'Melancholia' Episode 1: Lim Soo Jung, Lee Do Hyun's K-Drama is about unpacking trauma within an unfair system

A still from Melancholia (Image via Instagram/tvn_drama)
A still from Melancholia (Image via Instagram/tvn_drama)

Melancholia Episode 1 saw actor Lim Soo Jung appear as Calculus teacher Yoon Su, who seemed extremely angry with her school Asung High. The episode started with Asung's principal No Jung Ah giving a speech to parents at a very fancy dinner meeting.

She addressed recent news reports that had accused the school of handing out favors to students who had influential parents. Jung Ah tried to flip the accusations into compliments for the school and its students. She took pride in the fact that her students had special connections that helped them find a place out in the real competitive world.

It was clear from the very beginning of Melancholia Episode 1, that Jung Ah was not the kind of principal that a teacher like Yoon-su could work with. It was also made clear that someone was affected by the school's malpractice, but the exact details regarding the incident are yet to be revealed by the K-Drama.

How is Baek Seung Yoo connected to Yoon Su in 'Melancholia' Episode 1?

The reason Yoon Su was angry with the school and its faculty is not made obvious, but it clearly involved her student Baek Seung Yoo portrayed by Lee Do Hyun. After Yoon Su threw a fit at the dinner gathering, she was escorted out in handcuffs by the police. Before she was driven away to the station in Melancholia Episode 1, one student hurried towards her in a bicycle and promised her that he would prove the accusations.

Of course, the question remains. What must Baek Seung Yoo prove? To answer this question, audiences were shown a flashback to four months ago when Yoon Su had just joined Asung High as a mathematics teacher. She had a great reputation for helping students prepare for competitive olympiads and Asung was preparing to transition into a math, science and art specialty school.

She was well-known for helping students gain an understanding of the subject. However, the style of teaching followed by the new school didn't fit her bill and this became apparent soon enough.

Baek Seung Yoo and Yoon Su first met on the train. Before that, he was a part of the group that Yoon Su hosted for people interested in mathematics and he answered questions posed by her on the group.

Yoon Su was intrigued by Seung Yoo in Melancholia Episode 1 because she somehow understood his perspective of the world. They both had the same filters that they observed the world through, and this similarity fascinated her.

However, she was not aware of the fact that he was a student in the same school that she had just joined. One of her criteria was to test students who were interested in joining her club. When she gave this test out to students of Asung High, only Seung Yoo was able to clear it in Melancholia Episode 1.

Even then, Yoon Su was led to believe that the student who solved the question was someone else. There were many reroutes before Yoon Su could find Seung Yoo, but she was ecstatic when she did.

Seung Yoo, however, seemed to have some kind of trauma that triggered his interest in mathematics. Melancholia Episode 1 indicated that Seung Yoo was a genius with flair for the subject.

He had also gone to MIT but for some reason, he discontinued the course and returned to his home country in Melancholia Episode 1. After this, he maintained a low profile and stopped participating in math related events. That is until Yoon Su's question. He decided to solve the question, but he didn't leave his name on the answer sheet.

This is what caused the initial confusion. However, he was motivated to take part in the test despite his discomfort. This did not mean that he would dive deep into the subject again, and it remains to be seen if Yoon Su can convince him otherwise.

Edited by Siddharth Satish
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