May I Help You (Season 1), Episodes 1 & 2 Recap & Ending Explained: A sparkly mix of fantasy and romance-comedy, ‘May I Help You’ is the new K-drama featuring K-star Hyeri and U-Kiss famed pop-singer Lee-Jun in leading roles. Baek Dong-Ju (Hyeri) works as a young ‘Funeral Director’ and possesses the supernatural ability to communicate with the dead. On the other hand, Kim Jip-Sa (Lee-Jun) runs an errand company with his uncle which goes by the name of ‘A Dime A Job’. While the two cross paths early on in the story, they are oblivious to each other’s existence till later. However, as the narrative progresses, we can see a heart-warming romance start to brew between them. Filled with drama, love, fantasy, and sure-shots of drool-worthy food, the show has everything going on for it.
With Prime Video as the official streaming partner, the 16-episode drama only releases 2 episodes a week. And since we understand what a pain it can be to wait for a full 7 days for the narrative to continue – let’s dig in to understand the first two episodes better while we wait for the rest.
May I Help You (Season 1), Episodes 1 & 2 Recap:
Episode 1: I do Anything for You
The prologue starts in a beautiful powder room where we meet our protagonist Baek Dong-Ju helping out a woman. Immediately after the conversation, she rushes out to the memorial of the same person who she was just talking to and exposes her husband having an affair with his wife’s sister even before she was dead. The premise of the story has been excellently established here- Baek Dong-Ju is a ‘Funeral Director’ who has the superpower to commune with the dead. To put it more simply, she helps them finish their ‘unfinished business’ on the earth before their final departure to the after-world.
Our story starts after the title sequence where Dong-Ju is confiding in the Father (at the church). Visibly she is wary of the responsibility that has been entrusted to her from the universe but she is waiting till the Fall before she can give up the job (both the actual and the supernatural). Next, we are introduced to the ultra-cute and oh-so-pretty Kim Jip-Sa. He runs a business- A Dime A Job- with his uncle where they do all sorts of ala carte and miscellaneous errands for their customers, which include babysitting a dog, picking up garbage, driving a cab etc.
Our lead characters meet in a restaurant where Dong-Ju was supposed to meet her boyfriend and was fairly surprised to see Kim Jip-Sa. Turns out, the boyfriend chose to avail the errand service and hire Jip-Sa in order to break up with his girlfriend. The reason was fairly straight- he was scared of her working as a Funeral Director as that was an ominous job and could bring bad luck. He said it was frightening to hold her hand considering what she was doing right now. Verbatim. The scene segues in a flashback sequence for the character backstory for Dong-Ju.
Dong-Ju used to be an outstanding Ping Pong player before she had an accident and decided to become a Funeral Director because of the longevity of the job. Once hired, she had her first experience with a dead young boy- she was transported to the fantasy fragment of the after-world and the young boy came to life as she applied the ointment on his cheek. Shaken to the core, Dong-Ju runs away from the funeral house, but the call for help from the young boy seemed to follow her everywhere.
She decides to quit the job on the advice of her father and prepare for civil exams. But when she starts experiencing a series of bad luck and accidents, she gives in and goes back to the job. However, she sees the number 21 on a wind chime (consider it as a tracker) in the fantasy-funeral house and decides that that is the ONLY number of dead people she is going to help before she can move on. Coming to the present, there are only 15 people left for Dong-Ju before she can quit.
The next person she meets is Yeon-Hee- a cab driver who just died in a car accident. Once in the afterlife, Yeon-Hee requests Dong-Ju to help him find his son who he deserted 25 years ago. The son was left with Yeon-Hee’s selfish brother while he went away for his job. She puts up a poster in search of the son and waits patiently for someone to turn up. Simultaneously, the brother’s greedy wife sends a request to ‘A Dime A Job’ for a chief mourner requirement at the funeral. So, when Kim Jip-Sa turns up at the memorial, Dong-Ju assumes that the long-lost son has come back aside from the painful recollection of their argumentative ‘meet-cute’ in the recent past when he broke up with her on behalf of her boyfriend.
Episode 2: A Strange Woman
When Kim Jip-Sa receives a request for the ‘chief mourner’, he contemplates going owing to the nature of the task. However, the reimbursement was so high that his uncle pushed for him to go. Dong-Ju sees the birthmark on Jip-Sa’s hand that was also supposed to be there on the hand of the son and is clearly elated to see him. They spend a long time together mourning for Yeon-Hee (clearly there is something bubbling between the two).
But by now, Kim Kip-Sa has had enough and wants to go home, even before the transportation of the body. They have a confrontation where he tells Dong-Ju that he is not the son, but she is still sure of him being one. Irritated, Jip-Sa leaves, but halfway back he has this urge to go back (let’s call the urge- attraction). Once he reaches back, he finds the actual son outside the funeral house. The tormented son tells his side of the story about how fate had arranged a meet with his father, quite recently who he met on one of the cab rides. But angry from the injustice his father had done to him when he was a boy, he refused to reveal to him his actual identity.
The scene is followed by another where Kim Jip-Sa accidentally meets Baek Dal Sik (Dong-Ju’s father) and they share a ride back home. Baek talks about his daughter who is preparing for the civil service examination. After dropping off Baek at his bag factory, Jip-Sa meets a very drunk man at a streetside eatery who he offers to drop him home. This man has just won big money at a lottery and is carrying it in his pocket (while this scene could just mean character development for the male protagonist and be reflective of his honest and empathetic personality, I am just stating it here lest it comes of significance in the later episodes).
While our ‘hero’ is busy being the good samaritan, Dong-Ju is living a reclusive life and has just turned 25. Clearly, she isn’t interested in celebrating her birthday and a flashback explains why. Her mother died 30 min after giving birth to her due to respiratory failure and Dong Ju still holds herself responsible for her mother’s death. Her father, however, dotes on her and has cooked a lavish birthday meal for her to take on the go.
While on the way, she meets Kim Jip-Sa at the crossing who is running an errand as a ‘green mother’ (coordinating traffic outside the school on behalf of a parent). The tension between the two is triggered when Dong Ju’s tiffin falls on the road. One thing leads to another and soon she is accusing Jip-Sa of his reckless job and how he owes her money for not doing a task she had asked him to (which was kicking her boyfriend on breaking up with her). The fight becomes a social media nightmare and causes a lot of bad PR for ‘A Dime A Job’ so much so that it loses all business.
Amongst all these things, the uncle asks Jip-Sa to apologize to Dong-Ju and return her money (which she had forcefully given Jip-Sa in the first place). The story proceeds while Jip-Sa constantly tries to get in touch with Dong-Ju but she refuses any interaction. On one of the errands, Jip-Sa meets Baek Dal Sik again and finds out that he has another job as a guard, and also realizes that both the father and daughter are lying to each other since he has heard the two talking and lying to each other multiple times by now.
Dong-Ju spends her birthday walking the streets and comes across a man dressed as a teddy bear in the marketplace who tries hard to cheer her up with his theatrics. She sees the mark on his hand and realizes it’s Kim Jip-Sa before walking back home. Later in the night, she reflects on the last few days and decides to forgive Jip-Sa by sending him a text message. She also makes up with her father by agreeing to cut a cake.
May I Help You (Season 1), Episode 2 Ending, Explained:
The last scene of ‘May I Help You’ is a cliffhanger that ensures that you come back to watch it next week. On one of the errands, Kim Jip-Sa is required to clean up a cupboard at a customer’s house. But right when he opens the door to the almirah, he is shocked to find Dong-Ju hiding in it. What was she doing there? How did she come into the room? We will hopefully find out next week.
There is also a brief epilogue where we see Jip-Sa buying a cake and giving it to Baek Dal Sik on the pretext of a good deed when in reality, the reason was Don-Ju’s birthday. He had learned about it when he met Baek at one of his guard jobs. Do you see sweet love between the two cute hearts? I do! It was the same cake that Dong-Ju cut on the night of the birthday after she forgave Jip-Sa, let go of the bitter birthday vibe, and embraced a happier version of herself. Ring a bell? We will see.