Greasy Melo: Episodes 21-22
Only two episodes this week thanks to preemptions. Boo. It’s like going to a restaurant to order your favorite dish, and finding out that they only have enough ingredients to make half of it. Maybe it still tastes as good, but it’s not nearly as filling. You’re left wanting more—more cuteness, more bromance, more Hungry Wok family, more of Jung Ryeo-won’s sunny smiles.
EPISODES 21-22 WEECAP
Poong successfully blows his dough bubble, and in her delight at the accomplishment, Sae-woo kisses him on the cheek. Poong is stunned and then retorts that if she was so pleased, she should have kissed the dough instead. Ha!
Chil-sung enters the kitchen and finds Poong and Sae-woo looking very awkward. Sae-woo shows Chil-sung how to blow a dough bubble. Oooh, is that a little jealousy, Poong? These three are so adorable together, even when they’re just hanging out at the restaurant talking (and pretending not to be jealous). It’s also adorable how Chil-sung practically has to drag Poong upstairs to prevent him from sleeping overnight in the kitchen.
Meanwhile, Master Wang is still trying to convince Seol-ja that she belongs with him at Giant Hotel. Seol-ja is irate that he would steal another chef’s recipe, but Master Wang insists that he didn’t know he was using Poong’s recipes.
Sure, he might have once been the kind of guy to steal Seol-ja’s money and then abandon her, but he’s now a chef with a conscience. Plus he can pay her three times what she’s already making.
It’s a very tempting offer, and Seol-ja is torn. She’s the reason Poong can make his dishes so well, so if she leaves, Hungry Wok will crumble. But she could also use the money to help Jung-hye (and the rest of the family) keep the house a little longer.
In the morning, Chil-sung greets Sae-woo at the bus stop, ready with an umbrella for an impending rainstorm — even though there isn’t a cloud in the sky. But he’s right, and it starts raining, and they have a pleasant conversation as they walk through the rain.
Chil-sung tells Sae-woo not to like him. He realizes that she must have been going through a hard time with her marriage and divorce, and promises that from now on he’ll only be like a boss to her. So she shouldn’t worry and just relax. And just like that, the rain stops.
It’s the first day of the Whole Shrimp menu, and Poong has a surprise for everyone: his wrist is now better! Yay! Everyone’s delighted except for Sae-woo, who looks a little crestfallen when she realizes she’s no longer needed as his ladle.
There’s one person missing though: Seol-ja. She’s literally standing in the middle of the crossroads, trying to decide if she should work at Giant Hotel and make the money she desperately needs, or remain loyal to Poong. Both men stand at the opposite ends of the crosswalk.
Master Wang is confident she’ll choose him because of the money. Poong desperately pleads with her to stay, since without her, the restaurant won’t be able to function. With one last look back at Poong, Seol-ja runs to Master Wang. Noooooo!
Giant Hotel is busy with guests eager to try the new menu. One guest in particular is a VIP customer who always books a large banquet there, and her approval of the menu means a hefty reservation for the hotel.
Sae-woo’s on a mission to scope out the competition — and do her best to steal customers from Giant Hotel. Sae-woo recognizes the VIP woman from the hospital where she was admitted for hypothermia. The woman asks about Sae-woo’s guardian, who held Sae-woo tight to warm her even though it was difficult for him because he had a cast on his arm.
Sae-woo is shocked to realize that Poong holding her wasn’t a dream. But Sae-woo craftily uses it to the restaurant’s advantage as she explains that Poong is also the chef at the restaurant across the street, and he cooks just as sincerely as he cared for her at the hospital.
There aren’t any customers at Hungry Wok, but the kitchen staff is still busy prepping — including Seol-ja! Waitaminute, didn’t she choose Master Wang? Why is she here???
After warning Chil-sung to stay away from Sae-woo (because a gangster isn’t good enough for her daughter), Jung-hye steps outside. She stops a couple of women who think the restaurant must not be good because there aren’t any customers.
She manages to convince them to come in, and is delighted that the restaurant finally has its first customers for the new menu. She practically shoves Chil-sung out of the way to wait on them. Jung-hye self-promoted herself from dishwasher to waitress!
Sae-woo is also thrilled to bring in some new customers, and soon the restaurant has a few tables full. Aw, Poong instinctively calls Sae-woo “Ladle” as he orders her about, until he realizes he needs to start calling her something else. He finally agrees to call her by her name, Sae-woo, despite the concern that it’s the same word as “shrimp.” Ha, so she went from kitchen tool to ingredient?
Gum Granny arrives at the restaurant but refuses to be waited on by Jung-hye and instead waves Chil-sung over. She’s concerned about his health after his surgery and insists on him eating ginseng roots, but Chil-sung ignores her.
It’s a reasonably successful day — at least they actually had customers! But Chil-sung points out that their seven customers can’t compete with a full hotel restaurant. Poong is still confident that word-of-mouth will get them the attention they need.
Chil-sung wonders if Poong can just be satisfied with managing the restaurant. Poong is insistent that revenge is vital, and vows that he won’t date, fall in love, or get married. Sae-woo, sitting quiet and unnoticed behind them, reacts to this.
Chil-sung gently tells Poong that he shouldn’t end up like him and put off the things Poong would actually enjoy. Poong should forget the grudge he has against Giant Hotel.
They march into Giant Hotel to get Poong’s knife back from where it’s still lodged in Seung-ryong’s headboard. Master Wang and Seung-ryong tell them they should just give up, since the hotel is clearly doing better than Hungry Wok. But Chil-sung warns Seung-ryong that they’re still going to fight — and Poong is no longer alone in his battle against Giant Hotel.
Ohhhh, we finally get the backstory on why Seol-ja suddenly was back at Hungry Wok despite choosing Master Wang. It turns out that Poong ran across the street and literally carried Seol-ja back to the restaurant. He may not have the money that Master Wang has, but Poong has strong arms.
That’s all he has, really. But Poong promises to one day be able to match Master Wang’s salary offer. Seol-ja just has to stay at Hungry Wok, even if Poong has to carry her there each morning. She’s the only chef that can match his skill and make his restaurant dream come true.
Word-of-mouth definitely seems to be working, because now Hungry Wok is bustling thanks to their Whole Shrimp menu. The large dim sum is delicious and the novelty of drinking the broth through a bamboo straw makes for great Instagram posts, and within the week there’s a line of customers out the door.
Giant Hotel is full of customers, but when Master Wang finds out that Hungry Wok is just as busy, he heads over to investigate. He’s shocked to see the crowds — and even more shocked to see the VIP customer enjoying a meal there. She asks if Hungry Wok can take reservations for 100 people for a banquet — the one that is normally held at the hotel.
She promises to call Poong later to let them know if the banquet will be moved from the hotel to Hungry Wok. Even though Giant Hotel still has a lot of customers, Master Wang still worried about losing even one of them to Hungry Wok — especially a VIP customer.
The VIP customer calls and based on Poong’s reaction, everyone assumes she decided to stick with Giant Hotel. But no! She’s moved the reservation to Hungry Wok. Yay! Everyone cheers in delight and hug each other, although Poong and Sae-woo’s hug lasts notably longer.
Chil-sung finds a wallet and realizes that it belongs to Gum Granny (or Kim Seon-nyeo, according to her ID, but she’ll always be Gum Granny to me). He finds a wedding photo of a young Gum Granny and a man that looks an awful lot like Chil-sung. He calls one of his men to investigate into Gum Granny’s past.
Gum Granny returns to the restaurant, looking for her wallet. Chil-sung reveals that he has it — and that he knows who she really is: his mother. She denies it, because how can someone who abandoned her child be a mother? But even as she denies it, she breaks down sobbing, apologizing that he’s found out the truth.
Ohhhhh, sneaky move, show. Lee Mi-sook playing both Sae-woo’s mother and Chil-sung’s mother now makes it feel a little incestuous to hope for any romance between them. Then again, maybe that’s the “melo” focus shining through. But you know what, show? I’m through playing your games! I refuse to take sides! I just want our trio to be together forever, drinking beer on the patio and asking each other all those late-night questions you ask your good friends (like who you would save if two of your friends were drowning).
I’m still totally loving the respectful camaraderie between Poong and Chil-sung. Even though Sae-woo continues to come between them (often literally!), they are still able to have a genuine friendship and support each other in their endeavors. I appreciate that Chil-sung is doing his best to step away from Sae-woo and gently guide Poong and her together. He can sense the attraction between them and can see through their completely lame excuses why they don’t want to date right now (okay, maybe those excuses aren’t that lame since they’re both still getting over their past relationships).
There’s just something about the squishy and sweet way Chil-sung takes care of the people he loves that continues to make my heart melt. Why isn’t Jang Hyuk in more soft and warm roles like this, dammit? I’ve never been a particular fan of his and most of his roles I’ve seen him in have been more action-thriller, so this is a whole new discovery for me.
Then again, the power of Jung Ryeo-won’s smile could make even the most cold-hearted person become soft and squishy inside. I keep hoping the fact that Dal-hee (remember her?) has vanished off the face of the earth is due to the writer realizing that no one cares about Poong’s ex and the potential tension of having her start up a clinic in the same building as the Hungry Wok. Instead, we just want the smiles and cuteness and the delicious, delicious food!
I suppose we’ll have to introduce some kind of tension eventually. It would probably be boring to have another twenty episodes that are just our main cast smiling goofily at each other in the kitchen. But I’m not sure I would complain if the second half of the show was just the Hungry Wok coming up with new amazing menus each week and stealing more Giant Hotel customers. The only dramatic tension I need right now is figuring out how to not eat my entire refrigerator while watching this show each week.