Noona-Dongsaeng drama (my favorite romance sub-genre) has finally arrived. Cast lead by big stars recently married Hye-Kyo and young and talented Park Bo-Gum. The highly anticipated drama is about a politician’s daughter who gets married and later divorced from a chaebol. She then meets a young guy in a foreign land and their story from there on.
Encounter Episode 1 Recap
Ex-Mother-In-Law is So Clingy
We see (only from the back) Soo-Hyun from her college days, helping her father during his election, her marriage and to her divorce. She is like a princess stuck in a castle who sees herself as a prisoner rather than a princess. Later, she is driven to her hotel where she gets ready for her ex-mother-in law’s birthday. She and her secretary both doesn’t seem to like her ex-mother-in-law. Soo-Hyun meets and greets her ex-mother-in-law who doesn’t seem much happy to see her ex-daughter-in-law. She also meets her ex-husband who seems to be getting married again. Soo-Hyun wants him to get married soon so his mother doesn’t invite her anymore. News of her attending her ex-mother-in-law’s party is released. She than fly off to Cuba where she is opening a branch of her hotel.
Elsewhere, Jin-Hyeok is enjoying his traveling by walking on the streets of Havana and taking the pictures of the locals. Then he walks into an old mansion and sees a beautiful garden and seems amazed by the beauty of it. An old man comes out and asks him if Jin-Hyeok finds the garden beautiful. To which he replies that yes garden is beautiful and also it seems that it has been kept just like it would have looked years ago. The old man tells him that it was hard to maintain but he did because this is the place where his and her wife’s love began and completed. Soo-Hyun and her secretary are driven by a driver who is using his mobile while driving and causes an accident.
He nearly misses Jin-Hyeok who was enjoying a drink outside at a cafe. Jin-Hyeok is not hurt but his vintage camera gets damaged. Soo-Hyun’s secretary goes to him and tells him that she would compensate him for his camera. Jin-Hyeok denies the compensation but reluctantly takes her business card when he sees the traffic building up. Later, Soo-Hyun attends the conference of her hotel’s expanding in Cuba. There she sees the sunset El Malecon on TV and one of her employees tells her that it is really beautiful and she must check it out. On her way back to her hotel she sees Jin-Hyeok dancing with the locals.
Big Catch at El Malecon
Soo-Hyun sees a picture of the sunset at El Malecon and decides to go there. She calls her secretary to join her. Her secretary tells her that she wants to enjoy her own personal time. They seem to be on friendly terms as her secretary talks down to her in an informal way. So-Hyun takes a sleeping pill and decides to go on her own. An employee of the hotel where she is staying takes her to the taxi, tells her where she should go to see the sunset. He further informs her that this place is perfect for falling in love and wishes her good luck. On her way to the beach her taxi breaks down and her driver tells her to take the ferry as it would be faster.
Soo-Hyun walks towards the ferry when Jin-Hyeok sees her and gets mesmerized by her beauty. She goes to the place but senorita gets her handbag stolen and all her money and her phone gone. Meanwhile, her secretary is trying to reach her and sees that she has gone outside after taking her sleeping pill. Her secretary gets worried about her and goes out to look for her. Soo-Hyun is walking through beautiful places and finally reaches her location. She sits on the wall to enjoy the upcoming sunset, the wall is filled with couples. Lonely Soo-Hyun starts to doze off because of the sleeping pill and as she was about to fall Jin-Hyeok catches her just before she falls. She falls asleep on his shoulder and one of her shoes falls down.
Meeting In A Foreign Land
She wakes up after her little nap and finds herself leaning on a stranger, Jin-Hyeok’s shoulder. Jin-Hyeok tells her how he saved her. She sees the sunset and gets hypnotized by its beauty. We see the opening scenes again and this time her face is shown and we see that she was not really happy. The moment and the music played by Jin-Hyeok brings her to tears. Meanwhile, her secretary is still searching for her. She wants to repay Jin-Hyeok but doesn’t have the money so she asks him to buy some beer for her. He does that and while they are drinking she tells him about the sleeping pill and the stolen handbag. Jin-Hyeok sees a cut caused by the heel on Soo-Hyun’s leg and asks her to walk barefooted.
While they are walking she asks him about his vintage camera. He tells her that it was his father’s friend camera and his father really cherishes the camera but it got damaged because of an accident. He buys her sandals and also takes her out to dinner (more like she forced him). After some little bantering at the restaurant, they go to a local dance club and enjoy some dancing. She finally seems really happy for the first time during the whole episode. Jin-Hyeo takes her to the taxi and gathers his courage to ask her to meet him again tomorrow for breakfast. She tells him she is not sure she could make it because of her schedule. They say goodbye to each other as she leaves, she also forgets her heels with him.
We Meet Again
The worried secretary meets Soo-Hyun when she finally reaches the hotel. Soo-Hyun tells her how she lost her handbag. Jin-Hyeok and Soo-Hyun look excited about the meeting next morning. Next day there is a problem with the hotel expansion. Soo-Hyun has to sign a contract with an employee but he is late. She keeps checking her watch as she wants to go and meet Jin-Hyeok. Meanwhile, Jin-Hyeok waits for her for a long time but decides to leave as he doesn’t want to miss his plane. He looks disappointed and sad because he doesn’t get to meet her again.
Jin-Hyeok sees Soo-Hyun again at the airport. She tells him that something urgent came up so she couldn’t come, we also see in a flashback that she did go to meet him but he has already left. She also informs him that she knew about his damaged camera and that she was in the car during the accident. As a debt payment for his help, she would like him to fly in the business class. Jin-Hyeok tells her that he has worked hard to earn the money for this trip and flying in economy is part of the memories he would like to keep and hopes she understands. Later at the Seoul airport, he sees Soo-Hyun’s business card and searches Donghwa hotel. He is surprised to find that Soo-Hyun is Donghwa Hotel’s CEO. He also receives a phone call from Donghwa Hotel informing that he has passed final job interview as he watches Soo-Hyun passes by.
Let’s first start with how beautiful it was. The sceneries, location, art style and direction was really beautiful. The first half starting from Havana and till their meeting at the sunset was like watching art house film. The cast is also as beautiful as the sceneries. As it was the premiere episode we didn’t get much information other than what we have already read in the synopsis. We also got a glimpse of Jang Seung-Jo and really funny Ko Chang-Seok. We all know Chang-Seok from his movies and I’m really happy to see Seung-Jo. He was really good in the Money Flower. He is really funny and enthusiastic in real life as well. Let me know if you guys have seen him and Tak Jae-Hoon in the 1 Percent Friendship.
Moving on to our leading couple what are your thoughts on their hairstyles. Hye-Kyo’s short hair reminds me of World’s Within and I also really like Bo-Gum’s long hairs. Although in the preview of next episode we see he will cut them short. I think it would have been a bit awkward for him to shoot intimate scenes (if there are any) with his senior’s (Joong-Ki) wife. It would be a really big scandal if they fall in love in real life (my wishful thinking). We have seen Hye-Kyo’s tendency to have a relationship with her co-stars. Anyways, I have high hopes for this one and it has already beaten its competitor (Fluttering Warning and Feel Good To Die) in the quality department.