Let’s Eat 3: Episode 12
It’s a powerhouse of an episode as some important secrets are kept and some painful secrets are revealed. Maybe not the secrets we necessarily want to be kept or revealed (will Dae-young ever admit how he feels?), but the ones our characters need. At least the sisters are finally discovering the truth about their respective difficult pasts — and realizing that their present lives aren’t as simple as they seem.
EPISODE 12: “The Name You Want to Call in Secret”
It’s the morning after Seo-yeon crashed at Ji-woo’s apartment, and the two women slowly walk home from the shops. Seo-yeon whines about having to sleep on the floor and how early Ji-woo woke her up. Ji-woo suddenly stops and tells Seo-yeon to walk ahead of her.
Ji-woo explains that when you’re with someone you dislike, you should look at them from behind, since that will make you hate them a little less. Mom taught her that — she said that everyone looks sad and pitiful from behind. Seo-yeon slowly walks on ahead, and Ji-woo follows as the camera pans out, making both sisters look very sad and pitiful indeed.
Seo-yeon cleans the apartment, and finds the photo of Ji-woo and Mom at the nursing home. She goes to visit Mom, but Mom doesn’t recognize Seo-yeon.
Dae-young surprises Ji-woo by telling her he quit his insurance job. She worries that he’ll regret it, since he was just up for a promotion and the CQ Foods job is no more. But Dae-young explains that he hasn’t really been happy with the insurance salesman life lately.
He used to love it when he first started, since it meant he was helping people when they most needed it. But he eventually grew to realize that no amount of money could ever fill the void of a loved one who’s passed away.
Ji-woo glances down at the couple’s ring Dae-young still wears. Dae-explains that he actually started to learn this lesson in college, back when he had to miss out on going to Germany for the World Cup.
He’s decided that he’s going to seize the day and pursue what he wants right now, since you never know what will happen. And what will make him happy right now is creating a delivery service for solo diners.
A neighbor walks up and greets Kongali. Dae-young is surprised, since he thinks the woman is addressing Ji-woo with the “small bean” nickname Dae-young gave her back in college, then realizes the woman is talking about the dog. Stunned, he asks Ji-woo if this is the Kongali.
Flash back to 2005, where Dae-young smiles at the cutest Golden Retriever puppy ever. Ji-woo’s shocked to see Dae-young standing in front of a pet shop, especially since he’s been away with his family. She hurries over to greet him, and he says that he’s only back to get his belongings before he enlists next week.
Ji-woo’s smile fades when Dae-young tells her that this is their last day together. Except the “Kongali” he’s referring to isn’t Ji-woo, but the puppy in the window. Dae-young says he’s been keeping an eye on all the dogs, and this is the last one who has yet to be adopted. He asks Ji-woo to let him know when the dog has a new family.
They walk back to Dae-young’s apartment, where they hear some, ah, suggestive arguing between Byung-sam and Ji-seok. Ji-woo practically covers her eyes when they walk in and see the two other boys rolling around on the floor together, but they’re just wrestling over who gets the right to take home the game console that all the boys had chipped in to pay for.
Sung-joo yells at them for being such thoughtless friends. He reminds them that Dae-young spent all his savings to pay off his father’s debt, so if Byung-sam and Jin-seok were really Dae-young’s friends, they should offer to sell the game console and send Dae-young the money.
Ji-woo’s sad and mopey as she thinks about Dae-young. Seo-yeon puts out their laundry on the balcony, and spots Dae-young sitting alone, smoking. Seo-yeon’s surprised Dae-young’s the kind of guy who smokes, but Ji-woo tells Seo-yeon to cut Dae-young some slack since he’s clearly going through a hard time. Ji-woo decides to give him the best day ever for his last day with his friends.
She manages to find a bunch of people for a last-minute soccer match. Dae-young is thrilled to play one last game, but Sung-joo trips and hurts his ankle, taking him out of the game. They don’t have anyone to replace him, but Ji-woo suddenly volunteers.
Ji-woo’s an astonishingly good soccer player, expertly stealing the ball from other players and passing it to Dae-young. Dae-young has a good chance to make a shot on goal and all the other boys cheer him on, telling him that after all the terrible things that have happened to him, he needs this goal as good omen.
But Dae-young’s shot goes incredibly high and wide, and the other team wins. Ji-woo’s pissed about the other boys’ pressure to score (and their comments about Dae-young’s misfortunes). She decides to move things along, taking everyone to an outdoorsy place to eat boiled duck.
Seo-yeon privately tells Ji-woo that she’s working too hard to entertain all of Dae-young’s friends when what Dae-young clearly wants is to be alone with Ji-woo. Ji-woo’s oblivious, and insists Dae-young’s happiest when he’s with all his friends.
Ji-woo rattles off all the best ways to enjoy their al fresco meal, being careful to give Dae-young the best pieces of food. Ha, she completely ignores the other boys who also offer their bowls for her to serve them. The friends devour their meal, even down to the final course of fried rice.
Dae-young says that he’ll miss Ji-woo’s commentary when he’s in the army. Ji-woo continues to explain how to best appreciate the flavor, and Seo-yeon finally yells at her to cut it out. Haha, Seo-yeon actually kept notes of Ji-woo’s instructions and rattles them off. I particularly love the endless Stars Wars text crawl that accompanies the barrage of rules.
The other boys sigh as they tell Dae-young that he should enjoy delicious food while he can, since Dae-young’s parents probably won’t be able to visit him much so Dae-young will be stuck with the terrible military food. Ji-woo glares at them for ruining the mood yet again, and suddenly says that it’s time for karaoke.
Ji-woo figures that cheerful and energetic songs will help Dae-young have a happy final evening of freedom, but all the boys keep singing sad ballads about missing someone. Ji-woo “accidentally” cuts off their songs so she and Seo-yeon can bring a smile to Dae-young’s face with something a little more fun.
Jin-seok finds a German guy singing in the room next door and invites him to join them. If Dae-young can’t go to Germany for the World Cup, then Jin-seok will bring a little bit of Germany to Dae-young. This means that the boys have to explain to their new German friend why Dae-young is enlisting (because his father’s company went bankrupt and Dae-young’s family lost all their assets, so Dae-young has no money for tuition).
Ji-woo’s furious that the mood is once again sad and melancholy. She heads to the bathroom and brainstorms what to do next, deciding to go to a PC room to play video games. But as soon as she exits the bathroom, she finds Dae-young standing there.
Dae-young grabs her arm, asking her to get some air with him. Seo-yeon sees the two of them leave, and gleefully does her best to distract the other boys so they won’t interfere.
Dae-young hails a taxi and tells the driver to go to Cheonggyecheon. Ji-woo’s surprised that Dae-young wants to go that far for “some air,” but Dae-young says he just wants to do whatever he wants before he enlists.
Ji-woo innocently asks what he wants to do, and Dae-young stares at her for moment before explaining that he wants to see something pretty before he’s stuck looking at his boring barracks view for two years. Awww.
They walk along the newly opened Cheonggyecheon pedestrian path. The crowd of people cause them to bump into each other and brush hands, but only when they’re carefully walking along a rock path over the stream does Dae-young offer his hand for Ji-woo to hold. Eeeee! The simple happy sound he makes when she accepts his hand is the cutest thing.
They’re no langer holding hands, though, when they continue to slowly walk down the path, stopping to look at an art exhibit under a bridge. Boo.
One of the art pieces includes a poem by Na Tae-joo, “The Name You Want to Call in Secret.” As they slowly meander along the stream, Dae-young recalls all the adventures he’s had with Ji-woo over the past year, and the words of the poem echo in his mind:
Having a name you want to call in secret
Is a rapturous joy
Having someone you wish to think about
Is a sad pleasure
Ji-woo thinks back to all the times Dae-young has been thoughtful and considerate to her over the past year. She also dwells on the poem:
To have someone you think about before falling asleep
And to wake up thinking about someone
Is a happy yet lonely thing
Ji-woo and Dae-young slowly walk side-by-side along the stream. Eventually they head to a bus stop, but Dae-young lets the bus go by. He tells Ji-woo that it’s not the last bus yet and he wants to spend a little longer with her.
They both speak at once, and Ji-woo says he can go first. Dae-young hesitates, then says that he’ll tell her after he’s discharged from the army. It’s Ji-woo’s turn, and she also hesitates, adding that she’ll tell him when he’s discharged, too.
Finally Ji-woo’s bus comes along, and she wishes him well. She waves to him from the window of the bus as he watches it drive away. What Dae-young couldn’t say to Ji-woo was to ask her to wait for him. So, too, Ji-woo couldn’t ask Dae-young to wait for her.
A few months pass, but Ji-woo sends Dae-young regular letters, letting him know what’s going on. The other boys gradually enlist, and Ji-woo starts her internship at a hospital. Dae-young eagerly reads her letters in his barracks. Aw, he’s cut out just the two of them from the group photo of all the friends and has it hanging up in his locker.
Dae-young’s first vacation day approaches, and Ji-woo prepares to send him a letter, asking him how it went (since it’ll have been over by the time the letter reaches him). She adds that the puppy got adopted — by Ji-woo. Seo-yeon hates puppy Kongali, though, because the puppy keeps eating her expensive Uggs.
But it looks like that letter may have never been sent, since Seo-yeon gets a phone call while Ji-woo’s in the middle of writing.
During his leave, Dae-young heads to Ji-woo’s apartment, but there’s no answer. He sadly wanders the school campus, sitting to drink at “their” place where he’d listened to music with her when they were studying.
Dae-young walks past the pet shop, noticing that the puppy is no longer in the window: “Kongali, where did you go?” I don’t think he’s just talking about the dog.
But that brings us back to 2018, where Dae-young is stunned that the grown Kongali is the same dog as the puppy from back then. Dae-young apologizes that he didn’t recognize her, but Ji-woo says it’s fine — Seo-yeon didn’t recognize Kongali, either.
Ji-woo hesitates as she explains that Seo-yeon is staying with her now. Dae-young thinks it’s a great idea, since the sisters have always been good for each other. Ji-woo insists that she and Seo-yeon can no longer be considered sisters.
Dae-young says he wants to talk to Seo-yeon, though, revealing that Seo-yeon’s business failed because of her business partner, and not due to Seo-yeon’s inability to run a business. Oooh, is the meeting because he wants her to join his delivery business as his marketing manager? Please be true!
Meanwhile, Seo-yeon takes the bus back to Seoul, where she thinks about her enounter with Mom at the nursing home. One of the nurses asked if Seo-yeon needed anything, and Seo-yeon had asked if Mom was suffering from dementia. When the nurse confirmed it, she asked if Seo-yeon was a relative, but Seo-yeon said she wasn’t and immediately left.
But as she thinks about her recent visit, Seo-yeon starts to gasp. It looks like a panic attack, and it’s severe enough that she passes out on the bus and has to be transported to the hospital.
Ji-woo’s just arriving to work when she sees Seo-yeon being rushed into the hospital. The nurse on duty explains to Ji-woo that Seo-yeon basically went into anaphylactic shock. When the nurse asks about Ji-woo’s connection to Seo-yeon, Ji-woo vaguely explains that they were roommates once.
Ji-woo still continues to check on Seo-yeon, and she gathers up all of Seo-yeon’s belongings. Seo-yeon’s phone rings, and it’s Dae-young. Ji-woo tells Dae-young that Seo-yeon’s okay, but recuperating, so he’ll have to wait a little longer to see her.
That’s fine with Dae-young, since he has a full day of meeting his insurance clients. Those include his old CQ Foods coworkers, whom Dae-young had convinced to sign up for insurance. Sun marvels at Dae-young’s salesmanship, but Dae-young explains that he’s actually there to let his clients know he’s resigned as their insurance agent and they’ll be assigned a new agent.
Dae-young invites Sun to dinner, and reveals that he plans to continue the delivery business as a start-up. Sun demands compensation for being the one who originated the idea, and accepts his payment in the form of dinner and drinks. Aw.
Their dinner is octupus, in its many forms (including living!). The boys argue about the details of octopus, as they do, and the restaurant owner warns them that their dinner will literally walk away from them if they keep trying to out-foodie each other. Ha!
Ji-woo checks on Seo-yeon, as well as her patient history. Ji-woo discovers that Seo-yeon’s often been to the hospital to get medication and be treated for her anaphylactic shock symptoms. Ji-woo thinks it’s probably not be due to stress, not allergies, and visits Seo-yeon to tell her.
But Seo-yeon is furious about Mom, and demands to know what kind of terrible daughter Ji-woo must be to just dump Mom in a nursing home. Ji-woo swallows back her tears and leaves the room, while Seo-yeon also tries not to cry.
Ji-woo takes a moment to sit in the stairwell and let herself cry for a second before returning back to work. With Seo-yeon’s accusation ringing in her ears, Ji-woo tries to focus on her work and her patients.
As they finish their meal, Sun tells Dae-young that he thinks Dae-young is being too impulsive. Starting a new business isn’t easy. Dae-young agrees, and brings up Seo-yeon, but Sun insists he doesn’t want to hear about Seo-yeon since she’s no longer relevant to his life.
Dae-young still has a proposition for Sun, and asks him to join the delivery start-up. Sun admits that it’s a project close to his heart, but he can’t dwell on past failures and make a faulty, emotional decision based on a fleeting moment. Oooh, that’s as much a reference to Seo-yeon as it is about the delivery service.
Sun explains that he’s worked hard to get where he is at CQ Foods. He’d emigrated to America when he was still a kid and grew up being bullied for being Asian. But as soon as he joined a huge, famous company, suddenly the bullying stopped and he was accepted. That’s why Sun can’t give up his job title at CQ Foods — it’s too precious to him.
He further explains that he won’t do anything that’s not accepted by the majority — whether it’s regarding work or people. His image is everything. That’s a line he won’t cross.
Sun wakes up the next morning in Dae-young’s apartment — and is once again shirtless. Pffft. He remembers getting drunk, which meant he also became a messy eater. Dae-young struggled to drag Sun home as Sun drunk “called” (using his hand) all the delivery numbers he’d memorized.
Sun calls Dae-young, who tells him he’s at the local laundromat. Sun dresses in Dae-young’s clothes to meet with him, insisting that Dae-young has no right to wash someone else’s clothes. Ha, except Dae-young didn’t — he’d folded Sun’s dirty clothes neatly next to the bed, but Sun didn’t see them.
Dae-young approaches the other customers at the laundromat, asking them to fill out a marketing survey for the delivery start-up. Sun is impressed that Dae-young has already thought this far ahead and put so much effort into the business.
Dae-young lets Sun continue to wear his tracksuit since Sun’s clothes are still dirty, and Sun promises to return it later that afternoon. Dae-young says that won’t work, since he’s planning to visit Seo-yeon in the hospital at that time.
Sun’s shocked to hear about Seo-yeon and peppers Dae-young with questions about her. Surprised, Dae-young reminds Sun that he’d told Dae-young that Seo-yeon was no longer important to him. Sun stammers that she’s not important, yet he speeds away from Dae-young’s apartment to get to the hospital ASAP.
Sun hurries through the hospital hallways, looking for Seo-yeon’s room. When he finds it, he cautiously peers in. Ji-woo sees him leaning into the room, but because of his outfit, assumes it’s Dae-young at first.
Sun spins around when he hears Ji-woo’s voice, and Ji-woo’s surprised that it’s actually Sun. She rightly assumes that Sun must have been out drinking again and ended up staying with Dae-young. When she asks why he’s at the hospital, he struggles to come up with a lie, stuttering out that he’s curious about the hospital food.
He specifically asks if the hospital serves kimchi sujebi, and Ji-woo assumes that he wants it as a hangover remedy. Ji-woo tells him that the hospital is no place for him to recover from his hangover and drags him out by his ear. Ha, he’s like her student again, being caught doing something naughty.
Seo-yeon gets a call from presumably her birth mother, just based on the area code, but she ignores it. Seo-yeon’s surprised when Dae-young stops by later, but he says he’s there to see her since Ji-woo told him what happened.
She asks him for a favor, begging him to get kimchi sujebi from the small country restaurant. Dae-young assumes it’s because she’s finally found one that tastes like the one Mom used to make.
Seo-yeon’s face hardens at the mention of Mom, and grows even harder when Dae-young says that since she lives with Ji-woo now, Seo-yeon could just ask Ji-woo to make the kimchi sujebi. Seo-yeon cooly tells Dae-young that she refuses to live with someone as heartless as Ji-woo, who abandoned Mom at a nursing home.
Dae-young, shocked by Seo-yeon’s cruel tone, lays down the harsh truth. He tells Seo-yeon that she has no right to judge Ji-woo, since Seo-yeon was the one who abandoned everyone for ten years. He demands to know if Seo-yeon even tried to think for one minute about how hard it must have been for Ji-woo to take care of a mother who’s going through dementia, and that the nursing home is the best place for Mom so Ji-woo can have some semblance of a life.
Seo-yeon tracks down Ji-woo as she’s doing her rounds, and asks to speak to her privately. Seo-yeon says that she’s sorry. She reveals that Dae-young told her about how hard it was for Ji-woo to take care of Mom. But Ji-woo bristles and reminds Seo-yeon to not mention Dae-young again.
Seo-yeon confesses that she wanted to hurt Ji-woo, just as Mom had hurt Seo-yeon. Ji-woo doesn’t believe Mom could have ever hurt Seo-yeon, based on how devoted Mom was to her. But Seo-yeon says Mom only acted that way out of guilt, since Mom was the reason Seo-yeon’s parents got divorced. Mom was the one who had an affair with Seo-yeon’s father first.
I wish I could somehow reach through my screen and give everyone a hug. Seo-yeon acts as though nothing in the world bothers her, but it’s just that — an act. She’s obviously been carrying this hurt around for a long, long time, even if she’s grown skilled at hiding it behind more frivolous things. I wonder when she found out about the reason behind her parent’s divorce — was it a discovery made in adulthood, or was it something she always knew but pushed aside, so hungry for a mother’s love that it didn’t matter how it came to be.
I loved that Dae-young didn’t put up with Seo-yeon’s nonsense, though. He didn’t let her even have one minute to vent her anger about Ji-woo, but immediately set her straight, and even used some fairly harsh words (well, for Dae-young, at least). That’s the kind of person Seo-yeon needs in her life — not in a romantic way, but in a friendly, brotherly kind of way. Y’know, the ideal brother-in-law who won’t let family talk smack about the woman he loves and makes sure everyone knows how hard his wife works to keep everyone together, uh, kind of way. Yeah, Seo-yeon can be selfish, but as soon as someone forces her to think outside of herself, she has no shame in admitting she was wrong and taking the blame. It’s easy to hate Seo-yeon because she can be such a difficult personality, but with each episode, I find I love her more and more, especially knowing that she’s a fighter who refuses to let circumstances, societal expectations, and her past ruin her.
It was a painful episode, though, watching the two sisters be so hurt and angry (although I’m happy they’re finally talking and living together again). But it was also a painful episode because I watched it right after the news broke about Doo-joon’s sudden enlistment, so I spent the first half of the episode feeling like I was actually watching Doo-joon being sent off to the army. It’s too sudden! I’m not ready! Especially not if it means cutting down the show to fourteen episodes, since it’s pointless to have the last two episodes without Dae-young, the heart and foodie soul of this show. But it’s still agonizing to think that I’m losing out on some of the story.
Each episode gets better and better, drawing me in closer to the world of Ji-woo, Seo-yeon, and Dae-young — both their lives in 2004/5 and in the present day. I loved the first season, but this one has gradually become my favorite, and I’m already worried about how the production team will wrap everything up in a way that befits the lovely and emotional story they’ve given us so far. Then again, maybe I should be happy that we’ll finally — finally — get a proper confession out of Dae-young and Ji-woo next week. At least, we’d better! I love a slow burn more than anyone, but this one is agonizing, and I just need these two idiots to kiss already.