The first episode of Maestra: Strings of Truth is just about perfect, and it has given us everything we couldn’t even have imagined. There is a simple intensity to the actions of the lead, Cha Seeum, and the people around her. Additionally, we are impressed by how much of the story was packed into a single episode because, recently, with most K-dramas, it has felt like more time is taken up to elaborate on emotions than to actually further the story. This drama has us sufficiently hooked for now, and the following is the recap of Maestra Episode 1.
Who is Cha Seeum?
As much as the episode is perfect, the introduction scene is rather unintentionally funny. Seeum holds a man at gunpoint in a bar and threatens him to come to her orchestra and play his part. She obviously gets her way, and in the next scene, she is back in Korea after twenty years and is set to take over a local orchestra. As expected, she is not very welcome since the person who was supposed to be the conductor, Kwon Sujin, is being sidelined in her favor. Tensions are running high since a conductor is chosen with the explicit consent of all members, and no one likes how abrupt this decision has been. Additionally, Kwon Sujin had given up a job as a professor because he was promised a promotion, so things are especially nasty.
When Cha Seeum arrives at the orchestra, she already knows everybody’s names and roles. They welcomed her by playing the theme song of Mission Impossible, and she retaliated by correcting their notes. Seeun has no problem establishing that she will not be a pushover and will lead by her own methods, but nobody in the orchestra is ready for that. Additionally, the changes she brings rubs everyone the wrong way. Seeum doesn’t want the current concertmaster, Jaeman, to continue with his role since she noticed that one of his fingers is not in working condition to handle the instruments. Jaeman asks her to ignore that for his sake, since he was her teacher long ago, but Seeun is adamant about her decisions regarding the orchestra. She also wants Luna to take over as the concertmaster. The problem is that Luna is the youngest member, but she is also the most talented, as she was selected through a blind audition. Luna has been a longtime fan of Seeun, and she wanted to go abroad to meet her, but now that Seeun has herself come to Korea, that dream is fulfilled. Luna is completely unsure about taking over the role of the concertmaster, but despite her self-doubts, this is a dream come true for her. The entire orchestra walks out when they see the changes that Seeun has introduced, and Seeun decides that if they actually decide to mass-quit, then she will let them and simply select new members. Therefore, it is up to Sangdo to set things right.
What is Seeun’s husband’s problem?
A funny thing that the series has done is that it did not tell us Seeun’s husband’s name in the first episode. In fact, even the subtitles made sure to refer to him as her husband. That is a dead giveaway for his character arc. But we found out that his name is Kim Pil.
Kim Pil seems devoted to his wife, though it is hard to understand how their relationship is working if he is a professor in Korea while she refuses to come back to the country until now. But Seeun herself doesn’t seem comfortable sharing everything on her mind with him, like why she decided to come back after all this time. Additionally, when Kim Pil’s students praise his wife, he has to take a moment to compose himself. Was it insecurity that flared up, or are there some other secrets that he is hiding? Additionally, Seeun never wanted to have children, so that is something else that he had to compromise on and that he sorely missed having in his life. While he says that he is happy with just Seeun, she can probably sense that he wants more.
What are Seeun’s parents like?
Has Seeun not even been back home for vacations? Her father and sister are happy to see her, though her mother is absent. Seeun remembers her mother strangling her in her room, and if we had to guess, that is why Seeun did not show up for the orchestra’s performance twenty years ago, which caused them to miss out on getting included in the National Platform. Seeun is back in Korea to fix her mistake, which she considers a debt she has to pay. Seeun also has to go see her mother, but she is not ready for it. She simply assures her father that she will do it when the time comes.
Does the orchestra accept Seeun?
When the orchestra members are presented with the possibility that their protests may not work and they may all lose their jobs, they come up with an alternative protest. They simply locked the room and started practicing with Kwon Sujin as the conductor. But they all underestimated just how headstrong Seeun is. She simply broke the glass on the door, opened it, and proceeded to ask Sujin to step down. She told the members that adhering to custom was not allowing them to rise up from their status as a third-rate orchestra, and those were the words that finally worked. At the end of the day, it was a matter of livelihood for them all, and this was an addition they couldn’t refute.
At the end of Maestra Episode 1, Seeun starts her session, but the audience finally comes to know that there is another person who can be just as crazy as her. It is Yoo Jungjae. He definitely has a past with her, and for him, obsession is the defining part of any venture. That is what he seeks in the people he invests in, and since he heard the news of Seeun coming back, she has been on his mind in a way that makes us sure that she occupied his entire thoughts at one point in time. He could have met her right away if he wanted to talk, but just like Seeun, he likes making a statement; therefore, he is there while she is working. Also, he doesn’t do things the straight way, so he doesn’t wait for her session to be over. Instead, he simply turns on the fire alarm, interrupting the whole thing. Seeun sees him, and there is a hint of terror in her eyes, though we see some defiance as well. Whatever their relationship, it is going to complicate Seeun’s mission going forward.
We learned from the preview that Jungjae bought the orchestra that Seeun is working in. He is not just an old acquaintance, but he is settling scores with Seeun over something. His mission is hers, and that is the first hint of the toxic relationship we are seeing here.