Let’s Eat 3: Episode 7
“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” is a golden rule that can come back and bite you if you’re not careful, as some of our characters discover the hard way. It doesn’t matter if it was from 2004 or mere hours ago — the universe remembers and passes judgment. Karma’s a bitch, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.
EPISODE 7: “Spicy Rice Cakes”
Sun offers to hire Seo-yeon as his personal assistant. Seo-yeon savvily locks down the terms of her employment: Sun will pay her a reasonable wage, but he’ll garnish 70% of it to pay back the loan that she owes him after he paid what she owed his cousin.
Seo-yeon visits the new columbarium where her father’s ashes are now held. She apologizes that it’s been a long time since she’s seen him, but admits that she’s still a little angry at him. As she leaves, she notices Dae-young arriving.
Curious, she follows him and realizes that the urn he’s standing in front of must be his girlfriend’s. Dae-young fills her in about Soo-ji, and when Seo-yeon points out that it’s been two years since Soo-ji passed, Dae-young seems mildly surprised at how long it’s been.
He admits that he hasn’t really thought about it. Seo-yeon asks him why he hasn’t told Ji-woo, since obviously Ji-woo thinks he’s dating someone who’s, y’know, still alive. He asks Seo-yeon not tell Ji-woo — he hates the pitying looks people give him when they find out. Plus he’s just not ready to talk about it.
Seo-yeon agrees to keep it a secret, sighing that relationships never happen the way you want them to. Dae-young: “Like you and Ji-woo?” Seo-yeon also doesn’t want to talk about Ji-woo, but asks Dae-young to get Ji-woo’s bank account number so Seo-yeon can pay back the rental space for her father’s urn. Dae-young retorts that he’s not her errand boy like Jin-seok — she’ll have to deal with Ji-woo herself.
Speaking of errands, Sun sends Seo-yeon on a mision to pick up a dish for him from a marketplace stall, and Seo-yeon is mildly disgusted by the fishy smell and general chaos of the marketplace. She slips and falls in her very out-of-place fancy high heels, grumbling that she used to have boys run errands like this for her in the past and wondering if they hated it as much as she does.
Flashback to 2004, where Jin-seok cheerfully gives Seo-yeon the items she requested. Seo-yeon apologizes for making him run an errand when he should be studying for his exams, which Ji-woo thinks is very thoughtful — until she sees that her sister sent a boy to get sanitary pads. Ha!
Ji-woo warns Seo-yeon that karma will get her in the future if she keeps treating Jin-seok like this, but Seo-yeon is confident that she’ll never be the type to run errands for anyone else. Double ha!
At the library, everyone is cramming for their exams, but Jin-seok and Byung-sam are snoring into their textbooks (much to the other students’ annoyance). The boys take a break where they grumble that sitcoms like Nonstop gave them false expectations of college. Dramas like that only show the fun side of college — not the agony of mid-terms and final exams.
The four boys concoct a plan that, depending on how well they each place on their mid-terms, each boy will owe a certain percentage towards a gaming console. Dae-young is confident he’ll owe the least since he’ll do the best, while it’s expected Jin-seok and Byung-sam and will do the worst and will end up paying the most.
But Jin-seok and Byung-sam team up to try and sabatoge Dae-young — they pretend that there isn’t enough space to save him a seat in the library study hall, so Dae-young’s forced to go elsewhere to study. Dae-young wanders the library, looking for an empty seat, but they’re all taken.
Accepting that there’s no space for him, Dae-young ends up finding Ji-woo at a spicy rice cake restaurant where she’s studying during her lunch break. He’s as amazed as ever by her little hacks to make their meal even more delicious. Delighted by all the new discoveries, he says that he’ll need to eat all his meals with her for the rest of their lives, the idea of which causes Ji-woo to become adorably flustered.
They enjoy their meal as they always do. Even though the spicy rice cake pans may be scraped clean, Ji-woo says that they’re not finished. She orders them each a bowl of patbingsoo, or Korean shaved ice, pointing out that after eating something hot and spicy, you need something cool and sweet to balance everything out.
Dae-young’s surprised when Ji-woo also orders a meal to-go, but she says it’s for the kid she tutors since he always eats alone. Dae-young remarks that the kid is really lucky to have someone so pretty and thoughtful as his tutor, and Ji-woo practically melts at the compliments.
That night, Ji-woo goes to bed early so that she can get up before the library opens in order to be first in line for a seat. Seo-yeon’s stressed about what she should focus on in her presentation for her psychology class. She’s supposed to apply what she’s learned in class to a real life person, but grumbles she’d rather just take a test than do real-life application.
Seo-yeon’s phone rings, but she ignores it once she sees the number. Ji-woo assumes it must be Seo-yeon’s mother and advises her to answer since she knows Seo-yeon hasn’t spoken to her birth mother in a while, but Seo-yeon retorts that she only has one mother — Ji-woo’s mother.
In the wee hours of the morning, Ji-woo quietly slips out of her apartment and is among the first to race into the library and claim two seats. Delighted and breathless from her victory, she messages Dae-young that she saved a seat for a “friend” but that “friend” couldn’t make it, so Dae-young can sit next to her if he still needs a spot to study.
Dae-young immediately accepts the offer, and Ji-woo’s thrilled her little plan to spend the day near Dae-young worked. Later, Seo-yeon asks Ji-woo to take a break with her. She’s still struggling to figure out what her psychology presentation should be about.
Dae-young soon joins the girls in the cafeteria and plops down next to Ji-woo, once again expressing his appreciation that Ji-woo found him a study spot. Seo-yeon raises her eyebrows at Ji-woo’s explanation of a “friend” bailing last-minute, but just tells the other two that she has to leave since she’s figured out what her report will be.
Back in the library, Ji-woo and Dae-young study side-by-side. Dae-young’s hand brushes against Ji-woo’s as he relaxes and dozes off. Ji-woo smiles dreamily as she watches him sleep, their hands touching.
But really it’s Ji-woo who’s fallen asleep, her head bobbing as she smiles while dreaming. Her head falls forward and Dae-young — without even looking — catches her head in his hand before her head hits the table. So. Smooth. Even if Ji-woo’s a little embarrassed.
They agree to take a coffee break, and of course they can only drink from Ji-woo’s vending machine because it’s the most delicious. Dae-young sighs that he’s never tried studying this hard and asks Ji-woo to wake him up in five minutes.
She starts to put in earbuds to listen to music (from an old school mp3 player) while they enjoy their break, but Dae-young snags the other earbud, telling her they’ll go back in after one song. She plays “You Are Different” by Han Ye-seul from the Nonstop 4 OST. Aw, maybe college life is like a drama after all!
When Dae-young returns home, he finds Byung-sam and Jin-seok happily eating his ramen. Dae-young’s still mad at them for not saving him a seat. He tells them to at least clean up their mess — he’s headed for bed so he can wake up fresh for their exam in the morning.
But these two geniuses decide to drink some soju with their late-night snack, convinced that the alcohol will help the blood flow to their brain. They’re passed out in the morning when Dae-young leaves, and he’s barely able to wake Byung-sam.
Byung-sam groggily gathers his school items. When he sees the sound asleep Jin-seok, he decides that the alliance is off. Jin-seok is left to sleep like the dead.
Dae-young and Sung-joo are surprised that Jin-seok isn’t in class, but even more shocked when Byung-sam says he didn’t try to wake up Jin-seok. The boys get ready to take their tests, and Byung-sam gasps in horror when he realizes he mistakenly took the TV remote instead of his calculator this morning.
The other two boys snicker at Byung-sam’s misfortune, and he looks like he wishes the ground would swallow him up. Jin-seok finally barges through the classroom door, but he’s too late — he’s missed the test, and has to be literally dragged out of the room.
A few days later, the boys anxiously await their test scores. Byung-sam and Jin-seok have no hope, and Dae-young also feels nervous since he feels like he spent more time looking for a place to study than actually studying. Confident that he’s in first place out of the four of them, Sung-joo clicks on his scores — and his grades are all C’s and D’s, much to the other boys’ delight.
Seo-yeon begins her presentation for her psychology class. She chose to study the psychology of human behavior and relationships by observing her neighbors, “Ms. A” and Mr. B.” It’s no surprise who those neighbors are — Ji-woo and Dae-young.
Seo-yeon cites three examples she observed that prove “Mr. B” clearly likes “Ms. A” due to his body language. First, by choosing to sit next to “Ms. A” instead of across from her in the cafeteria, which means he instinctively prefers to have Ji-woo in his personal bubble instead of Seo-yeon.
Second, by mirroring Ji-woo’s actions while they drank their coffee (ha, I love that Seo-yeon was hiding behind a trashcan, spying on them). Third, according to the “belly button rule,” Dae-young kept his body turned towards Ji-woo when he was talking to her.
Clear signs that he likes Ji-woo, but when one of Seo-yeon’s classmates asks when “Ms. A” will figure out how “Mr. B” really feels, Seo-yeon grins and says it’ll probably take at least ten years before “Ms. A” finally gets a clue.
How about fourteen years? In 2018, Ji-woo carries an armful of trash to the curb. She’s busy clearing out the apartment since the landlady will be by this weekend in anticipation for a new tenant. Dae-young offers to help, but Ji-woo says he doesn’t need to bother — she’s used to doing everything on her own, anyway.
She says she shouldn’t get too comfortable with his help, anyway, since he won’t be around when she moves away. Dae-young points out that it’s not like she’s going to totally cut off all contact with him once she moves away, but Ji-woo just smiles and changes the subject, reminding him he’ll be late for work.
Seo-yeon delivers Sun’s newest meal request, down to each specifically picky demand. He’s impressed that she even thought to pack it in an ice cooler, but she just wanted to make sure everything was delivered to him fresh. Even if she’s only working for him to pay off her debt, she’s still going to do a good job.
Sung-joo messages Ji-woo photos from the wedding. Aw, everyone looks so cute and happy, especially the ones of Ji-woo and Dae-young. But Ji-woo just sadly deletes the photos.
Dae-young receives the same photos, and he smiles to himself as he scrolls through them. He calls Ji-woo, asking if she wants to grab some dinner. He sees her nearing the apartment, but she doesn’t see him sitting in his car. Ji-woo lies that she’s stuck at work and won’t be able to meet him. Dae-young watches in confused concern as Ji-woo turns around and walks away.
Ji-woo tries to enjoy her sad, lonely, convenience store kimbap dinner, and calls Sun to thank him for the food he sent her and offering to buy him a drink as repayment. But Sun has a better idea — he asks her to come by right now and help him sample the food he just made so he can get feedback from a different demographic.
When he leaves to go pick Ji-woo up, Seo-yeon returns to Sun’s apartment. She’d made plans with friends but those plans were out of her budget so she’s home earlier than she’d anticipated.
Seo-yeon heads to the bathroom, and when she hears the door open, she pokes her head out — only to scramble back inside the bathroom when she sees Ji-woo. Sun’s adorably proud to show off his fancy digs, and laughs off the awkward line on the floor outside Seo-yeon’s room as just a design quirk.
Seo-yeon hides in the bathroom as Sun and Ji-woo cook and enjoy their mung bean pancakes with the super secret soy sauce. Yum. Ji-woo realizes why Dae-young was so excited about Sun’s delivery concept. Sun says that Ji-woo and Dae-young seem to know each other pretty well and teasingly asks if they dated in the past. Ji-woo contemplatively says that Dae-young only saw her as a friend who knew a lot about food.
She then asks Sun where the bathroom, and Seo-yeon — who’s still hiding in there — panics as she tries to figure out what to do. Seo-yeon ducks behind the shower curtain, and almost gets caught when Ji-woo accidentally drops the soap, but Sun calls out that Ji-woo’s phone is ringing. Whew. Saved by the bell.
Ji-woo has to head to work for an emergency, and Sun walks her out. He nearly has a heart attack, though, when Seo-yeon bursts out from the bathroom once Ji-woo leaves. He thought Seo-yeon was still with her friends, but Seo-yeon grumpily says that he should at least warn her when he’s inviting someone over.
Sun says he did send her a message, but since she’s here now, she can clean up the dinner mess. Seo-yeon wants to grumble, but that’s part of her assistant job. She snidely asks if the person he was with was someone special. Sun says it was his tutor, who was always nice to him.
Seo-yeon gripes that she hates the kind of person who could be nice and generous because they had a loving family to take care of them while they were growing up. Sun is baffled by Seo-yeon’s reaction, having no clue about the history between the two women.
Seo-yeon continues to take out her frustration by dressing as best she can (now that she no longer has her designer clothes) and purposefully waiting outside Dae-young’s door until she sees Ji-woo return home. Then Seo-yeon calls out Dae-young’s name until he answers the door.
He’s bewildered that she would visit him so late, and Seo-yeon pretends to ignore Ji-woo as she says she has something she needs to tell him. Dae-young notices Ji-woo across the way, watching him, but he obediently follows Seo-yeon into his apartment.
Seo-yeon remarks that Dae-young is just as messy as he’s ever been, but he grumps that she didn’t come all this way to nag at him. He assumes she’s here because her career hit rock bottom and she needs to talk to someone about it. Seo-yeon marvels at how genuinely nice he is — it’s no wonder that he leads women on. She adds that she’s done what what needs to and leaves, much to Dae-young’s increasing bafflement.
Ji-woo takes Kongali for a walk. Or more like a “sit,” since Ji-woo just mopes by the river. She sighs, reassuring herself (and Kongali) that everything will be better once she moves out. Everything will go back to how it used to be.
In the morning, Dae-young notes that Ji-woo never read his message he sent her, asking if she was free for dinner. He’s surprised to find Seo-yeon at CQ Foods, and she reveals that she’s now Sun’s personal assistant and is there to deliver some documents. She admits it’s not the most glamorous job, but Dae-young’s happy for her, anyway.
Sun is shocked to see the two of them enter his office at the same time, and Dae-young says he found a restaurant nearby and wanted to check it out with Sun. Dae-young also invites Seo-yeon, who agrees to go, but only to make sure Sun doesn’t reveal that she’s working for him to pay off her debt.
Seo-yeon’s surprised when Dae-young speaks to Sun so informally at the restaurant, since he spoke formally at the office. Dae-young grins as he reveals that he and Sun are so close that Sun even slept over. Hahaha, Dae-young pointedly looks at area of Sun’s “tummy-burn.”
When Sun steps away to answer a call, Dae-young admits to Seo-yeon he just enjoys teasing Sun since his reactions are so cute and hilarious. Poor Sun receives double-teamed teasing from Seo-yeon and Dae-young when he returns to the table, but to be fair, he does react like a petulant little kid, much to the other two’s amusement.
The restaurant Dae-young chose is a Spanish restaurant. Ooooh, there’s paella, empanadas, gambas al ajillo, and a big ol’ pitcher of sangria. Seo-yeon idly wonders what the difference is between paella and fried rice. Dae-young launches into a foodie spiel, but Sun interrupts to pour out his detailed knowledge of the dish, too.
Finally Seo-yeon slams down her spoon, cutting them off. Annoyed, she tells them to shut up and eat already. The three happily chow down, but Sun notes that Seo-yeon doesn’t seem to have much of an appetite. Dae-young remembers that Seo-yeon is a light eater, but teases Sun for being so concerned about his employee’s welfare.
Sun orders Seo-yeon to write up a full report of all the food and then he marches out, hiding the fact that his feelings were hurt due to Seo-yeon and Dae-young teasing him. Later, Seo-yeon hands him a multi-page detailed report (with photos!) of not just that restaurant, but other Spanish restaurants in the city.
Sun is still being a brat and says he didn’t need all that extra info because he’s already aware of the other restaurants, and says that she needs to go to the market in the early morning to get another meal from a specific stall.
Except that stall is closed — a fact Sun seemed to know full well based on the big ol’ grin on his face when Seo-yeon calls him. He’s so happy to have sent her on a wild goose chase.
In the evening, Dae-young sees a woman outside Ji-woo’s apartment. He assumes it must be the landlady, but Ji-woo hasn’t contacted him recently — or read the last message he sent her. He’s headed out to have a drink with Seo-yeon, who just wants to gripe about the way Sun is treating her.
She doesn’t have anyone else to complain to, and since they’re technically coworkers, they should be able to complain about their boss together. She whines that Dae-young would play along if she were Ji-woo.
They head out and Dae-young notices a scratch on his car. Seo-yeon suggests checking his car’s black box. Dae-young rewinds the black box and notices the woman he saw earlier apartment suspiciously lurking around long before Dae-young first saw her outside Ji-woo’s door.
Dae-young, worried for Ji-woo, drives off to Ji-woo’s house (leaving Seo-yeon stranded back at the parking lot, ha). Dae-young pulls up just as the woman runs down the stairs. Dae-young grabs the woman, shocked when her wig comes off in his hand — it’s actually a man dressed as a woman. Dae-young tackles the man and orders Ji-woo to call the police.
But instead of being a hero for apprehending this season’s suspicious character, Dae-young ends up getting in trouble since the man technically didn’t do anything wrong. According to the man, he had mistaken Ji-woo’s apartment for someone else’s and was scared off by Kongali, only to be attacked by Dae-young, who hurt him in the process.
Dae-young can’t believe that he’s the bad guy now, but Ji-woo is furious that Dae-young is getting involved in her life again when she specifically told him to butt out. Dae-young, also frustrated, tells Ji-woo that it’s hard for him, too, being caught between the sisters.
Ji-woo angrily tells Dae-young that he won’t have trouble deciding between them when she finally moves out. She walks away and, despite a momentary hesitation, doesn’t look back when Dae-young calls after her.
Seo-yeon is in no better spirits when she returns to Sun’s apartment, who is still delighted that he’s making her wake up at dawn for another errand. Seo-yeon screams out her frustration into a pillow, startling Sun in the other room. She’s just pissed that Dae-young drove off suddenly and didn’t even bother checking if she got home okay.
In the morning, Seo-yeon goes to Ji-woo and hands her the money she owes for her father’s urn space rental. Seo-yeon also pointedly tells Ji-woo that she’s “met” Dae-young’s girlfriend. Ji-woo coldly tells Seo-yeon that she knows Seo-yeon’s only acting like this to annoy her, and it doesn’t matter anyway, since Ji-woo is moving soon and she’ll never see Dae-young again.
Seo-yeon reveals that she saw Dae-young’s girlfriend at the columbarium — just like her father. Ji-woo’s eyes grow wide as she realizes that Dae-young’s girlfriend is dead.
Ji-woo’s attitude was growing increasingly tiresome this episode. Not that I could fully blame her, because she didn’t have all the facts. But she was still this tiny ball of fury when it came to Dae-young and I’m glad Seo-yeon finally barged in and blabbed Dae-young’s secret. Of course, it would be better if it came from Dae-young himself (and I’m sure he’ll be angry at Seo-yeon for not keeping her mouth shut). But sometimes you need that chaotic good (er, chaotic neutral? Definitely chaotic, I know that much!) character to come in and shake things up and force people to be honest with each other. If it weren’t for Seo-yeon, Ji-woo and Dae-young would be quietly pining for each other but not wanting to speak up for fear of hurting each other (and instead just hurt themselves by hiding from the truth).
Then again, if it weren’t for Seo-yeon, Ji-woo might not be so angry about life right now. While it’s still unclear what massive issue caused the two sisters to be suddenly torn apart, I think it’s easy to assume that somehow Dad was involved and Seo-yeon feels partially responsible. But it’s also not fair of Ji-woo to keep Mom’s condition a secret, since Mom seems to be Seo-yeon’s only “real” parent (blood be damned). Having Ji-woo as a step-sister might not always have been fun, but it apparently it was a better home life than Seo-yeon ever could have known if her birth parents had stayed together. There’s just so much bitterness between the sisters now, though, that I’m impatient to get to the heart of the matter so they can work through their hurt and go back to being the bickering-yet-loving sisters we know from their college days.
Besides, Seo-yeon needs to ‘fess up that she’s only toying with Dae-young expressly to annoy Ji-woo. I love, love, love the brotherly-sisterly friendship between Seo-yeon and Dae-young. They fit so well in that way (their synchronized teasing of Sun was particularly delightful!) that’s it’s genuinely impossible for me to imagine a loveline between them. Not that I think I’m supposed to, what with Seo-yeon’s 2004 report on how very clearly Dae-young likes Ji-woo. Augh, it’s ridiculously cute but it also makes me so frustrated because Ji-woo apparently never realized it, even all these years later. She seems to believe her crush was one-sided, but it wasn’t! He totally liked her!
Okay, maybe Dae-young didn’t even know how he felt then and his body language was mere instinct, but he’s smart enough to at least get a clue that his affection for Ji-woo wasn’t (and still isn’t) just as a “foodie friend.” Because let’s be real, he obviously would rather hang out with Ji-woo than Seo-yeon (but still is a gentleman and a “good guy” who will be Seo-yeon’s shoulder to cry on and friend to drink with when she needs it — I nearly cheered when Seo-yeon told him, “You’re too nice for your own good, no wonder every woman falls for you,” because it’s so true). I think I’m so desperate for everyone to be honest with each other because I want to watch Dae-young, Ji-woo, Seo-yeon, and Sun all hang out together, eat delicious food, tease each other in ways that doesn’t hurt anyone else, and just be one big happy family, until death do they part (or until the next season comes along).