ae-Jeong claims will bring million of viewers and therefore enable her to pay him back. The man doesn’t believe anyone would still invest in them so Ae-Jeong bravely suggests that he could be the one investing. Pa-Do agrees to it but his conditions are that Cheon Eok-Man is to be the writer and famous actor Ryu-Jin should have the main lead. He will invest 10 billion won but gives her 8 days.

As Ae-Jeong heads to find Ryu-Jin, we see in a flashback that they used to know each other in university when she tried kissing him. She unfortunately has trouble talking to him though with the hordes of fans surrounding him. Hye-Jin later tells her that she has been having trouble reaching the author which prompts Ae-Jeong to send him an email. She then starts reading the novel and is impressed by its historical and tragic romance story.

In the morning, she is ecstatic when she gets a reply and invitation from Eok-man to meet for coffee. When she arrives and sees who he is, she is very surprised as the episode closes.

Was it Love already promises to be quite the dramatic series as Ae-Jeong will have four very different men to choose from. She hasn’t had a very easy life so far and reminds me a little of Ji-Soo inWhen My Love Blooms. However, this drama does feel lighter in tone and has quite a bit of humour in it too as Ae-Jeong remains positive despite all the difficulties she faces.

The series also shows us how difficult life can be as a single parent and how quickly people can judge those situations. There have been quite a few heartbreaking scenes in the episode already involving Ha-Nee who has been struggling to fit in. I also wonder if one of the four men could be Ha-Nee’s father and I predict that Ae-Jeong may eventually end up with Yeon-Woo.

Only time will tell though but for now, Was It Love starts with a decent first episode.

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