The Third Charm: Episode 11
There is no easy cure for heartache, but Joon-young is adamant on finding something, whether that be with a change of scenery or a change of pace. He opens himself up to a whole new world, a whole new life, and it’s overwhelming to have so many options laid out before him. Before he can even begin to figure out a plan, though, he needs to start believing that he can be happy again.
EPISODE 11 RECAP
Joon-young’s parents are shocked that he resigned from his job. He sits there and takes their lecture (with Ri-won and Sang-hyun awkwardly listening) until he admits that he doesn’t have a plan going forward. Mom is even more furious to hear that.
Ri-won walks Sang-hyun out, musing that Joon-young used to keep a record of all his failures to ensure that he wouldn’t make the same mistakes. But he keeps making those same mistakes, as he probably will with his dating life.
It’s been a long day for Joon-young, and it shows, but when he gets a call from Soo-jae, he makes the time to meet with him.
The two meet at Soo-jae’s old coffee truck spot, where Soo-jae notes that Joon-young must be having a difficult time. He reveals that his script won the big competition and thanks Joon-young for proofreading it.
“All this time, you worked hard,” he says, obviously not talking about the script anymore. Pushing his emotions back, Joon-young musters up a smile.
The next day, Joon-young heads to the airport for an impromptu getaway. Ri-won and Sang-hyun tag along and ask when he’ll be back, but he has no idea. They ask if he’ll be okay with one measly backpack, and again, he has no idea.
Sang-hyun understands that his buddy’s hurt, but it’s unlike him to do something like this without a plan. Joon-young replies that he’s discovered that nothing in life goes as planned anyway.
Before he takes off, Ri-won calls him back and opens her arms for a hug (aww, you can be affectionate). After they embrace, Joon-young smiles at his sister and friend and says goodbye.
Meanwhile, Young-jae and Joo-ran treat Soo-jae to a congratulatory dinner. Joo-ran and Soo-jae are good friends now, and they joke that he shouldn’t ignore her when he’s a famous writer.
Joo-ran encourages Young-jae to eat the stir-fried octopus, and it triggers the memory of the birthday feast Joon-young had made her. Young-jae’s eyes sting with tears, and she excuses herself to the bathroom, lying that it’s the spice. She lets herself sob for a few seconds, touching her birthday necklace, before rejoining the others.
Se-eun is spending time with her family in the country as her ankle heals. When she’s all better, she returns to Seoul, bringing the honey bread that she knows Joon-young likes. However, she’s disheartened to find his desk at the station cleared out.
It turns out that Joon-young’s getaway destination was Portugal. When he arrives, he does as much exploring as he can before settling into his hostel and passing out.
He does this day after day—waking up, sightseeing, then sleeping. He ventures into Southern Portugal, taking in the beautiful countryside and beaches, and walking so much that his feet are covered in blisters.
Eventually, his feet start killing him and he has to hitchhike in the back of a truck in order to get back. He’s cold and hungry by the time he does, and a restaurant appears before him like a sanctuary.
Joon-young goes inside and discovers that it’s a one-table restaurant. The owner welcomes him to the table and, seeing that Joon-young can’t read the menu, promises to serve the best dish.
When the food arrives, Joon-young practically inhales it, saying that it’s delicious. And after everything he’s been through, he’s just happy to eat this wonderful meal. He gets choked up, but continues eating until the very last bite. The owner comes by with another serving, and Joon-young is touched by the gesture.
Joon-young’s parents are excited as they prepare a home cooked meal for his arrival. They get a call from him, and he informs them that he’s staying in Portugal. When Mom asks what happened, he happily replies, “I have a plan.”
That plan is a degree in the culinary arts. Joon-young meets with an advisor to get a feel for the curriculum and then heads over to a house-share, where he meets a few of his new housemates. He’s nervous but finally looks somewhat at home.
Mom and Dad are feeling pretty down as they eat dinner with Ri-won and Sang-hyun. However, Ri-won has news of her own that could liven up the mood. “I’m pregnant,” she reveals nonchalantly, making poor Sang-hyun choke on his food.
Joon-young starts his new life as a student, eager to learn from the professionals. It’s a tiring lifestyle though, and his housemate Gomes has to startle him awake every morning to keep from being late. Not only that, but mastering the proper cooking techniques prove to be more challenging than Joon-young thought. He makes quite a few blundering mistakes in the kitchen, well-aware of his teacher’s gaze.
One day, Joon-young burns his hand on a pot and hurries to the restroom to rinse it. He gets teary-eyed as the pain ceases, looking like he’s losing hope. He’s then told that he has a package at the office and when he opens it, he is pleasantly surprised to find a knitted scarf from Se-eun.
We flash back to when Se-eun was knitting the scarf, and she narrates that she couldn’t send it at first because of her cowardice.
But once spring was nearing, she gathered up the courage to send it and was elated to receive Joon-young’s response—his gratitude, along with a Portuguese sports jersey.
“I was so happy,” she narrates, “but it was just a polite response. It didn’t mean that my feelings for him could continue.”
Sometime later, Joon-young is doing much better. When leaving class, he notices a familiar face by a coffee cart. “Officer Min Se-eun?” he says, his whole face lighting up.
Se-eun is flustered as she explains that she came as a sort of summer vacation to see a soccer game (uh-huh, sure). Either way, Joon-young is glad to see her here and is more than willing to act as her tour guide.
He takes her to a nice spot by the water so they can talk. Se-eun catches him up on the folks at the police station, saying that Officer Gong actually got married and that Officer Lee broke up with his girlfriend. Joon-young figures that Se-eun must be single as well if she’s traveling by herself.
Se-eun starts to say something but stops herself, instead saying that she’s having a good time. He smiles and says that he is too. With that, Se-eun narrates that this is enough for her; it’s all that a coward like her can do.
She has to fly back to Korea the next morning, though she’s hesitant to leave. To her surprise, Joon-young shows up to the airport with some egg tarts that he whipped up for her. He promises to cook her something extra special once he’s an official chef and encourages her to bring a boyfriend next time.
And just like that, Joon-young gives her one last smile and turns to leave. Se-eun watches him walk away, suddenly gaining a burst of courage. “Team Leader!” she calls out, squeezing her eyes shut. “I like you! I came all the way here because I missed you!” She slowly opens her eyes to see Joon-young looking back at her, speechless.
Joon-young narrates that autumn came around again, delivering two more surprises. Soo-jae’s film was a major hit, even overseas, and Joon-young gets to watch it with his housemates. Soo-jae celebrates his success at a party, where Joo-ran is clearly peeved to be introduced as “my sister’s friend.”
The second surprise is a brand new niece. The whole family video chats with Joon-young to introduce the baby, and Ri-won is still tough as nails while Sang-hyun is a sobbing mess, heh.
Joon-young continues to narrate that the seasons kept changing, until another year passed and he earned his degree. During this time, he also started dating Se-eun, who eased her way into calling him “oppa” instead of “team leader.” She sends him a care package with side dishes, as well as an apron with his name embroidered on it, and he beams with happiness.
With the seasons, time and hard work, Joon-young’s relationship with Se-eun flourishes, along with his career as a chef. Joo-ran, on the other hand, who had put just as much hard work into dating, still cant find the right man.
Drunk, she asks Soo-jae if he’ll marry her, though this seems normal since he doesn’t give much of a reaction. They video chat with Young-jae since they’re missing her, and interestingly enough, we don’t actually get to see or hear her.
Joon-young has Se-eun in his arms as they look out at the view. She asks why he likes her, and he answers that they’re a good match and feel comfortable with each other. More than that, he loves that they both put effort in their relationship.
Four more years pass, and Joon-young eventually gets an offer from his boss to be the sous-chef at their new branch. It’s a great opportunity, but Joon-young turns it down, thinking that it’s actually the perfect time to go home.
His parents and girlfriend welcome him back to Korea and aw, Dad makes sure Se-eun gets the first hug. Joon-young also visits Sang-hyun, who’s a loving father to his daughter Da-in. That said, Sang-hyun is still bitter that Ri-won would rather be co-parents than a married couple.
Once they get Sang-hyun’s dad to babysit Da-in, the two boys head over to Ri-won’s company. (Damn, girl, look at you taking on a business.) Sang-hyun is horrified to see that the college junior who’d hit on Ri-won works there, but Ri-won ignores him to talk restaurant locations with Joon-young.
Ri-won and Sang-hyun find it strange when Joon-young picks a simple and small location, so he explains that he’ll be opening a one-table restaurant. Sang-hyun helps with setting up, saying that he doesn’t see what Se-eun sees in Joon-young.
Joon-young throws back that he doesn’t understand why Sang-hyun likes Ri-won and vice versa; he suggests they stop trying to comprehend the inexplicable. “Hey!” Sang-hyun warns. “Stop talking like Ri-won!”
Sang-hyun still doesn’t see the logic in Joon-young’s restaurant idea, but once they get the place all fixed up, the exclusivity brings in plenty of reservations. In fact, Joon-young has customers ranging from old married couples to groups of friends and even to foreigners.
One day, while shopping for ingredients, Joon-young passes a jewelry store and takes note of the engagement rings. (Omo.) Later, Joon-young is prepping a meal for an anniversary reservation when Se-eun stops by to bring him lunch. In return, he gives her some egg tarts, having made extra since she likes them.
He takes in her smiling face and starts to ask a question, but the repair man he’d called for comes in and interrupts. Joon-young ends up sending Se-eun back to her car, but once she drives off, he changes his mind and chases after her. She stops and asks what’s wrong, and he just gets to the point.
“There’s so much I couldn’t do for you,” he says. “And that makes me feel sorry, but even so…” He then pulls out a ring and asks if she’ll marry him. She’s too emotional to answer, so Joon-young goes ahead and slips the ring onto her finger. They smile at each other and seal the deal with a loving embrace.
Joon-young is still smiling when he returns to his restaurant, and even when he sets the table for his next guests.
He creates a romantic atmosphere perfect for an anniversary, topping it off with a candle. The door chimes just as he finishes and he turns to welcome them.
Joon-young freezes, as does the couple at the door: Young-jae and Ho-chul. Joon-young’s mind seems to be spinning as he tries to speak, but nothing comes out.
Well… this is awkward. But what an episode. So much was packed into this hour that I’m still trying to wrap my head around it. I guess I should start with the man of the hour, Joon-young. We didn’t get to see Young-jae much at all, and that kind of makes me nervous, but it was gratifying to watch Joon-young’s journey.
Joon-young pretty much became a police officer to prove a point, because he’d felt so much resentment toward Young-jae after their first separation. And while I’m sure that he came to like the job and the people he worked with, it was still a job that resulted from resentment rather than true passion. The culinary arts, however, seem like the perfect fit for him. He loves cooking, he’s great at cooking, and the interest came from a genuinely warm place. He’d been wandering around Portugal, clearly overexerting himself on purpose, because he was lost. Without Young-jae and without his job, he didn’t know what he had anymore. And that one-table restaurant appeared before him like a sign. Now that’s a good reason to pursue a passion.
I’ve loved Joon-young and Young-jae as a couple all this time, and last week’s breakup was brutal, but this was such a nice change. I’m glad that they’re trying different things and seeing different people. (I don’t like that Young-jae seems to be with Ho-chul, but I’ll save my thoughts on that until we actually know what’s going on there.) Neither Joon-young or Young-jae wanted their love to end, and it’s brought a whole lot of pain and sadness on them, but I think it’s safe to say that the pain was needed to get them to this point. I don’t know about Young-jae since we haven’t seen her side of the story yet, but Joon-young definitely came out of this experience as a better person—as his own person, and not someone’s son, someone’s brother or someone’s boyfriend.
But now I’m conflicted because I think that Joon-young and Se-eun as a couple are about as sweet as a bushel of apples. I wish that Se-eun had been introduced into the show much earlier since her storyline here added more to her character than all the previous episodes put together. She reminded me a lot of the younger (and permed) Joon-young, when he’d been so consumed by his shyness that it hindered him from taking chances. And I was sincerely proud of her when she built up the courage to confess her feelings to him in the airport. True, their romance was rushed—like Romeo and Juliet rushed—but they seem so right for each other. Joon-young and Young-jae were right for each other in a different way, but as their situation got complicated, they became wrong for each other, unfortunately.
At least now, Joon-young gets to experience a loving and healthy relationship. Even if things change once again and he finds himself drawn back to Young-jae, he needed Se-eun in his life to see what else was out there. But again, I really don’t know if I want him back with Young-jae, especially now that he’s engaged. He’s in a good place in his life with a career that he loves, a girlfriend that is just as giving as he is, and a family that appreciates him more than ever. With all that in mind, is his first love really worth it?