Live Episode 1 Recap: Overcoming Life’s Trials

The Asian police drama trauma of Kmuse.  I am telling you that this is a real thing.  So often I will go into a show and be driven batty by stupid/unrealistic cops who do stupid/unrealistic things.  So when we were discussing what drama to recap next I was slightly hesitant about picking a show which is focused solely on the police.  But, it turns out that this drama is more about surviving and overcoming obstacles, which I am totally into.  So join me as I recap the first episode of what is hopefully to be a wonderful and enriching drama experience.

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 chit chat come join me as I share my thoughts on Live.

Lee Kwang Soo is finally a leading man!

It seems that I have been following Lee Kwang Soo’s career forever.  From first seeing him as the maknae in Running Man to slowly growing as an actor as side characters, and finally to a leading role.  I feel like a proud mommy watching her baby leave the nest for the first time. 

Lee Kwang Soo plays Yeom Sang  Soo.  A hardworking man who comes from a poor family.  His brother is a medical salesman who leaves for Australia when his girlfriend dumps him and his mother works as a custodian to support the family.

Sang  Soo is upbeat about his latest job which he has worked diligently at for the last two months.  He is so positive about his future that he convinces his mom and brother to invest in the company to secure his future.  Only it all falls apart because it is a pyramid scheme.  Ouch.  That is not a great way to start the adult portion of one’s life. After discovering that he had been scammed, Yeom Sang Soo sees a recruitment post for the Police Department and a new dream begins.

Strong leading ladies make me happy

I have noticed a very strong trend towards strong and independent leading ladies these past few months.  Especially in the latest batch of dramas.  This one is no different. Enter Han Jung Oh.  An unacknowledged illegitimate daughter of a wealthy businessman and a flighty mother.  Jung Oh works menial jobs as she attempts to make it into a company but finds her way blocked by her unimpressive credentials. After a series of disappointing interviews, Jung Oh decides to change tactics and study for the Police entrance exams.  She is thinking that this would be a career where her lackluster education won’t impede her progress.

I have to admit that I was thankful once we got past the scenes involving their pre-cop lives.  They were crazy stressful.  I would not want to be searching for a job in South Korea.  My heart can barely handle watching drama characters do it let alone the stress of it being my reality.

Drama Realism

You might be wondering what I mean when I say drama realism.  To me, it means that a drama is attempting to show a more realistic experience rather than the simplified overly broad scenes that we often get.  For example, when we meet both of our leads they are trying to make it in corporate South Korea.  An experience that is unbearably stressful and full of pitfalls such as prejudice against educational institutions (where you went to college can determine your success) as well as the trials of being a woman in the workplace.  I had to actually inform my husband of the horrible favoritism that occurred in the past with resumes, as well as how the current government is trying to change the process.  Sadly, that attempt did not help our leading lady as she explains during her interview.

Another example of how the drama has attempted to remain realistic is in their studying montage.  We witness Jung Oh & Sang Soo living the student lifestyle.  All they did for two years of their lives was eat, sleep, and breath testing manuals.  I felt that the show did a great job of showing how focused a South Korean has to be when testing to be a civil servant.  The small, cramped quarters, the late night studying, this was almost as stressful as watching them try to make their way in the corporate world.  I have a feeling that I am going to be wincing throughout this drama as things get a bit too realistic.

They made it!  Or did they?

It is no surprise that both of our plucky leads made it past the exams and are officially policeman.   Or they will be if they can survive the police training program.  To say that it isn’t exactly a picnic would be an understatement.  They are verbally and physically barraged day and night by Oh Yang Chon, the man in charge of forcing them into lean mean police machines.

Personally, I suspect we will see some layers to Oh Yang Chon’s character.  Sure he isn’t all flowers and sausages.  But let’s be realistic, they are not training for some cushy job at an office.  They will be in charge of the public’s safety and will often be treated horribly by that public.  I actually see where Oh Yang Chon is coming from and look forward to seeing how his character interacts with our leads in the future.

Other Important Characters

We also had a quick intro to a few other characters that will probably be important in the future.  First is Jung Oh’s friend at the police training.  I like that she sticks up for what she believes and is not scared to say something.  I also feel that we are seeing the start of a bit of sismance which is always a good thing in these type of dramas.

The other character that shows up at the end of the first episode is Policewoman Ahn Jang Mi who happens to be married to Oh Yang Chon.  She is obviously someone that has a kind heart but the ethical fortitude to make her a strong leader.  I also can’t wait to see how she shapes our young police wannabes.

Final Thoughts:

I loved this first episode.  I am a huge fan of slice of life melodramas and this has all the signs of being a great one.  Kwang Soo is killing it as Sang Soo and I am so glad that they finally gave him a chance to show his acting chops.

What did you think of episode 1?  Is this going to be as good as I hope?  Let me know in the comments and check back on Friday for Karie the Maknae’s thoughts regarding episode 2.

Til next time,



3 thoughts on “Live Episode 1 Recap: Overcoming Life’s Trials

  1. Did you see Lee Kwang Soo’s hockey series? It was short (like three episodes?) and I have not seen it yet. I confess I like Kwang Soo as a personality but – I’m not a fan of reality shows so I’ve skipped most of his body of work (Running Man) so far. I was thinking of using this short show as a spring board into “Love of Giraffe” ness.

  2. I’d been waiting for Lee Kwang Soo’s full drama debut! It’s about time! This looks very promising and I love a good crime drama – though this seems to be a slice of life that will focus mostly on the cop’s lives. That’s okay too. Will add it to my growing list.

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