Episode 1 of The Golden Spoon starts with Lee Seung-cheon explaining that the idea that all human beings are equal is not the truth. He ranks the number of students in his class on the basis of the number of golden spoons they have. Among them, he claims that Hwang Tae-yong is the wealthiest. Meanwhile, Seung-cheon is a part-time delivery worker.
On his most recent delivery, he notices how the rich kids are at a tutoring session when he is working. He works at a convenience store and his friend Park Jin-seok visits him that night. They chat about some inconsequential things and from the looks of it, Jin-seok is alarmingly serious. Seung-cheon brushes it off to be a joke as Jin-seok goes back to his house. Later that night, Seung-cheon gets a text from Jin-seok who thanks the former for being a good friend to him.
Seung-cheon wakes up rushing to Jin-seok’s house only to find that his best friend and Jin-seok’s entire family had died by suicide. Seung-cheon recalls the days when Jin-seok helped him from being beaten up by bullies in school and how they ate together. Businessman Hwang Hyeon-do attends the funeral of Jin-seok and his family with his son Tae-yong.
Tae-yong and Jin-seok were also classmates but the media alleges that Hyeon-do’s decision to redevelop the place in which Jin-seok lived drove the family to kill themselves. Outside, other classmates of Seung-cheon and Jin-seok are waiting. Once they spot Seung-cheon, Park Jang-gun starts assaulting him for doing a bad job on one of the latter’s projects.
He mockingly throws 50,000 won in exchange for 5 slaps. As Tae-yong is leaving the funeral home, he notices Seung-cheon and consoles him without realising he was being assaulted by Jang-gun. Hyeon-do notices Seung-cheon pick the money from the ground and asks Tae-yong about hanging out with people who can not value for his time a.k.a, Seung-cheon.
Later that night, Seung-cheon is at his part-time job with a new employee, Ju-hee. She is rather cheerful but Seung-cheon asks her to keep her smile to herself because of the nasty way customers usually treat employees at the store. That night, Seung-cheon’s mother learns about Jin-seok’s suicide from the news.
His house is being raided by landlords because their father failed to pay the rent again. Seung-cheon exposes his father to the landlords and there is chaos over the rent. He is in his room when Seung-cheon’s sister Seung-a yells at him for exposing their father to the landlords.
She notices Seung-cheon’s secret stash of money and asks him to contribute to the rent. Seung-cheon tells Seung-a that he has already done a lot for the family and that he needs to start thinking about himself and his future. That evening, Tae-yong is enjoying the comics mocking the poor ironically written by Seung-cheon’s father, Lee Cheol.
He panics when his father appears in his room. Hyeon-do is furious to see that his son is not interested in the family business and that his report is very poorly written. Tae-yong fidgets with his nail till he is bleeding in fear of his father and suffers a panic attack once Hyeon-do leaves. The next day, Seung-cheon is at Tae-yong’s house to submit homework for Jang-gun in exchange for money.
He spots an old lady with supernatural and magical items at a makeshift shop outside the house. After some banter with the woman, Seung-cheon buys the golden spoon from the woman. The mysterious street vendor promises that once Seung-cheon has consumed three meals at the house of a person, he will be able to interchange his life with theirs. Seung-cheon humours the old woman and takes the spoon and enters Tae-yong’s house.
Since Tae-yong has many classmates including Jang-gun visiting him, Tae-yong asks Seung-cheon to stay back for a meal. Yang-gun mocks Seung-cheon by asking the maids to offer him cheap cutlery and not ones made of real gold. Seung-cheon on the other hand used the golden spoon he just purchased to have his meal. He brags saying the golden spoon he is using is his family heirloom and something that he treasures.
As Seung-cheon is having his first meal using the spoon, the mysterious woman notices something in one of her marbles. Seung-cheon has a nightmare that his family also, just like Jin-seok’s had killed themselves due to their poverty. He wakes up with a jolt and is further determined to change his fate using the golden spoon. Seung-cheon orchestrates a plan to befriend Tae-yong and somehow have three more meals at his house to change his own fate.
The poor part-timer Seung-cheon looks up to Tae-yong’s family and his father’s business in order to make himself useful to Tae-yong. He helps Tae-yong make the needed reports for his father’s business. Hyeon-do is impressed by Tae-yong’s latest report and this prompts Tae-yong to invite Seung-cheon over for dinner.
This time, Seung-cheon fails to use the golden spoon but the deal between Tae-yong and Seung-cheon is making the latter rich. The next day, Tae-yong’s rich friend Yeo-jin warns him against Seung-cheon and asks him to stop caring about the poor boy. At his part-time job, Ju-hee spots Seung-cheon’s book and makes small talk with him for being a student at a school which only the rich kids attend.
Seung-cheon explains that he is a scholarship student meanwhile Ju-hee explains how she was recently expelled from her school so she does not have one. He asks Ju-hee to at least get an undergrad degree if she wished to survive in the country. Ju-hee notices Seung-cheon receive an envelope from Tae-yong who claims to be Seung-cheon’s friend. Seung-cheon is touched by Tae-yong’s gesture as the latter leaves.
In his car, Tae-yong tells his bodyguard and driver – Moon-gi that he envies the life Seung-cheon has and wishes he could have that instead of his chaotic and busy life. Tae-yong misses his mother and looks at her old photos that he keeps in hiding. Meanwhile, Seung-cheon and Ju-hee are getting close after leaving their part-time jobs.
Ju-hee asks Seung-cheon about Tae-yong and they discuss what they want to be in the future. Ju-hee is shocked when Seung-cheon mentions that he dreams to be rich in the future. The next day at school, Jang-gun is angry that Seung-cheon made it to the list of the Top 30 students selected for a special course.
Jang-gun beats Seung-cheon up to scoring better grades. He continues to disrespect Seung-cheon by brutally assaulting him and spitting on him. Seung-cheon breaks down in class and is now further determined to change his fate when he notices the spoon. He visits Tae-yong’s house later that night and asks for a meal in exchange for the report. Hyeon-do makes an appearance so Seung-cheon is not able to start eating his meal.
Tae-yong asks Seung-cheon to leave immediately. Seung-cheon waits outside until the meal is left alone and eats it before the maids start taking it away. Hyeon-do spots him and Seung-cheon is embarrassed. Seung-cheon is disappointed with how he is behaving due to the spoon and leaves Tae-yong’s house.
Hyeon-do gets a call from Jang-gun and the student informs Tae-yong’s father about his son’s deal with Seung-cheon. Going back home, Seung-cheon throws the golden spoon away whereas Hyeon-do confronts Tae-yong for seeking help regarding their business from Seung-cheon. Tae-yong starts panicking and Hyeon-do tries to threaten him by saying he will be moved to the states if he doesn’t straighten his act.
As a child, Tae-yong had been a victim of a school shooting attack and still suffers trauma from the event. He begs his father to not be sent back to the US. Hyeon-do asks Tae-yong to deal with Seung-cheon on his own. The next day, Tae-yong and his family make up a story and set Seung-cheon up for extorting money from the rich student. Seung-cheon gets furious and yells at Tae-yong for lying but the school is against the poor student.
Lee Cheol begs Tae-yong and her family to forgive Seung-cheon. Seung-cheon himself is embarrassed and Ju-hee who has only recently enrolled on the school witnesses this. That night, Seung-cheon calls Tae-yong to meet him and confronts the latter. Their fight gets heated and Seung-cheon threatens to expose Tae-yong using a voice recording. Tae-yong gets worried and tries to assault Seung-cheon who slips off and falls into the lake.
Tae-yong rushes to help Seung-cheon but immediately runs away from the scene. As he is drowning, Seung-cheon envisions the golden spoon and swims to the land determined to change his fate.
Once outside, he rushes to find the spoon in the trash where he’d dumped it. Tae-yong realises his mistake and rushes back to help Seung-cheon, whereas Seung-cheon is actually at Tae-yong’s house as he asks Hyeon-do to feed him one last meal.
The Episode Review
This show marks BTOB Sungjae’s first show after his military enlistment and it was highly anticipated by fans to see the idol actor make a comeback in the lead role. It is true that Sungjae’s acting as Seung-cheon in The Golden Spoon is extremely intense and one that will have a mysterious ring to it in future episodes.
It will sure be confusing to explain who is who if Seung-cheon is really able to change his life with Tae-yong. The show is an honest representation of the rich versus poor which we have seen in many K-dramas. However, the element of a poor boy being able to change his fate and a rich boy like Tae-yong actually desiring Seung-cheon’s stress-free life will be the highlight of the show.
I am sure Ju-hee has a much more significant role than being Seung-cheon’s colleague and it is possible that she has run away from a rich home which is why Yeo-jin recognises her.
Hyeon-do is a master manipulator in this show so far and it will be interesting to see how Seung-cheon is able to manipulate him further using his new-found magic spoon.