My Name season 1, episode 1 recap – the opening chapter explained

October 15, 2021
Jonathon Wilson 0
K-Drama, Netflix, TV Recaps
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This recap of My Name season 1, episode 1 contains spoilers.

Meet Yoon Jiwoo. The seventeen-year-old daughter of an absentee, addict, and possibly gangster father, she’s harassed on the way to school by the police and at school by bullies. But she’s also, as the opening of My Name episode 1 makes clear, smart and capable. She trains in the morning, and when the school bullies take things too far, she whoops all of them easily before deciding she’s done with the place.

But things aren’t easy for Jiwoo. Like all young girls — and young boys! — she needs a responsible parental figure in her life, and she doesn’t have one. By the end of this prologue sequence, she doesn’t have a father at all, let alone a responsible one — she witnesses him be shot to death through her apartment peephole by a hooded figure. His final act is to make sure she remains locked in the apartment, safe.

My Name season 1, episode 1 recap

In the wake of Donghoon’s death, Jiwoo is left distraught. His black-suited gangster friends attend his funeral and insist he was a much better father than she thought. The cops can’t get any leads on the investigation, and in a roundabout way, blame his death on Jiwoo, who convinced him to expose himself despite being on the most wanted list. Jiwoo has nowhere else to go but to Donghoon’s old associates. She says if they help her find his killer, she’ll kill him herself, but she’s not ready for that — not yet, anyway. Instead, she’s left to stew in her grief until a hooded figure, perhaps the same one who killed Donghoon, arrives unannounced at her apartment. She finally plucks up the courage to get out on the streets, distributing wanted posters for the assailant with the promise of a reward for information about him.

Of course, the reward attracts some unsavoury types who lure Jiwoo to a nighttime meeting and try to rob her of the money. She fights back, but the men beat her, bind her, and kidnap her. But Donghoon’s old associate, his “best friend and brother”, as he claimed earlier, interrupts them in transit and, once he has determined that Jiwoo is adamant about vengeance, begins to take her under his wing. He drops her at an underground gym stocked only with muscled men, who’re advised to let her get the revenge she’s looking for. But that requires her to start at the very bottom and work her way up. She’s to scrub dishes and do laundry. The men harass her, obviously, but she takes it in stride. She keeps training. She fights back. She leans to attack vital points like the temples, chin, solar plexus, and genitals, to make up for her disadvantages in size and strength. And she learns quickly.

In the wake of Squid Game‘s phenomenal success, the global streaming market is eager for more Korean drama. My Name is a very different proposition, but its universal theme of revenge and its instantly engaging protagonist are sure to win it a sizeable audience, wherever the story goes from here.

You can stream My Name season 1, episode 1 exclusively on Netflix.

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