First Impressions: “The Legendary Witch” Episodes 1 and 2
“The Legendary Witch” is a tale of four women who meet in prison. Shim Bok Nyeo (Go Doo Shim) is the leader and mistress of their cell, serving for life due to familicide by arson. She is a prison veteran of 30 years. Seo Mi O (Ha Yeon Soo) is a previous CF model and a mother, sentenced to two years for attempted murder. Son Poong Geum (Oh Hyun Kyung) is in prison for the third time for fraud and the self-proclaimed “sex symbol of Korea Women’s Penitentiary.” And the newbie of the group, Moon Soo In (Han Ji Hye), has been sentenced to two years for dereliction of duty and embezzlement.
However, it seems they have already had their lives entangled by a series of events one year ago. Cue flashback (a very long flashback—the end of episode 2 is still a flashback).
Our main girl Moon Soo In wakes up in a hospital to find that her husband Ma Do Hyun has been killed in a tragic helicopter accident. She’s devastated and tries to focus on mourning, but the Ma family owns Shinhwa Group, which is—no surprise—, a large, wealthy company. Political turmoil ensues amongst family members. Do Hyun’s older sister Ma Joo Ran (Pyeon Jung Su) is determined to finally make her husband CEO of the company. Cha Aeng Ran (Jun In Hwa) has waited 30 years for the chance to change her son Ma Do Jin (Do Sang Woo) from the “mistress’s son” to CEO. And Do Hyun’s father, Ma Tae San (Park Geun Hyung), is struggling with the death of his son, the next owner of Shinhwa Group, and the presence of Soo In, who he had never accepted as his daughter-in-law after she and Do Hyun got married without his permission.
Meanwhile, Shim Bok Nyeo has a day outside of prison for the first time in thirty years. She’s overwhelmed by the way the city of Seoul has changed in 30 years. When she faints after Poong Geum tries to sell her fraudulent medicine, Bok Nyeo is reunited with her old friend Park Yi Moon. He helps her navigate the city as she searches for evidence that will prove her innocence, only to come to a dead end. As Bok Nyeo returns to prison, she realizes that even though she could possibly get out of prison on parole, she’s spent so long in prison that she feels much more comfortable inside.
Seo Mi O is a CF model who is pregnant with Ma Do Jin’s baby. Despite Do Jin and his mother’s attempts to pay her off, she is determined to receive proper care for herself and her child.
Poong Geum first appears as a doctor who tries to hustle Bok Nyeo by giving her a fake checkup and trying to sell her “God’s fruit extract,” $1000 at a discounted price! After landing herself a spot on the wanted list for violation of the Food Sanitation Act, Poong Geum runs into Tak Wol Han, the Ma family’s driver. She tries to pin a fake tailbone injury on him, but by mistake, he gives her the wrong business card to contact him. Thinking that Driver Tak is Ma Do Jin, the Marketing Director of Shinhwa Group, we last see Poong Geum asking to meet him, obviously up to some no-good fraud.
Finally, enter Nam Woo Seok (Ha Seok Jin) and his daughter Byeol. He comes to the funeral as a friend of a family member, only to give—and receive—a bad first impression to Soo In. Later, they both find out that the caretaker of their childhood orphanage has passed away, coincidentally and unknowingly ending up in the same place. Later that day, Soo In drops her husband’s ring into the sea and walks into the water trying to get it back. Woo Seok stops her, thinking she’s committing suicide, only to be blamed by Soo In for losing her husband’s last keepsake. Bad second impression of each other.
On top of everything, episode 2 ends with a plot twist. It turns out Ma Do Hyun already gave all of his shares of the company to his wife in his will before he passed away. Ma Tae San calls a family meeting. Soo In comes prepared to be told to leave the house and the family immediately, but instead she’s told that she’s the new owner of Shinhwa Group. Dun, dun, dun.
My first impression of this drama was not what I expected… but not in a bad way. I expected a touching story of sisterhood (which is probably coming) and more melodrama, less comedy. The funny scenes were pleasant surprises within all the grief and seriousness, and I hope there’s more of it in the future.
The plot so far is rather typical, although I like that the flashback is only the first half of the plotline. The actual story hasn’t even begun yet, and I’m looking forward to the revenge to come. (Fun fact: the word for “Legendary” of the Korean title of the drama can also mean “Revenge.”) So far, the drama has done a great job setting up the plot, especially with connecting the characters to each other. It’s complicated and again, typical, so the first two episodes could have been really boring, but I was rather engaged throughout both episodes.
The character development, as well as the development of the characters’ relationships with each other, will be the making or breaking point of this drama. I look forward to the rest of the drama, especially the development of Soo In and Woo Seok’s relationship and their individual (and most likely overlapping?) history. (I am a huge fan of Ha Seok Jin!)
And of course, favorite scenes!
Bok Nyeo’s excitement over a cell phone.
Byeol and Woo Seok’s father-daughter relationship.
The cheesy and obvious foreshadowing from one year ago.
If you’re a fan of melodrama, sisterhood dramas, or revenge dramas, I recommend “The Legendary Witch.” If you’ve already watched it, what did you think?
[tv]Watch the dramatic installments of “The Legendary Witch” on SoompiTV![/tv]