Hey, Yang Eun-bi, what do you put in that kimchi of yours? I hear it’s hot. It’s kimchi-making day at the shop, which turns out to be a party in more ways than one. When you’ve got a room full of people with all their love wires crossed, and a flurry of nicknames mixed in for good measure, there isn’t much you have to do to bring it to a boil.
EPISODE 12: “Yang Eun-bi and the Flowers”
So, possibly-half-brothers-who-share-a-mom-GAH cook ramyun together, and Kang-hyuk points out that Chi-soo’s got perfect taste, just like him. Chi-soo asks if it means he can cook ramyun well, and Kang-hyuk says it means he can cook anything he wants, really really well. (He calls him Choi Chi-soo, his own name, but that seems to be a fake-out, since he then promptly calls him by another surname right after that, as is his habit.)
Chi-soo scoffs that it’s not really something he needs, since he’s got Daddy’s wealth coursing through his veins, which pretty much trumps any other trait he might have been born with. Kang-hyuk asks why he’s interested in making ramyun all of a sudden then, and Chi-soo smiles, “I said that I’d take your wife.”
Kang-hyuk throws the onions in a tantrum and stomps off, which would already be hilarious, but his giantness makes it extra ridiculous.
He lies in bed and talks to the photo of Mom, whining, “I thought I was the only one you gave perfect taste to, but you gave it to that kid too? Chhhh.” Oh, so you DO KNOW? Aw, man, now I’m even more disappointed, ’cause I wanted his kindness to Chi-soo to not be motivated by this knowledge.
The next morning Chi-soo heads out bright and early, and confuses Dad more than ever when he says he can’t be late for school. At Eun-bi’s house, the boys are rushing out the door as well, but Kang-hyuk stops them, repeating his mantra: missing first period is fine, but missing first meal is not.
They all sit down to breakfast like a cozy little family, and in walks Chi-soo to taunt them. Eun-bi gets up, startled that he’s here, and he just coos, “I wanted to see you all night.” He complains that she didn’t answer her phone, and that it’s fine now that he’s seen her. He turns to go with a trademark wink.
He adds on his way out that they shouldn’t eat smelly soybean paste first thing in the morning, and the boys wonder what he means, since there’s no such thing in their food. Eun-bi hurriedly checks her breath, remembering that she ate some last night before bed. They marvel that no one could smell that accurately, and Kang-hyuk sighs, “Tongue Chi-soo can. He’s the Ramyun King.”
Is it wrong if Tongue Chi-soo sounds, yunno, wrong to me?
As they hang laundry, Kang-hyuk tells Eun-bi about Chi-soo’s perfect taste, and she scoffs that there’s no way he has such a talent. Kang-hyuk says it’s possible if he inherited from someone, but then he’s quickly distracted by the bra he’s holding in his hand.
He just stares and stares, and Eun-bi gasps and swipes it from him as soon as she notices. She does remember something she wanted to show him, and they head inside.
She struggles to reach for an old album up on top of a dresser, and Kang-hyuk comes up behind her… and picks her up to get it herself. Hahaha. That’s adorable. And hot.
They sit down and look at Eun-bi’s dad’s old album, and she shows him pictures of her dad with his parents. She sighs that all her dad passed on to her is his temper, which Kang-hyuk points out is sexy, but she wishes she inherited something better like perfect taste.
He counters, “That’s why our kids will be perfect.” Mmm-hmm. She scratches her chin nervously in response.
She asks about his mom, so it’s timeline time: She passed away when he was 25 (so when Chi-soo was 13). He says she held on longer than they expected, since she was told she wouldn’t live more than a year. She lived with him in Japan for three years before she passed away. So she would have left Chi-soo when he was 10, for everyone keeping track.
At school, Ba-wool calls Chi-soo out to the schoolyard for a brawl. All they need is some tumbleweed and a pair of pistols, with all that posturing going on. Ba-wool demands for Chi-soo to stop whatever he’s thinking of doing with noona, whether it’s a game or revenge.
Chi-soo says he’s not thinking either of those things, and in fact, he can’t think of anything at all – when he isn’t with her, his mind goes blank, and when he’s with her, his mind goes even blanker. Ha. Ba-wool gapes, “That’s how I am when I’m with So-yi!”
Ba-wool can’t believe it, and tells Chi-soo to go see a doctor. Hahaha. I love that they’re pretty much equally matched on the compute-emotion-scale. Chi-soo says he’s been there, done that, and his doctor told him that he’s reached the fifth and final stage: Acceptance. HA.
So he’s going to give it his all, and really try with her. Ba-wool guffaws, saying that Hwanung can’t like Eun-bi noona. Hwanung is supposed to be with a fairy, or an angel. “Eun-bi noona isn’t even human. She’s a bear!” Hee. But Chi-soo won’t budge, so Ba-wool says whatever, he can try, but his noona will never reciprocate his feelings, because Chi-soo’s not her style.
Chi-soo points out that they’re beyond style anyway: “She’s not my style either, but I became like this.”
Eun-bi receives a cabbage delivery from the neighborhood cabbage vendor ajummas, who continue to supply the store out of loyalty to her father. As she speaks to them, Hyun-woo comes bounding up, calling her “Teacher,” and she explains how she knows him.
And then Ba-wool comes running up, calling her “Noona,” and they ask if she has a brother. She says no, he’s just a dongseng she knows, and then Kang-hyuk comes up, calling her “Wife.” The ajummas start getting upset that she got married without inviting them, and then Chi-soo comes up, puts his arm around her, and says, “Jagiiiiiiii!” Ha.
Now they’re REALLY confused. They ask who this one is, and Chi-soo answers, “She’s my jagi. My Eebbeunie. Right, jagi?” Kekeke. The ajummas are like, so you live with a former student, a dongseng you know, your husband, and your boyfriend? All under one roof?
And then rather than explain it all, Kang-hyuk just calls them a modern, unconventional family. Well I’d say. Eun-bi runs away, mortified, but then trips and falls not five feet away. The boys all panic: “Jagi!” “Wife!” “Teacher!” “Noona!” And rush to her all at the same time.
She just keeps running as fast as she can, and the boys all turn back to the ajummas. Kang-hyuk adds, “Well she only sleeps with me.” Pfft. Chi-soo glares. I love that they’re still competing, in this fake universe that they’ve just invented.
Ba-wool watches So-yi practice, still accompanied by Teddy Girlfriend. He stews over Chi-soo’s crush on Eun-bi noona, and So-yi tells him not to worry, since Eun-bi’s just disposable slippers to Cha Chi-soo, who’ll eventually move on to shoes that fit him perfectly. “How far could he possibly go wearing slippers?”
Ba-wool doesn’t get what she means, asking if she’s going to take Chi-soo back if he comes around again. She reminds him that Chi-soo is her left arm, and Ba-wool has a fit, and rightly so.
But then Eun-bi calls him back to the store, and So-yi’s anger flares, that he’s ditching her here to go run to his noona. “Do you like her or something?” Ba-wool shouts, “Yeah, I do! So what?” He says he’s going to do what she does, and like two people at the same time – Front Eun-bi and Back So-yi, mimicking her Right Ba-wool / Left Chi-soo thing.
Yay, Ba-wool! He storms out, leaving So-yi fuming in a jealous fit. Haha. Karma! As soon as he gets outside, he catches his breath, and ponders the newfound knowledge that So-yi gets upset every time he mentions Eun-bi noona.
The ramyun team finds themselves swimming in a sea of cabbage, the result of horrifying the cabbage ajummas, to the point that they ran off, leaving them this massive heap of cabbage to deal with. So it’s kimchi time, and Kang-hyuk says they need to divide into two teams, one for sauce-making, and the other for cabbage-handling.
He suggests a game of rock-paper-scissors to decide teams, and when Chi-soo says they can count him out, Kang-hyuk says there’s no need for games then, since he’ll be a team with wifey. Ba-wool grabs her other arm, “No! I want to be a team with noona!” Chi-soo suddenly perks up, suggesting they play the game after all.
He totally cheats to try and get on Eun-bi’s team, but it backfires on him, and the brothers end up on one team, to their equal dismay. Kang-hyuk sighs that it’s uneven, but it’ll do, and So-yi walks in to say she wants to help.
Kang-hyuk readily takes her on their team, calling her Hap-nyun. They’re like, that’s not her name… “Really? Wife always calls her Baek-Hap-nyun.”
HAHAHAHAHAHA. Omg, I’m dying. [Basically Eun-bi takes her nickname and adds “nyun” at the end, as in “girl/bitch,” depending on how harshly you want to say it, and Kang-hyuk has just assumed that it’s a proper name. Hee.]
Chi-soo smirks, happy that she may have called So-yi that out of jealousy. Behind her, Dong-joo and Coach appear too, ready to help. Yay, kimchi party! Dong-joo swoons at the array of pretty boys, calling it a flower patch. She turns to Eun-bi, asking which flower she’s going to pluck (ha) – the sunflower (Kang-hyuk) or the rose (Chi-soo)?
She warns against rose-picking, as she might end up bleeding, and Coach offers that sunflowers are best. Dong-joo agrees, and asks if she’s gotten anywhere with Kang-hyuk. Eun-bi says they’ve held hands, and she thinks she felt something, not a tsunami, but a wave.
Dong-joo says that a wave is enough, demonstrating that you can grab a guy’s hand and feel absolutely nothing, taking Coach’s hand. But the charge startles them both, and Dong-joo runs to the roof. She tells herself to get it together – it’s certainly not the first hand she’s held, but her heart won’t stop racing. Coach sneaks up and asks if she wants to break for a drink.
Eun-bi works on a batch of radish kimchi, and then needs a second opinion on the seasoning. She feeds a piece to Hyun-woo with her hands, but he doesn’t know. Ba-wool is next, and So-yi watches with a stinkface on, as he asks for another and another, all smiles at his precious noona.
He doesn’t know either, so she offers So-yi a piece, but she declines, and then Chi-soo opens his mouth, ready for a taste, and she passes him right by for Kang-hyuk. Chi-soo feels totally kimchi-slighted, watching Kang-hyuk smile and eat her kimchi, suggesting she add more chili flakes.
She runs to the kitchen to grab more, and Chi-soo walks in behind her, whining adorably like a little puppy, why she gave Onion a taste and not him. She says, with a package of chili flakes in her mouth, that she’ll give him some when they go back then, and he says no, he wants a taste now…
And then he reaches for her kimchi-covered hand, and sucks her finger, licking the seasoning right off. Oh holy hell. Are you trying to kill me, Cha Chi-soo? You saucy little bastard.
He tells her it needs more salt, and she runs out of there in a daze. Out in the front of the store, she takes a moment to gather her breath, wondering what’s wrong with her. She forgets about her kimchi-covered hands and clasps her cheeks, wondering why her face is so hot.
She remembers the calming medicine and goes rummaging in the drawer in a panic, and Chi-soo startles her all over again when he catches her in the act. He picks up the little capsule and asks if she’s still going to argue that it’s head not heart, that she feels nothing, when it’s clearly got her rattled.
She stutters another denial and gets up, and he pulls her close by the waist. Rawr. He leans in close, “Do you need another taste to season?” And then he goes in for another taste of her kimchi, kissing the streak of sauce on her cheek. Humona. I know kimchi tasting has always been hot, but I’m pretty sure it’s never been THIS hot.
Bells ring in her head, as she loses all motor function, literally floored by the kiss. Startled, Chi-soo grabs her arms as she falls to the ground. Kang-hyuk walks in right at that moment, wondering why Eun-bi is kneeling on the ground and pleading with Chi-soo. Heh.
The team goes to the sauna to recuperate from the kimchifest. So-yi gives Eun-bi the hairy eyeball, while Chi-soo stares at her with his puppiest look ever, and Kang-hyuk sighs. The camera pans out to show Ba-wool hard at work massaging Eun-bi’s legs, which is what So-yi is fuming at.
She catches up to Eun-bi and tells her to stop playing around with Ba-wool’s heart. Dude, HELLO, kettle? Pot? Ring a bell? Eun-bi points out as much, saying that at her age, it should be enough to be pure of heart. She taps her chest, saying that pure love is what she should be concerned with, and not playing games.
So-yi counters by asking where all that purity went then, when it comes to Eun-bi. She says that she is pure of heart when it comes to Ba-wool, and offers that Eun-bi’s the one who’s left pure love by the wayside to become like everyone else, growing old and then counting people by their position, marrying off based on profiles at a matchmaking agency.
Haha. It’s infuriating how right she is. So-yi says that she’s technically turning Chi-soo away based on his qualifications too, because he’s not what she wants on paper – moderate wealth, average, stable guy to marry. Well, she’s not wrong.
Meanwhile, Chi-soo and Kang-hyuk sit across from each other in the sauna, all fired up in yet another macho contest. This time Kang-hyuk offers up that the winner who can endure the longest wins Wifey. Chi-soo doesn’t like that rule, since it won’t matter if he wins or loses – he’ll still have Eun-bi.
Kang-hyuk wonders if he’s lived his whole life that way, having everything he’s ever wanted. “Then what about a mom?” Chi-soo flares up at that, saying that she died when he was young, and he doesn’t NEED a mom, since he has Dad. Kang-hyuk muses that there’s no such thing as a child who doesn’t need his parents.
Eun-bi waits outside, re-swooning at the kimchi kiss. She rubs her cheek as if trying to remove the memory, wondering, “I scrubbed off the dead skin, but it won’t go away.” I’m pretty sure you’re gonna need more than a shower to rub out that memory.
Daddy Cha’s secretary shows up to ask for a meeting, and brings her to see Dad. He asks if she went to the pool, and she says no, she went to scrub off her dead skin, and that Chi-soo went too.
Dad wonders if they’re already at that stage in the relationship, and she jumps to clarify that they went to separate baths, yunno, for the nekkid part. Dad is adorably jealous, of course, since he’s never gone to the bath with Chi-soo.
He says that Chi-soo came home the other night “having made something,” and says that he made a girlfriend – her. She quickly denies it, saying that Chi-soo’s just young, but Dad says it’s already done, and just asks her to help speed it along, otherwise, someone will get hurt.
She thinks he means her, and assures him that she won’t be hurt over something like that, but he clarifies that he’s scared that Chi-soo will get hurt. Aw. He says that he knows women like Eun-bi very well.
He describes her as rice, and ramyun, and warmth: “Men like us are bound to fall for women like you. Because caviar has never experienced warmth.” He describes caviar as cold, and that it has to be eaten with a special little spoon. It can’t be grabbed at with plain chopsticks, otherwise it’ll spoil.
Aw, it’s a sad little metaphor that speaks to the reason why he fell in love with Chi-soo’s mom, but also the hurt he carries because of it. It’s both sweet and all twisted around, because he thinks that the two will never mix, will never work out, despite knowing what Chi-soo lacks by being caviar.
Eun-bi says she understands what he means, and adds that she doesn’t care for caviar anyway. On her way back, she asks Dad’s secretary why Chi-soo and Dad live at the company and not in a home, and he says that’s all they know. She asks about Chi-soo’s mom, and he says she passed away, in Japan.
Eun-bi returns to the store to find Chi-soo waiting for her, and no one else around. He says the other guys went to go eat beef, and she screams, “Without ME?” But he stops her, saying they have other things to taste. Rawr. Are we moving on to toes now?
She puts up a hand covered with an exfoliating mitt in defense, but Chi-soo just thinks she’s being kinky now, and sends her gulping. He laughs and reminds her that she’s the one who said he’d have to learn to make ramyun if he wanted to date her, and so sits her down to cook for her.
Aw. It’s his first real selfless gesture. Though, I suppose he thinks that cooking ramyun is a way to her heart, but well, it kind of is. She watches curiously as he makes the ramyun just the way Kang-hyuk taught him, a little impressed. There is something really satisfying about watching him work so hard at something.
She gets lost in her thoughts, thinking back to his confessions, and he brings her back to reality and presents his ramyun, eagerly awaiting her verdict. She goes to take a taste, and then notices a cut on his hand. Suddenly she gets up from the table and walks out, saying that she’s not hungry anymore. Aw, is it ’cause of what Daddy said about Chi-soo getting hurt? These people and their literal minds.
He chases her out, asking how she could refuse to even give it a taste, when she can see how hard he worked, how he’s covered in sweat, and he HATES being sweaty. Ha. She yells right back, asking why he’s cutting his hand, and getting sweaty, all to make her ramyun. She refuses, and tells him to go home.
He picks her up and takes her inside the house, and they argue some more. He tells her she’s scared – that’s the real reason. He pulls her by the wrist and says they’ll find out right now, what they are. She pulls away and tells him to get out.
“You’re afraid that you’ll eat that ramyun and discover that I’m not cup ramyun, but the real thing!” She finally admits it:
Eun-bi: That’s right. I’m scared to death. You said it’s your first time, feeling chest pain, and nausea. Well it’s not mine. I’ve felt that before, and I know how crazy hot it boils, and how dangerous it is. And I know myself. I’m a Yang Eun-nem-bi [her Silver Pot nickname], so I boil faster, and hotter, than everyone else.
She says that’s why she’s trying not to be Yang Eun-nem-bi, to make more adult, sensible choices, but he keeps shaking her. “You keep turning me back into Yang Eun-nem-bi. It’s starting to boil for real. So I’m scared. I’m scared to death!”
He hugs her tightly, patting her on the back, telling her it’s going to be okay, actually giving HER comfort. It’s like a freakin’ miracle up in here.
He says it’s okay, over and over, and tells her to calm down, because when she gets mad, he starts boiling over, because she’s so pretty when she’s mad. Ha. He closes his eyes and hugs her tight, smiling. She closes her eyes.
And then he asks, “But… when did you last wash your hair?” Hahaha. I love a show that knows when to undercut its own romantic moments.
Cut to Eun-bi, out of the shower, and Chi-soo blow-drying her hair. HA. He complains that she’s the kind of woman who forgets when she last bathed, enough to walk around with smelly hair, and she sighs, saying that she didn’t have time what with his dad hauling her away…
She catches herself and says no, backtracking. But they’re interrupted by Kang-hyuk’s voice, calling for Wifey. Eun-bi panics and shoves Chi-soo down on the floor and covers him up with a blanket. She lies down just in time, as Kang-hyuk opens her door.
He asks if she wants ramyun since he’s cooking for the boys, and she says no she’s tired, so she’ll just sleep early tonight. Kang-hyuk: “Really? Then me too!” and makes a move to join her. Ha. And rawr.
She stops him, saying she’s REALLY tired tonight, so he smiles and tells her to dream of him, and leaves. Outside, he murmurs, “Did I just tell her to sleep with Cha Chi-soo and dream of me?” He shakes his head as he walks away. If you knew he was there, were you planning on jumping right on top of him?
Inside, Chi-soo comes out from under the blanket, coughing from being suffocated. He demands to know, “Why do I have to hide? And do you ACTUALLY sleep with him??” She rattles off all the reasons it’d be a disaster if they were discovered like this – Kang-hyuk would throw punches, then Ba-wool would get involved, throwing So-yi into a tizzy, and so forth.
He scoffs that she’s making it sound like she’s such a popular person, and she tosses her hair, “Well it’s true.” He asks if she’s really going to taste Kang-hyuk and him at the same time, and she counters why not.
He says fine, and then flips on top of her, making her heart leap to her throat. He leans in for a kiss, saying that she can do as she wants, but there’s a chance he’ll get mad. She closes her eyes and he leans in…
And then Kang-hyuk bursts into the room and throws Chi-soo off. He yanks Eun-bi out and tells her to go eat ramyun with the boys, and then goes inside, locking the door behind him.
Chi-soo asks if he’s here to throw punches again, but he just presents him with the picture of him with their mom. Chi-soo stops short and takes it in his hand.
“Cha Chi-soo, I’m your hyung. And that woman is my wife. So I’m the only one she sleeps with.”
What Kang-hyuk means to do is protect them both, as Chi-soo’s hyung and Eun-bi’s guardian, but I love that he’s not above being cheeky about it, and turning Chi-soo inside-out in the process. She only sleeps with me. Pfft. Eun-bi’s kind of past needing to be rescued, since she can clearly handle Chi-soo herself, but Chi-soo DOES still need some rescuing, mostly from himself. And in that respect, I love that Kang-hyuk is around.
The thing is, I find the half-brother detail to be unnecessary. I prefer when ragtag families form out of friendship when there are no blood ties, and no real reason for a group of people to love each other like family. It gets me in the heart more. I don’t hate that they have to be brothers, since it doesn’t ruin anything or change the relationships that much, but I don’t like it because it feels unnecessary. I think their relationship would’ve been plenty heartwarming without the direct kinship, and for me, even more so. I liked the idea that where his real father failed Chi-soo as a parent, his new ramyun family would provide the kind of tough love and support he’d need to become a human being.
The family unit is forming nicely though, with Eun-bi and her flower patch, all “Noona” here and “Wifey” there. It’s so cute that they each have a different name for her, speaking to the various ways in which she’s loved. I’m happy that Chi-soo’s making steps toward learning how to show love, rather than just dealing with how to feel love. We’ve followed him to the point that he’s accepted his feelings, so now it’s time for him to figure out what it means to express that love to someone else, like slaving over one perfect bowl of ramyun just for her. It’s the first time he hasn’t acted out of selfish desire for what he wants, and though Eun-bi tossed it out to him as a metaphor, his literal interpretation ends up meaning more.
I like the various ideas of taste in this episode, to take a taste to see what someone is like, and the ways that Chi-soo’s, er… talent could be extended for people and not just food. I especially like that his intuition forces Eun-bi to confront her fears. There are so many ways that Eun-bi’s name works in puns and metaphors, but I really like the idea that because she’s a silver pot, aka because she’s her, her love boils faster and hotter than other people, and that scares her and keeps her guarded. I love how she describes choosing the sensible thing as what she thinks is right, but that it’s Chi-soo who’s forcing her to be herself. Chi-soo’s tsunami love scares her, sure, but it’s her own boiling heart that scares her more.
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