Remarriage & Desires season 1, episode 1 recap – the premiere explained

July 15, 2022
Jonathon Wilson 0
K-Drama, Netflix, Streaming Service, TV, TV Recaps
3

Summary

A mixed-bag premiere gets Remarriage & Desires off an intriguing if long-winded start.

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3

Summary

A mixed-bag premiere gets Remarriage & Desires off an intriguing if long-winded start.

This recap of Remarriage & Desires season 1, episode 1 contains spoilers.


Remarriage & Desires opens by making a pretty obvious point. A bespectacled man smokes while teetering on a rooftop, looking down at the traffic below. After a while he throws himself to his death, imagining as he does so the pretty, manicured hands of a woman giving him a little shove. This, folks, is what we in the industry call a metaphor.

Remarriage & Desires season 1, episode 1 recap

The next scene shows Hye-seung, the dead bloke’s wife, waking up to find court-appointed officials confiscating all of her belongings. But this is just a tone-setting prologue. The main thrust of this hour-long premiere is establishing a vibe and the idea of Rex, an elite matchmaking service for the super-duper-wealthy that allows them to largely sustain their upper-class status by marrying and remarrying into financially and socially beneficial relationships.

Rex is presented as being somewhat ridiculous, with women moved back and forth across a giant chess board as money-men awkwardly sip drinks and swap self-aggrandizing stories. Its CEO, Choi Yoo-sun, is like Korean high-society’s Patti Stanger. It’s this company around which events of the series are going to revolve, but it’s hard to take seriously. Many of these member’s-only services do indeed exist for the benefit of the privileged, but it’s turned up to 11 here, almost to a dystopian or fantastical extent.

But we’re to understand the human cost, which is why the premiere also spends a lot of time on Hye-seung and her late ex-husband, Kang Nam-sik, both in terms of what led them both to divorce and what led the latter to suicide. The answer to both questions, it seems, is Jin Yoo-hui. She initiated an affair with Nam-sik, giving him that grass is greener feeling and pushing him to divorce his wife and leave their young daughter, Min-ji, behind. But she promptly ruined him professionally and accused him of sexual assault. It’s worth mentioning that we actually met Yoo-hui earlier, introducing herself to CEO Choi as a lawyer. The plot thickens.

Remarriage & Desire episode 1 jumps back and forth in time a lot. We see Nam-sik’s suicide in the opening, then get snippets of Hye-seung in the present day, struggling both financially and with Min-ji being bullied by her peers, then we see the breakdown of the marriage and the events leading to Nam-sik throwing himself off a building and landing right in front of Hye-seung. It isn’t always as coherent as it could be, but I wouldn’t go so far as to say it’s confusing.

We’re also introduced here to Lee Hyung-ju, the CEO of a gaming company named Hibull whose mother is forcing him into a marriage of convenience to strengthen his business position and find someone to, essentially, mother her grandchild, but Hyung-ju tells Yoo-sun that what he wants is, basically, the opposite of what his mother wants. This guy will doubtlessly be important since Yoo-hui is willing to bribe Rex’s staff to ensure she gets matched up with him, and knowing how she is she can’t have his best interests in mind.

Speaking of which, the premiere ends with Hye-seung and Yoo-hui coming face to face in the Rex lobby. The latter is there trying to ensnare Hyung-ju, while the former is there looking for a refund after her mother unknowingly bought her a membership in the hopes of getting her remarried. Hye-seung knocks over a giant vase in shock, drawing all kinds of attention to herself as the women lock eyes and the narration assures us that this is only the beginning.

You can stream Remarriage & Desires season 1, episode 1 exclusively on Netflix.

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