A Wife’s Credentials: Episode 1

[Softy is back on TP, yay! This time with recaps for a 16-episode cable drama that recently finished airing and which some of my pals claim is one of the best offerings of 2012.

Since A Wife’s Credentials hasn’t been talked about very much, and since Softy is also convinced that AWC is an underrated gem and has been persuading me to watch it, I discussed it with her and the result is… Ta da, AWC transcaps! If you are not familiar with Softy’s work (transcaps = transcripts + recaps), she translates each episode so that you can watch it as though you are watching with subtitles. Thank you for this awesome gift, Softy sweetie! –thundie]


SR – Yoon Seo-rae
SJ – Han Sang-jin (SR’s husband)
G – Han Gyeol (SR and SJ’s 5th grade son)
MR – Yoon Mi-rae (SR’s younger sister; makes a living making side dishes for wealthy families)
T – Kim Tae-oh (dentist who is married with a young daughter)
JS – Hong Ji-seon (runs her own academy)
MJ – Han Myeong-jin (SR’s sister-in-law and SJ’s younger sister)
HT – Jo Hyun-tae (MJ’s husband)
YJ – Jo Yoon-jae (MJ and HT’s older daughter)
EJ – Kang Eun-joo (HT’s other woman/wife)
FIL (SR’s father-in-law)
MIL (SR’s mother-in-law)

Episode 1

Begins with SR and G on the subway on their way to her in-laws. She gets a text from her husband that he will be a little late so to wait out front for him. Her son wonders why the dad wants them to wait, but she just shrugs. When they come out of the subway station, they stand and watch a magic show. Nearby T and his daughter are watching the same show. SR and her son are so into the show that they are rudely interrupted by the sound of a loud honk from a car. Her husband was irritated and did that. When they get in the car, he asks why they had to watch that when he was waiting and she wouldn’t even pick up her phone. He has indigestion so she offers him medicine but he turns it down. The son tells him to take it since they are going to eat really delicious food, but he says it’s ok.

As they stand and wait for the elevator, SR whispers to SJ and asks if he has indigestion because of his niece’s success. He shouldn’t since she is his own niece and not someone else. (She used that Korean phrase where you have a stomach ache out of envy or jealousy from someone else’s success.) He feels insulted and says, “Do I look like that kind of person?”

Inside the elevator he tells his son that they came here to congratulate YJ noona so they should do that happily without losing his hope (to do the same one day). G has a great attitude and says “I haven’t.” SJ tells his wife the same thing too – if she gets compared with his sister or their kids get compared, SR might feel hurt but be cool about it and overlook it because “our G is going on a different path.” (That pep talk seemed to be more for him than his wife and son.)

The family congratulates YJ for getting into an international school and she says, “I will tweet what I want for presents.” Grandma wants to hug her and says how proud she is of her granddaughter. Both grandparents dote on her saying she will do well no matter what she does because she always does. SJ starts to lose the smile on his face.

During dinner, Grandpa says it would be nice if YJ becomes a lawyer. SJ points out that then YJ will have the same occupation as her dad, but MJ says it depends on what kind of lawyer YJ becomes. Grandma says there is no need to worry about YJ. SR compliments MJ on the delicious food. Grandpa tells SR to start making G begin his studies. Grandma agrees since G is healthier now. She says if they leave G alone like that doing nothing, the parents will worry for the rest of their lives about G. SR tries to say they keep really busy so MJ backs her up and says don’t worry because SR has the ability to take care of things. But the grandpa doesn’t believe it and sort of accuses SR of not doing what’s best for G.

Instead of backing his wife, SJ agrees with his dad and belittles SR by saying SR is too naïve about these things. He complains that SR only takes the kid to creative art schools and lets him play all the time so that he doesn’t know how to compete in the real world. During all this time, because of the kid’s asthma and atopy, they just stood by and watched but they can’t do that anymore. They must prepare him to fight (in the academic war). Because a human being has to fight in the war since birth and they have to teach the kid to enjoy competition.

Grandma points out: “What can they do since the two parents have different attitudes? Teamwork has to be good for that to happen.” So MJ says for her brother and SR to have a lot of discussions on that. SJ says that before they used to have good teamwork because G’s health came first, but now it’s time to look at things differently. SR doesn’t say anything, but you can tell from his body language that SJ senses he is going to get an earful later.

Sure enough, after dinner they pull over on the side of the highway to scream at each other while G waits in the car. The first thing she yells out is: “I am sick and tired of you saying two different things with one mouth.” Because back when he read the news about how kids had to study so much to compete with each other, he said those poor kids were put in line to wait by their parents. But now he is singing a different tune about teaching how to fight in this (academic) war.

She calls him a liar and a deceiver so he yells out, “Then let’s go to Daechi-dong; there is no other answer/solution.” (*Daechi-dong is where a lot of academies are located.) SJ says how his mom is willing to give them extra money for their new home because that is the best place to study. “Let’s try this as far as we can.”

SR asks, “Then are you saying everything I did up to now was nothing? All this time, don’t you know how I lived? Your mother thinks I was doing nothing, but I can’t believe this – did I have nothing to do? When G stayed up all night exhausted from scratching his whole body and fainted after coughing from asthma and I took him to the emergency room. That kid who was hanging between life and death I clung to him. Three times a day I fed him his medicine, washed his clothes with soap with my own hands and made him the way he is now. After all that, now he rarely scratches or coughs and plays soccer and basketball. Aren’t you grateful for all that?”

SJ yells back that even though he is grateful, will that feed G and help him survive in this world? SR laughs and asks, “Since everything became more comfortable, now you are getting greedy about other things like being able to brag about how well your son did academically, aren’t you? What is your identity? Are you really G’s father? Are you really Yoon Seo-rae’s husband? How could you do that?”

SJ: “How about you? Don’t you feel envious? You felt nothing at all looking at how proud MJ and they were? What is there that G can’t do that YJ can?” SR: “It’s not because he can’t. He just has another path to go on…” She stops and cries her heart out.

The family moves to south of the Han River to Daechi-dong. Affluent neighborhoods like Kangnam and Apgujeong are nearby.

SR looks into getting her son signed up for the 6th grade level at a *preparatory academy to get into an international school. There are only four classes with seven students each and since there are too many kids who want to get in, the kids have to take a test. The woman asks for G’s school grade point average and SR tries to deflect the fact that basically he has been homeschooled and tells the woman that she focused on inspirational novels, English, etc. The woman just asks if SR is going to sign up for the test and makes her fill out a form and tells her that SR can send them her son’s picture through email.

(*Where every subject is taught and some of these kids go on to boarding schools all over the world.)

While waiting around for her younger sister to fill the *boxes with rice cakes to pass around to her new neighbors, SR tells MR that the academy test is harder than the school test. But MR just tells her to distribute the boxes. SR asks if they pass these out in this neighborhood too (because it’s wealthier than other neighborhoods) so MR says people live here too. SR thinks these boxes won’t be well received but MR says, “I make my living selling side dishes to mothers in these neighborhoods and all of their housekeepers are close friends of mine.” MR says everyone here is similar to others, but SR wonders if her neighbors will even eat this. MR says whether they eat it or throw it away, introductions will be made.

(*It is customary in Korea that when you move, you pass out small gifts—usually something to eat—to your new neighbors just to be friendly. It’s to introduce yourself and ask them to take good care of you.)

SR goes around and gives them out asking the neighbors to take good care of them. Then she goes to her in-laws’ house since they live nearby. MIL says, “I was about to call you to ask if we can drop by since your furniture arrived.” SR: “I should be the one who comes first. I brought you some rice cakes.”

SR is about to head in but MIL just stands there and tells her “Let’s have some rules. Even if you live close by, we shouldn’t interrupt each other’s lives by dropping by unannounced.” SR apologizes for coming without calling first. But MIL says, “It’s okay since today was your first day. But from here on let’s inform the other first. You know that when I read a book, I don’t even take phone calls.”

MIL says that she has plans tonight with her husband so to tell her son (SJ) to drop by next time. SR says, “We will all come with G to say hello then.” SR gives her the rice cake and leaves. The MIL goes back to what she was doing which is to gamble online playing Go Stop.

At night SR is teaching her son to solve a math problem. She says the answers are inside the math problem. The kid is sleepy and she realizes the time. He reminds her that she always said he had to sleep at ten no matter what.

While unpacking, her husband says she should have looked into the academy schedule in advance. SR agrees and worries about the fall camping that G goes on with his friends, dental appointments, etc. The next day, G leaves with his dad and SJ asks, “Don’t you like this because school is right next door?” G says yes. SJ: “Han Gyeol, it will be a lot different from where you lived before and there won’t be any friends but you can do well, right?” G: “I will do my best since you moved here because of me.” They fist bump saying, “We can do this.”

SR calls her MIL and asks if she slept well. She fills her in and says how she has been preparing G for his test. Then SR says how she is going to meet the sister-in-law (MJ). Later on SR wanted to drop off some stew but the MIL said something so SR says then she will leave it with the security guard (for the MIL to pick up later).

SR calls her sister for an extra stew for her in-laws since they live next door; she feels bad and thinks she should do stuff for them. She worries that her MIL will know it’s MR’s cooking but MR says don’t worry because most of her customers are young mothers and they don’t know anything because they are all busy. SR: “That’s good.” She goes out with her bike and sees a small gift from her neighbor. It suddenly starts to pour so she takes cover at a bus stop. Then T rides along and takes shelter there too. He notices her because she puts on a bright yellow rain coat.

There is a café where all the mothers gather to eat lunch, drink coffee, and talk. It’s already almost full of moms sitting there doing stuff that might help their kids, like folding up the notebook pages. MJ is waiting with EJ. They are friends. When SR pulls up in her bike, MJ mutters, “her taste is really odd” (because no mom would show up looking like that.) EJ: “She stands out.” MJ: “I didn’t tell her you lived directly across from her (#504).” EJ: “I will tell her I just found out.”

Everyone stares when SR comes in. SR says to MJ: “It’s because it rained suddenly.” She says “excuse me” (for being late) and apologizes but EJ just says hello. SR greets EJ and EJ introduces herself as “Jason’s mother.” MJ says he is the same age as G, but different citizenship (meaning Jason was born in America and has US citizenship) so SR says, “So you must have lived abroad.”

MJ says to SR that EJ can be more help about living around here than MJ. SR: “Please take care of me well.” EJ: “I am #504.” SR shows the gift she received so EJ says yes (that’s me) and MJ lies and says “I just found out.” SR says it’s good to meet her like this and asks if Jason goes to the same school and asks what room he is in. EJ says 4 and SR says “we are 1” so EJ says “our schedules are different so we won’t see each other often but think of us as being close.” SR: “Thank you.”

MJ says SR is really fortunate to be able to move into a neighborhood that is hard to acquire and meet someone who can help. SR agrees. MJ says, “We ate brunch so do you want that too?” but SR says just a drink. MJ gets up to go pay and bring it to the table.

SR says the ambience of the mothers in this neighborhood is different because it’s still early. MJ says after kids go to school – their schedules start. How they get consulting (about their kid’s education) and stuff. MJ: “It’s the same as other areas where you raise kids like Ilsan, Mokdong, etc. It’s just that you weren’t interested in stuff like this.” SR: “Was that it?”

MJ asks if she signed up for that academy class. SR says she did and asks if EJ did. EJ says yes because that’s the most important part – if you fail there then you have to go to an inferior academy. MJ says how EJ gets private tutoring for her son to pass that test to attend that academy. It’s “baby tutoring” and there is also a “baby academy.”

EJ: “It’s nonsense. To get into an academy, get tutored and go to an academy.” SR: “It is.” MJ asks, “How are you preparing G?” SR says she chose problems she guessed would be asked and is teaching him. MJ: “Unni.” EJ: “You do it yourself?” SR: “Yes, because he is still at an age where I can teach him.” EJ: “Your son must study well.”

SR explains how ever since he was young she was the one who taught him to study and exercise by doing it together. The kid is more comfortable with that. Also, his study habits aren’t bad. “Even though I signed him up for that test, even if he passes, I haven’t thought about sending him. I just wanted to see what his ability level was.” (Other mothers in the room frown at that talk and start texting one another.)

EJ: “If you do that then I can’t be of much help (because she doesn’t take that approach).” SR tries to say she didn’t mean it that way but notices the rain has stopped. She sees her bike being stolen so she takes off after the thief. She gets knocked down when a motorbike almost hits her.

T yells out for her to stay here and takes after the bike thief. She runs after them and goes down a hill to the bike path. She sees a figure in the distance heading towards her; it’s T with her bike. He asks if she is ok. She thanks him. He says how he let that guy go. She says, “You did well. He probably won’t do this again next time.”

SR: “Anyway, thank you very much. If I wasn’t able to get it (the bike) back, I would have hated this neighborhood because I moved here yesterday. Thanks to you I got great comfort. If you give me your contact info because I want to buy you a drink…” T says it’s ok and rides off. She says, “If you do that then it will hurt my feelings” but he just keeps going.

On the test day, she tells G to think of it comfortably like he is solving problems at home. Jason comes out with his mom. The kids greet each other’s parent. SR: “You are going to take the test.” EJ asks if G studied a lot. G: “A little.” SR says, “We can go in one car. Take ours. G’s dad gave us his car (for this day).” EJ says it’s ok because she has somewhere to drop by after the test. SR: “Then I guess we will go separately.” She tells her son to have a “light heart” (which means to think of it with ease and no pressure).

The whole room is full of moms with their kids and they all look nervous or pray like crazy. G says he is sleepy so his mom says, “Make sure you are alert and do well.” G: “You told me to think of it comfortably.” SR: “It’s still a test so you have to do well to be cool.” They do a fist bump. There is an announcement for mothers to leave.

SR sees Hong JS standing up there so she asks EJ: “She must be the head of the academy” and EJ says yes. SR: “She looks like she has it together.” EJ says Hong really takes a firm grip on the kids in her classes and teaches them well.

EJ goes over and texts her husband that Jae-hoon (Jason’s Korean name) went into the test and his condition was great. *HT gets the text while playing golf with his father and his-in-laws.

(*HT is a lawyer and so is his father. Also, SJ’s father used to be a lawyer and taught law but is now retired. That is why there was talk about YJ going into law later when she grows up since her father (HT) and both grandfathers are lawyers. HT’s father is a more prominent lawyer than SJ’s dad was.)

SR gets a call from SJ. She tells him G just went inside. SJ asks if G went ok and if she fed him breakfast and lunch. Since he left early in the morning he didn’t get to wish G luck. He says to call after the test is over.

HT asks SJ: “G must be taking some test. You are a good father paying attention to this and that.” SJ: “It’s because I can’t trust the kid’s mother. It would be nice if she could do half of what MJ does.”

HT says SR will do well because of the neighborhood ambience. SJ sort of sings about how they moved to Daechi-dong but who knows what will be the result. He asks how YJ is doing at her school. HT says she is having a great time because she has her classes in English, likes the great dorm, and stuff. He asks if G can do that too – prepare to go to an international school. SJ says that’s the test today –to get in to prepare for that.

The grandpas talk and SJ’s dad tells HT’s dad how nice it must be for him that both his granddaughters are doing well since one of them already got into an international school. HT’s dad says he never worried about his kid’s school problems and even though there is talk about academic wars, he doesn’t feel like it’s real. HT’s dad asks about YJ’s cousin (G) so SJ’s dad says he is in 5th grade. “It’s not that he isn’t bright. It’s worrisome because his mother left him to play a lot.”

SJ goes home and asks if G did well on his test. G answers “so so” so the dad makes him sit to talk it over. SJ asks, “Did you solve all the problems?” G: “Yes.” SJ: “What was the hardest problem to solve?” G mentions about some person so the mom says that G read about the guy in an article once. SJ asks what the hardest part was so G says “there were a lot of answers I didn’t know.”

SJ: “What?” SR says the problems were really picky and how it was too hard for an elementary school kid. SJ: “Is G the only elementary school student?” SJ tries to explain to G what he should do when he does not know an answer.

SR walks out and her MIL calls her. She asks why SR didn’t pick up her phone because she kept calling SR. SR says, “I left it at home.” The MIL says she has a gathering with old school friends. SR offers to get her a cab. The MIL asks if SR has time in the evening. SR: “Yes, there is nothing special going on.” The MIL says, “That’s good then because I will be late today and I wasn’t able to prepare dinner for your FIL (father-in-law) and the housekeeper doesn’t come today.”

SR offers to go and make dinner for him. MIL: “That would be good. I will trust you and go then.” SR: “Have fun.” MIL asks if the test result isn’t today. SR: “Yes, I will know soon.” MIL: “Of course he will pass since it’s not even the real test and just an academy test. Let me know the result.” SR agrees to do so. SR goes to the market. Other moms pass by and talk about SR being the one who said she could teach her son. The other one says that’s why it turned out that way because she taught him.

MR is dropping off side dishes in the apartment complex and greets the guard and he says how delicious it was so she says, “I will have to bring you some more.” MR drops off food at MJ’s home. MJ’s housekeeper gets her food from MR. She makes MR lower her voice so MR asks if she (MJ) is home now. The housekeeper says MJ came back from the hospital and is lying down. MR guesses MJ got another procedure done. “How many times has it been? In this day and age are sons that great?” The housekeeper says how determined MJ is to have a son. MR calls her greedy.

*MIL calls for the housekeeper. She tells the housekeeper to warm up the soup so MJ can eat. (*MIL lied to SR about her gathering. She came here to take care of her daughter.) MIL tells MJ to stop now. “I understand your greed but your body can’t handle it.” MJ says she wants to try till she turns 40.

MR tells SR how that woman has two daughters but she still wants a son. She had a test today and it was another daughter. (Which means MJ had an abortion today – not her first apparently since she has had this procedure done before.) SR isn’t listening though and has no idea MR is talking about MJ.

SR is distracted by G’s test result so she goes and checks. MR says G’s name is not on the list of kids who passed. SR: “It’s not here, huh? That means he didn’t pass, huh?” MR: “No, it’s not there. Yes.” SR tells MR not to say a word when G comes home. “I will tell him.” SR goes to the academy and says: “I heard he failed but I want to see his score.” She learns that he got the lowest score out of all the kids.

SJ gets a text from SR at work. She tells him not to get angry and to cheer up G well. “And we are having dinner at Father’s tonight so come there.”

Grandpa is upset because G couldn’t pass even an academy test. SR says to have dinner. G asks why his mom isn’t eating and she says just eat first. She says how MIL wanted her to make some other food while she is here so she asks her FIL what else he wants, but he doesn’t reply.

EJ gloats to MJ: “It will be problematic if he fails that and your nephew did. With a result that is worrisome.” MJ gets up when she learns he got the lowest score. MJ tries not to laugh as she says “What to do” so her mom whispers “who?” MJ mouths “G” so MIL is in shock. All the moms text each other and says “He is last. The mom who said she could teach him.” And all the moms snicker.

SJ apologizes to his dad for making him worry. As they are about to leave, MIL comes home. SJ asks if she ate dinner but the MIL says to SR: “What dinner? How can you make the kid be last?” The FIL didn’t know and asks, “What did you say?” MIL says how G is last out of everyone.

SJ asks SR: “What happened?” Why didn’t you tell me that?” MIL says, “I didn’t want to find this out – I found out from MJ’s friend.” SR: “But Mother, even G doesn’t know that.” FIL yells: “He should know it all. That behavior right there is the problem. That G should know. This is not just a normal thing.”

G breaks into tears so SJ yells at him: “What are you crying for? Don’t you know you should be ashamed?” SR hugs G. MIL: “The kid is too shocked so he is like that. What is up with being last?” SJ says “Let’s go” and takes his family home. MIL: “Go and talk between the two of you. Go.”

G cries himself to sleep. SR says to SJ: “I know you are upset but you shouldn’t do that to the kid. You shouldn’t give him scars. You should give him encouragement for good things.” SJ asks if there is any beer. SR: “Yes.” She offers him some appetizers but he says this is fine and tells her to sit.

He wants her to go ahead with G getting in by using another way so she says that’s not going to work. She starts to explain how the test problems were too hard. He says how that was her job to make those test problems not be so hard by having G taught properly. He points out what his niece YJ did when she was G’s age, how high her score was, and how she read half of the required reading list for Harvard.

SR replies: “It’s not normal for a kid in junior high to get that score. And even if G read those same novels, would he understand? What’s the point of reading books like Anna Karenina if he won’t understand?” SJ: “If he has to, he does.” She disagrees.

SR: “I came to this neighborhood even though I didn’t have confidence in my methods but I can’t make a kid suffer like that. I’m going to think of him being last as a good experience and forget about it.” She stands up to leave so he says: “I am not done talking yet.”

SJ says how she can’t continue her ways “if you don’t want to turn him into a weak person who gives up as a habit.” He goes on and says stuff about how they have to live and do things and brings up his sister. How she got that early on and taught that to YJ. So SR says, “G is not YJ and I am not YJ’s mom so stop comparing.” He tells her to do better so that being last today can be a good memory. SJ yells “I’m so furious I can’t stand it!” so she worries it woke G.

MJ comes out of the shower in a towel so HT holds onto her saying “my wife” so she asks “am I pretty?” (meaning “are you pleased with me?”). He says: “Of course, because where in this world is there someone who doesn’t have to worry about their kids’ study? I don’t expect anything else from you.” MJ: “Really?” HT: “Of course. Who needs a son?” MJ: “I am going to have a son and raise him to be impressive and put jeans on him and take him around.” He calls her greedy (for wanting more than she has).

G comes out crying so SR asks if he has been crying this whole time. He says his teeth hurt. She hugs him. She ices his mouth and says, “This is ridiculous – Mom was preoccupied because of the test. I should have taken you to the dentist as soon as we moved here. Since you took medicine, you’ll be able to sleep now. After school tomorrow, let’s go directly to the dentist. I’ll go in front of your school.”

G: “Mom, I feel like I committed a big sin. Even more because you didn’t tell me.” She says, “No – the test problems were too hard. Not lying – it was as hard as a college entrance exam. Even though it was supposed to be a hard test, you’re only in 5th grade so isn’t it crazy? I’m opposed to those ways. Don’t worry about it – it’s ok.” G sits up and says, “But I want to win once. It’s too embarrassing and it makes me feel bad to leave it like this.” She hugs her son.

SR takes G to the dentist and it’s T but SR hasn’t seen his face clearly yet because of the mask that is hanging off the side of his face. He looks over G’s dental records and makes comments and SR explains how she had to make G stop taking something because of his asthma medication and he was ok after that. SR tells G he can do it. G is nervous and acts scared so T says: “This doesn’t hurt. I am just going to look.”

While T is drilling, G starts to act like he is in pain. As soon as the drill stops, he suddenly sits up too quickly and knocks his head into T’s nose and gives T a bloody nose. Nurse asks T if he is ok. SR asks for some ice. SR gives him Kleenex and asks if he is ok.

After he gets the bleeding in control, T says to G: “You feel really sorry, don’t you?” G: “Yes.” T: “So you are going to finish this (procedure), right?” G: “Yes.” SR: “I am really sorry.” He looks over at her so she laughs and apologizes for laughing. (T had two rolled up pieces of Kleenex up his nostrils to block the bleeding.) T tells G it’s ok to laugh because this looks funny – double nose bleed. G laughs and looks over at his mom.

T watches SR and remembers her from the bus stop the day it rained and when he got her bike back. He suddenly says to her: “Is your bike well?” She recognizes him and says, “It’s really good to see you again.” He nods and says yes. They both smile at each other.


thundie’s comments

Softy warned me that Episode 1 would be slow, but midway into the episode I had to pause the video to write her an email that basically said:


Unlike Softy who fell for the drama around Episodes 2 and 3, I found Episode 1 an engaging watch right from the opening scenes. But it was at the 30th-minute mark that I moved from merely being engaged to becoming entranced.

Like our heroine Seo-rae, I stared disbelieving and with tears beginning to threaten. My heart did a little leap. In the distance a figure has just emerged.

So small it’s barely visible at first, the figure moves closer and closer. And just like that my heart felt as if it was going to burst.

I’ve never been much of a Lee Sung-jae fan, maybe because I’ve mostly watched him in staid and gloomy roles. But here in this opening episode, he’s so sweet and sunny he’s irresistible! I’m giddy just anticipating his and Seo-rae’s romance. (The undercurrents between them are fairly bouncing off their bike handles and frying me alive.) Okay, so they both happen to be married to other people and also have children, which sort of complicates matters, but I don’t care; I want to see them fall madly in love. I want her to leave that nasty specimen of a husband who belittles her every opportunity he gets.

What else do I love? Characterization feels real, not painted in broad strokes. Hurray for Seo-rae lashing out at her husband’s hypocrisy; she’s not a doormat, yes. Sang-jin is unpleasant, with a face you want to sock, but he and his son fist-bumping each other is touching. (It also poses a problem because I want to root for our cute dentist wholeheartedly without feeling a twinge of guilt about Sang-jin. Oh, never mind; conscience is overrated sometimes!)

Also, I do not know whether it’s the quality of my Khai rip (sorry for some of the blurry screencaps, Softy! *flees*), but colors are warm and inviting. I love when the camera draws close…

…or pulls away.

Togetherness. Solitude. And also alienation. You do not need words to convey all that.

To end, I like what I saw in Episode 1 and can’t wait to continue. Kim Hee-ae is perfect playing a woman boxed in by societal and familial strictures who is nevertheless strong in her own convictions. Despite getting shit from her husband and in-laws, her smile is radiant and I love her already after just sixty-three minutes. Infidelity will likely be an overarching theme in this drama, but my sixth sense (generally faulty but guaranteed to be flawless for now) tells me there will be more joy than pain in A Wife’s Credentials. How can it be otherwise when the first episode ends like this?

So join Softy and me, dear TP readers, as we embark on a new recap series. Comment away, but please refrain from posting spoilers about future episodes. (You know I love spoilers like I love a pus-filled zit.) If you absolutely must talk about a spoiler, warn us early and in CAPS (SPOILER ALERT! RUN!!), thank you.

Softy is done with Episode 2 (I think she’s finished watching the whole drama) so look out for that in a day or two. Meanwhile… enjoy your week and don’t forget that raincoat!


22 thoughts on “A Wife’s Credentials: Episode 1

    • Don’t worry about spoiler virus coz it’s never coming from me.
      I plan to read your recap first than watch the subbed video *grin*
      I wonder why this show rating is high…since i don’t have access to cabletv,i can’t follow this drama live when it’s aired.

      I hate SJ character.Why he doesn’n have confidence for her own wife? It’s a lot more harder and need sacrifice on her to raise a sick child especially with asthma. He should be proud of her that she can keep their son healthy til now. I think he has some weakness compared to her brother which make him lack of confidence.

      I do hope SR and G will keep each other back and be stronger…assaa

      The drilling scene description kind of remind me of my dentist appointment tomorrow……aarrrggghhh
      Again……thank you for both of you *HUG*

  1. Thank you so much for this, Softy! Muah!!!!!!! I can’t believe it’s been a year since the Best Love recaps.

    As always, I trust your judgment so when you say AWC is a must-watch, how could I resist? Thank you for all the hours you spend for this little blog. We are not worthy!

    • Hey Thundie,
      so happy to recap another great drama with you. although this is the first time we recapped a drama that has already aired. while it was still on, I was quite busy watching K2H, RP, and this at the same time. And when RP aired two eps back to back, I thought I would keel over from watching 5 dramas in one night. 🙂
      Don’t just take my word for it, look at all the other people who raved about this drama. We can’t all be wrong. The whole time I was watching it, I was wondering what you would say about it and here we are – we all get to read your thoughts on this drama. So glad you are enjoying it. *whew*
      To celebrate, I made a new header for you. 🙂

      • The header is lovely, thank you, softy!!!!!! I credited you, hehe.


        I’m watching ep 2 and savoring every bit of it. Your transcap is fantastic and helps me understand the episode perfectly. No need for subs; just your transcap will do. Thoroughly enjoying the screencapping too. 😀

        • sorry to but in but you’re spot on thundie! all i need is softy’s transcaps to be able to understand when i stream. and i always, always use transcaps for her to let people know that it is not the usual recaps but is a translations+recaps. 🙂

  2. I just watched ep1 last night after all the great review.. just one episode.. i am hooked,,, the first ep felt extremely realistic… i felt like things like that could happen all the time.. parents compare their kids.. kids vs kids… etc… i think it much obvious in the asian countries… I have been rise in HK.. and it’s important for kids to get into a good kindergarten so that they can go to good school afterward.. i know of my friends in hk that hire tutor since their kid is 3 yrs old… start piano and dance at the same time.. along with drawing, foreign language lesson.. etc.. i am thankful that my parents are not like that when i was younger..

    another cruel truth about MJ wanting to have a son after having 2 girls… again.. having a boy is the only thing to carry on the family name… which is a rather sad truth about the mentality in most asian countries.. just looked at the unbalance gender in china.. one child policy.. everyone want to have a boy and the unborn girl ending up aborted or abandant after birth.. that’s something that made me very upset… i came from a family of 4.. 3 girls and 1 boy… my mom has said that she would keep having kids until she would get a boy.. lucky she got it in her 4th try… it’s all because my dad is the only son and she wanted a son to carry one the family name… so even in this modern time.. old tradition never go away…

    i found this drama is very realistic.. and may be too realistic that some people might find it hard to watch… but I am in it for the whole thing and can’t want to watch more…

  3. Thanks so much. It was a wonderful read. I keep meaning to watch this when time permits…. and now I’ve found the time! Yeah! I’m glad to hear good stuff about it, though I am a bit wary of the adultery premise, I’m hoping the drama deals with it well seeing the praises it has received.

  4. Aigoo! How could I forget to mention in my comments that the OST is really cool? *bonks self*

    There are several English songs playing in Episode 1 which match the mood of the particular scenes so well. One of the tracks is Daydream Believer. I didn’t know the song or the title but Google solved the mystery for me. A very old song by the Monkees (don’t know them from Adam but apparently they were pretty famous in the 1960s). Have a listen:

      • Ooh, thank you for the vid, Linda! Never knew The Monkees until today, but that is a familiar song from Shrek all right. When you watch ep 1 of AWC, tell me if you recognize the other songs.

      • Just wanted to say that you’ll be hearing this song a lot throughout the 16 eps. It’s a cable drama so they couldn’t afford a fancy ost so they kept the music unobtrusive and low key. There will be times when this song totally gets to you and you’ll find yourself bawling thinking this is the perfect tune to listen to while you reflect on what you’ve just seen. This drama has a special gift of welling up your emotions and unleashing them. As soon as the credits roll, the only cue you needed to begin sobbing was this song. Sometimes you won’t even wait for the song. 🙂

        • Lee Nam-Yeon and PD Ahn actually wanted those songs, it has nothing to do with money. This is one of the very few K-dramas produced as of late that actually devoted a chunk of its budget to the music (royalties, for the most part) — whereas most dramas these days don’t save a single penny for the music. The music directors just sign a contract with one of the majors (JYP, SM, YG, etc) and in return for footing the bill they force demands upon them, which usually means shoving an idol song down your throat.

  5. OH MY GOD! Thank you so so much Softy and Thundie for the transcap! I have been searching highs and lows for subs but nothing has been found! Heard so many fav reviews about it, so I can’t wait to watch it myself. I really love it when I can watch an episode raw, then read Softy’s transcap, then come back to watch the episode again in a new light! Sometime I feel like I learn Softy’s transcap by heart, to the extend I can watch and understand the episode perfectly, all conversations heards, all words catched!

    Many thanks for your great work!

    • Exactly – I’ve been scouring the earth for subs, but no go T.T. That is until I hit this recap. Thank you, softy 🙂

  6. Pingback: Rooftop Prince E15 coming up… « Cadence

  7. omg! Softy now another drama lined up for me to watch! thanks for doing this. as always you are so awesome. 🙂

  8. Thanks for the recap, Softy. Loved episode 1, and am especially intrigued because the story deals with a mature attraction for a change!

    BTW, I had the privilege of watching the Monkees when they were on every week – my first pop crushes ever. Also am sure I saw the Byrds singing Turn, Turn, Turn when it originally aired. (Surely I was only 2 years old haha – kind of explains why I like the “mature” theme, huh:)

    I do hope someone will continue to sub it (I only found up to episode 2). While I like reading recaps after watching episodes, watching a drama raw scrambles my brain.

  9. this is an amazing drama… its just so sad that until now only ep 5 has subs… i wish i know korean then i dont have to wait for the subs… huhuhu… but i am loving this so far.. thank you for the recap it made me understand some of the parts… great acting.. and the music soothes your nerves… thank you thundie and softy.. kudos…

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