Episode 1 is a sweet introduction to the new k-drama series, bringing a family who has hit hard times and introducing them to a new world outside of the city.
This recap of Netflix k-drama series Racket Boys season 1, episode 1 contains spoilers.
Netflix is ramping up k-drama releases in June, so expect plenty of coverage on the site. Sharing the original spot with Mad For Each Other, we have a fairly innocent story on badminton called Racket Boys.
The premiere of Racket Boys begins on the badminton court. Coach Hyeon-jong receives his wage, and he’s excited. He speaks to a committee member who is leaving, who tells him of a job he’s taking in the middle of nowhere, but double the salary — he asks Hyeon-jong if he’d like the job. He then asks Hyeon-jong to cheat for him as an umpire in an upcoming tournament. Hyeon-jong is not comfortable with that, but it’s clear he has money issues, including paying for his son Hae-kang in an upcoming training camp.
Hae-kang’s training test but dropped from the team
It then flits to Hae-kang in baseball training. He tries hard in a fitness test, and he wins first place.
In the badminton tournament, Hyeon-jong is the umpire, and he makes a decision that annoys one of the teams. He was eyed up by the committee member that told him to cheat. Desperate for money, Hyeon-jong heads across the road to move equipment for extra money at a gym. He then learns that his son came first in baseball training, so he doesn’t need to pay immediately for the training camp. However, in a turn of events, the coach tells Hae-kang that it will be Him-chan who will be entering the tournament because his father has fully paid.
This gives a flavor of how this family has landed at hard times.
Moving day for the family
Racket Boys episode 1 then moves to February 2021; Hyeon-jong and his family are moving. On the way to their new home, Hae-kang is not happy that they are leaving the city and wonders how far they are going. The village they are moving to is called “The Edge of the World.” When they arrive, Hae-kang doesn’t like what their new place looks like, including the lack of Wi-Fi, which signifies the generation we live in today — technology is important.
The next day, Hae-kang tries to order food for him and his sister, but the local takeaway will not deliver for only the two. A neighbor nearby sees how hungry he is and offers them food. The woman who helps them does not know how to work the television, so Hae-kang helps her. She gives them a hamper of food as they leave.
Hae-kang is intrigued by the house next door and tries to open the door, but he is stopped by the woman, who he now calls grandma.
The new school
Episode 1 brings a story of an under-resourced school and tries to give it a comical edge with a headmaster who is oblivious to the lack of funding.
Hyeon-jong heads to his new school, and Head Coach Bae introduces himself. He advises him that there are no creative challenges here, and it is best to be as non-existential as possible. Hyeon-jong meets the headmaster, who tells him he can give him three months’ pay in advance, but he may not pay him after that. He tells him his challenge is to maintain the badminton team that is barely funded, even for tournaments.
Meeting the players
The coach is introduced to a couple of players; Bang Yoon-dam and Na Woo-chan. Lee Yong-tae also introduces himself as a second-year player. Unfortunately, there are not enough players to enter competitions. However, a new kid joins the team called Jonathan. However, he’s useless at badminton. It gets from bad to worse; the dorms are shut down because there aren’t enough students on the team.
Staying at Hyeon-jong’s
So the story flips on its head, and it’s obvious they want all the characters to form a little family.
Hyeon-jong brings the students to his house and feeds them. They have nowhere else to go, so they are staying with him. Hae-kang isn’t happy at first, but as he’s scared of the house, he sleeps in the same room as the students. In the night, he tries to devalue badminton with the students. The next day, Jonathon tells Hyeon-jong that he’s leaving for Seoul.
A game of badminton
Hae-kang agrees to a game of badminton with one of the students. If he wins, his father needs to get them a Wi-Fi router. So they head to a racket store to get Hae-kang the kit so he can play.
And then the game arrives — Yoon-dam needs 15 points, and Hae-kang has to get only one point to win. In the first play, Hae-kang misses the ball. He keeps losing points. When Yoon-dam needs a match point, Hae-kang changes to his right hand, and suddenly he can play — he believes he wins a point, but the others say it was out. The others learn that when Hae-kang was younger, he was hailed a genius at badminton and won a junior grand slam. They are excited and celebrate with him.
Hae-kang seems enthused about badminton, so his father asks him if he will train as promised as part of the deal. Reluctantly, Hae-kang agrees. There’s a tournament coming called the Sweet Potato Competition, and Hae-kang will be part of the team.
Hae-in goes missing
Episode 1 brings quite the scare, but it is short-lived.
Hae-kang’s sister Hae-in goes missing, so Hae-kang and his new friends search all over the village for her. Finally, he finds her with grandma next door — his father asked her to look after his sister. Suddenly, Hae-kang seems to have memories of the place. The woman explains she built a small nursery for her grandson, but she doesn’t see him much.
Sweet Potato Tournament 2021
A player called Han Se-yoon impresses in singles at the tournament, and her coach (Ranson) is on edge on the sidelines. She’s clearly a brilliant player.
Hae-kang plays his first game, and he’s struggling to score. He loses by 6 points, and he’s devastated. The others are downbeat, wondering who they bring to the Spring Tournament if he quits. It’s made worse when Hae-kang learns that he lost to a sixth-grader, and he’s determined to beat him in another tournament.
A bigger family
When they return, Head Coach Bae treats the team to food for their efforts. Coach Ranos walks into the room, and Hae-in greets her as her mother in a small twist. Se-yoon walks in, and Ranos tells them all that they are a family for now.
Hyeon-jong has drinks with Ranos. She tells him that when he settles and makes money, she should let Hae-kang play baseball.
Meanwhile, Hae-kang is next door with grandma, who has given them access to her Wi-Fi. Earlier in the day, Hae-kang showed her how to video call her grandson. Then, in the middle of the night, Hae-kang hears a noise — when he looks outside, he sees a bear.
Racket Boys episode 1 is a sweet introduction to the new k-drama series, bringing a family who has hit hard times and introducing them to a new world outside of the city.