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Chocolate: Episode 10

Perhaps because of her early brush with death, our chef is a passionate advocate for the hospice patients, but not everyone appreciates her devotion. As she deals with unexpected challenges of her own, our neurosurgeon decides that it’s time to clear up any misunderstandings. But after a sweet request from a patient, our protagonist is reminded that living life to the fullest is very different than just managing to survive.

 
EPISODE 10 RECAP

At the hospice, Kang’s aunt makes an unannounced visit, creating a stir when she announces to Nurse Na-ra that she’s Kang’s lover and kisses him on the cheek. Outside, Seo-hoon explains to Kang that she misses her nephews now that they’re both working at the hospice.

Impressed by the location, Seo-hoon understands why her mother wants to close the hospice to make way for a silver town (a retirement community for the wealthy). Kang can’t believe it when Seo-hoon shares her plan to get the hospice closed down — she’ll see to it that Director Kwon is named as an accomplice in Hee-joo’s murder plot.

When Seo-hoon can’t find a lighter for her cigarette, she calls out to Cha-young. Cha-young informs Seo-hoon that she’s not allowed to smoke in consideration of the patients, surprised when Seo-hoon callously notes that they’re dying anyway. Kang quietly warns his aunt, “That’s enough.”

Cha-young defends the patients, “The people here at the hospice…are cherishing every day that they have, just like us.” Offended that Cha-young called her “ajumma”, an indignant Seo-hoon asks, “…do you even know who I am?”

Kang erupts, “I said that’s enough, Aunt!” When he tells Seo-hoon to apologize, she protests that all she did was ask for a lighter. After Cha-young leaves the pair, Kang gets a call from Min-yong.

Over a snack and after clearing up the Zika virus misunderstanding, Kang asks Min-yong, “What do you do when there’s someone you want to apologize to?” He nods when Min-yong matter-of-factly advises, “…just go and apologize.”

Min-yong guesses that Kang likes someone on the hospital’s staff and when he blushes, the boy promises to keep his secret. After Min-yong blurts out, “Ye-sol also promised her that she’ll keep it a secret,” Kang scoffs, thinking that he’s talking about Cha-young. When Min-yong texts an apology for betraying the secret, it’s Na-ra who’s upset.

In the kitchen, Joon’s eyes are red and swollen from peeling countless onions. When Cha-young lights some candles to lessen the irritating fumes, Joon complains because she didn’t do it sooner. After Cha-young returns to her cooking, Joon asks how she and Kang met. Cha-young ignores him so Joon muses how unusual it is for a doctor and a chef to become acquainted.

When Joon asks, “Do you like Kang,” Cha-young is so rattled that she burns herself. While she treats her burn, Cha-young answers the question, “I don’t have feelings for Dr. Lee Kang. He’s a doctor I’ll always thank for having saved my life…nothing more or less,” unaware that Kang is outside the door and heard everything.

When Seon-ae delivers a tray of Cha-young’s beautiful flower fritters to Director Kwon, he orders her to take it away. Even when Seon-ae explains that Cha-young made the treat, Director Kwon still doesn’t want it. As she leaves, Seon-ae informs Kwon that she’s quitting as soon as Young-shil finds a replacement.

Done for the day, Joon hurries to his car and gets a text from his father, “Your mom’s gone crazy. Come home as fast as you can.” At home, Joon finds his parents kneeling before his grandmother and learns that Hye-mi asked for a divorce.

After Hye-mi claims that she’s had enough, Grandma tells her, “Go ahead. I won’t ask you to stay.” Distraught, Seung-hoon grabs Hye-mi’s leg while insisting that he can’t live without her.

Joon guesses that his mother’s request has something to do with a prosecutor’s investigation linking her father and brother to a food supply scam. Joon reminds his mother that if she leaves, Grandma won’t be inclined to help her family anymore. When Hye-mi stays, a relieved Seung-hoon asks, “Was it just an act?”

After Young-shil peeks into Michael’s room and sees Susan all alone, she calls Cha-young to share the woman’s suspicion that the stew that his mother made wasn’t what Michael remembered. Cha-young hangs up and glances over at Michael, who’s outside with his mother and brother.

Cha-young hears the brother complain that while Michael’s family is rich, their mother couldn’t even afford back surgery. He suggests that Michael should use his share of his family’s money to help their mother.

Later, Cha-young waits outside of Michael’s room to asks his mother to make another pot of kimchi stew. Michael’s mom gets defensive when Cha-young explains that her first attempt wasn’t exactly what Michael expected.

When Michael’s twin finds his mother making another pot of stew, she whines that the previous version wasn’t satisfactory. They taste the stew and agree that it’s delicious but after some thought, Mom adds some sugar as Cha-young glares.

While Michael’s mother and brother congratulate themselves, Cha-young dumps the stew into the sink. She asks the mother, “Why did you show up when you were the one who abandoned him?”

When Cha-young suggests that they want money from the dying boy, Mom grabs her by the collar. Cha-young argues, “A family isn’t something you can throw away and find again whenever you please,” and when Michael’s brother pushes her in anger, she hits her head.

Even though she’s hurt, Cha-young rebukes the mother for forgetting that Michael can’t eat sugar. In a flashback, Michael’s mother remembers that the young boy cried from the intense itching caused by the candy that his brother gave him.

When Mom walks out, her angry son shakes Cha-young. As her head is thrown back and forth, Cha-young remembers more of the day that the department store collapsed. Her mother had promised to buy Cha-young a birthday present if she met her at the department store after school.

After she called her mother from the phone booth just outside the store, Cha-young went back inside, along with older girls in school uniforms and young children with their mothers.

Kang finds Cha-young outside holding her head and remembers his relief when he found her on the mountain. But when Kang stands in front of Cha-young, he tells her, “I’m sorry if I did anything to cause a misunderstanding.”

Cha-young can’t see Kang clearly because her vision is blurred. When Kang explains that he’ll always think of her as Min-sung’s girlfriend, Cha-young confesses that she still thinks of him as Min-sung’s friend. But after Kang leaves, Cha-young has to blink back her tears.

Alone in his office, Kang recalls the night that Cha-young accepted Min-sung’s feelings and his friend’s warning, “Even if you end up falling for Cha-young, just swallow your feelings.” Kang does just that when he places Cha-young’s paper crane in his desk drawer.

During dinner with Tae-hyun, Cha-young keeps adding salt to her soup. When Tae-hyun becomes alarmed, Cha-young eats a spoonful of salt and realizes that she can’t taste it. The next day, after Cha-young gets the results of an MRI at Geosung Hospital, Tae-hyun watches his sister nervously from down the hall.

At the hospice, Kang and Young-shil greet the ambulance with Ye-sol’s mother. Ye-sol stops to tell Kang, “Thanks to you, I can stay with my mom anytime I want.” Ye-sol places a ring pop on Kang’s finger and promises to replace it as soon as he finishes it. When Kang looks at it, he’s reminded of Cha-young’s message for his aunt — the people at the hospice cherish every day that they have.

About to deliver a snack to Director Kwon’s office, Seon-ae decides to take it to the common room instead. There, she finds Ye-sol making a wedding invitation intended for her grandfather and she explains that her parents never married because he was against the union.

Ye-sol’s face falls when she admits that her grandfather will probably kick her out like he’s done before. Ye-sol lights up when Seon-ae offers to accompany her to deliver the invitation.

A taxi drops Seon-ae and Ye-sol off across the street from Grandpa’s dumpling and steamed bun shop. Clutching the invitation in one hand and Seon-ae’s hand in the other, Ye-sol greets her grandfather but she’s ignored. After ordering a plate of steamed buns for Ye-sol, Seon-ae promises that when she returns from the bathroom, she’ll speak with Ye-sol’s grandfather. Uh-oh.

In the hospice kitchen, Joon notices that Cha-young is distracted and he soon learns why when Tae-hyun walks in and suggests getting a second opinion. Cha-young tries to quiet him with a reminder that she needs to finish the meal prep.

Tae-hyun grumbles that a chef can’t prepare a meal when she can’t smell or taste, prompting Joon to ask what’s going on. Suddenly remembering that Joon is a doctor, Tae-hyun begs him to help his sister. Losing patience, Cha-young shouts, “Go tell everyone that there’s something wrong with your sister,” and storms out.

When Seon-ae exits the bathroom, a young woman asks her for directions. Seon-ae has no idea where she is and while a worried Ye-sol waits, Seon-ae wanders around in confusion.

After seeing Cha-young’s MRI on Tae-hyun’s phone, Joon finds Cha-young. He uses a bar of soap to confirm that she can’t smell and when he asks if she hit her head recently, Cha-young recalls the altercation with Michael’s hot-headed brother.

Joon agrees with the hospital’s findings, Cha-young sustained damage to her olfactory nerve, which is why she can’t smell or taste anything. It’s also the reason for her blurred vision which is only temporary. Unfortunately, there’s no guarantee that Cha-young’s sense of taste and smell will return.

When Joon sees Kang eyeing them curiously, he asks Cha-young if he knows about her condition. As Kang approaches, Cha-young begs, “Please don’t tell him.” Before Kang can ask any questions, Young-shil finds Joon and scolds that he’s supposed to be in the kitchen peeling radishes.

Cha-young’s blurred vision keeps bothering her but when Michael’s angry brother shows up and accuses her of upsetting his mother, she refuses to accept responsibility for the woman’s misery. When Cha-young walks away, the brother orders her to stop. As he runs after her, Kang trips him and asks what he intends to do, “Will you hit her?”

After watching Cha-young struggle in the kitchen, Tae-hyun shouts at her to tell the staff that she’s not well. On his way back with more onions, Joon is just outside the door when Cha-young asks, “Since when were you so worried about me?” Cha-young reminds her brother, “A 12-year-old girl held out and survived in the ruins of a collapsed department store amongst dying people, without even knowing that her mom and brother abandoned her.”

After all that she’s endured, Cha-young learned that she can’t allow herself to fall apart. She explains that until she figures out how to deal with her latest challenge, her work serves as a welcome distraction.

A patient interrupts the siblings to ask for a favor — he’s hoping for a special meal in honor of his wedding anniversary. Tae-hyun tries to send the man away with the explanation that Cha-young isn’t well but Joon pushes him out the door, reminding him that it’s time for his medication. Lol.

The patient apologizes for troubling her but Cha-young gets him to tell her what he wants — a recreation of the meal that he and his wife enjoyed on their first date in her home country of Vietnam.

Joon returns and watches Cha-young through the kitchen door as she works. She recalls a famous restaurant in Ho Chi Minh City during her culinary training and remembers the restaurant’s name at the same time as the patient. Explaining her problem, Cha-young invites the patient to taste the dish on her behalf.

Cha-young arranges the special meal on a tray, complete with a piece of chocolate cake that holds a single candle. As Cha-young hands the tray to the grateful husband, she wishes him, “Happy anniversary.”

In the dining room, the husband lights the candle and reminds his wife that they shared this very meal on their first date. He explains that the hospice chef prepared the meal to celebrate their anniversary and urges his wife to enjoy it even though he can’t eat. Cha-young watches from just outside the room as the wife takes a bite and declares it perfect.

The husband is sorry that his wife left her country to be with him now that he’s going to die. They clasp hands as the husband makes a heartfelt wish, “…in our next lives, we should be born in the same country…let’s meet sooner…so that we can love each other more and longer.”

Cha-young can’t stop her tears as the husband tells his wife in Vietnamese, “Thank you for everything. I love you.” Through her tears, the wife replies in Korean, “I want to thank you as well. I love you, honey.”

Kang walks by just as Cha-young turns away, her eyes brimming with tears. Cha-young pauses briefly to stare at Kang before continuing on her way.

COMMENTS

If I’d been told that a hospice patient would come along who touched my heart more deeply that the sweet Ji-yong, I wouldn’t have believed it. But that’s exactly what happened when a sweet husband, with Cha-young’s help, did his best to celebrate the love that he and his wife have shared. As their time together approaches an untimely end, the husband wishes that they’ll meet again in future life. Their bittersweet anniversary celebration was what Cha-young needed to remember that life is about more than surviving. When she saw Kang, it seemed as if something inside of Cha-young had shifted.

Cha-young has experienced one misfortune after another and she’s willed herself to endure so that she can survive. But I think that Kang’s declaration that he’ll never be able to see her as anything other than Min-sung’s girlfriend was the last straw. Even though Kang was probably trying to convince himself as well as Cha-young, her crisis threatens the one thing that has sustained her through every challenge and she’s finally ready to walk away from him for good. Unlike the hospice patients, Cha-young isn’t making the most of her time and it seems that she’s finally realized that.

A Cha-young struggles to keep her head above water, she’s gained a new admirer — Joon. I don’t think that he has romantic feelings for her, but I do think that he recognizes her strength and appreciates how she uses her talent to connect with the patients. Tae-hyun certainly doesn’t pay close attention to his sister except to get something from her and Kang is too unwilling to allow himself to get close to Cha-young. I love the way that Joon has been inserted into life at the hospice, not as a doctor but as someone whose punishment forces him to perform community service. As he peels onions and radishes, Joon has a unique perspective because he’s somewhat invisible. Except when it comes to Nurse Young-shil, who seems to have a sixth sense whenever Joon’s not in the kitchen. Hee.

The hospice also gives Kang the chance to see his aunt in a different and distinctly unflattering light. Not only does she not care about the patients, Seo-hoon’s behavior is an embarrassment away from the insulation of Geosung Hospital. Add to that the fact that Cha-young wasn’t at all impressed with her, it’s no surprise that Kang couldn’t wait to get away from his aunt to ask for advice from a young teenager.

Honestly, Min-yong knows more about love than Kang does, he’s just confused about which staff member is on Kang’s mind. Didn’t Kang seem just a little bit pleased when he mistakenly thought that Cha-young was the one who’d admitted to liking him? Unfortunately, Cha-young was a little too convincing when she insisted to Joon that she didn’t like Kang, who was standing just outside the kitchen door. His decision to set a strict boundary with Cha-young was probably born from his disappointment. But how is he going to react if Cha-young takes his words to heart and finally decides to move on?

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Is it just me or is the story slowing down as compared to the first few episodes which were really fantastic? The kids in this show are amazing and just Yoon Kye-sang alone is enough for me to continue watching till the end... The ost "Always be Here" is also one of the best ost tracks I've heard in recent days...

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I felt the opposite. Initially, I didn't know if I could plow through this drama it was soooo sloooowwww.... but finally it picked up and l'm rather enjoying it now.

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Which version of the ost 'Always be here' do you love more? The male one by Jung Jin Woo (who's a fantastic r&b & kpop artist) or the female one by Ha Jin?

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The male (and soulful) version by Jung Jin Woo definitely!! The track left a deep impression in me when it was played at the start of episode 3, when Kang was driving along the greek coastline and exploring greece. A bittersweet feeling especially when Kang set off to Greece to fulfil his bestie's dying wish.

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Mine too. JJW is one of my favourites in general, so the ost was a welcome surprise.

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When I read your question, the version playing in my head belongs to a female singer so I guess that’s Ha Jin.

The osts in this show is one of the best things. They way they chose these melodies do resonate with me (and my current state of emotions) and I immensely enjoyed every episode with such soulful choices of songs.

But my fav of all is the song played as the intro to each ep.: the song that has its lyrics as something like ‘high and low, you and I, you burn so bright’ and things like that. I searched on the internet but could not pin down which song it is.

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I’m searching high and low for that one too! I think that will be released when the drama ends?

I like this new one from last week “One Sided Love by Hui (Pentagon).

https://youtu.be/SUPKg1uZiNQ

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The one-sided love song sounds beautiful though I couldn’t understand Korean.

And yes, that’s my guess too. I’m eagerly waiting for that song to be released.

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Yes i love that song too!
"I search high & low...
Oh you had me....
....&now you seek & hide
Seek & hiiiiideeeee"

All the osts of this drama suit & make the mood so much, very atmospheric

The one by Yubin for sadder moments is also so good.

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Add me to the list that is searching for the "high and low" song, too. Anyone that finds it should let the rest of us know. I've got feelers out several places.

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I am also desperate to know the song's name and artist. If anyone finds it let's paste it here pls... Xoxo

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I think the song hasn't been released yet, so we should be able to hear it probably within this week. : )

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(1) Thanks @teriyaki for the recap and great comment! And Happy New Year to you and everyone!

I agree, the earthquake experience does make CY more empathetic towards dying people and how she treats them with such respect and dignity.

As I mentioned elsewhere I have not enjoyed Ep 9 and 10 as much, the episodes fail to hit the mark for me in terms of the love line. Also Michael’s story somehow fails to touch me either. There are however great details that still keep me in but I’ll talk about it later. Now onto the venting first 😅.

I’ll call Ep 9 Jealousy and 10 Min Sung’s complex. I guess these are both stages Kang needs to get through before he could completely be free with his feelings for CY. But the way Chocolate handled this I think is a bit clumsy.

Take Ep 9, jealousy was handled at the same time with longterm competitiveness so it does little to tell me how Kang really feels about CY. I mentioned how Kang is so sensitive about CH not getting into his car in my earlier comments about Ep 7 and 8. In Ep 9, the writer developed it into a theme. So in light of this and the fist fight we have the car chasing scene. It is beyond me how or why Kang would engage in such stupid and dangerous activity, I guess the writer wants to emphasise his jealousy although it came across as teenage boy’s competitiveness to me. For such a dangerous and loud action scene to then end in nothing is also anticlimactic. This of course is further elevated in the last sequence where Kang blurted out his main issue that is “why not my car but Lee Jun’s car”? The last sequence does brighten up the whole episodes and I like it but I would have liked it more had it came in sooner.

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(2)
Then in Ep 10, the way that Min Sung came up is confusing to me. So we have Kang after conversation with MY, gaining two pieces of infos 1. He likes CY and 2. CY thinks he likes her (ok this one is a misunderstanding). Regardless, he goes to the kitchen to obviously talk to her or apologise for his Aunt’s behaviour where he overheard CY telling Jun she has no feelings to him. Then suddenly he “realised” his good deeds towards her (flashbacks saving her in the mountain and telling her he’s worried and wishing her happy birthday) might have caused the misunderstanding and proceeded to tell her that. “I realised what I have done to you is misleading….Because to me you are always Minsung’s”. Now again the show built in two motifs for what he did here. Did he do that really because of loyalty to Minsung or because he is offended that she does not like him? Also are we regressing back to his confusion stage now in Ep 7 and 8? Did he really not think what he did are acts of( love or he is deceiving himself? To be honest I got a bit angsty at this sequence that twists the two beautiful interactions in the last few eps into “misunderstandings”. Then we are back to his office where the voice over of MS about how Kang should swallow his feelings toward CY should he develop any, suggests that Kang has done just that (so he acknowledges he has feelings for her now?) This sequence left me totally confused about Kang and at this point, it’s not good, Ep10, I should feel more positively about his feelings for CY.

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Hey @sunset125
It could be a classic case of him wanting to save his pride. She knows I like her but she just doesn’t like me and sees me only as a doc who saved her life (gratitude), so I don’t want her to know how deep my feelings are or know my weakness!
This happens a lot in romantic novels.
Also, I dont think Kang can differentiate between loyalty to MS or defence mechanism to the fact that she doesn’t like him. It is a combination of that and that she rejected his friend who loved her a lot (just like he, Kang, likes her a lot) without reason.

To be honest... the whole misunderstanding was confusing for me. I literally had to watch the scenes twice to understand what made him go and say sorry if I caused blah blah!

In the chocolate 7 minute trailer there is a scene where some guy in black jacket is in the kitchen and Kang intervenes (he takes off his glasses— gangster style!). There the nurse was also there. This sequence could give the nurse the impression that he likes her but out of the blue...maybe I am conjecturizing too much.

But I agree it was confusing... his going to her and saying what he did out of the blue hit me. Then I had to recaliberate everything that happened with just him...

Eavesdropping never helped anyone and she has said she is not that close to Joon so would she really pour her heart out!! Aiw-Yai-Ya what a mess.

I was thinking will the writer really work on getting Kang to realise that the little boy and the nurse were not talking about CY and will it make a difference to where he stands...

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Hi Ruckfus,

Yes, your confusing feeling is exactly my point here. I think the show mis handled viewers in these episodes. At this point, we shouldn't be left confused about Kang's feelings and he shouldn't be either, if the love story is going to make an impact on us.

The Min Sung issue will need to come up. But it needs to come up as a clear point of conflict for Kang. He should acknowledge his feelings to CY to himself, with conviction regardless of what she's feeling, THEN feels the conflict with loyalty to MS. We should see him torn and miserable in this state, that would make us feel the love. For half the series we achingly feel CY's love for him already. Now let us feel him the same way.

The writer uses 2 misunderstandings as a plot devices to bring Min Sung issues up, I think is not appropriate because it confuses us, it made us feel there has been no progress at all with his feelings. For a good love story, at this point, we should feel better about his feelings than we did in Ep 7-8. A good story needs to make the audience feel things at the right moment, before they lose their attention. That's why I really dearly hope they have a magic trick up their sleeves this weekend! 😊

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Makes sense. I am going to make a note of the tips for any story that i might write :)

Btw this episode killed me with regard to all that CY had to face. And I am so not at ease because am sure if I can trust the writer/director with CY-LK’s emotions.

Crossing my fingers.

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😊 Thanks Ruckfus.

The writer actually set up a great premise in Ep 3 and I was hoping she will use it later. When Kang Asked CY at the bus stop, “Did you love MS at all? “ she said “ I am in love with someone else” and he was shocked at this admission. So I was really hoping to see that after he falls for her, he would ask, and be curious and jealous with this man she was in love with. It is more psychologically realistic than the loyalty with MS because let s face it, she broke up with MS 4 years before his death and he himself got engaged after. So that issue could come up but shouldn’t be as heavy as the question, who CY left MS for? And that jealousy would be much more convictive of his love to her than the jealousy with Jun (which can be interpreted as competitiveness). That would make a interesting and fresh love line development in my opinion. But well this is her story not mine, I at this point just like you I am not sure I could trust her like before. So yes, let’s cross our fingers and toes 😃.

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One random thought @sunset123
If this wasn’t a Kdrama, then do you think as an artist/writer having still uncertain feelings trampled over by misunderstandings could lead to an interesting story?
Because here that is what happened... an uncertain Kang still coming to terms with what he feels hears CY and then the nurse pushes him with her vague dialogue that he acts first (speaks first) instead of thinking.

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@Sunset125
What scares me when I see any series is loose ends and with the attention to details that these guys have been showing, I was hoping for connections/parallels over episodes.

Btw Kang wears so many lined shirts and blue shirts... so are you sure the shirt in the cinema hall and apology day are the same? He is all prim and proper in suits while CY is always in rusty or brown colours in shorts or old casuals. Her hair falling in the eyes get to me at times but the unkempt look is for a reason... I guess.

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@Ruckfus,

“ If this wasn’t a Kdrama, then do you think as an artist/writer having still uncertain feelings trampled over by misunderstandings could lead to an interesting story?”

My answer to this question is yes, may be, it depends on the context of that drama/story.

My answer to this question in Chocolate context is no, but as I said, I preserve my definite judgement until later because I am still hoping for a magic trick from the writer. My feeling at the moment is the new misunderstandings she introduced in this episode are unnecessary. The couple has tons of misunderstandings already, that to entangle them sweetly the show needs to start now.

We have had enough the bitter taste of chocolate. Let’s start giving us and CY the sweet taste. Let’s give us sweet moments to watch and rewatch on Netflix so the writer and PD could make money long after the show has ended. Because if it is too bitter, noone will come back for rewatching or spread the word of mouth for re streaming. It will be a waste of talents and effort from the cast and crew 😊.

Regarding the shirt, I am positive because Netflix in my country uses the cinema still for upcoming episodes so I have to look at that darn shirt tens time a day 😀. I truly hope I will never see that shirt again in the drama 😀.

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Also Ruckus, I apologise I have been typing your name wrongly for so long 😢.

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Don’t worry about the name! What’s in a name anyway...

So basically you are saying that in a 16 episode format misunderstandings in this episode seem to be unnecessary and his still uncertain feelings being trampled over doesn’t work for the 16 episode format either.

Ohh and Netflix here also has the cinema shot as the still. And yes, Kang does have a smile on his face (which I missed) during his coughing fit and the shirt appears to be the same in the sandwich scene, apology scene and cinema sleep scene! I wonder if they were short on money or was it deliberate (naughty smile!)

Btw I was reading up on what is melodrama and how is melodrama defined in Korean terms, just so that I can define my feelings with regard to chocolate.

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(3)
Then came the detail that redeems the episode to me : how Kang looks the morning after, when he receives Yeo Sol’s Mum. This again reminds me of how good an actor YKS is. Kang has never looked happy for sure but in this scene he looks dead inside. He struggles to say things to YS and when he looks at the candy ring and thinks of what CY said, just with a slight movements of his eye browns, YKS shows a Kang trying hard not to cry. He is devastated. I hope this will further develops into the realisation of how much CY means to him now that he has given her up.

Anyhow at the end of Ep 10 I was so frustrated that, although I myself do not drink and never thought I would suggest this to anyone, fictional or not, but I wish so dearly someone would just get these two really drunk so they become less cortex and just come out with all their feelings already!!! 😂😂 (Well after that I saw Kang drinking in the teaser at the cooking scene so may be the writer also thinks he needs that too 😅, let’s see).

So at this point, my main feeling for the show is worry (pun intended). I acknowledge my feelings now, (I am looking at you Kang) I worry for the show because I love it. I worry that it may miss what it sets out to do. Yes, I totally enjoy how the leads interact and make a difference to the patients’ lives, how beautiful the good and the cooking scenes are, I appreciate how it handles all the big themes so beautifully, with respect and sensitivity, the psychological and philosophical references, the attention to details, the beautiful cinematography. And with that one could say the show has already succeeded. But it wants to be an epic love story. It has never hidden this ambition. It has laid down so many elements for it, over so many episodes and the background of all other things is supposed to serve to make the love story more epic. It has two fantastic actors with great chemistry. However, with the clumsy way it handled the love line the last 2 episodes, I’m worried that it may be better at telling side characters’ stories than the OTP’s. The elements that were laid down need time to be dealt with properly, with sensitivity to progress up to a climax. With only 6 episodes remain, it has very tight time to do that but it looks like it is on its way, hopefully, starting with the patients’ stories. First is the Vietnamese Korean couple and then I guess will be Yeo Sol’s parents. Two stories of how couples overcome the hurdles of geography and family disproval to be together but will be separated by death. I hope that will shine a light for our OTP to see that whatever keeps them apart can indeed be easily overcome.

So with that all said, I hope the writer and PD pull out the rabbit in the next 6 eps for us.

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I'm waiting for that rabbit trick too.

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With regard to “worry” and “hoping that they treat the love line with sensitivity” : daadooo (Korean style)

I want the love story to be epic, because I like the side characters but I like the main characters more. I am living through them while side characters flow.

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(4)
Now on to the things that are of merit to me in these two 2 eps:

- First up is TH. I have never found him annoying but funny and embarrassing . The first time we saw him he was picking CY up from the hospital after her operation. She then confided in him the encounter with her first love. That told me he has a heart, enough for CY to be so comfortable with him, even if that heart sometimes is hidden very deep inside. The last 2 eps brought that out. I am sure we will see more of that later.

- TH and Jun’s unexpected friendship. The way they care for CY in the face of her crisis is heart warming. This saves my heart from being totally broken at all the sad things that happened to her in Ep 10.

- CY’s talk to TH when slicing radishes showing what a pro she is at handling tragedy life (or the writer! 😢) throws at her. Give yourself sometimes to figure out what a negative event means to you first before deciding how to react. Have I said she is one of my favourite heroines? This might explain why I felt so frustrated at Kang in this Ep.

- CY’s crisis. Now I have to say I hated this at first. “Ep 10 and you introduced another tragedy to our heroine??? Come on!!!” But then I realise this may be adding on to the story. First up is the writer’s penchant for “pairing”. Kang lost his identity as a neurosurgeon so perhaps CY needs to lose her identity as a chef as well to be fair? 🤨 so together they could reinvent themselves out of this? Kang already has shown he doesn’t need to be a surgeon to prove himself. But for CY I think she will regain her taste and smell and how that happens will be another testament to how powerful food is at evoking memories.

- Kang’s red stripe shirt at the sandwich scene and the “You are still Minsung’s” scene. I have never seen a show that uses a shirt in that way. It must not be a coincidence that this is the SAME shirt Kang wore 5 years ago in the cinema scene, where he fell asleep on CY’s shoulder and she realised her feelings for him and ran away out of respect for his friendship with MS. Here it is 5 years later and he wears the same one on the day he “realised” his feelings for her and also “ran” away due to his friendship with MS. Again we see the writer’s favourite pattern here. It also serves to remind us that at core, CY and Kang are very similar.

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- The last but best thing is the Vietnamese Korean couple story. Not because of the story itself but of how meticulous the show portrays it, with so much details at the level I am not sure the PD and writer did it for viewers or just because they are that detailed with their work.

- First is the dish itself: bun cha is a dish originated from Northern Vietnam and here I see the most authentic dish cooked outside of Hanoi: green papaya, most authentic pickled vegie to go into the sauce, the coriander (cilantro) to go into the fresh greens, lemon in the sauce, the noodles. Even the plates and bowls have patterns that are very Northern Vietnamese.

- Then the Vietnamese wife, she is from the South. There are a lot of Southern Vietnamese women especially from the country side who got married to Korean men, it is a real event that sometimes is controversial with the Vietnamese media portraying these women as mail order brides. The character’s image here is the exact image of a Vietnamese country girl, down to the facial features, the hair style to the shirt, not sure the actress herself is Vietnamese. But she got treated here obviously with respect and love, even her name is written on the subtitles with proper Vietnamese punctuation. So the writer might be sending a subtle social message here.

- The name of the restaurant in Ho Chi Minh city that the couple had their first date is the name of a street in the old quarter of Hanoi, with one of the oldest and most famous bun cha restaurants in Hanoi, a very nice tribute from the writer to the Northern origin of the dish.

- When the husband said “Thank you for everything, I love you”, he actually spoke the whole sentence in Vietnamese. And the wife responded in Korean with Korean terms of endearment, it is truly touching.

- So it is particularly heart breaking for CY (I think that is what you referred to as the shift in her) to witness such touching love story then turns around to face the man she loves who is so close yet also so far from her that they might as well be born in different countries 😢.

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@sunset125 thank you, I loved reading your thoughts.

Happy new year!

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Thank you! Thank you! Thank you reading your comments was as enjoyable as watching those episodes and somehow more!
Now I do need a rewatch and enjoy the details you just mentioned ♥️

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What I liked about ep 10:

Sequencing of events from CY and brother’s chat about how she can’t give up till the end when she walks away from Kang with tears.
My heart was heavy.

The Vietnam-Korean couple’s small interaction

Kang and Ye seol’s Conversation. The layers in that scene.

TH worrying about CY from behind the pillar while she worries on her seat.

Joon in the hospice- with the nurse, as a monkey in the kitchen, kind as a doctor and the jump to take TH out of the kitchen.

CY surrounded by people who care and at least two who show it: TH and Joon.

New friendships if they bloom.

I am worried about the Alzheimer’s lady as she forgot the child. I am worried about the cook without olfactory senses in the kitchen. Tried and tested dishes might work but CY won’t be able to make new dishes :( she won’t be able to taste Kang’s chocolate sasha. Did Kang’s apology hit her when she ran into him in the corridor and will that break her? How much emotional energy does she have?

An aside:
The minute Kang takes off his glasses, he is in the gangster mode :D
He has no one to talk to, or at least no one he trusts. I feel bad for him.

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@SailorJumun
Your words were prophetic:

Okay, with those last two smiles, there’s no way Kang is still unaware of his feelings. The only question is, is he actually going to do something about them? The way I see it, it’s very unlikely. Whether it has to do with family or work, he’s been passive and frustratingly so. ...
So, all that in mind, why would he pursue a relationship with Cha-young? Boy is either gonna ignore this completely or mess it up somehow. For her sake and his, I hope he doesn’t do or say anything stupid.

@TeriYaki thanks for the recap and the comments. The comments help make sense of the reactions one see while the recap helps Friday come sooner.

Three cheers to both the recap writers :)

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Sigh So, which cousin is going to do surgery on Cha-young and fix her senses? Or will this be a team effort that finally unites the cousins as they fight to save her life? I'm sorry, but I truly do wish the writer would quit throwing trauma and tragedy at the two leads and instead, you know, work on moving their relationship forward. What this drama does best at this point is the quiet moments of Cha-young cooking, and with Kang slowly getting to know the staff and residents of the hospice. What the drama does poorly is pacing, staff/patient interaction, and misfortune after misfortune. Misunderstandings are to be expected in a melo, but can Kang just catch one lousy break after enduring a childhood under the thumb of the world's most evil grandmother?

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We might as well go for more over the top melo. I vote for Kang performing his own surgery to fix his hand, then her surgery.

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Well, if it is neurosurgery Kang could be awake and giving Joon directions while his cousin roots around in his brain. (I hope the writer doesn't read this.)

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At this point, it’s starting to look like anything can and will happen. I do hope they don’t have a mole here in Chocolate the way Bang-gan had on Cheonga’s hair. (This comment reminded me of My Country!)

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I miss my Stabby OTP.

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These two cousins actually make me think of uri Stabby Couple. They’re just victims of their environment /family’s circumstance. I want to be optimistic and think that both of them will come around eventually.

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Scalpels at 10 paces...

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Lol!!

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Kim Sabu can do Kang's hand surgery at Doldam Hospital -- which is part of the Geosung system, IIRC. It's just down the road. Alas, they don't have neurosurgeons. But they've got at least one cardiothoracic surgeon who could give Grandma From Hell an aftermarket heart, since she doesn't have one that was factory-installed.

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The folks at Doldam hospital are more than capable of handling those surgeries. And Kim Sabu can give Heartless Grandma an earful after a combined operation with Doc Seo Jeong.

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Yes, THIS!!!!!

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Sigh...so we’re at Ep10 and still more tragedy? I have been reading recaps just to see if I should jump back in. I bailed after Ep3. I thought the drama would ease up and give the leads a break already and let them move onto sweet moments to allow the audience some room to stop weeping and just enjoy the ride. 🙁

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am i the only one who is finding this second half way more predictable. at same time i feel the director is confused abt which storyline to pay more attention too.
and while watching 9th 10th episode i completely forgot abt whome this whole drama is... ? is it about Kang and his pitiful life under his hitler grandma or is it abt CY and her sad life how her mom abandoned her or is it about these two finding each other's support....

or
abt greedy DIL who is forcing her son (who is lost to know what exactly to do in his life) to hijack family hospital from his cousin...

ahhh my brain is messed up.. and i am so badly disappointed with last 2 episodes....
anyone else with me ?

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I agree that it seems to have lost it's way.

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Love your pun! 😊 @ndlessjoie

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glad i am not alone... last 2 episodes i felt bad for my high expectations.. hope coming episodes will be better

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I am totally with you!

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hehehe good to know.. so I can rant it out and still have someone to support me..

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Rant all you want 🤗. I just did above 😊. It is healing 😃.

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I'd say that I was quite disappointed in ep.9, but felt a bit better in ep.10 which is due largely to the Vietnamese-Korean couple. My feelings is that mostly what happened in the last two episodes were just fill-ups (I can't even say they're plot devices. To me, plot devices should make sense. These are not.) I didn't think adding that Michael boy to the hospice was necessary until I saw that his brother punched CY's head and she somehow suffers from those symptoms that affect her smelling ability and tasting ability. It's true like everyone else has said, I wish the writer stop piling one tragedy after another just because of the results she wants if it doesn't make sense. I mean, Chocolate is beautiful, but it's not well-written, if I may say. At this point, it's heart-warming and everything that I love but I cannot say it's a very very good show that everyone must watch. I'd say there are flaws in the story but I just like it and that's it.

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And to me, the scene that CY told Joon that she didn't feel anything about Kang while Kang was also standing just outside the room is totally makjang.

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for me 9th was absolute filler while 10th somehow tried to redeemed but failed. reason... for first 8 episode i can even now recall almost all the moments/scenes that me cry, gave me goosebumps and had me bite my nails in anticipation (and they are MANY).... but last 2 i can hardly recall 2 scenes (one CY bumping her head cause she herself recalled it so many times and LK overhearing her talk to Jun in kitchen rest everything is blank in my mind n heart...

So you can see where I am coming from... the impact first 8 epi had the stage they built wasnt well utilized by 9, 10.... reason... writer/director were unable to figure what they this drama to be about. is it about the lives of all the patients in hospice, CY-LK love story sans their individual traumatic lives, or CY-LK-MS love triangle, or Hitler grandmom and her greedy DIL.....so in short i could not find a motive for what all happened in past 2 episode...

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You're not alone. This drama is becoming a huge disappointment. The sheer talent of both lead stars are wasted on this drama. Sad.

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am sooo happy i am not alone... cause i felt like something is missing in last 2 episode and I am the only one who couldnt figure it out... but glad thats not the case,,,,
and if by any chance this drama does not improve in next episodes ill be dropping it for sure.

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Since they brought up MinSung this episode, will this be the reason for Cha Young to run back to Greece again?

I think I can see why Kang is struggling with his feelings so much. He has to deal with supposedly rejection from Cha Young, jealousy from Joon getting close with the girl he has feelings for and the ghost of his best friend still at the back of his mind after all these years.

I can’t help but think if Joon will be the one to knock some sense into Kang about all this misunderstanding. I think Joon is perceptive of his surroundings enough to know what’s really going on between Kang and Cha Young. It looks like Kang is too stubborn to think clearly. If Kang doesn’t resolve this on his own, I would be more than glad if Joon echoes Kang’s own words that he told the fisherman back at the pier.

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:D

Great expectations lead to great disappointments!

The surgeries and the tragedies and the deaths and the competition!

(An aside: I don’t think there will be more surgeries. Also CY will not recover unless it is a miracle! At least in my take of the story there shouldn’t be... it is about overcoming blows life deals is with. And yes, pacing issues for sure!)

Still crossing my fingers and praying to experience a good story.

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Thanks @teriyaki for the recap and your comments. I found them insightful.

Reading the comments that have been made, I think that most viewers are focussing almost exclusively on the love story aspect/the OTP, but I think the show has a broader focus, which is not just the love story, but the lives of the two main characters:
– ChaYoung needs to learn to live more fully, as @teriyaki suggested. Her mother abandoned her, she has a leech for a brother, she moved to Greece to escape Kang, and now she and Kang work at the same hospice. But still, can she just only survive, or can she thrive?
– Kang needs to figure out his own life and purpose, since he no longer can be a surgeon, along with the extent to which he wants to be his grandmother's puppet. I also think he is riddled with guilt, sadness and loneliness from Min Sung's death – his best "ride or die" friend who he could not save, and whose ex-girlfriend he now seems to like...

I think one of the things the show is trying to explore is the evolution of broken individuals, Cha Young and Kang. Although it might be a given that by the end of the series, they will be together, separately and as they are now, they have a lot of issues. So hopefully, as we continue this journey with them, we will see them become better people than when we started...

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@luminus

Hi... isn’t it interesting how so many of us read the story and what to take from it so differently.
I like what you have said too :)
The story is definitely about individuals too.

(I don’t have the power of the like so am responding as a comment)

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Hi! @luminus18
I remember the engaging and lively discussions we had in One Spring Night. It’s good to see you again here and hope to read more of your perspective here too! It seems the melo in this drama is as relentless as GiSeok was in his obsession with JungIn. I am rooting for the individual characters’ growth and healing as much as I wish for more heart fluttering moments between our leads, hopefully soon!

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Hi @Mei Geu-Rae

It's great to be commenting again on a drama in (almost) real-time!

This drama had a bit of a slow start for me, and there had to be quite a bit of 'suspension of belief' to get through the early episodes. But once Cha Young and Kang both started to work at the hospice, I think Chocolate began to find its stride.

I love the fact you referenced One Spring Night, because in a similar way, I think Chocolate is mimicking life. Most things/situations do not happen or evolve in a direct path – which was almost the entire premise of One Spring Night. Further, most of us are riddled with a whole host of insecurities (such as Cha Young and Kang) that cause us to hesitate, run away, or make 'less-than-optimal' choices, which hopefully we have the opportunity to learn from, and to become better people, and hopefully live happier and more fulfilled lives.

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I am also glad to see familiar names. This is only the 2nd drama that I am actively commenting on ( One Spring Night was the first).. and maybe its because I do dig stories that mimick real life indecisions, wrong assumptions, insecurities, etc. Yes, a bit too slow compared to other dramas but a refreshing break , at least.

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Thank you for your perspective. I do agree with you.

I feel like both the leads do benefit from working at the hospice. Kang got to know many patients and form bonds with them. This may be the first time he really got to know patients as human beings, not just patients in hospitals, thanks to CY and ppl at the place. He is growing out of this miserable shell, if I may say. I have to say that I am a bit irritated with his too many misunderstandings, but looking at the world from his side, I can't blame him for it. The world seems like a miserable place without his one-and-only best friend who he couldn't save. I am glad that the person who penetrates his heart is the same person who he wanted to help when he was a kid. No act of kindness ever goes unanswered, I guess.

For CY, again she is another broken soul. Despite having said that, I feel as if CY possesses a clearer perspective towards the world and the life she wants to lead in comparison to our dear ML (Having raised by an evil family seems to have a deeper effects on our dear boy in comparison to CY who has grown up alone.) The only thing I felt was quite unreasonable is the fact that CY knew that Min-Seong knew about the feeling she has for Kang, and being at that age she should be able to guess Kang's feeling towards her (the jealousy tantrum he made in his car) yet she didn't make herself clear to Kang. Instead of accepting her feeling for him and clarifying what has been misunderstood between them, she let him make a move most of the time and dear God we all know how clumsy our beloved ML is with respect to love and relationships.

But yes again, I hope with the Vietnamese-Korean couple and Ye-sol's parents in the face of death, CY should be able to clear her head and make the right decisions, not only for herself by also for Kang who still seems unable to.

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I definitely agree with you, re Kang. I think besides Min Seong, he really couldn't trust anyone, and so he has had only himself to depend on. However, now is relying on advice from a kid :-D – possibly because he is out of his depth with respect to his feeling for Cha Young, in light of the fact that she had been her best friend's ex, and for all intents and purposes, his sworn enemy for hurting his friend...

On Cha Young's part, I don't think it is unreasonable that she has not caught on to the fact that Kang might like her, because based on her breaking up with Min Seong, he had been very clear about his feelings towards her, and his continuing loyalty to his best friend. However, she knows that he can be kind-hearted, based on her experience with him as a child, and when she observed him in earlier episodes helping the old man in the rain, and even when he came to her rescue a few times.

So, I think unless he, or someone, else spells it out for her, she is unlikely to read too much into what he might say or do, since she thinks she already know how he 'truly' feels about her, based on what was said and done in the past...

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I can see how this will be frustrating. Unless Kang will come to his senses or someone points out their situation, perhaps only after Cha Young is gone, nothing’s going to happen between these two.

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I don't think she knows of his feeling either.

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I'm also viewing this as not just the love story. The love story is sort of secondary. The first is using CY and Kang to show the stories of the other hospice patients. The second is having CY and Kang get out of their rut and confront their pasts. I like that they're older characters - estimate of mid - so it makes sense that they feel resigned and even comfortable with their situations. Kang is trying to figure out his next step and things are more complicated now that he has the hand tremor and there is his grandmother trying to get rid of the hospice. And Cha Young never got over her abandonment. Her series of misfortunes makes her happy and grateful to be alive, but as you've indicated, life is more than just surviving.

Then once they manage that, they could fall in love. I like how at episode 10, there is no kiss so far. Usually kdramas try to throw in a kiss - intentional or accidental- on the 4th week.

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I just...I just want one episode where Cha young isn't in grave danger physically.

And for this new lease on life to included getting rid of her brother for good.

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He's on my shortlist for characters I would like to die. Kang's grandma is at the top, but it's a toss up between Joon's parents, Cha-young's brother, and the hospice director, as to who should go next.

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Haha!

We should play the bingo.

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Btw if the short preview of ep 11 is correct then the grandma will end up in hospital! So you never know :D

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The hope is alive!

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@egads,
I've been feeling so frustrated with Kang's evil elders, especially Grandma From Hell, that I hope Karma renders the whole lot of them in need of hospice. Bwahaha!

How did I become this vengeful? From Secondhand Trauma Overload. ;-)

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looking forward to see how LK take a step closer to CY as now he realize that he has feelings for her but hesitate to allow himself to get closer to CY. I want to see more scene in Greece and more romance of course and Kang's cooking ((i've seen in some trailers that in the end Kang will give her the chocolate he promised her long time ago))

I'm also curious how the relationship between Kang and Joon will develop as Joon is actually cares about Kang but his family situation makes him hesitant to show affection towards Kang.

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So I was wrong, the woman is Michael's mother. But that leaves me with questions. But the whole thing with that side of the story and CY loosing use of her senses was just too much for me. And of course CY had to go through more problems. Truth be told I can't make sense of what was going on for most of the episode. I am also really worried about Seon Ae. I am getting tired of the tragedy and I am worried about what's to come in the remaining six episodes. Anyway I am liking the insights the comments are giving about the drama. Sometimes writers give so much detail to parts of the story that they aren't able to do that for the rest of it. Sometimes they give too much attention to the characters that they forget to pay attention to the plot and sometimes it's the other way round too. Which leaves with us either not being able to make sense of the characters' actions or the plot. Not to mention we might give more importance or attention to somethings and end up ignoring the rest. So it's helpful to read the comments which help me make sense about a lot of what's going on.

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I can't agree with you more. The only thing I want to highlight in my opinion towards ep.10 is the Vietnamese-Korean couple. They are lovely. I so give credit to the actor and actress who performed the acting so brilliantly I lost so many bittersweet tears for them two.

I haven't tried to make sense of many things in this show long time ago. I agree that the focus of the writer seems unpredictable most of the time. I'd say the main plot seems sway in many parts of the story up to now. Many things/incidents/people are inserted into the story just to make certain effects the writer wants without having considered if those things do make sense.

But I still love it nonetheless: its teaser, songs, cinematography and especially CY's cooking scenes are just love. I can't imagine if the plot can be as good and sensible as Forest of Secrests this would definitely become my fav of all time.

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Thank you for the recap and I enjoy reading all the comments!

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Look how we posted at the exact same time! 02012020 at 11:22 oh there are many 0s 1s 2s hehe.

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With Ji Yong's passing, I didn't think I was going to ugly-cry again. But then the Korean-Vietnamese couple appeared and I was bawling.

Cha Young hitting her head was too much. I was swearing and probably pulling a Tae-hyun until Cha Young explained that she had dealt with the department store collapse while being abandoned and that she had dealt with worse challenges over the years, so she wasn't going to let herself fall apart.

And there is definitely something going on with Cha Young and Tae Hyun's mom that Tae Hyun isn't letting us know...

I'm not looking for a relationship or to have kids, but watching these patients and watching Seon-Ae who is single and childless go through Alzheimers, makes me worried about being elderly without a husband or even kids to lean on. Even for the granny who died in the earlier episodes, the person who helped her was her husband's mistress. Makes me think that I should at least get a husband with a nice mistress. :)

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@asianromance ar,

I've been wondering about Cha-young's mother, and have the uncomfortable feeling that she's going to barge into their lives the exact same way Hurricane Tae-hyun blew into his sister's -- except that she'll be terminal as well as broke. And this is where both of them will have to deal with their abandonment issues.

I can see it all now: Mother From Hell will share a room with Grandma From Hell.

Tae-hyun is such a scheming jerk -- until I consider what he probably went through with that kind of parent. (Whatever happened to their Dad? I assume he must have died, otherwise he would have cared for both children.) Tae-hyun probably had to raise himself, and ended up as a con artist because Mom expected him to support her.

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First of all, the basketball thing is so cliché for jealousy & competition in Asian dramas....

2ndly, I was so relieved that episode 8s awfulness was a fluke. Episode 10 made me cry, & it was the first time I cried during this drama.

Only 6 episodes left, & our leads are nowhere near confessing or getting closer.

I like how events have developed with Joon. I knew there was a decent man there. He recognizes the drive to do things by yourself even if you aren't fully capable at the moment. I liked how he intervened for the FL.

The brother finally showed some care for his sister, albeit his high handed manner deserves a smack.
He doesn't get to berate her kindness for strangers when he's the one who's taken advantage of it in his adult life.

Loved the recap, thank you @teriyaki

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This is one of the most magical and life-affirming K dramas I've ever seen despite the bleakness of the subject matter. The small town backdrop reminds me so much of Thank You... a perennial favourite. Of course I was delighted to find out that it is by the same writer. I don't think the beginning was perfect to start with but everything that's since transpired at the hospice has been quite amazing. The writing and directing have been a joy and a delight to watch.

While I love the slowburn of the romance, I'm not entirely here for it. It's the people that negotiates this middle ground between life and death (patients and staff) that fascinates, and tugs at the heart strings. Watching a loved one go through that journey in that space probably makes everything here resonate just a tad more with me.

I don't spend a lot of time here generally but for shows that I love, I lurk a bit and maybe post here and there. Thank you @PYC for your kind words on the previous thread and for quoting me. It really made my day.

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Hi @Lilium

If you are “ @40somethingahjumma “ quoted by @PYC then I just wanted to let you know:

I am a fan. I specially searched up your posts to read on the other forum and I loved your expression. I silently thanked PYC for introducing you and I wished to thank you for saying things so eloquently about chocolate. Most of your thoughts resonate, one in particular was:
Part of the richness of the drama comes from the fact that it is heavily focused on visual storytelling and uses words sparingly.

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Thank you so much for that lovely response. I appreciate you taking the time to write to me. It's so encouraging to know that my rambles get noticed. Have a good one.

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Those are not rambles, @Lilium !
They are as yummy as the food cooked in this show.

If you ever write fic/non-fic/ short/ long pieces do share... I would love to read.

I hope you continue to “ramble” :)

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"Thank you" for mentioning THANK YOU, @lilium. It has been on my to-watch list for quite a spell. I've been enjoying CHOCOLATE, and that gives me even more incentive to check out this drama from Jang Hyuk's filmography. With Gong Hyo-jin and Shin Sung-rok, to boot. ;-)

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There was something about Thank You that reminded me a little bit like a British drama. Maybe the small village setting where everyone knows everyone for generations.
I also had to buy chocopies afterwards.

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@bcampbell1662 beverly,
You instantly reminded me of the British comedy DOC MARTIN, set in a seaside village in Cornwall. I haven't seen it in years, and was surprised to learn that its 9th series aired this past September. Title character was an irascible vascular surgeon who developed fear of blood, and became a general practitioner in the boonies -- which now that I think of it, reminded me a lot of Ongsan in WHEN THE CAMELLIA BLOOMS. ;-)

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Part 1 of 2

Thank you for your recap and comments, @teriyaki.

I’m really glad that Joon overheard Tae-hyun’s argument with Cha-young, and got a gander at her MRI. But while she may indeed have olfactory issues, I doubt her run-in with Michael’s brother is what caused it. She might have nasal polyps or a zinc deficiency. I think the whole olfactory loss scenario is a red herring. I’m much more concerned about her deteriorating eyesight.

When Michael’s brother pushed Cha-young around, the back of her head struck the cabinet. The visual cortex in located at the occiput – the bulge at the back of the skull. I have a sneaking suspicion that the latest blow(s) to her head – along with others incurred when she tumbled down the hillside while picking raspberries – have aggravated an injury dating back to the building collapse. Add to that further insult occurring during the auto accident in the rain.

As an abandoned child, what kind of expensive neurological testing or treatment would Cha-young have received without a guardian? If she didn’t have an obvious head injury, it may have gone unnoticed. Might all those years of panic attacks have been caused, at least in part, by an undetected and untreated brain injury? (Now that I think of it, if anyone would have spotted it, it would have been Kang – except that he was in such sorry shape himself after the car accident.)

I may have missed or forgotten something. Was Cha-young sent to an orphanage after her rescue from the building collapse? She was old enough to know her name and that of her mother (as she was five years older than Dong-baek when she was abandoned in WHEN THE CAMELLIA BLOOMS). Why didn’t the authorities track down her custodial parent? I seem to have amnesia myself, as I don’t recall hearing about this.

What is Director Kwon’s problem? He is such a rudely dismissive person. I can understand that there is no love lost between him and first wife Seon-ae, who ran off with another man, only to cross paths with him many years later. Was he always such an unpleasant ingrate? If so, I don’t blame her for leaving him – and wonder how poor Min-sung ever managed to grow up to be such a kind and decent human being with such an irritable ogre for a father. Or has Doc Kwon become embittered over the years, especially after losing his second wife? Perhaps he has been abused once too often by Geosung’s horrid rulers – and knows they are out to get him. The way he lashes out at Seon-ae is completely at odds with his bedside manner with patients. I’m not sure whether he is some kind of Hippocrite (misanthropic doctor who puts on a MARCUS WELBY act), or suffers from massive survivor’s guilt over his dead wife and son. Maybe we’ll learn that the man Seon-ae “ran off” with was a relative rescuing her from an ogre. Or maybe she took off because he wanted a child and she couldn’t bear one.

- Continued -

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Part 2 of 2

When I think about it, timing is a major theme in this show. After seeing the flashback to Min-sung telling Kang, “Even if you end up falling for Cha-young, just swallow your feelings,” all I could think of was the dying man’s intention to release his friend from that command. Except that Kang never showed up for their fishing date. Dang it, Min-sung, couldn’t you have written Kang a letter, or left him a voice recording on your handphone?!

I still have it filed in the back of my mind that Kang recognized Cha-young from their childhood encounter. She still has not realized that he is the boy who fed her when he caught her snitching dried cow fodder while wandering around on vacation all those years ago.

In some respects, Cha-young reminds me a lot of Dong-baek from WHEN THE CAMELLIA BLOOMS. Both of them have experienced and survived soul-crushing rejection early in life. As has Kang, who was basically taken hostage by his late father’s cruel family. For that matter, his cousin Joon has also had a tough row to hoe as his talent and qualifications have been relentlessly second-guessed by Evil Grandma and his pathetic excuse for parents. All of them are emotionally stunted, with Joon being perhaps the “healthiest” of the lot. (I expect to learn that Kang’s mother was kind to him in later years, even after he had attacked Kang as soon as they met. Meeting that one kind adult probably saved his soul.) Cha-young and Kang strike me as being cases of arrested pre-adolescence. And that’s probably why they are driving us viewers nuts.

I have a feeling that Kang and Joon are going to get a deathbed confession from Evil Grandma that will reveal that she was being filial by stewarding her father’s or grandfather’s hospital after her elder brother died, or some such deal. She sacrificed the younger generations of the family, including her own children, to protect the founder’s dream. How much do you want to bet?

-30-

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I share your sentiment for a letter (or as you say, a voice recording message) coming from MinSung that will release Kang from what MinSung told him. When Cha Young read the letter on the bus, I wondered if there was one for Kang as well. I’m inclined to think that this carries a very heavy weight and intangible barrier because of their strong bond as friends, possibly as close as brothers. I am not sure how this will be resolved though —if there wasn’t a letter, perhaps MinSung was able to relay to Director Kwon about it when they were together at the fishing ground. I think it was as much a burden for MinSung knowing about Cha Young’s feelings and the true reason for her leaving for Greece and keeping it to himself must’ve been difficult too.

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@mei123db Mei Geu-Rei,
It just occurred to me that Cha-young could show Min-sung's letter to Kang. If he had left a verbal message for Kang with his father, I would have expected Doc Kwon to have delivered it before now. Unless perhaps Min-sung had stipulated that Kang had to bring up the subject on his own.

I agree that it must have been a heavy burden for Min-sung to carry alone.

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I’ve gone through so many possible scenarios for this in my head I’m so curious how the writer makes all the puzzle pieces fit.

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Regarding Cha Young's current medical issues, I think you're giving the writer far to much credit. I think what we've been told is just that, with no hidden issue that goes back to the original injuries from the building collapse or any other possible cause.

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@ndlessjoie mugyuljoie,
You may be right, and I could be giving Writer-nim too much credit. But the camera repeatedly depicted her blurred vision when there wasn't a cut onion in sight. That made me question what's really going on with her noggin, given her intermittent blurriness and focusing issues.

As for loss of olfactory sense, it can be an early indicator of Alzheimer's. It's bad enough that Seon-ae has been diagnosed with it. The shark will have been well and truly jumped if Cha-young ends up with it, too.

Maybe it will turn out to be psychosomatic. ;-)

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I think he'll make his chocolate dish for her and it will work miracles.

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Yikes, I didn't even think about her current state being possibly related to something undetected or unresolved from her first injury. The drama skipped over her life after the building collapse and before being an awesome chef. I'm curious too about what happened to her, but it would also be too sad to find out. From her outburst at Tae-hyun, it sounded like the crap has been hitting the fan every since the building collapse.

I'm inclined to think well of Director Kwon just because I really like the actor. I do think he has been embittered by the loss of two wives (one dead, one left but returned dying) and an only child and by all the things he must have seen while directing the hospice (Geosung overlords and patients with terrible family members). Then there was his pupil poisoning his wife. Not to mention a diet of ramyun for every meal...lack of proper nutrients can aggravate mood swings and disorders. I'm glad he separates out his personal self from his bedside manner self. I think he's extra mean to Seon-ae to push her away (seems like everyone connected to him is jinxed) and also he's angry in the kdrama-esque "if you were going to leave me, at least live well". Then, she got Alzheimer's.

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@asianromance ar,
Ah, so Director Kwon is the ill-fated Dong-baek in CHOCOLATE who pushes people away so his bad luck won't rub off on them. It makes perfect sense. ;-)

Thanks for going to bat for him. I was beginning to get fed up with him, but will try to keep an open mind. ;-)

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Kishotenketsu and Jeong

Regarding the glacial pace of the apparent romance between Kang and Cha-young, I consider CHOCOLATE to be a meandering character study that could just as easily have been titled PEOPLE WITH FLAWS. If I think of it as written in the classical Chinese poetry form better known in the West as “kishotenketsu” 4-panel manga structure, it makes a lot more sense. This literary structure is also used in Korea. CHOCOLATE isn’t plot-driven. It doesn’t have an overarching central conflict. It isn’t written in 3-acts. I think that’s why it is frustrating for many international viewers. But if I think in terms of the one wound each of the main characters is ultimately trying to resolve, it starts making more sense. Each character’s myriad problems may just be fractals of their original issue. – Your mileage may vary. ;-)

I posted some pointers to helpful articles on kishotenketsu in the finale recap for GREASY MELO / WOK OF LOVE. You can find them here:

Greasy Kishotenketsu: Secret Ingredients in Kdrama, Part 1 of 2:
http://www.dramabeans.com/2018/07/greasy-melo-episodes-35-38-final/#comment-3277180
#29 PakalanaPikake, July 24, 2018 at 4:11 PM

Greasy Kishotenketsu: Secret Ingredients in Kdrama, Part 2 of 2
http://www.dramabeans.com/2018/07/greasy-melo-episodes-35-38-final/#comment-3277182
#30 PakalanaPikake, July 24, 2018 at 4:17 PM

In addition, two dandy short videos online at SMAC! Web Magazine (and also on YouTube) give the basics in Japanese and English:

The FOUR Part construction “Ki-Sho-Ten-Ketsu” – Japanese Manga 101 #049
http://www.manga-audition.com/the-four-part-construction-ki-sho-ten-ketsu-japanese-manga-101-
049/

Japan’s Most Popular Manga is “4koma” – “Ki-sho-Ten-ketsu” 2 – Japanese Manga 101 #050 2/2
http://www.manga-audition.com/japans-most-popular-manga-is-4koma-ki-sho-ten-ketsu-2-japanese-
manga-101-050/

There’s one more item that international Beanies would do well to read about because it gives such valuable insight into the Korean psyche. That is jeong. I came across mention of it in comments on another drama when I was struggling to understand Dong-baek in WHEN THE CAMELLIA BLOOMS. It suddenly hit me that it also explains the relationship between Sun-ho and Hwi, and between Yi Bang-won and his father – and everyone else – in MY COUNTRY. Jeong is in play in CHOCOLATE, too. Learning about jeong and its relationship to the more familiar haan has been well worth the research effort. It illuminates every Kdrama I’ve ever watched. Here’s the journal article. Even if it’s the only piece on comparative psychology you read this year, it will be well worth it. ;-)

Conceptualization of Jeong and Dynamics of Hwabyung
Christopher K. Chung, M.D., Samson J. Cho, M.D.
Psychiatry Invest 2006; 3 (1):46-54

http://psychiatryinvestigation.org/upload/pdf/0502006005.pdf

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Glacial pace... exactly what I was thinking regarding the steps Kang and Cha Young are taking. The four act manga structure in Korean drama is an eye opener for me and helpful info. This requires enormous amount of patience as each character arc are woven together.

The psychiatric study on Jeong and Hwabyung adds an interesting color and awareness to the Korean context and sheds light on the treatment approach for Eastern folks.

Appreciate the links @pakalanapikake Sunbaenim!

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You're most welcome, @mei123db Mei Geu-Rei. I'm so glad you found the information on kishotenketsu to be helpful. I don't read mangas / manhwas, so the it came as a fascinating revelation to me. Getting a handle on kishotenketsu has enabled me to better appreciate the Kdramas I watch. It is an important part of the Korean-ness I've come to love.

You're absolutely right that patience is needed as character arcs weave together in the lead-up to the twist. Sometimes an open ending is truly the most apropos for a particular character -- because according to kishotenketsu, it makes perfect sense. It may seem underwhelming from a logical standpoint, but from a non-rational (i.e., emotional) viewpoint, it works. That is often the case in real life, no matter where you live.

Haan shows up pretty often in Kdramas -- but knowing that it originates from disruption of jeong explains how antagonists end up locked in each other's orbits long after one would logically expect one or the other to bail out. It's a very different mindset (heartset?) for an American to grok -- even one whose Irish ancestors had their own version of haan. ;-)

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So I'm not enjoying the twist portion of our drama? That's very true. It's causing hwabyung.

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You may vent out all of your hwabyung on Heartless Grandma 😋😝

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@mei123db Mei Geu-Rei, @ndlessjoie mugyuljoie,

Other deserving targets of hwabyung lightning bolts are obnoxious aunts Hye-mi and Seo-hun, in that order. ;-)

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@ndlessjoie mugyuljoie,
Here, have a cup of hot cocoa. It's not worth giving yourself agita. ;-)

*clinks mug*

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Interesting psychology article, @pakalanapikake, thanks! The article sure is enlightening about the specific Korean collective mentality... And it made me draw some similarities with the Basque culture, present in northern Spain/southern France. In the Basque language, people also favour the "we" pronoun ("gu") instead of "I" (although the usage of "we" is loosing prevalence due to the influence of the Spanish language) and refer to "our dad/mom/children/friend's name...". Similarly, people tend to dedicate a large amount of time - in some cases, daily- to socializing, especially with family and their own set of friends that usually is stable throughout their lifetime... Unsurprisingly, it's a society where people have great skills to organise for all kinds of great and small occasions, and it's very oriented towards collective goals. All of this has nothing to do with kdrama, but I just found it interesting trivia to share

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Thank you for pointing out the parallel with Basque language and culture, @flyingcolours Fly Colours. Somehow I didn't see your comment until just now. I'm glad I came back to this recap thread. ;-)

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Hello! Does anyone know the name of the song that plays at the end of Ep 10? I’m struggling trying to find it!

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Chocolate OST Part 8 : PENTAGON Hui (후이 펜타곤) - One Sided Love (짝사랑 )

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I am also wondering if anyone knows the name of the song that played while Kang was eating his Quiznos and realizing that he had mistaken CY for the nurse. The song with the lyrics like "right time and right place.." (11.00 - 11.45 mins.)

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In ep.11*

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I don't think they released it yet.

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Can anyone tell me what the name of the track they play with the beginning credits?

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