The Matchmakers Episode 1 Recap and Ending Explained: What is the plot of The Matchmakers? Will Jungwoo escape death?
The highly anticipated first Episode of The Matchmakers, starring Rowoon and Choi Yi Hyun, is finally out. Set in Joseon, The series tells the story of a promising young man, Sim Jung Woo, whose bright future as a government official is abruptly ended by a cruel twist of fate. On the other hand, Jung Soo Duk, who was also restricted by her widowed status, leads a dual life to chase the kind of heart fluttering that she missed. Both of them suffered at the hands of fate and were brought together by chance again.
The Matchmakers Episode 1 Recap: What is the plot of The Matchmakers?
The Episode opens with a monologue by Jungwoo on the “Matchmakers” as he paints a portrait. He portrays them as mythical beings with the power to identify soulmates. Being as rare as one in ten thousand, they were revered through the ages as chief priests in the ancient ages or as agents of love in the Silla dynasty.
They had enjoyed riches and fame, but the establishment of Joseon on Confucius’s morals ended their rule. They had yet another name,” lonely ones”. The fate of the ones who set up marriages is themselves doomed to be alone, as anyone who marries them is bound to die young.
The monologue ends along with his portrait of Jung Soo Duk. The next moment, we see Sooduk introducing herself. She is the 2nd daughter-in-law of the left state councillor and was a widowed matchmaker. She boasts about her achievement as the matchmaker who produced matches that are healthy and fertile.
We then come to the backstory of Jungwoo. It was the day the results of the state examination were declared. Jungwoo was placed first and, by far, was the brightest of the lot. Although intelligent and handsome, he seemed to lack humility. He was awarded a high post in Pyeongyang, which Jungwoo graciously accepted.
His good fortune didn’t last long, as the princess chose him as her husband. Unable to fight the family, who essentially used him as a scapegoat to further their goals, he ends up marrying the princess and, along with that, giving up his government post as the King’s son-in-law cannot hold any government post.
His ill fate didn’t end just there, as the princess passed away on the day of their wedding. As the widow in the royal family, he was prohibited from remarrying. Unable to have a family or any power, he was abandoned in the beautiful house gifted to him as a wedding present. For eight years, he remained in the same place, growing more frustrated each day. Sooduk walks through a bustling market, and we see her transforming each second from a noble-born Jung Sooduk to a peddler called Lady Yeoju. She walks in on a group of peddlers and matchmakers discussing the marriage ban. The marriage ban was sounded when the crown prince was set to marry to ensure he got the best wife possible. A young peddler asks why would that be of any concern. The marriage ban lasted only a month at most, and even if one were to marry the crown prince, it wouldn’t be a bad thing. One of the older ladies explained that as the political scenario stands, the crown prince is not likely to ascend the throne. Instead, Prince Jinsung is the most likely candidate.
Therefore, to make sure their daughter does not get caught up in such a risky marriage, the ladies of the noble families rush to get their daughters married off. This presents an opportunity for the matchmakers to make a lot of money. Their dreams are crushed when Sooduk, as Yeoju, comes in to tell them that there will be no marriage ban this year. Even though they are disappointed, they all admit that if Lady Yeoju, the master matchmaker, had said there would be no marriage ban this year, there likely wouldn’t be one.
The prediction by Sooduk comes true. The King wants to get the Crown Prince married but struggles with the ministers who talk about the sighting of a spinster ghost. They say the spirit reflects the country’s state, which has too many unmarried bachelors. This leads to an imbalance in the Yin and Yang energy, which manifests in the form of a ghost.
The ministers advised the King to solve the problem instead of declaring a marriage ban, which would further aggravate the situation. Unable to fight off his ministers, the King relents to postpone the Crown Prince’s marriage for another year. The ministers who plan on dethroning the brown Prince celebrate another victory, but they realise the success is only short-lived as a permanent solution, they plan to kill the Prince.
The King visits the Queen to apologise for his failure. The Queen brushes it off and instead suggests taking the help of a certain “man of anger.” This turns out to be Jungwoo, who has the title of Lord Gyeongunjae. Frustrated by his ill fate, he turned to vent his frustration on anyone who even looked at him wrong. People fled the streets whenever he appeared. He knows about every procedure and every rule very well.
Therefore, anyone who irks him invariably gets banished from the palace for not following the protocol, as showcased by a poor official who made the mistake of commenting on his annual appeal of annulation of his marriage with the princess.
Even though the King laughs off this idea, he realises later that this could work. As a group member who wants to dethrone the crown prince, setting him to an impossible task would give them a reason to kill him and shake the group.
Sooduk carries out her life as a matchmaker, delivering romantic books along with cosmetics to ladies wishing happy marriages to potential couples. She was hired as a matchmaker between two families who wanted to use their children to further their goals. She realised that the children did not want to get married.
One was already in love with someone, and the other had prospects of another happy marriage. She makes up lies to convince both the parties to annul the marriage to save the kids. Her ability to practically read the ladies’ minds proved to help secure a promising future for the youths.
Jungwoo crosses paths with Sooduk on his way to an inn, where Sooduk saves him from being hit by a carrier. They bid their farewells soon, and Jungwoo visits the innkeeper to ask him about a poison called the Golden Silkworm Poison that he convinces the innkeeper to get for him. On his way out, he crashes into a lady who drops a romantic book. Against his admission, he gets interested in the book, but before he can finish it, Sooduk takes it away.
He tries to downplay his interest by saying it was a mockery of the officials. Unable to shake him off, Sooduk shocks him by saying he should be in love with her to follow her like this. This allows Sooduk to escape the inn. Realising she was late, she rushed home and picked up some stitched clothes on the way. She makes it just in time before her mother-in-law arrives. She presented the clothes to her mother-in-law, saying that she stayed back the whole day to finish them.
Yejin, Sooduk’s sister-in-law, visits her later that night. She knew all about her matchmaker business and asked for her help in cancelling her marriage with the deputy minister’s son; otherwise, she would reveal to her mother the truth. Jungwoo spends the whole night trying to write an appeal against the romantic novels but is struck by pain every time he thinks about Sooduk.
The Matchmakers Episode 1 Ending Explained: Will Jungwoo escape death?
When he visits the doctor, he explains that this pain is more psychological than physical; thus, he must deal with the root cause. While Sooduk is in the backrooms with the book’s author, Jungwoo goes to the inn and threatens the innkeeper to get him the lady. Sooduk, thinking he only wants the second part of the book, goes out to meet him.
Much to everyone’s surprise, he ends up confessing to Sooduk instead. He later fixes himself, saying that he is there to say that he is not in love with her and that the misunderstanding must be resolved. Sooduk quickly escapes the situation by agreeing with him and apologising. Jungwoo’s fate gets worse as King’s guards kidnap him. The King comes to meet him later in the cell, ordering him to take poison as he was a traitor for asking for permission to remarry. Even though he tries to correct the King regarding the intent behind his appeals, he gets further in trouble as he admits to helping the ministers devise ways to stop the marriage ban. The Episode ends with him being sentenced to death. The previewshowed that Junwoo gets tasked to marry off the spinsters, thus he survives.
“I got soaked from the morning dew so I grew taller”