Cinderella meets her prince, but he isn’t charming.
Cinderella and Four Knights Episode 1 Recap
Our hard-working heroine, Eun Ha Won (Park So Dam), sees a man fight to obtain a lady’s purse. Believing she’s seen a robbery, she follows him on her scooter. I must say it is unlikely that a scooter could keep up with the motorcycle. She sees a man give the purse back to a woman and ride away. Ha Won asks the woman who the man was. The woman doesn’t know, but she’s enraptured that a stranger was willing to retrieve her purse with no strings attached. Ha Won is impressed, she doesn’t necessarily think highly of men. Maybe, she allows, there are some good ones out there.
A woman, Park Hye Ji (Son Na Eun), sees her ex-boyfriend, Kang Hyun Min (Ahn Jae Hyeon), and her friend shopping together. Neither are particularly chagrined to be spotted by her. Another man, Kang Ji Woon (Jung Il Woo), undoubtedly the purse returning hero, walks up to Hye Ji and apologizes for keeping her waiting. The two men face off. Hyun Min tells Ji Woon there’s no way he could ever be heir to the company or the hotel, they must be brothers. He calls him trash. The younger brother, Ji Woon, is no pushover and grabs his older brother’s lapels and tells him he needs to learn about respect. Hyun Min tells Ji Woon he’s got a long way to go and stalks off. It’s been so long since I’ve seen Il Woo (2011’s Flower Boy Ramen Shop) in a drama, I’m stoked to see him. He’s been great in the past; I hope he’s great here. Ji Woon tells Hye Ji she’s got terrible taste in men. He tells her he’ll need to approve of the man she marries. Hye Ji calls him a nag and says he’s the one that was late for lunch. You can tell she has unresolved feelings for Hyun Min.
Ha Won returns home to find her stepsisters, no doubt the evil stepsisters in this version of Cinderella, eating fried chicken and watching TV. They tell Ha Won to do the dishes, ask about the dry-cleaning she was supposed to pick up and generally treat her like a servant. They make a snide comment about Ha Won’s dead mother and Ha Won walks away trying to stay positive.
Ha Won reviews possible part-time job listings and calculates whether or not she’ll have enough money to start college soon.
The three cousins tool around town in their sports cars and receive a text requesting their presence to learn what’s going on with Grandfather. Each receive a different second text to force them to attend. Hyun Min receives a threat to have his credit cards frozen. Ji Woon text threat is to keep the circumstances of his birth a secret forever. Hate to say it, but the car montage made me think of Boys Over Flowers. When the three brothers arrive they stride to the room where the Assistant to their Grandfather, Lee Yoon Sung, is waiting for them. The questions they ask illuminate their priorities. Hyun Min asks if Grandfather lost money. Kang Seo Woo (Lee Jung Shin) asks if Grandfather passed out. Ji Woon asks where Grandfather is. Assistant Lee hands out invitations to their Grandfather’s wedding. None of them want to attend. Assistant Lee states all three brothers must attend. In unison they ask “who are you calling brothers”? Ji Woon leaves first bristling at being referred with the last name Kang. Seo Woo leaves after that. Hyun Min says he’ll attend the wedding, his Grandfather’s fifth. He leaves.
Assistant Lee flashes back to bringing Ji Woon to Grandfather’s mansion. When Ji Woon and Hyun Min meet it is instant dislike. Assistant Lee tells Ji Woon and Hyun Min they are cousins. Then why are they referenced as brothers? Ji Woon is the long-lost son of Hyun Min’s uncle. Ji Woon explains he grew up in an orphanage and dropped out of high school. Immediately Hyun Min discounts him and jokes that Grandfather must have a hobby in finding new grandsons. Hyun Min references another stray that Grandfather took in. Is it Seo Woo? Hyun Min glares at Ji Woon and exits. Assistant Lee tells Ji Woon he just has to get used to how things are around here. That doesn’t make Ji Woon happy.
Grandfather asked Assistant Lee if he was successful in getting his grandsons to attend his wedding. Assistant Lee is doubtful they will attend. Grandfather says he needs a successor to take over the company soon. Grandfather says one of them has what it takes. He asks Assistant Lee to ensure that they attend his wedding, all eyes will be focused on this event.
Ji Woon sees a customer berating a mechanic in the repair shop he frequents. He learns the customer is a constant complainer and is threatening to post a bad review online. Taking matters into his own hands, Ji Woon literally drives his car into the customer’s car. Needless to say the customer is livid. Ji Woon calms things down by telling the mechanic to repair both cars. Ji Woon tells the customer to get whatever he wants repaired, but in return he must apologize for his rudeness and drop the entitled act. The rude customer agrees.
We see men scurrying to find a man for a drama shoot or commercial shoot or something. They are looking for Seo Woo who plays a guitar with headphones on ignores his phone lost in the moment and his music.
A livid girl approaches Hyun Min upset that he broke up with her via text. Unperturbed Hyun Min notes he did use an emoji. Ha! With a calculating look, the girl asks if Hyun Min grants one wish to his ex-girlfriends. Hyun Min says he does. The girl drives off in his car. Hyun Min says philosophically “there goes another one of my cars”.
Grandfather and his fiancée, Ji Hwa Ja, appear happy together.
Later Grandfather’s fiancée says to the other person on the phone that she has a plan for the third-generation rich boys. Hmm, maybe she isn’t as nice as she seems.
Hyun Min and his friends are at the club. Hyun Min tells his friends he’ll date the next girl that walks through the door. And the next girl is…Ha Won, with a pizza delivery. Ha! Hyun Min’s friends can’t help but laugh. The guys that ordered the pizza hassle Ha Won about not being pretty per their request. Ha Won demands payment and ignores their insults. But bullies hate to be ignored and so they dump the pizza on the ground. Ha Won clenches her fists. Hyun Min prepares to intervene with his credit card. But one of the bullies goes sailing past as Ha Won puts her fists to good use. Hyun Min and his friends are impressed. When Ha Won pulls the hood off her head, Hyun Min is affected. The other bully meekly pays the bill and the bully on the ground apologizes for calling Ha Won delivery vermin. I love it! Ha Won tells the bullies to straighten up and live their lives better. She apologizes to the crowd for the commotion and leaves. Hyun Min’s friends call her a thug. Hyun Min says he’s a man of his word and goes after her. But Ha Won takes off on her scooter before Hyun Min can stop her. They goodness he’s able to take a picture of her license plate and smiles knowing he’ll see her soon enough. I really like the moxie of Ha Won in that scene. Too bad she doesn’t have the same moxie with her stepsisters.
Ha Won’s stepmother is not happy that her daughter who cannot get accepted to college. How else will she meet a rich man to marry? Ha Won returns home and asked to borrow the computer. Her stepsister asks if Ha Won applied to college. Ha Won confirms this. Laughing her stepsister says to go ahead and check the status of her application believing she will not be accepted. Ha Won checks a school that is focused on teachers, that’s what her mother wanted her to be. Evil stepmother complains that Ha Won only cares about her dead mother. Ha Won’s stepmother says don’t dream too big, you’ll only be disappointed. Of course Ha Won has been accepted to college much to the chagrin of her stepmother and stepsister. Her stepsister says she needs money to go to college. Ha Won says she saved enough to begin and will work her way through college.
In her room Ha Won celebrates her acceptance to college. She opens up the locket necklace she wears and tells her mother she was accepted to college.
Grandfather and Assistant Lee are not excited to find the house trashed after a party. They call for the butler who they find duck taped to the ceiling. Ha! Duck tape does solve all problems in life, if you didn’t know. The butler tells Grandfather his grandsons are devils. He quits. Grandfather strides away and complains to Assistant Lee that his grandsons have been living together for one year but do not act like family. He instructs Assistant Lee to get another butler. Grandfather wonders who could he hire that could beat some sense into his grandsons? I bet I know who!
Hyun Min tracks down Ha Won to the convenience store that she works at. He buys an ice cream that is BOGO, buy one get one, and offers Ha Won the free one. He’s quips that he’s astonished at how quickly she eats. In return she speaks informally to him. I like the banter that they have and the easy manner between them. Right away you can see the potential of this relationship. Hyun Min invites her to spend three hours with him that evening. Ha Won goes back to work not accepting his invitation. He offers to pay her for her time. She says people with money are often untrustworthy. He counters that money solves problems. She counters that money glosses over problems but doesn’t necessarily solve them. He presses and she says he must prove that he has the money. Hyun Min proceeds to buy out the store. She asks for his number so he can get a cash receipt. He smiles saying that’s a clever way to get his phone number. He proceeds to write his phone number on her arm. He gives her a wink and saunters out of the store. Excellent initial interaction between these two.
Hye Ji tries to talk a salesman into selling her a sample amount of the fabric but he refuses as he only sells wholesale. When a man knocks over a fabric display, she offers to restore it for the fabric. The salesman agrees. Next we see Hye Ji with the fabric in her studio.
Ji Woon stops by the car repair shop and offers to buy the hard-working mechanics dinner. He says he’ll just pop to the convenience store. You know what that means, he’ll meet Ha Won too. Will both Ji Woon and Hyun Min battle for Ha Won? At the convenience store Ji Woon realizes he doesn’t have his wallet. He dashes back to the car repair shop and overhears the mechanics talking about how he used to be one of them but now things are different. He walks away dejectedly and passes the convenience store where Ha Won is heating up the food. She sees him walk past and runs out and tells him he needs to pay for the food that she’s heated did for him. He doesn’t have his wallet and he’ll pay tomorrow. She shakes her head wondering why men are plaguing her today. She doesn’t believe that he’ll be able to pay tomorrow. He tells her he’s wealthy and isn’t scamming her. She’s heard that one today too. She demands that he pay. He offers his watch. She calls him a jerk. She tells him to stop by the store and pay tomorrow.
While working on address Hye Ji gets a phone call saying that Hyun Min is bringing somebody to the wedding. She pretends this doesn’t bother her and ends up sticking herself with the pin. Ji Woon overhears the phone call and goes to get a bandage for her. So I’m wondering if Ji Woon and Hye Ji will be a couple or Ji Woon and Ha Won will be a couple.
When Ha Won returns to her small bedroom she stares at mementos of her mother. She texts her father asking when he’ll be home, it’s been six months since she seen him, and tomorrow is the anniversary of her mother’s death.
On a bus to visit her mother’s memorial marker Ha Won sees Ji Woon pass her on a motorcycle though she doesn’t know it is him. For whatever reason that reminds me of the scene in 49 days. Ha Won is shocked to find her mother’s items removed and learns they have been put in storage due to lack of payment. The employee tells her the due bill is 5 million. Ha Won is shocked. Oh no, Ha Won has 4 million for college. Will she use that? Ji Woon arrives and asks her to get out of the way so he can visit his mother. Interesting that Ji Woon’s mother’s marker is just above Ha Won’s mother’s marker. As he leaves he sees Ha Won fall to her knees and beg to have her mother’s items removed from storage. He remembers her from the previous evening. As Ha Won looks at the rain Ji Woon stands next to her for a moment then gets on his motorcycle and leaves. Ha Won remembers a sweet moment between herself and her mother on the bus home. Ha Won frets that the money for college could pay the memorial marker debt but she knows her mother wanted her to go to college. She fingers her mother’s locket. She declares she’s going to go to college. But she just can’t leave her mother mementos in storage. Ha Won tells her mother that she won’t go to college and apologizes. She cries and says she’s having a hard time.
Hye Ji shows Ji Woon the dress she made for his Grandfather’s wedding. He says he’s not going to go because no one wants him there. She says Hyun Min is going to bring the girl. Ji Woon asks if that bothers her. Hye Ji asks him to go with her. He doesn’t want to and she does understand.
Ji Woon thinks to herself she’s only 1 million short of the 5 million she needs to pay them memorial marker debt. A limousine pulls up and Hyun Min gets out. Ji Woon ask for cash up front. Hyun Min is surprised and says he’ll need one more thing. He asks her to pretend to be his fiancée for three hours. Undoubtedly he wants her to be his date/fake fiancé for his Grandfather’s wedding. Ji Woon asks why. Hyun Min gives her a sob story about his Grandfather being gravely ill and wanting to see him settled and happy before he dies. Tenderhearted Ji Woon falls for it. Hyun Min smiles, declaring since they are engaged they should introduce themselves, which they do and shake hands. So now I’m guessing the Hyun Min is going to be the initial Prince for Ha Won but Ji Woon will be the final prince. I don’t know why I’m trying to figure this all out in episode one.
Hyun Min tries to get friendly in the limousine but Ha Won will have nothing to do with that. Hyun Min says she has to pretend to be his fiancée for three hours, from 9 PM to midnight. Ha Won shows her fist and says their arrangement will be over at midnight, on the dot. Excellent parallel to Cinderella and the stroke of midnight time frame.
Hyun Min and Ha Won make their entrance at the wedding. Color me surprised but I thought we were going to have a makeover moment when Hyun Min took Ha Won shopping for a pretty dress. But no she gets to go to a fancy wedding in her school uniform. Everyone wonders who Ha Won is.
Seo Woo arrives solo. Everyone wonders if Ji Woon will arrive. We see him zipping down the streets on his motorcycle.
Ah we do get a makeover. Hyun Min has an array of jewelry, shoes and help to transform Ha Won. He answers a knock on his door to find Hye Ji in her pretty blue dress. He doesn’t want her to come in and she asks if he’s with somebody. He confirms this. He won’t tell her who. He asks if she’s tired of obsessing about him. Ouch! This guy has major ego. He tells her mind her own business. He goes back into his home.
Ha Won has a white dress in her hands but thinks it’s a bit much and doesn’t want to change into it. Little does she know headphone Seo Woo is in the room with her. He hears her and turns to see her, but she does not see him. She decides she has to keep her word and changes into the white dress. Seo Woo accidentally grabs her phone. Ha Won looks at herself in the mirror and fingers her mother’s locket. She grabs the phone on the bed and leaves. Seo Woo sees the bouquet of white roses she left on the bed.
Ha Won enters the room looking lovely in the dress but the white tennis shoes have to go. Hyun Min offers red shoes for her to wear. I’m surprised he doesn’t say she looks pretty. Next is hair and makeup.
Grandfather’s fiancée stares at her wedding bouquet and tells herself she’s halfway there. Hmm, maybe she isn’t nice at all.
Grandfather is decked out and ready to get married.
It’s time for the wedding. Grandfather and his fiancée make their entrance. Hyun Min and Ha Won walk down the hall together. Ji Woon arrives outside the wedding venue. Hyun Min and Ha Won make their entrance and all eyes turn to them. Hyun Min tells her they are getting married. She tells him he’s crazy. He picks her up and carries her down the stairs to the podium where he meets his Grandfather and fiancée. Hyun Min offers his fiancée as his wedding gift to his Grandfather. They ask Ha Won where she is from. Ha Won says she is a senior at the local high school. The crowd chuckles making Ha Won uneasy. Hyun Min introduces his Grandfather’s fifth wife. Ha Won chastises him for speaking rudely to his Grandfather. That gets his Grandfather’s attention. Ha Won demands that Hyun Min apologize to his Grandfather. Hyun Min does not want to. Ha Won forces Hyun Min’s hand behind his back and makes a kneel in front of his Grandfather. Excellent move! Ji Woon watches this unfold. Hyun Min tries to get up but Ha Won won’t let him showing him her fist which he knows means pain.
Ha Won strides into a room with Hyun Min following her. Seo Woo asks if Ha Won is really Hyun Min’s fiancé. Hye Ji is also in the room and watches. Hyun Min claims they are indeed engaged. Hyun Min introduces Seo Woo to Ha Won. You can tell Ha Won doesn’t want to play along but when Hyun Min looks at his watch, she realizes she has to keep her into the bargain until midnight. Coldly Hyun Min tells Hye Ji he has no relationship with her and should stop reacting in front of Ha Won. Hye Ji steps forward and introduces herself to Ha Won. She explains that she’s been friends with Hyun Min since they were young. The two women shake hands. Ji Woon interrupts angry that Hye Ji has no pride. Ji Woon asks Ha Won if she came to the wedding because of money. He asks if she really needs money that badly. He holds a wad of cash in front of her face. Then he lets the money fall to the floor. Hyun Min and Ji Woon stare at each other with Seo Woo watching.
The writing, the acting, the pace of this first episode was solid. I love Cinderella and riffs on this favorite fairy tale are always welcome. This series could be good based on this first episode. I look forward to the ride.
There were a lot of characters introduced this first episode but the pace of meeting each character didn’t make my head spin. None of the characters seem ridiculous or particularly out of place. It was confusing having the cousins called brothers in the subtitles. I’m going to call them cousins because that’s what they are. The series is based on a novel by Baek Myo and the scripts are written by Min Ji Eun and Won Young-Sil. I have not seen anything by these writers.
Right away we see that there is a foursome for romance. I vacillated between Hyun Min and Ha Won versus Ji Woon and Ha Won but by the end of the episode it is obvious that the real pairing is between Ji Woon and Ha Won. Hyun Min is showy, the one everyone thinks is the prince. But it will be Ji Woon that proves to be the prince (and real heir?). I enjoying sorting all these things out as a I watch a series. I don’t watch trailers and read only a small amount before a show where I focus on the actors or writers, as I don’t like to be tainted by promotional materials.
Why did I watch this series? Three reasons: I love Cinderella, I love Jung Il Woo, and I just saw Park So Dam in Beautiful Mind and wanted to see her in an another series.
Kang Ji Woon (Jung Il Woo) is angry at being displaced into this new world. I’m not wild on Il Woo’s hair. But who cares? This actor can show so many facets. I look forward to the evolution of this character. What is Ji Woon’s birth secret?
Eun Ha Won (Park So Dam) is Cinderella. She’s underappreciated at home and treated like a servant. She’s positive but not in a nauseating way. I like that she has an edge by being a top-notch fighter. It did seem odd that she was willing to stand up for herself with others but not with her own family. That was a tough call when she had to make the decision on whether or not to pay the debt on her mother’s memorial marker or go to college. Her mother would’ve wanted her to go to college. But the sharp emotional pain of not having her mother’s memorial marker overrode the long-term goal of college. Good initial chemistry with the Ji Woon and Hyun Win.
Kang Hyun Min (Ahn Jae Hyeon) is all charm but no substance. The banter between Hyun Min and Ha Won was excellent. Ha Won could be the person to put him in his place. I look forward to this man being reformed.
Park Hye Ji (Son Na Eun) is the castoff girlfriend of Hyun Min who wants him back. She is pleasant but unremarkable at this point.
Kang Seo Woo (Lee Jung Shin) plays guitar and seems amiable. I’m sure he will flesh out into a character that matters as the series progresses.
Who is the fourth knight? We met Ji Woon, Ha Won and Seo Woo.
The first song of the OST has been released. Check out “For You” by BTOB via the link or the embedded video below: