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Happiness Battle (Season 1), Episode 1: Recap

Happiness Battle (Season 1), Episode 1: Happiness Battle is a thriller mystery drama that revolves around the lives of mothers who take everything to social media. This show has all the drama with a modern take. The show subtly touches upon the idea of an image people put up on social media versus a real-life situation. It was an interesting series opener. It had everything – modern life, gossip, drama, mystery, friendships, family, and more. This article contains spoilers.

Happiness Battle (Season 1), Episode 1 Recap:

The episode begins with dark visuals. A bloodied hand dropped a pen drive from a high-storeyed building. An ambulance arrives to take away the body. The people around are in a state of shock.

The next scene is a series of pop-ups of social media posts. Oh Yu Jin (Park Hyo Joo) has around 17,000 followers on her social media. We see her dressed out on a picnic complaining about the windy weather. Song Jung Ah (Jin Seo Yun) has 23,000 followers on her social media. We see a social media post about her returning to work after a long break. Kim Na Young (Cha Ye Ryun) has 8000 followers on her social media. We see her post about her complaining that she looks puffy and nothing is looking good on her, but her husband was complimenting her, not knowing how she feels.

Jang Mi-ho (Lee El) and her colleague are discussing the annual social media event in the GB finance building. Jang noticed that one of the applicants mentioned that they were poor, but upon checking the social media, she realized that she was having a party and did not seem poor. Jang’s boss asked her about the winner’s list, but she wasn’t finished yet. He advises her to show her face to the vice chairman before her promotion, and she’s indifferent about the promotion making her boss wonder why she wasn’t desperate about anything. All of them head out for lunch, and Jang leaves alone. As she was eating, her mother called her, and Jung checked on her mother to see if she had eaten and taken medicines.

Yu Jin is making food for her children. She uploads the photos with captions that read, “My kids Ji-yul and Ha-yul don’t eat anything that isn’t pretty, so my cooking skills have improved.” She gets many complimentary comments making her feel joyful. Everyone has a common question about how she can be so good at everything. She visits Min Sung’s house with her baked food. Jung Ah gives goodies she got from a department store for Ji-yul and Ha-Yul. When Yu Jin tells her that she feels like she is benefitting from her, Ji Ye tells her that it’s all about give and take. She then visits Na Young, and Na Young asks her for a picture to show her husband. After taking the picture, she tells Yu Jin she will meet her downstairs.

As Yu Jin was getting down in the elevator, she saw Jung Ah’s post on social media applauding true friendship. The pictures were of the baked goodies Yu Jin had made. Yu Jin, angered by not receiving the credit, leaves a comment that reads, “You forgot to mention that these were from me, lol.” Na Young also posted a picture with Yu Jin where Yu Jin had closed her eyes and wrote a caption that said, “I am so touched Yu Jin made snacks for A-rin. How can I repay her?” Yu Jin leaves a comment asking Na Young if she had to choose to upload this particular picture among the others as the bear cookies look squashed.

All of them go to the kindergarten to bring their kids home. Ji Yul is seen hiding in the cupboard. Yu Jin asked Ms. Jo, the kid’s teacher if Ji Yul was doing fine in school. The teacher said she was a smart girl but looks depressed lately. Yu Jin threateningly responded that she was doing fine at home, and she understood that she was only two years into teaching, but she had better take good care of her kid.

The principal announces the annual show the kids perform. She tells the mothers that they will be performing the Red Shoes this year. One of the mothers argues that the boys won’t like it, but Yu Jin responds, saying it is only fair because they performed Jack and the Beanstalk two years ago. One of the other mothers asks the principal to choose the child who plays the main role in fairness. The principal assures the mother’s that the experts will make the selection.

Jo A-ra’s (Kim Hee-jae) colleagues were discussing the havoc that might cause soon. Jo A-ra asks them why that was, and they tell her that two years ago, one of the girl children was selected to play a lead role in the performance, but before the selection process, someone had fed peanuts to Ji-Yul, who was allergic to it. All the mothers protested against the unfair selection, and in the end, another child who did not go to this kindergarten anymore was chosen.

At home, Ji Yul tells her mother that she wants to play Peter Pan as she wants to play the role of Captain Hook. Yu Jin immediately stops her and tells her that she needs to focus on playing the role of Snow White as it would look great on her social media. She promises Ji Yul that she will make sure Ji Yul gets the lead role making Ji Yul sad.

At work, Jang sees the picture of Yu Jin selected for a preliminary round of social media events and starts to break down, calling her a perpetrator and confusing her colleagues. Jang asks her colleague Lee Jin-shop (Son Woo-Hyeon) to leave as she realizes he wants to be elsewhere. He refuses at first but, after receiving a call, gives her his work and decides to leave. However, before leaving, he asks Jang why she does not talk about her personal life, but Jang does not answer. He brings up Yu Jin, and she cuts him off by asking him to leave.

At home, Jang sees a picture of her and Yu Jin from their school days, and she tells herself that Yu Jin has changed a lot. The next morning at work, Jin-shop asks her to call the selected winners and inform them. She leaves out one name and asks him to call that number. He immediately realizes it is about Yu Jin and brings it up, but she asks him not to cross the boundary. Jang’s boss asks Yu Jin not to wait for Jin-shop and finish calling the winners by herself. Disappointed, she calls Yu Jin and is saddened to realize Yu Jin does not recognize her voice or name. Yu Jin just asked her to call back later as she was busy and hung up.

After picking up Ji Yul from her acting lessons, Yu Jin is on her way home, but a delivery man stops her so he can enter the elevator. Yu Jin notices a parcel for Na Young from a designer, and she realizes that Na Young was hoping for her child to get the lead role in the performance. She leaves Ji Yul at home and goes to Na Young’s house but gets a call from Jung Ah. Yu Jin makes an excuse and avoids attending the meeting with the other mothers.

Jung Ah tells the other mothers that they should not be narrow-minded and focus only on the snow white, so she also revises the script to give the prince extra lines. Hwang Ji Ye (Woo Jeong Won) tells the group that she attended the meeting during her lunch break to ensure the selection process was fair. Her daughter, So Won, is also going through the selection process. Jung Ah clarifies with her that she also meant fairness in choosing the main role, and Ji Ye agrees.

Yu Jin is cutting up the dress sent by the designer to Na Young. She then asked Ji Yul to practice once more only because she wanted to upload a picture with the caption: Ji Yul practices for the selection many times a day. Along with positive comments, she also receives negative comments on the post. Other mothers also upload pictures of their kids on social media.

Happiness Battle (Season 1), Episode 1 Recap & Ending Explained
A still from Happiness Battle (Season 1), Episode 1

Jang recalls her conversation with Yu Jin at work and loses focus on the meeting. When her boss asks her for some ideas, she asks him to use Yu Jin to do influencer marketing. However, her boss refuses, saying it wouldn’t be fair to the grand prize winner. He asks her to work with Jin-shop to finish the reports by the end of the week. Jin Seop brings up Yu Jin again, but Jang does not answer. He teases her by saying she behaves like an ex who is still hung up on their lover. She asks him not to write novels. We see a flashback of Yu Jin and Jang during school days and someone falling.

Ji Yul won the selection process. Na Young overhears Yu Jin thanking the principal for considering her opinion on not giving more stage presence to the princes. Outside all the mothers congratulate Ji Yul. Yu Jin asks the mothers if they are free because she wants to take them to a hotel to see how Ji Yul will perform with each character. She asks Na Young if she will be joining, and she refuses. Ji Ye tells her that her daughter So Won will replace Na Young.

Ji Ye asks So Won if she is doing okay, and So Won tells her that she has sung better than Ji Yul, and her mother agrees. She tells her that was true this day and two years ago. She also confirms with So Won if the peanut story is true. Na Young yells at the security, demanding to know why her package was stolen, and they show her the available CCTV footage.

She sees something in Yu Jin’s hand and rushes to confront Jung-ah. Jung Ah tells her that two years ago, Yu Jin had a good reason to call for a reselection. This time, Na Young did not have any solid reason to do so. She also tells her that the teachers were well prepared this time and hired the principal’s student as the judge. Na Young tells her that from the CCTV footage, she had seen Yu Jin holding a pamphlet of Lee Jung Hwa. To this, Jung Ah says she will do something about this.

All the mothers are by the pool while the kids enjoy. One of the mothers asks Ji Ye to order food for all of them. She purposely orders two servings of sweet and sour chicken as they add peanuts to them. Ji Yul calls her mother to join them, but Yu Jin sees a notification that says Jang has started following her on social media. Yu Jin remembers her friend from school. Ji Yul suddenly starts coughing, and one of the mothers notices peanuts in the chicken.

Yu Jin asks who had ordered it. Ji Ye apologizes, saying she had forgotten about Ji Yul’s allergies. Ji Yul suddenly lets out a burp, and she becomes alright. Furthermore, Ji Ye confronts Yu Jin about allergies. She reminds her that she had said Ji Yul’s throat swells up if she eats peanuts, the other mothers are surprised, and Yu Jin takes the kids away. While tucking them in the car, Yu Jin yells at Ji Yul for eating the peanut. Ji Yul tells her that she is not allergic, but Yu Jin insists that she is allergic. Yu Jin uploaded a fake photo of a hospital with a caption that read Ji Yul had an allergic reaction to peanuts, but after treatment, she was doing fine.

Jang visits her mother at the hospital, but her mother is angry with her. She thinks about calling Yu Jin. But Yu Jin had other worries, she had left a message in their group asking if they were worried about Ji Yul. But none of them responded, and their silence frustrated her.

As she walks out of the building, she sees a post by one of the mothers about Ji Yul eating the peanut-sprinkled chicken. Yu Jin sees Na Young and another mother walking by, and they both see the same post and start understanding Yu Jin’s schemes. Na Young mentions that she could do it again if Yu Jin tricked everyone once. Na Young also mentions that Jung Ah had created a separate chatroom. Yu Jin hears this as well, but she receives a call from Jang. She cuts her call and rushes home while Jang checks Yu Jin’s social media in envy.

Yu Jin calls Jang back, and Jang is surprised to see her call. Yu Jin talks to her like nothing has happened, and her husband comes home while she is still on call. She tells Jang she can’t talk for long and they should meet soon. Yu Jin flips through an album that has photos of her and Jang.

The next day Jang and Yu Jin meet. Jang tells her that her mother was in a nursing home, and Yu Jin tells Jang that her father passed away a few years ago. Jang apologizes, but Yu Jin tells her not to. She tells her they may all have lived as a family, but Jang couldn’t call them her family. Yu Jin asks her why she had called, and Jang initially says there wasn’t any reason except to see how she was doing. Eventually, she brings up an old incident. Yu Jin cuts her off and gives her a box telling Jang to open it later. She tells her the box contains her feelings about the incident and leaves the restaurant.

Yu Jin panics in the car. Jang opens the box and is shocked by its contents, and she runs behind Yu Jin’s car. Eventually, Jang hails a cab and follows Yu Jin. She calls Yu Jin from the cab, but she does not answer. Jang follows Yu Jin to her apartment. Jang texts Yu Jin to come down while she waits; Yu Jin starts to panic. She goes out to see Jang and notices the other mothers walking towards the apartment, so Yu Jin texts Jang to come to the 10th floor if she has something to say.

Yu Jin drags Jang inside her house so she does not get caught confronting the other mothers. They were all coming to confront Yu Jin about her lies. Jang hands Yu Jin the box and turns to leave. Yu Jin stops her, and the money falls on the floor. Yu Jin’s husband is calling out to her, and the doorbell rings simultaneously, and Yu Jin panics.

Happiness Battle (Season 1), Episode 1 Ending, Explained:

This episode gave us a sense of what can be expected throughout the series. The episode gave a strong start to the season. We see gossiping and revenge from a social media perspective. The show has taken a modern approach to real-life problems. The episode shows us how social media enables people to do the wrong things.

We also get introduced to Jang and Yu Jin’s history, which seems to be dark. There probably is a murder that is involved, and we have to see how it will unfold. The episode opens with a dark scene, giving us hints about where the show will lead us. We will surely see a lot of mental abuse, violence, and more. The first episode was fast-paced, not leaving a single unnecessary moment. It kept the viewers hooked. It was a strong start, and we must see where the show will take us.

Related to Happiness Battle (Season 1), Episode 1: 10 Exciting Korean Dramas Releasing in June 2023

Happiness Battle (Season 1) Episode 1 Links: IMDb
Happiness Battle (Season 1) Episode 1 Cast: Lee El, Ye-ryeon Cha, Hyo-ju Park

Tags: Color, Drama, Ha Yoon, Happy battle, Hyo-ju Park, Korean, Lee El, South Korea, Thriller, Woo Jung-won, Ye-ryeon Cha

Sanghavi P.S

Hey this is Sanghavi, a cinephile who eats, sleeps, and breathes films and series. When not indulging in the cine world, you’ll find me exploring the world with my camera in hand, capturing life’s fleeting moments. With an insatiable curiosity, I believe that life is one big adventure waiting to be experienced.

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