God’s Gift – 14 Days: Episode 1
Hello all! I’m dramallama, and I will be part of the recapping team for this great new Monday-Tuesday drama. I am quite a newbie to all of this, so I apologize in advance for any stumbles I make along the way. But I hope from the bottom of my drama-loving heart that my writing will be a pleasant addition to your whole drama experience.
God’s Gift – 14 Days, or just God’s Gift for short, was high on my expectations radar, and it did not disappoint. Those teasers were pretty intense, but the show did pleasantly surprise me with a few laughs. There are a few missing details here and there that I believe will be filled as we get into our fourteen days, but overall, it’s fast-paced and engaging throughout the first episode, with our introductions embedded seamlessly into the plot. A lot of introductions though because Lee Bo-young has got a lot of men. So without further ado, the first episode!
EPISODE 1 RECAP
We begin with an eerie animation sequence about a mother who goes to great lengths to save her daughter, who has been stolen by Death. The mother first encounters the Goddess of Night and gives up her beautiful hair to find Death. Next, she encounters a bush of thorns which she must embrace tightly.
In the final obstacle to reclaim her daughter, the mother is asked to give up her eyes, and plucks them out without hesitation. The question of whether the daughter was saved is left unanswered, and we transition into real life as a fisherman’s hook catches a red shoe in the lake… and moments later a body surfaces nearby. Floating near the girl’s head is a hair tie with a bear decoration.
At home, our main family watches a newscast about a missing child who’s been found dead. (A detail to note: This child was found in the woods and the shoes pictured are different, so not the same child as in the opening.) Mom KIM SOO-HYUN (Lee Bo-young) takes in the news with worry and warns her naïve daughter not to follow strangers, especially men.
To that, daughter HAN SAET-BYUL (Kim Yoo-bin) breaks into a smile and asks if her dad counts, to which Dad HAN JI-HOON (Kim Tae-woo) replies with a big kiss. And then we see that the hair tie in Saet-byul’s hair is the same as that bear tie in the lake…
Off to school for Saet-byul, and Mom continues with her endless nagging: play nicely, listen to your teacher, don’t cause chaos by letting all the rabbits loose again (ha), don’t skip out on English class after school. To all of this, Saet-byul replies with a sigh.
Soo-hyun works as a broadcast writer for an investigative show on wanted criminals, and she spots her husband on a monitor for a different broadcast. Ji-hoon is a lawyer and is participating in a public debate with a presidential candidate on capital punishment, which he opposes (interesting).
The couple heads out together after their simultaneous broadcasts when a woman steps in their path and throws something into Ji-hoon’s face. She is infuriated by his stance on capital punishment, yelling that the criminal that killed her child needs to face the same death. As the crying woman is escorted out, we see that Ji-hoon is visibly shaken.
With the broadcast, the debate, and the capture of a wanted criminal coinciding on the same night, capital punishment resurges as a hot topic of the day. Soo-hyun heads out to interview an imprisoned criminal with one of her coworkers, who notes that ironically, the only eye-witness for this violent serial murder case was the prisoner’s younger brother. He’s mentally disabled, tthough Soo-hyun’s colleague supposes he was faking it to avoid the death penalty. And while the criminal confessed, his mother refuses to give up and appealed for a retrial, which was dismissed.
Next we meet KI DONG-CHAN (Jo Seung-woo) and his crew, who look like a gangster/loan-shark/con-artist trio. With some simple seducing of the security guard, the three easily enter the villa complex.
Saet-byul’s nanny is gone for an hour (shh don’t tell Mom), so Saet-byul goes home alone and walks into the big mess created by our sketchy trio. Saet-byul is scared of Dong-chan, and Dong-chan is confused at the presence of this child.
At Soo-hyun’s interview, it seems that the inmate (played by Jung Eun-pyo) is mentally disabled, but that doesn’t stop Soo-hyun from laying out the cold, hard facts: she shows him a picture of the survivor’s family and says that while he must miss his own child, the family of the child he killed misses their child too. It doesn’t seem that it’s the picture or her words that trigger a response, but something suddenly ticks and the inmate suddenly lurches at Soo-hyun violently.
As Soo-hyun and her coworker leave, they glimpse the arrival of the inmate’s mother, who has dedicated the past ten years to visiting her son in prison. Soo-hyun looks at her with sympathy, recognizing her difficult situation: one son a convicted murderer, the other son a witness of that murder.
Soo-hyun gets a call from her home phone, only the voice on the line is a mysterious threatening man demanding money. Panicked, she hurries home, and imagine her surprise when she walks in on her daughter having a jolly ol’ time with three complete strangers, rocking out to a boy band on TV.
Next thing we know, we’re at the police station with Dong-chan behind bars. The policeman and Saet-byul try to ease the situation — Dong-chan was looking for the previous home owner — but Soo-hyun is not letting this go. She’s got a lawyer husband, so she’s ready to press charges if necessary.
Saet-byul insists that she was having fun with Dong-chan, who didn’t scare her at all. Soo-hyun tells the cops to deal with this through the full legal channels, and as she’s dragged out by her mom, Saet-byul promises to save Dong-chan. She is so sweet, but for some reason, it makes me nervous…
Dong-chan complains to the officer, arguing that he even dressed up as the singer in Snake because the little girl asked him to, and fed her ramyun and pizza. He’s familiar with the policemen at the station because he previously worked there and tries to find an out, asking for pulled strings. Then the new team leader, HYUN WOO-JIN (Jung Kyeo-woon) walks in, and the two recognize each other. For whatever reason, Dong-chan is not happy to see him.
Driving up to the villa complex, Soo-hyun scolds the security guard for trying to chase away an innocent kid who hangs around outside the villa. The boy is mentally disabled but looks harmless, and Soo-hyun argues that he’s doing nothing wrong. She checks that he’s okay and urges him to go home.
But he sticks around, waiting until dark anyway. Having noticed a hole in his sock, Saet-byul sneaks out later to give the kid outside the villa some good socks from home. Just as she waves goodbye and leaves, the kid’s grandma come out the villa to take him home. The kid is KI YOUNG-GYU (Baro) and Grandma is the inmate’s mother, so that makes Young-gyu his son.
Dong-chan and his crew are released from jail with the help of team leader Woo-jin. But seeing that Dong-chan would rather go back in his cell than accept Woo-jin’s help, there’s clearly bad history between them.
Released from jail, Dong-chan is approached by his mother (Grandma!) who urges him to go to Young-gyu’s bazaar at school. However, Dong-chan flatly rejects her and tells her to never show up in front of him again. Wow, cold.
Saet-byul purposely misses her bus to English class because she clearly doesn’t enjoy it, and runs into Young-gyu outside the gate. It’s cute how freaked out he is that she missed her bus, and how he breaks into a wide grin when she notices his new socks. Saet-byul explains that she doesn’t want to go because she’s bad at English and nobody talks to her, and she feels stupid.
So instead, they enjoy lollipops on a bench. Saet-byul sees the notice for Young-gyu’s bazaar, and he says he didn’t go because they were supposed to bring friends and he doesn’t have any. Offering to be his friend, they go to the bazaar together.
When Dong-chan gets back home, a homeless grandpa (Shin Gu) is sleeping in front of his place and demands food — he’s starved for four days. Dong-chan gripes at Grandpa to get lost and heads inside, where he sets his own table and sits down to eat. But the thought of a dead old man in front of his house changes his mind and Dong-chan ends up feeding him his lunch. Afterward Grandpa demands coffee — not instant coffee but a grande caramel macchiato with lots of whipped cream. HA.
Soo-hyun is panicked when she discovers that Saet-byul isn’t where she’s supposed to be, but puts together clues when she finds Yong-gyu’s flyer in Saet-byul’s room. She arrives at the bazaar, and we see that Dong-chan also arrives and takes a look at his nephew’s handiwork in making figurines.
Soo-hyun scolds Saet-byul for playing hooky, and the little girl breaks down into a full tantrum, sobbing that she doesn’t want to go to English class. Soo-hyun warns Young-gyu to stop hanging around the girl, and he goes with a sad look back at Saet-byul. Saet-byul gets so worked up that she wets her pants, so mother and daughter find a restroom in a strange café called Destiny. (Secret Garden, anyone?)
It’s apparently a new café, and as an opening souvenir, the lady takes a picture for them. Then, as Soo-hyun goes up to pay, the café owner lady provides some sort of prophecy: “Sometime in the near future, you will lose what is most important to you. You will chased by a fate you can’t avoid, and such a fate will only end when one of two disappears. So don’t avoid it — fight it.”
The café lady gives one more warning to be wary of water, but Soo-hyun looks at her with disbelief and leaves. So strange, and so unsettling. As Soo-hyun drives home, we see that the presidential candidate who debated with Ji-hoon has been elected.
Jump to one year later — also fourteen days before the incident. Woo-jin is investigating a homicide and arrives on the scene of the crime, where a woman’s bloody body has been discovered in a dumpster.
Our family watches the news on the homicide from home. It’s Soo-hyun’s birthday, and when Saet-byul runs over to grab something, she trips and knocks over a glass vase, cutting her finger. Soo-hyun then burns her arm on the iron. Not getting good vibes for this day.
Then Soo-hyun is distracted from driving while admiring Saet-byul’s birthday gift and almost runs into a bicyclist. REALLY not getting good vibes.
At school, Saet-byul helps a friend find a dog-sitter for school hours since the dog isn’t allowed at school. They end up asking the man at the convenience store in front of the school to temporarily take care of the dog.
Now we see Dong-chan at work, and he runs a private investigative agency, appropriate for an ex-cop. He receives a new client asking for surveillance on her cheating husband, and he’s on it.
He gets the job done fairly quickly and delivers the surveillance pictures to his client at a bar. She insists on a drink, so he agrees to just one. And then is pressured to take another. He wakes up from a nightmare in the morning next to his client and instantly regrets everything.
Grandpa is there to greet Dong-chan when he’s back from his one-night stand and is eating away at a huge stash of food. Dong-chan swipes some of Grandpa’s food but quickly spits it out when he hears his mother brought it for him. Grandpa then makes an offer: if Dong-chan leads a better life and treats his mother well, he’ll give him ten billion won (approximately $10 million US). No luck, because Dong-chan is not warming up to his mother any time soon.
Nothing is new with our family, as Saet-byul has disappeared once again, leaving Soo-hyun to find clues in her room to locate her. Saet-byul ends up at the police station with Young-gyu, and this time Soo-hyun goes and slaps him across the face. Ouch all around: Young-gyu’s face, Saet-byul’s disappointment in Mom, and Soo-hyun gets the cold shoulder.
Soo-hyun is called into a parent-teacher conference, and is embarrassingly told that Saet-byul is sharing her answers on spelling tests and lowering her friend’s score. For Soo-hyun, hardcore practice is the only way to go. Poor Saet-byul.
The next day Soo-hyun gets into a small fender-bender in traffic, and curious Saet-byul runs out of the car to see what the larger accident ahead is about. Soo-hyun quickly follows and seems traumatized by what she sees. Luckily, Saet-byul is distracted by a bracelet she finds on the ground, and Soo-hyun quickly shields her from the gruesome accident scene, which we find out is yet another victim of our serial killer—three women in three days.
At work, Soo-hyun changes the focus of her investigative show to the Gangnam serial killer, figuring that this case is more urgent. During her research, she happens to see Woo-jin but quickly turns away, not wanting to be noticed. Ah, they know each other.
Soo-hyun picks up Saet-byul from school and relates everything to spelling, quizzing her on words in their conversation, making Saet-byul pouty. Even when Saet-byul spends the afternoon at the broadcast station with her, Soo-hyun runs through spelling tests with her. She’s gentler this time and smiles at her daughter’s effort. Baby steps.
Soo-hyun offers to run an errand in place of her coworker, and while stepping out the elevator she bumps into a man in a hat carrying boxes that cover his face. She drops her papers, and Woo-jin swoops in to help, here on business of his own. He asks if she has time, so coffee with an awkward conversation about old times ensues. It seems pretty clear that they’re old flames, and the mood grows even more awkward when he admits that he’s not married yet.
Soo-hyun asks her coworker to take Saet-byul down to meet her nanny in the parking lot, and the coworker complies. However, she receives an upsetting phone call and heads back inside right away, as Saet-byul runs towards her nanny in the distance.
The broadcast for Soo-hyun’s investigative show begins, where Woo-jin is making an appearance to explain details regarding the criminal. Annoyed that her phone keeps ringing during broadcast, Soo-hyun finally picks up — only to be notified that Saet-byul never met up with her nanny.
One of the phone bank workers suddenly signals furiously, having received an important call. The producers scramble to broadcast the call on the show, and the whole studio fills with a creepy voice — it’s a man, voice scrambled by software, insisting that he’s the Gangnam killer.
Then he tells someone else to talk, and a scared voice cries, “Mommy?” With horror, Soo-hyun instantly recognizes it: Saet-byul. Overcome with panic, she dashes to the phone to take the call, paying no heed to the fact that she’s disrupting the live broadcast, and shouts Saet-byul’s name. But the line goes dead.
Wow, that was a lot. I’m surprised at how much got covered with just this one episode, but there are plenty of things left unanswered to look forward to in future episodes. All the characters are interconnected in some way, and I liked how well those connections were portrayed within the plot of the first episode. The whole episode was so fast-paced that it took some thinking and connecting the dots to get a grasp of the episode, but I’m not complaining because this pace is necessary for this type of suspense drama, and I’m liking it. The only thing I’m a little confused with is the one year jump we had, but maybe it was necessary? And if it wasn’t, oh well. Moving on.
This drama was so well-cast that I would have been greatly disappointed if the drama itself was just mediocre. Thankfully, it looks quite good, with the overall eerie tone well-balanced with heartwarming moments, which makes the impending doom and anxiety somewhat bearable. Kim Yoo-bin is always stellar in her dramas and never fails to melt my heart. She’s got this irresistible charm, and I hope we’ll get to see more of it even though she’s supposedly “gone.”
Jo Seung-woo has got a great complex character, and I hope we’ll be able to see more of it as the drama progresses. Personally, I haven’t seen much acting by him, and I basically just remember him from The Classic (which is a great movie, by the way, with a bunch of Korean culture parody material), but I’m really looking forward to his acting in God’s Gift. I was pleasantly surprised at how amused I was by his acting and his character. I hope that lightness will still be present as we delve further into the mystery of the 14 days.
Baro also does a great job as Young-gyu. Only his second drama, but I think he’s living up to the challenge. I remember him saying that he was worried that he may offend people with this role, so he made sure to research and get to know the mental disability he would be portraying. I really am appreciating the recent effort to incorporate mental disability into the drama and film culture in Korea. And while I do realize that these portrayals do not reflect all aspects of mental disability, the greater exposure definitely helps deal with the stigma it still carries today.
And of course, Lee Bo-young. Love her. She does a wonderful job portraying a protective, loving, and real mother-daughter relationship. The tough love through scolding, worrying, nagging, and quick forgiveness all seem very real. The last scene with her recognizing her daughter’s voice was so powerful and so real. It was a mother’s instinctive fear that you could see in her eyes, and you could almost feel the fear that she was feeling.
The precious girl is gone, Lee Bo-young has her men, and we’re ready to go. It better be eventful and productive 14 days.
- Suspense and suspicion abound in God’s Gift teasers
- Cameras roll on time-slip thriller God’s Gift–14 Days
- Kim Yoo-bin and Noh Min-woo join God’s Gift–14 Days
- Baro and Lee Ki-kwang join God’s Gift–14 Days
- Jung Kyeo-woon in talks to join God’s Gift–14 Days
- Leading men lined up for God’s Gift—14 Days
- Jo Seung-woo up to play Lee Bo-young’s leading man
- Lee Bo-young confirms God’s Gift–14 Days
- Lee Bo-young courted for new time slip drama