Prison Playbook: Episode 1

Prison Playbook is finally available on Netflix and we here at Dramas With a Side of Kimchi could not be more excited.  So settle in for some serious drama binging and join The Fangirls as they gather together to recap this delightful, bromanitic, slice of life prison story.

***Quick note – we will be having a huge end of drama discussion following the conclusion of our recaps.  Check out our Facebook event section to join us for this comprehensive discussion.  Think book club, but for a drama.  We hope to see you with us at the end.

For those of you just discovering our blog, I am Kmuse, one of the main bloggers at Dramas with a Side of Kimchi. I will be bringing you my opinions on some of the episodes.  Why only some you might be asking?  You not only get myself doing recaps, but Kdrama Jen, Drama Geek and our Maknae Karie are all joining in as well.  We figure with the drama airing all at once on Netflix, there is enough recapping to go around.   A little about me: I am a mother of three and an avid kdrama watcher. I love to watch literally everything. There are very few currently airing dramas that I am not watching, so if you have any questions about them (or really any drama since I have seen an insane amount) feel free to ask me in the comments. Or better yet come follow our facebook page and ask me there. For those of you who have not read my past recaps, I am one of those bloggers that really like to just discuss my opinions on certain scenes or concepts of the drama. I don’t go step by step through the whole thing. So if you are looking for a complete recap you might have to look elsewhere (and then come back and read ours of course).

So without further ado, let’s jump into our new favorite drama location………prison.

Introducing Jae Hyuk

It has only been 90 minutes and I am already charmed by our leading man. Je Hyuk is a professional baseball pitcher.  He is the type of guy who is totally competent in his professional life, but is a bit simple in his everyday life.  I loved how we witness a scene where Je Hyuk is at a local batting cage and his intensity is sizzling.  Camera’s flash behind the fence as fans take pictures of the famous man in their midst. Only to discover that he had forgot to put any money into the machine and he had been waiting there in vain. Ha!  The fans posted on social media that the pitcher was very talented but kind of an idiot when it came to sensible things.

The director slams this concept home when we witness Je Hyuk in his house, looking all sexy and smooth as he dresses for the day.  Only to pause in reflection with a large milk mustache destroying his strong man image.  At the sight of that milk mustache I was completely onboard with this character.  His simplicity is charming.

Unfortunate Circumstances

You might be wondering how are sweet leading man ends up in prison?  Sadly, he is punished for assaulting a man who was attempting to rape his sister.  We (along with a bevy of CCTV) witness Je Hyuk chasing the assailant out of his sister’s building.  Catching up to the criminal, Je Hyuk gets in a fight, and when he is overpowered and attempting to keep from getting stabbed with a broken bottle, he grabs a trophy and hits the bad guy over the head.  For this, he is imprisoned for a year.  Something I don’t agree with along with many of his fans.  Je Hyuk even has a theme song that is played over and over who’s lyrics talk about it being hard to say goodbye (It’s a good thing I love this song because it is played……a lot.)

There were a ton of really memorable moments that happened this episode.  However, there are so many (this being a slice of life drama) that it would take forever to name them all, so I am going to just randomly pick some of the more memorable to share.  If I don’t discuss your favorite scene, feel free to share in the comments.

Cameras checking stuff.

I am sure that when you think of the hardships of being famous, you don’t consider that someday your rectal exam via camera will be a group event.  Je Hyuk’s poor put-upon expression made me laugh so hard even as I winced at his awkward situation.  At least the guards were impressed with his superior physical proportions.

Becoming one of the guys

In order to welcome their new famous roomie, Je Hyuk’s prison roommates inform him that he has to be initiated.  This involves Je Hyuk, a blindfold, a piece of plastic, and a sharpened toothbrush.  Professor Myung (the leader of the room) declares that they are going to become blood brothers now and promptly tells his minions to use his right arm since he pitches with his left.  Phfttt.  We witness Je Hyuk screaming in agony, only to discover that the “blood” is actually reddish colored soup.  Hahahaha.

The important things in life

Having been imprisoned unexpectedly (he had just been expecting probation.) Je Hyuk had a list of things for his lawyer to take care of.  You would expect a rich and famous personality to ask for items to make his existence easier.  Instead, Je Hyuk requests that his lawyer be sure to pay his bills and turn off his heater.  Also, to get all the gloves and baseballs that he had promised his lawyer’s son for his baseball team.  Awwww.  He is just too sweet.  I love Je Hyuk to bits.


There are so many characters introduced that it is hard to see who is going to be friend or foe.  However, there are a few likely jerks that I will now note.

First would be Je Hyuk’s thug roommate Seagull.  He is an all-around jerk who is used to being the strongest person in the room.  Seagull uses the elderly inmate from the room as his lackey (the peeing scene made me gag.) and Je Hyuk takes offense.  He demands that Seagull apologize to his elder.  Which of course didn’t happen and as he quietly fumes through the day, he ends up exploding in the middle of the night and cold cocks the unsuspecting thug.

The other jerk would be Chief Joe, which kills me.  I am so used to loving this actor’s Answer Me characters that I am having a hard time dealing with the change.  He takes Je Hyuk to his office after the fight and says that he is happy to ignore all the issues as long as Je Hyuk pays him for the amenities.  Ugh.  I seriously want to smack that guy.  Thank goodness, Je Hyuk is ornery and ignores the man’s attempted blackmail.


But before you despair at our leading man always being in fights and blackmail situations, let’s take a look at the likely bromances that will be in our future.  The first would be between Je Hyuk and his roommate (I need some kind of nickname for this character) who came into the prison at the same time.  He is Je Hyuk’s prison guiding fairy who explains how to navigate the various issues to be found behind bars.

At the end of the episode, we find out that Je Hyuk pays the hospital bills for prison bestie’s mother’s surgery.  Something that would save her life.  I think this act alone is going to create a bond between the two men that won’t break.

Our other bromance is between Je Hyuk and Guard Lee.  It just so happens that these two men were close friends in high school as they came up the baseball ranks to professional together.  Guard Lee is determined to watch over Je Hyuk and make sure he leaves the prison safe and sound after his sentence is finished.

Random Thoughts:

This director should be known as the idol whisperer.  There is no stiff idol actress that he can’t humanize.  Case in point, Krystal is the latest in a long line of “meh” actresses that actually comes across as competently talented.  Her performance as Ji Ho’s ex-girlfriend was pretty good.  Of course, she was only on screen for a handful of minutes, but those minutes didn’t totally suck.  Woot!

I really enjoyed the tone of the first episode.  The story started off strong with tons of  various prison inmates/guards character development.  I am also completely invested in our leading man’s story and can’t wait to see what happens next.

Until the next roll call,


Dramas With a Side of Kimchi

3 thoughts on “Prison Playbook: Episode 1

  1. I know prison life is the setup, but how do you end up in jail for self-defense! I’ll watch the first episode just to find out that.

    • A lot of dramas lately have commented on the new president being hard on celebrities getting away worth stuff. I think that had something to do with it. Also, the main guy chased the assaulter and initiated the fight. I think that also came into play

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