This recap of the Netflix K-drama series Nevertheless season 1, episode 1 contains significant spoilers.
For those who haven’t recovered from The World of the Married, Nevertheless might be the summer drama to replace the hole The World of the Married left. Inspired by a popular webtoon, Nevertheless follows the story of two students who are attracted to each other but are skeptical due to their past relationships. Let’s hope it doesn’t leave us on a bittersweet note, considering where it’s headed… or may not be headed.
The opening scene begins with Yu Nabi, all dressed up and walking with a bouquet of red roses in the snow, towards a gallery for an exhibition. Throughout the beginning, we hear Yu Nabi’s thoughts on love and relationships and what this means for her. At the exhibition, Nabi observes a sculpture with tears in her eyes — in the tears, we see the story behind her current relationship with an older manipulative man, an artist, just like her.
Toxic older partners
Nevertheless episode 1 introduces Yu Nabi (Han Sohee) — an artist and student — eating pizza at a restaurant with her partner. From here, it’s clear that he exhibits manipulative and somewhat toxic emotions, such as mentioning why he chose to order pizza for the both of them, to observe her true emotions — whatever that means.
In the second scene, her partner talks about how their rings will confirm the sincerity of their relationship. Little did she anticipate that he was simply manipulating her. From complaining about her green nail polish, noting how she makes such “arbitrary decisions,” and only wanting her to seek validation from others. Despite this being only episode 1, his character was very frustrating less than 5 minutes into the series, and with that, as upsetting as their breakup was for Nabi, it was surely a relief for viewers. Long story short, Na-bi caught him cheating on her and gracefully bowed out. As she should, it was lovely to see in less than 5 minutes. She knew her worth and had to leave when being disrespected.
The meeting at the bar
Song Kang seems to be Netflix’s son at this point — from Love Alarm, Navillera, Sweet Home, and now Nevertheless, the man with the love for butterflies (Nabi in Korean). He even has a butterfly tattoo at the back of his neck. His character, Park Jae-eon, meets Nabi in a bar where she is sitting alone with a drink. Jae-eon pulls at her shoulder and says, “you got here first,” only to realize he was mistaken and that Nabi wasn’t his blind date, So-ri.
His infatuation for butterflies prompts him to cancel his blind date and instead chooses to hang out with Nabi for the rest of the evening. Nabi tells him about her breakup and her joke about an ex during a game of darts and how she feels more confident and relieved to leave Korea for her university exchange programme. Oh, she continuously fails the game of darts, and of course, as cliche as it is, she only hits the target with his support. Who could have predicted that?
During their long evening at the bar, he even draws a butterfly on her arm — maybe as a reminder not to forget him, considering she doesn’t know his name.
Evening dinner with the students
After a long day of the practical classes, Nabi is invited to a dinner with her fellow coursemates, and of course, who turns up? It’s a Korean drama, so we can expect the unexpected or cliches — so, we see Jae-eon at the dinner. Except, they pretend not to know each other and essentially use this dinner as a do-over, where Nabi finally finds out his name. Little did she know, Jae-eon was a junior at her university.
After a few drinks and games, one of the students was given a dare to dance for strangers, and this was the cue for Jae-eon and Nabi to leave and take a walk. Throughout the scenes, Nabi’s thoughts of love, relationships, and fate are at play, reminding viewers that her yearn for love is perfectly normal, but she doesn’t reveal it. By the constant masking of emotions, Jae-eon’s charming aura was able to see right through it. From the thoughtful gestures and kind words, Nabi was wrapped around his finger.
The ending of Nevertheless season 1, episode 1
“It’s so stupid to read too much into meaningless stuff,” Nabi says whilst painting alone in the classroom and then calls herself an idiot. Jae-eon comes up behind her, questioning who’s an idiot. She didn’t expect to be surprised by him in the classroom and paints his face, and they end up playfully fighting with the supplies. Whilst she is finishing off her sculpture, he is drawing her face without her knowledge.
After their artist sessions, both of them sit in a park and talk about their life. Nabi opens up and mentions how she wants to go somewhere far away from Korea. Her inner thoughts reconcile with the fact that Jae-eon was different, or so she thought.
The first episode ends with them both gazing at the moon.