Navillera episode 1 recap – the opening chapter explained

March 22, 2021
Daniel Hart 0
Netflix, Weekly TV
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Netflix k-drama series Navillera season 1, episode 1


Episode 1 builds the foundations of a heartwarming story that brings ballet as the commonality. Expect sad moments but also moments of triumph as the series progresses.

This recap of the Netflix k-drama series Navillera season 1, episode 1 contains spoilers.

K-drama once again has a full schedule on Netflix, taking every day apart from Friday — the streaming service is determined to make this a go-to for the genre. While Navillera will not be as dramatic as the likes of Vincenzo or Sisyphus: The Mythit will bring a heartwarming story between young and old.

The opening scene shows Sim Deok-chul attending a funeral for a deceased friend. He talks to his friends about older life. One of them admits he should have planned his retirement. Deok-chul notes they are not crying because the older they get, the more they get used to saying goodbye, which is an upsetting statement. On his way home, Deok-chul sees a ballet studio and be admires it. He then sees Lee Chae-rok practising ballet, and he’s in awe. From the offset, we sense that Deok-chul has a passion that he never got to pursue.

Lee Chae-rok isn’t performing well

And then Lee Chae-rok’s story starts, and his coach Ki Seung-joo is berating him for not being good enough. He wonders why the dancer is hesitating and asks if it’s about his father. Lee Chae-rok states he doesn’t have a father. Afterwards, it’s revealed that his mother is dead and that his father is in prison, soon to be released.

A dysfunctional birthday gathering

Navillera episode 1 delves into Deok-chul’s family life, and it’s no wonder he’s looking for an outlet. It’s his 70th birthday, so he attends a gathering with his family. There’s plenty of dysfunction within the family, and there’s barely any discussion about his actual birthday. At the table, his granddaughter Eun-ho is told to work hard, or she’ll end up like his uncle Seong-gwan. The uncle ends up leaving.

The next day, Sim Deok-chul messages his granddaughter Eun-ho and congratulates her on the internship she’s landed and asks if she wants to have lunch. Unfortunately, she’s already had lunch, so she has to decline. Sim Deok-chul had lunch on his own, and he looks to be lonely and void of ideas.

A person from the past

When Lee Chae-rok isn’t dancing, he’s a waiter at a restaurant. A person from his past (Ho-beom) walks in and references that his father is being released from prison soon; he asks Lee Chae-rok if he deserves a good life. A flashback occurs of Lee Chae-rok asking Ho-beom for help after his father went to prison, and Ho-beom punches him. Lee Chae-rok has a fractured past, from childhood to young adulthood, and the k-drama has set the base to flesh this out.

No emotions in his moves

Sim Deok-chul attends a ballet night, and he’s delighted with the performance. Lee Chae-rok is also in the audience. Deok-chul seems to be holding regret on his shoulders when it comes to dancing, while Lee Chae-rok looks to be held back, a heavy burden inflicting him. Afterwards, Lee Chae-rok meets his friend at a pharmacy and asks for help on his knee; he’s clearly holding an injury. When he practises ballet, he cannot do a firm landing. He tries over and over again. Ki Seung-joo tells him there are no emotions in his moves, and it looks like a workout.

Feeling envious

Navillera episode 1 hones in on regret and how it can be the most dismantling feeling in life — the story is a reminder that we should try and live life so we can have fewer regrets later. Regrets are a killer.

At night, Sim Deok-chul talks to his wife and admits to feeling envious seeing the young performers on stage; his father forbade him to dance, and now he feels it’s too late at 70 years old to pursue his dream.

The next day, a friend named Gyo-seok rings Sim Deok-chul and asks where he is. His wife wonders why Gyo-seok’s family never visits him, which is why he relies on Sim Deok-chul. Later on, Gyo-seok leaves Sim Deok-chul a letter thanking him for visiting when his family abandoned him a year ago. Gyo-seok became intoxicated with the ocean and acknowledged that his pain is getting worse — he was dying. Deok-chul cries, knowing his friend is gone, but he hopes he saw the ocean one last time.

Skipping an audition for his father

Lee Chae-rok attends ballet auditions. However, when called on the stage, he doesn’t show up, and he leaves after seeing the time and date on his phone. It’s the day that his father will be released from prison. Lee Chae-rok waits outside the prison facility for him; however, his father doesn’t come. He asks an officer about Lee Mu-yeong; he’s told he’s already been released. His father then rings him and explains how he has a job; Lee Chae-rok sobs as his father tells him he’ll be in touch. He tries to ring the payphone back, but there’s no answer. Episode 1 leaves the audience whether Lee Chae-rok will be able to deal with reconnecting with his father. There’s a wedge between them that goes beyond the parent/child relationship.

Deok-chul wants to do ballet himself

Lee Chae-rok admits to Ki Seung-joo that he went to see his father, but he failed to be there — he apologises for missing the audition. Later on, he practices ballet, and Sim Deok-chul watches him. Lee Chae-rok approaches him and asks why he’s watching him. Deok-chul admits he wants to do ballet himself. He’s introduced to Mr Ki Seung-joo, and he’s a huge fan of him; he’s seen all of his performances in Korea.

It’s noticeable straight away the difference between Lee Chae-rok and Deok-chul — one of them has an overwhelming passion for ballet, while the other sees it as a chore.

Ki Seung-joo will not let Deok-chul ballet

Ki Seung-joo refuses to let Deok-chul ballet, but Deok-chul insists he wants to learn at his establishment. The next day, Deok-chul turns up to watch ballet practice again. Lee Chae-rok does a routine, and Deok-chul claps. Deok-chul admits to Ki Seung-joo that he’s never able to do anything he wanted his entire life — he wants to give it a shot.

The ending

Sim Eun-ho starts work at the same place as Lee Chae-rok. She’s asked about menu recommendations by customers, which makes her nervous, but Lee Chae-rok helps her out of an awkward situation. The manager berates Eun-ho for interacting with customers when she’s not ready.

As the episode ends, Ki Seung-joo tells Lee Chae-rok that he will teach Deok-chul how to ballet, and he’s in complete shock.

Navillera episode 1 builds the foundations of a heartwarming story that brings ballet as the commonality. Expect sad moments but also moments of triumph as the series progresses.

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