The Uncanny Counter Season 1 Episode 1 Recap

By Daniel Hart
Published: November 28, 2020 (Last updated: February 9, 2024)
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Netflix K-drama series The Uncanny Counter episode 1


The Uncanny Counter episode 1 is a great pilot that tries to sensibly explain the premise without making it odd and convoluted. There’s plenty of action sets and interesting characters. Essentially, this could be a great k-drama to watch for the next several weeks.

This recap of Netflix K-drama series The Uncanny Counter Season 1 Episode 1 contains significant spoilers.

We will be recapping this weekly — check out the archive.

The opening

Episode 1 begins with a young So Mun drawing a photo of his family while in the back of the car. He tells his parents that they always break promises. His parents promise to keep their promises. Meanwhile, Detective Ga is nearby bleeding profusely as it pours buckets of rain in the city — he rings So Mun’s father So Gwon and tells him to be careful. Hooded men then surround the detective; he tries fighting them. Suddenly, So Mun’s family car is hit at the same time Detective Ga is killed. So Mun has survived.

A man (presumably an evil spirit) approaches the vehicle as So Mun asks for help but it’s blurry and he doesn’t get a good look at him. This is a dark, sinister opening to the new K-Drama series.

Seven years later

Episode 1 then flits to 7 years later, and So Mun lives with his grandmother — he has to help her out a bit due to her old age — it seems she is deteriorating. The camera then pans to show all of So Mun’s achievements at school and his artwork — he imagines himself as a superhero. He still has a scar on his foot from the car accident.

READ: K-Drama Shows like The Uncanny Counter

There’s a somber scene where he looks at the drawing he did of his family when younger. The past still haunts him and will likely be a theme for episodes to come.

The noodle cafe

On his way out, he sees a woman hand out flyers for missing people. They’ve been missing for years. Afterward, So Mun talks about a famous noodle cafe, Eonni’s, that the city is trying to replace with a new building. Queues show how popular it is. So Mun talks about their secret recipe; he thinks the owners are odd. Suddenly, one of the owners (Ha-na) hears voices and tells the others that there’s a Level 2 evil spirit in the city. The noodle cafe suddenly closes as they rush off on a mission to find it.

Tracking an evil spirit

What happens next is 15 minutes’ worth of actions which will please fans, as Episode 1 avoids convoluted plot points to get the story across.

The owners of the cafe head out and ring Cheol-jung about the evil spirit. The team get strategizing immediately and move to their location. The people who run the noodle store are clearly not your average humans. When they find the evil spirit, it’s able to launch itself from building to building on rooftops. This K-Drama is going to impress us with good action. When one of the team faces the evil spirit, it appears to have super strength (apparently a Level 3 evil spirit), but that doesn’t stop a choreographed fight.

An early death

Cheol-jung then turns up to fight the Level 3 evil spirit. His efforts do not appear to be impactful as the rest of the team runs towards his location. They are worried that the territory is closing. The evil spirit is concerned that he is being followed and wonders who they are. Cheol-jung is killed, and energy flows from him to the evil spirit. A female spirit seems to flee from both characters and floats into the sky. The female spirit looks over the city and is worried because their territory is gone — the spirit needs to find someone who is in a coma. When the others find Cheol-jung they are devastated that he’s dead. Episode 1 brings a tragedy early.

Finding a new host

Meanwhile, So Mun and his friends enjoy food in a cafe. The female spirit enters So Mun’s body, and he levitates in the air. The female spirit is confused because she ended up in a human that isn’t experiencing a coma. Suddenly, his hair starts acting strange. When So Mun returns home, his grandparents celebrate that it’s their grandson’s birthday.

Body changes

As the night wears on, So Mun feels he has changes to his body in a Spider-Man-like manner; everything he touches seems to break easily. He wonders if it’s related to the event he experienced early when he thought it was a lightning strike. He remembers how intense the feeling was. In his dreams, a woman named Wi-gen introduces herself to So Mun suddenly wakes up. He tells his friend the next day, but she mocks him because he felt it was real.

At school the next day, So Mun sees Ung-min getting bullied and defends him. When his friend is slapped, So Mun gets increasingly angry, but a teacher stops the commotion.

One last day of mourning

Back to the noodle shop and they are mourning the death of Cheol-jung. One of them notes that the evil spirit was Level 3. They then discuss that Wi-gen survived and ended up in a person who wasn’t in a coma, which is unusual for a “counter”. Ha-na is asked to find this person will he will be useful. The series is naturally placing these characters together.

The bullies return

Ung-min is angry at So Mun for defending him and believes that it will make it worse. He’s scared he’ll get beaten. He doesn’t wasn’t his friends to experience the same violence. As So Mun leaves the school, he is bullied by the same kids who takes away his walking stick and throws him to the floor; they then play around with his CD player. Suddenly, Ha-na from the noodle store saves him and hands back his CD player. She asks So Mun to come with her, but before she does, she embarrasses the bullies by disarming them and throwing them to the ground.

To the noodle cafe

She tells So Mun that she’s taking him to the other side and asks him if he had a dream about Wi-gen. She shows him the same body changes she has. When they enter Eonni’s noodle cafe, they are shocked to see he is a high school student. When he is greeted, the group tells So Mun that they do business for the afterlife — “Like the grim reaper”. They want him to join their team. One of the men Ga Mo-tak doesn’t want to work with him because he looks wimpy. So Mun tells him the dots on his fingers are for the door to the afterlife. This is a lot of information for a young teenager, but he seems to be taking it on the chin.

A tour by Wi-gen

They then show him how to enter the afterlife. When So Mun enters, he wakes up next to a lake, and he meets Wi-gen. The place is called Yung — the dead and alive can meet in this dimension. Wi-gen and So Mun enter a white door, and they appear to be in the city. She tells them that his task is to defeat evil spirits that attach to humans as hosts. Wi-gen explains how evil spirits find people who are as violent as them. So Mun tries to stop a man from hurting a woman, but then the world pauses, and Wi-gen tells him that, “This is a moment in the past which the land remembers”. The world unfreezes, and the man violently kills the woman with a brick; the more violent, the stronger the spirit becomes.

The ending

So Mun doubts he can catch evil spirits, but Wi-gen says he will have to learn. However, she does give him a choice. He leaves Yung and tells the noodle cafe team that he isn’t going to join them. He’s scared about dying before his grandparents — he doesn’t want to cause them pain. Before he leaves, Ha-na wants to erase his memory, but then they stop her as he has a week to decide what he wants to do.

As So Mun makes his way home, Ung-min rings him up. He’s in a bad place with the bullies. So Mun enters the high school sports hall where the bullies are, and they have Ung-min on the floor. He asks them to leave his friend alone and offers them financial incentives. One of the bullies asks about the girl who helped him earlier and starts beating him. Suddenly, So Mun finds strength he’s never had before and stops one of the bully’s fists from hitting him.

The Uncanny Counter episode 1 is a great pilot that tries to sensibly explain the premise without making it odd and convoluted. There’s plenty of action and interesting characters. Essentially, this could be a great k-drama to watch for the next several weeks.

Netflix, TV Recaps
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