Chocolate: Episode 8
Between the patients at the hospice and a certain chef that he can’t seem to ignore, our neurosurgeon’s tough outer shell is beginning to crack. As he struggles with his emotions, he’s proving to be the doctor that his patients need but our chef doesn’t fare as well. Unwilling to entertain the possibility that he has feelings for her, the doctor does his best to avoid her but in spite of his efforts, she seems to be at every turn.
EPISODE 8 RECAP
From the roof of Geosung Hospice, Cha-young watches Kang arrive at work and reminisces about their many encounters once their paths crossed again as adults. She narrates that she’s not exactly sure when her heart began to flutter or when her feelings for Kang started to grow.
In his room, Tae-hyun is delighted when an app assigns an almost perfect score of 98 to the compatibility between Cha-young and Kang. When he and Kang score a 0, Tae-hyun’s dreams of benefitting financially from the relationship evaporate. A text message about the shoes that he’s trying to sell online improves his mood.
From her bed, Suk-ja sends all of her dishes to the floor as she orders Ms. Bong to find her hanbok and shoes. At the same time, Tae-hyun waits outside of the hospice for the buyer, who turns out to be the young nurse, Bae Na-ra.
As soon as she sees the shoes, Nurse Bae calls Young-shil to report that she’s caught the thief. When Tae-hyun meets with Young-shil, he denies knowing that the shoes were stolen, unaware that Ms. Bong confessed that she took them and gave them to him.
Young-shil has the hanbok and asks Tae-hyun to return it with the shoes to Suk-ja without mentioning Ms. Bong. Tae-hyun complains that he was set up and is about to leave with the shoes until Young-shil bribes him with an offer of stir-fried octopus.
Joon visits his pottery studio but when it reminds him of Hee-joo’s suicide attempt, he locks it up and tosses the key into a burning kiln. Cha-young texts a photo of the dish that she’s about to serve Hee-joo, arranged beautifully on his plate.
Joon replies that he doesn’t want to know about Hee-joo anymore and asks Cha-young to throw out the plate. Cha-young texts back that when Joon no longer regrets falling for Hee-joo, she’ll make him something delicious.
Ms. Bong finds Cha-young and when she complains that Suk-ja won’t eat because she’s mad at her, Cha-young offers to make Suk-ja’s favorite stew. Ms. Bong suggests pairing it with her favorite raspberry cake and runs off with a basket to gather some berries.
Cha-young follows Ms. Bong all the way to a nearby mountain and as they pick wild raspberries, she learns that Kang called her a fool. Suddenly, Ms. Bong cries and falls to the ground as a snake slithers away.
Cha-young finds a spot where her signal is strong enough to call 911 but the call seemingly drops before she reports the location. While trying get the signal back, Cha-young slips and rolls down a steep hill.
When Ms. Bong is returned to the hospice (holding a handkerchief filled with raspberries), Director Kwon treats her snake bite and compliments the first aid that she received. Distraught, Ms. Bong informs him that Cha-young took care of her and then disappeared.
After Young-shil reports to Kang, “I think something happened to Cha-young. She called 911…But the call got disconnected after a scream,” he searches for Cha-young on the mountain armed with a bright flashlight.
Back at the hospice, Suk-ja is handed some fresh raspberries and asks Ms. Bong, “You went to the mountains to pick these for me?” After Ms. Bong tells her, “I’m sorry,” Suk-ja advises her to live with her son once she’s gone. Suk-ja gently informs Ms. Bong that Sun-sik is actually fond of his biological mother, he just doesn’t know it yet.
Suk-ja smiles as she recalls how jealous she was of Ms. Bong, but that didn’t stop the young mistress from following her everywhere. Suk-ja credits Ms. Bong’s kind heart for the fact that they were able to overcome the stereotype that a wife and a mistress naturally hate each other.
Out on the mountain, Kang finally finds Cha-young and when she opens her eyes and sees him, we hear Suk-ja’s wish that she and Ms. Bong meet in another life as sisters or a married couple. As Kang carries Cha-young down the mountain on his back, Suk-ja promises, “I’ll be a lot more affectionate…Let’s meet again no matter what.”
At the hospice, Kang wraps Cha-young’s injured ankle and then crouches for her to climb onto his back so he can take her to an ER for X-rays. When Cha-young insists that her ankle doesn’t hurt anymore, Kang challenges her to walk on it.
Cha-young tries to walk and when she winces in pain, Kang calls her stubborn and accuses her of looking down on him now that he works at a hospice. Kang bellows, “Do you know how worried I was while I was searching the mountain?”
Cha-young looks up at Kang in surprise as he barks, “I’ll just stop caring altogether. I won’t care if you live or die, so just do as you please.” After he storms out, a miserable Kang sits just outside of the treatment room.
The next day when Kang checks on Hee-joo, her husband thanks him for saving her life. Kang checks Hee-joo’s pupils and something troubles him but when her husband senses Kang’s unease, he asks that Hee-joo be allowed to rest. Unable to shake his suspicions, Kang quietly orders a copy of Hee-joo’s medical chart.
In the kitchen, Cha-young eats a piece of Godiva chocolate and gets to work on the promised raspberry cake. When she’s done, Cha-young finds Ms. Bong in the garden dressed in mourning clothes and delivers the still warm cake. Cha-young is encouraging when Ms. Bong announces, “I’m going to go live with my son now.”
After consoling Ms. Bong, Cha-young escapes to the roof to grieve in private, unaware that Kang was there first. Kang catches a glimpse of Cha-young through billowing sheets on the clothesline as her sobs get louder. When she’s done crying, Cha-young limps over to pick up some pillowcases that fell from the line and sees Kang.
Cha-young is thoroughly embarrassed when she learns that Kang has been on the roof the whole time. Kang brushes past Cha-young and pettily asks if she’s crying in pain after falling down the mountain again.
When Cha-young thanks Kang for the 37th time, he turns around, “Aren’t you going back to Greece?” Cha-young admits that she’s going back soon and Kang suggests that she should leave as soon as possible. After he leaves, Kang pauses on the stairs, his immediate regret interrupted by a returned call from Hee-joo’s neurosurgeon.
Kang meets with the attractive neurosurgeon, Dr. Yoon Seong-eun, to ask why she didn’t perform the customary second surgery on Hee-joo to remove her tumor. Dr. Yoon snaps, “Why do I have to explain that to you? Even her husband agreed with my choice.”
Kang asks Dr. Yoon to convince him why the second surgery wasn’t needed, especially when the placement of a shunt would have prevented most of Hee-joo’s symptoms. Kang chuckles when Dr. Yoon bristles at the suggestion that she’s incompetent and quickly corrects her, “I’m saying this is an accessory to murder.”
Dr. Yoon runs to call Hee-joo’s husband, Professor Jung Se-un, from a bathroom stall, “What do we do, honey? I think he knows everything.” It’s not long before Professor Jung picks up Dr. Yoon in front of the hospital but before they can drive away, a police van blocks them. An officer informs the pair that Hee-joo’s family has accused them of attempted murder.
Cha-young prepares another dish for Hee-joo but when she tries to deliver it, cries of pain are coming from her room. While Director Kwon and Young-shil hurry to administer medication, Cha-young limps away.
Cha-young is concerned by the sight of a woman in the hallway with her head buried in her arms. Handing the woman a glass of milk, Seon-ae explains that she couldn’t handle her spicy kimchi stew.
Later, Seon-ae tries to decide which kimchi stew recipe to make next and tells Cha-young about the hospice’s newest patient, Michael. Michael moved to the States after being adopted as a young boy. When he learned that he was dying and opted out of treatment, Micheal longed to have the kimchi stew that his birth mother used to make so his adoptive mother brought him back to Korea.
When Cha-young announces that she’s going back to Greece, Seon-ae seems relieved. She suggests that once she fulfills Michael’s wish, she and Cha-young can quit together.
At Geosung Hospital, Hye-mi barges into her husband’s office to show him a negative article that just went online. Seung-hoon asks, “Who is this ‘Dr. L of G Hospital’…Is it me?” When he takes his wife’s hand and implores, “What do I do, honey,” she snaps, “Let go of me.”
Thanks to that article, Grandma’s brothers-in-law, both directors of the Geosung Foundation, meet with her to insist that it’s time to cut ties with Seung-hoon. Even though it was Grandma’s money that saved the hospital from bankruptcy forty years ago, they announce the directors’ decision, “We can’t let your family run this hospital anymore.”
Seo-hoon accuses one of her uncles of tipping off the newspaper so that he can replace Seung-hoon with his own children. Seo-hoon accuses both of them of using the same dirty tricks that drove her father to suicide. After insisting that her grandsons will be the ones to save Geosung, Grandma orders the men to leave.
A desperate Hye-mi kneels to apologize when Chairman Jo’s widow comes off the golf course, but she’s ignored. Hye-mi jumps up when she gets a call about the hospital’s mounting crisis and barks out orders on how to minimize the damage.
At the same time, Kang arrives at the police station where he witnesses Joon getting scolded by an officer for assaulting Professor Jung at the station. The cop advises Joon to get a lawyer because Professor Jung filed assault charges against him.
Kang returns to the hospice just as Hee-joo is transferred to a hospital for surgery. Later, he finds Director Kwon struggling to light a cigarette and reminds him, “I thought you quit smoking.”
When Kang confiscates his cigarette, Director Kwon rants about Professor Jung, “He’d better not run into me. I’ll kill him the moment I see him.” As Kang leaves, Director Kwon thanks him for exposing Professor Jung’s plot, “…I was able to avoid being part of a big sin. Thank you for saving me.”
Dressed in his space suit, Ji-yong surprises Cha-young as she stores Joon’s plate. She’s delighted when Ji-yong takes her into his confidence and tells her that he’s on Earth to establish peace as Iron Ranger Number Three.
Ji-yong explains that the sparkling light in the nighttime sky is a signal from his planet, telling him to return. Cha-young suggests that Ji-yong should answer that he can’t leave for a long time. Even though Ji-yong would like to stay, he needs to go back as soon as possible because Earth is making him sick. Before he can go, Ji-yong needs to make sure that Earth can maintain peace.
That night, Kang steals away to the roof for a cigarette but he hides at the sight of Cha-young and Min-yong looking at the stars. He watches as Cha-young points to a light and asks Min-young if it could be Ji-yong’s planet.
Min-yong explains the origin of Ji-yong’s story — When Ji-yong wouldn’t listen to his parents, their father told him, “You’re a space warrior who’s here to maintain peace on Earth. But you won’t even listen to your parents.” Kang looks amused when Cha-young suggests that Ji-yong might really be a space warrior.
Tears escape Cha-young’s eyes as she looks up and wishes, “I hope the spaceship that Ji-yong is waiting for will get lost…” From his spot, Kang gazes up at the star-filled sky.
The next day when Joon leaves the police station, his father picks him up. After blaming the family’s troubles on the bad luck that befalls their family every ten years, Seung-hoon informs Joon that they’ll be staying in a hotel because Hye-mi kicked them out.
Seung-hoon decides that Joon must have had a good reason to hit someone just as Joon gets a call. It’s Hee-joo, who’s about to have surgery but she needs to say, “I’m sorry, Joon…I hope we’ll get to meet next time.”
Kang’s car hurries to the hospice while Cha-young pedals her bike as fast as she can. When Kang finds Min-yong outside of Ji-yong’s room, the boy begs him to save his brother just like Hee-joo.
Director Kwon and Young-shil are with Ji-yong, who stares at the ceiling while murmuring incoherently. Kang nods when Young-shil whispers that Ji-yong is showing signs of delirium.
Ji-yong’s mother begs him to look at her but it’s as if Ji-yong can’t hear her. When Cha-young arrives, she and Min-yong keep vigil in the hallway.
Kang gets a response when he asks Ji-yong, “What are they saying from your planet? Do they want you to come back?” When asked if he wants to go back, Ji-yong nods but Kang suggests that the spaceship hasn’t arrived yet.
Ji-yong haltingly whispers, “I couldn’t…finish…my mission,” and Kang helps finish his thought, “That mission…where you have to maintain peace on Earth?”
Young-shil takes Ji-yong’s hand to remind him that his mother and grandmother reconciled thanks to him. She tells Ji-yong of the joy that he brought to the hospice and confesses that he’s like a guardian angel.
In his thoughts, Ji-yong wonders, “Is that true? Did I really make everyone happy?” When Kang nods as if he heard him, Ji-yong’s gaze lingers on him.
Seconds later, his mother sobs when she realizes that Ji-yong is gone while Kang struggles to hold back his tears. From the hallway, Min-yong shouts his brother’s name while Cha-young hugs him tightly.
Later, all that’s left in Ji-yong’s room is a neatly made bed, his spacesuit hanging nearby. In the kitchen, Cha-young makes a very special chocolate cake and decorates it as a spaceship.
After placing a card next to the cake that reads, “Thank you, Iron Ranger Number 3”, Cha-young lovingly sets a small astronaut in the cockpit.
Up on the roof, Kang looks at the stars and imagines a spaceship flying away. He promises, “Ji-yong…We’ll do our best to keep Earth safe without you. Goodbye, Iron Ranger Number Three.”
Even though I knew that Ji-yong wasn’t long for this world, saying goodbye to the bubbly boy in a spacesuit was the ultimate tearjerker. The moment that stuck with me was Kang’s knowing nod at the very end, earning Ji-yong’s final gaze. Sob. Add to that Suk-ja’s departure, with her promise to be more affectionate towards Ms. Bong in another life just as Kang crouched over the injured Cha-young. It’s looking as if it’s only a matter of time until Kang’s feelings for Cha-young will be too strong to deny, just as she readies herself to return to Greece with Kang’s blessing.
In addition to the two farewells in this hour, Kang uncovered the plot between Hee-joo’s husband and his neurosurgeon mistress to guarantee his wife’s early death. It was just their luck that a neurosurgeon as talented as Kang ended up at the hospice that Professor Jung chose for Hee-joo’s final days. Joon’s reaction to Kang’s discovery proves that his feelings for Hee-joo, while conflicted, are still very strong. Even after he abandoned his pottery for good, Hee-joo is still in Joon’s heart. If Joon and Hee-joo are only ever friends, she could use a good friend as she battles to regain some of what she lost due to her lack of treatment.
Interestingly, Joon gets arrested at the same time that his father is attacked in the press. Seeing Joon in the dog house with his father was pretty funny but his legal woes will undermine his grandmother’s plan to save Geosung Hospital. Her meeting with her late husband’s brothers was very informative. Not only did we learn that Grandma used her wealth to save the hospital from bankruptcy decades ago, her husband committed suicide after his brothers betrayed him. Oh, and daughter Seo-hoon just got divorced and regained her right to participate in company matters. Who knew that a marriage certificate still makes a daughter invisible in this day and age? This family gets more interesting even though they’re still awful people.
With Grandma desperate to maintain her hold on the hospital and Joon in legal trouble, Kang’s worth just skyrocketed in spite of the tremor in his hand. But being at the hospice is forcing Kang to get to know his patients and develop actual relationships. He’s no longer spending hours in the OR with anesthetized patients covered by surgical draping. Instead, Kang was befriended by a little boy who cared enough to give him a “happy sandwich”. Kang knew enough about the dying boy to guide him gently in his final moments and cared enough to hold his gaze until Ji-yong’s eyes closed for the last time.
Experiences like that have a lasting effect and it will be intriguing to see how Kang is changed. Will he actually return to save Geosung Hospital if his grandmother summons him? Kang is just starting to make a significant difference in the lives of the hospice patients and he’s so close to realizing his feelings for Cha-young. Even though he urged her to return to Greece, Kang’s about to learn that avoidance is no longer the best way to deal with his feelings.
As Kang struggles with his feelings, Cha-young continues to use her cooking skills to say goodbye to her friends and offer solace to their loved ones. The freshly baked raspberry cake for Suk-ja and the chocolate spaceship cake for Ji-yong were beautiful ways to remember the patients who were once so full of life. That’s what’s so special about the hospice characters — they may be dying but until the very end, they laugh and love so preciously.
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