Chocolate: Episode 6
Our neurosurgeon’s angry resentment towards the chef has given way to worrying about her wellbeing. What he learns about her painful past causes him to see her in a new light, and as they cross paths while working with patients, he starts to appreciate her unique talents. While our chef does her best to help others through her cooking, it’s time for someone to help her deal with the tragedy in her past.
EPISODE 6 RECAP
On his drive to the hospice, Kang recalls leaving the jjajangmyeon restaurant with Cha-young in the rain. The restaurant owner handed Kang an old umbrella which he offered to Cha-young. When she refused it, Kang grabbed Cha-young’s wrist before she could walk away to argue that neither of them should get wet in an acid rain. They ended up leaving together, awkwardly close thanks to the shared umbrella.
Near the hospice, Kang sees a familiar looking boy waiting at the bus stop. When Kang returns, Ji-yong grabs a gift bag and runs away but Kang grabs him by his too-large shirt, a birthday gift from his mother. Ji-yong protests that he’s on his way to visit his mom on her birthday but when Kang sees the address, he argues that Ji-yong’s mom should be the one visiting him.
Ji-yong whines all the way back to the hospice and when Kang suggests that he can visit his mother once he recovers, he shouts, “I’m never going to get better.” After parking at the hospice and witnessing Ji-yong’s tears, Kang decides to make the three hour drive to Gongju Province and promises to wake the boy when they arrive.
At the restaurant, Cha-young prepares fresh porridge for Tae-hyun and when she brings a tray to his room, she finds him still in bed. When he barks that he wants to be left alone, Cha-young guesses that he’s upset about Mr. Kim and suggests that the old man wanted to enjoy jjajangmyeon in heaven.
Tae-hyun takes out his phone as he shouts at Cha-young about her naive outlook. When he disappears back under the covers, we see that Tae-hyun posted a photo of a bowl of jjajangmyeon with the comment, “I’m sorry. When you’re having jjajangmyeon in heaven, ask them to put an egg on top.”
After she manages to shake off Tae-hyun’s harsh words on the bike ride to the hospice, Cha-young makes cherry blossom kimbap for Joon’s friend, Kim Hee-joo. When she delivers the beautiful dish on the plate that Joon made, Cha-young learns that the woman is blind because of her illness.
Cha-young offers to prepare any dish that Hee-joo craves and promises to serve it on the beautiful plate that Joon made. Hee-joo feels the plate’s edges and chuckles, “I thought he had smashed everything, but I guess he had saved one.” In his office, Joon stares at a photo of Hee-joo holding up his plate and texts Cha-young, “Thank you, chef.”
As Cha-young carefully washes Joon’s plate, she thinks back to what he had to say about Kang’s transfer, “…he’s a surgeon who no longer can perform surgery.” When she asked for details, Joon had urged Cha-young to ask Kang herself.
When Kang parks at the address that Ji-yong provided, he picks up the boy’s gift bag from the floor and the envelope that fell out. Kang takes a peek at Ji-yong’s letter and sees that it was written by Min-yong’s friend, Ye-sol, who explains that she’s helping Ji-yong because he never learned how to write.
After returning the letter to the envelope, Kang wakes up Ji-yong. As they head inside, Kang gets a call about a former patient and Ji-yong runs into the restaurant where his mother works.
At Geosung Hospital, Cha-young picks up a prescription and explains to her nurse friend that she wants her medicine handy, “…just in case.” Before Cha-young leaves, the nurse mentions that she and Kang now work at the same hospice.
When Kang finally follows Ji-yong into the restaurant, he can’t find the boy anywhere. Kang has to call Director Kwon to inform him that their patient is missing and that he notified the police.
On her walk back to the hospice, Cha-young thinks about what the nurse told her about Kang, “…his hand started shaking during surgery, so he was taken out before he could even finish it.”
When she reaches the hospice, Cha-young finds Min-yong sobbing and assumes that Ji-yong died. She’s actually relieved when she learns that Ji-yong is only missing.
Cha-young and Min-yong arrive by bus in Gongju Province just as Kang returns to the restaurant to look for Ji-yong. An employee remembers that Ji-yong left with the dishwasher and directs Kang to the woman’s neighborhood.
Kang finds the neighborhood at the same time that Cha-young and Min-yong get there by taxi. When Kang catches up to them, Cha-young shows him the address that Min-young has as he mumbles that he promised to never visit his mother again.
Min-yong goes weak with relief when Cha-young sees Ji-yong at a food stall across the street. When asked if he saw his mother, Ji-yong holds out some money, “She told me to get something nice to eat and never visit her again.” Ji-yong starts to cry when he confesses that his mother’s new man hits her and Kang notices that the boy still has his mother’s gift.
Kang calls Director Kwon from the local hospital to report that Min-yong collapsed after they found Ji-yong. A sorry Ji-yong climbs into his older brother’s hospital bed and promises that he’ll never disappear again. When Kang shows up to check on them, he asks about Cha-young and learns that she went to deliver Ji-yong’s gift to his mother.
When Cha-young finds the woman who abandoned her sons, she remembers trying to call her own mother from a phone booth after waiting in the department store for three hours. After Cha-young left a message that she’d be waiting on the first floor, she walked back inside.
When Cha-young murmurs, “Mom,” the boys’ mother looks up and it’s obvious that she has a black eye. Setting down the bag, Cha-yong asks the woman to see to it that Yang Seung-hui gets the birthday present from her son. Cha-young can’t help but cry when she asks, “Can you please ask her if she knows that today is Ji-yong’s last birthday?”
As the boys leave the hospital with Kang, Ji-yong complains that he’s hungry. When Cha-young returns, Ji-yong reminds her that it’s his birthday so she promises to get him whatever he wants to eat.
The brothers rattle off a list foods and soon they’re watching happily as Cha-young and Kang buy everything that they asked for at a convenience store. Kang looks impressed when Cha-young uses the convenience store food to prepare a feast and he even claps along to “Happy Birthday”.
While Ji-yong closes his eyes to make a wish, his mother takes a Quizno’s sandwich out of the gift bag and reads in his letter how happy he is to share her birthday. Ji-yong’s letter explains that her gift is a “happy sandwich” like the ones his late father bought when he wasn’t feeling well, “It’s really delicious. It makes me happy every time I eat it.” Ji-yong’s mother sobs after reading her son’s final message, “I really love you, Mom.”
Jealous because Min-yong can eat spicy noodles, Ji-young complains that he’s unlucky to have a brother like him. Cha-young brings up Tae-hyun which triggers a discussion about which of them is more unlucky. When Ji-yong complains that he can’t spend his birthday with his mom, Cha-young admits, “I spent my birthday without my mom, too.”
Ji-yong mentions that he spent his last birthday in the hospital but Cha-young goes to the hospital on every birthday because she needs an IV. Kang listens as Cha-young explains, “I never had birthday parties like you ever since that day.” When asked for details, all Cha-young will say is that it was a horrible day that she doesn’t want to remember, even in her dreams.
During the drive back to the hospice, Min-yong and Ji-yong sleep in the back seat while Cha-young stares out of the window. After Cha-young’s confession, Kang realizes that there’s more to the terrified plea for help that she made when he found her in his closet.
At Geosung Hospital, Joon operates again on Chairman Jo but he suffers a heart attack during surgery and dies. When Joon informs the family, Chairman Jo’s son hits him in the face and throws him against a wall.
Joon’s parents arrive and his father reminds the son that Joon took the chairman’s case when no one else would. When the son continues to malign Joon, Seung-hoon slaps him and brings up the rumor that he was in the States doing drugs while his father was dying.
Suddenly, Seung-hoon is about to fight with the chairman’s son until Hye-mi bites his hand to bring him to his senses. Later in his office, Seung-hoon kneels before his mother who motions for Hye-mi to kneel as well. Grandma reminds Hye-mi that she paid off her father’s debts so that she would protect Seung-hoon from being kicked around by others.
Hye-mi promises, “I’ll…try my best so that it never happens again.” Seung-hoon’s sister, Seon-hoon, certain that Chairman Jo’s wife will retaliate, warns Seung-hoon, “…you’ve just awakened a sleeping lion.”
When Hye-mi accuses her sister-in-law of relishing their predicament, everyone starts yelling until Grandma restores order with a tap of her cane. Grandma complains, “I can’t believe you’re my children. How do you expect me to trust you at all?”
Out in the hallway, Joon overhears his grandmother’s warning that the newspaper run by Chairman Jo’s family is sure to come after them. Joon walks away and runs into Kang who mentions Chairman Jo, causing Joon to accuse his cousin of visiting the hospital to gloat.
Kang informs his cousin that he’s at the hospital on personal business but Joon doesn’t believe him. Joon accuses Kang of having a spy at the hospital who reports back to him but Kang explains that he learned about Chairman Jo on the internet.
When Cha-young’s nurse interrupts, Joon walks away but he pauses long enough to hear Kang explain, “I’m here to ask you something.”
At the hospice, Nurse Young-shil sees Hee-joo with her husband and confesses to Seon-ae, “I’d love to have a husband like him for at least one day.” Seon-ae admits, “I once had an amazing husband as well. But I ended up leaving him because I was out of my mind.”
Seon-ae warns Nurse Young-shil, “You should never let go of that amazing guy like I did.” When Seon-ae returns to the kitchen, Nurse Young-shil tries to figure out who this “amazing guy” could be just as we see Director Kwon bathed in a halo of light.
While Seon-ae finishes cooking the gomtang, the young nurse pops in to ask for kimchi. She wants instant noodles after seeing Director Kwon eating some and needs kimchi. Seon-ae decides to take a bowl of the fresh gomtang to Director Kwon and is about to leave it in his office when he returns.
Kwon doesn’t appreciate Seon-ae’s gesture and insists, “I don’t want it. You can take it back.” Seon-ae added glass noodles just for him and asks Kwon to eat the gomtang so that it doesn’t go to waste. When Kwon won’t change his mind, Seon-ae picks up the tray and shuffles out of the office.
Seon-ae watches as Tae-hyun gobbles up Director Kwon’s gomtang while looking around suspiciously. He explains the reason for his haste, “…there were always people chasing us. So I had to eat quickly.” When Seon-ae doesn’t understand, Tae-hyun explains, “My mom always ran away after she borrowed money. She abandoned my sister and kept me…but they’d always chase us down. We always had to be ready to run.”
Tae-hyun realizes that he hasn’t had gomtang since the unfortunate incident in Greece involving Lee Kang. Tae-hyun wonders why that name sounds so familiar and scares Seon-ae when he shouts, “The name of Cha-young’s first love. It’s Lee Kang!”
On the way back to the hospice after picking up groceries, Cha-young hears a report about a shopping mall collapse on the taxi’s radio. At the same time, Kang asks the nurse why Cha-young has been under the care of psychiatrist at the hospital since 2006.
In the taxi, Cha-young can’t control the flood of traumatic memories and when she curls up and hits the back window, the driver assumes that she’s carsick.
As Kang drives back to the hospice, he thinks about the nurse’s answer, “She was buried underneath the collapsed department store that day. She was only 12 years old.” Realizing that Cha-young was buried in the same collapse that killed his mother, Kang understands how scared she must have been.
Out of the corner of his eye, Kang sees Cha-young being sick on the side of the road but he doesn’t recognize her. He parks at the hospice and hops out of his car to help Seon-ae unload the groceries from the taxi.
When the driver hands over Cha-young’s backpack and phone, Seon-ae explains to Kang that Cha-young got carsick on the way back. They’re interrupted by the young nurse with news that Suk-ja collapsed. While Kang examines Suk-ja, her guardian suddenly faints.
As the sun begins to set, Cha-young manages to get to her feet and slowly makes her way back to the hospice. A worried Suk-ja, who’s now in a wheelchair, insists on staying with her guardian, who went into shock when Suk-ja collapsed. Sobbing, Suk-ja urges the woman to wake up, distressed that her guardian allowed herself to became so upset over someone who’s not even a blood relation.
When Kang finally returns to his office, he remembers Cha-young and calls the cafeteria. After learning that she’s not back, Kang drives around looking for Cha-young but it’s Joon’s car that stops to give her a ride.
Holding a bag of bungeo-ppang (a fish-shaped pastry), Cha-young guesses that they’re for Hee-joo. Joon explains that he bought them after a terrible day and when they reminded him of Hee-joo, he found himself driving to the hospice.
At the hospice, Joon stares at Hee-joo’s room as Cha-young promises to serve the bungeo-ppang on his plate. When Cha-young asks Joon again about Kang’s injury, he asks her, “By any chance, does Kang like you?”
Kang stops to look for Cha-young in the very spot where she was sick earlier. When he finally returns to the hospice, he calls to see if Cha-young returned but hangs up before getting an answer. On his way inside, Kang sees Cha-young turning some food set out to dry and walks away without a word even though he’s visibly relieved.
Later, Kang sits near the water to observe his mother’s memorial. Apologizing for the meager offerings, Kang fills a paper cup with soju for his mother just as Cha-young finds him. After Cha-young explains that she heard that he was looking for her, Kang tells her, “I wanted to ask if you’d like to drink with me after work.”
When Cha-young starts to sit down, Kang tells her, “That’s my mom’s seat. You can sit here.” Kang fills Cha-young’s cup with water since she’s not feeling well and wishes her, “Happy birthday.” Cha-young’s eyes fill with tears when Kang adds, “I hope you’re never sick again. Especially on your birthdays.”
Rather than another death at the hospice to deal with this hour, it’s the death at the hospital that wreaks havoc. With Kang sent to the hospice, Joon is feeling the pressure as the heir-apparent and when he loses a high profile and powerful patient like Chairman Jo, there are serious consequences to worry about. For once, Kang isn’t in the hot seat, which allows him to interact more with the people around him, especially Cha-young and Ji-yong.
Kang may look stern and serious, but he’s no match for a ten year old who wants to spend what will probably be his last birthday with the mother who abandoned him. Kang knows something about what it feels like to miss your mother, so he completely caves when Ji-young calls him a “meanie” and succumbs to tears. Unfortunately, things don’t go so well after Ji-yong goes missing and he ends up rejected again by his mother. His is a memorable birthday for all of the wrong reasons until Cha-young saves the day.
As Cha-young prepared a birthday feast from convenience store foods, Kang couldn’t help but respect what she was able to accomplish and the happiness that her efforts produced in two abandoned brothers. Even though her face-to-face confrontation with Ji-yong’s mother stirred up painful memories, Cha-young ignored her own pain to salvage Ji-yong’s birthday and Kang learned some tidbits about her in the process. That led to a bit of investigating and now that Kang knows that Cha-young was a victim of the department store collapse that killed his mother, they share a special bond that he can’t ignore.
Kang isn’t the only doctor who’s revealing a softer side. Joon continues to grieve for the dying Hee-joo from afar which is especially devastating in the aftermath of Chairman Jo’s death. While Joon’s family members turn on each other, Kang offers his cousin some rare comfort but Joon isn’t willing to accept that he’s not enjoying the show. When are these two grown men going to realize that they have more in common that the fact that they’re both neurosurgeons? Joon has obviously had to give up what he loves, his pottery, to fulfill his family’s expectations. But like his father and Kang’s father, as a doctor, Joon isn’t as talented as his cousin. Joon has only moved ahead of Kang because of Kang’s brain injury but while that’s an advantage in the board room, it’s of no consequence in the operating room.
With Kang at the hospice, he’s the only member of his family who won’t be damaged by the war that’s about to be fought with Chairman Jo’s family. Kang may be the only one who can head the hospital after all is said and done, but will he even want to anymore? Losing the hospital may be the best thing that could ever happen to Kang and Joon.
- Premiere Watch: People With Flaws, Chocolate
- Yoon Kye-sang and Ha Ji-won begin a romantic journey in Greece for JTBC’s Chocolate
- First teaser for JTBC’s Chocolate with Ha Ji-won, Yoon Kye-sang
- Jang Seung-jo confirms JTBC drama Chocolate with Ha Ji-won, Yoon Kye-sang
- Ha Ji-won, Yoon Kye-sang up for JTBC melo Chocolate