Happiness episode one review

Happiness strikes a balance between thriller and romance, and this drama could not be more timely since we now have a firsthand experience of what it’s like to live in a pandemic. Here’s a Happiness drama review about the highlights of the first episode, as well as our thoughts about the series. 

An mysterious, infectious disease begins to spread 

Happiness Review - drama poster
Image credit: @tvn_drama

Following the spread of an unknown infectious disease, the people are left with no choice but to isolate themselves in their apartments. The mysterious disease causes people to lose their rationality and behave like zombies once infected, but victims often have periods of lucidity.

Happiness is centred on two protagonists, Yoon Sae-bom and Jung Yi-hyun, who dig deeper into the unknown cause of the outbreak. Sae-bom works at a counter-terrorist team called the Special Operations Unit, while Yi-hyun is a detective.


1. Sae-bom gets scratched by her infected teammate 

Happiness Review - sae-bom's junior gets infected
Image adapted from: tvN

Sae-bom approaches her junior teammate in order to have a word. However, she notices that there’s something unusual about him – he has turned into a zombie-like creature.

She catches him in the act of biting the neck of their colleague. Sae-bom desperately pulls him off their colleague and fights off her now zombified junior. In the midst of their tussle, he springs towards her and scratches her left hand.

Happiness Review - sae-bom finds out that she got scratched
Image adapted from: tvN

Happiness Review - sae-bom finds out that she got scratched
Image adapted from: tvN

Sae-bom doesn’t notice the scratch until she looks in the mirror. She calls Yi-hyun to let him know about the strange occurrence, all the while reeling at the possibility of being infected.

Happiness Review - dilapidated building for people to isolate themselves after being infected
Image adapted from: tvN

Eventually, Sae-bom is sent to a building to be quarantined. This scene was particularly spine-chilling as the camera pulled back to reveal the building’s dilapidated facade and the fact that everyone else quarantined has been zombified.

2. Yi-hyun finds the pill linked to the outbreak

Happiness Review - yi-hyun finds the pill that could have caused the outbreak
Image adapted from: tvN

Yi-hyun investigates a murder case in a motel room. He interrogates the murderer, who has been infected by the strange disease. When the murderer says that he took a pill prior to committing the murder, Yi-hyun assumes that he was under the influence of drugs.

Happiness Review - yi-hyun finds the pill linked to the disease
Image adapted from: tvN

Yi-hyun returns to the murder scene to look for the mysterious pill and tasks a friend to find out more about the drug. 

Happiness Review - the pill is called Next
Image adapted from: tvN

It turns out the green pill is not a drug, but a pneumonia treatment created during the Covid-19 pandemic. Yi-hyun’s friend says that the pill is no longer manufactured due to its serious side effects, such as extreme mood changes and addiction. 

Yi-hyun surmises that the pill could be the cause of the rabies-like outbreak. 

3. Sae-bom asks Yi-hyun to marry her 

Happiness Review - sae-bom and yi-hyun as high school students
Image adapted from: tvN

The drama opens with a flashback to Yi-hyun and Sae-bom’s high school days. Yi-hyun asks Sae-bom out after she talks him down from the ledge of their school building. This scene parallels the ending of episode one, where Sae-bom asks Yi-hyun to marry her.

Happiness Review - sae-bom asks yi-hyun to marry her
Image adapted from: tvN

Sae-bom asks Yi-hyun to marry her as it’s easier to get the apartment she has been eyeing if she’s married. This heart-pounding scene reminds us that Happiness is, after all, a romance drama despite the elements of thrill and mystery.

Verdict: 4/5 

Set in a post-Covid world, the drama has an added touch of realism that makes it easy for the viewers to immerse themselves in the plot. Moreover, the concepts of isolation and social distancing in Happiness are particularly relatable as we continue to live through the new normal.

Happiness review: an apt drama that feels close to home 

Korean zombie dramas and films are usually a hit, which makes us look forward to the following episodes of Happiness. Besides the elements of mystery and suspense, we anticipate how the love story between the protagonists will unfold.

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Cover image adapted from: @tvn_drama and @tvn_drama

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