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On the Way to the Airport: Episode 1

On the Way to the Airport has been promoting a “natural and warm” atmosphere throughout its teasers so far, so I was curious to see whether the pilot (har) would hold up to that claim—after all, there’s a dangerously fine line between “natural and warm” and “boring.” Thankfully, with Airport’s assured directing, veteran actors, and gorgeously framed scenes, it seems to have a fine hold on its premise so far. As long as our characters remain interesting, I think we’ve got serious potential for a poetic examination of human emotion, all through a uniquely bittersweet lens.

EPISODE 1 RECAP

In the sleek, modern Incheon Airport, a crew of Air Asia flight attendants strolls purposefully through the halls. Among them is our heroine, CHOI SU-AH (Kim Haneul), who falls back from the group to check a text message from “Pilot Park.” The message seems to surprise her, and when he calls, she asks what’s going on: “Why are Hyo-eun and I going to Malaysia?”

Pilot PARK JIN-SUK (Shin Sung-rok), similarly walking with his own crew of pilots but in Sydney Airport, explains coolly that an international school in Malaysia contacted them while Su-ah was in flight—their daughter Hyo-eun has been accepted for enrollment. Jin-suk informs her that he’s taken care of Hyo-eun’s paperwork and homestay already—all he needs is for Su-ah to help her pack and bring her to the airport by tomorrow.

Su-ah is astonished that he is telling her all of this so late, but Jin-suk simply points out that she wasn’t there when the school called. Su-ah asks about Hyo-eun’s opinion in all this, but Jin-suk scoffs that she doesn’t have a choice. He tells Su-ah to just get Hyo-eun to the airport in time and hangs up before she can say anything more. Yeesh.

So Su-ah turns and hurries home, where she finds Hyo-eun wiping the floors with a rag, apparently to prove that she’s more useful at home. Hyo-eun is clearly a dramatic but bright kid, and she’s got lots to say about Dad’s decision—she rattles on about how she doesn’t care about global perspectives or learning English, and notes how irrational Dad is being about this.

Su-ah agrees and tries to comfort her, noting how much Hyo-eun hated her school after her aunt got injured and she couldn’t go to New Zealand, but Hyo-eun groans that she only hated her school because it was embarrassing to have to go back right after going through all the tearful goodbyes. None of Su-ah’s comforts succeed, and Hyo-eun tearily accuses her and Dad for being eager to send her off just so they can work. She sobs that she’s scared, but Su-ah only sighs as if there’s nothing she can do. That night, Su-ah packs Hyo-eun’s things until dawn.

Meanwhile, our hero, SEO DO-WOO (Lee Sang-yoon), is also up late working—but when he receives a call from his teenage daughter, Annie, he immediately heads outside, grinning at the dawn sky. They banter cutely over the phone while he drives a scooter over a bridge overlooking the Han River, holding his phone camera up to the sunrise for her to see. Annie marvels at the image through the camera, squealing that Korea’s sky is totally different from Malaysia’s.

She tells him that she thinks her long-awaited roommate is arriving soon—her host mom, Mary, has even offered her fifty Malaysian ringgits to tidy up, but she’s going to use it to buy a new iron to replace Mary’s ancient one. What a sweetie. She’s sorry that she won’t be able to visit him and Grandma in Korea again this time, but she promises to be there next time.

After Do-woo hangs up, Annie gets another phone call, this time from “Mom.” Interestingly, she looks much less excited than when she was talking to Do-woo, and sadly assures Mom that she told Dad she “wasn’t going.” Hm, is Mom preventing her daughter from going to Korea?

In the morning, Do-woo drives out to a place called “Eun-hee’s traditional ornament store,” a shop that makes handmade traditional Korean decorative knots. An assistant outside informs Do-woo that the director (and Do-woo’s wife), KIM HYE-WON (Jang Hee-jin), stayed up all night preparing for the exhibition. He sees her working through the window and smiles warmly.

Hye-won joins Do-woo for breakfast, and they sit comfortably together at the table. When he tells her that Annie won’t make it to Korea again, she surprises him with an invitation to go to Malaysia with her—she’s already made sure that he isn’t teaching a class today, so she knows he’s free. She wants to check out the gallery for the exhibition there while he visits Annie.

Meanwhile, Su-ah and Hyo-eun load her bags into a taxi to the airport. The driver warns Su-ah that her bags feel too heavy for the airport’s weight limit, but Su-ah lifts them up and says assuredly: “Nope—24.5 kg!” Sure enough, when they check-in Hyo-eun’s baggage, it’s exactly 24.5 kg.

Jin-suk meets Su-ah at the airport to help with check-in, and asks her whether Hyo-eun is still upset. Su-ah tries to take their daughter’s side, saying that she’s just scared and that Jin-suk should try to be more understanding of her emotions, but Jin-suk only tells her that this is an incredible school where they teach both English and Mandarin—and Su-ah of all people knows what an advantage that is.

He buys Hyo-eun a glass of juice before the flight, and they snap at each other in annoyance: Hyo-eun thinks he’s being irrational and mean, while Jin-suk tells her to study hard—she’ll thank him someday. She glares at him, but when a pair of Air Asia hostesses greet him as the pass, he laughs heartily and pinches her cheek as if they’re a loving father-daughter pair. Hyo-eun tells him flatly: “I hate you.” She ignores Jin-suk’s hand and takes Su-ah’s instead, and they head to board the plane. LOL.

On the plane, Su-ah turns off the overhead light so Hyo-eun can sleep in peace. Just a few rows ahead, Do-woo is seated on the same plane to Malaysia, working on his laptop. When they arrive in sleek, energetic Kuala Lumpur, Do-woo heads to work, while Su-ah and Hyo-eun head to her new homestay.

At Hyo-eun’s new homestay, Mary tells Hyo-eun that she’s very lucky—her roommate is the nicest unni in the world and even set up all the decorations around the house to welcome her. Hyo-eun looks much cheerier already, and Su-ah smiles.

After school, Annie leaps out of class. Do-woo is waiting for her downstairs, although he explains that he’s only here for a short while for the art exhibition, where Annie’s uncle and grandmother will be showing off their traditional Korean ornaments. Annie pulls out a small spherical bead from her pocket to show Do-woo, telling him that Grandma gave it to her, and she carries it around everywhere she goes.

At sunset, she pulls him to a bridge overlooking a river in the middle of the city. She tells him it looks just like the Han River, and points out all the city landmarks that look just like Seoul. He reminds her that if she misses home so much, she’s free to come back with him right away, but she shakes her head: “Don’t you know how great it is to miss something? All you have to do is wait. It gives me hope.” They stand side by side, pretending they’re gazing at the Han River.

Hyo-eun is in much higher spirits after checking out her spacious new home, but still tears up when Su-ah has to head back to the airport for work. Su-ah promises to come back to see her on the next plane to Malaysia.

In the airport in Kuala Lumpur, Su-ah’s friend and coworker SONG MI-JIN (Choi Yeo-jin) walks assuredly toward her crew of attendants. She’s charismatic and strict, making sure the rookies on her team are properly uniformed and following proper protocol. Su-ah arrives last, and they share introductions before their flight.

The team makes sure the plane is in order before the first passengers start to arrive, and greet them warmly and professionally. Do-woo runs to catch the plane but makes it just in time; he and Su-ah smile at each other as he boards. On the way, Su-ah watches a mother-daughter pair and holds back her tears.

When they arrive at Incheon Airport, Mi-jin and Su-ah lead the crew through the terminal, chattering about their flight. On the moving walkway, they pass Jin-suk going the other direction with his own team, and both Jin-suk and Su-ah look away while the other crew members greet each other. As soon as he’s out of earshot, the rookie crew members squeal about Jin-suk—he’s as cool as the rumors say. They note that his wife is rumored to be a flight attendant, but she’s average-looking and unimpressive.

Su-ah cringes as Mi-jin halts in place, and Su-ah quickly excuses herself before Mi-jin can give them an earful. Mi-jin sighs that there’s no point in scolding them, and when they guess that perchance Mi-jin is Jin-suk’s rumored wife, Mi-jin gives them an affronted glare and practically spits out her denial.

Su-ah waits while Mi-jin gets ready to attend a celebration party for her friend’s business. Mi-jin clarifies that she’s not mad because they called Su-ah average-looking, but because they thought Jin-suk was cool, hah. She pushes Su-ah to take one of her dresses and come drink at the party with her, but Su-ah refuses, saying she’s waiting for a call from Hyo-eun. Mi-jin: “It’s because you hide that nice body of yours that there are rumors about you being average!”

They’re interrupted by a call from Su-ah’s mother-in-law, who expresses no reservations in her relief that Hyo-eun has been sent away—children are a hindrance. Su-ah politely denies it, while mother-in-law tut-tuts at a group of grandmothers picking up their grandkids from school, declaring that she would never live like that.

Mi-jin successfully convinces Su-ah to come to the party with her, who now sports a form-fitting maroon dress that makes her feel awkward. Mi-jin picks up two beers from the restaurant owner and seems to recognize him, but he doesn’t answer. When she gives Su-ah her drink, they run into another one of their younger coworkers. He’s full of rumors, asking about Su-ah being married to Pilot Park, Mi-jin’s clubbing habits, and even Su-ah sending Hyo-eun away—apparently, he adds with a look, to lead a freer lifestyle. Guess there are no secrets at the workplace.

Mi-jin’s friend Ji-eun finally arrives, and explains that the party is to celebrate her getting her first commission. Mi-jin still can’t place where she knows the restaurant owner from, and Ji-eun reminds her that they all met before—him, Ji-eun, and Do-woo. Mi-jin finally remembers, recalling how she flirted with him before finding out that Do-woo was not only married, but had a daughter as well.

Su-ah can’t stop worrying about Hyo-eun, however, and she tells Mi-jin that she’s going to head out early. Mi-jin urges her to stay, introducing Ji-eun as the person who set up Hyo-eun’s homestay in Malaysia—she knew Hyo-eun’s roommate’s family (that is, Annie and Do-woo). Su-ah is embarrassed that they’re meeting like this before she even got a chance to thank her properly, but Mi-jin doesn’t see the big deal: “Are ahjummas not allowed to have fun?” Haha.

When Do-woo pulls up to the front of the restaurant, Mi-jin recognizes him right away as Seo Do-woo, Hyo-eun’s roommate’s father. Su-ah, of course, is mortified at the thought of meeting yet another person in her tight dress, and refuses to introduce herself.

Do-woo isn’t interested in joining the party anyway, and only brings a drink upstairs to his office to get right back to work. But Mi-jin follows him up to say hi, asking if he remembers her—they met five years ago. It doesn’t seem to ring a bell, so she tries again: she was the one who asked about Annie’s homestay through their mutual friend, Ji-eun. Do-woo asks if Mi-jin is Hyo-eun’s mother, then, but Mi-jin assures him that she’s not: Hyo-eun’s mom is elsewhere, hiding in her dress.

So instead, he gets Su-ah’s phone number from Mi-jin and calls, heading out to the roof. He catches sight of her walking home as he talks, introducing himself as Annie’s father and inviting her inside. She sighs and tells him it’s a little inconvenient at the moment, her awkwardness palpable through the phone.

Do-woo finally breaks the long pause, hitting right what Su-ah is concerned about: “It’s hard, isn’t it? Sending your kid abroad.” Su-ah agrees, saying that she just feels so sorry that Hyo-eun is out there scared and alone, and Do-woo relates: “You even feel bad when she’s sick and you’re not.” He tells her that if it’s any comfort, his daughter seems to prefer it there, and rarely calls or visits Korea.

It does make Su-ah feel a lot better, until she suddenly realizes that she forgot her suitcase inside. She hurries back to the restaurant to pick it up, and Do-woo follows, looking through the window to find her. Su-ah notes a man speaking on a phone from across the room and bows, mistaking him for Do-woo; the man nods back and promptly hangs up. LOL. From outside, Do-woo watches the whole thing through the window, equally confused as to who she’s talking to.

Do-woo calls again as Su-ah heads back outside, telling her that he just spoke with Annie and Hyo-eun’s host mom, Mary. Mary told him that Hyo-eun is adjusting very well and that she and Annie are getting along like longtime friends, so Su-ah has nothing to be worried about.

Su-ah can’t hold back her emotions anymore and sobs, thanking Do-woo for his kind words through the phone. She quickly excuses herself from the call, telling him her taxi is here, even though Do-woo can see from his place on the balcony that there is no taxi. He watches quietly as Su-ah drags her suitcase through the street, sobbing in relief.

Two months later. Su-ah speaks to a much happier Hyo-eun through a video call—Hyo-eun just got an A on her report card! She’s clearly doing very well, and although Su-ah is planning to arrive in Malaysia again soon, Hyo-eun tells her that she doesn’t have to. She notes that it’s weird that the two of them see each other more than Su-ah sees Jin-suk. Su-ah starts to respond, but when Annie tells Hyo-eun that she’s heading out, Hyo-eun picks up her backpack and leaves the house while Su-ah is still mid-sentence, haha.

After Hyo-eun leaves, however, Su-ah hears a male voice in the room, and looks closer to see that Annie has also left her computer open on her desk on the other side of the room. Do-woo is filming the rain falling from the roof for her, which Annie apparently asked for as a part of her homework, calling out: “Annie? Are you there?” Su-ah laughs, realizing that both of their daughters went off after saying only what they needed to say.

Su-ah leaves for duty after putting some food in the refrigerator for Jin-suk, who comes home after she’s long gone. He takes the refrigerated food out and wonders dryly if it’s an in-flight meal.

Su-ah arrives in Malaysia to meet Hyo-eun at the Korean ornament gallery. The traditional knots catch Su-ah’s eye, and Hyo-eun tells her that Annie’s uncle and grandmother made them. But Hyo-eun is in no state to appreciate the exhibits—she’s worried that Annie is going to return to Korea for her grandmother’s birthday today, and she has to stay nearby to say goodbye in case she does. She finally convinces Su-ah to call Mary and ask whether Annie has decided to go. When Mary reports that she’s not going, Hyo-eun practically jumps with joy.

At Annie’s grandmother’s ornament store, Hye-won joins Grandma in working outside, expressing her regret that Annie won’t be here for Grandma’s birthday again this year. Surprisingly, however, Grandma tells her that Annie is coming—she just told her that she was at the airport a short while ago. Hye-won looks mighty displeased about that.

At the airport, Annie tries to ignore the repeated phone calls from “Mom,” but finally gives in and picks up before she enters the gate. Through the phone, Hye-won tells her: “Don’t come. Do as you promised. Why do you think your dad sent you to me?”

Annie tears up and runs back outside out of the airport, running into Su-ah and dropping her grandmother’s bead. Su-ah picks it up, but Annie doesn’t even notice in her hysteria. She runs blindly outside and into the street… and is hit by a car. OH NO.

Do-woo is teaching a class when he gets the phone call. He texts Hye-won that he’s on the way to the airport—Annie was in an accident. Hye-won reads the text and calmly returns to her meeting with her clients.

On the plane, Su-ah comforts one of her coworkers—she was the one that Annie ran into before she got hit by the car, and she can’t stop thinking about it. Su-ah helps her breathe to ease her anxiety, comforting her professionally and kindly.

Back home, however, Hyo-eun calls Su-ah, telling her that something’s weird—Annie isn’t home, and the police keep coming by. Su-ah tells her not to worry and that she’ll figure it out. She calls Mi-jin for Annie’s parents’ phone number, but suddenly thinks of something: Seo Do-woo’s name is awfully similar to the no-show on her flight, Seo Eun-woo, who was recorded as a minor. Unable to shake the feeling that Eun-woo might be Annie, she turns straight around to buy the last direct ticket to Kuala Lumpur.

In the booth next to her, Do-woo runs up and asks for the same flight, when he’s interrupted by a phone call. His face goes pale as he listens, and then: “She’s… dead?” Aghhh. He grips the side of the counter, trying to steady himself. Su-ah gives up her ticket and asks for it to be transferred to Do-woo. He looks at her, but she turns away before he can see her.

No matter how many times she tries to call Do-woo or Mary, they won’t answer. Mi-jin, however, reminds her that there’s nothing she can do anyway, and Su-ah finally gives up.

Do-woo, meanwhile, has arrived at Annie’s homestay, where he stares at the iron his daughter bought to replace Mary’s ancient one and lays in Annie’s bed in mourning. When Su-ah goes to video call Hyo-eun, she hears a glimpse of a man crying in her room before her computer runs out of battery.

Su-ah finally can’t take it anymore and gets on the next flight to Malaysia. Mary is acting weird, however, avoiding giving any concrete answers to Su-ah’s questions about Annie leaving for Korea and a man crying in their room. Su-ah believes her and heads up to Hyo-eun’s room, where she finds a picture of Do-woo and calls him again. This time, he does pick up, but when Su-ah presses him about Annie going to Korea, he tells her that he can’t really say it aloud right now—he’ll text her instead.

Hyo-eun comes back from school in a cheerful mood and immediately asks about Annie. Su-ah tells her that she just spoke to Do-woo, but trails off when his text arrives. Her face goes pale and she tells Hyo-eun to pack her bags immediately—they’re leaving.

Confused, Hyo-eun packs up and follows her mom out into the living room, where Mary is still maintaining her happy façade. Su-ah demands how Mary could do such a thing: “How could you hide that Annie died?!” Startled, Hyo-eun bursts into tears at the sudden revelation, and Mary pulls her into her arms, angry at Su-ah for upsetting her—she didn’t say anything yet because Hyo-eun wasn’t prepared. She tells Su-ah that if she’s going to bring Hyo-eun home, she should take care of her like a proper parent rather than just call every so often to see if she’s studying.

That seems to hit Su-ah hard, and she books an immediate flight to take Hyo-eun home. We finally see what Do-woo texted her: “If Hyo-eun ever feels uncomfortable, bring her straight home. Annie… is no longer in this world.”

Do-woo sits in a church and calls Hye-won. He asks how she’s feeling, but Hye-won only begs him not to bring Annie back and to bury her in Malaysia instead—otherwise, she won’t be able to live with herself.

Su-ah is on duty on the way back from Malaysia to Korea again. Do-woo is one of the passengers, and as he watches her work until her hair is mussed and sweaty, even rocking an infant to sleep, he recognizes her as the person who gave up her ticket to Malaysia for him. She finally recognizes him when he goes to find her, as he offers her his bracelet to tie up her hair and thanks her for giving up the ticket.

Su-ah prepares beverages to deliver to the pilot and co-pilot, and asks to sit in the pilot’s compartment for a while. They welcome her, telling her she’s just in time to see a lunar eclipse. She asks what it looks like, and the pilot responds: “It’s like you’re jumping into a ball of fire, and you’re about to burn up—but you won’t.” When the moon emerges from behind the clouds, it’s bright red, showering them in light.

As the plane prepares for landing, Su-ah returns to her seat, right across from Do-woo. She finally has the right pieces and asks: “Are you Seo Do-woo? Annie’s… father?” When he confirms, asking how she knew, she introduces herself: “I’m Hyo-eun’s mother.” They stare at each other in that moment.

 
COMMENTS

Okay, first of all, this drama is gorgeous. Is it the budget? The actors? The editing? The music? The directing? Every frame is beautifully rendered, with an artistic vision really focused on the product and mood. The soundtrack is present but not overwhelming, the color palettes are consistently well thought out, and the camerawork is unique and smart. The effect of it is not lost on the show, delighting us with (as promised) a natural sort of relaxed and quiet elegance. With that kind of visual quality, I felt more than once during this episode like I was watching a movie or even a commercial rather than a drama.

I don’t know if this level of quality will continue for twenty episodes, but it did miracles for my first impression of the show. I never like to make conclusions early, but I found it hard not to like the show when it’s clear how much thought went into it—the lighting, the coloring, the shots. It speaks volumes to the kind of communication that’s possible out of this medium, which I found particularly fitting considering this is a show about people connecting to each other. They fly from one city to another, sure, but also they also connect through talking, through emotion, and through mutual understanding of a shared humanity.

In that regard, this drama did a really beautiful job in making me love our characters. They’re not particularly interesting (yet) on an individual level, but when you put them together, the characters seem to know each other in ways that makes us know them. The scene between Su-ah and Do-woo outside the party, where they communicate entirely without seeing each other’s faces but seem to completely understand each other, was the moment I fell in love. Being a drama concentrated on the subtlety of human emotions, it necessarily relies on its relationships being interesting and relatable, and I think the show accomplished that on both an emotional and creative level.

From an acting level, Lee Sang-yoon is fantastic as always, although the last show I saw him in (Liar Game) is a huge break from his current character. The sweet, almost naïve love of Seo Do-woo was almost a shock in comparison to the cold and calculating Ha Woo-jin; his understated and subtle reaction to Annie’s death was both believable and heartbreaking, a true image of a father’s silent morning. Kim Haneul, meanwhile, seems to be really fulfilling the expectations of her return to dramaland; her natural elegance is a perfect fit for Airport, and it’s definitely accentuating the effect the creators want from the show. She adds natural warmth to Su-ah that’s the perfect balance between professional and vulnerable. And then their chemistry? I found it absolutely marvelous to watch. I can’t seem to tear my eyes away from the screen when they’re together.

I couldn’t even bring myself to dislike the “villains”—i.e., Jin-suk or Hye-won, each of whom have their own very obvious problems. I’m not even sure if I was supposed to dislike Jin-suk, because I most definitely didn’t—he’s not truly an asshole, he just picks badly out of the many ways to love. Hye-won’s motivations, too, aren’t explained very much in this episode, but I’m thinking (hoping) that she has some interesting and complicated reasons for keeping Annie away from Korea. Overall, we’ve clearly got some complicated family dynamics, but I’m thus far confident that the showrunners will know how to address them appropriately. I don’t want to talk about Annie’s death yet because I’m not sure whether it was necessary to the story as of now, but I will say that her character and relationship to Do-woo was well done, and it’s a death that will touch a lot of characters. I’m happy with the way her death was treated—not melodramatic, but not done for shock value, either—but I hope it will have some narrative purposes conducive to growth that we couldn’t have gotten otherwise.

All in all, there’s something really, really wonderful about this show, and I think it’s a sum of its parts: the idea of being in the liminal space of the air, missing everything that’s going on down on earth; the idea of flight and escape, the idea of connections through the heart, and the idea of reconciliation; the promise of love and understanding in a cold place like an airport, and the endlessly different number of ways to love. There are so many deliciously emotional and poetic directions that this show can go and I’ll be happy with any one of them, but of course, I’ll be happiest if it can manage to surprise us with observations of its own.

I spent 30+ hours in airports in transit this summer due to near-constant delays and layovers, and have now developed a rather jaded view of the entire institution as a pitiless soul-sucking abyss. But it’s that exact reason why the premise of this show works so well for me: In a professional, cold place so focused on efficiency, especially within the deliberately impersonal Korean culture, even the smallest kindnesses, smiles, and touches mean everything. An airport, if you think about it, is the perfect place to examine this paradoxical complexity of humans as being wrapped up in themselves and their schedules, their stringent jobs and plans and responsibilities—and as a corollary to that, the tragic loneliness of solitude, despite being surrounded by people.

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I was hoping someone here would recap airport and my wish came true. Thanks you!!!

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me too... everytime i refresh this site i wish someone would recap this.. and it came true.. Kamsahamnida!!! :)

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I watched it without expecting anything sad at all, but finished the first episode weeping and sobbing like a mad person. (And not just cause Shin Sungrok scares me still) I love the flow of the drama and its cinematography, and also its attention to the details.

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I wasn't sure if I wanted to watch it but after Liar Game and Twenty again, I am so following Lee Sang-yoon everywhere he goes. And now with all those comments on how beautiful the cinematography is, I guess I am in ! ^^

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I do really love that, at least so far, there's no real "bad guy". Jin Suk and Hye Won appear to be terrible parents but there's definitely a depth to them (particularly HW, methinks).

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Yeah, there's definitely something brewing there. I doubt she'd be so adamant about keeping her daughter away without a good reason.

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I am guessing that keeping Hye-won away from Korea has something to do with the grandmother..? maybe??

Right now more questions than answers about all the motives and relationships - but so far everyone seems to have issues.

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Malaysia is beautiful!

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It feels unreal to see Malaysia in Kdrama settings. I can't help but to be curious on the drama

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I'm actually watching this because of Air Asia has sponsored this drama & some location will be in Malaysia. I laughed when so much Air Asia PPL at the beginning but then it's suitable with this drama.

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Ya a bit awkward kan? Lol

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I second that thought (fellow Malaysian here)

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That bridge tho~ I've driven through it so many times, even hung out there a few times - the bridge is a popular spot for people to stop by since the bridge lit up colours at night.

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+ I could have met Lee sang yoon (probably not but a girl can dream)

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I'm from KK so I'm not familiar with the scenes though. My bro has lived in KL before so I asked him where is this or that. Haha

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I had the pleasure of visiting Malaysia, Kuching to be exact. Beautiful place and such friendly people. Glad to see Malaysia featured here.

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Oh, you are visiting East Malaysia then. As always with small city, the people are friendlier.

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I have just seen the screen caps and the cinematography is so good that it make me want to watch a show that I want to avoid knowing what obvious turns it will take.

Plus, this hairstyle that LSY has makes you look younger, that worked for KRW too.

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I left a comment on the what team team Drama Beans are watching and I mentioned I'm watching On The Way To The Airport - promoting this one ( happens to be my 'at the moment' favorite drama) The cinematography is wonderful, the acting, the sadness is just right nothing too dramatic.

Thanks DB you're recapping this.

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Is Annie not Seo Deo Woo biological daughter?

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Not sure she's SDW's daughter. They have different Surnames + it was mentioned by Jieun(who said SDW was a great guy for taking care of someone's kid).

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Actually, they have same surname (Seo). Annie's Korean name is Seo Eun-woo.

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Yes. She is not his biological daughter. She is the child from his wife's first marriage. This was explained in 2nd episode clearly.

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Thanks for the recap and the thoughtful comments at the end! I'm also happy this drama is being recapped and can't wait for more. With all the flashy and "dramatic" shows that are currently airing - and yes still very entertaining - it's so great to watch one that is so much more subtle, thoughtful and solely focused on relationships.
And Eynay - from what I understand Annie wasn't Seo Do Woo's biological daughter, he was her stepfather.

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what? really? where did that come in... i missed something....

i really liked this first episode.

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It was in the party scene when Mi-jin was talking to her friend Ji-eun. Ji-eun said that Do-woo is such a great guy for marrying a woman who already had a daughter or something along those lines. But Mi-jin didn't really hear that because she was distracted by Su-ah who was about to leave.

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ohhh, thanks!

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hanshimi, thank you so very much for recapping this!

While I found all the adults quite interesting, at this point I'm particularly interested in Kim Hye-won. What is her deal?? ..... Clearly there's a situation there. Perhaps it's psychological and/or medical layered with who knows what else.

Let's see what happens.

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I feel like I have been commenting all day but I can't bypass a recap of OTWTTA given I wrote about it in the OT. Thanks, recap captures much of my feelings. I haven't seen the lead pair in anything and really like them in this. The whole production has a very assured feel.

PS: Also I love Korean knots and hope we see more of it!

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I was intrigued by this show because of the airport slant and the first episode was definitely strong but subtle. When you talked about airports feeling like a cold abyss, I really felt that during the sequence of Annie running through the airport with everything fading to black and white around her. We could see all the people she was surrounded by but they were almost like trees in a forest. There are all of these people around her but, in those moments of heartbreak when her mother discouraged her yet again, she was alone.

This is an entirely different kind of show for me. I usually stick to action/thriller or crime procedural dramas but this has been a warm, beautiful change of pace and I know I need to have a bit more patience with it. So far so good, however, and I can't wait to see how the rest of the plot unfolds and how integral the airport as a setting (and, in a way, as a character in and of itself) will play out.

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Incheon Airport is far better than most, but it's still an airport - and that can get kind of abyssy (is that a word?) when you have already checked in and then find out the flight is delayed.

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I liked it so far. I'm enjoying how rich the production is.

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It is to note that Annie is not Seo Dowoo biological daughter, it was briefly mentioned by Mijin's friend, the lady that hosted the party.

Curious how the whole Seo family loves Annie so much but her own mother seems to be repulsed by her. There must be a reason and I can't wait to know what it is.

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Noticed that too. Dowoo's parents love Annie so much especially the grandma. And Dowoo treated Annie like his real daughter. Why did Dowoo married Hyewon in the first place? That is the lingering question. Clearly Annie is special to him. Oh my. Did she perhaps tried to not have her? Yes, the A word. As you said "repulsed". That is the big mystery so far.

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Same here. And I also think Hye-won wasn't talking about Do-woo when she said to Annie "why do you think your dad sent you to me?" but her real biological father.

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That is the big mystery to me also. I am suspecting that the family perhaps hated the previous marriage or something like that? But that would not explain why the family liked her but the mother seemed to hate her - or maybe just hated her being around??

There could be an interesting backstory here.

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The first episode was practically an AirAsia advertisement I found that so funny as a Malaysian :') Wonder how much they sponsored the drama to be featured for the whole drama though :o Even all the uniform and all will most possibly be shown throughout the series. Though I'm curious why would Airasia need to advertise through a Korean drama hmm.

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They are the main sponsors. http://malaysiandigest.com/features/630112-k-drama-fan-alert-an-airasia-flight-attendant-is-the-female-lead-in-an-upcoming-korean-drama.html

One advantage the drama is getting is that since Air Asia is involved, they can show more of the actual inner workings of how an airline actually works.

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i think it's an incredibly smart marketing tactic from Air Asia. honestly, i'm impressed.

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^ woops, this was meant as answer to comment above...oh well...the thoughtfulness and the feel/look of this drama is luring me. quiet pensive dramas aren't easy to find in the sea of flashiness....though i might wait till it's aired here since it's not easy to watch dramas online with my poor connection. so, thank you for the recap....

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I was pleasantly surprised by the first episode - its very mature and realistic. (and yes, beautiful) I am fascinated by Hye Won - rather than a villain, I see the show exploring the pressure woman are under to fulfill a certain role even if they don't want or cannot do so (i.e. as a wife and in particular, mother. Society is still a long way from accepting that some woman do not want children, and/or are not good with them.) Or I hope that. Or maybe she had post partum depression and could not love her daughter? Its all really interesting - especially when you see the other grand mother saying things that show a similiar attitude. it feels quite liberal for a korean show to display these attitudes and viewpoints.

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Wow, I wasn't really interested in this show but was pleasantly surprised at my joy when I saw this recap. Then I read the recap and enjoyed it immensely. By the way, this is my first time reading Hanshimi and I just gotta say, lovely recap!!

Lee Sang Yoo looks so freaking young!!! What!! How? Is it the hair? The relaxed atmosphere? Less need for mind games and conning? Although with that Pilot, I won't relax just yet!

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Loved the recap! This drama is insanely well thought out and yes, infinitely gorgeous. It's amazing how the first episode felt so "complete". Very few dramas can achieve that feat (just watched The K2 episode one and loved it but it felt like they just had to cut off the episode because they ran out of time LOL)

My point, is that this show was everything in its first episode and the second was even better.

Loved how they handled the pain of loss a a death so sublimely. I mean seriously I felt touched even though I know it's acting! Well done to the whole drama crew of On the Way to the Airport and I'm glad it's getting recapped! One of the better dramas starting this late September.

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I'm sorry, but I can't help but be wary of Shin sung rok in each scene. I feel like a dead body is bound to drop down somewhere, somehow when he's around.

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Didn't help with the fact he's always so wary of the people around him when he's with his family, almost as if his family is a big embarrassment.

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Thank you for the recap.

Both episodes certainly looks nice. I like how they depict the accident scene, not dramatic but effective and beautiful.

With all the characters' travelling back & forth, i can't help but look up air asia x's ICN-KUL flights to work out the timing, LOL. Not that it matters cos it's Kdrama where time bending is the norm.

I love the supporting cast, Choi Yeo Jin and Ler Young Ran especially in Valid Love.

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Sometimes I would imagine the background scenes playing out in my head when it gets too traumatic, for example...

Anthony: Truck of Doom, you have to cancel your holiday and come to work at the airport tomorrow.
Truck: *whines* no... I have been looking forward to my service and maintenance SPA day all year.
Anthony: We can't get anyone else. Be there tml, If you make it quick, I'll give you an extra day off.
Truck: no. It's an airport, get an airplane to do it.
Anthony: it's not in our budget. You know used up all the money to cover Brangelinas divorce! I'll get you a new coat of paint and any spare parts that you wanna change.
Truck: Deal. Target pls?
Anthony: School girl with mommy issues, the details are in your trunk.

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lol

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I wonder if Truck Of Doom knows that he might have some follow up jobs later on?

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I laughed soooo hard at this coment!;-) :-) And ur right!! Remember it's a melodrama!!! Lol

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I usually dont do melos but wow,i am hooked already.

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The show is pretty because it was Studio Dragon who produced it! Studio Dragon was behind The Good Wife, and this is their first free-to-air drama production c: I hope this helps those who are cooing over the show to pick up The Good Wife too because that one was also beautifully shot.

That aside, I hate HATE HATE that Sungrok is giving me mixed feelings. On one hand he's so dorky and cute and then he's a dick to his daughter, I want to slap him upside down over his head.

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SSR always gives me mixed feelings, Poliwag...

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So was Annie the secret daughter of a politician? Chaebol? Satan?

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Politician and satan are redundant.

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I died at this. Lol

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LOVE this drama!! It has been such a long time since I last watched a drama which impressed me so deeply. Everything is great, the cinematography, background music, slice of life in the plot, and the strong emotional connection between the leads. KHN and LSY are veteran actors who could bring out the subtle and delicate emotions and mood changes in the characters.

hanshimi, many thanks for the great recap and the beautifully written comments, the gist of it was so well summarized here:

the idea of being in the liminal space of the air, missing everything that’s going on down on earth; the idea of flight and escape, the idea of connections through the heart, and the idea of reconciliation; the promise of love and understanding in a cold place like an airport, and the endlessly different number of ways to love.

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I second that gist quote. Nicely written

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Whoa whoa whoa!! It's recapped! Thank you DB for fulfilling my request (though I know it's not because of me). The first two episodes have enough elements going on which pique my interest, and show is beautiful. As someone who travel once in a while by plane, I love the airport as one of the sets. I don't mind seeing it on every episode. I believe one day it'll make me grab my bag & on my way to the airport too! And Annie oh Annie.. Why must the writer puts death as her ending in this drama, and so soon? Understandably, it's to show how weird the mother is and starting point for DW to see her wife in a different light.

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Thank you for the recap! Watched the first two episodes and I love it so far!

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It really was a beautiful recap that really reflected the mood and contemplative tone of the show. I'm not watching but reading and even I am feeling the emotions.

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I never thought the 1st and 2nd episodes of a drama would make me cry sooo much but well this drama did it!! Oh god I sobbed like a fool!! But it seems like a nice warm drama who will continue to make us cry with every episode. Well I love LSY from his My daughter Seoyeong days! It's hard not to like him with his cute dimples! Oh and the actress who plays his wife is the same as the one who liked him in My Daughter Seoyeong! Lol! Just a remark.
The story seems soo complicated which makes me eager to wonder how the main couple story will unfold!! I am definetly on board with this one! Well what can I say? I love melos!

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Can someone tell me this is not gonna be a sad show? ;( But the music is soooooo melancholically good that I think I want to keep watching. Well... I guess it's a good thing Shopping King Louis is airing at the same time.

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It's weird seeing my name repeated lots of times in a recap...

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And everytime I see it, I thought someone was talking about ME, and then I realized I have a different username here. Hehe.

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It's still your name in real life, though. :D Always a jolt seeing that.

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Yeah, and it's the same when we both comment on different thread. I'm like "When did I comment this...? Oh wait, different mary." LOL

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Ah the subs I watched used "Marie" instead. Other the other hand.. everytime I see your name I think of my mother. Haha

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I wasn't planning on watching this at all. I didn't even know it was shot in Malaysia and that Air Asia sponsored this drama (silly me for not recognizing the red uniform sooner). But man, this show is really something. I think if this show was originally written as a novel, it would've been a great piece of literature to read. And this is my first time reading hanshimi's recap. I'm loving every single comment she wrote for this episode because it makes me wanna watch the two episodes again just to appreciate all the small details I've missed.

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Just figured that the writer for the drama (Lee Sook Yun) was part of the writing team for Hur Jin-ho's films. No wonder each episode so far has the feel of a film. Interested to see if it will be bittersweet like the films or more dramaland territory.

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Thanks for the recaps

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Sounds like a warm drama indeed, I want to watch this but the adultery bit just niggling in the back of my mine. The last time I watched something with adultery theme (One Warm Word, I Have a Lover), I wanted to flip the table.

On a side note, I wanted to comment, did anyone think RM50 would be enough to buy an iron (I'm asking the Malaysian)? I was just iron hunting a few months back myself and most irons are like RM50 and above.

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I'm considering on this drama too and it feels so weird to see Malaysia for a Korean drama. The theme is intriguing and I think I'll let a couple of episodes pass by and see how it goes.

I second on iron comment XD If you're looking for a second hand it might be possible.

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How did you find A Warm Word and I Have A Lover? I'm intrigued by how dramas with infidelity as a main theme handle the issue. I haven't watched any drama with these theme but I'm eager to see one. I watched Secret Love Affair but got bored and stopped watching at episode 5.

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@Amber

Omg, I totally forgot I commented here. Hope I'm not answering you too late, Amber.

Coincidentally, both dramas had Ji Jin-hee, while I'm not really a fan of him, I do think he carried both dramas well, considering he's the adulterer in both dramas. In One Warm Word, he did it because of a loveless marriage (and the drama is short, only 20 ep), while in I Have A Lover, he did it because he loves his wife so much he couldn't bear to be with her (I know right, what a joke. This one is longer with 50 ep). I don't approve of cheating on any ground, but they explore the reasoning quite well in One Warm Word (probably because there are two adulterer, no make that three in One Warm Word and they had different reasons for cheating). But what I reaalllly don't like about these two dramas are the cheating gets justified and the people who cheated are forgiven easily, and they try to brush it off by making a happy ending for the people who cheated and got cheated. Like, wha-? How could you live with someone after all those emotional turmoils they put you through? One Warm One did that better in the sense that the wives punished their husbands greatly for putting them through the pain, and they certainly made them pay. I'm not saying revenge is good, I'm saying cheating is a great offense that shouldn't get brush off lightly, because essentially you're playing with people's feelings and it equals death sentence to them when you betray them.

I don't even know why I watched both and finished them (probably because I have a makjang lover at home--my mom), but it's better to watch them a little tune out? If you know what I mean. I cannot for the life of me ever understand adultery, if you're not happy, then get out of that unhappiness, though I do think people need to think it deeply before jumping into marriage because it's sacred and no one should play marriage like it's a dating game where you get to live with that person.

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well speaking of the 'iron price', it is possible to buy within rm30-rm50 range if u buy the not-so-popular brand item or no-brand at all.. when i was a student, i bought the cheaper ones too (but it may not last longer that's all in terms of durability) ^^ if u go to Malaysian hypermarkets like Giant, Tesco, or Big Aeon... you can manage to buy the cheaper ones.. normally these hypermarket is located in neighbourhood area or inside the bigger shopping mall.. well just want to share from fellow Msian here ^^

absolutely adore the way this drama portrays the cinematography elements here. its really good!

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It's probably location problem. Because I'm from East Malaysia, so prices could be a lot higher on my end because of the shipping and etc.

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it not enough, normal price should be more than RM50 Ringgit, I know cause I'm Malaysian.

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Ten years ago, maybe you can get one at RM50... but you never know.... maybe... during sale time?

Year-End-Sale is coming soon.

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Didn't you hear? Kim Haneul is average looking. ? ?

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The way the pilot, played by Shin Sung-rok, spoke with Kim Haneul''s character, as his wife, makes my hair stand on end - it is as if he is perennially impatient, angry, frustrated, unhappy, dissatisfied and worse, condescending.

I will not tolerate such behaviour from my husband that is for sure. *shudders*

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I've never seen Malaysia so beautifully shot in a drama. I laughed at the improbability of that location with the bridge and mosque because it is about an hour and half drive from the capital, Kuala Lumpur. This is a great move by Air Asia, seeing that there are so many Korean drama fans in Malaysia and Asia which is their target market. I imagine they will definitely feature this drama in the in-flight entertainment (if you pay, of course).

The cinematography almost becomes another cast member as it makes the scenes look so gorgeous and emphasizes the mood.

I love that the show explores the possibility of friendship among married people, it doesn't necessarily have to lead to romantic love or anything of a sexual nature. People CAN and should be able to have supportive and loving relationships without everyone assuming that they will descend into tawdry misdeeds. I would love to see how the show addresses this. It's a slippery slope and I hope it will be portrayed in a mature and realistic manner rather than any OTT shenanigans or personality transplants half-way through. Here's hoping the production team won't bend under pressure.

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Actually there are many Koreans living in Malaysia so I think this drama can also convey to their families in Korea that Malaysia is not a bad place to live.

I live in Tanjung Tokong in Penang Island. In the morning when I go to Tesco Sg Penang near my house, I would hear greetings ... Anyeoungsayo... around me.. LOL!

It feels funny. I'm a Malaysian, living in Malaysia and yet there are so many foreigners around me. Koreans look like our Chinese ppl, only the language will tell you that are Koreans. Being a KD fan, I can understand their chit-chats. In my neighbourhood, there are many Korean restaurants and even a church for Koreans.

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I like how this drama started. A full hour of characterization done with subtlety. In tone and sensitivity, it reminds me of "Alone in Love".

After seeing episode 2 though, I realized that even though I like Lee Sang-yoon in this and I'm almost dying to know what his wife's freakin' deal is... I don't think I can get behind Kim Ha-neul's acting for more than 2 episodes. She always seem to have this constant state of being too self-aware that I find it difficult to feel and relate to her portrayal of the role. Sort of a case of watching an actress act instead of watching an actor become one with the character. It can be quite a bit frustrating to watch especially if it's the heroine you should be routing for.

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I find her too self-conscious when she was wearing the tight-fitting dress and cannot fathom where she's coming from. It's not like she has some extra pounds that will be seen bulging. I watched her in A Gentleman's Dignity and her character there was also written to be really uncomfortable whenever she wears a short skirt (after out-of-town baseball game) and dress (red thread thing).

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Thank you for recapping this drama!!

Love the story so far. And totally agree on cinematography. They're gorgeous!

Its a great feeling when a drama brought mundane things into interesting one. Who knows airport's life are this melancholic.

The casts are spot on.

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I think the cast, directing, and story line is excellent.
I was not disappointed when watching this.
Fighting!!!!

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I have two questions regarding the flow of this episode. (This is some kind of a spoiler so proceed with caution.)

1. When Hyo-eun called her mom and said that it's weird, the police and Annie's dad came here too. This scene is a moment before Su-ah gave the last ticket to Kuala Lumpur to Deo-woo.

2. Why did Su-ah have to ask her flight attendant friend for Deo-woo's number (Hyo-eun is bugging her for news about Annie)? Didn't Deo-woo use his own phone to call Su-ah's phone during the beer party? Some chance she had a new phone or had it restored? Lol

Lastly, I didn't get Marie's logic for keeping the death of Annie a secret from Su-ah. She said she was afraid that Hyo-eun would be devastated and act like what happened. Wouldn't it be more reasonable if Marie first broke the news to Su-ah alone then devise a plan together how to effectively break it to Hyo-eun?? I mean, Marie surely doesn't think it can be a secret forever (if Su-ah didn't know, Hyo-eun would stay and she'll find out eventually).

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Idk why my last comment was deleted. :( Is it too spoilery?

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You didn’t watch Twenty Again?

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Your recap is very jaggered and hard to follow, please review and revise later episodes better.

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This is my first time visit at here and i am actually happy to read everthing at single place.

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