Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Spy Myung-wol: Episode 1 Mini-recap

It's breezy, funny and easy to look at. What more could anyone ask from a spy rom com? This is going to be a good summer. I just know it. The first episode of Spy Myung-wol did not disappoint, and I'm hoping the rest of the series lives up to this introduction.

Watch Spy Myung-wol Episode 1 on DramaFever!

Han Myung-wol: Myung-wol (Han Ye-seul) is a sassy North Korean spy on the Anti-South squad. Her team deals with the smuggling of illegal media (namely South Korean dramas and movies). When a mission to get Hallyu star Kang-woo's autograph in Singapore fails, she follows him to South Korea and much trouble ensues as a result.

Kang-woo: arrogant as anything, Kang-woo (Eric) is the face of the Korean Wave. He's the most sought-after actor in South Korea and a perfectionist to boot. He unknowingly meets Myung-wol in Singapore when she attempts to get his autograph, and then again when she follows him home. After she saves him from an on-set accident, he feels indebted to her.

Choi Ryu: Ryu (Lee Jin-wook) is Myung-wol's superior officer. He accompanies Myung-wol to Singapore, but keeps his reasons for doing so a secret. After a failure to follow orders, he bans Myung-wol from Special Forces.

Joo In-ah: In-ah (Jang Hee-jin) is your stock second female lead. She's in love with Kang-woo, who wants nothing to do with her. She does her best to follow him around, and spends most of her time doing so.

Episode 1 Mini-recap
We've got masquerade parties, gratuitous ab exposure and a slightly ADD leading lady who's on the Hallyu control squad for the North Korean government. Even if we only get various reincarnations of that for the next fifteen episodes, I'll be a happy clam.

In this first installment, we are quickly introduced to both of our leads through an action-packed opening sequence. Kang-woo (Eric) is off to make an appearance pitching at a baseball game, and Myung-wol (Han Ye-seul) works her way through a final trial to be assigned to Special Forces. Death by butterfly occurs, and Myung-wol fails her test. She vows to Choi Ryu (Lee Jin-wook) that she'll make another attempt in three months.

Pretty soon, however, Myung-wol is given a new mission: take the general's daughter, Eun-joo, on a covert trip to Singapore to see Kang-woo. Ryu is along for the ride, on a secret mission of his own.

Upon arrival, Eun-joo is all for causing problems, and asks Myung-wol to get her an autograph from the Hallyu star himself. Left without a choice, our sassy spy takes on the task and tracks down Kang-woo.

Getting a signature from this particular celeb proves more than difficult when the arrogant Top Star refuses outright to give her one. As a result, Myung-wol is led on a wild goose chase through the streets of Singapore. The mission takes her all the way to a masquerade party/antique auction at the end of the night. At the party, Kang-woo purchases an antique book with unknown origins for two million dollars.

Just as Myung-wol attempts to approach Kang-woo for one more autograph request, he's attacked by kidnappers. Myung-wol instinctively fights off the intruders, even injuring one. She runs off before Kang-woo gets a chance to properly thank her.

Back in Pyongdang, Myung-wol gets taken to task by Ryu for being unable to follow orders (Eun-joo had disappeared while Myung-wol was busy chasing Kang-woo around). He permanently bans her from Special Forces and gives explicit instructions to take some time off.

Myung-wol begs for another chance, but Ryu firmly refuses her. It's only after he leaves her alone in his office (and she takes note of his injured hand) that she realizes he was one of the intruders she'd injured while helping Kang-woo at the party. Myung-wol vows to set things straight and takes off for South Korea.

Posing as a high school student, she shows up at the press conference/behind the scenes tour of Kang-woo's new drama. When a stray pipe sets part of the set ablaze, Myung-wol jumps in and saves Kang-woo (again). She runs off before getting a proper thank you, but eventually has to be taken to the hospital by Kang-woo's team. The media gets wind of the accident, and the whole city is buzzing with the news. Even the North Korean military learns of the situation, and assumes Myung-wol has gone rogue.

To verify the facts, they call in a special secret agent stationed in Seoul, Hee-bok, who runs a rundown investigative agency. His youthful partner, Dae-kang, (who knows nothing of Hee-bok's alter ego) is all over the news of the accident. Hee-bok couldn't care less, until a special code over the radio catches his attention. He begins trying to decipher the message.

Meanwhile, Kang-woo decides to pay his savior a visit at the hospital (to the chagrin of his manager). The media has overrun the place, however, and he's forced to hide when they barge into Myung-wol's hospital room. At the same time, Myung-wol wakes up and finds him under the covers with her. She readies herself to scream, but he quickly covers her mouth to stop her.

This first episode was so fun and zippy that I'm likely going to enjoy this drama very much. The acting and storytelling are both solid so far, with the only downside being (in my opinion) the slight downturn of the pace by the end of the hour. Hopefully, the fast pacing will make a comeback in the next episode.

Regardless, Myung-wol is highly entertaining, without having to resort to slapstick humor. It's funny in a straightforward and matter-of-fact way, not outright humorous. If that even makes sense.

But my favorite thing about Myung-wol is that it doesn't try to be even remotely realistic, yet within the realm of its own existence, it completely works. I acknowledge that the plot is far-fetched and unbelievable, but I don't think the show is really trying to ground itself in reality. That's what makes it fun.

Here's to hoping for more quirky Top Star stalking and more abs in the episodes to come!


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