Chocolate: Episode 15
Ah, this couple is so sweet. Sweet as…well, you know. At long last, they’re leaving the past in the past and allowing themselves to be happy. And it makes all the difference to have the support of someone you love. Still, before we can say goodbye, our doctor and chef have other problems in their lives that they’ve yet to face.
EPISODE 15 RECAP
Kang hurries over to the countryside, where Joon’s pottery sanctuary is. When he arrives, he finds Joon with a cut hand and broken pottery scattered all over the ground. Joon explains that he refused to return to work and that the current scene is a result from his mother’s people trying to bring him back.
Kang wraps up Joon’s wound, Joon eyeing him the whole time. There’s no nerve damage, which Joon is thankful for — he needs his hands for pottery. “Since I won’t be a doctor anymore,” he says matter-of-factly. In that same tone, he asks Kang if he wants to share some soju.
Meanwhile, Cha-young braces herself before entering a police station. Inside, a beat up Tae-hyun is arguing with a woman and her boyfriend, who claim Tae-hyun was hitting on her. He’s glad to see that his noona has arrived, but when the officer asks if she’s family, she answers, “I have nothing to do with him.”
Cha-young tells the officer to go ahead and follow protocol and walks out, leaving Tae-hyun genuinely stunned. He looks down at the desk and notices a newspaper article about a construction defect case. Apparently, a building collapsed and killed ten people, and to Tae-hyun’s horror, the CEO responsible got off on probation.
Back with our star-crossed cousins, who are finally having a drink together. They silently pour each other’s drinks, which argh, makes my heart so happy. Joon asks Kang how his hand tremors are and he sighs, saying they’re still there. Joon looks away and says that he didn’t cause the tremors on purpose.
Looking at his hand, Kang guesses that he could’ve beat Joon and obtained Geosung had his hand been fine. But then what, he wonders aloud. Would he have been happy after all that? “No,” Joon answers for him. Kang smiles and says, “Right. I think so too.”
After emptying several soju bottles, the boys head over to Kang’s car. Kang asks Joon if he’s really going to quit the hospital, and he sadly laughs, saying Kang knows more than anyone that he’s an incompetent doctor. Before Kang leaves with his designated driver, Joon stops him, saying he has one more thing to tell him.
Tae-hyun is released from the station and storms into the hospice’s kitchen, where Cha-young is beating dried pollack. He lies that he stole a gun and fled and is frustrated when Cha-young actually believes him. He yells that he got out because the witnesses and CCTV footage proved he was innocent all along.
Cha-young is surprised to learn this but continues her work until Tae-hyun grabs the mallet. Knowing she’s tired of him, he asks why she ever took him in, and she turns to him to say, “Because we’re family. Because you’re the only family I have in the entire world.”
She continues that she was even willing to forget the fact that he abandoned her like their mom did. That hits a nerve, and he suggests they officially cut ties then. He tells her to pretend they don’t know each other, just as she did at the station, and stalks out. It’s only then that she drops her work and sighs.
Kang arrives at the hospice, still thinking about what Joon told him. And it looks like he revealed everything, from Grandma’s master plan to Joon’s father being illegitimate.
Kang was confused and asked why Joon was handing him that information, and Joon replied, tears in his eyes, that he always hated cheating. He couldn’t understand why everyone around him was still trying to cheat for him. For now, Kang forgets all of that and heads inside to find Cha-young.
Kang joins Cha-young on the kitchen floor, wondering why she’s looking so glum. She just smiles and says it’s nothing, instead bringing up her hunger. To that, he suggests he make them some dinner. He dons the signature pink apron and gets to work on pumpkin fritters.
Kang mentions that his mom loved the dish, which reminds Cha-young that his mom passed in an accident. Seeing his sad smile, she takes his hand and says it must’ve been hard for him. He thinks he should be the one holding her hand, though, as she’s been through much more.
She tells him to hold her hand next time, and they grin at each other. As they sit down and sweetly feed each other the fritters, she narrates to her savior, Ajumma, (Kang’s mom): “Thanks to you, I can enjoy and cherish these precious everyday moments.” She hopes to tell “Ajumma” her stories when they meet again.
The next day, Young-shil hears music coming from outside and runs out to see Dae-shik singing a love song to some gathered patients. She runs off, but he catches up to say that he wrote the song for her.
She tries to smack him, but he stops her, saying his head isn’t too well these days. That’s for sure, she says. Either way, she can’t date him when she still sees him as a kid. In response, he gives her a big ol’ kiss, stunning her silent. She quickly regains her composure and insists she felt nothing.
She walks back inside, freaking out about having her first kiss with “that jerk,” lol. He comes after her, saying hi to Director Kwon when he passes by. Kwon greets Dae-shik warmly and informs Young-shil that he’s volunteering now. Even more freaked out, she hilariously tries to talk Kwon out of it.
Dae-shik starts acting up again, when he suddenly gets sick. He runs off to the bathroom, and Young-shil assumes he’s hungover or something. Kwon looks serious, though, as he follows him into the bathroom.
Finding Kang in there as well, Kwon quietly asks how Dae-shik’s brain scan looked. Kang shakes his head, implying bad news. Kwon sighs and reminds him to keep this from Young-shil, as Dae-shik wants to tell her himself.
Joon, his dad, and his aunt visit Grandma in the hospital, just as she’s having a nightmare. She wakes up in a cold sweat, her expression grim when she sees Joon. He tries to make sure she’s okay, but she pushes him away.
Seung-hoon demands to know why she’s treating Joon that way, leading to a fight with Seo-hoon. Hurt, Joon just shuffles out of the room and heads back to his workshop. Joon’s mom is there waiting for him, surprised to see the bandage on his hand. She mutters that she wanted her employees to trash the place, not hurt him. She asks if he’s okay, and he says, “Unfortunately, it’s not that bad. Kang took good care of me.”
Ignoring that last part, Hye-mi orders him to return to the hospital. Ignoring that, Joon angrily states that he wanted to be a good hyung to Kang and to admit, for once, that his parents were wrong. But he kept holding back, just as his parents wanted, and turned into a coward. Hye-mi insists that he could go far if he keeps holding back, but he’s already done.
Cleaning up the mess Hye-mi’s employees made, Joon warns her that he’ll call the police the next time this happens. Yeah, you tell her!
At the hospice, chef Gyeong-soo brings a tray of food to Director Kwon. She explains that Seon-ae asked her to take care of his meals after she left since he always eats ramen. And to her surprise, Kwon accepts the food. As he’s eating, Seon-ae’s calling him “Honey” comes to mind.
Kwon visits Seon-ae’s house, just in time to see her throwing out Cha-young (thinking she’s her younger sister, who always borrowed money). Cha-young doesn’t want to correct her and confuse her, so Kwon steps in and asks why she’s throwing out family when he has no problem with them.
With Seon-ae calmed down, Cha-young goes into the kitchen to make rice cakes. Kwon joins her and tells her about her Seon-ae’s family — how Seon-ae even gave up college to pay for her father’s hospital bills. Seeing as how her siblings aren’t caring for her, he thinks they must’ve cut contact.
Cha-young offers him some of the rice cakes, saying that Seon-ae’s been talking about them for a while. He still remembers, however, that Seon-ae hates rice cakes; he’s the one who likes them. He tastes one and nearly bursts into tears as he says that they’re delicious.
Afterwards, Kwon returns outside to find that Seon-ae has fallen asleep in the middle of knitting. He almost walks away but calls her instead, using formal speech. With a sigh, he sits down and says her name, informal this time, which wakes her up.
Seon-ae smiles at Kwon, and he reminds her of the time her mother came to the hospital to hand out rice cakes to his colleagues. She starts laughing at the story but immediately stops when she notices that he’s crying.
“Why did you do that to me?” he demands, turning to face her, but she has no idea what he’s referring to. He continues asking why, grasping her hands and breaking into sobs, while she can only watch helplessly.
Back at the hospice, Tae-hyun looks in on Hee-na’s room (my mistake — she’s a patient, not a chef). She’s doubled over in pain, but, unfortunately, she’s already had enough morphine. All she can do is have Young-shil play music until the pain subsides.
Later, when Hee-na is feeling better, she applies her makeup and then puts on a sleek, red wig. Since it’s a nice day, she gets in her wheelchair and rolls herself outside. She starts to get tired, when Tae-hyun appears and pushes for her.
They get to a good spot, where Hee-na makes another setup for a mukbang, and Tae-hyun asks why she keeps doing them. He starts to say that she’s sick, but she shushes him and smiles, saying her viewers don’t know that.
Hee-na begins recording, eating various types of songpyeon (a Korean holiday treat), but gradually gets tired before passing out on the table. Concerned, Tae-hyun tries to wake her, and she mumbles, “How annoying. I’ll have to record again.”
Inside, Kang interrupts a man crying over his sick wife — while filming for the news. He drags the man out of the room, and the man quits his fake crying to ask for the director or Geosung’s chairwoman. Kang tells him to apologize and to stop filming his wife for pity, which just gets him angry.
As the man gets rough with Kang, Tae-hyun comes in, wheeling the now unconscious Hee-na, and wonders why the man looks so familiar. Kang mentions the ten people the man got killed, and it’s then that Tae-hyun remembers the man as the CEO pictured in the news article he read.
The man continues spewing bull, saying that those who died were just unlucky and that there were plenty of survivors, and Young-shil, noticing Kang’s shaking fist, has to hold him back. Tae-hyun, now furious, breaks them up and shoves the CEO to the ground, calling him scum.
“The fact that they’re still breathing,” Tae-hyun shouts, “and living like normal people doesn’t mean their lives are okay! You didn’t just kill ten people; you killed tens of thousands of people! Those who died, those who survived, and all their families.”
Tae-hyun tells the CEO to apologize if he did wrong, and behind him, Cha-young watches the scene with tears in her eyes. The incident gets Tae-hyun in trouble with the police again, and Cha-young returns to the station, with less hesitation this time.
She finds Tae-hyun inside and tells the officer that she’s his sister, but he denies this and tells her to go home. She keeps trying to put a hand on his shoulder, but he pushes her away every time. The third time, she puts her arms around him and holds on tight.
The longer she hugs him, his denying turns into crying. Her head on his shoulder, she cries as well, apologizing for thinking that she was the only one who suffered all this time.
That night, Kang arrives at the station as well, finding Cha-young sitting out front. He hands her a box of Godiva chocolates, Tae-hyun having told him that they cheer her up. She smiles and suggests they share, but he admits that he doesn’t eat chocolate — not since his mom passed away.
He guesses that chocolate must be her soul food, and she tells him that after surviving her accident, she was inspired to help people. She says, “I wanted to be like the ajumma who gave me her chocolate.” Since that time, chocolate has been like a compass to her, always telling her which way to go.
They continue their conversation, but we don’t get to hear. We skip to Kang getting Cha-young in his car, doing her seatbelt. He keeps smiling at her, but something’s wrong; he tells her to wait as he uses the restroom.
As he walks out of sight, down a flight of stairs, we then see what Cha-young said before. She’d always thought that the ajumma could’ve lived if she kept her chocolate. To this day, she never forgot her name — Jung Su-hui.
Now alone, Kang completely crumbles to this revelation. He drops to the ground, overcome with grief, and sobs his heart out for his mom. Back in the car, Cha-young waits for him, none the wiser.
I don’t know how many times I thought Oh, my heart this episode. I lost track after the soju scene with Kang and Joon. To be honest, when we first met the cousins as kids, I did not think they would ever reach a point where they could be friendly. I thought we were going to get a typical sad hero with a typical selfish rival. Looking at where they are now, at how far they’ve come, it’s like a dream. It’s more than I could’ve asked for. Of course, they still have to be snarky with each other, but that’s part of their charm.
It was hard for Kang to see that Joon was suffering just as much as he was, but in a very different way. It’s tragic, really, that Joon felt he had to hold back any warm feelings towards his younger cousin just to get what his parents wanted. For so long, his grandmother had made him her puppet, and now that his mother is trying to do the same thing for her own agenda, he’s finally breaking free. He’s starting to act like his own person, rather than just someone’s grandson or son. He’s stumbling a bit, as he’s still trying to process, but he’ll get there.
With both Kang and Joon throwing in the medical towels, I do wonder what will become of Geosung. I don’t exactly want them to run the hospital if it’s not what they want, but I don’t want Hye-mi left in charge either. If it were up to me, I wouldn’t let anyone in the family take charge. Perhaps it would be better to start off with a clean slate, with a new chairman. Like, say, I don’t know, a kind, ramen-eating director that actually cares about people? That would be the ideal, but any outcome would be fine, so long as this awful family feud comes to an end.
Then, the drama had to impress me even more and make my heart break for Cha-young and Tae-hyun, yet another family duo that I thought was hopeless. Tae-hyun was most definitely the most annoying part of the first half of the series. He was always a bit of a dumbass, and there were times when he was just plain terrible. Beneath that, there was an obvious love for his sister, and I so desperately wanted that love to make him better. Similar to Joon, he’s been suffering because of what happened to his family and acting out because he doesn’t know how else to deal with it. Now that Cha-young knows this, hopefully, they’ll be able to rebuild their relationship and become their own little family. Their embrace at the police station was much needed, for us and for Cha-young, after the heartache with her mom.
Some more Oh, my heart’s had to go to Director Kwon and Seon-ae. I’m also liking these new storylines with Young-shil and Dae-sik and Tae-hyun and Hee-na. They’re very last minute, but interesting nonetheless. I guess the drama wants me to cry another river with the next episode. But hey, with every storm there’s a rainbow, right? I certainly hope Kang gets his rainbow after learning of his mom’s final moments before death. I don’t think Chocolate would take the Mom angle and use it as a way to separate our couple — I hope not. I would think that it would only bring them closer. Still, I have a feeling this secret could hurt Cha-young pretty bad, just as much as losing her mom. It would be another loss for her, but at least now, she’s gained Kang.
I hate having to let Chocolate go. Right at the start, with episode one, there was something about it that reminded me of old school K-romance. We were hit with a lot of tragedy and immediately comforted with the warmth that radiated off our characters. I wouldn’t say that the viewing experience has been a roller coaster, but more like a merry-go-round — it was dizzying, often repetitive, yet oddly soothing and comforting. And by the end of the ride, I know we’ll get off safe. Our characters will be okay.
- Premiere Watch: People With Flaws, Chocolate
- Yoon Kye-sang and Ha Ji-won begin a romantic journey in Greece for JTBC’s Chocolate
- First teaser for JTBC’s Chocolate with Ha Ji-won, Yoon Kye-sang
- Jang Seung-jo confirms JTBC drama Chocolate with Ha Ji-won, Yoon Kye-sang
- Ha Ji-won, Yoon Kye-sang up for JTBC melo Chocolate