Greasy Melo: Episodes 13-16
This week’s special menu is a heaping bowl of budding bromance. Poong’s rough-and-angry edges seem to be gradually whittled down; Chil-sung’s past comes back to haunt him; and Sae-woo is confused (not that I blame her). At least we have Gum Granny, the fount of all wisdom. If only people would actually listen to her.
EPISODES 13-16 WEECAP
Despite saving Poong from being burned (by literally throwing herself at him), Sae-woo is super apologetic. After all, it was her fault there was a fire to begin with. Poong is still shaken down to his very core by the realization that Sae-woo makes him feel something, but he comes to his senses and gruffly orders her to go change into a non-burnt outfit.
Even though Sae-woo burnt all the ingredients (and the chef), she’s delighted to realize that she can return tomorrow and be part of the kitchen staff.
Chil-sung kicks out all the drunk office workers, explaining that their chef had an accident. By way of recompense, he offers them a free lunch if they come back tomorrow.
Sae-woo decides to help clean up by washing the burnt wok. Chil-sung doesn’t understand why Poong still uses that old thing and offers to buy him a new one, but Poong’s heart starts to loudly beat as he glares at She-woo. Poong’s furious (at himself, most likely) that he might be falling for a woman who still loves her husband.
After Sae-woo cleans the wok, Chil-sung apologizes for yelling at her earlier. Sae-woo admits that she actually didn’t mind, since it made him sound like he didn’t like her. He confesses that he’s stopped liking her, no really, so she no longer has to feel nervous around him. Then he cutely asks if she’s upset that he no longer likes her, but she just grins and says she’s fine.
Haha, then she tells him she likes it when he yells at her because then she knows he doesn’t like her. So he screams “GOOD-BYE” as she leaves. Pfft.
Sae-woo finds Poong drowning his feelings in soju. Despite his grumpy, “Go away,” she cheerfully tells him that she’ll be the ladle to his wok. His sour attitude finally makes her leave, and she adorably practices holding an imaginary ladle as she rides the bus home.
Poong pulls out his fortune and reads it one more time. He leaves in his empty soju glass and staggers away. He wrestles with the decision to keep wearing his wedding ring, ultimately choosing to keep it on so no one will know what he’s really feeling. (He also meets a super cute kitty, for no apparent reason except to melt my heart.)
The next morning, Poong arrives at the restaurant in time to catch Chil-sung taking a few eggs from the restaurant to use for his own breakfast. Poong offers to cook him breakfast for a favor: he needs someone to wash his hair (‘cause the cast means he can’t do it himself). I’m not sure which of the two gets more drenched in this shower endeavor, though.
After breakfast, Poong readies his team for the influx of office workers who will be claiming their free lunch. Despite all her practice, Sae-woo still hasn’t mastered the ladle. Poong harshly berates her, but when Sae-woo’s out of earshot, the rest of the staff try to persuade Poong to be nicer to Sae-woo (without revealing their secret connection to her).
Chil-sung’s rival gangster (a cameo by Ryu Seung-soo) arrives at the restaurant. Due to the busy lunch rush, he finds a spot in the private room that’s papered with 50,000 won notes. He starts peeling them off the wall, declaring it payback for Chil-sung taking his money.
When Sae-woo says that he shouldn’t do that, the gangster reveals what kind of monster Chil-sung really is. Chil-sung has been convicted three times, and the knife he’s been using to peel off the bank notes actually belongs to Chil-sung — it’s the same knife that Chil-sung used to stab him in the stomach years ago.
Chil-sung hurries downstairs once he sees who’s on the security camera. He orders the other gangster out, and makes it clear that he’ll be stabbed again if he doesn’t leave. The other gangster warns Chil-sung that he’ll be back.
Exhausted, Sae-woo lies down on a bench to take a break, then scrambles up when Poong appears. He checks her forehead, worried in his gruff manner that she’s overworking himself. Sae-woo reassures him she’s fine, but Poong yells at her to go see a doctor. They can’t have her getting everyone sick and forcing the restaurant to close for a day.
Chil-sung is also worried about Sae-woo, but more so because she’s dealing with the realization of what a violent gangster he was (and could still be). When Poong tells him that Sae-woo is at the hospital, Chil-sung practically runs there to make sure she’s okay. He’s still under the impression she’s recovering from cancer, and isn’t aware she’s just picking up medication due to exhaustion.
He confesses that he went to jail three times due to (1) beating up a detective, (2) intimidation and assault, and (3) attempted murder. He knows that he’s not a good guy, so she shouldn’t like him. Sae-woo reassures him that no matter how many crimes he’s committed, she’ll never like him.
Chil-sung and Poong have a nice moment as they sit outside the restaurant and discuss Poong’s failed revenge plan. Poong admits that the restaurant has actually lost at least 5,000,000 won due to the free lunch they had to give the office workers. But Poong is confident that the office workers will help bring in customers due to the viral marketing of social media.
Chil-sung warns Poong that if things continue at this rate, the restaurant will be gone in three months — as would the building, since Chil-sung bought in on a loan. Haha, I love that their money woes bring the guys closer together. Aw, but Chil-sung’s boys are sad that he’s hanging out Poong instead of them.
Ooooooh, Chil-sung’s rival gangster is actually working for Seung-ryong. The gangster vows to help Seung-ryong get rid of Poong and the restaurant, especially since it means hurting Chil-sung, too.
The rival gangster and his boys barge into Chil-sung’s building, finding him in the loan office. The gangster demands his ledger back, but Chil-sung just orders them out. When the gangsters start to search for the ledger, Chil-sung beats them up.
But he’s no match for all of them, and the rival gangster stabs Chil-sung in the stomach, demanding to know where he hid the ledger. Chil-sung would rather die than hand it over, since it would mean that all of the clients he inherited from his rival would be start to be harassed again.
Despite his bloody wound, Chil-sung manages to escape the other gangsters. He only makes it as far as the kitchen, where he finds Sae-woo practicing her wok-and-ladle skills.
When the other gangsters arrive at the kitchen, Chil-sung grabs Sae-woo’s hand and drags her into the walk-in cooler. Aw, but he’s polite about it as he apologizes for holding her hand.
Chil-sung’s boys arrive at the restaurant, surprised to find the rival gang there and their boss missing. The boys jump in to defend their boss’ honor, and full-on brawl destroys most of the restaurant.
Chil-sung feels obligated to go and help his boys, but he’s too wounded to do much good. Sae-woo begs him to stay put so he doesn’t get killed.
As she clings to him, Chil-sung is surprised to find out that she’s not afraid of him like he thought she was. He’s concerned that being in the cooler will make her cancer worse, but she explains that it was her horse that had cancer. Sae-woo admits she let him think it was her so that it would keep him from liking her.
When they hear the rival gangster getting closer to their hiding spot, Chil-sung readies himself to defend himself and Sae-woo. Much to their relief, the rival gangster turns back around to join the rest of the gangsters in the fight. Chil-sung suddenly leans in and kisses Sae-woo.
Sae-woo inwardly panics, wondering if she’s allowed to enjoy the kiss. A falling pig’s foot — the exact same kind that Poong is out purchasing right that moment — falls on Sae-woo’s head and breaks up the kiss. Ka-thunk goes both the trotter and the anvil of symbolism.
Poong arrives at the restaurant, horrified to see the melee that’s going on. He calls the cops and tries to break up the fight, but only gets his broken wrist crushed even more under the rival gangster’s foot as the gangster warns Poong that Seung-ryong isn’t someone Poong can win against.
At the sound of police sirens, the gangsters flee, leaving the destroyed restaurant empty. Or almost empty, because Poong finds Chil-sung and Sae-woo still huddled in the walk-in cooler. Chil-sung gasps that Poong shouldn’t tell the cops what happened so that his boys don’t get into trouble. Then Chil-sung passes out.
Sae-woo speeds through the streets as they drive Chil-sung to the hospital. I love that Poong is the one holding Chil-sung safe in the backseat. Chil-sung is rushed off to the operating room.
Poong worriedly notes that Sae-woo isn’t looking so great herself. She’s suffering from hypothermia, and a nurse asks Poong to help keep Sae-woo warm by massaging her extremities and hugging her. Poong stutters out: “H-hug her?”
He can only do so much massaging with just one working hand, so he gets into the bed with Sae-woo, holding her close to get her temperature up. Sae-woo regains consciousness for a moment to see Poong’s face next to hers.
Poong whispers that it’s just a dream. Sae-woo smiles and snuggles close as she shuts her eyes, believing it to be a nice dream indeed.
Sae-woo’s family (because Seol-ja and Geok-jung totally count as family) rush in and Poong rolls out of the bed to avoid being seen.
Jung-hye and Seol-ja are angry at Poong because he only called them to tell them that Sae-woo was at the hospital, but apparently didn’t bother to stick around. Ha! If they only knew he was hiding at the nurses desk, waiting to confirm that Sae-woo’s temperature increased to a normal range.
Chil-sung’s surgery went well and he recuperates in his own hospital room. His boys reassure him that the rival gangster didn’t get the ledger. They promise to get revenge, but Chil-sung warns them to be cautious. Instead of dealing with the rival gangster, maybe it’ll be a better idea to look into how Seung-ryong is getting his money. If the Giant Hotel CEO is working with gangsters, then there’s gotta be some sketchy funds somewhere.
Sae-woo also visits Chil-sung in his hospital room (after sneaking out of her own room). She tells him that it’s finally time to be honest: she and her husband have been having problems, but she’s not over him yet. Plus, she had a dream. It should have been of Chil-sung since they kissed in the cooler, but instead she dreamt of Poong holding her.
She admits that she enjoyed feeling warm and comfortable in Poong’s arms. Sae-woo starts to cry, wondering what’s wrong with her that she likes so many men. She pleads with Chil-sung to give her some time to figure out her feelings, reassuring him that it has nothing to do with the fact he’s a gangster.
Chil-sung points out that Poong doesn’t treat her nicely and didn’t even want her to be hired in the first place. Plus, Poong is still married (at least, as far as Chil-sung knows). But Sae-woo believes that what matters most is who she likes — not who likes her.
Jung-hye has been eavesdropping on her daughter’s conversation, but suddenly gets pulled away by Gum Granny. Jung-hye is disappointed that Sae-woo is torn between men that Jung-hye doesn’t approve of. Gum Granny grumps that Jung-hye should keep her nose out of it.
Gum Granny is there to visit her son, which she boasts is the best son a mother could want. But Jung-hye finds it strange that such a great son would let his mother become, well, Gum Granny.
Aw, Gum Granny’s son is Chil-sung. Not her birth son (at least, that we know of — hey, this is a melo!). But an adopted son that she took care of ever since he was recovering from an accident when he was younger. He tries to ignore her but she pleads with him that, if he ever finds a woman he likes, to treat her well and not scold her or let his pride get in the way of admitting how much he likes her.
Chil-sung grumbles that he would treat a woman well and give her everything she wanted. Gum Granny insists that some men act mean to the women they love because they’re afraid of admitting their real feelings. Chil-sung retorts that “real men” don’t act like that.
Master Wang runs into Seol-ja at a sauna. They’re both shocked to see each other after all these years. Even though it’s been twenty years, Seol-ja is still furious that Master Want stole her money and left her alone in China. He promises to pay her back — he’s rich and famous now, he can afford to pay her back a hundred times. But she only wants what she’s due.
Thanks to the gangsters’ destructive fight, the restaurant gets a bit of a sprucing up — and a name change, from the “Hungry Frying Pan” to the “Hungry Wok” (with a snazzy new sign!). The repairs also put the restaurant at least 13,000,000 won in debt. Yikes.
A new name means a new menu, and Poong introduces his “Whole Shrimp” menu that has never been done before. Everyone’s salivating as he describes the dishes. The kicker is that this kind of dish could be sold for 150,000 won at the hotel, but they’ll only sell it for 18,000 — at cost. They won’t make a profit, but they’ll at least start to bring in customers.
Later, Sae-woo thanks Poong for for his help at the hospital. He awkwardly asks if she remembers everything that happened, and she reiterates that she’s thankful he carried her on his back. He’s annoyed but relieved that she can’t remember him holding her, and blusters that he didn’t do anything.
He continues to berate her, pointing out all her weaknesses and deficiencies in the kitchen, before finally storming out of the restaurant. Hey, Gum Granny, where’s your “be nice to girls you like” lecture? ‘Cause I know someone who needs to hear it.
Poong orders Geok-jung to follow him, and they go to Giant Hotel so that Poong can retrieve his recipe notebook. He demands to know from the hotel staff if they know where is book is, but they lie that they haven’t seen it. Master Wang threatens to throw Poong out. The sous chef (who is the one who stole Poong’s book) tries to act tough, but Geok-jung easily protects Poong from being hit by a rolling pin.
Bo-ra, another of the chefs who used to be Poong’s friend (and who knows the sneaky sous chef has the recipe book) nervously drops her cleaver. Geok-jung shoves her out of harms way, letting the knife fall into his foot instead — but his lame foot, so he doesn’t feel anything.
Poong still worries as he helps Geok-jung limp out of the kitchen, taking him him to the hospital, anyway. Geok-jung is only concerned that Poong didn’t find his notebook. Aw, Bo-ra watches her new hero Geok-jung walk away. It’s her turn to have hearts in her eyes.
Master Wang sends Seol-ja the amount of money he owed her (plus 100x interest, like he promised). She responds by sending him her phone number, and he makes a date with her later that day. As Seol-ja dresses up for her date, she remembers when Master Wang left her twenty years ago, and how she went begging for a job to support herself. Jung-hye took pity on the young woman and hired her.
Poong practices his “Whole Shrimp” menu, which is difficult to do one-handed. Sae-woo offers to help, but Poong points out that her inexperienced efforts in prepping the shrimp means only a portion of them are actually usable.
She films him cooking the shrimp so she can have it for reference. When he looks at the footage later, Poong grumbles that she cut off the head. When she insists that all the shrimp (including the head) is visible, he retorts that she filmed it without showing his head. Haha, he pettily points out that she missed the most important part — the chef.
He’s not the only jealous one, as Maeng-dal follows Seol-ja to the restaurant where Master Wang waits for her. Except at the last minute, Seol-ja backs out and sends Master Wang a text saying she won’t fall hopelessly in love again. Then she tells Maeng-dal to join her for dinner.
Sae-woo joins Poong outside the restaurant, where they enjoy a beer together. Poong sighs that his recipe notebook has over a 100 recipes, and all the results of his trial and error attempts to perfect his recipe. He can’t remember the exact recipe he created for his “Whole Shrimp” without it. He whines that his notebook is gone, his wrist is hurt, and his wife left him. His life is in shambles.
He takes off his wedding ring and sets it on the table, repeating that he’s no longer a married man. Just so Sae-woo knows. Then he shares his earbuds so they can listen to his favorite song. After all, the “wok and the ladle” can do that much, right? Poong asks if Sae-woo is hungry, then says that he’ll make her noodles.
How can such a simple offer to make noodles seem so sexually charged? This show is confusing me because I just want everyone to be happy together, but I don’t think dramaland is exactly ready to accept polyamory as a viable option. I’ve warmed up enough to Poong to decide he might be just a little bit worthy of Sae-woo after all. I mean, how can I hate a guy who totally melts when a kitten climbs into his lap? But I also appreciate that he seems to be working through the shock that he might actually like Sae-woo (and not just because a slip of paper told him so), and is beginning to treat her with respect. Yes, he can be bossy in the kitchen, but he didn’t complain when she literally kept stepping on his toes in her effort to live up to his culinary expectations.
My heart still belongs to Chil-sung, though. He maybe a tough gangster who’s gone to jail three times (which probably why he greets people with his standard “three” sign). But he’s also so protective and caring about other people, including those on the rival gangster’s ledger. The fact that he’d risk his own life to make sure the people who owe money won’t get brutally harassed for repayment makes his past crimes fade away in my eyes. He wants so much to stay out of trouble and help his boys live normal lives. He’s definitely no “monster,” unless he’s the cute’n’cuddly kind.
That’s not to say Chil-sung can’t be dangerous. I think it’s interesting that he decided that they should go after Giant Hotel’s funding. I’m assuming that the money he used to get a loan for his building came from what Chil-sung stole from the rival gangster, and I have to wonder if his building is somehow connected to Sae-woo’s father. He did have a contract or paperwork of sorts with Sae-woo’s father’s name on it. As much fun as I’m having watching the day-to-day operations of a restaurant (which, admittedly, still hasn’t had any real customers), I can’t forget that there’s a corruption scheme out there. The best way to a girl’s heart is to save her father from a lifetime in jail, right?
Even though the show still sometimes feels disjointed, I love watching all of our characters’ arcs slowly come together and reveal how they’re all connected. It might be easy to gloss over the minor plot threads when the main trio take up so much love and attention, but the minor characters are delightful in their respective quirky ways. I’m already anticipating Bo-ra to be the first to abandon Giant Hotel and join the Happy Wok team (and tell Poong who really stole his precious recipe notebook!).
I might be confused about how I feel when it comes to the main romance, but I’m definitely all aboard the minor lovelines and hope that Seol-ja and Geok-jung will have delightful adventures with their new budding romances (or potentially budding romances). Happily-ever-afters for everyone, please!