Yup, I ended up doing it. I had to. I just had to. I have so many things to say about this drama and so many feels that I need an outlet, a space, and a place to let it all out.
What originally started as a hate(?) relationship with the drama has now transformed into a love-hate relationship and is currently leaning more and more into the love side the more I watch it. A big part of that is thanks to our two leads, Choi Woo-shik and Kim Da-mi, who are doing a phenomenal job playing the heartbroken characters engaged in a push-and-pull relationship with each other.
It’s been a while since I’ve done a drama recap so I’m a little rusty at this (again) and it’s hard to believe that my last recapped show on here was ‘Vincenzo‘ (that felt like years ago). I have trust issues with dramas and I find myself scared to recap a show that I end up not enjoying halfway through. The fears and concerns are still sort of there for ‘Our Beloved Summer’, but at the same time I’m excited for the show. I really hope it’s good. I really do. Please don’t let me down, show.
Our Beloved Summer Episode 1: I Know What You Did Last Summer
The episode starts off with our male lead, Choi Woong (Choi Woo-shik), leaning down on his desk in his classroom without a care in the world. He’s 19 years old and he’s busy filming a documentary. He bickers with the documentary PD about the camera before shifting his attention to his documentary partner, Kook Yeon-soo (Kim Da-mi). She’s filming the documentary with him, but it’s obvious the two don’t get along. Choi Woong isn’t the most attentive student while Kim Da-mi is the class president. Yeon-soo recalls that they first met in the tenth grade at the library when she discovered that he was ranked as the top bookworm of the month only to discover that he’s actually ranked last in the entire school, lol. Choi Woong’s recollection of interactions with Yeon-soo dates back to their high school entrance ceremony. He noticed her for the way that she carried and presented herself. When they locked eyes at the ceremony, he wore a small friendly smile on his face only to be returned with a not-so-friendly response from Yeon-soo. Choi Woong notes how he felt like Yeon-soo was ill-tempered.
Yeon-soo is informed about the documentary by one of the teachers and she seems up for the challenge. She’ll get paid to basically film with Woong and the documentary will focus on the interactions between the top ranked student and the bottom ranked student for a month. Unlike Yeon-soo, Woong isn’t so opened to filming the documentary. It takes a visit from the documentary PD to his parent’s restaurant for him to finally give in. Even if he feels differently about Yeon-soo, his parents find it an advantage for him to spend time with her. She is one of the brightest students at their school and he can learn from this experience.
So with that, Woong changes his classroom to the same one as Yeon-soo so they can film the documentary together. It was a lot more annoying and bothersome than they thought. From the classroom to the cafeteria to playing dodgeball outside, it was clear that the two didn’t get along with each other and weren’t meant to be friends. Woong found Yeon-soo to be selfish while Yeon-soo thought Woong was lazy and pathetic. Their feelings of despise and pity towards each other was mutual. There was endless fighting and bickering. Even the interview that they held together for the documentary consisted of shade and disses at each other. It finally ends when the PD asks the both of them what their plans are in ten years. While Woong comments on how he’d like to live a peaceful and quiet life, Yeon-soo believes her success in high school will translate to many more years down the line. There’s no knowing what will happen in ten years, but they’re both sure on one thing: they hope they’ll never have to see each other again in ten years (HAHA! We’ll see about that!).
Fast forward to ten years later and Yeon-soo comes to terms with her new reality. While presenting her idea for an upcoming project to one of her clients, Mr. Jang Do-yoon (Lee Joon-hyuk), as well as her team members, she continues to get interrupted and shut down by Mr. Jang. He’s not a fan of her ideas and has no confidence in her whatsoever. However, it’s not until she mentions a potential collaboration with successful artist, Go-oh, that his interest gets piqued. For the project for their upcoming shop, Soen Shop, they’ll promote the shop by hosting a live drawing ceremony at the building with Go-oh. Mr. Jang changes his mind and is hopeful that the collaboration will come through. Yeon-soo too is adamant in proving herself to Mr. Jang and she’s going to do whatever it takes to find the quiet, hidden, and reserved Go-oh.
On her way back to her car in the parking garage, Yeon-soo encounters Mr. Jang. The two have similar-looking cars and she mistakens Mr. Jang’s car for hers, lol. Mr. Jang checks in with Yeon-soo once again on getting Go-oh on board for the project. He hopes she wasn’t bluffing and saying things just to say things which flusters Yeon-soo. She never would have thought in ten years that she’d be treated this way.
Things are a little different for Woong. Ten years later, he is living a peaceful life. Sort of. His dad is busy filming a promotional video outside his restaurant with the help of producer Kim Ji-woong (Kim Sung-cheol). Choi Woong would like a little bit more peace, especially with the constant nagging from his parents. While Mom and Dad leave for inside the restaurant, Ji-woong proceeds to film Choi Woong for a bit longer, but Choi Woong isn’t a big fan of that either. With both Choi Woong and Kim Ji-woong’s names sounding similar, the two have gotten mixed up ever since they were little classmates in grade school. Fast forward to the present and Mom and Dad still treats Kim Ji-woong as if he’s their own son. Things haven’t changed much, even for Choi Woong who isn’t as mature as he thought he’d be in this point of his life.
Yeon-soo’s team chat about her intense conversation with Mr. Jang during her presentation. They commend her for her courage in standing up for herself, but they also know Yeon-soo can be just as intimidating to them as well. Speaking of Yeon-soo, she concludes a meeting with her director and returns to her work station. Director Bang is satisfied with the news regarding Soen Shop and propose that they celebrate somehow. A dinner party? Lunch? Maybe coffee? But the rest of the team express no interest in wanting to spend time with Mr. Bang which leaves him with no choice but to retreat back into his office. Meanwhile, Yeon-soo studies Go-oh’s intricate and detailed drawings of several buildings on her work computer.
Speaking of Go-oh, he enters his special work studio to get started on some drawings. With some beautiful music playing in the background (which is an OST that BTS’s V sang specifically for this drama for his bestie, Choi Woo-shik), he seats himself at his desk and begins to draw. The room is dim, his desk is full of drawing utensils and pencils, and he’s so focused on working that he refuses to pick up any phone calls from his manager/friend, Ga Eun-ho. Turns out that Go-oh is none other than our beloved Choi Woong who is dragged out of his studio and to the park to meet up with the other Woong, Kim Ji-woong. Choi Woong’s parents have no clue how successful and popular he is. No one does really since Choi Woong likes to remain hidden and secretive, hence, the alias. The three catch up for a bit over some beer and enjoy the quiet night out. Meanwhile, Yeon-soo goes over to her best friend’s restaurant to visit her best friend, Lee Sol-yi (Park Jin-joo). The restaurant is empty so Sol-yi has some time to talk to Yeon-soo about the guy she set Yeon-soo up with that Yeon-soo has been avoiding. It’s been four times already and yet, he still wants to meet her. Sol-yi encourages Yeon-soo to date and not just work. It’s not like she hasn’t forgotten about her ex-boyfriend, right? Yeon-soo is close to leaving upon hearing Sol-yi’s assumption, lol.
Our three friends proceed to playing some basketball, but take a short break to discuss about one of the projects that Choi Woong was asked to do. It’s the live drawing show that Yeon-soo and her team is working on, but Choi Woong has no interest in participating. He likes keeping his identity a secret, but Ji-woong and Eun-ho argue that he should change that. It’s the reason why popular artist, Nu-Ah, is climbing up the ranks alongside Choi Woong. Choi Woong doesn’t feel threatened by Nu-Ah; he’s satisfied with his career so far and has no plans to change anything just yet.
When Yeon-soo arrives home, she cuddles with her grandma who’s sleeping outside in the living room waiting for her. She eventually washes up and gets ready to go to bed, but does a quick research on Go-oh before heading to sleep. She learns that he primarily draws nature and buildings and rarely ever includes people in his drawings. Unlike nature or buildings, people change and Go-oh prefers things that don’t change over time. Hmmm.
Ji-woong is instructed by his team leader, Mr. Park, to do his next documentary on people. Ji-woong isn’t as interested and expresses his wishes to do a documentary on the environment, but Mr. Park doesn’t budge. He wants Ji-woong to work on a documentary focused on people for his next project and he already has an idea of who he wants the documentary to be about: Choi Woong and Yeon-soo. He shows Ji-woong a clip of the high school documentary during their meeting and argues that they should follow it up with a documentary providing a 10-year update. It’ll attract young viewers which is what they want. Plus, Ji-woong knows Choi Woong and Yeon-soo both so this project is completely possible.
Yeon-soo’s team also watches clips of the high school documentary at the office and is caught off guard when Yeon-soo sneaks up from behind. They attempt to save themselves from the gossiping they did of her and Yeon-soo luckily lets it go. For the most part. She clarifies with one of her staff members that it was Choi Woong who always started the fights with Yeon-soo, not the other way around. Ho ho ho.
Eun-ho occupies himself by writing some comments on the high school documentary with Choi Woong and Yeon-soo. He gets distracted when a phone call from popular idol singer, NJ, compels him to run into Choi Woong’s studio so that Choi Woong can pick it up. She proposes that they meet up later on which Choi Woong is pressured into accepting thanks to Eun-ho’s pushiness. Choi Woong suspects NJ wants a free drawing from him, but Eun-ho thinks otherwise. She makes plenty of money and plus, they have to get ready for the meeting. While digging through Choi Woong’s clothes, Eun-ho discovers matching couple t-shirts which sort of grosses him out but also makes him curious. Choi Woong just merely brushes it off and hides the two shirts in his arms.
Yeon-soo arrives at a cafe and encounters Mr. Jang while she’s there. He’s sitting alone at a table and the two happen to be sporting the same t-shirt, just different colors. How awkward. Eventually, Yeon-soo proceeds to her table to meet up with the guy that Sol-yi had tried to set her up with the past 4 times. They finally meet in-person after what seemed like forever and it doesn’t take long for the guy to get started. He lists out all his failed attempts in getting in touch with Yeon-soo and then cuts the date short: he just wanted to meet up with her to put an end to everything. She’s not worth his time and he wanted to waste her time for once. So with that, he leaves an embarrassed and bewildered Yeon-soo behind at the cafe. Yeon-soo is so embarrassed she invites herself to sit at Mr. Jang’s table. Choi Woong himself waits at a cafe for what was supposed to be his meeting with NJ, but he doesn’t have much luck either. NJ is unable to show up so Choi Woong heads back home.
It’s a little awkward sitting at the same table as her work client, but having some alcohol sort of helps. At first, they talk about the comparisons that people have made between the two of them, but Yeon-soo transitions to talking about their matching t-shirt. It reminds her of matching couple t-shirts which Mr. Jang finds pathetic. Yeon-soo used to hate pathetic people and things a long time ago as well; she was once like that too and used to be so childish. When Choi Woong arrives home, he finds Eun-ho sleeping in his work studio. He covers his manager with a blanket before picking up one of his drawings that was lying on the floor.
The next morning, Choi Woong awakens to someone ringing at the door bell. He gets up to open the door and finds none other than Yeon-soo standing in front of his house. He’s confused, shocked, and flustered all at once and retreats back inside his house. He quickly grabs a spray bottle and aims it at Yeon-soo’s face a few seconds later. While all of this is taking place, we’re taken back to Ji-woong’s meeting with Mr. Park. He explains how Yeon-soo and Choi Woong ended up dating for five years, but ended things on such a bad note that they vowed to never see each other again. The documentary isn’t totally impossible, but it most likely won’t happen. But fate as we know it has its own plans and this is a part of Yeon-soo and Choi Woong’s fate: to meet each other again.
Yeon-soo and Choi Woong sport their yellow matching couple t-shirts while on a date at the amusement park. They get into another round of arguing and Yeon-soo threatens to break up once again. Choi Woong points out that the matching t-shirt belongs to him so Yeon-soo angrily takes it off and throws it at Choi Woong’s face before storming away. The future artist is left behind holding up a yellow balloon with a smiley face on it, but no one’s happy on this date at the amusement park.
Wow, I clearly wasn’t paying attention to the first episode on my first watch because I did not catch that epilogue and the toxicity of it all. It’s a little concerning that they threatened to break up a total of five times (what does that say about their dynamic and compatibility with each other?) and ended the date on a sour note. Ideally, you would like to see the two work through their issues by confronting these topics and listening to the other when they express themselves. Maybe that’s something that they’ll improve on in the future and this reunion will hopefully give them a chance to give each other a second chance to prove that they’ve changed for the better.
Rewatching this first episode a second time allowed me to realize and catch the small details that I might have missed the first time around. From the parallels about what they envisioned their life would look like ten years later to even their trip to the cafes, Yeon-soo and Choi Woong seemed pretty similar even if their personalities might have been the total opposite. It’s such an interesting comparison and contrast because the drama presents them as enemies who don’t get along, as complete opposites, as two childish individuals with different goals in their lives, but their realities prove otherwise. Yeon-soo and Choi Woong have so much more in common than they (and we) thought. They’re both not so satisfied with their lives in the present; they seem to crave and want more. Choi Woong’s life isn’t as peaceful as he’d like; Yeon-soo thought she’d be in a successful place in her life where she’s respected and not looked down upon in her workplace. There’s so much more to the two than what meets the eye.
There’s also so much more to their relationship than we thought. The drama hinted about their relationship throughout the episode as seen with the matching couple t-shirts which Choi Woong still has hidden in his house. Meanwhile, Yeon-soo refuses to date and rather just focus on work because of the possibility that she might not be over her ex-boyfriend (AKA Choi Woong). I love that we’re already getting little hints peppered here and there throughout the episode with Kim Ji-woong’s comment at the end serving as the icing on the cake. With the way that they broke up, you would think that they would already have moved on from their break-up, but it seems like it’s the opposite.
Now that I’m caught up with all the episodes, I now understand why the drama did things the way that it did with this first episode. That could explain why I wasn’t a big fan of this first episode when it was first released. I didn’t understand the drama’s choice in storytelling. I didn’t understand why the drama kept on plugging Yeon-soo’s and Choi Woong’s internal thoughts and dialogues throughout the episode. I didn’t understand why the documentary was such a big deal. There’s layers to this drama and just like the first episodes with most dramas, ‘Our Beloved Summer’ is setting things up now so that it’s much easier to watch, understand, and sympathize later on down the line. It’s one of those things where you might not understand why the drama is doing things a certain way at first, but it begins to make so much more sense with the future episodes. Episode one is still my least favorite episode out of the six that have been released so far, but I do have a little bit more appreciation for it with this second watch.
I think my initial hesitation with this drama had to do with the basic premise and how mundane it seemed. Two individuals who used to date each other meet again five years after their break-up aaaaand that’s pretty much it. Of course, there’s the work aspect that goes into it that explains why the two reunite five years down the line, but the overall premise and storyline doesn’t offer much. Combine this with the funky directing and fast editing we saw in episode one and I wasn’t so sure I was a fan. There were certain aspects in this first episode that applied to my concern about the drama being a bit cliche and trope-y: Choi Woong being the mysterious Go-oh whose identity is kept a hidden secret, Choi Woong and Yeon-soo transforming as lovers to haters, Choi Woong and Yeon-soo being “fated” to meet each other again and work together for an upcoming project, the two unexpectedly reuniting again at the very end of the episode when Yeon-soo shows up to Choi Woong’s place. It seemed like there wasn’t much to offer and watch with this drama so I wasn’t so sure if it was one that I was going to keep watching. But as we will see with Yeon-soo and Choi Woong’s relationship, this drama is one with many complicated and interesting layers. It will only get better from here on out.
Choi Woo-shik is a big reason as to why I’m tuning into this drama in the first place and you’re probably going to hear me say that many many times. He’s the only reason as to why I decided to give the second episode a try. He’s SO good in general, but his comedic timing and relief within this first episode was truly so great. He’s so funny without even trying and I love just how natural he is. It’s great to see him back on the small screen, especially alongside Kim Da-mi who he worked with for the movie ‘The Witch.’ It’s also nice to see Kim Sung-cheol in here again who I have a soft spot for after watching him in ‘To.Jenny‘ and ‘Do You Like Brahms?‘. I think the drama will shape out nicely with the cast members that are in the drama and this is a point that I will speak on in a recap for the upcoming episodes.
All in all, the first episode of ‘Our Beloved Summer’ wasn’t the greatest episode that I’ve ever seen and I’d even argue that it probably had to be one of the more underwhelming first episodes I’ve seen in a while. However, the drama becomes so much more charming as it progresses and I’m excited to recap the released episodes and watch what the drama does with Choi Woong and Yeon-soo’s relationship. It can only go up from here.