My Liberation Notes season 1, episode 1 recap – the premiere explained

April 9, 2022
Jonathon Wilson 1
K-Drama, Netflix, Streaming Service, TV, Weekly TV
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My Liberation Notes fails to make a strong impression in its opening episode.

This recap of My Liberation Notes season 1, episode 1 contains spoilers.

It’s a very busy time for k-drama on Netflix at the moment, and with that in mind, it’s hard to say whether a really laidback and mellow slice-of-life drama like My Liberation Notes is going to make much of an impression. Its premiere was a steady and somewhat bland affair, lacking a bit of spark, chemistry, and energy, though that isn’t to say it doesn’t have potential.

My Liberation Notes season 1, episode 1 recap

The point here is to introduce the siblings – Mi-jeong, Gi-jeong, and Chang-hee – at the center of the drama. Their dynamic thus far feels a little thin, but we should give it time. There’s a sense of small-town ennui, the idea of going nowhere fast, that defines these three, all of whom feel hemmed in by the pettiness and pointlessness of what they perceive to be dead-end circumstances. Their relationships with others are falling to bits. They’re bored.

Boredom is a tricky thing to depict since it kind of requires that nothing happen. It’s the same with, say, repetition – you only get that feeling from enduring something multiple times, and watching someone endure the same thing multiple times is just… bland. This is the difficult tightrope that My Liberation Notes is treading here.

That isn’t to say the ideas and themes aren’t worthwhile. It’s morbid to see characters with financial woes, who’re cut off from their friends geographically, so far removed from the social action that they feel completely isolated. And I totally understand the necessity of making this point in as clear a manner as possible, so the minor acts of change and rebellion that are inevitably coming feel more meaningful and impactful.

For this kind of thing to work, though, I think you need to really buy into the characters, and at least for now, I’m not sure I do. The siblings at this show’s core just don’t have that instantly arresting chemistry you sometimes see in TV relationships. I’m not sure I buy the dynamic. And perhaps more damagingly, I’m not sure I buy them as people. They’re actors playing characters, going through the motions of what seems to be a pretty unambitious script. There’s still plenty of time for improvement, but thus far, My Liberation Notes hasn’t made the strongest impression.

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

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1 thought on “My Liberation Notes season 1, episode 1 recap – the premiere explained

  • April 10, 2022 at 3:44 am

    The 1st episode isn’t bad at all! Yeom Chang Hee and his friends made me laugh. I hope that Yeom Mi Jung will have an apartment in the city in the next few episode and not towards the end of the series. The scriptwriter and director needs to find Yeom Chang Hee a love interest that will motivate him to pursue his dream of becoming an engineer or architect. Yeom Ki Jung is very interesting. I hope that her newfound feistiness will continue. It would be more interesting if she starts dating Yeom Mi Jung’s co-worker soon.

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