Remarriage and Desires: Episode 1 (First Impressions)
Is marriage a union of love, or is it a contract of wealth and ambition? Burned by a traumatic betrayal, our disillusioned heroine has no interest in the affluent organization that offers a second try — that is, until her past comes back to haunt her.
EPISODE 1 FIRST IMPRESSIONS
The drama opens with KANG NAM-SHIK (Kwon Hyuk) standing atop a rooftop, looking forlorn. His phone, left behind on his desk, rings with a call from his spouse SEO HYE-SEUNG (Kim Hee-sun).
Nam-shik steps onto the ledge, and a pair of manicured hands reach for his back. But the hands aren’t there to save him — they shove him right off. (What a chilling bit of symbolism.)
We rewind back, and Hye-seung jerks awake just as prosecutors knock on the door. They’re here to seize the house and its items, and as she follows them, she notices a golf scorecard in the car’s trunk. On it are the names of her husband and another woman, and there’s a golf ball with their initials, too.
Recalling that Nam-shik had lied about playing golf with company executives on his birthday, Hye-seung’s confronted with the truth of her husband’s adultery.
Nam-shik’s in hot water at work, too — he’s been utterly played by his mistress JIN YOO-HEE (Jung Yoo-jin), who seduced him into buying stocks under her name and subsequently framed him for assault and blackmail.
Yoo-hee feeds this lie to Hye-seung as well, and Nam-shik returns home to a divorce agreement on the table. Pushed to the brink with no one who believes him, Nam-shik calls Hye-seung one last time to apologize and admit the truth.
That’s the last she ever hears from him — Hye-seung rushes home, only for Nam-shik’s body to come crashing down on a car right in front of her.
We skip ahead to 2022, where Hye-seung is now working as a teacher at an academy. She receives a text congratulating her about her new membership at Rex, which puzzles her since she didn’t sign up for it.
Well, it turns out her mother did it on her behalf — Rex is an elite matchmaking service for the top 0.1 percent of South Korea, led by CEO CHOI YOO-SUN (Cha Ji-yeon).
Hye-seung’s determined to make it on her own, but her dinner with her old university professor soon turns awry when he reveals his lecherous intentions. She immediately excuses herself, but she runs into old classmate CHA SEOK-JIN (Park Hoon) in the restaurant’s hallway.
He gives Hye-seung his business card, but she’s too humiliated to stay for a proper conversation. Seok-jin may have been rebuffed by the arranged marriage candidate his father introduced him to, but he looks much more affected by Hye-seung’s hasty departure.
We’re introduced to Lee Hyung-joo (Lee Hyun-wook) via a sailing escapade and a lavish pool party; if there’s one thing for sure, it’s that this guy is loaded.
Hyung-joo is the CEO of a game development company as well as the 30th richest man in the country, but there’s one little bump on his perfect track record. He’s divorced, and he has a young son from his previous marriage.
Hyung-joo’s mother is adamant that he remarries, even going as far as to sign him up for Rex, so he ends up meeting with Yoo-sun. Hyung-joo has no interest in remarrying, since he no longer has any trust in women, but Yoo-sun’s good with her words.
She describes remarriage like a business pitch, pointing out the profit and reputation that Hyung-joo stands to gain from it. It works, and Hyung-joo officially joins Rex.
His requirements for a partner are simple — he doesn’t care for their past, and he’s open to lower-level members. All he asks for is that his prospective spouse can hold a good conversation with him.
With his illustrious background, Hyung-joo’s caught the attention of Yoo-hee, who even slips a Rex manager an envelope of money to ensure that she gets matched with him. Ever the gold digger, this one.
Hye-seung heads to Rex to ask for a refund on her membership, and while she waits in the lobby, she hears a very familiar name. Whirling around, she accidentally knocks a vase off its display, and the crash as it hits the ground mirrors the plummeting of her heart as she recognizes an all too familiar face — the mistress that ruined her marriage.
Oof, that’s one way to get your traumatic past shoved back into your face, just as you thought you were finally picking up the pieces and trying to move on. I feel for Hye-seung, who’s just trying to do the best she can for herself and her young daughter.
The concept of Rex is an interesting spin on the idea of political marriages as a business tactic, since it goes past the realm of a private alliance and turns it instead into an upfront competition. Yoo-sun’s eloquence keeps her clients reassured and satisfied, but does she truly have their best interests at heart? Is the money all she’s after, or does she deliberately arrange the marriages in a way that serves an ulterior motive?
This first episode was a slick and intriguing premiere, but I’m left wanting to know more about our central characters. Hyung-joo seems like a man of decent character beneath all his wealth (what a far cry from Lee Hyun-wook’s character in Mine, haha), which makes me curious as to why his ex-wife left him.
I’ve developed a strong distaste for Yoo-hee already, but I’m interested to find out what drives her. Is it purely materialistic greed, or is there something more underneath her facade? And as for Seok-jin, we barely got to see him this episode, but he seemed to display genuine concern for Hye-seung — which makes me wonder if they shared a deeper connection in the past.
I didn’t think I’d be this drawn in by the drama, but I am — there’s something compelling in the way it draws its tension tight, like a taut string one millimeter away from snapping. Perhaps that’s an apt way to describe Hye-seung, too; she’s buried her pain the best she could, but it’s clear her wounds are still gaping and raw.
She’s no match for the cunning Yoo-hee, not right now, but I’m eagerly anticipating her rise as a formidable opponent, if only to give Yoo-hee a taste of her own medicine. May the R in remarriage stand for revenge — I’m rooting for you, Hye-seung!
- Premiere Watch: Dear X Who Doesn’t Love Me, Remarriage & Desires
- Kim Hee-sun vows to take down a scheming Jung Yoo-jin in Remarriage & Desires
- New Netflix drama confirms lineup with Kim Hee-sun, Jung Yoo-jin, Park Hoon, Lee Hyun-wook, and Cha Ji-yeon
- News bites: July 2, 2022
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