The Spies Who Loved Me: Episode 1
Yoo Inna is back as a wedding dress designer who crosses paths with an ex-husband that still manages to get under her skin, but not in a good way. Even though she insists that she’s happily remarried The Spies Who Loved Me makes it clear that not all is what it seems. Not for our heroine, her ex-husband, or her current husband.
EPISODE 1 RECAP
Wedding dress designer KANG AH-REUM (Yoo Inna) puts the finishing touches on a gown just as a special client arrives. Upset because reporters have gathered outside, the bride threatens to call off her wedding. Ah-reum takes charge and after helping the bride out of her coat, the distraught woman holds her very pregnant belly and confesses that she’s afraid her secret will be discovered.
Soon, three vans pull up to the store and black umbrellas shield three women in wedding dresses. When the vans drive away with the brides, the reporters jump into their cars and follow them.
As soon as they’re gone, a fourth van arrives and Ah-reum personally holds an umbrella over the celebrity bride who exits the store wearing her wedding dress. The reporters realize that Ah-reum’s employees served as decoys just as the van with the real bride gets away undetected.
With the crisis averted, business resumes and Ah-reum watches as future brides try on her designs and she narrates, “The dress is a beautiful piece of body armor…When a married couple realize that they are not on the same side, the war begins.” Ah-reum smiles at the man staring at her window display as she explains that her second husband is a South Korean diplomat.
Ah-reum credits him with convincing her to give marriage another try after her first one failed. As she greets him, Ah-reum shares, “In the long struggle of life, he is my ally, companion, and husband. The fact that he’s handsome is a bonus.”
Ah-reum drives while her husband, DEREK HYUN (Im Joo-hwan), discusses an upcoming six-nation summit over the phone. When Derek mentions that the caller was a colleague from his U.N. days, Ah-reum confesses that she always thought his friend looked more like an undercover CIA agent. They discuss the weekend wedding of their friend on Jeju Island and Derek promises to join Ah-reum as soon as he’s done with a meeting.
The van stops outside of “Classic Car” and Derek acknowledges that he’s lucky to have a wife who understands his hobby. Inside, Derek greets a mechanic on his way to inspect the part that just came in for the car that he’s restoring for Ah-reum’s first anniversary gift.
At a sushi restaurant, JEON JI-HOON (Eric) takes the seat beside a Westerner just as the chef sets out the large head of a fish. After they exchange coded language, the chef disappears into the kitchen. The Westerner slides over a teacup that contains a USB and while a camera hidden in the fish records their exchange, Ji-hoon inquires, “Why is the CIA engaged in petty industrial espionage?”
Caught, the CIA agent shuffles three teacups to get the USB away from Ji-hoon but he gets his hands on it in the end. The agent grabs the chef’s knife but thanks to help from the chef, Ji-hoon escapes injury. When his target gets away, Ji-hoon uses a shortcut to catch up to him and after the chef drives his van straight at them, Ji-hoon gets his man.
When Ji-hoon reports that he caught the industrial spy, he’s ordered to release him. Ji-hoon pays a visit to the CIA chief and even though he provides photographic evidence that CIA agent Harrison Young has been involved in corporate espionage for that past three years, he’s told the CIA will conduct its own investigation. Ji-hoon informs the CIA chief that he has a witness who can prove Agent Young’s guilt but he’s waved away.
Ji-hoon returns to Gulliver Publishers, which serves as the cover for the local Interpol office. Inside, he’s greeted by analyst, Kim Young-gu and Bureau Chief KANG TAE-RYONG (Jung Suk-yong) the chef from the sushi restaurant, who guesses that the CIA chief wasn’t happy with Ji-hoon’s report. Ji-hoon, who’s the team leader, hands Tae-ryong the USB from their sting operation.
Tae-ryong moves copies of Ji-hoon’s travel book to place the USB in the safe and complains that not even his family members buy them. HWANG SEO-RA (Cha Joo-young), a female agent in the field, appears on a computer screen to report that she’ll be back in the country in less than 24 hours.
Young-gu hurries to greet Seo-ra but the screen goes dark. Frustrated, Young-gu asks when he’s going to be allowed into the field but Ji-hoon steers him back to his desk. Ji-hoon then sits down with Tae-ryong who credits Ji-hoon’s secret source for helping them catch Agent Young.
Tae-ryong asks when Ji-hoon will learn the identity of his source and is told that they arranged to meet on Jeju Island over the weekend. Tae-ryong remembers spending his honeymoon on Jeju Island and after he walks away, Ji-hoon chuckles to himself.
In the morning, Ji-hoon and Ah-reum end up in different sections of the same plane (coach vs. business class) and as it takes off, they gaze out of their respective windows.
Five Years Ago
Ji-hoon monitors surveillance footage from several cameras and coordinates communications while Tae-ryong, Seo-ra and other team members are posted in a hotel. Team leader BAN JIN-MIN (Kim Tae-woo) reports that their target just exited the Jeju Island airport and as he follows the target’s taxi, Ji-hoon’s surveillance footage freezes.
Ah-reum arrives at the hotel for a business meeting as two men and one woman are directed to a meeting room. When the surveillance footage suddenly resumes, Ji-hoon sees the trio seated in the meeting room that he’s monitoring and moans, “They’re in the wrong room.”
After presenting her designs to the trio, Ah-reum is overjoyed when the younger associate informs her that they want to sell her dresses in South America. Ah-reum steps out when her business partner calls and that man uses the opportunity to copy all of her designs to his cloud account.
The scammers discuss their plan to hurry production of Ah-reum’s designs so they can sell them first and the younger associate adds, “I also planted a virus that will delete all her files in 12 hours.” Ji-hoon recognizes him and murmurs, “I got you, Man-soo.”
While on the phone, Ah-reum does a happy dance, unaware that Ji-hoon is watching her on his monitor. Ji-hoon reports to Jin-min that he just caught Man-soo but Tae-ryong advises letting him go because their real target is about to arrive. Ji-hoon appeals to his boss, “I feel sorry for his potential victim. Let’s help her out, sir.” Jin-min grumbles but orders his team to hurry up and catch Man-soo.
Ah-reum is about to place her stamp on the sales contract when an agent barges in. Man-soo grabs Ah-reum’s tablet and runs away while his colleagues are arrested and the agent explains to a confused Ah-reum that she was the target of a scam.
Seeing that the tablet with her designs is missing, Ah-reum runs from the meeting room and Ji-hoon watches helplessly as she panics. When she investigates a door that slowly closes nearby, Ah-reum is knocked down by Man-soo. Man-soo is caught when he runs into Ji-hoon, which is when he and Ah-reum first meet.
The team’s target arrives early and when he gets into an elevator, Seo-ra and Tao-ryong hop in at the last second and push extra floor buttons to slow him down. With Ji-hoon missing from his post, no one realizes that Min-sung’s contact has left his hotel room.
When the elevator opens on the 4th floor, Seo-ra’s eyes widen when Min-sung’s contact gets in with a briefcase. After Seo-ra exits the elevator, she reports that both targets are still on it but Ji-hoon returns to his post too late to hear her.
Min-sung and his contact are directed to the meeting room and while the contact makes a bathroom detour, Min-sung checks the room. When he sees broken debris on the floor (left over from Man-soo’s case), Min-sung runs back to the elevator.
Ji-hoon goes after Min-sung while Tae-ryong directs him to the floor where the elevator stopped. When Ji-hoon checks out the utility room, some sheets fall out of a laundry chute, adding to an already huge pile. Ji-hoon pokes around and Min-sung jumps out of the pile and in the ensuing fight, he and Ji-hoon get tangled up in sheets. By the time Seo-ra finds Ji-hoon, Min-sung is wrapped up like a mummy.
Oh his way out of the hotel, Ji-hoon sees Ah-reum and stops to check on her. Ah-reum insists that she’s fine but the beer and french fries in front of her say otherwise. Ji-hoon notices a wedding dress beside her and Ah-reum hands him her business card.
When Ah-reum promises Ji-hoon a huge discount when he gets married, he confesses that he plans to stay single. After Ah-reum sighs that the dress is torn, “Just like my heart,” Ji-hoon blurts out, “I’ll buy that dress.”
Ji-hoon takes Ah-reum to a small church where he’s greeted warmly by an old nun. The nun shows Ah-reum a wardrobe filled with simple wedding dresses that she sewed for the local migrant workers. When Ah-reum praises the nun’s handiwork, it’s obvious that the two women have hit it off and Ji-hoon smiles.
After selling the dress at a deep discount so Ji-hoon can donate it to the church, Ah-reum guesses that he discovered the location because he’s a travel writer. When he claims, “I don’t bring just anyone here,” Ah-reum teases him about his lame pickup line.
Ji-hoon laments how hard it is to meet someone because of his travels and Ah-reum suggests he change jobs. Ji-hoon gazes at Ah-reum as he explains why he hasn’t done that, “Those special moments…make it worth it…The long journey just melts away when you experience that magical moment. Like this moment.”
When Ah-reum looks at Ji-hoon, she follows his gaze and sees the sun setting behind them. The next time we see them enjoying a sunset, Ji-hoon and Ah-reum are holding hands by the sea…the perfect backdrop for a kiss.
Back in the present, Ah-reum exits the Jeju Island airport just ahead of a man who sighs as he stares at the wedding announcement for Chen Lee and Sophie Ahn on his phone. He gets a call from JANG DOO-BONG (Ji Hyun-joon) just as Ji-hoon walks by and checks his phone.
Sophie greets Ah-reum warmly when she delivers the wedding dress and she explains that Derek won’t be arriving until the following day. Ah-reum runs upstairs for the final fitting and doesn’t notice that Sophie doesn’t look at all happy.
Ji-hoon meets with Jin-min, who’s now a director, at the local Interpol office. Jin-hoon is asked what his secret source wants and Jin-min is surprised that all they asked for was a fresh start.
That’s exactly what Sophie is looking forward to while she tries on her wedding dress but Ah-reum isn’t listening. After Sophie adds, “I think I made the wrong choice,” she rips the lace on her veil when Ah-reum isn’t looking. Ah-reum admires Sophie’s reflection in the mirror and tells her friend, “You introduced me to Derek, but I never got to repay you until today.”
Sophie muses that if she hadn’t invited Ah-reum to that party, she wouldn’t have married Derek. When Ah-reum asks, “You think I deserve better,” Sophie nods, “Yes, I do.” Sophie mysteriously asks, “What if Derek is in the darkness,” but Ah-reum notices the torn lace and gasps. Quickly removing the veil, Ah-reum runs out and promises to see Sophie at her bachelorette party.
Jin-min reminds Ji-hoon that sources risk their lives to help them. After cautioning Ji-hoon to watch out for double agents and to trust his gut, Jin-min reports that some smugglers have been reported in the area.
That tip sends Ji-hoon back to the church where he reunites with the old nun. Ji-hoon asks about a man who smuggles migrant workers in from Japan and the nun reports that he’s moved on to Busan.
Ah-reum arrives at the church and sits on a bench just as Ji-hoon leaves. The reverend mother watches Ji-hoon as he takes in the view and she offers a prayer of gratitude, “Lord, my prayer was answered today.”
Ji-hoon sees Ah-reum and slowly walks over, thinking, “I’ve waited for this moment…She’s my ex-wife.” When Ah-reum sees Ji-hoon, she tells herself, “I wanted to avoid this moment. He’s my ex-husband,” and they look at each other and both think, “We shouldn’t have met.” Ji-hoon removes a strand of hair caught in Ah-reum’s mouth and teases, “…don’t eat your hair.”
When Ji-hoon asks, “What brings you here,” Ah-reum answers, “A wedding.” After Ji-hoon reminds her, “You already had a wedding,” Ah-reum realizes that he knows she remarried.
Ah-reum quips that Ji-hoon must be writing another travel book that no one buys. Sensing Ah-reum’s hostility, Ji-hoon sighs that he should have ignored her and she agrees, “You should’ve stayed away from me five years ago, too.”
Ah-reum answers a phone call from Derek and after a brief conversation, she promises, “I’ll call you later tonight, honey.” After hanging up, Derek slips unseen into the International Energy Security Division.
Ji-hoon grabs Ah-reum’s new phone, delighted when her old passcode still works, but Ah-reum scolds that he hasn’t changed at all. It’s Ji-hoon’s turn to answer a call and after promising to call back, he gets up and promises Ah-reum, “I won’t say hi the next time we meet.”
Ah-reum insists on leaving first and when Ji-hoon protests that he’s in a hurry, she erupts, “You have no manners at all.” After Ah-reum stomps off, Ji-hoon calls back and learns that Jang Doo-bong is on the island just as the sad man from the airport enters a bar to meet with Doo-bong.
Doo-bong asks the lawyer if he’s sad that his crush is marrying another man. The lawyer reminds him, “I’m not here to chitchat with a competitor,” and when Doo-bong announces that he’s starting his own corporate espionage firm, he’s scoffs.
Doo-bong confronts the lawyer, “How long are you going to work for that sleazeball,” and suggests that they go into business together. Because Doo-bong is a former cop, he thinks that the Helmes lawyer would be the perfect partner for him.
When warned not to get carried away, Doo-bong informs the lawyer that Helmes’ days are numbered, “There’s a traitor in your organization…Your cover has been blown. My source inside the CIA told me…Harrison is being interrogated at a CIA black site.”
After the lawyer moves closer, Doo-bong tells him that the traitor revealed that Harrison works for Helmes, “The scientist you’re in love with…She’s the Interpol informant.” Doo-bong suggests that her upcoming marriage led to her change of heart as tears drop from the lawyer’s eyes.
Sophie shoves an E-ticket for Singapore into her purse while packing a suitcase. Holding a USB, Sophie scans her bedroom for the perfect hiding spot.
The lawyer is devastated when Doo-bong confides that Sophie tried to sell her technology to his company before going to Interpol. The lawyer asks who else knows the truth and Doo-bong warns, “Everybody will find out soon…I can’t guarantee she’ll be safe for much longer.” When the lawyer gets up to leave, he zaps Doo-bong in the back of the neck with a taser-like pen, rendering him unconscious.
Parked near a lighthouse, Ah-reum enters her passcode into on her phone and remembers the picnic when she copied Ji-hoon’s passcode and explained, “Love is about facing the same direction.” When Ji-hoon reminded Ah-reum that he wasn’t interested in marriage, she agreed that it was the worst mistake people make.
Ji-hoon asked why Ah-reum made wedding dresses and she shared that her mother made wedding hanboks. Even though Ah-reum’s father wasn’t a good provider, her mother still wished the best of luck for her clients and Ah-reum feels the same way about her customers.
Realizing that they hate the same things, Ji-hoon proposed, “Instead of doing what we like, how about we do what we don’t like together?” When Ah-reum agreed, she and Ji-hoon celebrated with one kiss after another. Back in the present, Ah-reum wonders, “Is it that you didn’t change or couldn’t change?”
Ji-hoon visits his source and learns that Doo-bong was in the company of some young Chinese men. When Ji-hoon calls Tae-ryong with the news, he reasons that Ji-hoon’s secret informant contacted Doo-bong, “If your source was in possession of valuable technology, it would be smarter to sell it to a rival firm than to go to Interpol.”
Ji-hoon checks his email and sees that his source invited him to a bachelorette party and specified, “You need to find the bride first. I will be waiting for you, Sheriff.” Under the dress code, Ji-hoon panics when he reads, “Sheriff.”
At her bachelorette party, Sophie instructs security, “There’s a sheriff coming. Let him through.” When Ah-reum arrives, she’s reminded about the dress code and she puts on a bridal veil.
The Helmes lawyer sneaks past some security guards to enter the party through a back door. As Ah-reum searches for Sophie, Ji-hoon shows up in a cowboy hat, boots and a fringed vest with a sheriff’s star. When he’s allowed inside, Ji-hoon mutters, “I hope I don’t meet someone I know.”
When Sophie steps outside, the lawyer finds her and confides, “Your cover is blown.” He pleads with Sophie, “Give me the files…Let me help you. Your life is in danger,” and he’s shocked when Sophie orders security guards to throw him out.
While a man dressed like Ji-hoon dances on a pole, a couple of the guests insist that it’s his turn. Unable to escape, Ji-hoon gets into character just as Ah-reum realizes that there’s something familiar about him. When Sophie runs by, Ah-reum follows her while one of the male dancers points her out to Ji-hoon.
A man dressed like one of the security guards knocks A-ruem down as he chases after Sophie. As Ji-hoon runs after him, his hat flies off and lands next to Ah-reum. The supposed security guard fires a shot in Ji-hoon’s direction just as fireworks explode overhead.
Ah-reum picks up Ji-hoon’s hat and she looks up at Ji-hoon when he retrieves the veil that she was wearing. In voiceover, Ah-reum explains, “That’s how we met again. On the island where we fell in love with each other…if it was destiny for two incompatible people to meet again, then this night is our destiny.” Blood from a wound on Ji-hoon’s arm drips onto the veil and makes a heart-shaped stain while he faces Ah-reum, as fireworks explode over their heads.
I’m looking forward to this drama with Eric and Im Joo-hwan because I’ve never experienced any of their previous work. I’m way more familiar with Yoo Inna’s work so I was concerned that it would be challenging to see her as a new character but as it always happens, I forgot about her previous roles almost immediately. So far, I like where this drama is going with the characters but I confess, I thought the fight scenes in the first half were boring. I enjoyed the second half of the episode way more than the first half, especially after getting a glimpse of the early days of Ah-reum’s relationship with Ji-hoon.
They started off with so much promise so it was jarring to see how hostile Ah-reum was when she and Ji-hoon ran into each other again. There’s way more to learn about what went wrong between them but there’s no denying their chemistry. Their interactions are still passionate, it’s just that Ah-reum is passionately angry with Ji-hoon rather than loving. She thinks she knows Ji-hoon just like she thinks she knows her new husband, Derek. Ah-reum couldn’t be more wrong about the two men and now that she’s become entangled in Sophie’s troubled web, it’s only a matter of time before she figures that out.
The real enigma so far is Sophie. I get the feeling that she planned to disappear from her bachelorette party and that pursuit by the security guard may have been staged. Jin-min didn’t warn Ji-hoon to watch out for double agents for no reason. Sophie is definitely up to something and it somehow involves Derek, who I suspect is the sleaze ball at Helmes that Doo-bong was talking about.
Speaking of Doo-bong, what a hoot he’s turning out to be. The slicked back hair and guyliner paired with those flashy clothes and bare feet. I couldn’t take my eyes off of him as he played with that Helmes lawyer’s emotions. I’d feel sorrier for the lawyer if he wasn’t in such a cold hearted profession. Corporate espionage isn’t for the faint of heart, so what does that tell us about Ah-reum’s second husband, Derek? Considering that Ah-reum is an accomplished businesswoman, she’s has lots to learn before her personal life can rival her professional one. Hopefully a certain Interpol agent with a flair for pole dancing can help Ah-reum out with that.
- Premiere Watch: The Spies Who Loved Me
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- Eric and Yoo Inna reminisce about past love in new teaser for The Spy Who Loved Me
- New teaser for The Spy Who Loved Me with Yoo Inna, Eric, and Im Joo-hwan
- Im Joo-hwan cast in new MBC drama The Spy Who Loved Me