‘Happiness’: Episode 1 Breakdown and Synopsis

Korean drama fans have a new worthwhile thriller to watch for November. Happiness takes a viral outbreak to new heights in episode 1, starting the storyline off with suspense, intrigue, and heinous monsters. TvN’s new K-drama centers around the characters Yoon Sae-bom (Han Hyo-joo), Jung Yi-hyun (Park Hyung-sik), and  Han Tae-seok (Jo Woo-jin).

Sae-bom and Yi-hyun learn of a new viral outbreak with Tae-seok leading the investigation into its root cause. Happiness episode 1 develops the chilling storyline of blood-thirsty monsters in the midst of the public still reeling from the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

[Spoiler alert: This article contains spoilers about Happiness.]

Sae-bom and Yi-hyun have a long history and get entangled in a new mystery in ‘Happiness’ Episode 1

Happiness begins with a flashback of how Sae-bom and Yi-hyun first met. Fans are taken back to their high school years. Yi-hyun was on the fast track to becoming a gifted baseball player until he hurt his knee, ruining his career. He sits on the edge of the school roof, and police misinterpreted his alone time as an attempted suicide. At the same time, Sae-bom’s homeroom teacher refuses to let them leave until Yi-hyun gets down.

Fed up and wanting to go home, Sae-bom shocks detective Kim Jung-kook (Lee Jun-hyeok) and joins him on the ledge. Giving Yi-hyun words of advice, Sae-bom pushes him off the roof into the safety mat. In the aftermath, Yi-hyun is starstruck by Sae-bom and asks if she wants to date him.

Happiness episode 1 then cuts to the present day as Sae-bom is now a special forces officer. She and her partner Lee Seung-young (Lee Kyu-hyung), are testing a new rookie during a training operation. The rookie fails his op. The episode cuts to a motel manager getting a disturbance call from a room. When the manager investigates, the door opens, and he is forcefully brought inside the room. Happiness promises a fun thriller K-drama.

Yi-hyun stumbles upon a never before seen murder case tied to an outbreak in ‘Happiness’ Episode 1

Yi-hyun arrives at the murder scene wearing a baseball uniform. After high school, he became a detective and now works with Jung-kook. At the motel, the manager was brutally murdered, and Yi-hyun is perplexed by the murder wound. The victim’s neck was bitten into and ravaged. While looking under the bed, Yi-Hyun comes face to face with the killer.

Yi-hyun interrogates the suspect, who explains the events felt like a dream and experienced an unbearable thirst. There is no murder weapon, Yi-hyun realizes the suspect’s mouth is full of the victim’s blood. The scene cuts to Sae-bom getting a call from Yi-hyun. He mentions her team was brought up in the investigation.

While interrogating the suspect, Yi-hyun learns a soon-to-be hire from Sae-bom’s team sold his suspect an illegal drug. The team member happens to be the same young recruit who failed his training operation. Sae-bom and Seung-young go to see the team member only to find him feasting on the neck of another teammate.

Sae-bom learns more about the new possible infection

The two characters come face to face with the unimaginable. The young team member is feral, has white eyes, and is a zombie-like monster. They fight him off after gunshots are unsuccessful as other officers come to their aid. Sae-bom notices she was scratched during the scuffle and meets Han Tae-seok (Jo) in the bathroom. Tae-seok detains her for possible infection.

Yi-hyun soon meets Tae-seok, who informs him of the situation. They are investigating the possible virus where the infected either die of bleeding or turn. Seeing a connection to his murder case, Yi-hyun revisits the crime scene, finds the drug, and learns it is a pneumonia pill that failed medical trials due to side effects. Happiness episode 1 reveals the facility where Sae-bom is staying is full of infected victims.

In the end, Sae-bom tests negative for virus but learns in an encounter with her infected teammate that his heart rate drops when he turns. Sae-bom bargains with Tae-seok for her cooperation if he can get her an apartment in a new building for special force members. But, she is missing the necessary points to be considered for the application. Yi-hyun goes to the facility to pick up Seo-bom and relays the information about the drug to Tae-seok.

In a turn of events, Sae-bom sees Yi-hyun in a new light and asks if they should marry. According to Soompi, “In order to make it as realistic and relatable as possible, we highlighted ordinary, everyday, Korean spaces. It’s a thriller, but it’s not heavy and can be entertaining in parts. We worked hard to maintain the balance between this big incident and the actual people’s stories,” said Director Ahn Gil-ho.

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