Lee Sang Woo: “Let’s make a life-long promise?”
Lee Sang Woo: “Never accept another role from this writer.”
Yuri: “That’s what I’m thinking as well! Fans, her name is Jo Eun Jung.”
Cutting out the crap/details and getting to the core of our interests. I divided the last two episodes into 3 sections as followed.
Highlights #1: Before the Competition
After Baek Sul and In Joo successfully stole the ambassador’s wives to Sanarae, they plan a quick cheer with wine. Unfortunately, Arirang’s women (Grandma, Doo Hee, Joon Young) barge in and demand to take In Joo back. She doesn’t want to and declares to compete in the competition as Song Yeon Woo, representing Baek Sul, no less.
Do Yoon lies on his bed and recalls the sofa-shoulder moment with Joon Young. He misses her, and decides to call her, asking haughtily for a lunch box. His reasons: he doesn’t cook unless paid, Jane isn’t around to run errands, and he can’t go out to buy food because the reporters have blocked the entrance. Joon Young insists that she isn’t in the mood to play around, he stubbornly replies, “Then I will starve! Okay then!”
Knowing her nature, she comes to entrance with a lunch box. The reporters quickly surround her, recognizing her as the girl who cooked with Haemil. In the midst of chaos, Do Yoon stops his car and hooks her in.
He opens his lunchbox, the rice forming a skull. He snorts at her lack of cuteness and digs in happily. While he eats, she looks at his face wistfully, thinking that his mother probably won’t change for the better. She supposes that he would only get hurt here, and suggests boldly that he returns to England, where he stands before his fans, and be their role model. He’s upset that she wants him to leave, and changes the subject by complaining about her average cooking, even though he has finished the whole lunch box already.
Walking away in a huff, he meets a little kid and engages in a short period of care-free soccer. Joon Young looks at them, remembering how he wished his hyung could get better and play with him. After the kid leaves, Do Yoon is still upset with Joon Young, so she changes her tune, “Fine! Don’t leave! Stay in Korea until the day you die.” Elated, his face lights up with a scheme, “Then you have to take responsibility… until the day I die.”
In Joo comes back to the Ha’s house, meaning to pack her clothes and leave, but In Woo’s diary catches her attention. It’s placed there strategically by him of course. She reads it and tears immediately sting her eyes: he pitied her! Really writer? After what you told me us how horrible he was to the little In Joo, you decided to solve all tension with that one line? Fail. He appears and quietly reprimands her for having the same habit – reading people’s journal. With a somber expression, he apologizes to her, explaining that he, too, was a small child at the time, so he didn’t know any better. So? Did you treat her better while you guys grew up together? No.
Downstairs, Young Bum asks tenderly for the last time, “With Joon Young, can’t you be our daughter too?” In Joo’s reply is far from upset, she wants to test herself, and sees where her strengths/weaknesses are beyond the walls of Arirang. Doo Hee agrees with her appraisal, as long as she carries with her the pride and class as Sung Doo Hee’s daughter.
Now that Jae Ha understands where Joon Young’s heart lies, he’s prepared to leave Korea for a long period by applying for a transfer to Europe. He’s leaving the day of the competition, to Grandma’s dismay. She sees through his smile and why he chose to leave. She approves his leave with a heavy heart and grumbles when he starts to nag about her unhealthy habits. Aw.
Although Doo Hee still prefers In Joo as the next Master Chef, she plays fair, and gives Joon Young the needed boost of encouragement. Doo Hee won’t teach Joon Young as a mother, she will aid her along the way as a Teacher, honing her talents to be the next master.
The theme of their contest? “A good student surpasses his teacher.” On Baek Sul’s side, with a clear mind, In Joo isn’t bothered by her lack of talents anymore. Instead, she makes up for it by using the skills she has acquired over the years. When she and Baek Sul make the same dish, hers comes out as the clear winner, shutting up Baek Sul’s criticizing attitude.
To counter Haemil’s articles, Baek Sul publishes her own set of articles, disqualifying Haemil’s talents as a chef. Joon Young hears of the news, and worried that he’s hurting, so she hurries to his place. Do Yoon masks his sadness by playing game. Jane leaves the two alone and Joon Young spices up his competitiveness by joining him, on the condition that the loser makes dinner.
He scores the first goal and slowly loses all the shots to Joon Young. She waves her controller, happy and satisfied, while he shakes his head in defeat. They’re so freakin adorable here, like two little cute bunnies.
Although she wins, Do Yoon insists she makes dinner. He heads inside to read some articles regarding Baek Sul’s attack and the possible demise of their family tie. Joon Young wonders if he’s okay, and he smiles, saying that being a chef was his hyung’s dream. He holds a frame in hand, which displays a ripped photo of just Ji Yoon. They were born on the same day, yet he was the only one plagued with an illness. From there, Do Yoon moved forward in life, carrying the dreams and desires his brother couldn’t accomplish. He’s achieved it all for him. Except for one thing, in which he fails continuously – liking President Baek.
Armed with a mission to help Do Yoon, Joon Young enters the tiger’s cave – Baek Sul’s house, and hopes that she could publish an article where she retracts everything she has said. Baek Sul’s smile darkens, she takes this opportunity to shake up Joon Young’s feelings for Do Yoon. “You like him? When? You thought he was a newbie in the kitchen. Are you surprised he’s my son? Maybe when you learned he’s a renowned chef?”
Joon Young avoids the question, and instead answers that she feels sorry for him, the life he’s lived. She shows Baek Sul the same ripped photo of Ji Yoon. She is stunned seeing the photo again and screams at Joon Young, demanding her to leave. Staying rigid in her seat, Joon Young continues her speech, “Can’t you see? He became Haemil to show you his success!” Baek Sul: “What he wanted to do was hurt me all his life!” Baek Sul doesn’t believe this nonesense and flings a pillow towards her direction, forcing Joon Young to leave. Unbeknownst to them, In Joo watches this whole exchange at the door, her face peaceful as something dawns on her. That maybe revenge against family is most hurtful to those involved?
That night, in her drunkard state, Baek Sul calls Do Yoon, still believing that Doo Hee is the culprit behind Ji Yoon’s death. However, we see another side to the story. She says she’s also wrong for locking up Ji Yoon, “I shouldn’t have locked him up. But your hyung kept running away. Other kids beat him up for no reasons! You know that! He liked cars too, and almost got killed several times by running in front of them.”
He takes a deep breath and clarifies, “You misunderstood. He didn’t like cars, he liked the sound of cars. Every time he recognized the sound of your car coming home, he would run out, thinking that you would be there.” At this, he turns around to face the mirror before muttering out, “Hyung….loved you a lot. Not me.” Oh, I really like how this scene is shot. He’s looking at a mirror, hoping to confirm his own feeling, but it instead reflects that he does love his mother, in his own twisted way.
Again, In Joo watches Baek Sul agonize over her lost child. Seeing her pain has finally opened her eyes to the truth. She cradles her real mother’s photo, pondering, “Who made me this way, mom?” Although she asks in a daze-like state, I believe she knows the answer already, that it’s her own stubbornness that led things to this crushed moment. It only takes a single step back to free yourself, girl. Time for apology!
Highlights #2: The Competition
Just like 22 years ago, the main ingredient is carp. The teachers are assigned to prepare the carp and here is when Baek Sul allows her darkness to take over. She can’t even lift the lid without shaking from fear. After much hesitation, she finally picks up the fish and places it on the cutting board. When she tries to stab it, both the knife and the fish slip out of her grasp, falling weakly to the ground.
Doo Hee orders a second carp to be brought in and warns Baek Sul to collect herself together, “Whatever happened, we need a clear winner today.” The carp is done preparing and the teachers walk off the stage. Baek Sul trudges along, and Do Yoon comes up to her, grabbing her arm, “Is everything finished?” She doesn’t have the energy to talk to him. Plus, she knows he didn’t come here for her sake, “So go.”
Jae Ha secretly watches the girls as they cook, specifically his eyes only spare moments for Joon Young. He leaves without making his presence known. I think it would be nice if he at least glances at In Joo….but okay.
Doo Hee chases after Baek Sul to say a few last words. She muses about the competition 22 years ago, had Baek Sul played fair, what would the result be? Baek Sul arches her brow, “You naturally thought you would have. Since you have never considered me as a rival. Always looking down on me!” Doo Hee refutes that, “From the beginning, you’re the only one with that thought.” She leaves, and Baek Sul drops a regretful tear.
The girls are finished with their dishes. Joon Young made a stew, representing the different flavors and expressions that Arirang has offered in the last century, and its integrity that has kept Arirang strong against the emerging competitors. Grandma smiles, satisfied with the deep meaning.
It’s In Joo’s turn, she made a five-colored steamed carp with 8 ingredients. Everything looks good, but Grandma is worried about the expensive ingredients, “Who would buy it?” In Joo: “Probably no one.” This answer stuns the crowds and In Joo explains the meaning behind her dish: “The 8 expensive ingredients are like 8 jewels that are hard to come by. This dish has been prepared with the utmost care. It’s too precious to eat. That notion, is what Korean Cuisine means to me.”
She turns to look at Doo Hee, “And that preciousness is what I want to deliver through this dish. The things I have seen, felt, and learned in Arirang for the past 10 years.”
The results are in and Doo Hee informs the girls. In Joo is the winner, with her mindset to lead Arirang in the future. Joon Young’s dish is great but it embraces too much of the past.
Meanwhile, Joon Young stands by herself on the balcony, and Do Yoon joins her. She confesses that she knew she couldn’t beat the passion In Joo possesses for Arirang. She’s envious but not jealous. At least now, she can go on and live a happy life. Do Yoon suggests she learns from a great teacher abroad, pointing to himself. Ha. Joon Young replies, “I’d get scold every day! I don’t want that!” They laugh and he messes up her hair teasingly.
Highlights #3: After the Competition
At the airport, Jae Ha relays the truth to In Woo, the woman who saved In Joo 22 years ago was Yeon Woo’s mother. He then sends a goodbye text to Joon Young, telling her to live life courageously, he’ll be gone for 2-3 years. She replies with a thank-you note and an apology.
In Woo passes the message to Young Bum and Doo Hee, and they both visit Yeon Woo’s mother’s grave to pay their respect.
Night falls. Baek Sul holds the ripped photo of Ji Yoon in one hand, while the other hand opens up a box filled with kids clothing, and behind those stuff, is the other half of the photo with her and Do Yoon. She sobs by herself… and finally publishes an article, accepting all her faults, and apologizing to her sons.
Jane meets up with Joon Young, pleading, “If you can’t give me a decisive answer about your feeling, let Do Yoon go. His career will suffer greatly if he breaches the contract again by not performing in the next food event.” Joon Young swallows down a lump. What? You’re backing out? Tell Jane your feeling! My hair! It’s falling!
After he reads the article, Do Yoon drops by to see his mother. She’s in bed with a disheveled look, not caring about her appearance. The news of his visit has her up in seconds, quickly making herself look glamorous again. heh. He looks at her fancy clothing and supposes that she’s still alive after all. She drops a snort, “What? You think I would be lying in bed? Haven’t you heard? I beat Song Doo Hee!” Since she’s okay, he excuses himself, and she adds, “Ji Yoon is my son. He’s not only your hyung. Stop being arrogant and let him rest in peace.”
She goes into the kitchen and waits for him to leave. Turns out he’s finally cooked her something. The kitchen ajuhmma pours a bowl of soup. Baek Sul tastes it, and mumbles proudly, “It tastes…good.” Aw! He cooked for her! He then visits his brother’s site and hangs the perfect picture of their family of three on the tree. His hyung is not alone anymore and he professes that it’s time for him to go to that girl.
He takes Joon Young, dressed in her pajamas/exercise clothes, out on a date. In the car, she covers her head with her hoodie, meaning to hide herself from the reporters in case they get caught. He chuckles at her extreme caution, “You stand out more like that. You might cause a scandal too.” He pulls down her hoodie and they smile at their each other’s silliness.
Their date is having dinner outside, under the stars. Uncomfortable with the attention they’re getting, Joon Young thinks it’s better that they leave. There’s nothing she’d like to get on the menu anyway. He seizes her arm, “Then I’ll cook for you.” Weeeee! He looks so dashing wearing that black suit. And cooking. What a girl gotta do to find this perfect man?
Everyone watches in awe, and Joon Young basks herself in the moments before Jane’s words shadow her mind. After he’s done, he presents the food, arranged into a happy face, before Joon Young. The customers gather around, and one girl requests, “Can you make me one?” He rejects her, explaining, “This dish is one of a kind.” A reporter jerks up his doggy ears, “Is this a proposal then?” Immediately, everyone chants happily, making it an awkward for the couple. Judging from Do Yoon’s face, he didn’t mean for it to be a proposal scene, and Joon Young, thinking exactly that, gets up to leave! This type of scenarios happens often in real life, and I would like to slap all the people in this scene alone. You guys ruined it!
Do Yoon comes home and Jane, in a monotone voice, lists off all his jobs until next year. She calls his love selfish, “What about Joon Young? She just met her family. And what about her dreams? Don’t delude yourself, chasing and pushing ahead is not love.” Guys, my head wants to explode. Why is everyone so sure that they can’t work out? His only desire to bring Joon Young with him is to help her improve her culinary skills. Marriage is part of the plan, but not now. He sees it too.
Later, he receives a text from Joon Young: “I’m sorry. Instead of cooking for me alone, I would like if Haemil’s food can be enjoyed by everyone in this world.” Whoa, so noble and honorable Joon Young. Let me ask you, what has he been doing for the past 15 years of his life in England? Cooking for the world, for the people he doesn’t care about. And right now, when he finally found that one person he wants to cook for, you reject him?
In the end, In Joo accepts the seat of Master Chef. Did I miss it? Did she ever apologize for doing all those nasty things? To Joon Young? I would’ve loved and supported her if she added that one liner in her acceptance speech. And how is Arirang saved? Did they change management or something? Loose end left untied, writer.
Outside Baek Sul drops a news to Joon Young, that her son is returning to England. Joon Young hurries to haul a cab. In the last minute, she looks up at national tv and sees Do Yoon at the airport. She doesn’t go after him.
A year later.
Joon Young is seen driving her own van, singing happily to the song Fake Dad always sings. She screeches to a stop when national tv again reports about Do Yoon’s return to Korea. According to Jane, Joon Young has been quite a hit in the past year: publishing a Korean Cuisine recipe book, and demonstrating event for overseas chefs weekly. During her free time, she does community service too, cooking for others. Her motto: “Only people who work can eat.”
Knowing that Do Yoon has returned to Korea, Joon Young jumps to check her phone whenever something rings. Unfortunately, it’s not her phone, and Fake Dad teases her.
The sun is setting, and Joon Young cleans up to go home. She tries to reach for the car’s cover but it’s too high. After four attempts, Do Yoon appears and effortlessly pulls it down. She looks at him unpleasantly, gets in the car, and drives away.
Several feet away, she stops the van, gets off, and walks slowly back to him. Really? You can’t run to him? They stare at each other, and she kicks him. He doubles over in pain and smiles back at her.
The ending plasters a stoned face on me. I don’t have any intelligent words to offer you all because it is underwhelming, as I stopped caring after the supposed proposal scene. As I have said eons ago, I came because of Sung Yuri and Joo Sang Wook, despite the writer’s infamous reputation of draggy plots. But I now leave with nothing but an upset stomach. And a whole world of adoration for Lee Sang Woo. Pick up a rom-com please man? Spare your supporters of romances that tread a millimeter each episode.
Beanie Couple’s Separation: The writer’s poor attempt at being dramatic in the last episode. Terrible because it makes no sense and it doesn’t change anything. What does one year change? Is he not going to cook anymore? Do Yoon began his journey to be a chef for his brother. Now that the burden is lifted, why is everyone making such a big deal out of a small issue? How is he being selfish for pursuing the love he’s repressing all these months? At the end of the day, I just hate that they were separated on bad terms, without contact for a year!
Moreover, the theme that this drama often brings up is family. But how can it be heart-warming if the two leads aren’t building a family together? Yea, they stare at each other, which suggests nothing, other than longing. We know for a fact that they want a proper family but now? He’s leaving for Korea, so when is family going to be built? Too many loose ends.
My last words for this drama? It has all the right, fabulous ingredients, but given to a Krappy Chef, it became a mush of disappointment. Thank-you you all for being here with me for the past few months (4! Beejeezbus!). Lurkers and all. 50% of my patience resulted because of everyone’s encouraging words and hilarious bantering. If I ever step into this recapping business again, let’s all hope it’s for a good drama, because my writing alone can’t help much to save a doomed train. Weeeeee ~~
Until next time. 😉