Little Women (2022) season 1, episode 2 recap – a gripping chapter

By Nathan Sartain
Published: September 5, 2022
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A truly gripping installment that, again, lays out detailed, intricate plot developments.

This recap of the Netflix K-Drama series Little Women (2022) season 1, episode 2, contains spoilers.

Read: 5 Reasons to Watch Little Women.

While eating with In-joo, In-kyung comes clean about her suspension from work, adding that she believes that she is an alcoholic. It’s a shocking revelation, one that was held off on due to the fact their father also depends on drink, yet the middle child is comforted over her “hardened heart” that shows she is not like the family patriarch. Emptying out soju into the sink, In-joo refuses to let her sister become crippled by her addiction, and wishes to be available for help whenever it’s needed. Elsewhere, In-hye paints a portrait of Hyo-rin in a scene that demonstrates just how evident the class differences are between the two friends.

Little Women (2022) season 1, episode 2 recap

After stashing away her newfound riches, contemplating her unawareness of what to do with it all, In-joo heads to the corner store to get a copious amount of ice cream. Stating to herself that she could never commit suicide with all this cash, the eldest of the Oh family stops in her tracks, wondering whether Hwa-young did actually kill herself. Concurrently, In-kyung informs her great-aunt of the situation involving her suspension from work, loss of driver’s license, and her dependency on booze which stemmed from drinking whenever a feeling of anxiety about her nerve-wracking work arose.

However, the journalist is frustrated when a suggestion to stop working as a reporter is made, as she never actually wished to pursue this path anyway, but rather study economics abroad. Here, we learn that the middle child was taught how to trade stocks at age 12, something used to turn 5 million won into 70 million, and that Hye-suk did this to try and teach her great-niece why some are rich, while others are poor. Stating that she did not invest in In-kyung without purpose, the Oh family’s great-aunt once again wants her relative to work alongside her, to find out how to become wealthy in Korea.

Next, In-joo heads back to her former employers to find out more about the illegal slush fund. She hears that the Director is looking for the embezzled money as well as the ledger, with experts hired to track those items down. As such, In-joo is asked to hypothetically get inside the mind of Hwa-young, in the hopes that doing so will lead Hyeon-min to what is his. “Be as imaginative as you can,” the Director says, before he is faced with some requests. The office outcast wishes to work at the International Orchid Society, and have her deceased friend no longer labelled a “thieving bitch.”

When In-joo states that she will begin to find the evidence of her friend’s embezzlement, and slowly try to believe it, the company Director stands up, claiming that there are similarities between the woman he is currently faced with and Hwa-young. Wanting to know where the outcast got her cheap heels, Hyeon-min asks that his potential new associate buys a new pair with the money he will give her. “If you don’t, you’ll end up dragging your feet around for life,” he adds.

Walking home, In-kyung calls the enthusiastic shop worker Cheol-seong in an attempt to speak about the email tip he sent her four years ago about Dal-su’s suicide, but gets cut off without an answer. Then, the suspended journalist is greeted by her old friend, Jong-ho, who treats her to some food over a pleasant conversation about their past. The mood is high, particularly regarding In-kyung’s humorous ways of always comparing things to money as a child, yet an interruption soon changes the atmosphere.

As it turns out, Cheol-seong has gotten back in touch with In-kyung, wanting an answer on why she didn’t report on Jae-sang’s involvement in the suicide case all that time ago. The reporter blames a lack of evidence, though is soon asked for her personal opinion on the character of the elite attorney now that she may know a bit more. “He’s like a monster,” In-kyung answers, leading to instructions being given for the suspended worker to head to an address in Gyeonggi Province to start her coverage there. Should she want any more information, Cheol-seong will be on hand at the Sorea Fish Market Auction at 4am the next day.

In Hwa-young’s home, Do-il walks alongside In-joo, seeking out anything that could come in handy. In a flashback, we see how the deceased woman believed receipts and ledgers were “the Bible” to bookkeepers, needing to be kept near and checked whenever there is suspicion. “Everything begins here,” Hwa-young elaborates, a message that now helps In-joo in the present as she pokes around items in her friend’s residence.

While In-joo continues to scan Hwa-young’s house, we learn more about the wisdom imparted by the slush fund stealer. She believed that bookkeepers should look shabby to stop people from talking, that they must see money as numbers in the same way a doctor sees a patient to build up trust. The idea of an alter ego is brought up too, something compared to creating a second character on a video game, seemingly one which helps hide potential truths. In the present, In-joo looks at her friend’s camera roll, finding on it pictures of goods and receipts, never her face. There is, however, one intriguing photo which suggests that the deceased worker had been abroad.

When tracking the picture, In-joo spots the profile of a person named Jin Mi-gyeong, a self-proclaimed “bookkeeper from the future.” This is Hwa-young’s alter ego, someone who lives a life of riches in Singapore, away from her genuine troubles. Wondering just who her friend was, the eldest of the Oh family reflects on the words she heard about the bookkeepers that are to survive being those “who can read the stories numbers tell.” Although a deeper search into what could be missing from Hwa-young’s meticulous accounting is ill-afforded when the company Director arrives at the house, unbothered by the goods around him, just the 70 billion won that needs recovering.

That is until he is informed of the Skygram account that shows the potential for the orchid expert to have lived in Singapore, a fact that makes Hyeon-min want to look into the situation in the hopes of finding an alleged second phone, in addition to other items, that could lead him to his slush fund.

Midway through creepily expressing the company’s need for someone like In-joo, Hyeon-min is stopped in his tracks by the sight of a single blue orchid, which causes him to swiftly exit the area. Elsewhere, In-kyung heads to the fish market with Jong-ho, unable to exit her friend’s car and get a cab due to the noticeable accident the two drive past. At the agreed location, the journalist waits for the visit of Cheol-seong, though soon puts two and two together that he may have been the one involved in the traffic accident, so gathers her companion to look into it. In due time, these suspicions are confirmed, while we also see Jong-ho notice the appearance of another single blue orchid, this time on the road.

As a shop worker confirms that Director Shin Hyeon-min gifted the Velvet Orchid heels to Hwa-young, In-joo begins to deepen her investigations. She talks with Ms. Hwang about her deceased friend’s affair with Shin, hearing that he only goes for women who wear cheap heels and despises those from wealthy families. “We just live in different worlds,” the gossiper says about why she seemed to treat Hwa-young as an outsider, perhaps believing that nothing was done on purpose.

That night, In-joo looks at the pictures posted by the account of Mi-gyeong, recalling her fellow outcast’s suicide note given the words used are written across the post captions. It’s here the office worker has an epiphany, believing that from Monday to Friday, Hwa-young adopted the role of her alter ego at work, wearing the same clothes until after yoga, when she would study English in addition to software development.

Once free from her job, the enigmatic orchid expert would eat at fancy restaurants, go shopping, and pretend to be someone else in Singapore. In the office, In-joo is outlining this to Do-il, adding in some titbits about a picture on Hwa-young’s Skygram account that shows she was with another person at a place where the tab was not included in her file of receipts.

This behaviour was not a one-off either. In-joo explains that about once a month, photos of a meal without a receipt appear on her friend’s timeline, then goes on to drop the bombshell of Director Shin’s gifting of the three-of-a-kind heels to Hwa-young. Do-il instantly enquires as to whether the two were having an affair, before revealing some information of his own.

One time, Director Shin was to go to Switzerland, but Hwa-young went instead. Following that, Do-il was told to check the account of the Swiss bank because the now deceased worker was acting odd, where he found out that 70 billion won had disappeared. Hwa-young subsequently didn’t take the flight, went to the bank, and transferred the money. If this whole scheme was the idea of Shin’s, In-joo concludes that the logical next step would have been to kill his partner, leaving her to take the full blame.

Looking into the oddness of a typed out suicide note, which replicates captions on Hwa-young’s second Skygram account, Do-il gets ready to see if the late worker’s electronics can undergo forensics again, away from the instructions of Director Shin. Afterwards, In-joo takes care of her friend’s orchids, now saddled with the belief that the person she was once close with is the problem. “I still have no idea what’s going on. But if you truly died an unfair death, then I must bring it to light,” the outcast adds. Suspiciously, we do find out that all footage from around the area of Hwa-young’s death on the day of the suicide has been either erased or stole, leaving further questions.

At the police station, In-kyung combs over the camera footage that shows Cheol-seong’s final moments prior to his death caused by sudden unintended acceleration. An analysis from the National Forensic Service will need to be requested should the journalist want to look into this further, something we’re not yet quite sure happens. Alone later on, In-kyung tearily looks at a thank you text from the now dead informant, trying not to fall apart.

With the truth now evident about Director Shin’s travel ban, as well as his attempts for Hwa-young to protect the ledger and safe from the prosecution, Do-il shows In-joo a deleted file of a report to the prosecution based around Hyeon-min’s illegal overseas gambling, embezzlement, smuggling foreign currency, and illegal currency exchange.

Discovering that this was done by Hwa-young, who had been gathering evidence on the man she was apparently having an affair with for four years, we cut to a scene showing the desperate company heir threaten to take himself and his associate down together. Here, a person named Yang Hyang-sook is referenced as part of a threat, a person that is revealed to have been in charge of the orchids from 1999 to 2011.

Ignoring attempts at being thrown out, In-kyung pays her respect to Cheol-seong at his funeral, leaving behind a business card for the chief mourner which contains the information about where she was meant to meet his brother. Concurrently, In-joo watches the media coverage of Hyang-sook’s death alongside Do-il, which is a suicide eerily comparable to Hwa-young’s right down to the small details. “He gets someone economically vulnerable without friends or families involved in a huge embezzlement scheme, then blames them for everything and makes them kill themselves,” Do-il says, now with the presumed knowledge of what has really transpired. Yet he refuses to report the findings to the police, wanting instead to focus on finding the stolen 70 billion won, believing it’s what Hwa-young would have wanted due to their similar “ethics” that nothing is more sacred than money.

When alone, In-joo reflects on the things she thinks may equate to the two billion won she received from her fellow outcast, such as a warm apartment, and never being able to forget the image of Hwa-young dead while having to cover up the cause.

Elsewhere, with a blue orchid lingering in the background, In-kyung opens up to Jong-ho about how she is easily affected by other people’s emotions, which has made reporting difficult. It’s why she drinks, to negate the potential for a trembling voice to appear on recordings when there is a news story about a tragedy, though the journalist’s friend is rather confused in regard to why this is important to Cheol-seong’s alleged murder.

Of course, In-kyung does have something to share. She watches the video of Jae-sang’s apology with Jong-ho, drawing attention to the attorney’s cold, calculating demeanour. “He knows that the weak old man has no choice but to accept his apology,” the journalist vocalises, elaborating by showing just how orchestrated Jae-sang’s actions are ahead of his journey into politics. Still, Jong-ho is doubtful, going as far as to question whether his companion has always been this irrational with her hunches. Following that, he is left mildly disappointed that In-kyung is unable to pick up on the signals he is giving her about his affection towards her.

At home, In-kyung wonders whether In-joo has robbed a shop thanks to the array of products that sit in front of her, hearing back that the office worker has quit her job, and has bought these items as a means of comfort. The two sisters do squabble for a short while over this spending spree, until In-joo breaks down, looking towards her younger sibling for comfort. What follows is a heart-to-heart about the need for evidence in the suicide case, along with a shared indulgence of ice cream.

As a delivery of the ominous red heels from Director Shin arrives at the door, In-kyung snoops around In-hye’s phone, which contains texts about picking up the arts school student from the academy. Naturally, In-joo is terrified by the sight of her gift, but we don’t linger on the Oh family’s eldest daughter, as we swiftly cut to the presentation of Hyo-rin with an award for her self portrait (we know this was actually drawn by In-hye, as does In-kyung when she spots the news piece on the painting).

Confronting Director Shin on whether she was his next target, In-joo presses her boss for answers that don’t come. For one, Hyeon-min believes that embezzlement is an inevitable part of any enterprise, but the responsibility for it must land on someone’s shoulders. Then, he stands unflinching in front of In-joo, claiming that Hwa-young had said she wanted to do the same things Hyang-sook had been doing, knowing that she had an “easy job.” Refuting the idea of an affair, Director Shin says that he was taken advantage of, leaving In-joo far more curious.

The ending

Believing that Hwa-young perfectly positioned herself, planning her reporting of him well in advance, Director Shin further explains his side of the story to In-joo, though drops a nugget that there was something else the slush fund stealer should have been fearful of; “that there’s someone high above us.” Requesting that Do-il is then informed of his willingness to take the blame for his currently exposed wrongdoings, Hyeon-min adds one more caveat, that there is no further digging, as he is not someone who will go down alone. “If he annoys me, I’ll blow it up,” he says, regarding the slush fund ledger.

On his way to handing himself in to the prosecution, Director Shin, much like others before him, loses control of his vehicle, spotting a single blue orchid inside his car prior to the tragic ending of his life. Stunned, In-joo watches over the car park ledge as the episode ends.

What did you think of the Netflix K-Drama series Little Women (2022) season 1, episode 2? Comment below.

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