Fluttering Alert: Episode 1
The new rom-com on the block, Fluttering Alert, opens with a breezy and lighthearted introduction to our naïve heroine and our jaded hero who are at odds when it comes to love. We learn more about our leads individually and why they view love from such opposite perspectives. Our soon-to-be contract dating partners could not be more different from each other, but that clash promises an entertaining illustration of their potential for love.
EPISODE 1 RECAP
Renowned actress YOON YOO-JUNG (Yoon Eun-hye) tearfully accepts the best actress award at an international film festival, and fans eagerly await her arrival at the airport. A man in sunglasses, who we’ll later know as CHA WOO-HYUN (Chun Jung-myung), passes by Yoo-jung and her supposed boyfriend as they’re being photographed covertly by a paparazzo.
Woo-hyun pushes through the cheering crowd of fans upon exiting the gate, where his mother is waiting with flowers to congratulate him for his award. As she admires her son’s award, Woo-hyun asks about her fifth honeymoon, and Mom says that it was wonderful. He hopes that this is her last marriage and notes that her new husband is only nine years older than him.
Mom belatedly realizes the age gap between her husband and son compared to her twelve-year age gap with her husband, and she explains that it’s because she had Woo-hyun when she was 21. Woo-hyun asks if she regrets having him, and Mom assures him that he’s the best thing that’s happened to her.
Mom hands Woo-hyun a change of clothes to return to work at the hospital, and Woo-hyun suspects that she brought the change of clothes to make him go on a blind date again. He warns Mom that he won’t see her again if she sets up another blind date.
Superstar actress Yoo-jung hugs her supposed boyfriend and throws him finger hearts before jumping into her van to lounge. Her manager and agency CEO, HAN JAE-KYUNG (Han Go-eun), scolds her unattractive lounging posture and suspects that Yoo-jung is dating her costar, Hwang Jae-min.
Jae-kyung warns Yoo-jung about the rumors about Jae-min — a chaebol heir who bought his way into the industry and seduces rich women for their money. Yoo-jung insists that they’re false rumors and unconvincingly agrees to stay away from Jae-min.
Lo and behold, Jae-min smooches another woman, who gifts him with a fancy car for his birthday. The woman, Representative Lee, recognizes her dermatologist Woo-hyun in the parking garage and introduces Jae-min as her boyfriend. Woo-hyun’s mom recognizes him as a celebrity, and Woo-hyun recognizes him from the airport flirting with Yoo-jung. But Woo-hyun turns a blind eye and reminds Representative Lee of their appointment later that day.
In the van, Yoo-jung complains that Jae-kyung is a helicopter manager, still checking her phone and spying on her through staff. Jae-kyung claims that her strictness allowed Yoo-jung to become a first-love icon without a single scandal, but Yoo-jung argues that she needs dating experience to be a rom-com queen. Jae-kyung remains resolute in her disapproval of Jae-min, much to Yoo-jung’s annoyance.
As Mom drives Woo-hyun to work, she suggests that he find someone he’s interested in among his patients. Woo-hyun refuses to meet his patients outside of work, but Mom insists that he find someone and allow his father to support him.
Woo-hyun’s expression turns cold and says that he has no father. Despite Mom’s forgiveness of the extenuating circumstances, he doesn’t understand his father’s sudden appearance in his life after thirty years. Mom changes the subject to her moving day, and Woo-hyun nags her about not checking the house in person yet. Woo-hyun offers to check the house himself later that day.
As Mom drops off Woo-hyun, she tells him that she referred a VIP patient to him and tells him to treat her well. Woo-hyun has plenty of VIP clients and asks Mom not to refer any patients in the future. As he enters the building, Woo-hyun glances at the fire extinguishers.
The VIP patient is hotel executive Kang Hye-joo, and she introduces herself to Woo-hyun as his blind date. Woo-hyun notes that she must be in a rush to get married, but she clarifies that she needs to marry Woo-hyun. Their conversation is interrupted by an urgent patient, who spilled boiling water on her leg, and Woo-hyun orders his appointments to be pushed back to treat this patient.
VIP Patient is pissed that Woo-hyun would disregard her, and she demands to meet up the next day. As Woo-hyun escorts the injured patient to his treatment room, he tells VIP to not waste her time and suggests that she look for someone else.
Woo-hyun treats the burn injury and orders the nurse to hospitalize the student for the day. The student patient worries about the hospital bill, but Woo-hyun assures her that he’ll give her a big student discount. Woo-hyun says that the quick treatment of the minor burn will ensure good results, but the student worries about burn scars impeding her dream of becoming an actress.
Woo-hyun shows the student his leg and points to his arm and face to prove that his burn scars have faded away. He assures her of his skills to treat her burn and asks who her favorite actress is. The student tells him that it’s Yoon Yoo-jung.
As Jae-kyung massages Yoo-jung’s fatigued shoulders from her busy schedule, Yoo-jung jerks away in pain. Jae-kyung finds injuries on her shoulder, and Yoo-jung says that it must be from her wire action scene. Jae-kyung books an appointment at the hospital and suggests that Yoo-jung get some skin care treatment while she’s there.
Other clients take photos of Yoo-jung in the lobby of the dermatology office, and the receptionist offers a special discount for her. They refuse the discount, and Yoo-jung overhears the receptionist then demand full payment from the burn patient’s mother, who asks to run home for her wallet.
Yoo-jung offers to pay, and the mother recognizes Yoo-jung as her daughter’s favorite actress. Though she appreciates Yoo-jung’s generosity, the mother insists on paying for her daughter’s hospital fees and heads home to retrieve her wallet. Despite the mother’s insistence, Yoo-jung pays for the student’s bill anyway.
When Woo-hyun tries to pay the student’s bill, the receptionist explains that Yoo-jung already paid. He doesn’t recognize Yoo-jung, and the receptionist shows him the news of her award. He seems grateful for her random act of kindness.
As Yoo-jung heads to her appointment, she overhears two clients gossiping about her. They mock the claims that she has no dating experience and discuss the rumors that her costars dump her after a month because they get sick of her. Yoo-jung just barely stops herself from interrupting the conversation.
After Yoo-jung receives treatment on her shoulder, she reflects on her dating experience — all of which lasted less than 100 days. Her disappointment quickly dissipates at a message from Jae-min asking to meet that night. She anticipates a celebration of their 100 days of dating and revels in this relationship with her perfect match.
Yoo-jung overhears an argument between Woo-hyun and his colleague about the chances of a patient’s melanoma. Woo-hyun eventually wins over his colleague by risking his career on the need for cancer testing before further laser treatment, and Yoo-jung likes his conviction. Before she leaves, Yoo-jung books an appointment with Woo-hyun and leaves to giddily answer a call from Jae-min.
Over wine, Yoo-jung tells Jae-min about her wish to announce their marriage in celebration of their 100 days of dating, and Jae-min chokes on his wine. Yoo-jung pretends she was joking and suggests that they disclose their relationship instead.
Jae-min tries to convince Yoo-jung that her top star status will suffer, but Yoo-jung expresses her desire to marry quickly and have a family, since her mother died early. Knowing this, Jae-min can’t get himself to tell Yoo-jung the truth and pretends to accept Yoo-jung’s affection.
At home, Mom scolds Woo-hyun for ruining the blind date with the VIP patient. She suggests that Woo-hyun marry the VIP patient and go to his father, but Woo-hyun rejects the existence of a father whether on paper or in his heart. He refuses to enjoy President Cha’s luxuries and despises the idea of being among cruel and foul people.
Mom pleads for Woo-hyun to follow her wish to allow her to live at ease, but Woo-hyun derides that — Mom never ceased to live as she wished because of him. Mom wants Woo-hyun to live and love with his father’s money and power, and Woo-hyun can’t understand Mom’s insistence on love, considering all the pain she endured as a result.
Despite the pain, Mom claims that love never failed to make her heart flutter and says that you only age when your heart doesn’t flutter. She asks that he meet VIP Patient a few times, but Woo-hyun ignores her request and asks for the moving documents to check on the house. Woo-hyun suspects that Mom wants him to meet VIP Patient because she’s somehow linked to President Cha, and Mom sheepishly denies this.
As two paparazzi set up their cameras pointed at Jae-min’s apartment, Yoo-jung gives Jae-min her gift in celebration of their 100 day anniversary. He looks visibly disappointed when he finds a watch in the box, though he pretends to like it. Jae-min compares the car keys to the watch, and it seems clear what he values more. They’re interrupted by the doorbell, and Yoo-jung runs into hiding.
Jae-min opens the door for Woo-hyun, who’s come to check out the apartment, and it seems that Woo-hyun recognizes him. As Jae-min shows Woo-hyun the apartment, Yoo-jung hides behind the curtain, and the paparazzi get their money shot.
The next morning, Yoo-jung clings onto Jae-min as he drives and asks him to pull over because she’s not feeling well after last night’s wine. While she runs into the convenience store, a police car catches Jae-min parked illegally and orders him to move out of the street. Woo-hyun then pulls into the same spot and runs into the convenience store to get tissues for his nosebleed.
Yoo-jung gets into the parked car, assuming that it belongs to Jae-min, and she wonders where Jae-min went. Woo-hyun exits the convenience store to find a stranger in the passenger seat and double-checks his license plate. Fearing that Woo-hyun is a stalker, Yoo-jung puts on her sunglasses and locks the car door, prompting Woo-hyun to take pictures of the stranger in his car.
Addressing Yoo-jung as a car thief, Woo-hyun shows her a message on his phone, warning her to get out immediately. Yoo-jung is bewildered by Woo-hyun’s accusation, as he threatens to call the police if she doesn’t exit on the count of five. As Woo-hyun counts down with his hand, Yoo-jung looks around the car and finds unfamiliar fire blankets and fire extinguishers. She finally realizes she’s in the wrong car and gets out.
Woo-hyun grabs her and accuses her of being car thief. Yoo-jung shakes herself out of his grip and explains that she mistook his car as hers. When asked why she locked the door, Yoo-jung explains that she thought he was a stalker, as her circumstances warrant these concerns. She reveals her face, and Woo-hyun recognizes her from the news article that his receptionist showed him.
Yoo-jung apologizes and notes that he must be surprised to see someone in real life that he’s only seen onscreen. He pretends not to know her, and when Yoo-jung poses in front of her poster on the convenience store, Woo-hyun misidentifies her as a singer.
Jae-min returns in his car, and Yoo-jung points at the same car to prove her confusion. In apology, she offers to provide fifty autographs, but Woo-hyun declines the autographs from someone he doesn’t know. Paparazzi snap photos of this interaction, as Yoo-jung and Woo-hyun part ways.
In his car, Woo-hyun notes that he wanted to meet Yoo-jung because she seemed like a good person and seems amused at their first meeting while Yoo-jung wonders what Woo-hyun does for a living to not know her.
Woo-hyun notices guards on the first floor of the hospital and suspects an unwelcome guest. President Cha greets Woo-hyun in his office, and Woo-hyun reminds him that he doesn’t want his father meddling in his life. President Cha disregards Woo-hyun’s cold demeanor and demands that Woo-hyun marry VIP client Kang Hye-joo, as her status will sufficiently cover his birth secret and be good for business.
Woo-hyun rejects President Cha as his father and refuses to inherit the company as his bloodline, so President Cha tells him to enter the company as an heir, not a son. He doesn’t trust the company in the hands of Woo-hyun’s older brother, who has too many flaws.
President Cha refuses to give up on Woo-hyun and says that Woo-hyun can never defeat him. Woo-hyun disagrees and asserts that he has nothing to lose or fear, so he could be scarier and stronger than his father. President Cha likes Woo-hyun’s fierceness and walks out in approval.
The paparazzo reporter, JOO MINA (Lee Hye-ran) proudly presents her photos to her superior and prepares an exclusive article on Yoo-jung’s first scandal. But while going through the photos again, she notices Woo-hyun also captured at the airport, apartment, and convenience store.
Woo-hyun calls Mom and refuses to talk to her anymore because of her involvement with President Cha. The receptionist asks what to do with VIP client Hye-joo, and he orders that they cancel all her appointments. He says that he’ll be meeting her directly.
Manager Jae-kyung storms into Yoo-jung’s makeup room for a private conversation on her secretly dating Jae-min. She justifies her meddling by claiming that Yoo-jung has become too large of a star to manage herself, and Yoo-jung bluntly acknowledges that people’s livelihood depend on her every move.
Jae-kyung argues that now is not the time and Jae-min is not the person to date. She says that Yoo-jung’s desire to date is fooling her into thinking that she loves Jae-min, who will devalue Yoo-jung’s worth and make her life difficult. But Yoo-jung asks Jae-kyung to trust her this one time, since she’s followed everything Jae-kyung wanted for the past ten years. All she wants is to date Jae-min publicly.
Before her shoot, Yoo-jung runs lines with her friend SUNG HOON (Joo Woo-jae), who congratulates her signing onto a new Hollywood movie. He remembers that Yoo-jung persuaded him to become an actor, and Yoo-jung warns him not to reveal anything about her early days, as she’s worked hard to build her angel-like image.
Yoo-jung shoots a tearful break-up scene with Jae-min, and the staff applaud their chemistry. Then, the scandal article drops, and the staff murmur about the news. Sung Hoon pulls Yoo-jung aside and reminds her to keep a straight face regardless of how happy she is. He can only imagine what Jae-kyung is dealing with now.
At the office, Jae-kyung calmly calls for an urgent meeting and orders that all company representatives deny the scandal. She cancels everything on Yoo-jung’s schedule for the next few days and orders an investigation on Jae-min’s side to check if they spilled the scandal for their benefit.
While returning in her van, Yoo-jung expresses approval of her first scandal, as it makes her seem more human. She correctly guesses reporter Joo Mina as the culprit and praises her for reaping the benefits of her thorough stalking. Fans have already gathered at the company and her house, so they redirect elsewhere to meet with Jae-kyung.
Jae-kyung suspects that Yoo-jung pushed for the scandal, but Sung Hoon tries to assure Jae-kyung by insisting that Yoo-jung was shocked by the article as well. Yoo-jung wants to acknowledge the dating rumors, but Jae-kyung won’t allow it. She plans on covering it up as a misunderstanding from Jae-min as the two costars grew closer throughout filming. Yoo-jung threatens to give up acting if she releases that explanation.
Frustrated, Jae-kyung can’t understand why Yoo-jung would risk everything for Jae-min and says that they’ll release an official statement after discussion with Jae-min’s company. That night, Yoo-jung tries to call Jae-min, but he doesn’t answer her calls.
On set the next day, Yoo-jung asks why Jae-min didn’t pick up her calls, and he coldly says that he didn’t want to talk to her. She assumes he was overwhelmed, but Jae-min holds up the car keys to show that Yoo-jung can’t give him what he wants. Jae-min clearly states that he wants to end this relationship and warns her not to make a fool of herself, but Yoo-jung doesn’t take him seriously.
Jae-kyung has a private conversation with Yoo-jung to explain that the two companies have confirmed their denial of the dating rumors. Jae-kyung says that Jae-min told his company that the rumors were completely false, but Yoo-jung presumes that he was pressured to lie. Jae-kyung insists that Yoo-jung deny these rumors, in accordance with the company’s stance.
At the press conference for their movie, the reporters ask if the dating rumors are true, and Yoo-jung mouths an apology to Jae-kyung before making her statement. She tells the reporters that she’s met a man fated to be with her. The reporter asks for clarification on whether that man is Jae-min, but before Yoo-jung can confirm, the reporters are distracted by another scandal.
The reporters turn their attention to Jae-min and ask about the news of his marriage plans with Representative Lee. Yoo-jung looks to Jae-min in shock and remains speechless at the reporter’s follow-up question about who her fated man could be.
This show flew under my radar, and I’m glad I found it to be pleasantly entertaining and amusing. It does feel like a cookie-cutter rom-com drama, as it meets many cliché checkpoints. Family problems, check. Clueless heroine, check. Bad first impressions, check. Despite this, I found the characters likeable and the clichés harmless in the storytelling. There’s nothing wrong with a conventional rom-com as long as it executes its elements well and doesn’t become too vapid. This first episode was a nice swift introduction to our characters, and I like how I was pulled right into the reality of their world.
I think this was a good choice as a comeback drama for Yoon Eun-hye after her bizarre plagiarism incident, as it capitalizes on Yoon’s fortes as an actress. Though I’m not particularly a fan of the clueless and naïve aspect of her character, I think Yoon Eun-hye is great at making that contrived innocence feel more amusing. She has an ability to make characters feel more natural and relatable because her acting doesn’t feel so calculated, and I hope that her character continues to be the fun counterpart to the suffocating cynicism of Chun Jung-myung‘s character.
Overall, I like the pairing, and I’m looking forward to how the dating contract precipitates with the contributions of the supporting characters. I don’t foresee this show getting too dramatic, which could be a refreshing break from some currently airing shows that have dipped into their melancholy plot points. I think that the breezy tone of the show will remain the primary draw to the show, and I may check in occasionally for that breath of fresh air.