Soundtrack #1: Episode 1
Soundtrack #1 presents a short and sweet tale of two lifelong best friends on the cusp of becoming something more. But before that can happen, they’ll have to be willing to risk letting things change between them.
EPISODE 1 WEECAP
If I had to describe my overall first impression of Soundtrack #1 in a single word, it would probably be comfortable. It’s not a fast-paced or complex story by any means, but there’s a softness in its simplicity that makes it a very easy and pleasant watch.
We start out with our two leads, HAN SUN-WOO (Park Hyung-shik) and LEE EUN-SOO (Han So-hee). He’s a newbie photographer, she’s an aspiring lyricist, and they’ve been best friends for nearly 20 years (i.e., almost their entire lives).
As it happens, they’re both facing uncertainty in their respective careers. Although Sun-woo is preparing for an upcoming exhibition, he feels that something is missing in his photography that makes his photos feel inauthentic. He’s so dissatisfied, in fact, that he cancels the exhibition.
Meanwhile, Eun-soo presents her lyrics to a composer she’s been dying to work with, only for him to tell her the lyrics sound insincere and that he can tell she’s never experienced the song’s theme – unrequited love – personally.
And, as you might imagine, these professional roadblocks are reflective of their personal lives, too. The composer is right: Eun-soo doesn’t understand the pain of unrequited love at all, since when she likes someone, she tells them outright. It doesn’t make sense to her that someone would keep those feelings inside and suffer silently. Sun-woo, on the other hand, has been doing exactly that for years.
As the episode goes on, it becomes clear that he’s completely and hopelessly in love with her. The problem? They both treasure their friendship more than just about anything. A flashback shows us Sun-woo was once on the brink of confessing, but before he could, she’d remarked that the two of them could never, ever date, because she couldn’t bear losing him should they break up.
Though Sun-woo manages to hide his pining from Eun-soo, when she asks if he’s ever experienced unrequited love, he can’t disguise that he has. (He does, however, let her think it’s for some nonexistent person he met while living abroad.) That gives her the idea that sets up the rest of the story’s premise: she’s been granted two weeks to revise her lyrics, so she proposes he stay at her place for those two weeks and act as her assistant.
Sun-woo immediately shoots the idea down, leading to an adorable sequence where Eun-soo drunkenly tries to win a claw machine stuffed animal for him as a bribe. Sun-woo goes from sighing patiently to cheering her on to dragging her away after she fails and tries to reach inside the machine and get a prize anyway.
Eventually, Sun-woo decides to take a chance, though. His roommate kicks him out for the night so he can have his girlfriend over, and after spending the night in his photography studio, Sun-woo shows up at Eun-soo’s door with two weeks’ worth of luggage. (And immediately jumps on her couch and wraps himself in her blanket, lol.)
They settle right into the new arrangement as he helps her clean house and then cooks dinner for the both of them. Naturally, five bottles of makgeolli later, they both end up sprawled on the living room floor, and she rolls over and grabs him in a sleepy hug. No matter how he tries to extricate himself, she just clings tighter, so he finally gives up and just stares at her with open longing.
That longing on Sun-woo’s part, coupled with the wintry setting and their winsome chemistry, envelopes the whole episode with a touch of melancholy that’s more sweet than bitter. There’s sadness, yes – and Eun-soo even remarks that all of Sun-woo’s photos seem overtly sad – but the pair’s friendship is so supportive and wholesome that it makes sense why they’re both reluctant to let it change into anything other than what it already is.
But that’s not to say it’s all strictly sentimental, because these two can turn on the bickering at a moment’s notice, like when she asks him to approve her outfit for meeting the composer, and he does the whole answering-without-looking thing. So she grabs his face, and he deadpans, “Wow, so pretty.” They also share the same weird type of humor, and are just overall really charming to watch together.
Of course, with a show called Soundtrack #1, I’d be remiss not to talk about the music, every note of which is perfectly attuned to the atmosphere and timing of the moment it accompanies. It’s wistful and soft as they go about their lives, Sun-woo pining and Eun-soo oblivious, then warm and hopeful once he moves in, and finally breathtakingly tense as they wake up tangled in each other’s arms.
Whether they want it to or not, something is definitely about to change.