Hold on to your wedding rings, people! This Week, My Wife Will Have an Affair starts off with a quiet but powerful premiere episode. Centered around a man who learns that his wife is planning on having an affair, the show balances cute humor with some tough questions. After all the action dramas and sweeping sageuks we’ve had this season, I’ve been looking forward to a softer drama that takes an honest look at real life problems. I’m happy to report that this first episode delivered.
EPISODE 1 RECAP
We open on our hero, DO HYUN-WOO (Lee Seon-kyun), playing on a claw machine. Failing to get the giant teddy bear on his first try, Hyun-woo thinks, “Just because I didn’t win the first time doesn’t mean I will never get it.” With his eye set on the bear, Hyun-woo meticulously plays round after round, moving the other toys into a mound equal in height to the edge of the drop box.
Hyun-woo successfully makes a path to slide the bear to the exit, but has to stop for a bathroom break before he can make his final move. He crosses baths with a young man (cameo by Eun Ji-won) outside the restroom, and given the Wild West soundtrack, it looks like all his hard work may be for naught.
Sure enough, Hyun-woo returns from the bathroom to see that same man now at the claw machine. He runs up to the machine and anxiously watches as the man goes after the teddy bear.
Hyun-woo really did prep it perfectly, and the man successfully pulls the bear out of the machine on the first try. Hyun-woo looks on forlornly as the stranger walks away with the bear he put so much effort into getting. The man even waves the teddy’s arm goodbye at Hyun-woo as he walks off. Harsh.
Moving to a busy studio, we see cast and crew running around getting ready for a broadcast. Overseeing all of it is AHN JOON-YOUNG (Lee Sang-yub), smoothly directing the camera changes with easy confidence. On a quick break, Joon-young turns to see Hyun-woo sitting behind him, and asks jokingly if he doesn’t trust him to do it right.
As Joon-young returns to directing, Hyun-woo narrates that he and Joon-young met in college, when both of them wanted to become movie directors. We flash back to earlier days when the pair of them were filming a girl walking up a hill; Hyun-woo was sitting in a wheel chair and holding the camera, while the exhausted Joon-young pushed said wheelchair up the hill. Frustrated with Hyun-woo snapping at him to keep it steady, Joon-young had let go… and Hyun-woo rolled backwards down the hill, yelling at his errant hoobae.
Hyun-woo also introduces the studio’s writer, KWON BO-YOUNG (BoA). He calls her the company’s ace and describes how he first met her when he started ten years ago. Back then, Bo-young had been the team rookie and Hyun-woo had witnessed her secretly hawk a loogie in her boss’ coffee when he’d made inappropriate remarks towards her. Nice.
After the show ends, its host, Heo Ji-woong, posts a selfie on Facebook with a dramatic caption. Apparently this is a normal thing, since Bo-young alerts the crew to the post. Everyone grimaces and pull out their phones, automatically “liking” his post without even reading it. Heh.
Back in the booth, Joon-young also robotically “likes” Ji-woong’s post, but he’s much more concerned that Bo-young still hasn’t accepted his friend request, growling at his phone.
Meanwhile, Hyun-woo receives some bad news: their current program has been canceled, and he has three weeks to come up with a new show. He’s aghast at the short time frame, but sadly, his ranting doesn’t change the result.
We meet the final leading man, CHOI YOON-KI (Kim Hee-won) as he goes through the many messages his many girlfriends have sent him, responding to all of them with the same line, “I’m thinking about you at work.” Well, I suppose that’s true, at least.
Yoon-ki’s joined by Hyun-woo and Bo-young, and it’s clear that they’re all friends. Hyun-woo asks after Yoon-ki’s business, and Yoon-ki affirms that the high divorce rate keeps his law firm going strong. When Hyun-woo asks if there are really that many divorces, Bo-young points out that even she got divorced with almost a shrug.
Yoon-ki returns to work and is thrilled to see the back of a beautiful woman waiting to interview for the secretary position, until she turns around and reveals a less-than-stunning face. Shallow man that he is, he’s ready to kick her to the curb, until she reveals that she’s a relative on his wife’s side.
Yoon-ki’s attitude completely changes upon hearing that, and he hires her immediately, regardless of her ready statement that she’s not the type to work hard. And later, while peeking through the window shades at his new hire, Yoon-ki grimaces that there’s now a mole in his office.
In a big house, a beautiful woman walks through to a closet and opens an underwear drawer. This is EUN ARA (Yeh Ji-won), Yoon-ki’s wife, and it’s his underwear drawer she’s currently inspecting. Pulling out all his bright and flashy briefs, she instructs the maid to throw them out, and restocks the drawer with plain white tighty whities.
Hyun-woo and Bo-young are still outside, grumbling about their show being canceled. Bo-young supposes they’ll just have to suck it up and figure out a new show in three weeks, but she wonders how to tell their host that he’s out of a job.
Meanwhile, a little boy waits at a school and his teacher makes a call to his mother, JUN SOO-YEON (Song Ji-hyo). This is Hyun-woo’s wife, and she’s shocked to hear that her husband hasn’t picked up their son, Joon-soo.
Soo-yeon tries calling her husband, but Hyun-woo misses the call since he and the rest of the production team are out with their host. The oblivious Ji-woong tries to cheer everyone up, offering to pay for their drinks tonight, but everyone else is just trying to figure out how to tell him that the show is canceled, and he’s now out of a job.
When Hyun-woo weakly says they’re all just tired, Ji-woong bounces up to the karaoke machine to liven things up with a song, and everyone engages in a silent text thread of “You tell him,” “No, you tell him.” Ha.
The crew pushes Hyun-woo to tell Ji-woong, saying that they’ll set up the right atmosphere for him. Cut to: Ji-woong returning from singing to find just Hyun-woo sitting by himself. Heh, some support system.
Fleeing the bar, the rest of the crew work out car pools, and Joon-young practically pulls Bo-young into his car, arguing that her home is close to his.
In the car, Bo-young asks if Joon-young’s wife is all right with him driving another woman home, but Joon-young argues that she is, adding that his wife is cool with these things. Joon-young starts asking after Bo-young’s opinion of him as a person, but Bo-young sees right through the question and asks if he’s that upset that she didn’t accept his friend request.
The two of them argue over whether or not they’re close enough to be friends, with Joon-young losing his temper and yelling out all the things they’ve shared, like seeing movies and sharing meals. Bo-young points out that those were just coincidences, and coolly says that as a married man, he should focus on the things he’s done with his wife.
Left on his own, Hyun-woo tells a heavily inebriated Ji-woong that the program has been canceled, though it takes a few tries for it to sink in. Ji-woong quickly progresses through the denial and anger stages of grief, landing at last on tearful acceptance. He heads out to post a sobbing selfie, and Hyun-woo gets stuck with the bill.
In the cab on the way home, Hyun-woo mopes about the downward turn of his life, noting that sometimes there are days when nothing goes right. However, he smiles to remember the one bright spot in his life: his wife. We flash back to when he first fell for her: She was the model walking up the hill that he and Joon-young had been filming, and he’d been smitten from the first smile.
Hyun-woo thinks about how proud he is of his wife, and how she’s a perfect businesswoman, wife, and mother. It’s because of her that he has a wonderful life and a sweet home to return to.
Hyun-woo texts Soo-yeon to ask if she needs anything on his way home. When she doesn’t respond, he asks if she’s mad at him for forgetting to pick up their son, apologizing over text while urging his taxi driver to go faster.
He continues the apologies when he gets home, but Soo-yeon doesn’t seem mad, and instead smiles sweetly at him. She heads to the shower and Hyun-woo sends their son, Joon-soo, to bed, taking his wife’s phone away from him since he’d been playing games on it.
As soon as Hyun-woo takes the phone, a text comes in from someone named Michael. Hyun-woo watches in shock as a series of texts chime their way onto his wife’s phone: “I made a reservation recklessly. This Saturday, 3 o’clock, at the Hilts Hotel. I will be waiting for you. I miss you.”
As the messages sink in, Hyun-woo doesn’t even blink when Joon-soo darts out of his room and grabs the phone back from his father’s hand.
Hun-woo watches his wife as she gets ready for bed, thinking about the conversation that his production team had about a new show topic: infidelity. The team had said they should cover it from the side of a housewife having an affair, since it’s such a hot topic these days.
Hyun-woo tosses and turns in bed that night, telling himself that he’s overreacting. Still, the sight of his wife’s phone on her nightstand has him taking it out into the hall to double-check. But then he realizes that she has it locked, causing him to have a mini-breakdown, since she’s never done that before.
He tries some junior detective moves to find the password, but ends up locking the phone for thirty seconds. Thinking of another way, he wakes his son up to ask if he knew his mom’s password to play games on it, but when Joon-soo tries the code, it doesn’t work. Hyun-woo realizes she must have changed the password.
The next morning, Hyun-woo watches as Soo-yeon leaves for work. She tells him that she has a company dinner that night so she’ll be late, and slips on high heels and pretty earrings.
Hyun-woo walks Joon-soo to the bus, his mind wandering to the point that he tosses his son’s backpack in the garbage instead of the trash bag. He even follows his son onto the bus, though he plays it off as though he was just checking the bus’ safety before dashing out.
Hyun-woo visits Yoon-ki’s office that afternoon, and oh-so-casually asks him if any of the women he had affairs with were married. Yoon-ki scoffs that of course there were – at least a third. Hyun-woo guesses that married women cheat due to problems between spouses, but Yoon-ki amends that the women are just looking for a new experience, same as men.
At work, Soo-yeon looks at the messages she received from Michael, reading them almost wistfully. She receives a call from the school letting her know that it’s a half day due to a field trip, and she has to ask another one of the children’s mothers to pick up Joon-soo for her.
Hyun-woo comes to the staff meeting to find their proposal packet, entitled, “Your Wife is Having an Affair.” In a daze, he listens to the group discuss how to approach the topic. The group decides to look at some case studies for ideas, and Hyun-woo thinks back to the text messages on his wife’s phone.
As everyone discusses their research on cheating wives, Hyun-woo brings up the story that he “heard” of a husband seeing suggestive texts from another man on his wife’s phone. This sparks a verbal battle between Joon-young and Bo-young about whether the wife has already slept with the man. Stuck between them, Hyun-woo listens as they unknowingly argue over whether or not his wife has been unfaithful.
Joon-young joins Hyun-woo a for a drink after work, finding Hyun-woo already deep in drink. Hyun-woo asks if he seems pathetic, to which Joon-young readily agrees that he does. Heh. Joon-young tries to get Hyun-woo to go home, but it just spurs him into yelling that they go for round two.
Round two turns out to be a convenience store, where Joon-young buys Hyun-woo medicine for the hangover he’ll have. Realizing that he’s acting strange, Joon-young asks if there’s anything going on with him, but Hyun-woo can’t bring himself to say it.
On his way home, Hyun-woo spies Soo-yeon looking all fancy as she stands on the street. He ducks behind a pole and watches her, thinking back on the texts and wondering if she’s meeting someone now.
Hyun-woo’s hiding is interrupted by Yoon-ki, who’s out on a date with someone who’s definitely not his wife. The commotion catches Soo-yeon’s attention, and she smiles to see her husband as she runs over to join him. Yoon-ki heads off, and Soo-yeon tells Hyun-woo that she was here with her coworkers, which is confirmed when he sees them exit a nearby restaurant.
Soo-yeon tries to say that they should go home together, but Hyun-woo shakes her off. Pouting at her fancy clothes for a work gathering, he says he has to go back to the office.
He walks away and just happens to end up behind a loving couple where the woman is telling the man not to worry, since her husband won’t be home for a while. Frustrated, Hyun-woo actually charges the pair, splitting them apart and roaring at the sky, “Why exactly has the world become like this?!” Aww, that’s both funny and heartbreaking.
At the office, Hyun-woo finds a stack of case studies that Joon-young left for him. He shifts dejectedly through the many accounts of women cheating, reading how women cheat just as much as men. The women say that if the wife buys new lingerie or wears nice makeup, it’s a sign she’s seeing someone.
Hyun-woo’s scared out of his reading when Bo-young calls out from the darkness, having fallen asleep on the couch. Getting a beer, she mentions that she thought of another way to tell if a woman is having an affair: her credit card receipts.
Hyun-woo asks why Bo-young got divorced, and she answers that she simply fell out of love with her husband. Hyun-woo can’t believe that that was the only reason, arguing that it’s natural for love to fade a bit, and butterflies are only felt in the beginning. Bo-young says that the more comfortable you get, that’s when things start to fall apart, comparing love to the way skin starts to sag with age.
Hyun-woo returns home and starts checking his wife’s receipts, seeing that she bought new shoes. He also discovers red lingerie that he’s never seen before.
He finds Soo-yeon sleeping in their son’s bed, and she rouses slightly to she see him. Flipping on the light, Hyun-woo strides in and demands to know who it is she’s seeing… but it’s only his imagination. He thinks to himself, “How can I ask her up front?”
Sharing a heart-to-heart at the urinal the next day, Yoon-ki assumes that Hyun-woo is having an affair, since he found him hiding behind a pillar last night. He guesses that Hyun-woo must have gotten caught as a rookie adulterer. He asks what gave him away: the perfume smell, or the lipstick stain? Yoon-ki finally decides it must have been the smell of his feet. Um, what?
Yoon-ki says that a working man’s feet always smell, even after a shower. He tells Hyun-woo of a time when he himself woke up to find his wife sniffing his feet. Yoon-ki since took to wrapping his sock-covered feet in saran wrap when he showered to preserve the sweaty foot smell. Ew.
Hyun-woo angrily denies that he ever cheated and storms out, but comes right back to ask if Yoon-ki’s wife, Ara, ever had an affair in return. Yoon-ki answers that he did once catch her with another man, but it turns out that he had just had a dream about her cheating. Yoon-ki had been so upset that he literally kicked Ara out of the bed, then proceeded to text one his girlfriends.
Unable to take it, Hyun-woo grabs the proffered saran wrap and actually starts wrapping Yoon-ki’s head. (Was that real, or another one of his fantasies?)
Sitting on the steps in front of his apartment, Hyun-woo sadly realizes that he can’t talk about this with any of his friends.
Hyun-woo heads home and finds that his mother dropped by for a visit. Watching Soo-yeon smiling happily with his mother and son, he thinks that he must have been crazy to doubt his wonderful wife.
Joon-young joins Bo-young when she’s working late at the office. He brings her the food he had argued they’d ate together before, and she laughs. Surrendering, she finally accepts his friend request and heads out. She barely makes it out the door before Joon-young whips out his phone and starts nosing through her now accessible pictures, nearly squealing to find one of himself.
He messages Bo-young about the photo, though Bo-young corrects that it’s not a picture of him, but of the street he’s on. Joon-young deflates.
Hyun-woo sends off his mother, and Soo-yeon asks if he can take care of Joon-soo that night, since she has to head into work because everyone at the office is pulling overtime. Hyun-woo agrees, and spends the night happily reading a story to Joon-soo and doing other household chores.
Returning from a late night snack run, Hyun-woo stops dead when a car passes in front of him with his wife in the front seat. He stares as the car stops around the corner to let Soo-yeon out. She turns back to the car, and the man driving it reaches out a hand.
Smiling, Soo-yeon puts her hand in the driver’s, the two of them staying like that for a moment. Twenty feet away, Hyun-woo looks at the clasped hands in shocked horror.
Hyun-woo returns home and cracks another beer, thinking of what he just saw. He’s looking at a family photo when Soo-yeon returns home. She smiles to see him, acting perfectly normal as she apologizes that work ran late.
Soo-yeon gives her husband a cheerful good night and heads to bed with Hyun-woo still standing in the living room, looking lost.
Still drinking, Hyun-woo sits in the dark and watches the video of their wedding. Tears flow as he listens to the vows that he gave to Soo-yeon, promising to love and never betray her. He laughs and cries as he watches their wedding antics, staring at how happy they were back then.
As the screen fades to black, Hyun-woo wonders how things reached this point, raging to himself, “Why does this have to happen to me? Why? What did I do wrong? So why?!”
Tossing his beer can, Hyun-woo faces a computer with determination and writes an online post:
“This week, my wife will have an affair. What should I do? Should I ask her about it, or should I just watch it happen? Everyone, please tell me. I only have three days left.”
Taking a deep breath, Hyun-woo submits it, then leans back to wait for an answer.
Holy broken nuptials, Batman! That was a lot of plot for one episode. Though now that we’ve already gone through all the teaser material, everything will be new moving forward. Plus, the characters have been given a decent background and the “affairs” have been introduced. If things keep moving this quickly, then we’re in for a fast-paced ride.
The setup so far is interesting, as we’re looking at three very different affairs. Hyun-woo and Soo-yeon are the most basic in that we started from when he found out about the affair and progressed from there, whereas Yoon-ki has been having multiple ongoing affairs over the years to the point that he no longer sees a problem with it. Then we have Joon-young and his obvious crush on someone who isn’t his wife, giving us the “other woman’s” (Bo-young’s) perspective. On top of that, all of the couples know at least one other character, so I’m looking forward to the different types of advice they’ll give each other.
As much as we learned in one hour, there are still so many things that I want to find out – which is exactly what you want to be feeling after the first episode. I want to know how Yoon-ki and Ara got to the point where she sniffs her husband’s feet (again, ew), forcing him to shower in saran-wrapped socks. That’s a scary kind of determination on both their parts to catch/avoid being caught, especially when it seems like they’re each fully aware of what the other is doing. I found his reaction to the idea of Ara cheating on him to be really intriguing, given his conversation with Hyun-woo that it’s natural for women to cheat as much as men. Instead of it being a sexism thing, it’s almost childish; it’s as though he’s playing a game with Ara, and his cheating is just the medium between them. Which is why the idea of her cheating was so wrong because it wasn’t part of the game, and therefore real. I’m probably just overthinking this.
I’m also really curious about Joon-young and his interactions with Bo-young. He’s clearly smitten, but also very clearly married. What kind of relationship does he have with his wife that he can giggle like a schoolboy over Bo-young accepting his friend request? Either he’s a real slimeball (which I hope isn’t true since he’s so innocently cute about his crush), or there’s something else going on. Bo-young herself seems to know of his attraction, but she treats it as an annoyance rather than an inappropriate form of attention from a married man. Then again, her blasé attitude seems to extend to every aspect of her life, so she may not be a good measuring stick.
I’m definitively impressed with the show’s ability to make me feel what Hyun-woo was going through. I found myself going through the same emotions as Hyun-woo, constantly wondering if there really was an affair, or if it was all just a big misunderstanding. Lee Seon-kyun did such an amazing job of embodying Hyun-woo that my heart hurts for him, yet I really want to see what he’ll do next. I also now understand why he turned to the internet for help: He doesn’t have anyone else to talk to about it. All of his friends treat an affair as something to expect or ignore, but it’s obvious that Hyun-woo really just wants someone to tell him that his wife still loves him.
All in all, this was a very strong opening that has me waiting for the next episode. I’m still not completely sold on Soo-yeon having an affair (in spite of the title), but I’m looking forward to Hyun-woo sleuthing out the truth. Hopefully it won’t be too painful for him — the poor man already had his teddy bear stolen from him, don’t take his wife too!