Originally, I was going to check out Athena: Goddess of War after all of its episodes have aired and wasn’t planning on blogging about the show at all. However, while waiting for the next episodes of Tamra to finish downloading, I was in an action-adventure mood and thought, “hey, why not?” I went in, expecting only eye candy and to be entertained. Thankfully, episode 1 of Athena satisfied both criteria. So yay!
Note: This is not a detailed recap but a commentary of sorts. It’s mostly my thoughts and reactions as I watched the episode. For well-written, cohesive (read: higher quality) recaps of the drama, you know where to find them.
A phone call for the president in the middle of the night. Hmm, that usually isn’t a good thing. It turns out that Dr. Kim, a Korean nuclear scientist, has been captured and held in Japan, so the President meets with his staff to discuss the plan to rescue the scientist. And one important point of the plan is that outsiders must not be able to trace the agents to South Korea.
(Does anyone still remember the American TV show E.R.? I wasn’t a fan of that show so didn’t follow it on a regular basis but whenever I see scenes with spinning helicopter blades, I’m reminded of that one traumatizing roof scene in E.R.)
Anyway, the President is meeting with Dr. Kwon Yong Gwan, who is the leader of an underground group of elite agents to enlist his help in Mission: Save the Scientist.
Calling all agents in B-7!
Yoon Hae In (Soo Ae) kicks ass and offs one of the B agents, in. a. swimsuit! Because that’s how she rolls, yo!
[Back in Seoul]
Son Hyuk (aka Mr. Goatee) tails another B agents to a bathroom and they engage in hand-to-hand combat. It’s black vs. white. (Symbolism? Or simply fashion choices that have no significance.) The fighting is a raw, violent, and high-energy sequence that needs no dramatic music or slo mo camera work to up to the tension. Both men appear to be equal in terms of fighting skills but eventually, there has to be a loser. Since Cha Seung Won is in the drama’s poster, one guess as who is defeated.
And all this happens in the first 15 minute of the episode. Athena sure is action-packed, lest you think otherwise.
B-7 is now B-5 but the mission must go on!
Another team of special agents, led by Son Hyuk, meets to discuss their own plan to capture the nuclear scientist, which basically involves waiting until B-5 does the hard work and then showing up at the end to reap the benefit.
Son Hyuk’s team succeeded, except now, Dr. Kim is nowhere to be found and the captured Dr. Kwon will not say a blip about the scientist’s location despite severe torture.
(Okay, I get that this is a serious, dark scene. But I keep getting distracted by Mr. Goatee’s, well, goatee and his ear accessory. Yeah, I’m shallow.)
Orders from the boss said to eliminate Dr. Kwon if he’s not going to disclose any info, which Son Hyuk obeys. Except, right before he shoots Dr. Kwon, he states that they’re going to meet again. Interesting…
Three years later (What? Time jump already?)
NTS = National anti_Terror Service? Why not NAS? Or NATS? Because NTS makes me think “National Terror Serivce” instead of its actual definition.
Oh, look! It’s the reason I’m watching Athena in the first place. Yay!
Lee Jung Woo is interrogating the sleazy/creepy former guard from SKKS. Here, he’s the gofer of some shady organization who is getting info beaten out of him, literally. Different time period and garb, but same sleaze factor.
Apparently, whatever bits of info Jung Woo and partner got from gofer leads them to stake out at an amusement park.
(Stairway to Heaven flashback, anyone? No, it’s just me because you all have purged that show from your memory? Okay, then.)
Kid! What do you think you’re doing?! Kid’s friends, why are you guys just standing there and not saying anything to stop him?
(Obviously, they’re not going to listen to me because they’re fictional characters in a k-drama. And obviously, this incident needs to happen in order to engineer the meeting of the main pairing.)
Have no fear, Jung Woo to the rescue! Of course.
Ouch, that looks like it hurts!
Although the pain most likely disappears as soon as Jung Woo opens his eyes and sees Pretty Lady.
You’re smitten with her, already? Noooo! Don’t be because she is going to step all over your heart with her stilettos and kick it to the curb. And let me tell you, her kick is fierce.
Oh geez. Here he is, trying to impress her with his sharp shooting skill. Although, in general, isn’t showing off that particular skill of yours going to 1) give away your profession (as a secret service agent) or 2) scare her (because she might think you’re part of the mafia)?
Ooh, merry-go-round in the background. *flashes to opening theme of Stairway with the
Here’s my heart a cute stuffed toy. Won’t you accept it? You know, because as a man, I’d look silly carrying it around.
However, his attempt to woo Pretty Lady with said doll is thwarted by his partner calling him to ask for toilet paper. Ha!
Coming back empty-handed from stake out = getting a good scolding from the boss
Sitting outside the NTS building, something or rather someone catches Jung Woo’s eyes.
Oh, look who’s walking up the stairs? Could it be…? Is it really…?
And this is how their second encounter goes down.
JW = Jung Woo | PL = Pretty Lady
Jung Woo: Oh, hello there! What a coincidence!
Pretty Lady: Hello.
Jung Woo: Looks like you work here too. It must be fate! We are SO meant to be together. Will you marry me? Will you have coffee with me?
Pretty Lady: No.
[In another part of town]
Whut? He’s not dead. Shocking! (not)
(But, really, it’s more the reason why Dr. Kwon was spared and not the what of the event that keeps us tuning in to find out.)
Meeting by a body of water. They must be discussing something of utmost importance.
Don’t bother me! I’m busy… playing computer games. But! I’m not too busy to deliver a document to another department. I’m grabbing any chance I get to meet my crush “coincidentally.”
JW: Would like to get a drink with me?
(What’s with the slow head-swaying thing you’re doing there, Jung Woo? It’s making me cringe a little. Is it a character quirk or unnatural acting? I do hope it’s the former and not the latter.)
Stop smiling like that! Stop that now!
The president asking Dr. Kwon to be the Director of NTS.
Scene of Dr. Kwon thinking about the offer, complete with flashback of what happened three years ago.
Oh, new look! He shaved! Mr. Goatee is now Mr. Stache.
(Darn, spoke too soon.)
Son Hyuk is meeting with Hae In to talk business and also to give her a birthday present. How thoughtful!
Except, when she goes back to her place and opens up the cabinet to put away the gift, there’s a whole stack of similar ones. And the look on her face shows us that it’s not the gift that she wants to receive. So I guess he’s not so thoughtful after all.
(The balance tips Jung Woo’s favor, hopefully? Wait, but I thought I’m not a supporter of this pairing because she’s going to break his heart?! Ahh, I don’t know what I’m saying anymore.)
The new Director studying up on his subordinates, inquiring specifically about Jung Woo. Hmm, interesting…
Taking up stalking now, are we? And even lying to your senior about being on field work? Oh, Jung Woo…
Boss says that I get to go on a field trip mission overseas to Italy. Yippee!
And my partner for the mission is oh-my-god-I-can’t-believe-my-luck the lady of my dreams. Awesome!
Overall, episode 1 was fast-paced, action-packed, and entertaining. Since this was hyped up to be the spin-off to Iris, comparisons between the two are inevitable. From what I remember from Episode 1 of Iris, I enjoyed Athena’s debut episode more than its predecessor. Also, in my book, there’s no competition between Lee Byung Hoon and Jung Woo Sung. Mr. Sexy Architecture FTW!