Record of Youth episode 1 recap – a slow start but it has promise

By Daniel Hart
Published: September 7, 2020 (Last updated: 2 weeks ago)
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Netflix K-drama series Record of Youth season 1, episode 1


Record of Youth episode 1 isn’t an inspiring opening episode by any means but it’s too easy to judge a pilot and there’s hope that it will get better from here.

This recap of Netflix K-drama series Record of Youth season 1, episode 1 contains significant spoilers.

We will be recapping every episode — check out and bookmark the archive.

The opening

Episode 1 is definitely a bedding-in chapter but it does fail to ignite any excitement for a pilot episode. It begins with Sa Hye-jun watching footage of a bridge collapsing which could mean plenty of lives lost. He wants a rescue team to go out and help them; he looks devastated. It’s an acting reel and a casting team like the look of Sa Hye-jun’s acting ability.

Making ends meeting

But while trying to get into acting, Sa Hye-jun needs to make ends meet and he is on the security team for an actor. As he guards a dressing room, a make-up artist named Lee Bo-ra accuses him of harassment. Lee Bo-ra ends up in the dressing room and slaps this actor — they are going through a break-up. When she leaves, the actor slaps Sa Hye-jun for letting Lee Bo-ra in — the actor recognises him and asks what happened to his career. Sa Hye-jun narrates that he wants the same career as the actor who is beating him up. The actor mocks him for a declining modelling career.


As for An Jeong-ha, she’s helping apply make-up for Professor Kim. Her co-worker is annoyed and accuses her of stealing clients. It was her co-worker’s fault though as she was late to the appointment. Another co-worker tells An Jeong-ha that she’s a diligent fangirl of Sa Hye-jun — she suggests that she should try and go to the Homme fashion show by asking Jin-ju — Sa Hye-jun will be there. An Jeong-ha is clearly dedicated to her fangirling as she likes defending the model — she has a whole photo album of him on her phone. It’s the kind of fandom that infects social media — she’s one of those types of fans.

Pay problems

Sa Hye-jun is angry at his modelling agency because of late payments. He just wants to be paid for his work. It’s clear that the boss does not care about the welfare of his clients. One of his colleagues, Min-jae, strongly sticks up for Sa Hye-jun and threatens to send photos to the boss’s wife of him with other women. On the way out, Sa Hye-jun asks Min-jae to be his agent. However, she isn’t interested — she wants to be out of the industry. Sa Hye-jun walks back into the agency and requests cancellation of his contract. Sa Hye-jun also works at other places as well to make ends meet — three additional jobs, including Subway. Record of Youth episode 1 shows a character who is clinging on to keep his creative ambitions.

An invitation to a fashion show

An Jeong-ha is asked if she’d like to go to the fashion show on her day off. She’s absolutely excited and she has the potential of meeting Hyu-jun. At one of his side jobs, Hye-jun is asked if he’d like to be a manager and earn extra money but he turns it down. He’s putting his dreams above money. The owner of the establishment seems offended that Hye-jun doesn’t want a promotion.

Career pitfalls

Hye-jun tells Hae-hyo that reality is hitting him hard. He doesn’t want to talk about it because he doesn’t want to get upset. They have both gone for the same acting role — Hye-jun claims that if he doesn’t get it, he will join the military. This seems like an extreme proposition and slightly emotional decision.

Family problems at home

When Hye-jun returns home, he argues with his family about their judgement of him. His father tells him that he’s lived as a model long enough but that it is time to move on and look after the family. Hye-jun’s grandfather defends him. Hye-jun is being made to feel like a burden and a failure.

Make-up time

It’s time for the fashion show and stations are set up. An Jeong-ha is in attendance and is helping the make-up teams. Hye-jun and Hae-hyo walk in and An Jeong-ha is in awe, unable to take her eyes off Hye-jun. She kind of stands there in a strange daze and he notices. An Jeong-ha helps Hye-jun with his make up. It feels like an intimate scene, mostly because she has to touch his face. Hae-hyo asks An Jeong-ha to touch up his face but based on her earlier experience with a colleague, she feels she can’t help Hae-hyo.

The ending

Hye-jun tells An Jeong-ha that she’s been cold and that she shouldn’t need to divide clients for make-up. She tells them both that she doesn’t get on well with her other colleague but then she backtracks and touches up Hae-hyo’s face. Her colleague returns and accuses An Jeong-ha of trying to steal clients — she proceeds to embarrass her. An Jeong-ha is upset afterwards but she’s happy she finally met Hye-jun and then the model comes around the corner and asks if she is a fan.

Record of Youth episode 1 isn’t an inspiring opening episode by any means but it’s too easy to judge a pilot and there’s hope that it will get better from here.

Additional points
  • Sa Hye-jun has a very loving relationship with his grandfather. His grandfather really believes in him and his career prospects, however, he is having issues with the rest of the family.

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