The Sound of Magic season 1, episode 1 recap – “Do you… believe in magic?”

May 6, 2022
Jonathon Wilson 0
K-Drama, Netflix, Streaming Service, TV, TV Recaps
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“Do you… believe in magic?” gets things off to a solid enough start, even if it’s dealing in — thus far, at least — familiar archetypes and ideas.

This recap of The Sound of Magic season 1, episode 1, “Do you… believe in magic?”, contains spoilers. You can check out our spoiler-free season review by clicking these words.

Well, talk about laying your cards out on the table. Then again, The Sound of Magic probably has a few up its sleeve, just to be on-trend. But its premiere, “Do you… believe in magic?”, opens mostly by revealing exactly what kind of show we’re dealing with here. Schoolgirls gossiping about a handsome, insane magician who does real magic out of an abandoned fairground. A big song and dance number. Visual flourishes. This fantastical romantic musical really starts as it means to go on.

The Sound of Magic season 1, episode 1 recap

Reality bleeds through pretty quickly, or at least it does for Ah-yi. The earliest portions of the premiere introduce her as a schoolgirl with a skinned knee who studies at a part-time job stacking shelves, where she’s so hungry she almost takes a bite out of leftovers. She’s ostracised, looked down upon, lonely, and obviously struggling in various ways, though it isn’t immediately clear what her situation is. She’s destined for more though, obviously. As she heads home with the 50,000 won she earned for her evening’s work, it mysteriously blows out of her hand and down the street, leading her bit by bit to the old amusement park supposedly inhabited by that insane handsome magician (at one point, the entire street morphs into the 50,000 won note, a visual flourish for the audience and not, one assumes, part of the trick, though it’s difficult to tell.)

Ah-yi meeting the magician, Ri-eul, obviously forms the spine of this introductory episode, and through their early interactions, we begin to get a sense of them both. The Sound of Magic obviously introduced deliberate ambiguity around Ri-eul’s capabilities with that discussion in the opening, but it certainly seems like magic to Ah-yi. “Do you… believe in magic?” is Ri-eul’s initial gambit, and it’s hard not to when he can produce two 50,000 won bills for Ah-yi to take. Tellingly, though, as hard up as she is, she can only bring herself to take one, which says a lot about her character. But the implication is clear. Ri-eul represents a magical salvation for Ah-yi, an answer to all her myriad problems.

The Sound of Magic episode 1 is also about introducing Ah-yi’s relationship with Il-deung, the school’s high-flying top student, who Ah-yi is nonetheless beating in maths. Ah-yi enjoys maths because problems have concrete and logical solutions, which is an understandable viewpoint for someone who is being consistently beaten down by circumstances outside of their control. Those circumstances include an absentee father being chased by loan sharks, a younger sister who depends on her, school bullies trying to entrap her, and a boss whose altruism is hiding darker intentions.

So, of course, Ah-yi sees something in Ri-eul – the ability to literally make her problems disappear. Whether she believes in magic or not, she can’t help but believe in what magic might represent for her and her sister. And that’s all the belief she needs.

You can stream The Sound of Magic season 1, episode 1, “Do you… believe in magic?”, exclusively on Netflix.

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