I’m still not sure whether I’m going to continue recapping this series, but as it led the poll and I liked the pilot episode well enough, I decided to go ahead and recap the first episode.
Oh, and by the way, although I am aware that the English title is Heartstrings, I’m going to continue to refer to this series by the literal translation of its original title, You’ve Fallen for Me. (I’d like to call it my own little “rebel without a cause.”) I’ve always liked the original title, and as it was derived from a popular song by the same name, I thought it was a good fit for a music-themed drama. Whereas Heartstrings just… well, it seems to have come out of nowhere.
Although the first episode didn’t present much story-wise, I thought it did a great job in establishing a tone and setting up the plot. Also, I really like how the drama presented the dichotomy of the traditional against the modern.
The title for the first episode is “어쩌다 마주친 그대” (roughly translated to “A Chance Encounter With You”). Originally a 1981 song by Peregrine Falcon (송골매), the main character also happens to sing the song in this episode. But more importantly, this “chance encounter” is the overarching theme of the first episode. This is not the first drama to use songs to express the theme of each episode. The 2006 MBC drama, Soulmate, did this brilliantly. But as a music lover and a drama lover, this never gets old, and I think it can be used just as powerfully now as it did in 2006. And I thought the first episode of You’ve Fallen for Me showed hints of doing just that.
EPISODE 1: “A Chance Encounter With You”
LEE KYU-WON (Park Shin Hye) and her grandfather, LEE DONG-JIN (Shin Gu), are at the airport.
Grandpa: What took you so long?!
Kyu-won: I got held up looking for our luggage. Can you please carry just this one bag?
Grandpa: An old man like me doesn’t have any strength left!
Kyu-won: But these are all yours, Grandpa! How can you bring so much stuff for a mere 3 days, 2 nights trip?
Grandpa: Don’t you know that the older you get, the more attention you need to pay to your looks! Let’s go!
Kyu-won: Wait for me!
The grandpa/granddaughter pair walks up to a man holding up a sign with the grandfather’s name on it. The man greets the grandfather, and volunteers to escort him to a seminar.
Grandpa turns to Kyu-won, and tells her to go ahead to the hotel and pick him up later when his seminar ends. (LOL, I love this grandpa already!) Kyu-won asks for a cab fare, and the grandpa gives her 10,000 won (roughly $10). When Kyu-won complains that this won’t be enough to cover for her fare, he tells her to take the bus. “It’s not good for a young un’ to like taking cabs so much,” he says. Once he’s gone, she mutters to herself that he could have just given her a little more, but she merrily goes on her way. (Viewer hint #1: Kyu-won is a bright, cheerful girl, and despite the strict appearance of her grandfather, they love each other and there’s a mutual understanding of it.)
When the two leave, a young man (who we all know to be LEE SHIN, played by Jung Yong Hwa) walks out from the same airport gate.
Her bus has arrived, and Kyu-won tries to run to the bus but has some trouble when the wheel from her suitcase falls off. As she struggles with it, Shin walks up right behind her and silently carries her suitcase for her onto the bus. (Viewer hint #2: Shin is not a bad guy, despite how he may be portrayed later.)
The two are standing a few feet away from each other in the bus, looking out at the scenery outside. (Don’t tell me this is Jejudo again?! Oh wait, it is, says the bus.) And then, the two get off the bus at the same location. Shin walks off (like he knows where he’s going), whereas Kyu-won looks around looking lost… and then looks happy to find that she came to the right place (or the thought that yay, she’s free!)
Kyu-won jumps around like a little girl in her hotel suite, and then goes sightseeing alone. Shin goes biking to what looks like the same location that Kyu-won is heading. (Silly Blue, of course they are!)
And indeed, she spots a bike and looks up to see Shin standing next to a lighthouse. Her phone rings at that exact moment, and cute, her ringtone is Milyang Arirang. It’s her grandpa, yelling at her for not coming to pick him up. She tells her grandpa that she’ll be coming right away, and at that, Shin hears her and turns to see her running away and takes photos of her back as she runs. (Cinderella, wait!)
When Kyu-won arrives at the location of the seminar, she finds the place empty. She asks someone for Lee Dong-jin, and gets told that he went out to eat with the other attendees. As she grumbles about her grandpa leaving without her, her stomach starts to growl as well. She checks her wallet to find that she only has 2000 won ($2) on her.
The grandpa is eating with three other men, and they are discussing about how it is time for “tradition” to change with time. This comment angers the grandpa. “If tradition becomes modernized, how can you call that tradition!” And then he walks off. (Ooh, potential future conflict in sight.)
Meanwhile, Kyu-won runs back to her hotel to find that her grandpa has already arrived and is waiting for her. He tells her that they’re leaving, and returning to Seoul. Oh, that disgusting thing called “fusion!” What’s wrong with people these days! Over my dead body! (Me thinks he’ll disapprove of fusion sageuk.) He tells her to follow her with the luggage, which is when she realizes… “Wait, grandpa, what about food?!” Your granddaughter needs to eat, harabeoji!
She whines and moans to leave after she gets a chance to eat, but her grandpa wouldn’t hear of it. And like that, you see the airplane take off. (Haha, and while Shin is still at the location where we last saw him, he notices a plane flying overhead. Dun, dun, dun. I wonder who can POSSIBLY be onboard that plane?!)
Back in Seoul, Kyu-won is running, carrying a gayageum on her shoulders. She’s late to class. Just as she arrives, the professor calls out her name. She was scheduled to give a presentation today.
As Kyu-won takes out her gayageum out of its case, the camera zooms to a fellow male student sleeping with his head down at the back of the class. (Me thinks it’s Shin.) Kyu-won goes out to the front of the class, and explains that she will be doing a free-style gayageum performance.
Outside, Kyu-won’s friends are excitedly talking about The Stupid. They’ll be performing at Catharsis starting today. (What’s up with all these names?)
Back to Kyu-won, she has just finished her gayageum performance, and received a loud applause from her classmates. That’s when the professor notices the sleeping student and calls out to him. He lifts his head and… I was right! It is Jung Yong Hwa! I mean, Lee Shin!
The professor asks for his name, and we finally confirm what we knew already. He’s an applied music major, Lee Shin, of the entering class of 2010. The professor asks his impression of Kyu-won’s music, and Shin answers, “Although I don’t know much, it seems it’s good for putting you to sleep!”
IM TAE-JOON (Lee Jung Hun) is in a meeting with the president of the college, talking about what seems like a musical for the school’s 100th anniversary. There’s a lot of interest about it from even those not affiliated with the school. He plans to not hold an audition since he already has a good idea about the talent levels of the students, and he already has a student in mind to play the leading role.
President: It’s not bad.
Tae-joon: Then I’ll go right ahead to prepare for it.
President: It’s not bad… but it’s not extraordinary either. As you know, this is not just any school event. This opens doors to stardom for students. And further, this is our 100th year anniversary.
Tae-joon: Yes, I understand. That’s why we’ll increase the budget and…
President: (shakes head) It’s not buzzworthy. (throwing a newspaper to his way) According to the newspaper, Suk-hyun will be coming back today.
(Yay, it’s Song Chang Eui in the paper!)
Tae-joon: You don’t mean to have Suk-hyun be in charge of the show?
President: A director who succeeded in Broadway producing the show… It just sounds chic!
And then you see Song Chang Eui at the airport, yawning loudly and looking not so chic… (Ahh, LOVE him!)
LEE SOO-MYUNG (Jang Seo Won) comes to pick him, and Suk-hyun complain about the old car, saying he’d rather take the cab.
Suk-hyun: I have a social position to uphold. I’m a Broadway director! I’m not riding that. It’s embarrassing!
Soo-myung: The windows are tinted, so no one will recognize you. Let’s go, let’s go!
And off they go!
Suk-hyun asks about this unexpected behavior of coming to pick him up from the airport. Doesn’t Soo-myung have class?
Soo-myung: What importance does a class have, when you’re coming back, Director?
Suk-hyun: You never showed up when I asked you to help out at the theater. But now that I’m returning from Broadway, your behavior has completely changed.
Soo-myung: I’m graduating soon. Please give me a job.
Suk-hyun: You’re asking me for a job, and you bring this lemon car to come pick me up! Perhaps you brought your savings accounts with you?
Soo-myung: You’re really worth that much?
Suk-hyun: Hey, I’m a Broadway director! Have you ever been to Broadway? Unless you have, don’t even talk!
Soo-myung: I sincerely respect you, Director!
Suk-hyun: That’s right. That’s the right attitude!
They merrily joke around. But right then, Tae-joon calls Suk-hyun.
Suk-hyun: Yes, hyung.
Tae-joon: I called just in case, but I was able to reach you. Can you talk for a moment?
Suk-hyun: Yes. Go ahead.
Tae-joon: Can I see you for a moment tomorrow, or the day after? Will it be hard for me to see your face now that you became so famous? Oh, you can? Then let’s meet up tomorrow.
After he hangs up, Tae-joon doesn’t look too happy. (I smell jealous, inferiority complex vibes from him…. Hmm.)
Meanwhile, Kyu-won and her friend, Bo-woon, are working on making posters for their upcoming Coffee House fundraiser. Kyu-won is reminded of Shin’s comment earlier about her music putting him to sleep, and gets angry all over again.
The friend agrees, and tells her to forget about such a jerk.
Friend: Have you heard what I just said?
Kyu-won: Ahh, what did you say?
Friend: The Stupid!
Kyu-won: What’s that?
Friend looks disappointed. “How can you not know The Stupid?” They’re our school’s famous idols, more popular than celebrities! The friend asks Kyu-won to go see their performance, but Kyu-won has plans to visit her professor at the hospital to show her the posters for the fundraiser.
The friend points out that if The Stupid would agree to perform at the fundraiser, the event would be a huge hit. This perks up Kyu-won.
That night, Kyu-won and her friends come to Catharsis to watch The Stupid’s performance. The café is packed. Just then, her grandfather calls and Kyu-won steps out of the café to answer his call. The grandfather called to yell at her for not ironing the hanbok (Korean traditional garb) he had asked her to iron. And then she gets yelled at some more when she dares suggest that he wear a suit just for one day today.
After getting off the phone with her grandpa, she turns around to see Shin with another girl.
The girl: Why don’t we go out?
The girl: Why? Are you seeing someone? I heard there was no one.
Shin: I absolutely hate ugly girls.
(The girl slaps him, and Kyu-won gasps as she watches the scene in front of her.)
Shin turns to go back into the café, and sees Kyu-won staring at him near the entrance. She tries to mumble something about making a phone call, but is stopped when Shin first asks her, “Are you going to confess [your love] for me too?”
Kyu-won laughs, “What kind of crap is that!” Shin, “Fine then.” And he walks back in.
Kyu-won also comes back in and tells her friends that she saw a total jerk outside right now. And speaking of the devil, who should walk out to the stage but the said jerk himself.
Shin and his band sing “어쩌다 마주친 그대” (“A Chance Encounter With You”), originally by Peregrine Falcon (송골매). Kyu-won looks absolutely awe-struck.
Kyu-won and her friends find Shin after the concert, and her friends push Kyu-won to him, saying that she has something to tell him. Shin points to YEO JOON HEE (Kang Min Kyuk), and tells her to speak to him as he’s the leader of their band.
Meanwhile, Shin comes on his bike to pick up his sister as she finishes her cram school. His sister’s friends marvel at Shin’s good looks, and she asks her brother to wish one of friends a happy birthday. When he does, the girls go crazy. Shin’s sister walks up to that friend, and the friend pays her. The sister gets a ride on his bike.
Kyu-won visits her professor at the hospital and shows her the poster of the upcoming Coffee House fundraiser.
When Kyu-won returns home, she finds that her grandfather has thrown away CDs from her room. They’re music CDs sent by her dad.
We flashback to when Kyu-won was a little girl.
Grandpa: Not Kyu-won! No need to come back. To do that kind of music without any han or soul… All my energy I’ve poured into you went to waste.
Dad: It wasn’t for me, but for you. The name value of that name, Lee Dong-jin, means everything to you.
Grandpa: What did you say?! Leave. Leave and live as you wish.
Dad: I’ll take Kyu-won with me.
Grandpa: Take her where?! She’s my granddaughter. She’s Lee Dong-jin’s granddaughter!
Grandpa: There needs to be no more wasted life. Don’t bring her down with you to that useless life. I’ll raise Kyu-won.
End of flashback.
As she reminisces over her past, she angrily marches in to her grandfather’s room and declares that he iron his own clothes! But she retreats back as soon as her grandfather retorts back, “What did you say?”
Back at campus the next day, Joon-hee nervously approaches Shin.
Joon-hee: I think I caused trouble.
It turns out that Kyu-won had asked the band to perform at the Coffee House, and not only did Joon-hee receive the pay upfront for agreeing to perform, but he already spent it all on dinner last night.
Suk-hyun and Tae-joon are meeting with the college president about the 100th year aniversary show. He looks through the plan, and his face freezes when he sees the name Jung Yoon-soo as the dance director. JUNG YOON-SOO (So Yi Hyun) is a dance instructor/professor at the college, and has been teaching there since last semester.
Suk-hyun and Tae-joon walk out, and who should happen to walk by at that exact moment but Yoon-soo herself. They stare at each other in that “ex-lover who broke up in bad terms” kind of a way.
Tae-joon: It’s been a long time since you two saw each other, right? Has it been six years? Perfect timing. We were on our way to grab lunch. You want to come?
Suk-hyun: I’m sorry, but I’m going to take off first, hyung.
(Yoon-soo gives him a pained look.)
Tae-joon: Why? You said you were going to eat first.
Suk-hyun: I intended to, but I suddenly lost my appetite. (Dang, cold!) I’ll think over about the offer (to direct the show play/musical).
And everyone walks off in their separate ways.
At the cafeteria, Kyu-won remains silent as her friends rave about The Stupid’s performance the night before. And then she heads to the library to finish writing a report. After she leaves, the friends continue to talk about The Stupid and how the drummer is also cute. Only that said drummer, Joon-hee, is eating at the table right next to theirs and they don’t recognize him in his everyday wear.
As they see him hungrily pouring down his food, they muse that he must have starved for a few days. Then suddenly, he notices that one of the girls hasn’t been eating her food, and walks right up to her to ask whether she’s done. When she says she is, he proceeds to take her lunch tray and continues to pour her food down his throat.
Kyu-won arrives at the library, and finds an empty seat across from a guy sleeping with his head down. (Hmm, I wonder who this can be?!)
While she is studying, the same girl from the night before who got rejected and called ugly, stop by their table with a basket full of food and apologizes for slapping him earlier. (Seriously, I agree that he’s good looking too, but where’s the pride, girl?!)
Shin notices Kyu-won sitting across from him and walks off. Kyu-won calls out to him, asking him if he isn’t going to take the basket with him. He tells her, “If you want it, you can have it.”
Kyu-won chases after him, telling him to take the basket.
Shin: You can have it.
Kyu-won: It’s yours.
Shin: What the heck are you?
Kyu-won: What about you? You judge a person by her appearance, and hurt her feelings. Are you really that great?
Shin: Did I say I was?
Kyu-won: Did you not? But anyway, to judge a person by her appearance…
Shin: You guys do the same.
Shin: If not, do you like us because our music is oh so great?
Shin: You guys only care about looks too.
Kyu-won: But you could have rejected her nicely without hurting her feelings.
Shin: I have my position too.
Kyu-won: What’s your position?
Shin: I’m sick and tired of being confessed to many times a day. It’s something that someone like you would NEVER understand.
Kyu-won: Why do you think that I would NEVER understand?
Shin looks her up and down.
Kyu-won: Fine, let’s just say that I don’t know. Anyway, what I wanted to say was…
Shin: Like I said, I don’t like ugly girls. I feel miserable standing here talking to you like this too.
Shin: If you’ve understood, I can go now, right? And then he turns back to her one last time and warns her to not follow him.
Kyu-won does follow him, to tell him to take that basket with him. But she trips over her own shoelaces and hilariously grabs his ankle as she falls. (The signature “begging you to not leave me” move.)
Everyone is staring at them, but Shin does win some brownie points for first asking her whether she is okay. “Are you REALLY okay?”
Kyu-won has her head down and motions for him to go, while everyone gossips aloud guessing that she must just have been dumped.
Suk-hyun is at home, looking through a scrapbook with articles about Yoon-soo. The headlines include titles like, “Standing at the peak of jazz ballet” and “Jung Yoon-soo becomes the first Asian primadonna at the New York City Jazz Ballet Company.” They are followed by headlines that read that Jung Yoon-soo broke her leg after a car accident in NY, that her career was in jeopardy, and finally, an article that she retired from ballet.
Yoon-soo is practicing in the practice room and falls in pain. Shin walks in, commenting that she is falling because she’s practicing in the dark. He walks up to her and uses muscle spray on her ankle.
Outside, Joon-hee is seen reciting a poem while drinking yakult. Remembers his hunger, he laments how hungry the road of a poet can be. That’s when he smells chicken, and proceeds to run into one of the buildings on campus. (Man, he has one strong sense of smell!)
He goes from one door to next, following the smell of the chicken. He looks inside one of the rooms and sees HAN HEE-JOO (Woo Ri) dancing. As if hypnotized, he walks in and declares that he finally found his own Natasha.
Hee-joo: Natasha? I look like a foreigner to you? Stop talking nonsense and get out so I can practice.
Joon-hee: Natasha has a weird personality. But it’s okay because you’re pretty. Unni, I’ll come see you again.
And he chases after the smell of the chicken.
Shin and Yoon-soo walk along together. Shin tells her that she doesn’t need to hide herself when dancing as she looks perfectly good, but instead, Yoon-soo tells him not to watch her secretly as she dances, not to wait for her, and not to worry about her. He should like someone young like himself from now on.
When the poster is put up on campus that The Stupid will make a guest appearance at the Coffee House hosted by the traditional music majors, girls scream and go crazy.
The traditional music majors are practicing playing Carmen’s Habanera on their instruments (which sounds absolutely beautiful, by the way!), and at Catharsis, The Stupid is doing their own rendition of the same music.
The two meet again on campus the next day. As he sees Kyu-won carrying her huge instrument on her shoulders, he points out that she was just as strong as he had expected. She reminds him about the Coffee House at 7 p.m. that night, and if he doesn’t show, he’ll have to pay back three times what they received.
Shin stops by Yoon-soo’s office at school and gives her the invitation to come watch his band’s performance at the Coffee House and then leaves.
We flashback to when he first saw Yoon-soo. He had arrived on campus one evening when he saw Yoon-soo dancing in the dark through the window. When she falls down, he runs in to ask whether she was okay, and that’s when he notices a pretty bad scar on her ankle.
Back to the present, Suk-hyun stops by Catharsis. It turns out that he is actually friends with the café owner, GU JUNG-EUN (Jung Kyung Ho), affectionately called Madam Gu by the students on campus. Suk-hyun explains that the school president asked him to produce the 100th year anniversary show. Jung-eun explains that Tae-joon was originally supposed to produce this year’s show. Tae-joon wanted to produce it the year before as well, but he had been extremely disappointed when he was passed up on it then too.
Jung-eun asks Suk-hyun whether he’s run into Yoon-soo yet. When Suk-hyun confirms that he did, Jung-eun guesses that the meeting was not an affable one. But then again, it was Suk-hyun who was dumped by Yoon-soo after all. He denies it (a little too strongly). Jung-eun changes the subject by inviting him to an idols performance later that evening.
The Stupid members have gathered in their practice room, and Joon-hee announces that he thinks he’s in love. They guess that someone must have bought him something to eat (they say that food is the way to a man’s heart, but it must be particularly true in Joon-hee’s case).
Joon-hee says that it’s for real this time. He thinks he must have met his Natasha, which leaves all his members wondering about who this Natasha may be. (Seriously, I’m curious too!) Shin guesses, “Isn’t it a singer?” But he gets corrected that the name of the singer is Narsha (a member of the Brown-eyed Girls).
The members are about leave for their performance, but that’s when Shin gets a call from his sister that she feels like she’s dying. He heads over to her and takes her to the hospital where she needs surgery for appendicitis.
At Catharsis, Kyu-won and her traditional music major friends perform.
After their performance, it is time for The Stupid to perform. The members are ready, but without their lead singer, they can’t perform. The audience starts getting rowdy.
Kyu-won gets on stage and starts singing a song herself. (YAB Redux, anyone?) The audience response looks positive, but more notably, Suk-hyun looks on with interest.
Okay, never mind. The audience complains as they leave. “Where was Shin?” “Isn’t this fraud?” “Why was that girl singing instead of Shin?”
Joon-hee apologizes to Kyu-won and co., saying it’s not like Shin to not keep his promises. One of Kyu-won’s friends asks Joon-hee why he keeps referring to Shin as his “hyung” (a term used by a male to refer to a close older male). Joon-hee explains that although they’re the same age, he calls anyone who treats him out for food a “hyung.”
Suk-hyun finds Kyu-won at the bus stop.
Suk-hyun: Is that a gayageum?
Kyu-won: It is.
Suk-hyun: It looks pretty heavy. You must be really strong.
Kyu-won: Mister, I’m in a very bad mood. You should just go on your way.
Suk-hyun: I don’t want to. I’m in a very good mood. Can we talk for a moment?
Kyu-won looks around to find that there’s no one around, and asks him whether he’s not a pervert or anything. (Because for sure if he was, he would answer that he is…!)
He explains that he’s Madam Gu’s friend and wants to know about her singing experience. Kyu-won explains that she had no choice to sing tonight because of some jerk.
Kyu-won thanks him for buying the fundraiser ticket (it was to raise money for her professor’s medical bills), and explains that she’s on her way to visit the professor to give her the money that they raised. The bus arrives and she leaves, but she accidentally drops something from her bag. Suk-hyun finds out the hospital where the professor is staying at to return Kyu-won’s scroll.
Suk-hyun finds Kyu-won at the hospital, crying after learning that her professor has passed away.
The next day Shin comes to find Joon-hee in his class. Shin hands him an envelope of money to return the amount they’ve been paid back to Kyu-won. Joon-hee declines. Shin comes to find Kyu-won himself, and finds her practicing gayageum in a room.
Kyu-won: Who said you can come in?
Shin: I came to return the money.
Kyu-won: I don’t need this. Take it back. You think you’re so great, huh? You think you’re so amazing because you have decent looks, huh? I’ve heard your music too. (Hitting herself at her heart) Here! It wasn’t able to move me here one tiny bit. Don’t kid with me!
Shin: I know how you feel, but just accept it. Didn’t you say it was for your professor’s hospital bill?
This was the WRONG thing to say to Kyu-won at this time. She shouts back, “I really don’t understand what they like about someone like you to be chasing you around!” She starts spitting out terms to describe what a rude jerk he is and tells him to get lost and never show up in front of her face ever again. She motions to throw the envelope right back at him, but he stops her by grabbing her wrist.
Shin: Should I let you know? Why everyone goes crazy and chases after a rude jerk like me?
(Blue: Yes, please!)