Crash Course in Romance Season 1 Episode 1 Recap

By Nathan Sartain
Published: January 15, 2023 (Last updated: February 27, 2023)
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A breezy, agreeable first installment that sets the scene nicely for what’s to come.

We recap the Netflix K-Drama series Crash Course in Romance Season 1 Episode 1, “You and I, the Intersection of Two Universes”, which contains spoilers.

Without much fanfare, Crash Course in Romance episode 1 did a decent job of introducing audiences to the wide-ranging ensemble of characters and providing some intriguing context for the rest of the season. After this fun, breezy first instalment though, the hope has to be that the show quickly settles into a consistent groove, particularly given the overriding themes of the plot may not outwardly appear to have unlimited mileage.

Crash Course in Romance Season 1 Episode 1 Recap

In Gangnam’s academy district (described as “Korea’s private education mecca”), people line up for priority seating in “star teachers’ classes.” It’s a unique environment where the parents and students involved are labelled “worn out as their day begins,” but they persist in believing it’ll help them attain “higher income, education, and grades in order to enter high society.”

Following this, we get properly acquainted with two characters. Firstly, there is Nam Haeng-seon, a former part of the national handball team and the owner of ‘Nation’s Best Banchan’. She’s a rather happy person, even if pessimistic about “the private education fad” she blames on obsessive mothers, though she does have a clumsy side too, proven by her scooter crash. Then, there’s maths tutor Choi Chi-yeol, a man who dramatically advertises his private classes through staged confrontations and dance routines, yet someone who is extremely calculated in his approach to life. This is highlighted by his reluctance in working 10 minutes of overtime unless paid a further 17 million won, a value decided upon based on the intricate calculations of the famous instructor nicknamed ‘The Trillion Won Man’.

Still, beneath Chi-yeol’s persona is someone who cares about his students. He worries that Dong-hui, his assistant, won’t be the only one who didn’t pick up on his June mock exam tips and seeks constant reassurance to gain confidence. With that being said, there is the matter of personal pride lingering, demonstrated by Chi-yeol’s desperation to get to the academy in quick time to respond to fellow tutor Song Jun-ho’s early mock exam review livestream.

After Chi-yeol revels in squashing his competition in the exam review livestream he put on, we cut to a group of students reflecting on their relative June mock failures. In particular, it’s established here that Nam Hae-e and Bang Su-a are in competition, with the latter especially concerned over how her peers are performing academically in the midst of her own good fortunes.

READ: Will there be a Crash Course in Romance Season 2?

When finished spending time with Sun-jae, Hae-e decides she’ll consider his advice on attending Chi-yeol’s private classes. However, she is likely to face opposition from Haeng-seon, who often requires the student’s help in delivering shop orders. Elsewhere, Chi-yeol continues enthusiastically plying his trade, engaging the many people opting to take his lessons with witty humour and an interesting teaching style.

Next, we watch Haeng-seon feed the parents of Hae-e’s classmates, where it’s made clear that Su-hui (mother of Su-a) is at least partially responsible for her child’s success due to her apparent knowledge of the “latest news about education.” Additionally, we’re introduced to the blunt Seo-jin, a lawyer intent on correcting all her acquaintances’ mistakes, and a person wholly different from her son, Sun-jae.

As Chi-yeol rebuffs the chance to be set up on a date, continuing his streak of being unable to remember the names of his colleagues, as well as his inflexibility in beginning a relationship with someone (he believes they’re a “waste of energy”), he is made to catch up on missed meals. This irritates the tutor, who claims he’d buy a pill that would keep people alive if it meant not having to “eat, sleep and excrete” in the same way a normal human does before he falls victim to an unenviable bout of vomiting.

Once Chi-yeol’s eating disorder caused by “stress, emotional deprivation, and feelings of emptiness” is revealed, it becomes evident one option to stunt his struggles is to rest. However, judging by the tutor’s general character, it’s unlikely such an avenue will be explored. Elsewhere, Sun-jae returns home to find his dad leaving the house, then faces scrutiny from his mother over the messing up of a basic question in his mock exams. It’s obvious the student is under intense pressure in his home life, particularly given he is harshly accused of not studying “hard enough”, in addition to being grilled over what it is he wishes to do with his life.

While Chi-yeol finds himself secretly recorded when removing an obsessive student from his home, Jae-woo is hospitalised for a fever. Here, his family are told the high temperature can lead to infective endocarditis (due to Jae-woo’s congenital heart disease), meaning he’ll need to stay overnight. Fortunately, the selfless Haeng-seon is on hand to look after her relative during this hospital visit.

Following a scene showing Hae-e disposing of Chi-yeol’s flyer, perhaps unwilling to enrol in his classes because her family needs her help, we cut to the famous tutor, who is shown as unable to properly rest alone, requiring the use of a sleeping bag as opposed to his sizeable bed. Moreover, Chi-yeol is unable to prevent himself from dreaming of a student needing assistance.

The next day, problems increase for Chi-yeol, as his team are forced to deny rumours of the tutor dating a student when the secretly recorded footage of the previous night surfaces. Still, Dong-hui is confident things will blow over shortly, adamant the private instructor’s reputation will be untainted. That is until the student involved in the rumour tries to allege she and Chi-yeol really are an item, though, a declaration which ramps up the discourse, especially when the tutor’s class gets cancelled.

Of course, the real reason for the class being canned is down to Chi-yeol’s severe sickness. The tutor’s condition is so bad, his doctor recommends him stopping his job, given he is both sleep-deprived and malnourished. “Stop obsessing over work and take better care of yourself,” Dong-hui tells Chi-yeol, wanting his boss to find ways to eat and to start actually looking after his health.

At the hospital, Chi-yeol misunderstands Jae-woo’s interest in his hoodie as intent to start more rumours, so the tutor steals his fellow patient’s phone to check the pictures that were taken, prior to fleeing out of embarrassment that he was knocked to the floor by Haeng-seon, who was defending her brother. What follows is a snappy chase scene based around the mobile being returned to its rightful owner, one which culminates in the device being cracked.

As Chi-yeol leaves the scene in a hurry, touting the idea of moving away to Dong-hui, Haeng-seon heads back to the hospital deflated, failing to hide the smashed phone from the upset Jae-woo. Concurrently, Su-a is told she most likely reached the top of her class in the June mocks, whereas Hae-e looks disappointed at her inability to reach level one.

While Haeng-seon desperately tries to get the despondent Jae-woo to eat porridge and take his medicine, Hae-e heads straight to bed, upset over her aunt’s reluctance to check up on her, or be up-to-date with her education. “You should’ve sent me away when my mum abandoned me,” the student says before exiting the house in the heat of the moment. Elsewhere, Dong-hui pays ‘Nation’s Best Banchan’ a visit to get some takeout for Chi-yeol, hoping his boss can avoid further hospital trips by eating properly.

Ending Explained

Later, a calmer Hae-e talks things out with Haeng-seon, apologising for verbally attacking her aunt earlier, and opening up about her desire to be enrolled in Chi-yeol’s private classes. Meanwhile, the famous instructor tucks into the takeout he received from Dong-hui, and the episode ends with the tutor finally able to enjoy some food without vomiting. Nevertheless, there is a quick epilogue to go along with proceedings, where Haeng-seon is seen weighing up whether to get Jae-woo a new phone or not, wondering where she can find the man who cracked the mobile in the first place.

What did you think of the K-Drama series Crash Course in Romance Season 1 Episode 1? Comment below.

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