May Queen Episode 1 Recap
Okay. So it’s not that I’ve taken a break from kdramas. It’s just that the past few dramas to catch my attention were Taiwanese and Japanese. Plus, most of the kdramas I watch are recapped elsewhere and I try to be good about highlighting pieces that aren’t already being regularly recapped. So thus why I’m thinking of doing this series and Five Fingers (Ji Chang Wook-ssi!) as I can’t find any recaps of them out as of yet.
I must say that I came to this drama only because of my love for Kim Jae Won followed by an interest in Jae Hee who is also a good actor who doesn’t seem to age much. Unfortunately, if you’re looking for a fresh plot, this drama is NOT it. That doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have a good start. There’s a good cast and solid acting so far. Too bad the plot isn’t all that original, but it’s pretty hard to have more original dramas it seems. In this first episode we have betrayal, hidden identities, adoption, abuse, bullying, etc. Really, nothing too unique. And it seems that the childhood cast is pretty decent. They are all fairly good maybe with the exception of Hyun Seung Min as the younger Jang In Hwa. She is not a bad young actress, but she needs a little bit more experience as she seems more fake compared to the other actors.
I am so happy to see Kim Yoo Jung (the young Chun Hae Joo). I love her! She’s a great actress and I can’t wait for her to take on a main starring role for an entire drama like she did in Gumiho: Revenge of the Fox’s Child, but for now, she’s pretty much stuck in younger roles of adult leads. I am also happy to see more of Park Ji Bin (the young Kang San). He showed so much promise in Stars Falling from the Sky. It’s nice to see him in a different role. Park Gun Tae (the young Park Chang Hee) is also a welcome sight. I loved him playing the younger version of Yoo Seung Ho’s Yeo Woon in Warrior Baek Dong Soo. He has a certain spark to him that makes me enjoy watching him. Okay, enough gushing over some of my favorite child/teen actors.
So we open with Yoon Hak Soo [Sun Woo Jae Duk] returning home at long last. He hasn’t seen his 3 year-old daughter Yoo Jin or his wife for several months. They are all happy (and it looks like they may be in the process of moving, too) to finally be together again. With them is their good friend Park Gi Chul [Kim Gyu Chul] and his son Park Chang Hee (who is a few years older than Yoo Jin). Hak Soo then gets an emergency call from good friend Jang Do Hyun [Lee Duk Hwa – this man is an awesome actor and plays very versatile roles] telling him that his family is in danger as the Japanese company knows that Hak Soo took the company information and is defecting. Hak Soon runs upstairs and grabs a film canister with the information just as a group of Japanese men all in black come with guns.
In the chaos to leave the house, hot water is spilled on both Chan Hee and Yoo Jin, scalding them both, but there is no time to treat them. The group escapes through the basement and takes off running through the countryside. Lee Geum Hee [Yang Mi Kyung] wishes to know what is going on, but Hak Soo doesn’t have time to explain. He promises his wife he will tell her everything when the see each other again. He then sends his wife and daughter off with Gi Chul and his son. The men chase Hak Soo instead of his family, allowing the others to escape to where Jang has just arrived with his men. Geum Hee and the kids are immediately put in a car and taken somewhere safe while Jang and Gi Chul remain behind.
Jang and his men rush to save Hak Soo before the Japanese men can kill him. Hak Soo is relived to see his hyung. He goes over and Jang asks if the company information is safe. Hak Soo assures him it is and Gi Chul then pulls it out of his pocket. Hak Soo gave it to him as they were leaving the basement to ensure its safety (we never do learn exactly what is in that film canister). A gunshot is then heard and Hak Soo falls to the ground bewildered. How could his hyung shoot him? Jang then turns his gun on Gi Chul who pleads for his life. Please, he has a son (ahem, Hak Soo had a daughter, remember?). He can’t die. Gi Chul then promises to do whatever Jang wants. Sigh. This is a wee bit like the beginning plot of Young Love Jae In. So Jang shoots Gi Chul in the kneecap and spares his life.
Hak Soo’s funeral is held. Geum Hee is beside herself in grief while Gi Chul is feeling guilty and Jang doesn’t look one bit guilty at all. Little Yoo Jin is crying and we can see the hot water left a burn on the back of her neck. Geum Hee collapses and Jang rushes up to her before she can hit the ground. Later Jang meets with Gi Chul and he picks up Chang Hee and swings him over the edge of a … lighthouse I think. This freaks Gi Chul out so you know he will do just what Jang has asked of him. And what has Jang demanded? He wants Yoo Jin to disappear as he wants Geum Hee completely broken. Uh, why? I’m pretty sure you might have a guess as to why. Again, highly unoriginal. You destroy the family of the woman you “love” so that she has no other option to go to you (providing she doesn’t know what you’ve done).
Thankfully (and typically), Gi Chul cannot bring himself to kill the little girl. Instead he kidnaps her. While her mother is praying for her deceased husband, Gi Chul absconds with the girl and takes her to his army buddy Chun Hong Chul [the awesome Ahn Nae Sang]. Gi Chul hands over a huge stack of cash and tells Hong Chul to adopt the girl and raise her well. Hong Chul is reluctant because his wife will go through the roof if he comes home with a child, but he eventually agrees and takes charge of the girl. Oddly enough, his wife doesn’t go completely ballistic on him, but you know she isn’t happy when her husband brings home a 3-year-old girl and says that it’s his. He soooo could have done without that, but whatever.
So what is the story behind the missing girl? Gi Chul says he took Yoo Jin out for a walk and a wave snatched her away before he could do anything. Looks like Jang doesn’t know this is a lie, so the girl is safe so far. Geum Hee cannot believe this and she tries to rush out into the sea when all the searchers can do is turn up the girl’s shoe. Her daughter can’t be gone after losing her husband like that. At Hak Soo’s grave, Jang brings his son and daughter. He begs Geum Hee to be there mother since the children have never had one (guess their mother died not to long after the youngest girl was born). Apparently Jang had some relationship with Geum Hee before she married Hak Soo. So how much you want to bet that he had his good friend killed partly just because of her? So annoyingly typical. Geum Hee wishes to reject his offer, but when the little girl starts crying, she is reminded of her “dead” daughter and she does take him up on his offer.
Several years pass and the Chun family hits a patch of rotten luck and have to go on the run from their home. Needless to say Jo Dal Soon who’s nearing the end of another pregnancy [Geum Bo Ra—she’s so good at playing more not-so-nice characters] treats her son Sang Tae [Kim Dong Hyun] and daughter Young Joo much better than Hae Joo. Of course, Hong Chul goes out of his way to treat his adoptive daughter much better which angers his wife even more. Oh, and as you might imagine, Hae Joo has no idea at this point that she isn’t the Chun’s natural child, but that actually might change in episode two. I’ll try to watch it tonight and get it up no later than tomorrow night depending. Anywho, Hong Chul breaks his promise to stay away from Ulsan and Gi Chul as he is desperate.
Obviously, Gi Chul is not happy to see Hong Chul or Yoo Jin who has been renamed Hae Joo. He tells Hong Chul that he cannot possibly help them. While the adults are conversing, the three kids go to catch frogs. Sang Tae, like a complete idiot, pokes at a bee’s nest. Of course the bees come rushing out. Hae Joo makes sure to protect her baby sister, by covering her with her own body. At this time, Chang Hee arrives and sees the bees swarming Hae Joo. He quickly rushes over an bats at them with his shirt. When that doesn’t do any good, he rushes and tosses water on them (all while Sang Tae cowers in the distance holding his stung lip and Hae Joo makes chicken noises to scare the bees). Chang Hee scolds the cowardly Sang Tae just as Hae Joo collapses.
Chang Hee piggybacks the girl to the house and Dal Soon only has eyes for her son. She immediately blames everything on Hae Joo. Yoo Jin doesn’t speak up to say the truth and Hae Joo can’t. While Dal Soon cares for her son’s stung lip, Hong Chul cares for the passed out and feverish Hae Joo. In spite of the injuries, Gi Chul kicks them out of the house as it is not his place. Whose place is it? Just as the Chun family leaves, the Jang family comes home (Jang had just picked up the kids and his wife from the skating rink after having a meeting about getting the last pieces of land needed for the growth of the shipyard). Needless to say the relationship between the Park and Jang families are strained and awkward.
Dal Soon has the truck stopped and irks the driver so that he abandons them on the side of the road. They begin the long walk into town and when Young Joo complains of her legs hurting, Dal Soon tells Hae Joo to stop pretending to be ill and let Hong Chul carry Young Joo. Hong Chul says that Hae Joo is still sick, but Dal Soon doesn’t care. Hae Joo gets off her father’s back and immediately collapses. At this time, two kind men stop. They take the Chuns to an abandoned house where they can stay for the time being. They are encouraged to take Hae Joo to the hospital when morning comes. Poor Hong Chul is worried about Hae Joo and is trying his best to break her fever while all his wife can think about is Sang Tae who got stung once on the mouth while Hae Joo got stung multiple times, all over, protecting Young Joo from the bees their oppa stirred up. I tell you. Annoying, annoying.
We then cut to see Hae Joo up and well and starting school. Wouldn’t you know, she’s in Jang In Hwa’s class. Of course, since Jang is this mighty man, In Hwa is treated like a queen. Even the teacher is afraid of offending her and lets the girl get away with everything. Since Hae Joo is new and from the countryside, she has no idea about the Jang family. At lunch time, Hae Joo has no food and she exclaims when she sees In Hwa’s massive, and beautiful, lunch. The other girls start calling her names and In Hwa throws a fit and throws the food. Hae Joo immediately picks it up, ignoring In Hwa’s insistence that she leaves it be. The two girls then get into an argument about wasting food (I must say how I loved it when Hae Joo told In Hwa she will have to eat all the food she wastes in Hell). In Hwa then slaps Hae Joo who slaps her right back. This, of course, gets Hae Joo into big trouble.
The teacher explains the situation to Hae Joo who doesn’t get it. Why should what family you’re from matter? The teacher then tells Hae Joo to kneel and put her hands above her head. Hae Joo doesn’t wish to unless In Hwa gets punished as well since In Hwa was wrong and slapped her first. When the teacher threatens to call Dal Soon, Hae Joo hurriedly accepts the punishment. Enter Geum Hee. She rushes to In Hwa’s classroom and is assured by In Hwa that she is fine. The two then go to the office. Geum Hee sees the pitiful Hae Joo and takes mercy on the child, especially when the teacher started beating her for not apologizing for In Hwa. I hate hypocritical systems like that, but they abound, you know?
We then cut to the boys’ school where Chang Hee, Sang Tae and Jang Il Mun [It’s Maru-oppa (Seo Young Joo) from Can You Hear my Heart!!!!!!!!!!!!! I loved him in that show (although his character was horribly annoying). He’s a great young actor.] are all in the same class. When Chang Hee gets the opportunity to represent the school at a math meet, Il Mun is livid. The teacher said they were supposed to send both Il Mun and Chang Hee, but could only send one in the end so they chose Chang Hee who has the highest scores in the class. Sang Tae is happy to be seated next to someone so smart. After class, Il Mun and his cronies begin picking on Chang Hee, ordering him to do their cleaning duty. Chang Hee endures, but you know he isn’t happy to do so. When this squabble wakes up the resident bad boy Kang San, he gets involved and protects Chang Hee, much to Il Mun’s annoyance, but the kid can’t seem to speak up to Kang San. Nice to know that while In Hwa is a total queen, her brother isn’t in complete control at his school.
When Kang San learns that he slept through the end of class, he rushes out and fins his grandfather welding in the shipyard. Kang San shows his grandfather the realistic model he built of one of the ships and his grandfather breaks it. Kang Sun’s models are too early. He instructs his grandson that first Kang Sun must learn welding, then painting, and then whatever comes next. There is no way for Kang San to be building models at the moment when he still lacks all these other skills. Kang San is crushed to see his hard work smashed so easily. Meanwhile, Hae Joo is collecting bottles. She even has a brief glimpse of the intimidating Jang. After he leaves, she gushes over the shipyard. Seeing that sight made up for her crappy day.
Jang instructs Gi Chul to take care of uprooting the illegal residents in the land surrounding the orchard and to use whatever means necessary to get the orchard as well. Gi Chul wishes to compensate the families getting kicked out, but Jang won’t have it. He then goes home where he unpacks a caledon vase. It is a really expensive piece of Korean pottery. Il Mun breaks down just what the vase is. The kid is smart, just not quite as smart as Chang Hee. Jang then seeks out Geum Hee who is in their room staring at a picture of Yoo Jin. Jang realizes that it is the dead girl’s birthday. But it’s been 10 years. It’s time for his wife to let go of the child as Jang assures her that she must be happy in heaven. Talk about insensitive. If a parent is truly a parent, can they ever dismiss a beloved child’s death?
Hae Joo turns in her bottles and gets money which she uses to buy a few squares of tofu. She gets home and is immediately scolded for being out so late while the other two kids were starving. Hae Joo quickly makes dinner. I must say that it’s pretty bad when the oldest girl gets the smallest rice bowl. After filling all the other bowls, there isn’t much left for her and she just puts it in her family’s bowls instead. Such a good, self-sacrificing daughter. She’s too good considering her rotten acting mother. The others eat, but Hong Chul notices Hae Joo isn’t eating anything. The girl says her friends bought her bread and she’s full. This makes Dal Soon mad. She tells the rotten girl to sleep outside then. Hong Chul tries to overrule this, but Dal Soon won’t listen and Hae Joo willingly agrees to keep the peace. Later that night, Hong Chul sneaks out of his room to sleep with his daughter. He is unhappy that he can’t do more for the girl and she does her best to encourage him.
The next day at school, In Hwa and her cronies mock Hae Joo who digs through trash to pick up bottles. In Hwa goes up and starts talking to Hae Joo who ignores her. Of course this irks In Hwa. The girl then says she has tons more bottles at home and takes Hae Joo to her house. True to her word, In Hwa does have crates of bottles. This lights up Hae Joo’s eyes as In Hwa promised her the bottles. In Hwa cannot believe that Hae Joo pays more attention to the bottles and not to the grand house. She then takes the girl inside. Gi Chul catches sight of the girls and is immediately worried. Inside, In Hwa keeps showing off while Hae Joo keeps being unimpressed. Thus In Hwa gets out the caledon vase that was $30,000 roughly 3 million won or something like that. She goes to hand it over to Hae Joo and the vase drops to the floor. Uh-oh. In rushes Geum Hee who immediately goes to scold In Hwa who insists that it wasn’t her fault. Hae Joo hurriedly bends over to pick up the broken pieces revealing the scare on the back of her neck which Geum Hee sees.
End episode. The previews for two show that this plot is moving fast! Like I said, this is a good drama, not too badly paced thus far, but it’s rather unoriginal with the hidden identity, poor vs. rich, jealousy, betrayal, rivalry, etc.