First Impressions: “Birth of a Beauty,” Episode 1

The first episode of Birth of a Beauty starts out right away with the topic of plastic surgery – from a news segment talking about its popularity, to four women talking about more surgery while still in their bandages.


As the women chatter among themselves, our leading lady, Sa Ra (Han Ye Seul), walks by and catches the women’s attention…


… along with that of every other person on the street.


Walking into a café, Sa Ra is approached by a strange man who tells her that she has “a face to save a nation” — meaning the whole nation will soon focus on her. However, because of her compassionate personality he warns her to be wary of bad men.


Soon we find Sa Ra in a dressing room when suddenly she is intruded upon by someone she assumes to be a stalker. She flees out of the dressing room and out into the store.


When he approaches — calmly, mind you — and grasps her arm, she suddenly flips him over her shoulder. Security quickly arrives and takes the man away as the people in the store applaud the woman for her actions.


While waiting for security to come and speak to her about the incident, Sa Ra comes across an episode of a complete physical makeover show called “Change.”


When one of the program’s participant comes onto the screen, Sa Ra as a strong sense of familiarity come over her. However, she cannot place where she has seen the woman before.


Sadly, we find out that this participant, Sa Geum Ran (Ha Jae Sook), is not well accepted. Whether she sees it that way or not, it is obvious that many people disrespect and take advantage of her for weight and kindness.


Returning home that night, Sa Ra decides to change the apartment’s passcode. Even though she knows the “stalker” is with the police, she seems to want to take no chances.


Sitting down to watch the rest of the “Change” episode, Sa Ra soon finds she connects with Sa Geum Ran. However, Sa Ra becomes irate when Sa Geum Ran loses the chance at the surgery. She calls the producer and demands the woman get the makeover. To her surprise, she discovers that Sa Geum Ran gave up the surgery. She is then told to look up on the show’s page for more information.


A friend of Sa Geum Ran, Eun Kyung Joo, wrote on the show’s viewer message board about Sa Geum Ran’s injustices. First, we find out that her husband, Lee Kang Joon (Jung Gyu Woon), for whom she waited seven years to return from America, is cheating on her — and has been for a very long time.


The other woman, Gyo Chae Yun (Wang Ji Hye), refuses to break up with Lee Kang Joon. She basically tells Sa Geum Ran that she is no longer good enough for her husband — going as far as to ask her if she has ever looked in the mirror.


After saving her from being questioned for assault after accidentally making Gyo Chae Yun fall to the ground, Lee Kang Joon ends things with his wife. He hands back his ring saying, “I just want to be in love.”


Sa Geum Ran soon finds out that everyone knew that her husband had returned and was with another woman. But no one cared enough to tell her because they just loved watching her make a fool of herself.


Sa Ra finds herself in tears at Sa Geum Ran’s story. However, she soon receives a note saying she can meet Sa Geum Ran if she comes to a certain place.


To Sa Ra’s horror, she discovers that Sa Geum Ran had committed suicide after giving up the show. One night she had gone missing, and her car was found the next morning in the ocean after being driven off a cliff.


After Sa Geum Ran’s friend leaves, Sa Ra is suddenly kidnapped by her “stalker.” Driving her to some unknown place, she manages to get away when he stops the car at a stop sign.


He chases Sa Ra down the beach until he finally catches her. They fall to the ground, and he soon finds himself pinned in an arm lock. It is only then the bomb is finally dropped.

She is Sa Geum Ran.


She hadn’t committed suicide. Her car had gone off the cliff when she tried to avoid another car, but she managed to survive the fall and the rough waters. When Sa Geum Ram discovers that everyone thinks she died, she finds her way to Han Tae Hee — aka the “stalker” aka the doctor on “Change.”


Sa Geum Ran begs and begs Han Tae Hee to make her beautiful so she can get revenge on her husband. He eventually gives in and starts preparing the makeover.


Han Tae Hee goes on to explain that because she had too much anesthesia, she has delirium — she thinks she’s someone she’s not. He had been chasing Sa Ra because he need to give her the medication for the delirium. She had also taken over his apartment thinking it was hers.


As an apology for everything, Sa Ra cooks Han Tae Hee dinner. And as a belated reply, Han Tae Hee drops a contract in front of her — one that basically states Sa Ra will do whatever he asks. Instead of reading it, Sa Ra goes straight to signing it… with a bloody thumbprint.


Han Tae Hee tells Sa Ra that he has analyzed Lee Kang Joon’s brain. After filling her with the feeling that Lee Kang Joon doesn’t even spare a thought for his dead ex-wife, Han Tae Hee tells her that in order to get revenge, she will have to change herself completely. She may already be different on the outside, but not on the inside.


Sa Ra casts away her old clothes into the fire to represent her letting go of Sa Geum Ran. Han Tae Hee tells her that together, revenge won’t be a problem.

Now for my first impressions! I was really looking forward to this drama because it reminded me of “200 Pound Beauty,” which holds a special place in my heart because it was my first Korean movie. With this first episode, I’m already hooked. While plastic surgery tends to be a touchy subject for some people, I’m honestly looking forward to how the show plays out. I personally have never had a problem with small corrections with plastic surgery, and though this is full-scale, complete change surgery, remember that this is a fictional story. These kinds of situations are highly unlikely to happen in real life.

Did any of you watch the first episode? If so, tell us what you thought below!

[tv]Check out “Birth of a Beauty” every Saturday and Sunday on SoompiTV![/tv]