Drama Recaps
Miss Ripley: Episode 1
by | May 30, 2011 | 150 Comments

Finally, the last of the May dramas premieres: Miss Ripley opened today with solid 13.2% premiere that landed it in first place, above Baby-Faced Beauty (11%) and Lie To Me (10.6%). The show wasted no time diving into uber-melodramatic waters, laying out its backstory speedily to bring us to the lie that sets everything in motion.

I’m not sold on the drama yet, though, because while there are things I like about it, there are also things that get on my nerves. Let’s just say: writing and cast are fine so far, while the directing, editing, and music are not mere irritants but positively drive me NUTS. How the story builds on its premise tomorrow will probably decide whether the upsides outweigh the flaws for me.


Hwayobi – “유리” (Glass) from the Miss Ripley OST [ Download ]

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We open on an idyllic image of our heroine, JANG MIRI (Lee Da-hae). It’s sometime in the undefined future, and two men think back on her fondly, though their reminiscences carry a hint of foreboding in the way they speak of her in the past tense, as though in memoriam.

The younger man thinks, “I met her on one spring day. I knew it at first glance — this woman with the eyes that resembled those of my long departed mother. Her smiling face was beautiful.”

The older man thinks, “I had grown weary of the world — and that woman taught me how to live. She was like my heart. I loved her.”

Just as the younger man also thinks, “I truly loved her.” These men are our two leads; we’ll get to their intros in a bit.

Jumping back in time to the here and now, we find Miri in Fukuoka’s red-light district, Nakasu, working as a bar hostess and drinking with lecherous men for money. The overbearing score hammers home her misery; Miri hates the work but is basically indentured to her pimp/loan shark, Hirayama, and bitterly longs to escape this life and return to Korea. Though it’s her home country, she’d been adopted to Japan as a child; alas, her adoptive father has sunk the family by squandering all his money on all manner of vices. Miri’s on the hook for Dad’s debt before she’ll be let go, a goal that seems a pretty improbable scenario at this juncture.

In Korea, managing director JANG MYUNG-HOON (Kim Seung-woo) arrives in one of the suites at his Hotel A to address a problem. (Gah, this drama’s music is all over the place, one moment heartbroken tragedy, the next something out of a jaunty pastorale. It’s completely distracting.)

In the room: One hysterical woman screaming about “that bastard,” two empty room service plates, shattered glass. We can do the math on that one. Myung-hoon politely declines to interfere in guest matters and tells his staff to do as she pleases, and to take care of her injuries from the glass. But when her hysteria causes problems with her breathing, Myung-hoon steps in to swiftly administer CPR — ’cause, wouldn’tcha know, the hotel director also happens to have a medical background. (His character description says that he graduated from medical school, but due to his family’s dire financial straits, he opted to work in the hotel industry instead. Yeah…I’m not so sure on the logic of that one, but I guess it worked out for him.)

A pressing concern lands on Myung-hoon’s desk, as reported by Director Kang of his planning team: one of their key Japanese employees has quit and returned to her homeland, leaving them in the lurch for the upcoming arrival of a VIP, Nakamura. The employee was the liaison for the business tycoon, as she speaks the distinctive Hakata dialect of the man’s native Fukuoka. Her absence comes at a crucial time for Myung-hoon’s hotel, which is trying to pull ahead of its rival, Mondo Resort.

We can all spot the setup coming a mile away, can’t we? But let’s see how we get there:

Back in Fukuoka, Miri slips out of a seedy building with a long piece of rope, which she prepares as a fuse. The end goes into a pile of (explosive?) powder, and a lit cigarette provides the time-delayed spark.

With that, she goes in to speak with pimp Hirayama, tossing him a pile of cash in exchange for her loan papers and passport: her ticket to freedom. But he’s not about to let her go so easily, and starts to force himself on her. To buy herself some time, Miri offers to undress herself, all the while silently begging the fuse to ignite soon.

(Another touching scene ruined by melodramatic music, ugh. I sort of want to shoot the music director.)

Just in the nick of time, her homemade bomb goes off and provides the distraction she needs to grab her documents and run. Hirayama runs through the streets after her, but she’s able to gain enough of a head start to make it safely to the train station, where a friend waits with her packed bag.

Miri grabs her luggage and makes it onboard with not a second to spare, as Hirayama arrives at the station just moments too late to join her inside the car. Through the window, he screams at her while she gives him what I suspect will become her her trademark cry-smile.

Myung-hoon is discomfited at the appearance of a rival at Hotel A — LEE HWA (Choi Myung-gil) is Mondo Resort’s vice president, who has been called by Myung-hoon’s father-in-law, the president of this hotel. Myung-hoon and Lee Hwa act as if they are barely acquainted, but there’s a tension in the air that suggests otherwise.

She listens with interest as Myung-hoon reports his efforts to find a replacement liaison for Nakamura’s visit, smirking when President Lee suggests that he consider using one of Mondo’s employees. She presents the offer politely, but Myung-hoon understands the threat when she says she already has an employee who has taken care of Nakamura on previous visits.

They have a polite clash of words over their opinions of how hotels should be run, and Myung-hoon assures his father-in-law that he’s on top of the situation. Although they’re looking for a female liaison, in a worst-case scenario he’s prepared to attend to Nakamura personally, although that raises other concerns for the president, who points out that complications can accompany the upgrading of their service from VVIP (very very important person) to RVIP (royal very important person). The redundancy of this nomenclature apparently eludes them all.

While on her train ride away from hell, Miri sees a girl wearing a necklace that flashes her back to a similar one from her own childhood. We see that as a child, she’d been abandoned by her mother, who had ignored her begging and crying and walked out on the family. Not long after, her father had died, and she had been sent to live at an orphanage.

There was one girl who’d made friendly overtures, but she’d rebuffed them, saying fiercely, “I still have a mother. I’m not an orphan.” Some other girls at school had picked on her and made snide comments about her being an orphan, and she’d slapped the ringleader out of anger — just as a teacher had walked in and told her, “This is why people insult you for being an orphan!” Uh, are you sure it’s not ’cause they’re assholes?

Miri had been punished for her outburst, crying for her mother throughout it. (Seriously, every time the PIANO OF TRAGEDY plays, I want to laugh instead of cry. It’s a little ridiculous.)

Present-day Miri wakes up crying from the memory, and finds that her plane has landed. On the one hand, she’s here in Korea at long last, but on the other, the customs officer looks at her papers suspiciously and says pointedly that she’d better not have any ideas of staying in Korea illegally without a visa. She’s only allowed to stay for a short time as a visitor, after which point she’ll be breaking the law.

So when she makes her way outside the terminal, she stands there lost, with nowhere to go.

Meanwhile, there’s our other leading man, SONG YOO-HYUN (Park Yoo-chun), who is also known by his Japanese name Yutaka. Right off the bat we see evidence of his warm, caring personality as he lands in Seoul and helps a fellow traveler — he’s friendly! he’s good with kids! — and then heads straight to his gosiwon.

(A gosiwon is a boardinghouse often inhabited by students. They’re respectable establishments, but because of their cheap rent and bare-bones facilities, it isn’t the most comfortable arrangement.)

It’s therefore curious that Yoo-hyun would opt to bunk here, since he also happens to be the heir to Mondo Resort. He’s chosen to live in ordinary surroundings to learn more of the world outside his chaebol bubble, and seems to consider this grand experiment both enlightening and fun. (It’s a well-meaning sentiment, but also a luxury that can be enjoyed only by the privileged.) Yoo-hyun checks in with his mother and promises to visit his father in the hospital soon.

Miri arrives at the gosiwon to take a room, and is following the manager when Yoo-hyun bursts out of his room and bumps into her, knocking her into a tray holding someone’s leftover ramen.

At once apologetic — and instantly smitten, to boot — Yoo-hyun attempts to brush the food from her jacket. On edge, Miri bursts out in Japanese, and since he’s also prone to speaking in Japanese first before remembering he’s in Korea now, he asks with interest if she’s from there. (She ignores this.) He offers to clean her jacket and to help her with anything she needs, which she also ignores with an irritated roll of the eyes.

The next day, Miri gets busy working cheap part-time jobs while hunting for more permanent work. She finds this a more difficult prospect than first supposed, with many interviewers dismissing her out of hand with one look at her resumΓ©, since she’s a mere high school graduate. Finding an office job requires a college degree at minimum, and she’s up against people with far more experience and better qualifications.

She’s therefore dropped from all her interviews in the first round, and trudges home in gloom. She feels the pressure of the ticking clock, because it’s not merely a job that she needs, but the kind of regular employment that’ll allow her to apply for a work visa — and in order to do that legally, she needs to be hired asap, before her visitor’s visa expires.

That night, Yoo-hyun runs into her at the neighborhood convenience store and tries to engage her again with some small talk and a shy smile. It’s kind of adorable that he takes the aw-shucks-I’m-just-a-normal-guy approach, commenting that he’s also here to buy a few things, “But it’s kind of expensive so I couldn’t buy much.” Is that how you think normal people talk, announcing that they’re poor? I foresee problems in your future.

Miri doesn’t spare him a second glance, since she has much weightier concerns than flirting with the sweet boy next door. He follows her home anyway, trying to draw her into conversation. (He’s unsuccessful.)

The Nakamura situation’s growing more pressing, as Myung-hoon has been unable to find anyone who can speak Hakata dialect. At stake is the loss (or gain) of income in the trillions of won and therefore the future of the hotel , and Myung-hoon understands that this is also something of a test — that if they cannot produce an adequate liaison, Nakamura may decide that his hotel would be unable to meet future needs as well. Worse yet, he has just seen Lee Hwa chatting up Nakamura, greasing the wheels for her Mondo Resort.

And yet, his day’s about to get even worse. He drops in on his sunbae who works in customer service to ask a favor — he’s desperate to find anyone on his roster who might know Hakata dialect. On his way out of that meeting, he comes face to face with Miri, who has arrived for yet another interview; they pass right by each other and continue on their way.

Myung-hoon sees the posters hanging in the building promoting the piano concert of his wife, LEE GWI-YEON (Hwang Ji-hyun), and drops by her practice studio to see her.

There, he finds her frolicking on the floor with her lover. When she looks up to see him staring at her in shock, she doesn’t so much as bat an eyelash and instead shoots him a challenging look.

Gwi-yeon tells her husband coolly that she’ll have divorce papers drawn up. Her attitude is detached, but the reason for her behavior seems clear enough when she accuses him of being a slave to her father more than a husband to her. In fact, he was so busy working for her father that he didn’t notice she was having an affair.

When Myung-hoon raises his voice, she remarks, “Now that you’re angry, you seem like a real person.”

Meanwhile, Miri finds herself thoroughly ignored throughout the interview, and gets up to leave in disappointment at the end of it. The interviewer holds her back, though, which gives her momentary hope — until he locks the door and his voice shifts to a predatory tone.

He points out that she’s an orphan, she’s got no background, she’s on a temporary visa, and she lives in a gosiwon. As he starts to leer, the implication is clear: Make me happy, or I’ll make life difficult for you.

He wastes no time feeling her up, happy to exploit her circumstances for his own gratification. Miri fights back, startling him with the fierceness of her response as she gains the upper hand, twisting his arm behind his back. She curses at him and demands, “So what? Does that mean you can act like this, you bastard?!”

The sounds of the disturbance carry through and bring security guards to the door, and when they burst in, they see Miri holding him forcefully and yelling.

The man is quick to turn the situation around to cover his ass, accusing her of trying to seduce him into a job, then going batshit crazy on him. He’s so smooth with the transition that he sounds credible, while she’s so infuriated and worked up that she looks like the unhinged one.

In a nice (distorted) echo of the earlier scene at the elevator, now both Myung-hoon and Miri leave the building in a much different frame of mind, devastated at this latest turn of events.

Now, time to meet MOON HEE-JOO (Kang Hye-jung), who arrives at the Japan Cultural Center for an interview. She’s cheerful and energetic, and a little scattered as she arrives to interview for an architecture design contest put on by a Korea-Japan cultural exchange. She studied at Tokyo University, and is the daughter to a famous, now-deceased architect who designed Hotel A. (The strings of coincidence, can you see them?)

Hee-joo briefly mentions spending some time at an orphanage as a child, and explains wanting to finish her father’s incomplete designs. Oh, and she bursts out into Japanese in moments of frustration, having learned it when she lived in Hakata… (Hey, may as well cram as many coincidences into the story at once, while we’re at it?)

Yoo-hyun also arrives at the Cultural Center to put in an application for a change of nationality, only to be told he’s come to the wrong office. Here we learn that he was born in Japan to a Japanese mother and Korean father, which seems incongruous with his family relationship as we’ve seen it thus far. Lee Hwa doesn’t appear to be Japanese, and neither does she live in Japan, so I’m guessing more birth secrets in the pipeline.

Yoo-hyun briefly glances over and sees Hee-joo on his way out, setting the stage for their future meeting.

Miri leaves the building in a state of shock, and walks dully through the rain. She’s almost hit by Myung-hoon, who’s driving and just about to get the word from his staff that they’ve found a potential prospect from the Japan Cultural Center.

He doesn’t catch that part, though, because of the almost-collision and rushes out to check on the pedestrian. Miri glares at him and mutters angrily in Japanese. As we know, not only does Myung-hoon understand, but he’s familiar with Hakata dialect, and he follows her to the train station to ask her to repeat herself.

Miri’s just been abused by one opportunistic male, however, and doesn’t look too favorably on the insistent stranger who keeps following her. He cuts to the chase and tells her he needs a woman under the age of 35 who speaks Hakata dialect, preferably with a pleasant appearance.

Coupled with his urgent tone and uncommonly bold approach, this hardly sounds respectable, and Miri laughs sarcastically: “I don’t know if my looks are pleasant, but my personality isn’t.” Plus, she hardly knows the guy — surely he can’t just expect her to follow along?

Fair enough: Myung-hoon introduces himself properly this time, and they relocate to his office to discuss the matter further. He explains the visit they’re expecting in two days, and the need for a VVIP liaison. Miri understands that he’s proposing a temporary job arrangement, and replies flatly that she’s unable to take it. She’s honest about her situation, saying that she’s here on a limited timetable and needs to find a job that’ll allow her to get a work visa. If she can’t, she’ll be deported.

Myung-hoon mulls this over, and Miri reads his expression, understanding that he can’t help. With resignation, she says, “I understand. You met me on the street and have nobody’s recommendation or guarantee — even if I said I graduated from Tokyo University, it would be impossible.”

She excuses herself, just as Myung-hoon asks with interest, “Did you come out of Tokyo University?” Miri returns, “Would that change anything? I bet it wouldn’t.”

She starts to leave again — only to have Myung-hoon stop her.


I’ll need to watch the next episode to figure out whether I like this drama or not, because I have conflicting reactions to the premiere, but on the whole I think it ended better than it began. The first half was a bit of a trial to get through — some clumsy editing and transitions, not to mention the awful and intrusive music cues. A little restraint would go a long way — in the editing, the score, the obviousness of the story setup. Pulled back just a little, there’s enough material to get viewers invested, but pushing The Melodrama on us so excessively is actually counter-productive, since it drowns the moments and keep us from flowing with the emotion of the scenes.

Plus, the drama isn’t very visually appealing — MBC, you need to buy better cameras. The cast is quite easy on the eyes, but the quality of the picture is way behind some of the more visually vivid offerings we’ve seen from SBS’s and KBS’s pretty, pretty cameras.

I like that the drama cuts to the chase fairly quickly and gets the lie rolling, since that’s a plot point we all know going in; taking too long to get to the point would wear on viewers’ patience. They also do a thorough job establishing the reasons for the lie, giving Miri the tragic background and the desperate circumstances, while also absolving her of blame for perpetrating the lie in the first place because she doesn’t even mean to state it as truth. I am disappointed that the drama didn’t go into anti-heroine territory, as it seemed it might with all its pre-show buzz likening her to the infamous Shin Jung-ah. Instead, they’ve bent over backwards to justify her actions; I’m not holding it against the show, but it’s a weaker result than I was hoping for.

Miss Ripley’s kind of ridiculous about the coincidences, which make me roll my eyes at how conveniently everyone is connected. I don’t think it’s a huge spoiler to reveal that Hee-joo is the friendly girl Miri had met at the orphanage, or that Myung-hoon’s sunbae also happens to be the mentor to Mondo heir Yoo-hyun. And apparently the habit of spewing Japanese at inappropriate moments creates intense bonds. Plus, after scrambling all episode long to find one person who can speak Hakata dialect, how convenient it is that two should turn up! And both claim to have Tokyo University creds! And were childhood acquaintances! And lived in Hakata! And meet Yoo-hyun in the first two days of his arrival in Korea! And one of them is the daughter to the man who designed the workplace where they’ll all be convening!

I mean, seriously. Was there really a need for all that?

That aside, I generally like the cast, and feel like they all fit their roles pretty well. I’m just relieved that Lee Da-hae has come back to life after seeming weirdly half-asleep in Chuno; I don’t think she’s really been operating at full energy level since 2005 (Green Rose and My Girl), so I hope she can keep it up here. On one hand, Miri does A LOT of crying, which may wear thin after a while, but on the other hand, at least Lee Da-hae’s a good crier.

We didn’t see much of Kang Hye-jung in this episode, but I like her scatterbrained character already, and I can see how Kang said that a lot of her real self melds with this character. She’s already known for being a 4D personality, and she approaches Hee-joo with a sunny offbeatness that should be a nice counter to Miri’s darker, gloomier aura.

I don’t know that I’ve ever seen Kim Seung-woo in something and thought he wasn’t good, and the same applies here. I do hope we get to see him losing his cool more; his Myung-hoon is known for being tightly controlled, but I love how intense he gets when he’s being fierce and smoldering.

I know there’s a whole ugly debate out there in kpoplandia about whether Park Yoo-chun is a good actor or a terrible one, and I am NOT interested in an outbreak of that war here. So I’ll just say that I loved his upright, nerdy character in Sungkyunkwan Scandal, but felt he’d lucked into a role that matched his acting abilities (and limitations) at the time. He wasn’t bad in that drama, but I don’t think it provided nearly as much range as this one will, so it’ll be interesting to see how he’s grown. Already I like him better here than I did before; it certainly doesn’t hurt that he’s playing a warm, sweet nice guy. He’s basically playing on his real-life image as the boy next door, and I foresee lots of pain in his future as Miri runs him through the emotional wringer. And while that’ll hurt to watch, it’ll also give Yoo-chun a chance to stretch his acting wings.

So, the tentative verdict? I’m not in love, but I like Miss Ripley enough to stick with it for now to see how these conflicts develop, and whether the drama will execute that strongly enough to overcome the predictability of its setup. If acted well enough, it could be an intriguing character study type of drama along the lines of Que Sera Sera — although, alas, with nowhere near as good a soundtrack.


150 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. MJP

    Oh no!!!! Another drama to watch. What will I do? Sleep what is that?

    • 1.1 danna

      I forgot what sleep was three weeks ago

      • 1.1.1 MJP

        I hope we are able to find it again… sleep… aahhhhhhh….

        zzzzzzzz…..Miss Ripley…..zzzzzzzzzzzzz……..must watch………zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

      • 1.1.2 soserious

        what is sleep. can you eat it?

    • 1.2 chyyyyyy

      hmm..why the such good dramas air in this month that i have many thing to do..:((

    • 1.3 kiotzo

      sleep: privilege reserved for the non-drama watchers πŸ™‚

      • 1.3.1 matinsoleil

        you guys are so funny!….but i seconde you kiotzo it’s a privilege hahaha

      • 1.3.2 hajroutta

        hahahaha πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

  2. AJ

    I’m looking forward to watching this! Thanks for the recap! πŸ™‚

  3. 78446

    ack, another one! my hard drive begs you to stop, Korea!

    • 3.1 78446

      this IS the last of the May Clusterf*ck, right? cuz my bandwidth went nuts this month with everything I’m downloading.

      DB, thanks for the recap!

  4. Jacq

    Hmmmm…… Not sure if I’ll continue to watch this.

  5. crazedlu

    judging by your screenshots, those cameras really ARE terrible. and i bet you chose some of the better shots. my eyes are so far from pleased. still, i’m rooting for a good story. eh, we’ll see how it goes.

  6. danna

    so the drama aint pretty? I thought the production was a high end one though? so maybe I was wrong?

  7. nonski

    YAY! thanks for Ripley!

    on to reading…

    english softsubs available at http://www.darksmurfsub.com

    • 7.1 Where's the Smurf?


      I am not to inpressed with DSS. It doesn’t have Can You Hear My Heart Ep 18 at all or Sparkling Ep 32.

      I also just checked and it doesn’t have Miss Ripley Ep 1 yet.

      I noticed that you mention it often. Do you work for them?

      • 7.1.1 nonski

        yes, i am part of the Darksmurfsub Community! i mention it here often coz out of courtesy i had asked permission from Dramabeans to post links here and they did grant me that.

        and i don’t care if you aren’t impress with DSS. our main goal is to come up with subs as fast as we can. we are not here to impress people. and if you really did check the site, well, we are currently working on Miss Ripley. i had posted the direct link.

        we are a fan subbing site, doing community translated subs. here, fans help fans finish the english softsubs of currently airing dramas. that is the main reason why we come up with superfast subs. for initial release, a lot of people work on certain dramas that they like, later there are elite teams who work on those 100% completed subs to work on a higher quality subs. even initial software release subs at DSS are already watchable. tho, admittedly there are some dramas that are not as fast worked on as the others, coz, as i said earlier, fans help in the subbing process, and that alone is self-explanatory!

        i don’t know about you but we do subs to help people who need there subs ASAP.

        • Jomo

          I am impressed with DSS. They are my key to sanity!
          Thank you thank you thank you

        • mae

          i can’t find the online drama on DSS..Can you help me? thank you!

      • 7.2.1 Saima

        ok this may be a lame question: those subs are a srt file…where’d i be able to download the raw video off of?

  8. love 49

    first???????? nah i dont think so…

    • 8.1 love 49

      <3 park yoochun…i'll watch this for him later once the series ends… even though i hate melodrama's…

    • 8.2 Grecia

      Kekekeke! A Park Yoochun’s lover here too!
      Thanks SKKS! πŸ˜€

      Yoochun ah Yoochun ah Yoochun ah Yoochun ah Yoochun ah !!!

      • 8.2.1 Pikachu

        Chunface! is love!
        Check out the JYJ LOTTE cut
        Chunah! so adorbs!
        Choi ji woo is the luckiest girl in the world (she was the only girl in the full lotte CF)

  9. Ace

    Wow! Did not expect this! Haven’t watch it yet though coz I streamed it wrong earlier. I love its OST part1.

  10. 10 lovedramas

    thanks for the recap. πŸ™‚
    I think it will be an interesting drama although i thought an anti-heron would have been good too. Maybe MBC didn’t want to have that negative-ish sort of image. I’ll be following it for sure and watching it after all my other obsessive shows finish.

  11. 11 Grecia

    Oooooh! I love melodramas! And the storyline of this one seems so intresting!
    I love the cast! All of them are great actors!!
    I NEED the subbed version as soon as it’s possible! ><

  12. 12 sushi

    you’re not the only one, i laughed my ass off

  13. 13 Amg1

    JB. Thank you for your hard work!

    I think “Miss Ripley.” episode 1 has surpass all my expectations, Lee Da-hae performance was captivating, dark and mature, some how her character reminds me of “Song Eun Jo,” from “Cinderella Sister,” I do hope that the whole drama keeps the dark shade and tone trough out the series, also the cinematography is quite beautiful, I think that I am invested to see this drama till the end !!!!! : O )

    • 13.1 Amg1

      JB! I happen to disagree with you on the cinematography aspect!!!
      To me it looks like and “Old School,” kinda way, specially the open scene with her picture, it reminds me of “Sand Glass,”

      I do not know whether thats the vibe they are going after or whether they are doing it in purpose, I know that better cameras will give a better aesthetically look, but I do like the old style format specially for “Melodramas,” since they hold a darker aura to begin with!!!

      But thanks again for your hard work!!! : O }

      • 13.1.1 Pikachu

        i think they were going for that
        they said they wanted a “classic” melo
        like something from the 90’s to 2000

        • Emeldy

          Agree Agree……. I did not read the comment. Went directly to the comment section and posted the same thoughts.

          I have to agree with JB It sort of does have a QSS tone which is a really good thing. Loved that drama. Eric and Lee Dahee are not our typical main lead. This so refreshing. I am really loving Miri’s character.

          • jane088

            who’s eric??

          • Amg1

            What I like about Miri’s character is the fact that there seems to be a reason to her madness, she is not the kind of evil woman that wants to kick the whole world to the curb, just out of selfish reasons, but she is a woman that has been trying to survive,since she is a little girl and has suffer just to be able to bring a piece of bread to her mouth.

            I do agree with JB that maybe the writer went out of his/her way to humanize Miri out of the bat, but I think it will have been better if we discovered the reason of her anger little by little instead of getting it in episode 1.

            I do like her dark disposition, as shown when Myung-hoon tells her that he is looking for some one with “Good Looks,”
            her response is probably one the she has given many times in her life, as we know that woman are more prone to suffer sexual harassment.

            I think all the actors are doing a good job, specially LDH, compare to her role in “CHUNO,” in this drama she looks like a brand new actress!!!! : O }

          • Linda165 in Fangirl Mode

            @ jane088
            Who’s Eric?? Shame on you!!!


            He’s Eric:


        • jenknight18

          i think that is what they are trying to get at with the crappy music.. maybe it’s just too old school for our taste.. but if this is something from the 90’s we’ll all appreciate the score..

  14. 14 infiniti512

    I couldnt get past the first two episodes of City Hunter, Lie to Me or Best Love. Hopefully this one will be a match for me, otherwise I got nothing to watch. *sighs*

    • 14.1 alcheon

      You really should give Best Love another try! So good! It gets better w/Ep 3, promise! (And I’m not even one who hyperventilates over Cha Seung Won.)

      • 14.1.1 infiniti512

        People have been saying that so maybe I’ll try. Thanks.

        • alexe

          Did you try NeW tales of Gisaengs ? If not , you will have the pleasure of marathoning 38 episodes to get in touch with the next week-end .
          The story and the whole cast are wonderful – not to mention a newbie Song Hoon whose acting is far better than most leads of May dramas .
          Apart from Baby faced beauty and Manny , I have dropped all of them because of poor acting or poor story .

          • infiniti512

            Sung Hoon is quite delicious but I stopped at episode 30. It got a bit too ridiculous for me with the “raising the hair” stuff. I did however see the preview of 38 and I will watch to see if I can catch up.

          • aafa83

            I was also pleasantly surprised at how GOOD New Tales of Gisaeng was! In the beginning I had absolutely NO interest in the drama – especially a 50-episode one. By accident I started watching and ended up doing a 30+ episode marathon like you in 3 days. This is the only show I wait impatiently for the subs…although it seems to take longer than others.

            I’m still confused about that “hair raising” thing. Was that an euphemism for prostituting yourself to a rich man? So glad that storyline is over.

  15. 15 daisy

    OMG you’re recapping this? Yay! πŸ™‚

    I was expecting a lot more from this drama to be honest. I like the storyline and the cast, but the music really is ridiculous, as is the editing of this drama. I’m a Yoochun’s fan and I was hoping for this drama to be very successful, but I wonder if it’s possible.

  16. 16 b1

    waaah.. im just done watching the raw.. on to reading now.. lol,

    well done for the pilot episode =)

  17. 17 MJP


    I noticed you’ve added nice new headers with the Dramabeans logo. Thanks!!!

  18. 18 Annie

    omg i forgot that the show starts today,,, argg going to watch it now

  19. 19 Pikachu

    i guess i’m the only one who cried?
    The “yuri” OST is woderful but i want a JYJ one too.
    Something like Jaejoongs “Insa”
    I thought this drama was really good.

    • 19.1 Pikachu


      Arrgh i think i saw rainbows and unicorns when yoochun smiled.

      • 19.1.1 malta

        hahahaha!…why do I know that feeling so well?

    • 19.2 Pikachu

      i forgot to thank JB

  20. 20 miss unknown

    Just finish watching Ep. 1…I have to agree with javabeans that the directing, editing, and music really sucks big time! LOL…but I like the cast so far! I think Da Hae is doing a great job so far and I can’t wait for the next episode! I totally love her in emotional character like this! It’s funny how this reminds me of My Girl although the genre is totally different…but both time she plays a girl that use her language fluency to make money and then later probably create a greater lies then fall in love…LOL..

    Anyhow, I actually think that Da Hae character will probably die in the end already cuz it kinda already forshadow that in the begining…

    • 20.1 Pikachu

      nuh uh
      she will be named and shamed and she would just abandon the two men. No death.

  21. 21 db5k

    Yessss!!! I can’t tell you how relieved I am that this drama is in the lead. And with a debut rating of 13+%!!! I really want Yoochun to be successful so that JYJ will be able to overcome their obstacles on appearing public TV broadcasts. And this drama had a really unique premise, and it seemed like it would either fail or succeed, so I’m glad it has been successful. I should I have predicted its success as the promos and teasers they released were well produced and intriguing. And amid this downpour of rom-com’s, it seems inevitable that this drama will stand out and catch attention. Also, Lie to Me and Baby Faced Beauty are kind of slowly paced, unimpressive dramas, so they don’t really pose much of a challenge.
    I am keeping my fingers crossed that Yoochun will be able to show growth and development as an actor, because I’m still apprehensive about his abilities. He’s quite timid, and I want him to break out of his shell. And what is this fate Kim Seungwoo seems to have with hotel management, lol???

    Thanks javabeans for this speedy recap!!!!

    • 21.1 Pikachu

      Yeah the broadcasts thing :/
      One of MBC ent. programs actually had the gall to say he “might” make an appearance depending on “how” successful Ripley is.
      Who are they to play god? especially when they are funded by taxpayers?
      and the court has already sided with JYJ and refuted SM’s claims?
      Anybody who speaks out and fights against a slave contract is just ridiculed in this industry.
      No matter atleast KBS had to backtrack on their crazy statements after the public backlash.
      and i just love how Mubank dug themselves into a hole with this one.
      They even lied about the system error, becaus ethe person who they originally responded to came back with SCREENCAPS as proof that they posted the statement after the court injunction that dismissed SM’s claims.

      • 21.1.1 Lisa

        Did you noticed that on the Lotte Cf there were no SM artists?

        • Pikachu

          yup and god i’m grateful that Lotte is huge enough not to give a crap.

          Just wait for the Japanese version of the CF
          JYJ will get more airtime on that version.

  22. 22 laya

    Thank you for the recap!

    • 22.1 laya

      “Here we learn that he was born in Japan to a Japanese mother and Korean father, which seems incongruous with his family relationship as we’ve seen it thus far. Lee Hwa doesn’t appear to be Japanese, and neither does she live in Japan, so I’m guessing more birth secrets in the pipeline.”

      Just reread the recap, and recalled that the younger guy in the opening scene says that the woman’s eyes remind him of his dear departed mother, so assuming the younger guy is Yoo-hyun, then he really can’t be Lee Hwa’s son.

  23. 23 Nhu

    So… this means you’ve ditched Lie to Me? If so, I wouldn’t blame you, I was getting bored to pieces with that. I sped through last episodes in the 30 mins or so, slowing down for the parts with the brothers and occasionally Kang Ji Hwan and Yoon Eun Hye.

    This actually looks promising to me. I don’t do melodrama very often but I’m kind of in the mood…

  24. 24 Anne

    Thanks for the review. Im really looking foward to ep2! Hope the good ratings continue.

  25. 25 alcheon

    Music extremely cringe-worthy, agreed. Camera-work definitely not pretty. More impressed w/LDH than I anticipated, and under impressed this time around w/Yoochun. But probably will have a better idea whether this will be a nay or a yay, after tomorrow. Thanks for the recap!

  26. 26 Rachael

    This would be up my alley if not for all those crazy coincidences. Awesome cast, melodrama, dark madness…Then I found myself wincing too much about them while reading your recap. So I’ll just be sticking to your recaps if you continue. I was also hoping for the anti-heroine, but oh well. Anyways, thanks for doing recaps of this!

  27. 27 kukkoo

    from the sound of it, looks like Miri died. this is the second time Lee Da Hae took the role of the liar except in My Girl, she was cheerful and it wasn’t melodrama.
    i don’t like how they introduced too many characters in first episode.

  28. 28 conan

    This is why I like movies better. But May has been a crazy drama month, so enjoy it while it lasts.

  29. 29 GoneCrzyWaiting

    What’s with May dramas and “Lies???
    LIe to Me, Baby-Faced Beauty, and now this.

    • 29.1 Daniela

      Add Romance Town to the list. It also use a lie because she lied about her name when she is well dressed and she keeps the lie, or that a saw in the preview. And its an important one because the lead fell in love with her alter ego.

      • 29.1.1 malta

        hahaha. Superman and Clark Kent! Love this plot twist, but it’s funny and hard to believe he doesn’t recognize her. πŸ™‚

  30. 30 Jodasg

    I am already on 4 dramas during my weekend. Lie to me, manny, romance town & bb face beauty as well as dvd fringe season 1&2. Gosh, why may??? Will miss this one since I need to catch lee min Ho as well once manny ends. So thanks for the recap. Very helpful!

    • 30.1 Ace

      I’ve dropped the dramas you’re watching but am thinking of catching up on BFB on top of watching Best Love, City Hunter, and maybe this. I’m a big fan of Fringe too and I’ve finished season 3 a couple of weeks ago! Season 3 rocks esp. the finale. Can’t wait for Season 4. I can’t believe Joshua Jackson’s become even hotter than when he was Pacey. πŸ˜‰

  31. 31 SL

    I hate being like this, but Lee Da-hae’s constant plastic surgery changes are really driving me up the wall.

    • 31.1 Amg1

      @SL,”Thanks For Your Comment,” but if you are just going to comment on LDH’s plastic surgery, and not comment on Episode 1!!!! Than I suggest you go to the “Open Thread,” and take your comment over there, it is very discouraging to read your post when is completely “Off Topic,” at least have the courtesy of saying something pertaining to the topic!!!! Trashing LDH gets very old very fast!!!! I did not meant to offend you!!!! : O }

      Seriously Guys!!!! I know that most people have strong opinions about LDH, but please lets keep this thread as friendly ass possible, Thanks to all of you!!!!!!

      • 31.1.1 Amg1

        *EDIT* ” as possible”!!!!!

    • 31.2 gracee

      she had plastic surgery more than once?
      sigh…i was going to comment on how pretty she was..and she is…but i guess it’s not natural..

      i agree. i really liked the mood the drama gave off and it seems like an enjoyable drama..if it weren’t for the dumb dumb MUSIC and the crazy coincidental relationships…like… do they really think we’re really that ddur dddur?

      thanks javabeans!

    • 31.3 Pikachu

      can everyone just ignore this post and not react to it (both LDH supporters and people who already know LDH got some PS and dont like it)
      This has been rehashed over and over and over again when everyone knows about it.
      This is about Ripley’s first episode.
      I really dont want to see any wars and this thread has been so far peaceful with lots of intelligent constructive comments πŸ™‚

      @SL: its not really about this comment but i’ve seen comments like this lead to rather frustrating places on other posts and i dont see why if your eyes cant take it you cant click the little “X” button so you can stop feeling like you’re being driven up the wall.

      • 31.3.1 gracee

        oopsss!!! sorry!! i totally did not mean to bring up horrible news…
        i was just curious because i don’t know these things..

        lee da hae is beautiful with or without end of story. she is a great actress. end of story. miss ripley is looking hopeful. end of story πŸ™‚

    • 31.4 kaycee

      I honestly think the people who keep bringing this issue up is the same person.

  32. 32 Celest

    Wow, I guess pretty soon we’re going to have 6 recapped series in progress, huh?

    I like the tone of this show so far. Such a breath of fresh air from all the rom-coms that are on air. I will stick around for episode 2 because I want to know what is “lie that snowballs out of control”.

    As for the acting, I’m loving everyone’s so far. I think LDH has the acting chops for these kinds of dramas. I’m not sure about Yoochun yet. I couldn’t stand SKKS but I’m liking his character so far from the first episode. I also didn’t notice awkward OST until you pointed it out. I guess for me it’s tolerable.

    Thanks for the recap JB! You rock!

  33. 33 crazykillua

    Thank You so much for the recap!!! Lets wait and see how the story goes..its still too early to speculate whether it is a waste of Computer memory or not…eheheheh…:)

  34. 34 letmeeatcake

    Yay! Wasn’t expecting you to recap this! πŸ˜€
    Keep going!

  35. 35 Cynthia

    Just watched this over at Viiki – it’s mostly subbed, enough to get the gist.
    Excellent recap. Thanks, JB. You hit on what I was thinking about this.
    Pleasant surprise? Lee Da-hae is back to acting. The sleepwalking she did all through Chuno was hard to stomach.
    Oddly enough, she grabbed me right from the introductory trailer that prefaced the episode – that last shot of her looking over at ? and watching her expression change was a master class in itself.

    KSW is one I’ve always liked – although when he first appeared, walking around his hotel I half expected to see Yonsamma lurking in the background (ala Hotelier). Dude likes to manage hotels…. πŸ™‚

    Mickey Y. should do just fine. JB is right – this role seems to fit his sweet soft-spoken personality.

    The editing does suck – rough and choppy to the point that it was startling at times to flip from one scenario to the next.

    Lee Da-hae in wigs? Ok, but our Sidney Bristow did it better.
    (And would someone be nice enough to explain exactly what those “drink girls” are supposed to do or be? Are they hookers or what?)

    So, overall I really liked this first episode – keeping fingers crossed that this one doesn’t tank….

    • 35.1 Nhu

      Not quiiiite, think of them as paid hostess, who play the role of every girl a guy goes to a bar for. They’re there to chat, pour your drinks, cuddle, etc, whether you’re just one guy or businessmen meeting an client. These kinds of establishment are kind of odd from a western perspective but not rare in Asian urban areas, and are technically legal.

      There may or may not be prostitution involved though, but it’s usually done somewhere else… Lee Da Hae’s place is on the seedier end.

      And lest you think it’s kind of sexist, japan also has male host clubs

  36. 36 kenyon

    LDH surprised me A LOT on this one. She got me. She got me

  37. 37 Shin mi rAe

    Thank you for the good laugh jb. I sort of forgot im in starbucks and i started laughing with your quirky comments. Just from the recaps, im loving park yoochun already. But then im already head over heels in love with him prior to ripley. Im not a lee dae hee fan. I dont know but im really not feeling her.

    Btw, if miri will not take yoo hyun because he is poor, then i will gladly take him off her hands. Can i, huh, jb??? Pretty please????

  38. 38 Zara

    Thanks for the recap!
    I haven’t completely finished watching this yet, but it seems pretty good so far. I have a feeling it’ll be one of those dramas that gets even better over time.
    And yayyy for the good ratings

  39. 39 Emeldy

    JB, Love You. This is the only drama i am watching in Mon-Tue line up. And it did not disappoint me.

    The music background remind me of late 90’s or early 2000 melodrama. So it does not bother me at all. Those era’s melodrama will always have a special place in my heart.

    YES I love the Cast. I want to kiss the casting director if there is one.

  40. 40 deean

    Oh boy,another drama.. Well,its not that bad to have lots of drama recap to read. Its just that…WOW,TOO MANY GOOD DRAMA!!!

    I like Lie To Me, Best Love and City Hunter this far. So, I hope Miss Ripley didn’t disappoint me.Best luck to this drama!
    And btw,I’m still waiting 4 Lie To Me ep 7 recap!!!heheee

  41. 41 jat

    i’m just here to say YOOCHUN AH!

  42. 42 KDrama Fan

    My goodness this drama seems complicated, JB.

    I’m so busy in my real life I don’t have the headspace for this. I’ll just stick with the current rom-coms for now.

  43. 43 Taber

    OMG I love me some Kang Hye-jung, I will watch this drama in the near future because she in it.

  44. 44 Daniela

    So far, I liked. I like Lee Da-hae the most. She is gloomy but she has something that is appealing.
    Im not a fan of Park Yoo-chun, he was OK in Sungkyunkwan Scandal, nothing excepcional. As you said, her character is like his real persona. I hope it benefits him.
    The director was good, I liked the scene with his wife.
    I like it enough to keep watchig for now.
    Well another one, another hour. But its fun.
    Thank you for the recap!

    • 44.1 Daniela

      Oh yes. The music it would be less annoying if it weren’t too loud.

  45. 45 jyyjc

    Agree about the music, seriously it was all over the place. actually, it’s a lot like the music in those hundred-episode makjang dramas.

  46. 46 HeadsNo2

    I wonder why, but Best Love seems to have better picture quality than this drama and they’re from the same network. Maybe it’s just plain bad camerawork?

    At least Lee Da-Hea doesn’t seem to be phoning in this performance, but I was hoping she’d be that anti-heroine we all wanted. I don’t know if this will help to revive her image.

    I hope Park Yoo-chun changes his hairstyle at least once in this drama, though. His ‘Sungkyunkwan’ hair seemed more flattering. πŸ™‚

  47. 47 L

    I haven’t checked it out yet but Kang Hye-jung looks so cute & young! How does she do it :DD

  48. 48 Ladymoonstone143

    Thanks for the recap javabeans. And I agree with you..the editing is so bad among others. The only salvation is the cast. I hope the people behind this drama will do a better job and will get some pretty cameras…:))

    I will try to watch the coming episodes and see how it goes then I stick to it. LTM is making me yawn already that I am just waiting for the recaps and not try to bother watching it in raw. The cast and its chemistry is awesome but the story…my gosh, the writer should come up with something more. Well…if every scene will have KJW kissing scene, I be fine with it. Kidding aside….I am just disappointed, big time.

  49. 49 adette

    Aw, man. I actually didn’t know Kang Hye Jung was in this, and now I feel like I have to give it a chance, because I love her so much. How the hell is everyone else managing to watch every single drama that’s airing right now? Did y’all discover some space-time continuum something or other that makes time travel possible?

  50. 50 whatis

    WOW… JB & GF… you guys are truly remarkable. I really didn’t think you would tackle this one straight away due to May Madness of Korean Drama! You gals have outdone yourselves yet again! Your (healthy?) obsession of K-Drama genuinely shows, and I am most grateful for your dedication. I thank you both once again.

    I don’t know how you do it, but I’ve been WAY behind on my K-dramas.. and I’m NEVER behind!!! I still haven’t watched last week’s Best Love, nor City Hunter. I wanted to catch up on Baby Faced Beauty after reading your recap, and now with Miss Ripley out, I want to watch that tooooo!

    I haven’t seen Chuno, or whatever else Lee Dae Hae was in since My Girl. But I really really liked her in My Girl, and I’m rooting for her. (Totally agree that she cries well!) Too bad I can’t contribute to the viewer ratings… (c’mon… we all know we all go to the INTERWEB for our k-dramas!)

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