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Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Heaven's Promise Episode 1-5 First Impression

Drama: Heaven's Promise Country: Korea
Episodes: 100+
Airs: Daily

Ninja's Heaven's Promise Episode 1-5 Overview
A bit frustrated at her mother, a young girl (Lee Na Yeon) complains at Mama Lee's insistence to make a big deal out of her birthday. Unbeknownst to the mother and daughter, at the same restaurant a girl who looks exactly like Na Yeon is also celebrating her birthday with her friends.

Curiously flustered when Na Yeon informs her that there was supposedly someone that looked exactly like her at the restaurant, Mama Lee rushes back to the restaurant but was severely disappointed when the little girl had left already.

Going by the show's synopsis, the mysterious little girl is actually the heroine who will end up taking the identity of Na Yeon after she dies. However, for the next bit Na Yeon will be our heroine for the time being.
Ready for messy back story? Mama Lee somehow was able to confirm that her nemesis (probably ex-best friend or something like it) Madam Jang had tricked Mama Lee's then boyfriend (Daddy Jang) into marrying her after convincing everyone that she was pregnant with Daddy Jang's baby 15 years ago. Upset, Mama Lee had hid her own pregnancy and broke up with Daddy Jang. Furious now that she realizes Madam Jang had used another man's baby to steal her boyfriend, Mama Lee tells a pleading Madam Jang that she is going to reveal the truth.

Desperate, Madam Jang had thought about running Mama Lee over with her car but ends up losing her courage at the last second. Shaken by her brush with death, Mama Lee had stumbled out into the middle of the road in the pouring rain to get her umbrella and promptly ends up getting ran over by a truck driver. Walking on shaky legs to check on Mama Lee, Madam Jang had ignored the dying woman's plea for help and ran away. However, Madam Jang does end up losing a earring at the accident scene and even as Mama Lee was dying she had held onto the earring in her hand. 
Clueless that her mother is fighting for life while she is practicing piano at a church, Na Yeon steals an glance at the boy (Tae Joon) that has been listening to her playing.
Ignoring the boy's prickly attitude, Na Yeon jumps on Tae Joon's bike and soon charms him with her determination to befriend him.

It will be difficult to not get attached to Tae Joon but he is going to be the jerky boyfriend that will dumps Na Yeon in order to marry the rich female second lead. Tae Joon does have a pretty pitiful background. Abandoned by his mother after his father's death, Tae Joon lives with his uncle but is abused constantly by his uncle's wife.  
Lost and in pain after her mother's death, Na Yeon accepts Daddy Jang's kindness when he introduces himself as her mother's friend and invites her to live with his family. So, Na Yeon is actually Daddy Jang's real daughter but of course neither of them know that. 

Already displeased when her husband suddenly brought home a child, Madam Jang is soon horrified when she finds out that Na Yeon is Mama Lee's daughter.

With Daddy Jung gone most of the day at work, Na Yeon is soon being treated like a servant at the Jang family and picked at at every turn by Madam Jang and her daughter Se Jin (2nd female lead that will steal the Na Yeon's boyfriend later.)

Living in Daddy Jang's "safe heaven" that has become anything but that, Na Yeon breaks down in tears when she runs into a young man who tries to be nice to her. Puzzled when a tearful Na Yeon cries "Why say those warm words to me when they are just lies?", Park Hwi Kyung nonetheless was kind to Na Yeon and brightens her depressing life for a moment.

Park Hwi Kyung is Madam Jung's younger brother and will be the one that our heroine uses to seek revenge for Na Yeon. 
In a twist of fate, Tae Joon ends up receiving a scholarship from Daddy Jang's company and is invited to the Jang household as a tutor for Se Jin. Hiding his excitement when he sees Na Yeon, Tae Joon pretends to not know Na Yeon while Se Jin orders her around like a maid.

Feeling depressed after running into Tae Joon, Na Yeon is pleasantly surprised when Tae Joon delivers a bag containing her yellow umbrella with a note of expressing his happiness at seeing her again.
Life at the Jang family household increasingly gets worse for Na Yeon until it finally explodes one day when madam Jang accuses Na Yeon of sealing her jewelry. Confused when he comes home to see both his wife and daughter calling Na Yeon a thief, Daddy Jang is frustrated when Na Yeon refuses to open her hand to reveal what she is holding. Gripping her hands tightly on the earring that her mother died holding, Na Yeon vows to herself that she will one day figure out why Madam Jang has the exact same earring at her dressing table that was also missing its' pair.

Disappointed and angry at Na Yeon for her refusal to apologize for stealing, Daddy Jang finally sends Na Yeon to an orphanage. After two months at the orphanage, Na Yeon is surprised when a woman comes to visit her and introduces herself as the wife of the truck driver that hit Mama Lee. With her husband gone, life hasn't been easy for Mama Yang but unable to make herself ignore Na Yeon's existence Mama Yang searched everywhere until she finally finds Na Yeon. Staring at the sobbing woman in front of her, Na Yeon eventually agrees to leave the orphanage and live with Mama Yang.
On Tae Joon's side, Daddy Jang father-in-law (President Park) belatedly finds out that Tae Joon's father was actually a past employee that died on the job. Already beleaguered with constant accusation that his company's poor working condition had caused lives, President Park quickly rescinds Tae Joon's scholarship and destroys Tae Joon's hope of escaping his poor background.

Swallowing a sigh as he looks at the pouring rain and all the parents that showed up with umbrellas for their kids, Tae Joon puts his school bag on his head to brace the rain...until a familiar yellow umbrella suddenly shows up. Turning his head to stare at Na Yeon's familiar bright smile, Tae Joon breaks out in a happy grin as well.
Time jump! We are introduced to the grown up Na Yeon and Tae Joon who have obviously moved past the friendship stage.

First Impression
The first five episodes of Heaven's Promise was a fairly easy watch and certainly made my heart ache for the young Na Yeon and Tae Joon. Of course one giant problem is that we have now spent the last five episodes getting attached to Na Yeon who is NOT our heroine and Tae Joon who is going to become a big jerk.

One of my personal pet peeve with drama that has the same actor/actress playing two characters is that the writer sometimes think the viewers will just carry their attachment from one twin to the other. (Good example of that is I Summon You, Gold where the show had spent most of time developing the romance between the heroine and the hero but the hero ends up getting together with the heroine's twin.) So, I am really hoping the writer will give the actual heroine enough backstory for us to get attached to her instead of just assuming we will treat her like Na Yeon #2.
All in all, Heaven's Promise is keeping my attention thus far. I do have some reservations such as 1. The heroine's character being developed enough. 2. The hero's (Park Hwi Kyung, so the villain's brother) character might be more like the male second lead while the jerky ex-boyfriend (Tae Joon) will get most of the screen time. 
The 2nd fear comes from all the promotional posters where the actor playing Park Hwi Kyun's character is usually relegated to the back. 

However, I think I will at least keep watching until all the back story is set up and the revenge is set in motion before I make a decision on this one. 


  1. Which site are you watching drama on?

    1. I watch it on OndemandKorea.com and some of the episodes are subbed! It's called The Promise on the site.

  2. Thank you for this short recap. I hope you'll continue to write about it though it is understandably hard to watch long series.The story got me interested with the revenge and all along with its makjang contents.

  3. I'm confused about the genealogy.

    How did Mama Lee end up with one of the twins?

    Daddy Jang is not Se Jin's biological father?

    I love the show, live for the revenge, even though confused?

    1. Madam Baek and Mama Lee had babies around the same time at the same hospital. Madam Baek's baby died while one of the twins (Do Hee) was having heart problems. The show wasn't too clear on this yet (at least the parts I have watched) but it looks like Madam Baek took baby Do Hee with the promise that she has enough money to save the baby but then judging by how Madam Baek guilty reactions so far I am guessing Mama Lee did not consent to have the baby taken away from her.