I’ll Find You on a Beautiful Day: Episode 1
Park Min-young retreats to her hometown in the picturesque countryside after questioning her career path in JTBC’s “healing” slice-of-life drama I’ll Find You on a Beautiful Day. The opening episode doesn’t give us much in terms of plot, but it sets the scene by introducing us to our beautiful locale and some of its residents, including bookshop-owner Seo Kang-joon. As a quiet, understated drama that relies on atmosphere perhaps more than plot, it might not be for everyone. But if, like me, you came here mainly for the relaxing setting of an independent bookshop in a scenic town, grab a hot beverage of your choice and settle in.
EPISODE 1: Wind Blowing Through a Willow Tree
In the peaceful countryside, IM EUN-SEOB (Seo Kang-joon) brews coffee at Goodnight Bookshop. Meanwhile, MOK HAE-WON (Park Min-young) walks along a scenic road, dragging a suitcase. She ignores a call from “the Director.” When she gets to Goodnight Bookshop, she peers through the windows, but nobody is in.
Across the way, while a little boy tries to get his attention, Eun-seob stares at Hae-won as she makes her way to Hodu House. She calls out to her aunt once inside, but the house is empty. Hae-won arduously lugs her suitcase up the stairs to her room.
As she takes in the view from her window, a yapping dog alerts her to her aunt’s arrival. It seems she wasn’t expected as SHIM MYUNG-YEO (Moon Jung-hee) wonders what she’s doing here. Is she taking time off? Myung-yeo is by no means the warm, fuzzy type, but their relationship appears comfortable.
Hae-won smiles to see her younger self in the background of a picture on a shelf in the kitchen. But she’s miffed when Myung-yeo looks at it in surprise, never having noticed her niece in the picture. Ha. Myung-yeo asks again if she’s taking time off. When does she have to return to Seoul?
Myung-yeo turns in surprise when Hae-won claims she doesn’t have plans to go back to Seoul anytime soon. While they grill potatoes over the fireplace, Myung-yeo presses her some more. What about her mom? Hae-won changes the subject and comments on the two new guesthouses nearby that she assumes are taking business from Myung-yeo.
Refusing to move on before she gets answers, Myung-yeo wants to know if Hae-won is seriously thinking of living here. Hae-won assures her she is. She’ll live like Myung-yeo, without any plans. Myung-yeo, who apparently wears her sunglasses at night, asks about the academy. Hae-won replies solemnly that she doesn’t think she’s qualified to teach anyone.
Myung-yeo calls bull on that—everyone just does what they do to make money. Hae-won remains insistent. Before going to bed, Myung-yeo advises her not to quit so easily. “And don’t talk like I’m wasting my life here.”
Hae-won thinks back to her confrontation with a student about her aggressive behavior. She’d called her out, and the girl raised her hand to hit her. We cut to the mother yelling about her precious daughter getting hit. When the smug girl accuses Hae-won of slapping her face, the mother slaps Hae-won back. Hae-won stands silently.
In the present, Hae-won goes for a nighttime stroll. As she stands taking in nature, Eun-seob rides up on his bike. After a beat, she greets him. Staring across the field, she asks if he knows what those “marshmallow-looking things” are. He replies they’re silage bales, which she now recalls. They fall silent as he stares at her staring out at the field.
The next day, Eun-seob almost jumps out of his skin when a voice sounds out of his pocket. It’s his father who insists on using walkie talkies despite being within shouting distance. Eun-seob finally complies, but then he spots Hae-won and goes into his Hae-won trance.
He tries to play it cool as his dad radios him about bringing a rake to the ice rink later and scolds him for not ending his communications with “over.” Ha, I like his dad already. Eun-seob asks Hae-won how long she’s staying and tries to look neutral when she says until spring. He tells her to ask if she needs something, like a car.
So she immediately asks to borrow his car, which takes him off guard. Ha. He tosses her the key. In the car, Hae-won notes to Myung-yeo that Eun-seob seems like a different person now. “Like someone who went missing for a while and returned.”
Myung-yeo initially finds that ridiculous but then remembers that he wasn’t around for years, although he wasn’t exactly missing. To Myung-yeo’s annoyance, Hae-won isn’t done with her questioning. She wonders why he calls Myung-yeo “noona” seeing as she’s over 40. And what’s with the sunglasses? “Did you get plastic surgery while I was gone?” Ha! Myung-yeo just sighs in frustration.
At Goodnight Bookshop, Eun-seob hand brews coffee as a young girl sits at the counter. She reads aloud, “That night, Irene asked me…” and Eun-seob rips what must be his journal out of her hands. She’d already seen his conversation with Hae-won about the “marshmallow-looking things,” though, and pesters him about who this “Irene” is.
Hae-won spots a keychain hanging from the car’s rearview mirror with the words “Goodnight, Irene” engraved on it. Turns out her and Myung-yeo are going shopping for the laundry list of tools Hae-won needs for her DIY projects around the house. She replaces doorknobs, fixes the faucet, repairs the stairs, and even paints the siding, to her aunt’s surprise.
“Isn’t it pretty?” Myung-yeo: “No. Not at all.” Heh. Hae-won chides her for her pessimism while Myung-yeo complains about Hae-won’s optimism. Myung-yeo worries the paint will crack when the temperature lowers, but Hae-won insists there won’t be any problems—she checked the weather forecast.
Cue thunderstorm. Myung-yeo dryly throws Hae-won’s words back at her as the storm rages through the night. Hae-won can’t sleep and ends up braving the storm to check on the freshly painted wall … which has now dissolved into a mint green puddle. To make her day worse, when she tries to go back inside, the door handle comes off in her hand.
She bangs on the door and yells, but the storm drowns her out. Hae-won runs to the other side of the house, but the side door is locked. Out of ideas, she spots the lights on at Goodnight Bookshop.
As usual, Eun-seob is struck silent when he sees Hae-won, but he comes to enough to let her in and pour her some coffee. As she warms up next to the heater, she admits she didn’t know he owned an actual bookshop. Eun-seob has been running it for three years.
She browses the shelves and sees a section with bookmarked books. He explains that he lets customers read whatever they want and bookmark where they left off. Hae-won asks why he chose the name “Goodnight Bookshop.” He says that, for many, basic things like eating and sleeping well are difficult. He chose the name in the hope that people can eat and sleep well.
Looking pensive, Hae-won wonders if eating and sleeping well are all there is to life. Eun-seob asks what else there could be. Hae-won notices the rain has stopped and gets up to leave. Eun-seob hops up and puts his coat down next to her, telling her to wear it home. Then, he sits back down to continue pretending to be indifferent as he reads.
As she leaves, she suddenly recalls a day back in high school where she’d seen Eun-seob’s notebook open on his desk. He’d written about his idea of a good life: waking up well, sleeping well, working well, and resting well. He’d ended the entry with “goodnight, everyone.”
The following day Hae-won decides to clean out the (disastrous) warehouse. Myung-yeo watches concernedly as Hae-won literally chucks things out into the yard. Elsewhere, Eun-seob has a calm breakfast with his family. Ah, so the girl who was snooping in his journal was his little sister IM HWI (Kim Hwan-hee).
In typical little sibling fashion, she sells him out and announces to their parents he has a new girlfriend named Irene. His parents are excited while he protests and argues with Hwi. There’s a relaxed vibe, and the family seems close. Eun-seob’s mom asks him to go shopping in the afternoon; she wants to start selling tteokbokki.
Eun-seob hesitantly asks to borrow his mom’s car. They’re shocked to learn he lent his car to someone. Hwi astutely guesses that he lent it to Irene, the girlfriend he denies having. They all start debating which country she’s from.
At Myung-yeo’s, an exhausted, dirt-smudged Hae-won trudges inside. She thinks back to her boss pressuring her to “research” a competing academy by pretending to be a student there for a month. Hae-won gave in and wowed the teacher with her cello ability. But it wasn’t long before she got caught.
Hae-won had held in her anger as her boss berated her for not being careful enough and unfairly blamed her for the entire situation. Adding insult to injury, her boss went on to say that Hae-won’s lessons were too boring which is why she’d wanted her to learn from the other academy’s teachers.
In the present, Hae-won answers the phone and starts to take down information for a reservation when Myung-yeo hangs up on the potential customer. She stuns Hae-won by admitting she reported the business as closed a year ago. Hae-won is upset, seeing as her grandmother ran this guesthouse her whole life.
Myung-yeo claims she’s gotten too old to keep running it, but Hae-won points out she’s only in her forties. How will she make money now? Myung-yeo essentially tells her to butt out and adds that she’ll pay her back for the repairs she’s done around the house. Hae-won didn’t do those for the guests—she did it for Myung-yeo.
Myung-yeo doesn’t buy that and scoffs that Hae-won never worries about her. She accuses Hae-won of just wanting to keep herself busy and coming here to escape reality. On the verge of tears, Hae-won admits it. “Is it fun to tell a fool she’s a fool?” Myung-yeo silently goes to her room while Hae-won takes a walk.
Of course, Hae-won runs into Eun-seob again outside the bookshop. It’s obvious she’s been crying, but he doesn’t say anything. Hwi passes by and yells from her bike, “Who’s Irene?” After a bit of pestering, she notices Hae-won sitting there. “By chance, is it this unni?”
Hae-won is understandably confused, and Eun-seob starts to panic. We flash back to Eun-seob writing a post to the “Goodnight Club”–an online group of insomniacs and night owls–in which he stated, “That woman is back.” In voiceover, as we see the day he met Hae-won by the field, he notes that the only reason he likes winter is that the leafless trees outside his window no longer block his view of her window. And every holiday season, she briefly comes back.
We get a flashback in a flashback as he reminisces about the first time she had asked him about the “marshmallow-looking things” when they were in high school. The conversation had been practically identical to the one they’d had recently. In the less remote flashback, Eun-seob writes that maybe he should invite Hae-won into the Goodnight Club.
The day his dad scared him with the walkie talkie, Eun-seob had been covertly looking for Hae-won. He continues that he probably won’t be able to say anything to her. The night of the storm, we see a new part of their conversation where she’d asked why he had so many copies of the book “Wind Blowing Through a Willow Tree.” He’d answered that it was an interesting book, so he’d bought various versions to see if they were all the same.
Then, she’d asked about the name of the bookshop. He remembers writing that snippet about living well that Hae-won had seen. In voice over, Eun-seob comments that “goodnight” has been an important part of his life, but he’ll never be able to reveal that to Hae-won because “I’m an idiot who doesn’t know how to comfort someone.”
We’re back in the present as he laments that he doesn’t know what to say to her after she’s been crying. Hwi rides up and makes a scene about Irene. On a whim, Eun-seob claims Irene is his sister Hwi. She’s baffled, especially since they never had that conversation in the field. He quickly shuts her up and chases her off.
Hae-won looks startled and suspicious. She surmises that the Irene from “Goodnight, Irene” on that keychain … He confirms that, yep, it’s his little sister. This seems to (understandably) concern her, and she declines a second cup of coffee. Eun-seob knows that he blew it, again.
He rushes inside to take a phone call and looks surprised as he utters, “Now?” Turns out there’s a high school reunion that night, and Eun-seob and Hae-won decide to attend. Eun-seob has occasionally attended the reunions over the years, but it’s Hae-won’s first time.
They join the rowdy group at a newly opened restaurant where everyone is teasing LEE JANG-WOO (Lee Jae-wook) about his supposed crush on a classmate back in the day. He insists that Eun-shil was the one with the crush, but her best friend at the time shuts that down.
Conversation turns to Hae-won teaching cello in Seoul. She nods and smiles but avoids talking about it. In an effort to put someone else in the hot seat, Jang-woo claims to know something about someone else’s crush. He points at Eun-seob and demands to know if his old crush is currently here.
Everyone turns to look at Eun-seob, but they encourage Jang-woo to let it go. Eun-seob might not come back at this rate. But Jang-woo isn’t easily dissuaded even when Eun-seob denies it. Jang-woo threatens to say it if he won’t. Finally, as everyone drum rolls on the table, Eun-seob admits, “It was Mok Hae-won.”
The whole table is shocked into silence, but none more so than Hae-won. The awkwardness is broken when one of the alumni (who brought her baby) looks into the stroller which is suddenly empty. Everyone frantically searches the restaurant and finds the baby playing in the other room. They joke he should grow up to be a magician.
That night, Hae-won sits on her bed flipping her light on and off. Eun-seob tries to write a post for his Goodnight Club, but he struggles to get past his embarrassment about what happened at the reunion. There’s a knock on his door, and he’s startled to see Hae-won.
She says she has a question to ask. “No,” he preemptively responds. She’s confused as he explains he was talking about the past. She realizes he’s referencing his confession earlier, and he clarifies that his crush is long over. And slams the door in her face. Ha! She jumps back in shock. Eun-seob bangs his head on the door, making them both jump again. He covers his face in embarrassment. This boy’s a mess around her.
Hae-won stands outside, debating whether to leave. As she’s turning to go, Eun-seob musters up the courage to open the door again. They stand facing each other awkwardly.
First things first, this show is beautiful. The gorgeous setting in conjunction with the lovely use of silence create an introspective, tranquil ambiance. Too often shows try to fill silence with chatter or background music, but this drama embraces it. Dialogue and background music are used sparingly and purposely, allowing scenes to breathe. No intrusive pop music or overly chatty heroines here—just the sounds of nature and soothing instrumentals.
Although I appreciate the unhurried pace, I do have one stylistic caveat. I don’t mind a lingering shot, but I could do with a little less of the staring. Moments went on a beat too long, leading to unsettling staring contests between Hae-won and Eun-seob. If an acquaintance silently stared into my eyes for several seconds like that, it would induce anxiety, not romance.
It felt like this episode was merely setting the tone and pace. We’ve been introduced to the town and what life is like within it, but I’m not sure what the show is about yet. I mean, I know it’s a romance and all, but beyond that it’s hard to say where it’s going. As for the characters, even the few we’ve been introduced to remain a bit of a mystery. Hae-won and Eun-seob are both reserved, so it’s hard to get a read on them. All we really know right now is that Hae-won is reevaluating her life and choices, seemingly feeling lost, and Eun-seob has a serious crush which results in his losing the ability to think and speak properly. I don’t have a strong idea of who they are as people yet, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing since I have a feeling that will unfold as we go.
I’m curious to know what Myung-yeo’s deal is. What’s up with the sunglasses she never takes off? That combined with closing down the guesthouse makes me think she has some disease that’s affecting her eyes. Hopefully it doesn’t go full melodrama on us and give her some fatal condition. I did not come here for cancer. So far, I’m enjoying her apathy in contrast with Hae-won’s energy. But there’s one point I’m curious about. We know Hae-won grew up in the area, or at least attended high school there, but what about her parents? They don’t seem to live there now, so did they move away? Or did Hae-won grow up with her aunt instead?
This episode moved at a glacial pace, but I somehow wasn’t bored. I think the atmospheric nature of the show kept me engaged. But I do hope we get a little more movement as we go. I don’t mind a show that takes its time, but I need to know we’re headed somewhere. Honestly, though, they could chill in the bookshop sipping coffee all episode and it’d be like ASMR to me. I freaking love bookshops (and coffee). Bookshops are my happy place. So long as we keep getting gorgeous shots of the countryside, coffee brewing, and bookshop goodness, I’ll probably be more entertained than is called for.
- Premiere Watch: I’ll Find You on a Beautiful Day
- A quiet moment for romance in new teaser for JTBC’s I’ll Find You on a Beautiful Day
- Melancholy new promos for JTBC’s I’ll Find You on a Beautiful Day
- Park Min-young plays piano in I’ll Find You on a Beautiful Day teaser
- Seo Kang-joon and Park Min-young bundle up for JTBC’s I Will Find You When the Weather Is Nice
- I Will Find You When the Weather Is Nice holds first script reading with Park Min-young and Seo Kang-joon
- Casting continues for JTBC bookish romance I Will Find You When the Weather Is Nice
- Park Min-young, Seo Kang-joon considering JTBC bookstore romance