Highlights: “Heard It Through the Grapevine” Episode 1

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Secret Love Affair” was one of my favorite dramas of 2014, so to say that I was excited for director Ahn Pan Suk and writer Jung Sung Joo’s follow-up is a huge understatement. From the moment “Heard It Through the Grapevine” was announced, I’ve been eagerly anticipating it. Now that the first episode of this story about a teenage pregnancy shaking up an ultra-rich household has aired, I’m cautiously pleased. Obviously we need to see more episodes before we’ll know for certain if “Heard It Through the Grapevine” is a success, but I really loved this first episode. It’s beautiful to look at, the performances are great, and there’s an unexpected vein of humor running through it. I loved it, and I can’t wait to see what happens next.

These were my five favorite scenes of “Heard It Through the Grapevine” episode 1:

1. The fateful night

It’s wonderfully ironic that the plot of this drama is rooted in such an unremarkable, typical scene of teenage carelessness. What I love about the prelude to Han In Sang (Lee Joon) and Seo Bom (Go Ah Sung) sleeping together is how utterly normal it feels. At first glance, this seems like a normal high school relationship—In Sang is a little too pushy and Bom compensates by being much more practical, but it’s obvious that they both really like each other. This was really important to me. Yes, In Sang pesters Bom to let him into her room, and kisses her instead of leaving like she asks, but the direction and performances make it clear that them sleeping together is completely consensual. As a result, In Sang and Bom are an immediately sympathetic young couple.

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2. Dad is the master of his universe

This scene was a perfect introduction to Han Jung Ho (Yoo Joon Sang) and the way his world operates. He wields immense behind-the-scenes political power, and he’s prepared for every eventuality. The theme of Jung Ho’s life is control—that is, he controls everything around him, from the leaders of the nation to the life of his son. I wonder how he’ll react to Bom’s pregnancy…

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3. In Sang meets the in-laws

This scene was so difficult to watch. My heart just goes out to In Sang here. The shock of Bom’s advanced state of pregnancy, combined with meeting her family and the nervousness that seems like part of his personality, combine to make him a stammering, weeping mess here, and it’s pitiful to see. It looks like he’s about to shake apart, and something tells me his troubles are only just beginning.

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4. Bom and In Sang get to talk

What a lovely scene. Bom and In Sang finally have a conversation, and it’s a perfect mix of poignant and pathetic. From In Sang’s request to touch Bom’s stomach to the couple’s awkward discussion of whether or not they used a condom (In Sang says yes, but maybe he didn’t know how to use it correctly, which I find both funny and heartbreaking) to Bom’s confession that she regrets the pregnancy because it’s been so difficult, I adored this scene. I love how In Sang and Bom communicate in this seemingly frank way, but we can see that there is still a level of discomfort between them. They care for each other, but this is unexplored territory for both of them.

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5. “Ajusshi—do you mind if we kiss?”

I was not expecting such a funny final scene! But “Heard It Through the Grapevine” closes its first episode in undeniably comedic style. After In Sang halfheartedly flirts with the idea of suicide, only to be one-upped by Bom, who actually wades into the Han River, the two return to their taxi, sopping wet. Their taxi driver observes that they are basically babies having a baby (easily the truest thing anyone said all episode!), but they are undeniably closer after their session in the river. So they kiss—but not before In Sang asks the driver’s permission. It’s a refreshingly silly little scene, the perfect cap to a great first episode.

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What did you think? Did you love “Heard It Through the Grapevine” as much as I did? Let us know in the comments below!

[tv] Watch the premiere of Heard It Through the Grapevine on SoompiTV! [/tv]

For all “Heard It Through The Grapevine” recaps, click here.