Love Affairs In The Afternoon Episode 1 Recap

This entry is part 1 of 16 in the post series Love Affairs In The Afternoon Recap

Son Ji-eun (PARK HA-SUN) rides her bicycle through scenic locales before stopping in front of a house that’s on fire. She stares disinterestedly at the crowd of people and firefighters gathered around the house, then leaves. In the evening, she’s still looking at the same scene, this time from the balcony of her house while sucking on a Popsicle. Choi Soo-ah’s (YE JI-WON) family has just moved into a house across the street from Ji-eun, and happily look at the fireworks going off just above the house on fire. Ji-eun muses about how fire can mean different things for different people, and how all kinds of love can’t be as hot as fire.

Ji-eun’s husband, Ji Chang-kook (JUNG SANG-HOON) gets home from work and instead of spending time with his wife, fawns over his two pet birds, referring to Ji-eun as their mom while she waits for him at the dinner table. Soo-ah’s family have a celebratory dinner at a lavish restaurant and her husband, Lee Young-jae (CHOI BYUNG-MO) gifts his wife with earrings to commemorate their moving in. Their daughters compliment Soo-ah.

Chang-kook is constantly on the phone even during dinner. Looking bored, Ji-eun informs him that their neighbors moved in today and wonders how much it costs to build a house that fancy. Suddenly, Chang-kook suggests remodeling their house and Ji-eun gets excited, but it doesn’t last long because her husband’s idea of remodeling involves getting a huge, ornate bird cage. She escapes to the bathroom to get some space and think about how much she hates that Chang-kook keeps calling her ‘mom’ when she doesn’t have a child of her own. Before going to bed, she tries broaching the subject of having a kid, but Chang-kook is strangely dismissive. Ji-eun thinks about how they haven’t had sex in three years, and unable to sleep, returns to the balcony for fresh air and watches Soo-ah’s family return home.

The next day, Soo-ah prepares an elaborate breakfast spread for her family and watches her daughters play around as the family eats together. By all accounts, they paint the picture of a happy family. At Ji-eun’s house, Chang-kook ignores the breakfast she made because he’s running late, but makes time to say goodbye to the birds. He’s leaves but suddenly turns back, and Ji-eun perks up, thinking that he wants to say goodbye. But he just reminds her to bathe ‘the kids’.

Ji-eun muses about how empty her life has become and how, if her house were to catch fire, she wouldn’t be sad. Suddenly the door opens and in comes her mother-in-law (KIM MI-KYUNG). She proceeds to give Ji-eun bottles of fertility-enhancing tonic and encourages her to put on makeup and dress prettily for Chang-kook. Ji-eun leaves for her part-time job at the local supermarket, and on the way, notes a chic-looking Soo-ah pass her by in a fancy car. She stares at the woman, thinking about how she’s not even jealous because of how different Soo-ah’s life looks compared to her. Soo-ah also seems to notice Ji-eun staring at her.

At work, Ji-eun is stacking water bottles on top of each other and ends up dropping some. A customer stops by to help her, but Ji-eun’s surly boss sends him away. Ji-eun is strangely captivated by the good-looking stranger and keeps trying to catch a glimpse of him.

At the district office where Chang-kook works, a senior citizen loudly yells at him for not agreeing to his ludicrous demands. Chang-kook’s junior, a young woman by the name of Yoona (PARK MIN-JI), remarks that watching Chang-kook being dragged around makes her want to change her dream of becoming a social service officer. Chang-kook says it’s part of the job, and agrees to take Yoona out for dinner. He seems to enjoy hanging out with her way more than with his own wife.

Soo-ah visits the supermarket where Ji-eun works at, looking spiffy. Ji-eun’s colleagues make guesses about her lifestyle, her husband and possibly, a boyfriend. Soo-ah gets a call from her husband Young-jae and informs him about the yoga class she’s starting. Young-jae is the head of a publishing house that’s planning to create a Korean version of “50 Shades Of Grey” and looking for an illustrator. His team reminds him of artist Do Ha-yoon (JO DONG-HYUK), whom Young-jae refers to as ‘crackhead’ but decides to visit him nevertheless. After a spooky encounter with Ha-yoon, Young-jae wonder why he reads so many books when he’s an artist. Ha-yoon counters that with a jibe, pointing out that he’s better than a publisher who publishes without reading. Young-jae tries to convince him to illustrate for the book.

Ji-eun walks on to Soo-ah making out with another man in the parking lot of the mart. She can’t believe she just saw her neighbor cheating, especially a woman who lacks nothing. Ji-eun calls Chang-kook wondering if he would like to grab dinner outside, but he tells her he has a department dinner and declines. Dejectedly, she goes to buy food for herself and ends up bumping into the stranger who helped her at the mart. She gets embarrassed and avoids him, sneaking glances from the sidelines. When she steps outside, it’s raining. Ji-eun watches the man leave and then walks in the opposite direction.

At dinner with Yoona, Chang-kook is nervous to be seen alone with a woman who is not his wife, but Yoona seems amused at his self-consciousness. He ignores a call from Ji-eun, who ends up eating alone.

Yoon Jung-woo (LEE SANG-YEOB), the man from the mart, also eats alone at his table while looking through pictures of flowers and nature on his phone. He gets a text from his wife informing him that she’s coming back to Korea on the weekend, and doesn’t look too happy about it.

Soo-ah is once again the picture of a perfect housewife as she waters her plants and watches her daughters playing. Ji-eun wakes up on the sofa, disoriented and unable to remember when Chang-kook got home. Despite not feeling well, she fixes him breakfast. Chang-kook mentions buying medicine—not for his wife, but for the birds. He doesn’t spare a glance at Ji-eun, who by now is looking pale and week. Ji-eun calls her boss hoping to get a sick leave, but her boss yells so much that she decides to just go to work instead. As she’s getting ready, she remembers her mother-in-law’s advice to dress up more. When she reaches out for a lipstick, however, she notices that it’s empty and gets even more depressed.

Yoona sends Chang-kook a suggestive text thanking him for dinner last night, but he grows cautious and replies that he had no intentions other than simply buying a meal for a hard working junior. When she gets annoyed and replies that it’s the same for her, he catches himself smiling.

Soo-ah is at the mart when she gets a text and hurries off, bumping into Ji-eun on the way. Ji-eun can’t help thinking about catching her cheat with another man. Soo-ah finds a man sitting in her car, who kisses her and says he missed her. Someone watches their interaction from afar.

Another message from her mother-in-law to have a child soon stresses Ji-eun out. The boy who was watching Soo-ah talk to the man in her car grabs a vase and smashes it on the car. After shift, Ji-eun is on her way out when she bumps into someone in the makeup section and a display of lipsticks falls to the floor. Ji-eun puts the lipsticks back, but a sudden epiphany makes her grab one lipstick and go away. Soo-ah grabs her arm as soon as she’s out, saying that she will ignore Ji-eun’s kleptomania if she helps her. She drags Ji-eun to the altercation with the boy who who smashed her car. Ji-eun ends up getting pushed and falls. As she lays on the floor, she wonders why Soo-ah dragged her there and how she knew her name.

They end up at the police station and Ji-eun tries to leave, not wanting to be a part of Soo-ah’s plot to cover up her affair. When Soo-ah tries stopping her, Ji-eun says that she’s ready to receive punishment for stealing the lipstick but won’t help her. Suddenly, Jung-woo turns up, introducing himself as the boy’s homeroom teacher. Ji-eun gets flustered at seeing him, which Soo-ah notices and swiftly uses as a chance to lie that she was inside the mart to meet Ji-eun when the boy struck the car. The man Soo-ah was with also blames the boy, and Jung-woo apologizes on his student’s behalf. Soo-ah notices Ji-eun stare at Jung-woo and on the pretext of getting them to talk, tries to push Jung-woo to come to an agreement with Ji-eun, since she was the one who was hurt. Ji-eun refuses and leaves, with Jung-woo following her. He catches Ji-eun just as she passes out on the road.

Jung-woo takes Ji-eun to a hospital, where everyone assumes he’s her guardian. The doctor tells him that Ji-eun has shingles and needs a lot of rest for the next few days. When Ji-eun wakes and inquires where to pay the bill, a nurse informs her that her guardian took care of it. She looks around for Chang-kook, but it is Jung-woo that shows up, bringing new shoes for her. Despite her embarrassment, he sweetly helps her put them on in an unexpectedly intimate moment. As Jung-woo drops Ji-eun home in a cab, she looks at the stolen lipstick in her purse and ponders about how everything that’s happening in that moment seems like it is signalling towards a new beginning.

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Indoor Enthusiast (Esha) is a staff writer at Kdramapal. She is responsible for bringing all the latest happenings in Kdramaland to the readers of the site. You are likely to find her going on rants about how Ji Hae-soo from It's Okay That's Love and Sung Bora from Reply 1988 are the best heroines to grace our screens. Thrillers like Secret Forest, shows about female friendships, a la Age of Youth, and rom-coms with sprinklings of feminism, like Because This Life Is My First, hold a special place in her heart. She lives in India and spends all her free time reading books. Indoor Enthusiast can be reached at [email protected]