This series begins in the present with glimpses of the past…
Chicago Typewriter Episode 1 Recap
Writer Han Se Joo (Yoo Ah In) is disguised as a homeless man, it appears he’s doing research. A group of suited men search the homeless people. One of the men thinks Se Joo looks familiar. They get into scuffle in which Se Joo is most concerned about protecting his hands and head. He’s got a brain! In an interesting fight twist, one of the men throws a burning log at Se Joo and he bats is back at him with his crutch. I haven’t seen that in a fight before! Se Joo’s limp disappears as he walks away from the scene.
Se Joo arrives home and Secretary Kang greets him asking if his research was successful. As Se Joo walks off goes the fake beard, glasses, hat, etc. revealing the handsome man underneath the disguise. Se Joo says he’ll organize his materials. Lucky for us this includes a shower scene and Se Joo walking into an expansive closet while we hear Se Joo’s voiceover that sometimes a writer must research in first person and that includes disguises. Se Joo is interviewed and poses for a photoshoot. It appears he is a rich and famous writer. Se Joo’s voiceover continues as he explains he cares for his mind and body. His reward for making a deadline? Cake and coffee!
His current book is a best seller. He flies abroad for a publicity tour through the US and Europe. After a long day at a book signing, Se Joo relaxes by reading a book. The clocks tick loudly. A spot light illuminates an old-fashioned typewriter. Se Joo approaches the typewriter. Just as he’s about the touch the keys, he hears a woman’s voice asking if he knows the nickname of the typewriter. Startled he looks around the eclectically decorated room but no one is there.
Then we are sucked into the typewriter and see a man typing on the typewriter while a woman (the voice we heard) ask if he knows the nickname of the gun. The man is Se Joo in the 1940s or 1930s. The woman tells him the gun sounds like a typewriter, so it’s nickname is Chicago Typewriter. The woman tells Se Joo to write something wonderful not the typical dreck most produce. I love that the series title was mentioned so early.
Now we are sucked back to present day. Se Joo stares at the typewriter. A cafe owner approaches and tells Se Joo the typewriter is from the 1930s from Kyungseong Korea. Se Joo wants to buy it but the man declines his offer. Se Joo hears voices from the typewriter. He shakes his head and walks away.
It’s dark and the cafe is closed and deserted. The gramophone starts playing a record and the typewriter starts typing. The cafe owner, who lives above the cafe makes his way downstairs with a gun in his hand. Things in the cafe move and the owner starts firing in fear. The music starts and stops. The typewriter starts and stops. Freaked out, the owner runs away. The typewriter repeats the same sentence “please send me Writer Han Se Joo”.
A man modifies a weapon after using a large photo of Se Joo for target practice.
At a bookstore Jeon Seol (Lim Soo Jung) holds Se Joo’s latest novel and gazes his photo murmuring that he’s talented and handsome. Jeon Seol answers her phone with “this is Anything Errand Service, who can do anything with wisdom”. That’s a long tag line! Jeon Seol gets a request to pick up a package at the airport and rushes out. The bookstore worker, Ma Bang Jin (Yang Jin Sung) comments that Jeon Seol is a super fan and treats Se Joo like a fan girl of an idol. Bang Jin says Jeon Seol is a fan fiction legend. Fan fiction are derivative works from an original work of fiction written by fans. We learn Jeon Seol is a successful writer too.
Flashback to a young Jeon Seol declaring she’ll marry a writer. Her friends Bang Jin and Won Dae Han find this an odd marital goal.
Present day Jeon Seol is all kinds of cool. She can mountain climb, she is a self-defense expert, and strong too. She once wanted to be a veterinarian but gave it up much to the chagrin of her parents.
Jeon Seol thinks that Se Joo’s loner status mean he did something awesome in a previous life.
Jeon Seol is in the airport as Se Joo returns to Korea and has a gaggle of female fans swarm him. She tries to join in but must pick up the package instead. She mutters that her job obstructs her fan life. Hey, I feel the same about my job obstructing my kdrama viewing and blogging!
When Jeon Seol picks up the package for delivery she learns it is from a cafe owner in Chicago and she must deliver it to Se Joo! Must be the typewriter.
Se Joo writes in the car though his manager tells him to relax. Se Joo eyes Publisher Gal Ji Seok (Jo Woo Jin) and tells him to stop bringing him new projects so he can complete the writing assignments he’s committed to.
Over lunch Publisher Gal spouts plans which Se Joo only listens with a half ear. Secretary Kang tells Se Joo that the house is ready for him and the staff is on a break to allow him privacy. Secretary Kang is worried about another stalker incident. Se Joo waves this possibility away. The restaurants chef approaches for an autograph. Se Joo graciously obliges. The chef tells Se Joo the fortune cookie prediction is often accurate. Se Joo tucks it in his jacket for later.
Finally home, Se Joo looks through his mail. Once envelope contains the large photo of Se Joo the man used for target practice.
Jeon Seol arrives at the mansion with the package. She checks herself before ringing.
Se Joo looks at the fortune cookie, smiles, and opens it. The fortune reads “muses are like ghosts. They show up uninvited sometimes.” Se Joo hears the doorbell. Flustered Jeon Seol screeches she has a package. Se Joo asks her to leave it at the door. Jeon Seol states the customer wanted it personally delivered. Se Joo states his working and cuts off the video and verbal exchange.
Jeon Seol sits outside the house, bummed that her golden opportunity to meet Se Joo didn’t come to fruition. A dog approaches her. Jeon Seol assumes the dog lives there. She’s surprised when the door to the entrance is unlocked. The dog goes through, looks back, and seems to whine for her to enter too. Jeon Seol grabs the package and follows the dog.
Just as Se Joo is about to insert a flash drive shaped like a bone, he hears Jeon Seol’s knock on his front door. Se Joo opens the door and sees Jeon Seol with the package. He asks how she got in. Jeon Seol assumes he opened the door. Worried she may be a stalker Se Joo is jumpy when she tries to find her business card. He warns her of his martial arts skills. Se Joo puts the business card in his hand. But to her embarrassment it’s her friends’ mother’s fortune teller business car. She offers her company’s business card. Jeon Seol tries to enter the house but Se Joo blocks her. He won’t let a package in his home that hasn’t been checked. He suggests she’s a stalker. She denies it. Se Joo describes some of the crazy things that have happened. It shocks Jeon Seol. He tells her the package won’t enter his home.
The dog goes into his home. Se Joo is startled declaring he’s allergic to dogs. He orders Jeon Seol to catch the dog. Jeon Seol puts the package down and rushes into the house to catch the dog. Se Joo and Jeon Seol find the dog with the bone shaped flash drive between his paws. Se Joo tells Jeon Seol that flash drive contains his latest work. He warns Jeon Seol that if the dog eats the flash drive, she’ll die. Jeon Seol tells Se Joo not to aggravate the dog. It’s a face off! The dog eats the flash drive. Se Joo is horrified. Jeon Seol can’t believe it. The dog runs. Se Joo orders Jeon Seol to catch the dog. She hesitates. He promises to double her fee. She runs after the dog.
They chase the dog through the streets until a dead end stops the dog. Jeon Seol gently calls to the dog. Se Joo gently calls to the dog. The dog stares at them. A Celine Dion song plays in the background. LOL! The dog jumps into Jeon Seol’s arms. They rush the dog to a veterinary clinic. Jeon Seol explains the dog swallowed a flash drive. Se Joo waits. Jeon Seol appears with a wide grin and the flash drive. Se Joo almost gags when Jeon Seol tells him the dog popped out the flash drive. Jeon Seol assures him the flash drive is functional. But Se Joo can’t bring himself to touch it. He tells Jeon Seol he has one more job for her.
At Se Joo’s house, Jeon Seol retrieves the contents of the flash drive and emails it to him. Over tea, Jeon Seol tells Se Joo they’ve met before. He laughs saying that’s a standard line. He tells her super fans claim they’ve met him in a past life. Jeon Seol assure him while she’s a fan, she’s not a stalker. Se Joo tells her fans can easily be stalkers. He gives her the laptop she did the transfer with.
Se Joo pushes Jeon Seol out the front door. She does not want to go. She sees the package and offers to open it. He grabs the package. She tells him it is a gift from a cafe owner in Chicago. Se Joo wonders if it is the typewriter. He takes the package inside and bids her a good evening.
That was a cute-ish meet. Jeon Seol was most insistent to stay. I understand why Se Joo wanted her gone. She was a bit too enthusiastic.
Jeon Seol meets Bang Jin and two other friends at the same restaurant Se Joo had lunch at. The chef shows Jeon Seol his autograph from Se Joo. Jeon Seol whips out the laptop Se Joo gave her. Bang Jin cuddles the laptop.
As Jeon Seol and Bang Jin arrive home, a woman stops Jeon Seol before she enters the house. Landlady? Mother? Wang Bang Wool asks Jeon Seol if she delivered a strange item like an urn. Jeon Seol tell her no. Bang Wool is puzzled. She senses a dark energy from Jeon Seol. She asks if Jeon Seol’s visions have returned. Jeon Seol denies this, declaring the visions a thing of the past. Jeon Seol strides past Bang Wool saying her mother left her because of the visions. Bang Wool counters that her mother left because she fell in love. Jeon Seol heads into the house. Bang Wool stares after her, sensing the dark energy.
Se Joo looks at the typewriter placed on his bookshelf. He writes at his laptop. The camera shows us Se Joo writing on the laptop and the typewriter.
We see Jeon Seol in the past putting together a pistol. Someone in the shadows is pleased she can do it in 20 seconds. He checks her work and declares it good. Se Joo types. Now the initial scene replays. Jeon Seol asks Se Joo if he knows the nickname of the gun. Se Joo doesn’t know. Jeon Seol tells him the gun sounds like a typewriter, so it’s nickname is Chicago Typewriter. Jeon Seol tells Se Joo to write something wonderful not the typical dreck most produce. The other man flips the hat off Se Joo’s hat. Her long hair falls down.
Se Joo shakes his head. Publisher Gal calls and surprises Se Joo when he says it is 3pm in the afternoon. Publisher Gal wants to know about Se Joo’s latest project to he can tantalize investors tomorrow. Se Joo says the project is about the 1930s Kyungseong. It’s a story about a freedom fighter and a writer. Publisher Gal is stoked. Se Joo hangs up. He stares at the clock and asks himself if he pushed himself too hard. Then he stares at the typewriter. Secretary Kang calls him and asks about the dog.
Jeon Seol arrives at the vet delivering a paper. The vet asks what to do with the dog. She notes that Secretary Kang stated the dog does not belong to Se Joo. Jeon Seol says she can’t take the dog because she’s staying with friends. Jeon Seol says she’ll ask Se Joo to keep the dog on the grounds of his home, not inside. Jeon Seol rubs the dog and wonders if fate brought them together.
Se Joo checks out reference material on the gun he saw in his dream. He sees a book on fate from another author on the bench. The author, Baek Tae Min (Kwak Si Yang) appears and asks Se Joo if he’d like to join him for tea.
Tae Min tells Se Joo his father’s series will be released soon. He also talks about his mother and sister. Se Joo tells him as an orphan he doesn’t need to hear this. Tae Min reminds him they used to live together. Se Joo counters that life is in his past. He doesn’t care about it anymore. Se Joo states he got used by Tae Min’s family. Tae Min says his family feels bad about how things ended. Se Joo isn’t interested in what Tae Min has to say. Tae Min doesn’t understand why they can’t be civil. Se Joo counters that when they are in the professional realm, he can be civil, but the personal realm he cannot pretend. Se Joo stands to leave. Tae Min says his father is worried about how dangerous Se Joo’s writing is. Se Joo sits back down. Tae Min states this his father worries Se Joo is vulnerable to crimes with his writing. Se Joo counters he wrote dangerously 10 years ago. He tells Tae Min they ruined people’s lives. He says that is the dangerous writing. He urges Tae Min to stop hiding and start writing again. Se Joo leaves. Tae Min ponders.
Back home, Se Joo hears 1930’s music coming from his writing room. He finds a record playing. The eyes of the painting follow him! Se Joo turns the music off. He finds his laptop open to a particular web page. He goes to the window and finds the fortune “muses are like ghosts. They show up uninvited sometimes.” He recalls throwing it in the trash. He calls out believing someone is in the room. The doorbell rings.
Se Joo opens the front door and finds Jeon Seol and the dog. He’s not happy to see them. Se Joo says once again the street door was unlocked so she could enter his grounds. She asks if she can leave the dog with him. Se Joo says her line is a tired one. Jeon Seol is confused. Se Joo tells her using a dog to distract from the crimes she commits is a good idea. Jeon Seol doesn’t understand. Se Joo asks if she went into his writing room. Jeon Seol is adamant she did not. She asks if Se Joo has a stalker. Se Joo stares at her implying she’s his stalker. Jeon Seol counters she is a fan. Se Joo shakes his head. He knows once the fantasy image people have of him is punctured, love can turn to hate. He tells her to leave before he calls the police. He shuts and locks the door. Jeon Seol can’t believe it. She tells the dog this won’t be his new home.
Jeon Seol and the dog walk the streets. She stares in the Subway window and remembers working there when Se Joo would eat there and write all day. Jeon Seol recalls this was before Se Joo was famous. Jeon Seol tells the dog that Se Joo wouldn’t remember her from those days. The dog takes off. Jeon Seol goes after him.
Se Joo writes and recalls the vision from 1930. The lights go out. He yells for the person to reveal himself. A man’s voice asks if Se Joo remembers him. Se Joo turns and sees a man with a cap holding a gun. It looks like the man that shoot at the large picture of Se Joo. The gun is the same from his 1930s vision. The man says he’s written Se Joo for 3 years. Se Joo asks him to put the gun down. The man says that Se Joo never answered his letters. The man says he understood Se Joo’s message from his last novel that directed him to get revenge. Se Joo tells him to put the gun down. The man declares the message in the book was for him. The man smiles. He tells Se Joo he got rid of everything like Se Joo told him to. Se Joo asks what he got rid of. The man smiles. He got rid of the people that hurt him. Se Joo asks if the man committed murder after reading his novel. The man confirms this. Se Joo is shocked. He tells the man he is crazy. The man asks why he died in the book. He only followed Se Joo’s instructions for revenge. Se Joo yells that the novel was not about him. The man points the gun at Se Joo. The lights flicker. Upset the man yells, why do I have to die? The man screams “You ruined me. I was ruined because of your novel!” The men grapple. The gun skids across the floor. The man regains control of the gun. He fires.
The lights come back on. Se Joo feels his chest. He’s not shot. He looks up and sees Jeon Seol with the gun trained on the man. She tells the man no one’s life is ruined because of a novel. She tells him the person that ruined his life is him. Se Joo stares at his avenging angel.
Bang Jin tells her friends that Jeon Seol was once an Olympic caliber shooter. Bang Jin tells her friends Jeon Seol quit the sport because she had visions when she held a gun. Bang Jin says the visions were of a past life. A life where she holds guns and kills people. Bang Jin says Jeon Seol ‘s nickname was the “Legendary Sniper”.
Se Joo realizes that Jeon Seol is the woman from his vision.
I’m intrigued. First episodes are difficult and this one centered on a prickly writer, a fan who he didn’t trust, old friend he rejected, and a stalker who attacked him. Lurking were visions of a past life with our leads and an unknown man. Writer Jin Soo Wan accomplished the goal of setting the stage and making me wonder why the past is important. The production elements were super. I enjoyed the set stylings, they were sumptuous.
Jeon Seol (Lim Soo Jung) has had visions of a past life for a long time. She gave up her dream of being an Olympic shooter because holding a gun triggered the visions. I love that she’s had these visions for a long time. Did she recognize Se Joo in her visions? Decent product placement when Jeon Seol mooned over poor Se Joo while he wrote all day at Subway. So much better than a happy couple eating a subway on a date. Jeon Seol’s interactions with Se Joo were decent. She seemed reasonable. She was understandably thrilled to meet Se Joo. But trying to enter his house when he didn’t want her to, pushed the boundaries. Why she thought prickly Se Joo would be willing to take care of the dog is beyond me. Jeon Seol looked fierce as she stared down the barrel of the gun at the stalker. In that moment, we saw her strength of spirit. In that moment, I got a glimpse that Jeon Seol could be a character to care about.
Writer Han Se Joo (Yoo Ah In) was not personable…at all. And why should he be? He is famous and wary of others as past experiences have taught him. The rift between Se Joo and Tae Min made me curious about their shared past. Se Joo was a slave to writing. It was nonstop. It’s hard to make typing interesting. If I were to live stream myself typing these recaps while watching the show, it would put you to sleep. But the production made it interesting by slicing in snippets of the past, slowly, teasing us with more moments from the past. I’m watching for Yoo Ah In. The first series I blogged while I watched it was “Secret Love Affair” with Yoo Ah In. So I’ve got a soft spot for him. Frankly, his ultra-short hair and the glasses hide how gorgeous he is. The past persona with luscious hair framing his handsome face, I love.
The first song of the OST has been released. Check out “Satellite” by SALTNPAPER.
I’m walking all night long in mysteries
You’re singing all day long in maze
Without song in my heart, it is a lie
Still I am wondering why
I’m feeling all my lights going out
All I can hear is your lullaby
From your guide now I’m here without knowing
Those melodies I sing like I know
Don’t wanna say goodbye
I wanna hear your voices
Don’t wanna see your tears
I wanna see your traces
I hear you
Say I will
If our tears haven’t fade away
I may cross now or I won’t
Say I will
If our hands didn’t get to hold
Hourglass stories of me and you, we loved
Through the rain, to the stars
Through the rain, to the stars
Say I will
If our tears haven’t fade away
I may cross now or I won’t
Say I will
If our hands didn’t get to hold
Hourglass stories of me and you someday