Happiness: Episode 1 RECAP

Set in the near future, a high-rise apartment building has been newly constructed in the big city. The apartment building has residents from diverse backgrounds, but a new infectious disease breaks out. Because of the outbreak, the high-rise apartment is sealed off. The residents struggle to survive, while stricken with fear and distrust of others.

Officer Kim Jung-Kook is seen attempting to reason with a teen Jung Yi-Hyun who is sitting quietly on the edge of his school roof. After injuring his leg so terribly that his baseball career is over, everyone assumes he’s suicidal. Yoon Sae-Bom , a fellow classmate, makes her way onto the rooftop and tells Jung-Kook she’s got this. She climbs up onto the ledge and sits down next to Yi-Hyun, whining that the teacher has forced her to stay at school. Yi-Hyun sighs, feeling that they’re making a big fuss out of nothing; he merely came up for some fresh air, and then some idiot called the cops.

Sae-Bom asks whether baseball is actually important to him. He claims it’s all he knows and that he’ll never be able to do it again. So, what is he expected to do with the rest of his life? Sae-Bom appears unconcerned and admits that she’s never been good at anything and that she’s alright. She reminds him that the future holds many opportunities for them. She extends her hand, saying, “You’ve got nothing to lose.” Yi-Hyun scoffs but allows her to assist him in getting up. “Like me,” Sae-Bom says before pushing him off the roof onto the rubber landing cushion below.

Yi-Hyun looks at her in surprise as he falls, but when he lands on the mat, he smiles. Above, Sae-Bom tells the open-mouthed cop that she purposefully pushed Yi-Hyun onto the safety mat. Cut to her sprinting up to Yi-Hyun in handcuffs, pleading with him to tell the cops to let her free. “Do you want to be my girlfriend?” ,Yi-Hyun asks instead.

12 YEARS LATER

While the police force’s Special Operation Unit [SOU] swarms a structure, gunfire and sirens blare. Adult Sae-Bom assists in the transport of an injured officer and orders the newcomer to begin treatment. He determines that the man has a collapsed lung and hesitates before inserting the needle into his chest. The horrified newcomer begins chest compressions when the officer begins convulsing. The cop comes to a halt and rises, removing his medical vest and reprimanding the newcomer for jabbing his clavicle. Sae-Bom deducts points for the new recruit’s indecisiveness and slowness.

Officer Seung-young remembers his own training from many years back. Sae-Bom had pushed the needle into the fake victim’s chest without hesitation… except he wasn’t wearing any protective gear. They now wear these protection vests because to Seung-decisiveness. In the meantime, a member of the motel staff investigates a peculiar pounding in one of the rooms. He lets himself in when no one replies. The door slams shut behind him as he is dragged into the room. There are ominous zombie-like sounds that follow. A radio announcer remarks about how pleasant it is to not have to wear masks after COVID while Yi-Hyun drives. Yi-Hyun comes at the motel, which is now a crime scene, dressed in a baseball uniform, despite the fact that he only plays for fun. Yi-Hyun is also a cop who works with Jung-Kook.

He and Jung-Kook are assigned to the motel case and immediately begin their investigation. Yi-Hyun decisiveness in taking the lead and properly inspecting the room would be appreciated by Sae-Bom. He peeks beneath the bed and opens every door. When Jung-kook calmly orders, “Come out,” he thinks Yi-Hyun is playing with him. Jung-kook then leans down to see the bleeding assailant staring back at him. The man sits obediently on the bed, claiming that his memory is hazy. As if it were a dream, he witnessed the murder.

When Yi-Hyun inquires as to how he killed the victim, the assailant bizarrely responds that he was thirsty. Yi-Hyun notices the culprit’s bleeding teeth open his mouth. He inquires, “Did you bite him?”

Sae-Bom and Seung-Young dine at the cafeteria elsewhere. She notices an advertisement for a new apartment complex where three units are being given away to deserving police officers. Sae-Bom receives a call from Yi-Hyun while she is trying to think of a way to retrieve one of the units. He informs her that the suspect in his case mentioned taking drugs from Jong-Tae, one of the SOU’s newest members. It’s the same youngster who messed up the earlier instruction. Sae-Bom has been thinking about flats and sees this as an opportunity to demonstrate her worth and put herself in consideration.

Sae-Bom sets off to find Jong-tae and comes to a halt outside a door. She observes what appears to be two men having sex on the floor through the window. Seung-young appears behind her, and the two of them rush inside the room to break up the fight. Jong-Tae refuses to obey their directions, and it becomes evident that something is wrong when he takes a chunk out of the other man’s neck. At the sight of the bloody-mouthed, growling Jong-Tae, Sae-Bom pulls out her rifle and shoots him in the knee. Nothing seems to be able to stop Jong-tae, so they have no choice but to go on the defensive. While she holds off Jong-tae, Sae-Bom yells at Seung-Young to carry the wounded guy to safety. She keeps him at away and even shoots him again, but he just keeps coming at her like a zombie.

Jong-tae is locked in the room, and Sae-Bom joins Seung-young in the hallway. Jong-tae slams his head on the door window, almost knocking himself out. Jong-tae regains his human voice and asks for assistance. With his revolver drawn, Sae-Bom cautiously opens the door. Jong-tae has regained his wits and is now aware of the pain in his wounds. Sae-Bom phones Yi-Hyun to rage at him for failing to warn her when she is washing the blood off her hands. She inquires as to how he was able to apprehend the criminal without using a weapon, to which Yi-Hyun responds, perplexed, that he simply reasoned with him.

Yi-Hyun begins to comprehend and inquires as to if Jong-Tae attempted to bite her. Sae-Bom then finds a bite mark on her hand. She recalls Jong-tae clawing her with his nails throughout the battle. Lieutenant colonel Han Tae-Seok approaches Sae-Bom in the women’s lavatory, backed by mask-wearing troops. He informs Sae-Bom that Jong-Tae is suspected of having a contagious illness. Tae-Seok grabs her phone and informs Yi-Hyun, who is still on the line, that Sae-Bom will need to contact him back. The soldiers lead Sae-Bom to a military truck after she passes over her gun to Tae-Seok. Tae-Seok advises Seung-Young that the occurrence was an accident and that the details must be kept private.

When Yi-Hyun phones Sae-Bom again, Tae-Seok answers. He was about to hang up until Yi-Hyun introduced himself as a cop. When Yi-Hyun asks if this is about Jong-Tae, Tae-Seok tells him about Sae-Bom being taken for testing. Tae-Seok immediately walks over to the precinct after Yi-Hyun discusses his current situation. Only those who have been bitten or scratched need to be isolated, he informs Yi-Hyun. While Sae-Bom is being transported to the quarantine facility, Tae-Seok informs Yi-Hyun and Jung-kook about the infection. They believe it has an effect on the brain. Those who are bitten become sick or die from blood loss.

Yi-Hyun informs Tae-Seok that the perpetrator took a tablet and speculates that the symptoms are hallucinatory side effects. Tae-Seok dismisses that possibility, but he still wants to know if they discover anything new regarding the medicine. Tae-Seok asks Yi-Hyun if he’ll be playing baseball again before he goes. In high school, he had big expectations for him. Yi-inability Hyun’s to sprint at full pace disappoints him. Yi-Hyun searches the motel room for the narcotics as Jung-Kook reviews the toxicology results. He discovers a pill, but it may not be significant. The toxicological report came back negative, indicating that Jong-tae was infected.

That night, Yi-Hyun pays a visit to his friend’s baseball training academy and seeks his advice. He reasoned that since he was kicked out for drugs, he could know what the mystery medication is. When his pal reluctantly looks at the pill, he discovers a serial number on it. That’s something that no illegal drug would have. Yi-Hyun lies down and instructs his friend to notify him when the medication is found in the pharmaceutical database. Sae-Bom is thoroughly checked and tested at the quarantine center. Tae-Seok enters, but does not provide her with many answers. She worries that she’ll turn into Jong-tae and terrifies Lee Ji-Soo, the military medic who is evaluating her, by acting like a zombie.

Tae-Seok, ever stern and professional, ignores her antics and instructs her to report the event. Jong-appearance Tae’s is described by Sae-Bom, who wonders if the infection is similar to rabies. It’s comparable, according to Tae-Seok. He refutes the drug connection, claiming that the cops always choose the easy solution. Sae-Bom clarifies that she isn’t a cop per se, but rather works in a counter-terrorism team. When she inquires about Jong-Tae’s condition, Tae-Seok responds that he is doing exceptionally well. Tae-Seok departs to prepare a spot for her to sleep, promising to return with her phone to Sae-Bom later.

Sae-Bom still doesn’t have her phone, so she calls Yi-Hyun on a landline that night to blame him for her current situation. They’re such good friends that he’s already called her mother and made an excuse for why Sae-Bom can’t be reached.

Although Jong-Tae’s test reports were negative, Yi-Hyun believes there is still something to the drug perspective. Yi-Hyun assures her that he will solve the problem and advises her to rest. Sae-Bom is kept in her room for the night and discovers a blood stain on the wall that is barely visible. Screeching and thumping can be heard from adjoining rooms. Except for Sae-Bom, we pan out and observe every room of the building occupied with sick people.

Tae-Seok examines Sae-Bom’s strange test results and discovers that she is uninfected. She could be the first person to develop anti-viral antibodies. Yi-Hyun discovers the next morning that the tablet he found is a COVID-related pneumonia treatment that has been discontinued. Because of its emotional and hallucinogenic side effects, it was taken off the market. Yi-Hyun’s friend doubts that this substance is to blame for Yi-Hyun’s rabies-like  symptoms. Why are these cases only now surfacing if the medicine has been around for a while?

Yi-Hyun goes to the university that is being used as a quarantine site after getting Jung-kook to find out the number Sae-Bom called from. Meanwhile, Ji-Soo takes Sae-Bom back to the lab for more testing. When Sae-Bom sees Jong-Tae in a room, he pushes past Ji-Soo and enters. Sae-Bom barricades the door shut and promises she just needs a minute. They’ve Hannibal Lecter-ed Jong-tae, strapping a muzzle-like shield over his face. She asks if he’s okay and then checks how much he remembers from the incident. She isn’t convinced it’s an infection, but he denies knowing anything about the drugs he allegedly sold. Jong-Tae abruptly requests water, claiming to be thirsty. Ji-Soo screams from the crack in the door, pleading with him not to give him any.

Jong-Tae powers down, closing his eyes and becoming inactive. When Sae-Bom gets too close, he transforms into a full-fledged zombie and pounces on her. She fights him off until the soldiers bust down the door and use what appears to be a lethal quantity of electric current to neutralize him. Sae-Bom looks into the security camera and asks Tae-Seok whether he’s paying attention. When Yi-Hyun arrives at the site and claims to have delivered the drug for Tae-Seok, he is let in. Inside, Sae-Bom storms Tae-small Seok’s watchtower, accusing him of luring her to Jong-tae on purpose.

Tae-Seok reveals that infected people become rabid after experiencing ravenous hunger, and he’s looking for the conditions that trigger this. If kept under control, the slow heart rate, quick recovery, and lack of pain sensation could be beneficial. They’re undertaking this terrible military experiment study in secret since the public is already on edge about viruses. He suggests that Sae-Bom take a break. They’ll put her anywhere she wants and claim she was injured while on job. She only need blood tests every few weeks.

Sae-Bom accepts on the condition that he give her the highest possible rating in order for her to be considered for one of the flats. He agrees, pointing up her impressive track record. Sae-Bom jokes that she was destined to battle terrorism. When he asks if she has a boyfriend, she responds that their age difference is too great. To get that unit, he clarifies that she’ll need more than a good evaluation. Is she planning a wedding anytime soon? Sae-Bom claims she can begin planning right now. Tae-Seok is taken aback by her nonchalant demeanor, but Sae-Bom doesn’t see the sense in being concerned about the consequences. Yi-Hyun rushes along the corridor to see whether she’s alright. Ji-Soo whips out her baton and assumes a fighting position when Sae-Bom pretends to bite him.

Sae-Bom wonders to herself, “How did Yi-Hyun get in?” and panics, believing he’s been bitten. He chuckles as he tells her that he’s come to help her. Yi-Hyun says he’ll be right back and enters to give Tae-Seok the pills. Yi-Hyun believes the pills aren’t to blame, but Tae-Seok points out that just because something was once harmless doesn’t mean it will always be. Sae-Bom receives this gaze as Yi-Hyun walks along the corridor. Isn’t it true that she’ll utilize him to gain that apartment? He’s been right there the whole time, she mumbles. Sae-Bom asks if he’s dating, snores, or grinds his teeth. It’s a no on all fronts, so she asks, “Should we get married?” Yi-Hyun remembers the day in high school when he asked her out on a date. He sighs, recalling how he had already told her he was joking at the time. “I’m not,” Sae-Bom adds.

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