Little Women (Season 1), Episodes 1 & 2 Recap & Ending Explained: ‘Little Women (2022)’ is a Korean mystery drama based on Louisa May Alcott’s book named Little Women with themes ranging from poverty, the oppressive powers over underprivileged women and money as a mode of exchange. True to Korean culture, the makers bring a very different touch to the series always keeping you at the edge of your seat when you follow three sisters engulfed in a politician’s circle. While they relentlessly find a place for themselves in society, the norms and rules in place do not always favor them and they put up a fight nonetheless.
Oh In-Ju, the eldest sibling with her middle sister Oh In-Kyung, as a pair, are always trying to look out for the youngest siblings’ interests after she secures a position for herself in the most celebrated art institution in Korea. While Oh In-Hye, the youngest sister, is battling with decapitating thoughts of self-worth, the other two have their battles to overcome when their mother walks out on them and takes their savings, leaving them severely strapped for cash. As the plot begins to unravel, money is not the only thing that becomes a problem. The environment these two siblings find themselves in abruptly alters their lives in ways they would have only imagined in their wildest dreams. Without any more delay, let us understand their journey.
Little Women (Season 1), Episodes 1 & 2 Recap:
Oh In-Ju and Oh In-Kyung have rigorously been saving up for Oh In-Hye’s ability to travel to Europe with her school and experience life outside Korea. While these two never got the chance to experience a birthday cake, a cake was present for Oh In-Hye’s birthday eve. Smiling, Oh In-Hye feels a sense of joy wash over her face. The older siblings give Oh In-Hye some money to travel abroad as a birthday gift, but their mother vehemently protests, claiming she has never travelled anywhere.
The mother leaves a note of apologies explaining her decision to leave the children behind and packs her bags in the wee hours of the morning after taking the money. In thorough disgust, disappointment and anger, the siblings must collectively find a way to come up with the money in time. This puts them in a tough spot and makes them consider avenues they would not otherwise. Oh In-Ju works in a finance company and tries to approach her senior for half her salary in advance but she is quickly turned down. Oh In-Kyung works as a journalist at OBN Networks and ponders whether applying for a loan is best. Right that minute, her great-aunt calls her and demands to meet her the next day for breakfast, knowing full well that she needs money.
With some strange luck, both the elder siblings acquire the money. Oh, In-Ju befriends Jin Hwa-Young, the company bookkeeper or accountant, who looks after the plants in the office and keeps rigorous records. When they become close, Oh In-Ju discovers certain secrets and suddenly she feels empowered. Meanwhile, her sister Oh In-Kyung meets with their Great Aunt and acquires the amount they need for Oh In-Hye. When Oh In-Kyung is spotted crying during a live report, her boss questions her professional integrity. She counters with an attempt to closely investigate a politician who could be involved in a banking scam. When she tries to question the Politician’s stance on the matter, he floats the possibility of Oh In-Kyung being drunk during work hours.
While one sibling’s job hangs in the balance, Oh In-Ju gives the money to Oh In-Hye, who refuses it and instead walks away to cater to a wealthy family’s need for a portrait of a teenage daughter. Oh, In-Ju follows her to refuse payment for the portrait. She makes sure that Oh In-Hye understands that the rich should not feel they have an advantage over them due to their societal and economic status. Things take a sour turn when Oh In-Ju meets Cho-Do-il, a graduate of Wharton University who works closely with Director Shin, the head of the company.
When Oh In-Ju is informed that Jin Hwa-Young cannot be found, she understands something must be wrong. Oh In-Kyung is suspended for being alcohol dependent while Oh In-Ju visits Jin Hwa-Young’s apartment to find her hanging dead in her wardrobe. She is wearing red heels and Oh In-Ju identifies her by the tattoo on her ankle. Shortly after, it is revealed that Jin Hwa- Young was embezzling money from the company and Oh In-Ju is questioned about it. Instead, she takes a different stance and quits the company after outing her senior’s affair in the office on the company’s money.
When Jin Hwa-Young’s Yoga Institute calls her to inform her the membership has been transferred to her name, Oh In-Ju happily welcomes it to discover a bag in the locker. When she opens it, she finds wads and wads of cash with a letter and a designer pair of heels that are one of a kind of only three pairs made in Korea. A pair she has worn before only with Jin Hwa-Young when they visited an expensive restaurant. Overcome with joy, Oh In-Ju does not know what to do next.
Oh In-Ju takes the bag home and empties the boxes of Kimchi their mother left behind for them to consume. She cooks the Kimchi and she shares beef Kimchi with Oh In-Kyung. Quietly and calmly, Oh In-Kyung confesses that she is a borderline alcoholic and has been suspended for a month. Oh In-Ju gets annoyed at her but tries to keep her mixed emotions in check. Oh In-Ju cleans out the Kimchi boxes and stacks them up with cash. She counts a total of up to 2 billion Won. Much more than the alleged 70 million Won that Jin Hwa-Young allegedly stole, as per Director Shin and right-hand Cho Do-il’s findings.
While Oh In-Ju knows the real amount of money missing, she understands with this kind of money, no one would want to kill themselves. Though it does attract the possibility of the opposite. She questions whether Jin Hwa-Young was murdered or not. If so, who was the murderer? She decides to return to the company knowing full well she is unsafe for being a close acquaintance to Jin Hwa-Young. When she returns to the office, she clearly states the terms and conditions for her return. While it is readily granted, Director Shin puts Oh In-Ju on high alert when he goes to her feet and sees that she is wearing a very specific pair of Heels from the designer label that made only three pairs of those shoes.
Meanwhile, Oh In-Kyung meets regularly with her Great-Aunt, who is very wealthy and showers a certain adoration upon In-Kyung that comes with a price. Sick of an apathetic welcome towards her, In-Kyung questions her aunt about why she must meet her when there is no reason to do so. Her Great Aunt expresses regret for letting her go when she was exceptionally talented with stocks and trades and almost doubled an investment that was so profitable, that a certain amount is still in her name. Co-incidentally it is the same amount that was allegedly embezzled from her sister’s company.
On the way out of her Great Aunt’s house, she runs into an old friend and her strongest supporter, Ha Jong-Ho. He asks her out for a meal and she says yes. While the meal is on, she receives a call from an informant she had called earlier regarding the Bombae Savings Bank Scheme, which sought to make monetary transfers during a certain customer’s death but could not be traced digitally. Hesitantly, he speaks with her and tells her exactly where to begin her investigation and that he would meet her at a certain location the next day at a certain time.
While In-Kyung is making progress, In-Ju re-visits Hwa-Young’s apartment for answers along with Cho Do-il. With new shoes in boxes and new clothes strewn all over the house, In-Ju requests for time alone to study Hwa-Young’s accounts to find the money as promised. He does so hesitantly and exits. She sits down to slowly understand Hwa-Young’s curious methods of bookkeeping the way she had instructed her. While remembering Hwa-Young’s clear instruction to never display to the world her level of wealth, In-Ju discovers a second account that Hwa-Young maintained on a platform called SkyGram (the Korean equivalent of Instagram).
Little Woman (Season 1), Episode 2 Ending, Explained:
After discovering that Hwa-Young could have an alter ego, she discovers no one really knew the real Jin Hwa-Young. Therefore, if someone had to kill her, it could only be one person from her close acquaintances. She begins to follow the money that Hwa-Young would spend. Tracing the money would allow In-Ju to track the important events that took place in Hwa-Young’s life. When certain amounts jumped out at her, she would look closely into what was bought or where it was bought. Slowly, her findings led her to Hwa-Young’s presence in Singapore.
Suddenly, things seemed to make sense but In-Ju still had questions. Director Shin visits the house and looks around Hwa-Young’s apartment. He makes a move on In-Ju who feels highly threatened but when he sees a Blue Orchid of a certain kind, he is terrorized and storms off. This alerts her that flowers have a more significant meaning in Hwa-Young’s life. With all this information, she decides to take things forward and visit the shoe designer store.
Meanwhile, In-Kyung tries to meet with her informant. This story is her only source of saving face in the office to return in a victorious avatar. At the location, her informant is not picking up the phone. A few minutes pass by and she takes her best friend who drove her there back to where they spotted an accident. She keeps calling him and finds his phone outstretched from the car now lying upside down completely totaled with his body in the driver’s seat bleeding. On the footpath, her best friend picks up a Blue Orchid.
She learns that Director Shin purchased these shoes for Hwa-young. In-Ju chooses to talk with Hwang, the senior whose accounts she made public, and learns further of the connection between the Director and Hwa-Young. Shin is a scum bag, Hwang explains to her softly. He targets weak, underprivileged women. She informs Cho of this information, and together they link the facts in more detail.
Hwa- Young and Shin were involved in big financial theft, currency fraud, and other unlawful actions while running an illicit slush fund. By informing the Prosecution about Shin, Hwa-Young escalated the situation. Things between the two of them quickly deteriorated as he learned the truth. He showed up at her residence and threatened her. Contrarily, she had already planned for this and was well-prepared.
Cho gets frustrated when he and In-Ju discover that the chats expose secrets without revealing where the money is. Money is his primary priority. While In-Ju has been investigating Hwa-Young’s truth, In-Kyung has been watching the video footage of her informant’s vehicle. She notices that the car lost control on its own and began speeding up without letting the driver have any control over it.
When In-Ju is at home enjoying an ice cream with In-Kyung, a package is delivered. A pair of Red Heels. Suddenly, In-Ju feels threatened and goes straight to Director Shin and tries to debate with him. At the prestigious art institute, the politician’s daughter wins an award for a self-portrait that was originally made by Oh In-Hye, but accepts this as her own. While on a bus, Oh In-Kyung sees the ceremony and sees her sister is not the one receiving the award. After all, she did toil over that piece. When In-Ju is debating with Shin, he is confident when he says he will take her down with him claiming that he does not mind going to prison but he will take down whoever else ratted on him. When he gets into the car, he sees a blue orchid. Suddenly, he has no control over the car and the car thrusts forward in full speed to throw him and the car off the floor of the parking lot to a brutal death.
With such poise, the creators focus on uncomfortable topics and difficulties. In this series, the males seem to struggle the most and offer a conceptual balance with some solace for the women, yet it is handled with extreme care. Given how both episodes were shot, this is said with a little amount of subtlety. Each picture and frame is subtle with color and language that complements its pace and prevents you from sensing the passage of time.
One would do well to observe how these characters differ completely from what the traditional ‘Little Women’ interpretation makes up. With a juxtaposition of an English classic and this Korean interpretation of today’s modern world, this version is a big win. Long as it may be, we see flashes of the next episode. Pertinent questions to ask would be: What will In-Ju do now? Will she tell her sister about the money? What will happen to In-Hye when she finds out her artwork won a prize? Will In-Kyung and In-Ju notice the blue orchid connection? Are they really telling each other everything? Only time will tell us.