* This review contains spoilers for Episode 1 of Doona!
Doona! begins, appropriately, with a shot of Doona (Bae Suzy) herself. We get a glimpse of her memories from when she was a member of DREAM SWEET. Just as she is about to go onstage, her dream self falls into a deep pool. From her submerged position, she watches herself perform across the surface, before sinking silently to the bottom. It’s a striking image, and our first clear hint of the troubles that are plaguing her.
We are then introduced to Lee Won-Jun (Yang Se-Jong) a college freshman who has moved to Seoul to study civil engineering. He hitches a ride with his friend, Kook Su-Jin, who is a huge fan of Dream Sweet, and who has merchandise of the group all over his vehicle. Su-Jin jokingly tells Won-Jun to call if he ever runs into Doona in Seoul.
A mysterious girl
We then see Won-Jun walking to his new student house, where he has rented a room. The first person he runs into is Doona. He greets her warmly, but she says nothing, only taking a long drag off her cigarette. He doesn’t recognize her, but tells her that she “looks familiar”.
She watches him warily, noting the DREAM SWEET sweatshirt. She later texts someone named ‘P’ to inform them that she has a “stalker” living on the second floor. Won-Jun finally recognizes her and the two have a brief confrontation.
However, Won-Jun has other things to worry about, like finding a part time job as a math tutor to support himself. He also runs into an old high school friend, Jin-Ju (Shin Ha-Young). She is happy to see him, but he is less enthused. They have drinks together, and she tells him that she has also enrolled at his college, which shocks him.
Doona chases after Won-Jun
At the house, he finds Doona sitting outside in the falling snow, clearly freezing. She is staring at her phone, as if waiting for someone to call her. Won-Jun tries to talk to her, but she threatens him, telling him to “never sing her song again”. She tries to walk into the house, but passes out.
She wakes up at the hospital, with Won-Jun by her side. He asks if she has anyone she can call, but she tells him there is no one. When a nurse asks if she has any family members, Won-Jun lies and says he is her sibling. The nurse tells him that Doona should keep warm, and begin wearing socks. Doona watches him from her hospital bed, still wary.
Won-Jun buys her a pair of pink toe socks, and she orders him to put them on her. This leads to several days of Doona harassing Won-Jun, demanding that they go out for a meal together. At one point, he nervously asks if she is falling for him. This causes her to laugh, and she tells him “it’s never happening”. She instead says she wants to be his friend.
Won-Jun finally cracks
Won-Jun eventually reaches a breaking point and lashes out at her. He demands that she leave him alone. Doona tells him that she expected him to react more strongly than that, and that he disappoints her.
However, she does not show herself for several days. A worried Won-Jun heads down to her floor to tell her that he is willing to go out to eat with her. This results in Doona showing up at Won-Jun’s class the next day, and seductively asking him to take her out.
She later tells him that she will be calling him from now on, and he agrees to that. She teases him by telling him not to fall for her instead, and he tells her it will not be an issue. The two of them are on better terms now. The episode ends with a voiceover of Doona telling Won-Jun that even though it was by chance, she is glad that he was the one she met.
What we thought of Doona! Episode 1
This first episode holds a lot of promise. Although it started off a little slow, we definitely got a sense of the budding relationship between Doona and Won-Jun. However, it is unclear how things will play out.
Both of them also seem to have their secrets. For Won-Jun, it is the nature of his relationship with Jin-Ju. For Doona, it is the mystery of how she ended up as a tenant of the student house. Not to mention, the identity of the person whom she keeps trying to call. We’re sure those questions will be answered in the coming episodes.
In terms of acting, Bae Suzy lights up the screen every time she appears. We get to see her Doona display a whole range of emotions, from joy to despair. What’s amazing is that she only speaks her first line 13 minutes into the episode. This gives us a chance to see her skill at conveying emotions through her facial expressions and body posture.
Yang Se-Jong also makes a convincing Won-Jun. There is certainly a sense of innocence about him, but also a little bit of fire, which we notice in the scene where he shouts at Doona.
We’re certainly looking forward to seeing how the story develops.