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161

Spy: Episode 1

If all spies were a vision to look at like Jaejoong is, I’d probably cave in and give up all my secrets within five minutes in the interrogation room. Thankfully Spy, the newest spy action drama on the KBS block offers more than a beautiful face to gaze upon. Not only is this show wonderfully directed, but its heart beats with the core relationship between a loving mother and her son.

At first glance, Mom might look like a housewife who adores her family and her son might seem like a regular guy who has a steady job. But the truth is that they both harbor secrets from one another that are far from ordinary. This recap covers the first episode of the double-header format of the show, but it certainly looks like Fridays are about to become pretty thrill-tastic.

SONG OF THE DAY

Jung Yeop – “그림자 (Shadow)” for the OST [ Download ]

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EPISODE 1 RECAP

Shenyang, China. In a dark alley, a young man speaks with his mother on the phone, reassuring her that he’s traveling up from Busan. Let’s go ahead and introduce our hero by name: KIM SUN-WOO (Kim Jaejoong), whose smooth delivery flawlessly masks the lies he tells.

He climbs into a car, briefcase in hand, but barely drives off a few yards before a truck slams into the car. Several goons emerge and break in to confiscate the briefcase from an unconscious Sun-woo, and are instructed to nick his wallet and watch so it looks like petty larceny.

Sun-woo stirs, and is barely conscious in witnessing his driver being stabbed to death. He doesn’t know it, but it’s his wallet that spares him from meeting the same fate. The family photo inside gives the leader pause; his mouth twitching, the man utters, “Song-woo-yah.”

Time to meet Mom aka PARK HYE-RIM (Bae Jong-ok), who raises a shy hand to speak up during the residents’ meeting. She wins over her disgruntled neighbors of their high heating costs by suggesting that they all check their own meters around their building.

Mom frantically rushes over to the hospital upon hearing the news that her precious son was injured in a car accident. Sun-woo is awake and downplays his injuries in front of his anxious over-protective mother. He has to think on his feet to explain away the presence of the other man in the room, referring to him as his superior.

Still, Mom can’t help but note how the look in his boss’s eyes sends a chill down her spine. For now, though, she complains to her husband being stuck at work instead of stopping by the hospital to see their son. Dad laughs good-heartedly that he can visit Sun-woo later, since he didn’t sustain any life-threatening injuries anyway.

Mom and Dad seem to share a loving, amicable relationship, and it’s clear that they deeply care for their children. Making sure that Sun-woo is comfortable and has everything he needs, she buys the lie that the accident took place nearby, believing that exhaustion from work is to blame.

Hearing Mom go on about how she thought that working as a government official would mean her son would always be out of harm’s way, Sun-woo returns that her words might make people think that he’s in a dangerous line of work. Well… you are, aren’t you?

She thinks this is a good opportunity as any for him to ask for a desk job, to which Sun-woo looks directly at his mother and vows not to get hurt anymore or cause her more grief. “I love you, Mom.” I’m sure she’ll worry about him anyway, but it’s endearing to see how sweet he is towards his mother.

A week later, Sun-woo is questioned at the National Intelligence Service (NIS) headquarters in regards to his failed operation. The man at the hospital is the intelligence analysis team leader SONG JOONG-HYUK, who describes Sun-woo as an elite field agent with an error-free record in the past three years—up until this particular mission, that is.

No one knows understands why Sun-woo’s life was spared, but Chief Song would like to reassign Sun-woo to his team as an analyst. The director chuckles that it won’t be easy for a guy used to the field to suddenly work an office job, then asks about Sun-woo’s family background.

Dad Kim Woo-suk is currently an IT executive and met his wife in China, where she was working as a translator. Seeing as Sun-woo picked up his mother’s language skills, Chief Song feels that he’ll be a helpful addition to his team. The director approves, though reminds him to keep a watchful eye on the young agent.

We catch a glimpse of one agent whose presence has the director tsk disapprovingly. We’ll come to know him as agent KIM HYUN-TAE (Jo Dal-hwan), who smirks curiously when the lie detector finally pings at Sun-woo’s answer of “no” at whether he’s hiding something from the NIS or not.

Back at home, Mom helps her younger daughter Young-seo with her homework, then hurries to finish preparing dinner. They’re expecting a guest — Sun-woo’s girlfriend, to be exact — and Mom shows some curiously deft knife-handling skills while she chops up veggies. Dad doesn’t think he needs to do anything special, but his wife replies that it’s the first time Sun-woo’s bringing a girl home to introduce to the family.

There’s one last question for Sun-woo to answer before he can go: “Are you seeing anyone at the moment?” Sun-woo answers yes, and the female agent slightly grimaces to see that he’s telling the truth. He runs out of there, completely oblivious of her interest in him, and Hyun-tae teases her for getting rejected in record time.

Sun-woo calls his ladyfriend apologetically—he’ll be running really late. She’s already in front of his house and refuses to greet his family alone. Mom has already noted the young lady waiting outside in the freezing cold, so Dad steps out to meet the girlfriend, LEE YOON-JIN (Go Sung-hee).

He warmly invites her inside, and neither of them are aware that there’s someone watching nearby, holding Sun-woo’s family photo in his hand. Ooh, the gang leader we saw in China?

Mom scans Yoon-jin from head to toe before remembering herself to be a gracious host. Her smile drops, however, when Yoon-jin mentioned that she brought Chinese snacks that Mom might like.

Mom’s suspicion radar is up at the dinner table, as Yoon-jin says it’s been a while since she’s had a homemade meal because she lives alone. In fact, she’s from Shenyang, like Mom is. It’s curious how Dad stutters over the coincidence; and at a few more of Mom’s interrogative questions about her background, Yoon-jin replies that both her parents died when she was young.

Dad is sympathetic, but when Mom continues to press the topic, he changes the subject of conversation. Yoon-jin works at a small Chinese travel agency and sometimes accompanies the group as a guide. Her reflexes are surprisingly quick too, as she catches a water pitcher that slips off the table. She smiles, still nervous, but Mom doesn’t miss the moment.

At the question of how she met Sun-woo, Yoon-jin replies that he’d helped her get out of a sticky situation during her job search. Because of her Korean-Chinese nationality status, she’s often treated like a second-class citizen at government offices. She eventually got used to the discrimination, but it was Sun-woo who stood up for her.

Mom watches Yoon-jin with suspicion for several tense moments before backing off, apologizing for being so aggressive with her questions. She shares some of Sun-woo’s childhood photos with Yoon-jin after dinner, along with the story that her son had a speech delay.

She had worried that her son suffered from a developmental disability, but it turns out that she had once scolded Sun-woo for copying her manner of speech when he was very young. He had clammed up as a result and didn’t speak again until he was a little boy.

But it’s every mother’s wish that her children would take after her good traits and never face the hardships she did in the past. “I wish Sun-woo would live a happy, ordinary life with a happy, ordinary mate.” Yoon-jin says she wishes for the same thing and vows to work harder to achieve that.

Sun-woo rushes in just then, apologetic for his lateness. He offers to take Yoon-jin home, and once the lovebirds take their leave, Mom shrugs off the idea of being considered in-laws already.

Her husband already knows what’s coming when she expresses her distrustful impression of Yoon-jin, calling his wife out on her tendency to over-analyze strangers. She insists that it’s just a sense she gets, and when her husband teases her for being jealous already, she huffs that that’s not why.

Stopping at a cafe, Yoon-jin is convinced that Sun-woo’s family doesn’t like her despite his insistence otherwise. She’s sure Mom disapproves of her, but he returns that the opposite could very well be true since Mom’s extremely shy when it comes to strangers. Aw, it’s sweet of him to try and make her feel better.

She wonders if bringing up her hometown in an effort to find a commonality with Mom only made her feel uncomfortable. His mom had told her that she wished for an ordinary life for her son and probably wouldn’t welcome someone like herself. Being special is better than being ordinary, Sun-woo answers.

Taking her hand, Sun-woo says he knew that he wanted to hold onto her from the moment he first laid eyes on her. That feeling was reciprocal, he points out, then places a hand on her cheek: “This is happiness.”

A young lady is dropped off along the streets of Seoul, blindfolded. Removing it, she tries to get her bearings, and then starts wandering. She soon picks up a tail and starts running, using the cover of a passing bus to get a head start.

She runs down the side streets and into a building, her pursuer still hot on her trail. She loses him at a stairwell and climbs out through a window and into a taxi. She gets out to pick up a pay phone. In a frightened voice, she says, “I want to turn myself in.”

At the breakfast table, Sun-woo encourages his mother to refer to his girlfriend in a friendlier tone. He rises when gets an urgent call from work, but stops to explain to his mother why he likes Yoon-jin so much: “Because she’s like you.”

Ha, no one can argue that Sun-woo doesn’t know just what to say to please Mom, and her husband asks if they should go out and get some fresh air together today.

Agent Hyun-tae is busy practicing his opera singing pipes (to “O Fortuna,” and badly, at that, heh) when he’s interrupted by Sun-woo’s arrival. Once inside, he fills Sun-woo in on the details: a North Korean female secret agent claims that the North is in disarray following the execution of North Korean general Jang Sung-taek — who was executed by his nephew on grounds of treason — and someone is gathering up and killing the spies in the South.

Sun-woo asks if the story checks out, but he’s told it isn’t important whether that intel is true or false—only whether that information is useful to them or not.

At their rendezvous point, Hyun-tae attends to an angry phone call while Sun-woo keeps his eyes peeled for their informant. He spots a scared-looking woman without a winter coat surveying her surroundings, and I love how Hyun-tae yells at the other agents for not being inconspicuous (“Take your hand away from your earpiece! Are you shooting a movie right now?!”).

Hyun-tae is further displeased when he hears that Sun-woo hasn’t brought a gun with him because he was only instructed to show up. Not liking the odds of heading into the battlefield without a firearm in case things go awry and risking innocent citizen lives, Hyun-tae instructs the agents to pull out and arrange another rendezvous location.

But Sun-woo has made eye contact with the young woman and says they might not get another chance: “She might die within that time.” He decides to head in himself.

He approaches the woman with caution under the guise of handing out flyers. Handing her one, he delivers the passphrase. She exhales in relief.

But that’s only the beginning as Sun-woo takes the woman by the arm and down into the subway station, followed by Hyun-tae. They hurry through the station and travel further underground, making sure they’re not being followed. Once they finally reach their destination, Hyun-tae warns Sun-woo not to go running off like that again because there were at least three suspicious persons in the area.

Chief Song is already here at their makeshift headquarters and asks after Sun-woo’s broken arm. He says it’s already better, eager to get back into the field, to which Chief Song says they can talk about that later.

Some introductions are in order first, including Hyun-tae and the female agent who interrogated him yesterday, agent NOH EUN-AH. The intelligence analysis team will take the reins on this case, which means they’ll all be working together.

It turns out that outing Dad mentioned is a round of golf with the Minister of Defense, much to his wife’s disappointment. She understands that he had to persuade the minister to consider his proposal but wished that he’d brought it up earlier so that she wouldn’t get her hopes up.

But Dad has another surprise in store for her and they drive out to see a house for sale up in the mountains. She has to admit that it is nice out here, and he wonders if they should buy the place.

He humors his wife as she lists off all the practical reasons why they don’t have the means right now — they have to save up for their daughter’s tuition, their son’s marriage, and their retirement — but he’s convinced they can do all that and more if this deal is successful.

He tells her to trust him and presents her with a bouquet of reeds. His voice full of adoration, he says he knows the heartache she’s been through but it’s time for them to be happy because everything has worked out for them.

It’s a wonderfully sweet and simple proposal, and then he adds the request for her to look kindly upon Sun-woo’s girlfriend Yoon-jin. Mom agrees to reconsider, and the two enjoy the mountain air together. Aw, they really are a lovely married couple.

Back at the makeshift headquarters, Eun-ah leads the interrogation on North Korean agent Jo Soo-yeon. Her original assignment was to infiltrate the South and gather intel, but lately she’d been working odd-end jobs to earn money and send some to her family in the North.

All her fellow agents did the same, but a new team leader arrived and used that to spin an excuse to gather the spies and have them killed (on the implicit grounds of sending that money to their families instead of passing it along to the government).

Eun-ah says they can’t find any trace that her Northern comrades even exist in the South, to which Soo-yeon answers that’s likely because they’re all dead by now and she was nearly killed too. But Eun-ah points out that she’s still very much alive and doesn’t look all that hurt either.

Questioning the verity of her testimony only incites Soo-yeon to finally release her pent-up frustration, as she screams at Eun-ah in her North Korean dialect that she wouldn’t have approached them if she were lying. Doesn’t she understand that her comrades are dead?!

Hyun-tae berates Eun-ah for riling up their informant, and Sun-woo volunteers to speak with Soo-yeon. She’s still rather upset when he walks in, but Sun-woo calmly cuts to the chase and asks her to point out where she was captured on a map.

He then asks how long the van ride was. Approximately an hour, Soo-yeon replies, and Sun-woo grabs a radius around that location on the map. He asks what happened next, and she answers that they were killed off one by one.

We see her words play out in flashback as each blindfolded North Korean spy pleads for mercy, only to be handed a death sentence. Sun-woo asks for any distinctive features about the ride or the location, and his ears perk up at her answer that there was a smell of something rotting in the air.

Asking if she’s still wearing the same clothes from when she was kidnapped, Sun-woo steps around to sniff her clothing. Bodies, he deduces, which means that she must’ve been taken to a crematorium. Keeping the rest of Soo-yeon’s statements in mind, Sun-woo pinpoints the location to a crematorium in Paju.

He asks why Soo-yeon’s life was spared, and she tearfully admits that she was instructed to retrieve the funds she and her deceased comrades saved up, lest she and her entire family be executed.

Soo-yeon did manage to somewhat see the new North Korean team leader’s face. It was his facial scar that triggered her memory about a story she’d heard back in her training days about an agent who failed a mission in China years ago because of a woman—a female agent who is supposedly dead.

I’m sure it’s no coincidence that we cut to Mom following those words. She sets aside her new bouquet when the doorbell rings. She goes to answer the door and opens it, only to look up and see that North Korean team leader and the mystery gang leader from the top of the hour. “Song-woo-yah,” he says. “It’s been a long time.”

Mom furrows her eyebrows in recognition as the man at the door pauses to correct himself: “Oh wait, no… is it Hye-rim now?”

 
COMMENTS

A promising outing for Spy so far. I’d been hoping that the spy action thriller would deliver on all counts of directing, writing, and acting, given its stylish teasers and promotional stills. Although the first episode of the Friday double-header drama barely skims the surface of the many secrets that lie beneath, there is enough mysterious intrigue that catches my interest.

In regards to Spy’s two-episode-on-Fridays offering, I’m always interested on how experimental formats will affect viewership and the surrounding buzz. The ratings churned out some interesting numbers (Episode 1 pulled in 8.5% and Episode 2 hit 7.9%), and while I see the title among the top drama series in the search engines, it’s still early to draw any solid conclusions on what kind of following the show will have in Korea and abroad.

While I’m all for multiples spies running around this dramaverse, what I’m also afraid of is if Spy chooses to reveal allllll of its characters as spies. It’s apparent that Mom, Sun-woo, and the scarred man aren’t the only one keeping personal secrets close to the vest, but there is really is such a thing as Too Many Spies (see: the Iris series). So I’m hoping that for the drama’s sake, it chooses wisely on which characters to possess a mysterious past.

I can say that I’d been most looking forward to Jaejoong’s performance here and that he’d continue the strides he’d made in his acting in Triangle. And while we didn’t quite get to see the range in his acting skills just yet apart from playing the adoring son and boyfriend and the cool and professional NIS agent, there’s still a natural presence and confidence that Jaejoong adds to his character Sun-woo. I really do enjoy the loving relationship he shares with his mother and that he hails from a warm family upbringing with doting parents who truly care about him.

But it’s Mom’s character by far that intrigues me the most and shrouded in mystery in this opening hour. There are plenty of subtle clues that hint at an unsaid past, and I feel that it isn’t much of a spoiler when the premise tells us that she’s a North Korean sleeper agent. We saw a glimpse of her weapon-handling skills, her high suspicion of others, and her interrogation skills, but what I’m most interested in is her connection with the man at the door and the history they share.

His re-entrance into her life means that the quiet decades she’s spent in the South is about to get rocked, and I can’t wait until she gets pulled into whatever mission puts her back onto the field and we get to see the badass Mama secret agent in action. It’s the family-centric focus of this spy premise that pulls me in the most—to see how far a mother will go to protect her baby chick and unaware that he harbors secrets of his own. It’s a setup that’s rich with dramatic conflict, and I’m confident that Bae Jong-ok and Jaejoong will deliver a character relationship that will keep us on the edge of our seats for an emotionally-driven and wild ride.

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Jaejoong is so gorgeous!!!

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JaeJoong looks similar to Ji Chang Wook in Healer. Agree? They have the sculpture faces that come from a manga.

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I do agree that they have some similar features. But I want to point out that Jaejoong debuted more than 11years ago and he is always known for his magna looks. So it's JCW/healer that looks similiar to him, not the other way round.

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I think Ji Chang Wook looks like a mix between Jaejoong and Changmin

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I agree! Jaejoong and JCW can play the most convincing pair of brothers in K-dramaland =D

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Oh wow, now that you mention it.

Though I do think JCW looks softer, more conventionally "pretty" whereas JJ is more striking ;)

I hope they meet someday, I know JCW is pretty (?) close to "Junsu-hyung". Adorables

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softer?..maybe in Smile Donghae but not in Healer...you must have not seen Healer yet...i mean he's got sharp eyes, sharp nose, sharp jawline

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i thought i was the only one!! i always feel JCW and Changmin have similar lips and chin. but both obviously have different talent in acting. LOL

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YES Ji Chang Wook has Changmin's LIPS

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i don't think they look anything alike...ji chang wook has very very sharp features, and jaejoong has a cute button nose and a rounded face...they are both handsome but i don't get at all why people think they look anything alike...actually i don't think ji chang wook looks like anyone...

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I'm with you on this one. They don't look alike. I am not a fan of jae joong but I wont bash him. He's good looking but they don't look the same.

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It's the eyes. They have the same big round eyes.

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agree!!!

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Waaah you're recapping this, gummi. :DDDD (Are you sure you'll survive 2 eps of Spy on Friday and Running Man on Saturday...?)

I want Mama Spy and her hubby to come out happy and unscathed.

Also, that guy, Yoo Oh-sung? It's like you can't hate him, no matter how villainous he is. I bet he's gonna break our hearts even while he breaks our hero's bones or something...

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He did an interesting turn as a villain that you couldn't hate in Faith too.

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I was thinking of that and Joseon Gunman!

Still laughing at Ki-chul The Crazy ^_____^

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Ikr? For some reason, I just really like his style of villainy! :)

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I do too.

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I thought the 1st episode was kind of boring...hoping the 2nd episode will be better ^^

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I just watched the first episode. Really really impress with the story and acting from Kim Jaejoong, Bae Jong Ok and Yu Ohseong. Kim Jaejoong's eye-acting is superb and I like how Bae Jong Ok changed her facial expression in front of Sunwoo's girlfriend. I will catch episode 2 after this.

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If a spy who looked like that were to interrogate me, I would stay silent for a loooong time - so that I can take in all the pretty!
<3

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+1. I thought the same.

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+2!

I thought this too. Prolong the interrogation to get more time!

Dang, we need to teach gummimochi our "smooth moves".

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thanks for the recap, the drama is so interesting

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Thanks for the recap gummi I will continue watching and keeping an eye on this one. There is also going to be an american remake for the show that its based on and it going to be really interesting to compare both remakes. Even though one is about Russian spies and the other one about North Korean spies.

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For a Spy he comes of as MAMA's boy... Anyway I liked the first two EP.. Thanks for the recap...

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Where I can watch this with eng sub?

By the way lol jaejoong and ji chang wook can pass as brothers. They somehow look alike.. Lol

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thanks, I've been waiting on viki but they haven't finished them yet

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Now, you can watch spy on viki!

http://www.viki.com/videos/1058979v-spy-episode-1

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Wooh looks like a good drama. Still have to watch the first two episodes, but I want to wait a while longer so I can watch a few episodes in a row.

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Did the world's saddest popsicle in Faith pass through the worm-hole to reach today's South Korea?

Because KiChul the popsicle just became Hwang KiChul the North Korean spy. (both played by the same actor)

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Lol, a "keen observation" as people like to say on DB:D

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When u said "the world's saddest popsicle" I thought u were referring to sb else. LOL.

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Who?

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LOL @ the "popsicle"! That's how I always think of him too!

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Thank you for recapping this, gummimochi! I look forward to starting it once a few more eps have aired. Don't think I can do any more of this waiting business, waiting for episodes of Healer is already killing me!

For now, it's good to know that it's got potential.

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Go Sung Hee is here to ruin it just like how she bombed the Night Watchman with her terrible acting. Poor the main lead actor.

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Honestly she did not do badly, so that's quite an unfair conclusion right there from watching the first 2 episodes. I guess you're not familiar with the concept of improving?

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So many people agree that GSH's acting is really bad in journal night watchman. For Spy, there's only been 2 episodes, but her acting is mediocre. Jaejoong and Bae Jong Ok are both doing a good job so far. Bae Jong Ok can easily outshine the female lead GSH.

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I think they advertise BJO as the more central character than GSH.

I can't judge GSH acting yet, because I never saw her before. But her eye brows acting weirds me out a little at the coffee scene.

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I think BJO is actually the main female lead while GSH is more of a side character. From the first two episodes, she just played a sweet innocent girl. I don't think there was much chance for her to make a good or bad impression. Of course, great actors do manage make use of little screen time to make an impression. GSH doesn't need to be great.

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Exactly. We're only at 2 episodes. So why are some people still condemning her? She didn't have much scenes as of yet and what little we saw of her she did fine enough, nothing to write about but still ok. Now that other NIS staff... she was cringeworthy.

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.....why do such mediocre actresses get so many excuses made for them on dramabeans? Everything from "it's only two episodes and she didn't have much scenes" to "she did fine".....

if people can praise actors based on the impression they make in just a few scenes then why can they not also criticise? Her acting is unnatural and really bland, this kind of impression takes only that uch to form. Baek Jin Hee also had a similar small role in Triangle but she was never this bad in her early scenes.

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Unlike BJH who has at least 5 years of acting, GSH is still very much a rookie. GSH needs these small roles to gain experience and improve. You can't compare BJH, who is considered to be one of the most promising young actresses. At one of the drama awards, the PD who gave out the prestigious PD award said that he wants to work BJH the most.

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@united

but Chae Soo Bin who played an NK spy is even more a rookie than her and did just fine and even better than expected...

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@pungpung
Is Chae Soo Bin the one who gave herself up to the NIS? Unlike GSH's role that required her just be sweet and nice, the NK girl had to show more variety of emotions. She was in a really horrible situation. Is this really GSH's fault or the writer's? Of course, the writer might have limited her character based on her acting ability. I'm saying all this, but I might end up disliking GSH.

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@United

yup, she's the one.

Honestly, I think it's GSH who isn't able to convey lovey dovey scenes. And a few other scenes seeing how the young actress who play the sister is less offensive, more fluid and comfortable and she has even less to work with than GSH. You can excuse that to her just playing a bratty girl, but a bratty girl is also her acting. I mean, even if just a cameo, it's still acting and you are in there to be engaging and captivating. Not to be waiting to get better dialogues and more to do. The actor/rapper (shorry) who play Jerry in Triangle was a newcomer and a rapper and he did his role well.

I understand some people want to give her ( GSH ) a chance, but this isn't the first time she's leading. This drama only has 16 eps, how much longer are we waiting for her to warm up to her character or waiting for scriptwriters to give her better dialogues and more emotional scenes? Frankly her acting isn't the worst, but it's not good either, it's servicable, but servicable acting in Kdrama can be very offensive to the eyes especially in a potentially good drama where everyone can see she's the weakest link.

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She's not a main lead though. I admit that the scene between Jaejoong and her didn't go so smoothly, but the PD could be at fault here. A lot times, actors aren't able to convey the correct emotions and personality on their first take. I think the PD could have easily said "cut" and redone the scene to make it better. Also, the writers might not have quite figured out her personality.

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......lol at this attempt to blame Go Sung-hee's pathetic acting on literally everyone and everything but her own lack of skill despite people pointing out that people with much smaller roles (and the same PD!) performed better than her.

I've seen better acting than Go Sung-hee's out of Lee Yubi, Jo Bo-ah, and quite a few actors in that age range - LYB and JBA in particular have about the same amount of experience as GSH and yet don't suck as bad.

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I agree, Go Sung-hee really seems like she's acting the role of Yoon-jin - as in, she's really rather unnatural in the role and lacks the chemistry/charisma that would help smooth it over (she seems bad at these kinds of characters in general).

I hope to goodness she's really a North Korean spy, because if Miss Korea is anything to go by, she's ok at the "cold and calculating" type of roles. Like @pigsnout says, this makes me think very longingly of Baek Jin-hee (who also had next to nothing to work with in Triangle but still managed to inhabit her character efficiently within the first episode)

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I'm glad there are others who have trouble watching her performance. Her acting is so bland it ruins the scene. When she is paired in a scene with a great actress like Bae Jong Ok the difference in their acting abilities makes it almost painful to watch. While she wasn't the only reason I never finished NWM she was a big factor in it. I'm afraid she is going to do the same to this show as well. Hopefully as the show continues her role will be so small I can skip her parts and not miss much.

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I think her acting was little awkward with Jaejoong in episode 2, but I didn't think there was anything wrong her in the scene with Bae Jong Ok. GSH was meeting her boyfriend's mom and had to be nervous/polite as possible. I understand if GSH couldn't show her personality here. BJO, on the other hand, had to act as if she was suspicious of her and be polite at the same time. For me, BJO slightly overdid her eyes while acting suspicious of her.

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Jaejoong was trying so hard to be lovey dovey with her but she just couldn't connect to his acting. Jaejoong uses a lot of eye acting. So both eyes need to connect. It was so awkward and unconvincing with GSH. She couldn't respond to jaejoong. The North Korean spy could just connect with jaejoong from the first scene with her and more during the interrogation. No romance scenes but awesome chemistry. If they were to play lovers, it would be something to look forward to.

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Jaejoong was trying so hard to be lovey dovey with her but she just couldn't connect to his acting. Jaejoong uses a lot of eye acting. So both eyes need to connect. It was so awkward and unconvincing with GSH. She couldn't respond to jaejoong. The North Korean spy could just connect with jaejoong from the first scene with her and more during the interrogation. No romance scenes but awesome chemistry. If they were to play lovers, it would be something to look forward to. Please kill off GSH's character! She's horrible.

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I haven't watch NWM.. but couldn't agree with you more about her acting in SPY :(
Not that I didn't try to like her, but she gave 'bad' impression.. bad acting indeed.
How to skipped her part tho? since she's part mostly with Jaejoong ? Jaejoong along with Bae Jook Ok is the main reason I watch SPY :(

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I thought she will do badly too, but it wasn't bad.. haha
But the other girl, the north korean spy, seems like she has more chemistry with Jaejoong than GSo Sung Hee. lol

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So I wasn't the only one who thought that!

(but it's true, our fugitive defector spy girl at least had some connection with Jaejoong, even with the limited screentime she had - something I cannot say for Go Sung-hee)

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I know, right? I keep hoping she's the love interest for Sun Woo. Just the eye contact scene when they first meet shows they have better chemistry than YoonJin and SunWoo

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lol great minds think alike, I just said the EXACT same thing below re: the eye contact!

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They don't have any romantic lines, but the eye contact!! , I feel sorry for Goo SungHee (not really xD), I wonder if the writers will give them a triangle love, seeing how ppl ship Seonu with the north korean spy girl more, it would be interesting haha

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Hwaiting for Spy!!

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The villain will be deliciously evil I can tell, at least I hope he will be, YOS plays evil so so good. And so far I'm liking the tone and pace of it, praying that they will keep this up once they enter live shoot territory.

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I've decided that whenever I see Go Sung-hee on my screen I'll mentally replace her with Go Joon-hee. As Go Joon-hee is in my opinion both prettier than and a much better actress than Go Sung-hee I'm not sure how I'll accomplish this goal probably copious amounts of alcohol.

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Go joon hee is such an eye catcher lol
She got that bitchy cool stunning elegant vibe

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I think GJH would be better for femme fatale role rather than a sweet innocent character.

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Watched the first ep so far and it seems pretty decent. What´s not to like when they have a badass mommy spy and YOS delivering the chills?

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As a Jaejoong fan who didn't hold much for his acting until he knocked my socks off in Triangle, (Which should be renamed Point, cuz we only saw one brother's story seriously) I am literally on pins and needles that he'll pull this fresh premised drama off in style.
Oppa fighting!

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Laughing my ass off at 'Point'! *chortle!*

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LMBO too

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Me too!

good one, dashie.

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lol. The beanies are so witty!

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I'm still waiting for the soft subs to come out. I wish KBS would license to Dramafever.

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Looks good! I wish go sung hee wasn't in this, but as long as her acting isn't to the point of distracting, I don't mind too much.

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Happy seeing Spy getting recapped here at DB <3!
I enjoyed the first two episodes immensely, and think it was well-done so far in all the technical aspects (directing, writing, acting, editing, sound track...). If there's anything that I worry about the show going forward is its bleak tone - which I PERSONALLY enjoy, but wonder if the general audience would embrace?
Regardless, I hope the show retains its quality all series long, and that more people check it out because Spy does offer quite an unique story with refreshing dynamics between its core characters =)

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Thanks so much for recapping this, Gummimochi!^^

Really enjoyed 100 minutes of the 2 pilot eps, it felt so fast that i didn't realize it and i was craving more xD

I'm a mother and i have a son..Sunwoo & his mom's interactions was one of my fav part, beside mom-dad's romantic side and the other espionage things, and KBS really showed the fresh thing as they promised this drama will give a new genre: family + espionage action thriller which i found it very interesting..

I'm looking forward for this drama..wanna see Mama Spy vs our SPY hero more! xD Jaejoong & Bae Jong Ok made a great pairing...and Yu Oh Seong..his evil smirk was so cool! xD

Wish everyday is Friday XD #SPY team fighting!^^

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I was trying to keep my expectations down but the first two episodes were pretty engaging! I did sense a bit of stiffness in Jaejoong but he usually needs a few episodes to get into the character so I'm hoping for another breakthrough performance :D

A small note: I wonder why all 3 main female characters were put in grey turtlenecks? I think the Mom took note of it when she was "scanning" Yoonjin, she tugged a bit at her own when she saw... I guess that can be passed off as "oh look the girlfriend's wearing the same thing as me, how awkward" but when I saw the North Korean spy wearing the same thing I was chuckling a little, haha. Styling coincidence I suppose??

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I noticed the thing with the sweaters, too, though I actually got a little confused since I thought someone had kidnapped the girlfriend after her little outing with Sun Wo until the blindfold came off. It could be something as simple as all three come from North Korea, but I doubt it.

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I think there are lack of subbers for this drama. It's so hard to find a fully subbed one until now. Hmm...

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Thanks for the recap,DB!
The first picture just kills me,hhh

And i agree that so far it's the mom who stands in the middle of the light.The story is more about a mother's sacrifice when she finds out that her son is in danger.

Jaejoong plays an ordinary role despite his occupation as a talented agent.A mamaboy,a sweet boyfriend and a young man who wants to excelle in his occupation.Therey's a sense of sombreness and introversion in his character,which is quite different from his past roles.

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I also agree that there could be a problem with having too many spies in a show. The show provided hints that Lee Yoon Jin is not a normal girl and probably had some kind of training, but I hope she's not a North Korean spy. It would be too obvious.

Spy reminds of the American, which is a show about Russian spies living as a couple in the US. They have a family with kids and appear to live a normal life, but they have missions to accomplish.

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yeah, the water pitcher moment was wayyy too much of a giveaway. Plus her origins in the same place as Mom point to NoKo spy status....

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I think there's a chance that Yoon Jin is a not a North Korean spy because she already revealed her origins. If she was intentionally trying to get close to Kim Sun Woo and his mom, then she probably should have kept her background as a secret. Unless, Yoon Jin was trying to put them in a false sense of security/reverse-psychology-kind of thing.

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You sure? I have done similar stuff out of the blue and I´m no spy:D

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The Americans is amazing, more people need to watch that show!

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I really like this - it's a solid, stylish first episode (and I had to watch it unsubbed so only understood about 50 percent of the dialogue, if that). I love the mother-son relationship, and also Mom's relationship with her husband (don't let him die!) - both Jaejoong and Bae Jung-ok do well in their roles, and I look forward to Yoo Oh-sung too - he's too good an actor to waste on pointless roles.

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Had the same feeling with the adorable husband. Don´t go telling me, show, that he´s too sweet for this world!

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I know! I'm like already freaking out about Dad. Because if their going to kill anyone at this point it'd be him :(

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Well, Good father/Husband don't exist in drama land & if they do exist, they won't last for sure. ? ?

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Agreed. At this point I'm just hoping they hold off killing him until the last couple episodes.

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He is so going to die! lol

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Yes. PD-nim, please don't let daddy Kim die on any account. Both mommy & son need daddy like him!!!

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Thanks for recaps @gummimochi :)

I notice Jaejoong's acting in these 1st epi not as good as in 1st epi Triangle ! He WAS excellent !
Probably because he focus more on romance-love part? (relevant with the way KBS-imtv promote this series lately) and neglect the most important part; the SPY 'character'?
hopefully not !

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On the contrary, I think Jaejoong acted very well in these first episodes. He is very natural and has great chemistry with his co-stars especially his mom.

Even in the press conference, he mentioned that a lot of people believe because he is a NIS agent, he has to act cool but that's not the case for his role. He is an ordinary person who shows different sides of his character in different situations. - A sweet and adorable son and boy friend when he is with mom and girl friend, a cool-headed, mature and confident analyst when at work.

I also like the premise a lot, It's simple yet intriguing. It is easier for views to engage in my opinion. It's nothing to do with

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Honestly Jaejoong hasn't had much to work with in the first episode so he is at the very least serviceable. I think his character in Triangle had a stronger personality from the get go so it was easier to see his improvement.

GSH was okay but like others have pointed out she does seem green in the scenes with the mom. We'll see how she does in meatier scenes.

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About GSH, it's personal preference, for me she's NOT ok ! not qualified playing as 1 of 4 main leads, nor even the second lead ! Like some commenters mentioned here, or in other forum/twitter, she's painful to watch! Frankly she can't delivered her part nicely!
And to be honest, I've watched it 2x..

And as for Jaejoong, as a professional actor, a LEAD actor, every scenes it counts! I didn't say he's bad, overall he's ok, but not as impressive as Young Dal in Triangle.. yet !
I see SeonWoo as usual Jaejoong in SPY, not yet transformed into NIS elite agent Kim SeonWoo. I hope to see his real big progress next week !

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I kind of agree re: Jaejoong and GSH - she just can't act in a natural way, while he is decent in his role, but Triangle ep 1 was better, performance-wise.

Part of it is also that Triangle gave him a lot more to work with and he rose to the challenge, but I do feel he does ok in Spy - the only part where I really felt like he was acting was the part where he's half-conscious in the car after the crash. That part felt a bit faked, but otherwise he's filling his role quite well.

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It´s been already mentioned here and there that Jaejoong´s acting was a bit bland in the first two episodes. I also expected a little more of him, because he really surprised me in Triangle. Then again, have to agree that he dosen´t have much to work with yet on this show and his character is completely different here anyway, still ambitious, but more in a reserved and calculated way. Still, is it only me, but whenever I see Jaejoong now, I automatically rewind to his magnificent run-away in fiery shorts in Triangle. If such a comparison keeps popping up, no wonder the acting seems "bland":)

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Nope.. for me that part n e v e r counted as an good acting from Jaejoong, just comical to attract viewers attn. (and an opportunity for him showing off his 'mostly' naked body.. hehe.. *jk ) unnecessary tbh.
But what mesmerised me in Triangle, since 1st epi, Jaejoong personality (expression,body gesture,gaze,the way he talks,walks,clench his teeth,etc) transformed into gangster Young Dal ! That's an EXCELLENT acting !

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Don´t see how delivering top-notch comic reliefs don´t go by the name of "acting", but anyhow, this scene really summed up the beginning of YD for me, what a hapless loser he is/was and so on. Loved it! Jaejoong was great as a underdog hero, I guess the fault in "blandness" totally lies on the different character he´s playing now. SW has yet to show his raw edge, at the moment his nothing I haven´t seen gazillion times over.

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Like most ppl commented, seems like we are all rooting for someone to break seonu's heart and ruin his perfect life and that is going to happen soon and we will see his acting eyes like we did in Triangle.

His pain will give us the best show and drama <3 LOL

*just joking*

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No jokes really I also want him to be pushed to the limit so we can see his acting eyes again! I'm sure its only a matter of time if the production crew stays on top of things.

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cont'd:

It doesn't has some overly complex/unrealistic plot lines that required the viewers to spend a lot of energy or thinking to figure out what's going on. May be it's just me that I prefer something that I can simply enjoy and does not need to use my brain too much. LOL

I also like all the side characters - each of them has their own personality but at the same time, not having them become those typical side kick characters.

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This one's a keeper :) Loved the first 2 eps! Very promising, indeed.

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There are a lot of spies revealed so quickly, gummimochi. I think the kdrama's original title was Spy in the Land of Turtlenecks, and was shortened to Spy. A dead giveaway for who to look for, never mind the secret codes and passwords, just look for the person in a large sweater turtleneck - that's your contact.

It's fun to see Bae Jong Ok as I only know her from Roommate. She is smart and a loved mother and wife with obviously something up her sleeve and something to hide given her stiff, cautious demeanor. It is nice to see Sun Woo so comfortable expressing his love for his mother.

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Yep, starting to watch because of Bae Jong Ok - our Roommate Noona! (I wonder if she'll knit those super-fast 20-minute beanies for everyone on set?) The premise reminds me (very superficially) of The Long Kiss Goodnight with Geena Davis.

Early days, but liked the first episode!

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I'm not super surprised by Bae Jung-ok in badass ahjumma mode - not after That Winter, The Wind Blows and Wild Chives & Soy Bean Soup. Somehow she fits those roles really well, and that's true here too - it's interesting to see her here, playing a woman who on the surface of it is as ordinary as can be but has the skills to protect that ordinariness with fierce determination.

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Oh, I nearly forgot her role in TWTB - yes, she was great in that, too.

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I tried first two epi but sad that it didn't click me as I was to Triangle so I'll give anther 2 this Friday. However I did enjoy Mommy spy and her ex. Their story must be totally interesting. And imo, Sunwoo-Yoojin relationship looks like a-bit-fake. Their eye contact, body language, tone of voice have a bit lacking something I don't know. And strangely, I don't want them to develop at all. Contrary, I want to see more of Sunwoo-Sooyeon character. They have more interesting character. And this 20 y.o actress Chae Soobin is also rookie and her acting is much *MUCH* better than GSH. Anyway, as Jaejoong fan, I wish Spy every success. And to you, Gummi-shi…thanks again for recapping another Jae's drama.

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Eh, with the SunWoo-YooJin scenes, I'd cop it to less-than-stellar acting. They look comfortable enough with each other but there isn't that second-nature instinctiveness that you see between longish-time, honeymoonish couples. It's like they don't naturally reach out for the other. Their words are like: I love you so, so much and I need you but their actions are like: I think I can live without you.

Honestly, Rim and SoEun are doing so much better over at WGM, and they're supposedly scriptless...

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yeah the Sun-woo/Yoon-jin thing is just really lacking in any kind of connection. He has more chemistry with Soo-yeon the North Korean spy even if they have only two scenes together, even the eye contact he made with her is hotter than all the cheek-stroking and mushiness with his actual gf.

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:-) found your comment! I'm glad to see that I'm not the only one who felt that. It was such a short interval but that's the scene that I remember the most from the first episode.

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Sunghee acting is so annoying and more annoying is KBS trying so hard that we like this couple. It doesn't matter how many scenes they have, Sunwoo-Yoonjin are not a couple. Let me say that I love everything Hyerim calm Yoonjin SW's 'that friend'. Mom Hyerim fighting! The names that ended up ranking on Naver were Sunwoo and Suyeon, ie all want the two of them together and I think Jaejoong, not so much secretly, also ships this otp haha
​​Yoonjin just die in episode 10? for me she could died or disappeared this week ^^ I don't know how Sunghee can get these roles, she can not act and that annoying tic she has with the eyebrows gives me agony. Arghhh
PD you can not kill daddy, if you wanna kill anyone kill Yoonjin, not dad. And somehow I like villian too and he must have a sad story.
For the two episodes only don't like Sunghee acting. It's true that Jaejoong acting here is less outstanding as in Triangle, but does not mean it's bad. Let's hope the action scenes bring that side 'Youngdal' in our Sunwoo. ^^

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It's annoying to be honest !
KBS can't force fans/viewers to like all 'product' they offer to us !
Fans not their agents ! Fans/viewers are their costumers !
You can't dictate your customers to buy your 'product' if they do not like it !

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True!! And after 'Seonwoo' and 'Suyeon' name ranking on Naver KBS came with a new couple photo like saying to us: this is your couple. O.o No KBS, listen to us, your views, this is not our couple. We want Seonwoo and Suyeon. I know that this two characters will have another scene together, but from there to romance is a big gap :(

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this might be a bit mean, but i've never thought i can be so bothered with an actor/actor's face until go sung hee. watching her scenes at the family dinner and the date after that...it felt so so long and painful to watch. and the eyebrows...dang cant they keep still for once?

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Recap looks interesting but I haven't been able to find a place I can watch it with subs yet (region-blocked on Viki) so I might wait until the series is done before downloading it rather than wait weekly.

Need some semblance of taking back control of my life after live-following Pinocchio and Healer!

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You can install hotspot shield like zenmate extension on google chrome and view viki as if you are in U.S

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Nice beginning of the series!!! I am already so into it,that I might even thinking some theories here... like for examplethe North korean spy is JaeJoong's biological father (already mentioned in some forums!) or that JaeJoong's girlfriend is a North o korean spy too... what about if he ended up romancing the actual north orean spy (I guess she's seconde lead...but hey....it's about spies...so shouldn't there be some unexpected twists???O I hope these theories don't count as spoilers, since at least for now they're just that... theories.... :) waiting for the next weekend....hopefully there's Healer and KMHM !! What a start of K drama-year!!

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Glad that it's being recapped! Hope the production quality and writing stays at this level.

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Thanks for the recap Gummi. I'm probably going to wait until the entire series airs. I've gotten to the point, I hate waiting for each new round of episodes to appear. Kills the flow for me.

I'm hoping for a smooth transition into the character and the story. The Director sets the tone and hopefully this one will not mess things up. I want to wait until your next one to tie the two together.

Look forward to see your next episode recap! Thanks again!

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just one question is this gonna be a 1 episode per week like its predecessor high school love on?

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No, this gonna air 2epis / week.

2 epis are aired consecutively on Friday.

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No - there are 2 pisodes A NIGHT BACK TO BACK! New format being experimented byKBS2.

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High school love one drama aired only 1 episode per week, but since it failed so badly, KBS2 decided to experiment with Spy Drama, by airing 2 episodes on the same friday night, but shortened in 50 minutes per episode. Seems like they took the right decision, because the ratings increased alot.

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good to know.. thanks for the reply guyz

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HTH ep1, KMHM ep1 and Soy ep1...PTB for the win.

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I hope this is not Cruel City where everyone is an undercover. Duh!

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The girlfriend is hidding something, I wonder why his bf who is a NIS agent can't see it, just hope they don't make him be like those blind lovers.

And the bad guy is very charismatic, I like dramas when the evil dude is so bad, instead of "trying " to be bad but failing by being too cheesy.

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THIS !!! >>>I wonder why his bf who is a NIS agent can’t see it, just hope they don’t make him be like those blind lovers.<<<

And some details, it seems PD & writer bit careless ?

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Sun Woo seems such a "blind lover" at the moment. Hope I misunderstood something, otherwise it would be boooring!

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She could be an elite agent. Sometimes, you need to give time for a show to develop its villains that might appear cheesy at the beginning. You never know, we might end up sympathizing with him later on.

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I actually like the evil dude! He isn't cheesy at all, but on the contrary.

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Just finished watching the first 2 episodes and I'm loving this show so far! Jaejoong is charming as ever but mum steals the show.
I'm just hoping hard that they won't kill the dad (or sister) anytime soon cos it'll be too tragic.

Finally something to look forward over the weekend! It has been pretty empty ever since Misaeng ended ><

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Go Sung-hee is such a inexperienced actress. She was so unsuited to take on a lead role in Nightwatchman. I am so worried she is the weak link in SPY too. Her character may be a spy too? Her character seem very quick. I hope she will liven her character and it will not be bland again. Poor girl, do miscast just because she looks pretty. There are so many more deserving, good actress for this role. Why did it go to her?

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She's not even pretty and her acting is bad.

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I'm sorry, but she's far from pretty as an actress !

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I think she's pretty cute. I don't think this character is a main lead and is a supporting role. Inexperienced actors need to gain experience from somewhere.

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Then they should pick it up from smaller roles, being one of the 4 main leads of a drama when you can't act is not some basic human right to work like you make it sound.

people in other fields don't get jobs they don't show the talent/qualifications to do, why should acting be different? She can't act, she should not be getting such high profile roles and there are plenry of rookie actresses in Korea who have shown better acting.

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"There are so many more deserving, good actress for this role. Why did it go to her?"
same question here ! why ????

and she's not even pretty and not cute either :(
she seems fake & artificial ! even at formal event like Spy PC ! she acts just like she's really Miss Korea..lol

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At first I was hoping that GSH will not have much screen time and her character will die around 10 eps, but after watching ep 1,I'm worried that we're gonna see her longer cause I think she's an agent too.

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... ... die around 10 eps... ...

Lol, that vitriol! XD

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Spy epi 1&2 with eng sub.can watch here: http://myasiantv.com/drama/spy/episode-2/

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The show has potential, I will definitely continue watching it.

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Show has possibilities. I'll keep watching to see how it goes.

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I love the stylish look of the show and its potential plot, but I didn't think the first 2 episodes were that exciting. It had a couple too many slow moments for me.

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cannot wait for the next episode.

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thank you for the recap :-)
even though I'm personally Jaejoong's fan, this is the first Jaejoong's drama that I follow from the start
glad to see many positive comments. hope the next episodes will be more interesting
so happy watching Jaejoong act with senior actor and actress like BJO and YOS. Jaejoong and eomma is so good. I wanna see more of their interaction hehe
I feel bad reading comments about GSH because I'm enjoying her and jj lovey scene so far (is it because I never watch her acting before? idk)
btw many comments compare jaejoong as seonwoo and youngdal. I just watched some episodes of Triangle and yeah Youngdal is amazing. so proud of Kim Jaejoong <3

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DB thank you so much for recap :)

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