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Chocolate: Episode 16 (Final)

After the years of misunderstandings that kept them apart, our doctor and chef more deeply appreciate their miraculous connection. Thanks to an unexpected reunion, that bond gets tested once again as our couple’s path to happier-ever-after hits another bump. Our doctor faces a professional challenge, and with the hospice’s future in question, he may be in a unique position to save it.

 
EPISODE 16 RECAP

Kang catches Cha-young gazing at all of the chocolates inside her favorite store. Cha-young is surprised when he joins her and asks her to recommend the best one.

As they sit in the cafe with their selections, Cha-young reminds Kang that he doesn’t eat chocolate. Kang explains that he feared that eating chocolate would make him homesick for Wando, but that was before he met Cha-young.

Curious about why Kang decided to give up chocolate after his mother died, she asks about her accident. After a few seconds, Kang tells Cha-young that his mother was hit by a car on the way home from buying him chocolates.

Cha-young confesses that she thought that the lady who gave her chocolate might have been his mother and Kang laughs, “You should write novels instead of being a chef.” Kang takes Cha-young’s hand and suggests that they make the best of their lives, in memory of the lady. He changes the topic when he invites Cha-young to his place the next day to celebrate his birthday.

After passing a simulator test at a driving school, Hee-na begs Tae-hyun to take her to see her dream car, which she hopes to buy as soon as she gets her license. They visit a dealership and as they sit inside of a sporty coupe, Tae-hyun is unusually quiet.

Hee-na guesses that he’s worried that she’ll die before she gets her license and tells him, “If I die, then so be it. But I might still be alive.” Hee-na realized that life without plans is pathetic, which is why she plans to get her license.

Hee-na admits that like Tae-hyun, she lived as if she had all the time in the world until she got sick. Hee-na shares another of her goals, after she buys her car she wants to drive to the sea with Tae-hyun.

The sea is where Director Kwon has taken Seon-ae and he smiles when she wades into the waves and squeals. She asks if he needs to get back to work so that the resident from Seoul doesn’t bully him (Seung-hoon?) but Director Kwon informs Seon-ae that he took the day off.

When Seon-ae expresses her happiness, Director Kwon finally realizes that while he worked long hours, she was painfully lonely. Seon-ae gets Director Kwon to agree to spend a day with her in the spring and in the fall and then drags him into the water where they splash around happily.

Over lunch, Seon-ae announces her plan to attend a cooking academy so that Director Kwon can eat something besides instant noodles. When he steps away for an important call, Seon-ae’s memory suddenly returns. Director Kwon returns to an empty table and learns that Seon-ae left after paying the bill.

On the bus ride home, tears trickle down Seon-ae’s cheeks after she sends Director Kwon a text, “After I met you, I was blessed with so much happiness.” Seon-ae promised to never visit Director Kwon again and wished him happiness.

At Geosung Hospital, Seung-hoon protests when Grandma allows Kang to button her coat, “…you didn’t even let Joon touch you.” Kang suggests that Grandma should go back to work but she decides that it’s time to leave the hospital in her family’s hands.

Before Kang can leave the hospital, Hye-mi calls and they meet in a quiet hallway. Hye-mi angrily reminds Kang that Geosung became successful because of the sacrifices that she and Grandma made. Hye-mi blames the many all-nighters that she put in for her two miscarriages and her inability to be a proper mother to Joon.

Hye-mi doesn’t think it should matter that Seung-hoon isn’t her father-in-law’s biological son when Kang’s father gave up everything to run away and get married. Hye-mi’s voice rises when she asks why Kang should get everything, “Do you think this makes any sense at all?” She’s surprised when Kang agrees with her and offers a solution.

Kang calls Joon, who’s still at his pottery studio, to report that he offered Hye-mi a deal — keeps the hospice open and he won’t go after the chairmanship. Joon can’t believe that Kang gave up the chairmanship so easily but then he remembers that his cousin didn’t put up a fight when he was transferred to the hospice.

Joon guesses, “You wanted to stop, didn’t you?” When Kang says nothing, Joon adds, “And I bet the people there ended up changing you.” After they hang up, Joon remembers his time at the hospice and admits, “After all, they ended up changing me as well.”

As Kang walks the hallways of the hospice contentedly, we hear him promise, “Don’t wait for me, Grandma…I’m never going back to that hell you all live in.”

On the hospice grounds, Dae-shik sits on a bench in a daze while Young-shil cries her eyes out in a bathroom. After composing herself, Young-shil returns to Dae-shik but he jumps up to avoid her. When pain forces him to sit down, Young-shil orders Dae-hik to look at her and when he does, he blocks his face with a bowl.

Young-shil takes Dae-shik’s face in her hands to plead, “You said you wanted to go out with me. Then you should look at me in the eyes and do your best to win my heart.” Struggling not to cry, Dae-shik confesses that he doesn’t have much time.

Dae-shik’s face crumples when Young-shil puts her hand on his chest to argue, “You’re breathing right now…Your heart’s beating nice and strong.” Dae-shik sobs that he should have come earlier but Young-shil insists that he’s not too late and wipes aways his tears.

When Dae-shik pushes her away, Young-shil argues that everyone dies, she might even die before him. Dae-shik throws his arms around Young-shil and sobs that someone as kind as her deserves a long life, “Only then can the people who can’t go to heaven learn that an angel really exists.” With tears streaming from her eyes, Young-shil hugs Dae-shik back.

Kang arrives home with groceries and after tidying up his place, he opens his mother’s cookbook and announces, “I’m having a birthday party with my girlfriend today.”

Kang follows his mother’s fried chicken recipe while Cha-young dons her apron at the hospice to bake a cake. When Cha-young gets a call from an unfamiliar number, she’s stunned by the sound of her mother’s voice.

It’s dark outside when Kang turns on the string lights in his living room and he worries that Cha-young forgot about his birthday. When the doorbells rings, Cha-young apologizes for being late and holds up a bottle of wine and a cake as Kang smiles happily.

When they sit down to eat, Kang gushes over the beautiful cake while Cha-young can’t take her eyes off of the fried chicken, which reminds her of her father. Kang confesses that he has butterflies because Cha-young looks particularly pretty and she bashfully admits to wearing makeup and her best dress.

Cha-young gets the celebration underway when she lights Kang’s birthday candle. Kang closes his eyes and says, “Thank you for blessing me…,” but Cha-young protests that’s not a proper wish. Kang insists that he already has everything that he wants and blows out his candle. Kang suggests that it’s time for Cha-young to stop calling him Dr. Lee. After they kiss, he asks if he can speak comfortably to her as well and when Cha-young doesn’t protest, they kiss again.

After dinner, Cha-young empties her glass of wine and turns to Kang, “Should we run away together?” When Kang asks where they’re going, Cha-young suggests somewhere no one can find her.

Kang agrees, “I can do that. Let’s go,” and he runs to get a scarf for Cha-young, in case it’s cold wherever they go. Cha-young thanks him for agreeing so readily and confesses that she’s been running away from her mother all day. Cha-young explains that even though her mother is a horrible person, she’s agreed to meet her. Kang takes Cha-young’s hand and promises, “We’ll just have to elope next time.”

The next day, Kang watches from the doorway of a church while Cha-young prays. She goes from there to a restaurant to meet her mother and when Cha-young says, “It’s been awhile,” her mother snaps, “What kind of response is that? Am I your client or what?”

Mom orders the most expensive steak on the menu and while she eats, Cha-young takes issue with the fact that she looks happy after causing so much misery. Cha-young’s mother argues that her targets were so stupid that it was only a matter of time before they were swindled. Mom reminds Cha-young that her father lost his fortune when he helped out a friend, which is when she realized, “You either get stabbed in the back or stab someone in the back.”

Seated at a nearby table, Kang overhears Cha-young remind her mother that she abandoned her at that collapsed department store. That’s where Cha-young met the lady who saved her life, and she tells her mother, “I learned what life is about from that lady.” But Mom calls Cha-young a fool for wasting her time cooking for the dying.

Cha-young confesses it was that lady’s example that led to their reunion because she was hopeful that her mother was sorry for all of the pain that she’s caused. Cha-young realizes how wrong she was when Mom asks, “What are you talking about?”

A man interrupts, calling Cha-young’s mother “Honey,” to warn that one of her victims is on his way with the police. Mom grabs her things and promises to call later but Cha-young won’t have it, “Don’t call me. I won’t answer.” Cha-young suggests meeting again in ten years to see which of them is living well.

After Mom runs off, Cha-young gets a text, “Do you want me to hold your hand?” When Cha-young sees Kang, he sends another text explaining that he was worried and somehow ended up at the restaurant. When Cha-young goes to Kang’s side and holds out her hands, he stands up to hug her.

On the train ride home, Kang holds Cha-young’s hand as she rests her head on his shoulder. Soon, he’s on the train alone and we hear Cha-young’s request, “Could you give me a little more time? Don’t push me to come back soon. Don’t wait for me. And don’t pity me.”

While Cha-young huddles on the floor of her room, a worried Kang arrives at Seon-he’s house and sees Cha-young’s shoes outside of her door. As Cha-young cries, Kang promises, “I won’t push you nor wait for you. Don’t get lost though. Just make sure you come back.” Kang stands outside of Cha-young’s room until the early morning light is in the sky.

Seung-hoon tags along with Joon to a pottery exhibit to plead with him to return to the hospital. When he’s ignored, Seung-hoon whispers that a chairman’s daughter wants to meet him but Joon is distracted by an attractive woman who’s massaging her left arm and shoulder (cameo by Lina).

Joon approaches her to warn, “You should go see a doctor soon…I think you have a serious condition.” The woman accuses Joon of hitting on her so he apologizes and turns away but she collapses seconds later. When Joon accompanies the woman into the ambulance, she asks, “Who are you?” With confidence, Joon tells her, “I’m Lee Joon, a neurosurgeon at Geosung University Hospital.”

Director Kwon hands his address to the movers at Seon-ae’s house and when they’re confused, he explains that he’s her husband. When they’re alone, Seon-ae begs Director Kwon to let her go because she doesn’t want to burden him with her illness. Instead, Director Kwon wraps his arms around Seon-ae and promises to stay by her side.

As Kang look up at the sky during a break, an elderly patient pokes him with his cane and suggests, “Let’s go for pizza.” Young-shil catches up to him and explains to Kang that ever since the old man went out with his grandson, he’s been craving wood-fired pizza. Kang decides that wood-fired pizza sounds like the perfect lunch and happily agrees to take the patient with him.

On a beach, Tae-hyun records a video to explain that Hee-na had to take an unexpected trip and that she apologizes for leaving without saying goodbye. When he’s overcome by emotion, Tae-hyun pauses the recording and recalls Hee-na’s final request.

Tae-hyun held the hand of the bedridden Hee-na while she weakly murmured that she wanted her viewers to believe that she was doing great, somewhere in the world. Tears trickled down Tae-hyun’s face as he agreed to her wish.

As her breathing weakened, Hee-na reasoned, “Because I really won’t die. I’ll work hard and continue to live my life to the fullest in this beautiful world of ours.” In her mind, Hee-na saw waves crashing on a beach as tears glistened on her cheeks.

With a sad smile, Tae-hyun resumes the recording, “…cherish every single moment that comes by, ladies and gentlemen. The day you wasted today is the tomorrow that someone who died yesterday so badly wished for.”

Dae-shik and Young-shil practice a song for a competition but he’s having trouble singing. Young-shil throws her arm around Dae-shik and suggests, “Don’t tell people that you left the gang to be a singer. Let’s keep it to ourselves.”

Young-shil jumps to her feet when she sees Na-ra, who’s there to visit all of the things that she misses about the hospice, like Ji-yong’s turtle. As Na-ra lists everything that she wants to see, an anxious Dae-shik explains that they need to practice for their competition which is the next day. When Young-shil whispers that the visitor is Na-ra, Dae-shik understands.

Young-shil suggests that if Na-ra misses the hospice that much, she should come back to work. Na-ra agrees and as she hurries away, Young-shil asks about her scary father. Na-ra reports that he broke both legs chasing a suspect so he won’t be a problem for some time.

When Na-ra asks about the man in the matching shirt, Dae-shik smiles and puts his arm around Young-shil, who confesses, “He’s my boyfriend.” When they sit down to practice, Dae-shik can’t stop smiling and calls Young-shil, “My girlfriend.”

Kang is at home missing Cha-young so he visits the hospice kitchen where he’s reminded of happier times. From there Kang goes for a walk on the beach and thinks back to their first kiss. While Kang keeps busy with hikes in the woods, we learn that Cha-young has been in touch and hear her voice, “You’re doing well, right?” Cha-young makes sure to let Kang know, “I have never been lost, not even once. All because you followed me no matter where I went and stood there for me holding a guiding light.”

As Kang takes in the scenery, Cha-young’s voice continues, “I’m grateful that such a wonderful man like you makes my heart flutter.” It’s during one of his hikes that Kang comes to a decision.

Kang returns to the restaurant in Greece where Cha-young worked and he’s recognized by the maître d. He explains that Cha-young isn’t at work, so Kang decides to wait for her and he sits at the same table all day.

In the morning, Kang visits the site of the cooking competition and recalls Cha-young’s description of their first meeting as kids, “I was starving, and he made a warm home-cooked meal for me.” As he walks through the streets, Kang just misses Cha-young, who looks as if she’s deep in thought.

At the restaurant, Kang is served a chocolate cake and he immediately recognizes Cha-young’s handiwork. He races through town on a bicycle as we hear the words he spoke for the opening of the drama, “I’ve been running for a long time to come to you.”

Kang jumps off the bike to run to the arched lookout by the sea where he’s finally reunited with Cha-young. His narration continues, “There were times when I wanted to stop…And sometimes, I got lost. But because of you, I could come this far.”

Kang pulls Cha-young into a back hug and when he turns her around to kiss her, we hear him explain, “I wanted you to get more rest, but I missed you way too much.” As they walk away holding hands, Kang stops to wrap his scarf around Cha-young and we hear her say, “I wanted to rest with you, too.”

Kang narrates that this is where their story ends as we’re treated to scene after scene of the drama’s characters eating. Kang continues, “We will get lost again at one point or another…But as long as we hold onto hope, nothing can break us down.”

 
COMMENTS

Gosh, I love Kang and Cha-young together. I just wish that there hadn’t been that separation before their dramatic reunion in Greece. While I understand that Cha-young’s inability to save her mother with her act of kindness wounded her deeply, I was disappointed that she ran away to Greece by herself. Even though it’s consistent with Cha-young’s pattern to deal with her pain all alone, I was angry that her mother cost her even one minute of happiness with Kang. But when Cha-young met her mother, she was confronted with an unrepentant, selfish monster who she realized never once gave her daughter’s well-being a thought. Cha-young’s mother couldn’t be more different than Kang’s mother, who in her final act of kindness taught Cha-young how to live.

What the separation did prove though, was that Kang was yet again willing to wait for Cha-young. Kang knelt for 4 hours on the beach in Wando while Cha-young slept on his shoulder and he stood vigil through the night outside of her room after her meeting with her mother. He went about his life as best he could without Cha-young while she recovered in Greece until he just had to see her again. Kang’s support and patience balanced out the years of Cha-young’s suffering when he failed to recognize that she was the girl that he met in Wando.

While it was a relief to see Kang and Cha-young back together, I was disappointed by its briefness and the fact that it was Kang who was doing all of the work. Cha-young had to know that Kang was in Greece and I’m convinced that she made that cake so that he would realize that she was back. But why run away again? Even if Cha-young needed more time to heal, there’s a point when a couple shares one another’s burdens, and Kang had demonstrated time and again that he was ready to do just that.

That commitment to share the ups and downs of life is what finally brought Director Kwon and Seon-ae back together. Seon-ae’s dementia allowed Director Kwon to finally see their married life through her eyes and he realized that he essentially abandoned her while he worked long hours to support her family. Not only was Seon-ae lonely, she couldn’t bear to watch the man that she loved kill himself to satisfy her selfish siblings. It was heartwarming to witness their reunion even though Seon-ae’s condition will rob them of some of the time that they have left together.

That aspect of battling time is something that’s all too familiar at a hospice, and both Tae-hyun and Young-shil are confronted by it firsthand. Dae-shik finally tells Young-shil that he’s dying and with no time to waste, she makes a heartfelt plea for them to make the most of the time that he has left. I’m not gonna lie, Young-shil’s argument about why Dae-shik shouldn’t give up on their love had me laughing and crying at the same time. I was a sucker for the former gangster who had nurtured a life-long crush for the bossy nurse with the biggest heart around. And then there’s Tae-hyun. He was there to help Hee-na in her final days and her determination to live her life as intentionally as possible served as a stark contrast to Tae-hyun’s aimless existence. Tae-hyun will never forget the young girl with a thirst for life thanks to the hospice, and the lessons learned there changed Joon and Kang as well.

Whatever the disappointment I felt about Kang and Cha-young in the finale, Joon’s brotherly relationship with his cousin made up for it. After turning their backs on the hospital, Kang and Joon finally connected as family and friends. While Joon was surprised that Kang gave up on the chairmanship to save the hospice, it only proved what he had known all along, that his cousin was never an enemy but a kind and loving boy. Then, when confronted by the disturbing symptoms of that woman at the gallery, Joon slipped back into doctor mode to help her. With that return to medicine, Joon’s perspective shifted from the selfish pursuit of the chairmanship to a desire to help others and his happiness was apparent. I have no doubt that in the future, Joon and Kang will work together to run both the hospital and the hospice.

Kang’s closing words celebrating the power of hope and kindness were a testament to his mother. No matter what their future holds, our reunited couple, along with everyone who was changed for the better by their time at the hospice, will live their lives with intentional acts of kindness. It’s the quality that drew Kang and Cha-young to one another in the first place. Now that they’re back together, it’s time for them to focus that kindness on one another.

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(1) Thanks @teriyaki for an excellent recap and comment! Thanks @sailorjumun as well for your great recaps of the odd episode.

Now where was I? 🙂

I had come expecting an epic love story. It had been a long journey, the first K drama I watched live, and ended up waking up at 3am every night new episode was out to pick up where the story left off. “Sometimes I want to stop. Sometimes I want to flop down and collapse. And sometimes I get lost. But because of you (show) I have come this far 😬”. And I had left with an epic love story, one of the best.

It was a love story between two people who were saved by kindness, linked by kindness and attracted to each other by their own kindness. It was also a story about how love, trickled down through time and rippled out through space, is the true meaning of human life.

Though their good looks certainly help 😊, CY and Kang are attracted to each other by their kindness. When she first met Kang again in the hospital, she followed him around to make sure he is the boy who gave her the warm meal when she was starving. He thought this patient had a crush on him and pushed her away. She narrated: “He was wrong, for me it was not love yet”. Once she was certain about his identity, she was shocked to hear him being called “an evil bastard” by Jun. It was only when she saw him picking up the cardboards in the rain to help a bystander and clear traffic that she was sure this is the same KIND boy in her memory and fell in love with him over again. When Kang first knew CY, he misunderstood her to be a heartless cheating girl who left his best friend for another man, hence his hatred and cruel words against her. But, he still prioritised her safety over his own and saved her life simply because he is who she always knew, a kind person and doctor who sworn to save life. It was only through their interactions at the hospice that he realised how kind she was and fell in love with her.

In a drama heavily accused of abusing tropes and cheap story lines by some viewers (I don’t know why) the love story is surprisingly fresh and free of the patriarchy often seen in Kdrama land. Guy is rich and chaebol yes, girl is poor and has dependent family yes. But the guy is not the boss/or of higher rank of the girl. She doesn’t owe him any money or dependent on him for her job/finance/livelihood or dwelling (except for that one time in Wando when she was without her purse ☺️). He doesn’t use money/debt/job to tie her to him. He saves her as a doctor not as a favour doer. She can drive him for 6 hours like a boss and is in control of her own life. He respects her choices, her boundaries and offers her unconditional support. She is a chef but we see he cooks for her more than she cooks for him. There is never anything material between them but a spiritual bond through kindness.

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A good love story however goes beyond the randomness of the couple’s meeting or their attraction. It offers insights into the couple’s psychological core to explain why they are each other’s one true love and whether that love can overcome the hurdles of life. The way Chocolate did this is unique. I have mentioned in my comment on Ep 5-6, that how similar CY and Kang are at their psychological core, as both possess immense ability to empathise with other people and the drama, in portraying the way they love, empathised this point. CY had loved Kang unconditionally regardless of how he treated her because she could see through his mean treatments of her into his inner kind person. She fervently defended him to Jun in Ep 9. And in Ep 13, Kang voiced the same view when he said he would continue to like her regardless of her answer. His question was beautiful in so many ways and reflected so many aspects of their story.

“Can I love you, Cha Young?” (We swoon). In Kang’s case, it is not only a question for himself (Can I love and have happiness?), it is also a question reflecting CY’s past that he knew so well. MS had offered her his love but she did not allow him to love her and ran away. So Kang had been extra cautious and sensitive when he confessed, he framed it as a question to allow her not to answer, to think about it. To make sure he even told her straight out afterwards: “I was worried you will feel pressure and end up running away”. In a drama where so many things are said indirectly, this directness foreshadows serious issue, which does come up later.

They let one influence each other. Kang let a compassionate CY change him back to the warm hearted person he was before his Mum passed away and hence chose his path to give up the Geosung Foundation to protect the hospice. CY learnt the courage from Kang to reinvent herself after losing her senses of taste and smell. They both possess stoic attitudes that help them to evolve through crisis and tragedies.

The story goes a bit deeper and offers even a psychological explanation for these similarities. It was because their formative experiences were both influenced by a same kind lady, Kang’s Mum. Kang lived with her until he was 12, enough to form a personality although that personality was hidden for many years living with evil Grandma and Co. CY only shared a short moment with her but it was a near death experience that etched deeply in her mind. Before she died, Kang’s Mum passed to CY not just a chocolate, but also her kindness, one that shapes how CY treats other people in the future and that kindness eventually rekindled the kindness and happiness languishing inside of Kang.

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I often wondered, watching the first half of the series, how CY’s childhood’s impacts on her love life would be portrayed in the drama. Would writer Lee gloss over it? Would she ignore it? Would she dwell on it? I confess to be quite nervous about the whole thing that is why I did not comment on the last 3 episodes. But the writer did not disappoint me.

The drama made a point of how nice CY treats people. We see through 14 Eps how compassionate, how warm she was. And we are told in Ep 15 she became that person because of Kang’s Mum, someone who gives love, someone who loves. But the trauma from being abandoned and treated badly by her own Mum and brother left a deep impact on her ability of receiving love and that shows in the last 2 Eps.

It is not usual to be in a one sided love for as long as CY was with Kang. Especially when he was quite mean to her. Yes she could understand why but it did not mean that it didn’t hurt. We thought it was beautiful and nice of her but the fact is that noone could endure that kind of painful feelings for that long without being conditioned to pain in the first place. In CY’s case, being abandoned by her own family and growing up unloved has conditioned her to be used to being unloved. When one is avoided of love for that long and being so conditioned to pain, one usually thinks one is not worthy of love, falls for the wrong type of person who would cause them more pain or is unable to receive love, often ends up sabotaging one’s own relationships or runs away from it. And run away she did to lick her own wounds instead of having Kang help her. At least in CY’s case, she fell for the right person perhaps because she could recognise kindness through her experience with Kang’s Mum. In her voice over when Kang was hiking, she acknowledges this by saying how happy she was that her heart flutters by someone as wonderful and warm hearted as him. Yet she is not able to go back to him soon.

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I think she is also conditioned to present a strong front. She was pretty much orphaned at age 12 and still managed to work her way to having a pretty amazing career and life. And though not detailed in the drama, Cha Young alluded to additional struggles that were worse than the building collapse. She's had 25 years of handling things herself.

Though she loved Kang since she was a child, they're still not in that intimate stage yet (and I don't mean sex), so it could be harder for her to let herself lean on him....which is why i think the drama should have let her drool and snore in that beach scene a few weeks ago. (My bangs are looking awful this week, and I'm jealous at how beautiful Cha Young's bangs always look)

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Great insight @ar. I agree. She is so used to being strong that she can’t show vulnerability to Kang. That’s why she told him not to pity her. Also at that stage she didn’t know how much he loved her yet. Note that in her voice over to him she only mentioned she loves him never about “if he loves her”. He has to prove himself first 😊. Had he knelt another 4 hours perhaps she might drool @ar. At least your bang looks food sometimes. Mine never did that’s why I dont have one anymore 😀

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@sunset125 you make a good point. I had commented before that I didn’t see a reason why CY ran away or why Kang hid the fact the his mother was the lady who gave her chocolate, but your analysis of the characters and their past makes sense now. I think it’s because of how the last two episodes were directed that confused me. Also, since the drama was in crunch time that only rushed things. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

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Being aware of writer Lee’s penchant for painful endings and observing for 12 episodes how the script often denies itself of happy and climax moments, I actually wished fervently she would not succumb to any possible psychological need of masochism and let CY become a victim of it. And writer Lee had come through. She did however let CY go through it, which one has in oder to heal. Viewers did not see CY being happy once she started a relationship with Kang from Ep 15, which is strange given she has loved him for so long and now finally got reciprocated. They shared sweet moments but she was plaqued with sadness. Her family issues haunted her. She was torn between feeling grateful and guilty to Kang’s Mum for being alive thanks to her. Her Mum re entering her life with her “stab is better than being stabbed” attitude deepened her guilt of being linked to such a horrible person. More than ever she felt unable to be loved and she ran away. “Can I love you, Cha Young?” Kang asked and in the end she answered. She can’t let him love her.

But writer Lee may have had an epiphany in her later years, and there entered hope. “Hope is a thing with feather, that perched in the soul and sing the tune without the words, and never stops, at all” - Emily Dickinson once wrote. Writer Lee let Cha Young call out to Kang from her pain telling him how he has been a guiding light of for her to not lose way, how she loves him with all her heart. She knows he is waiting for her even when she told him not to. It is essentially a silent ask: “Come and love me, for I love you”! And he did! (All this for the best back hug and kiss in the drama 😍!) In the Greece sequence, CY was passive, she let him hug her, kiss her, put his scarf around her without words and told him in voice over she wants to rest with him too. In the very end scene, she receives a box of chocolate from Kang. She finally allows herself to receive love. “Can I love you Cha Young?” Finally, he can! (Broke out Sweetest Thing happy song!)

“The value of one’s life is measured by how much love one gives, not how much love one receives” - writer Lee quoted Epictetus to conclude the drama.

But also

“..in order to love others, we must learn to love ourselves. It’s not about swooning over the color of our own eyes, our figure, or some personality trait, but about giving due recognition to the desire to live each moment of existence as a moment of meaning and fulfillment. To love oneself is to love life.” - Mathew Richard.

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I commented in Ep 5-6 recaps how the last scene of Ep6 is one of the most beautiful scenes I have ever seen that is rich with meanings. As it is one of the posters of the show, the writer and PD must have thought the same. It showed Kang toasting CY with a drink sitting on the bridge on her birthday but the background of the scene was him toasting his Mum’s spirit on her passing memorial. He told CY to sit on the left side of him as the right is his Mum’s seat so what that poster actually shows is the three of them having a drink together. The intro also told us the same thing, that Kang’s Mum has a large role in their story by featuring her cookbook so prominently through out. And that is another reason how the love story of Chocolate is sepcial. It is a story of how a deceased mother’s kindness and random act of kindness tricked down through time to bring happiness to her son. The love story is made possible by her, it reflects her legacy, it mirrors her own story and she is present there from the beginning of their story through to the end.

Jung Sui hui’s kindness nurtured a kind Kang, who gave CY a home cooked meal when she is starving, starting a relationship between them. She then gave CY a chocolate under the rumbles of the department stores, a random act of kindness that while possibly saved CY, certainly made her a person who wants to spread that kindness to everyone later in her path, including Sui hui’s own son Kang. The kindness that she instilled in both of them attract them together and in the end bond them together.

Sui-hui was there when Kang and CY first met as kids and when Kang made her the chocolate truffles. “Do you like that girl?” She asked Kang. She was there on CY’s birthday in the department store to pass down a chocolate, or her kind essence to CY that shaped her. She was there again on CY’s birthday many years later when she and Kang first connected again with less misunderstandings in the hospice. It was with her recipes that Kang cooked CY’s the first meal as adults in Wando that revealed the one they had as kids. It was in her kitchen that CY regained her identity as a chef after losing taste and smell, again she saved that little girl. She was there on their date when he made the pumpkin fritters and told CY his Mum also loved it and when CY in voice over saying thanks to Ajumma Jung for giving her a chance to enjoy this moment with her first love. She was there on Kang’s birthday when he cooked CY the fried chicken and told her how she would be very glad to see his girlfriend. Yes CY, Jung Sui Hui Ajumma has always been watching over you.

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I love how Kang reacts to the revelation that the person who gave CY a chocolate and influenced her outlook of life was actually his Mum. Despite the overflowing emotion, he put her in his car, closed the door for her, got into the car, carefully put the seat belt on for her. The extra care, like he feels he has to protect her more. Then afterwards he decides to eat chocolate again. The conversation at Godiva is precious. He knows how fragile she is at that moment so he lied to her to protect her feelings (Surely one day she will find out but that is another story and they will get through that). He has been sweet to her but at that moment we can sense his absolute commitment. “Now that I have you, Cha Young, I will never leave without you.” 😍 After all she IS the chocolate his Mum never got to give him. And he treats her as such, a precious gift from his Mum. No angst, no guilt, just gratitude.

Kang said once “My Mum was an amazing cook, just like you”. It shows he does think about how similar CY is to his Mum. Both talented chefs, both kind hearted women. It is perhaps a cliche that a man would fall in love with someone exactly like his Mum. Especially when he is a replica of his Dad, a doctor without ambition for power or money who fell in love and ran away with a chef. Fraud with his Oedipal complex theory would have a lot to say about Kang. Yet also according to Fraud’s other theories and modern psychology, it is the healthiest kind of love, because it is only natural for someone who grew up in in maternal kindness to be attracted by feminine kindness.

In a drama that celebrates life, writer Lee makes a point to celebrate mothers, the only people so far who could create life with their wombs, and their important roles in influencing the life that they create, in passing down love and kindness to future generations. “People are our last hopes”. Unloving and unkind mothers cause pain and suffering in their children even grandchildren, CY’s Mum, Jun’s Mum, Evil Grandma. Kind and loving mothers like Kang’s Mum, give their children happiness and bliss even when they have passed away. Unlike the outspoken messages about life and love and hope the drama repeatedly tells viewers week after week, this celebration of mothers is shown quietly but not any less eloquently. To me this is one of the most beautiful hidden messages of Chocolate.

(More ramblings later alert ☺️)

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Oops typos. Apologies! Freud pls forgive me 😅!

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@sunset125, have you thought about lending your writing skills and be part of the dramabeans team in case they are hiring?😊 I have just been silently reading all your comments here but I can't help but be completely floored by all your insights. Fighting! Looking forward to reading more of your comments.

Just like you I love this drama to pieces and simply I adored it more with all the hidden messages you've pointed out. Thank you @teriyaki, and @sailorjumun for all the hard work you put into recapping this drama. Thank you everyone for sharing your thoughts and love for Chocolate.

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Thank you @gertrude22. I feel humbled 🥰. I think Chocolate is a brilliant drama in its entirety. It is not an easy watch and certainly not for everyone but isnt it always the case with beautiful art works? It has been a pleasure for me to contemplate about it and ponder the writer’s mind. Thank you very much for reading my very long comments 💕. I will post more here but as thoughts hit me I will write more on my IG account semperamare19.

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Lovely insights @sunset125! I have no more to add but to agree with you! Overall, this story was one-of-a-KIND (it pays when you are KIND, really! Just look at our characters) I still feel sad on having to let go of this beautiful story though I am certain that all of our characters are living the best of their lives 💙
Thank you @teriyaki @sailorjumun for always, always sharing your take on every episodes, it gave me other perspective on how to love even more this story. We hope to meet Lee Kang and Cha Young in the near future in dramaland! 😁

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Thank you @hazelnuts. Chocolate is certainly one of a kind! Love your pun. A very rare kind.

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Beautiful comments as ever! Love all your comments, and couldn't help but teared up at the end of each comment. The stories in this story are beautiful, and it became even more beautiful with your eloquent way of seeing things, hidden messages in the story. I can't help but have to set time for me to rewatch it in whole again. I love Chocolate so much, and even more so when I have read all insights from you as well as from other Chocolate lovers.

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Thank you very much @mmmmm for your encouragement through out 🥰!

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nicely put. as someone who does not watch a lot of dramas (whether asian or american), am glad to have stumbled on this one. and as i followed each episode, i read more on the actors, writer, and director because i was impressed. which led me to comments - some so eloquently put such as yours, some good comments and some not so good. understandable, because just as you said, of which i couldn't agree more, it is not for everybody. it does not make one swoon every other scene, no cliff hangers, and ironic enough, for a drama that dealt with everyone's certainty (death), it has a lot of loose ends. in short, it depicted life. and as such, it allowed me as a viewer, to relate without necessarily having had the same experience(s). with almost each episode, i recognize my own flaws, frailties, and struggles. and my own joys, triumphs, and aspirations, albeit not the same as that of the characters. the almost simplistic, but not really, story lines, and with what seems to be underwhelming, but actually natural depiction of characters, this drama gave a viewer like me enough room to interpret, empathize, and reflect. and as such, the sadness, joy, tears, and catharsis that follows, all became my own. this is a drama i will probably never forget .... and to think that i hardly eat chocolate .... sorry, cannot resist to end on that note :-) :-) :-)

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Great comment! I too do not eat chocolate often 😊 but I am so glad I appreciate this one.

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Well done @teriyaki and @Sailorjumun for all your in depth recaps and insightful comments. Kudos to @sunset125 for your elaborate ramblings. All of you did a fantastic job in enlightening and bringing to life the different facets of 'Chocolate'. This Kdrama is definitely one of a kind as it's not one of the run of the mill Kdrama that we usually watched. It's interesting and as at the conclusion of episode 16, these phase aptly sums it up 'The value of one's life is determined by how much love one gives, not by how much love one receives' - Epictetus

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You're right about the surprisingly even power dynamics between Cha Young and Kang. Makes their relationship feel more natural.

I am curious about how rich/poor Cha Young is. I wonder if she has some decent savings in a separate secret account that Tae-hyun knows nothing about. I wonder if she got compensation money from being trapped in the building collapse.

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I think her going away is necessary for the relationship dynamic. I have seen it way too much in real life how that works better for a relationship in the long term.

I think CY is not rich but got by. When TH broke the 7k champagne bottle she had to work extra jobs and to go into a contest to hopefully win one to pay back so it seems her saving account is not that big. Even if she wants to keep it secret from TH

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When she withdrew money to pay for the man's meals, the balance that showed was very close to zero.

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I agree with almost everything you wrote about saying good-bye to our characters...especially our two cousins (although I desperately hope that Joon keeps his ties with pottery and doesn't fall prey to the expectations of his mom and dad like he did for most of the drama). As for Director Kwon and Seon-ae...I felt sad for him, yet knew this was a way to finally settle any karma they had left between them. My biggest disappointment was the boredom I felt as the our two leads went through the "I must go away and heal myself" trope. Cha-young was so strong all the way through (especially when dealing with her brother) and to see her fold because of her Mom was almost a cliché after this bright, strong woman spent the whole series taking charge and care of everyone who needed her. And when she was sick at heart ...she couldn't allow Kang, the person closest to her, to care for her broken spirit. I loved this drama, but was disappointed in the lackluster ending especially since our star-crossed lovers had journeyed so long to find each other again.

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@charbarn - I agree with what you wrote as I was really disappointed when she 'had to leave". It was very disappointing for me as well. But overall I loved the message.
And @sunset125's insights were also VERY helpful!

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I think her meeting with her mom may have triggered some of the PTSD she got after the collapse, since we see her collapsed on the floor all sweaty. She ends up in the hospital every year on her birthday from the PTSD. If a mere birthday can cause that, then a meeting with a mom who was completely unrepentant and only sneered at Cha Young's life philosophy (a philosophy learned through this tragedy) would certainly cause her to pretty much short out.

I can sort of understand Cha Young's approach. From ages 12 to 37, she's had no one to lean on. She's developed her own way of handling things. I thought Kang struck a good balance between giving her the space she needed to process and being there to let her know that he's there to shoulder some of her burden. This won't be the only time Cha Young will go through something like this (the mom will learn of her marriage to Kang and will likely come bug her for money). I'd like to think that with each successive time, she'll learn to lean on Kang more.

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@asianromance for explaining the PTSD - which I'd forgotten about. What you wrote makes sense to me. Even though I wish she could have stayed, it helps to remember her history and how she dealt with things in the past.

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*sigh*

This turned out to be a disappointing watch for me that ended on a whimper.
Cha-young leaving felt like she had learned nothing and not true to where her character would be in life. This is a woman of a certain age who has knowledge of how finite and fragile life is, and of how it is painful for your loved ones to disappear. I think, to me, it would of made more sense to grab onto Kang with both hands and the viewer could bbn of had some satisfaction of seeing them together.
The overabundance of tragedy started leaving me numb. I'm not sure why the writer kept adding tragedy on top of tragedy. Not only were the patients dying they had to also have grifter brothers, runaway mothers, murderous husbands, and so on. Just watching the end of a normal well lived or mis lived life is poignant enough.
The last two stories with the nurse and then the brother would of been more meaningful if they'd started from the beginning. Watching the nurse and her reformed gangster decide to enjoy falling in love with each other despite his illness could of been a beautiful story.
Joon, oh Joon, you were under appreciated. He added a that little balance and kick to any scene he was in.

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I feel your disappointment. I'm happy that they ended together, but I quit caring about anything but getting to the end of this one about half way through. The music and three main characters will stay with me, but the rest will be easily forgotten.

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Do you know the song that plays at the beginning of the episode at the chocolate shop?

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No I dont. I just assumed it was the instrumental version of the theme song.

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There's a full ost on some music sites that includes the instrumentals. You might find it there.

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Agree, at the end, I rolled my eyes and meh'd. MEH

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You are so right, Beverly. I thought there were too many strings left untied. I felt the final episode had no gist to it--like the writer just ran out of ideas. The best thing about episode 16 was all the pictures of humans eating.

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I don't under appreciate Joon. 😉 I don't know if I liked him better throwing things around his studio or being the doctor in shining armour in his last scene. I just learned that the actress in that scene is his wife in real life.

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Oh really, awwwww.

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This drama has been the best drama so far for me. My Fridays and Saturdays will no longer be complete without Cholocate in it. ☹️☹️☹️

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I think I lost interest in the story. The last two episodes I finished in a rush. I have mixed feeling about the whole thing.

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I think the episode 15 was better than the 16 one.

Cha Young at the end showed no growth of character. She already knew her mother was a bad person, but ok it's normal she still has hopes. But to the point she flew away? She didn't really help with her relationship with Kang. He did all the work...

I didn't really understand Director Kwon and Seon-ae's relationship, or precisely the chronology... It was pretty weird how they told it but I hope one moment, someone will tell it with more facts and not by snippets in each episode.

The story of the Hee-na was touching but I would prefer more scenes with the main characters than an other sad story...

I think my favourite part of the drama was the 2 cousins! They grew up a lot during the story :)

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Agree with you, Kurama... my friend and i watched the last two episodes and felt: the drama actually can just end at eps 14... noted that we have a happy ending, but the plot of their slowburn love story has just been unstoppable; so it will be more meaningful and beautiful if we can see more of their lovey dovey interaction scenes in the last two episodes instead of one sided hardworking love from Kang: Kang lies about his mother’s death, Kang kisses Cha Young two times on his bday but I barely saw Cha Young’s excited reaction, Kang is so ready to accompany her to run away (and do you remember CY said she came to his house because she wants to avoid her mother?), Kang secretly follows her when she’s meeting her mother, Kang waits for her outside til dawn, Kang has to go to Greece to pick her up and again Kang kisses and hugs her... where is her effort when she has finally embraced her love?
Aarrrrgggghhh... Nothing is Perfect...

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@loesea0986 and @kurama There is actually very sound psychological explanation behind CY’s behaviour throughout the series based on her childhood circumstances. And she did grow toward the end that is why she contacted Kang. If you have time please read my comment above. This is actually a psychologically brilliant drama and I hope you would change your mind about it.

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I'm sorry but I don't. The last separation at the end is too often used in Kdrama. It's always justified with good or not good reasons but I really don't like this trope.

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Completely agree @Kurama. If Kang has to wait for Cha Yeong's affection after waiting so long for her to even identify herself for all this wasted time...he will be a lonely man. The trope is an old one that doesn't work. Yes, she has a deep wound...but Kang also has had many since his childhood and has given up the outward pain about his mother so that she won't be triggered by it.

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@sunset125, I concur with @kurama, @loesea0986, @charbarn, and others. I think although it might have been appropriate for Cha-young to run away initially, based on her PSTD and perhaps finally coming to grips with the impact her mother has had on her life, It would have been better if she was the one to go to Kang, than the other way around...

As it currently stands, and at the end, we really don't know whether she is truly in a better place psychologically, and that she has grown over the course of us getting to know her...

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@luminus18 I am sorry I respectfully disagree with your opinion on CY should be the one going to Kang. It doesn’t make sense psychologically that a person who was abandoned by her Mum could heal by seeking the one she loves. A deeply wounded person like that needs to receive a lot of love in order to be a able to heal. He needs to find her, the one who was deserted by her loved ones to show her that she deserves to be loved. That yes, she was abandoned by some people but there is him who would love her. Didn’t you see how she was never sure about his love? In the message she sent him she never said anything about “I know you love me” just that “I know you are waiting for me”. Waiting is not enough. It is passive. She waited for him for 7 years. He only confesses he loves her for like a few months? And he was flippant at first. So he really needs to prove his love is strong enough. The drama gave plenty of clues about her psychological state at the end. She receive his hug, his kiss, his scarf and said she wants to rest with him, she receives the chocolate from him. That is the obvious sign that she is now at peace.

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that cameo!! Lina! she's Jang Seung-jo's wife! how cuute

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oh that's cool! Didn't know.

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I just learned that this morning. How lovely.

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I already posted my rant feelings for the finale on my wall, but there's one last thing I forgot to say. When Kang goes biking/running through the streets of Greece to find Cha-young next picturesquely looking at the water, and then he come up behind her and wraps his arms around her in no way was it all realistic that she didn't scream and start punching and kicking. She didn't know who suddenly hugged her from behind, and any person I know would have a fight or flight reflex in that situation. Beyond all my other issues with this episode (and boy were there a lot) this particular scene made me a bit stabby.

There was good story buried within this mess, and I really enjoyed the cooking scenes, the scenery, Ha Ji-won, and meeting the actor Yoon Kye-sang. I'm going to look for him in future works because I quite enjoyed his screen presence. But now, I'm just going to put this one behind me, and only remember it as a how to not pace and plot your 16 episode melo.

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It didn't make me stabby but it did remind me of a time I punched someone I didn't know who thought coming up behind me and touching me would be a good idea. It's amazing what you'll do when that adrenaline kicks in.

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If you want more of this guy I liked him in Last, if you want a mix of drama and action you might like it.

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Thanks for the tip.

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I liked Last.

It's where I first came across Dong Ha. Mantis was one of my favourites

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My favorite Yoon Kye Sang drama is, "Road No. 1," and he was also good in, "The Good Wife."

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Agree with what some of you have said on the problems with the drama. This was the first kdrama I live watched in full, as soon as it was released. So there was definitely something there, which made me want to watch it. It was definitely a combination of the show timing for my part of the world and instant subs, but I like to also think there may have been something subconsciously compelling about the show. I cringed many many times, but there were usually 5-10 minutes in every episode of solid storytelling and performance that kind of made up for the rest of it. 

Generally, I thought the trauma (especially to the leads) was overdone, and even if you grant that it's a kdrama, and so it can indulge in some excessive tropey-ness, 90% of it was not really necessary to take the story forward. The part I really liked was the relationship between the cousins, IMO, and that could have been a bromance well told with a little more detail. I thought the romance between the leads was buried under somewhere - there seemed to be no reciprocation from CY to LK's sudden (and inexplicable) personality transformation in those last two episodes. And I don't know about the rest of you, but I did not like that LK did not tell CY the truth about his mother's death. That was just not nice, however much he wanted to "protect" her. 

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I agree about LK not telling her the truth about his mother's death. That didn't seem to fit and has a good chance of being revealed to her later.

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A shout out also to @teriyaki and @sailorjumun for great recaps - it was a fascinating experience to watch and read the comments soon after - very different from just watching the show in isolation. And also @sunset125 for fabulous insights for each episode!

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Thank you @pickleddragon 🥰!

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CHOCOLATE did deliver on what it set out to be: an old school, painful melodrama. I just felt that the ending was odd. Of all the characters, CY was the one who did not find any resolution. In fact, the "hope" comments at the end were more foreboding than happy. I do not mind ambiguous endings if it makes sense.
CY did not come to resolution on her abandonment issues. She kept people at a distance, including Kang at the end, because she fears the pain of potential future abandonment.
I was expecting a more bittersweet ending: CY neuro-condition worsens to the point she and Director Kwon's first wife are the last two hospice patients as the facility is about to close. Kang and Kwon would care for them as best they could; living each day like they would have wanted to share with them. The end would have been Kang putting their pictures on the memory board.
I do think the series used food as the universal memory marker that it is. We have so many special memories which are triggered by food. Memories plus food equal healing.
FYI: HJW did a fun interview on her YouTube channel with her character. Also, she sang the female part of the final OST song "Seek and Hide." She has a video of that posted as well.

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The lady that Joon meets at the museum is a cameo role by Lina, the real wife of Jang Seung Jo!

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I think the separation at the end was unnecessary and meaningless. I didn't see the point in that at all. I also couldn't understand why Cha-young ran away or why Kang didn't just confess that the lady who gave Cha-young chocolate was his mother. I mean, they're finally together and they went through so many things at the hospice. I thought there was this understanding between them. *sigh* I didn't like the ending but, at least through all of this, I did find a new favorite actor in Joon (aka Seung-jo Jang)!!

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I've seen Jang Seung Jo in three other dramas, "Liar Game," "Money Flower," and "Familiar Wife." For some reason I don't remember his character in, "Liar Game," (probably because I was too busy hating Shin Sung Rok's character); Seung Jo was a bad guy in "Money Flower," and he was very funny and sweet in, "Familiar Wife." Oh, I also saw, "Six Flying Dragons," but his part in it must have been really small.

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Thank you, TeriYaki and SailorJumun, for recapping this series and sharing your insightful thoughts.

It's weird to think how I could have easily missed out on this series. The story didn't really appeal to me. I'm glad I picked it up, especially during the airing since this drama really does feel more suited for the winter weather.

I'm surprised and relieved that this last episode kept it low-key considering there was too much drama in the first few episodes. I thought it was a nice touch that Cha Young wasn't emotionally cured by love (and that mom, what a piece of work!) and it wasn't Cha Young's love that got Kang to let go of his need to outdo Joon. Various circumstances gave him just enough space for him to really think about what he wanted. I liked how they both gave each other their space, which I think makes sense for the two mid-late 30s introverted people who have been deeply scarred by their tragedies.

My only criticisms are: 1. Kang lying to Cha Young about his mom. I get that he probably didn't want Cha Young to be reminded of the building collapse every time she looked at him. But it's also something I feel like Cha Young could stumble upon one day. 2. The Greece reunion felt sort of music-video-ish - like what's up with that chocolate cake? Did she really bake it and then teleported to a location at least a mile away?

I did like how there was at least one person in her life that was like "I need to find Cha Young and be with her!" Even in hide and seek in episode 4, the kids forgot her!

Not everyone's cup of tea, but I loved it and felt it was greater than the sum of its parts.

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@ar I love your comment. Regarding the lie, I think it was very thoughtful of him. He knows how fragile she is at that stage and their relationship is just at the beginning. He was worried she will run away or it will crush her. As I said above she will sure find out. But then she will be emotionally much stronger, their relationship will also be stronger. Being a thoughtful person herself she would understand why he lied. This series is all about revealing truth at the right time by the way it drips feed information about the characters.

About the cake it is the sort that could be done before hand, just like the chocolate cake she made for his birthday (in fact it is the same type just smaller). She could have made it half an hour before at least 😊

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Also you are right. CY needs “someone to find her”. Kang could find her for the dumpling soup, he surely should go find her again to show her how much he loves her and wants her. That would heal all her wound of being unwanted. That is how love heals CY.

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The last episode did not satisfy me. I liked this drama, but it's not by any means my favorite.

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Hmmm! I'm crying right now.
What a love story.
These days, kdrama has started to use ending scenes of the last episode as the first scene of the first episode and it's nice indeed.
I learnt a lot from this drama about friends and life. So, it is left for me to apply them in the world we are living.

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I would like to see many of the actors in this drama again and I hope they do well. I particularly liked Min Jin-woong as Moon Tae-hyun. I understand that he has acted in several other things. His physical comedy is spot on and I thought the last scene on the beach was very precise - it could have been cheesy and dreadful, but I think it was done simply and sensitively.
I increasingly liked Jang Seung-jo as Lee Joon, too, not just because he is easy to look at. 🌹

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I am happy that it has happy ending..period

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Honestly, for me, this drama is far from perfect. Repetitive flashbacks / unnecessary fillers, rushed side storylines, too much tragedies etc.

However, I love the main characters (or should I say Yoon Kye-sang 😆) so much, that I was willing to bear with it, and to be fair, the drama does have its beautiful moments and meaningful life lessons. It also made me come back to Dramabeans after 2 years. I even made new friends!

So, thank you Chocolate, for everything. 😊

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I'll come and read the recap and comment here. Now I just have to finish correcting students' assignments first. Fighting!

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thanks for the recap:-)

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Alas, Chocolate has come to its conclusion. I actually have mixed feelings about the final two episodes, but I will still say that Chocolate has never betrayed me. It never betrayed its viewers from all those lessons the show had the intention to give: the lessons about love, kindness, time, forgiveness, etc. I found this intention what holds every episode together.

Together with its catchy original soundtracks, beautiful cinematography, veteran actors and actresses, the show succeeded in making this Chocolate rich and deep. I, too, found some parts of it quite unbelievable, cliche and tropes-driven. But as far as I know, life is just like that: full of ups and downs, reasonable and unreasonable things and fate. I don't know why, but instead of being irritated of all these unexpected and unreasonable incidents, I found that I could relate most of them with things and incidents in real life. Chocolate is not perfect, yes. But what in life is ever perfect? It's funny isn't it, but I chose to look at it as Chocolate being true to itself, its messages and its viewers: Life is unpredictable; many things are unreasonable, but instead of looking back and repenting what has happened, we better look ahead as that's where every possibility lies; time is limited, ladies and gentlemen, and appreciate that are still breathing now because many people would have paid everything to buy them another day if they have none left.

As for why CY had to run away to Greece again, my initial feeling was that the show wanted to end at the same place where all the stories began (Greece.) I also suspected that the reason why the devilish mother had to appear again in front of CY was because she had to be the reason CY had to go to Greece. I, myself, found this mother arc quite out of the place. But again, if you choose to see things with kindness, every grass is a flower (Black Dog), so the lesson derived from this mini-arc for me is that you just have to face the problem heads on just to be able to move on with life. Everyone expects mothers to treat their children well, but that was not the case with CY and her mother. CY had to face the reality to heal and to move on. Thankfully, Kang will always be there to support her. Regarding this, I feel a bit sad for TH. I think I heard it correctly that he still kept contact with his mom all this time because the mom knew everything about CY. He, in my eyes, is so weak.

Oh.. I love the kissing scenes. The birthday dinner between the two was heart-warming and beautiful. I could just feel Kang's happiness through the screen. Even after the show has ended, I still want to believe that if both of them exist somewhere in this universe, I hope they have a happy life together so much so as they do deserve it.

Lastly, I just want to say that though I feel like the last two episodes were rushed, and tried to conclude everything quite too abruptly, Chocolate never betrayed its viewers. It has conveyed all the messages it...

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had the intention to convey. And to me, that is more than good enough.

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And I'll be forever thankful for this show because I came to know so many Beanies and guests. Reading their comments always makes me feel like I am getting to know many new friends and listening to their perspectives about this show. I wonder if the feeling is the same as those who joined some book clubs like a hundred year ago felt. So thank you dearly to all who have made the watching of this show so much more beautiful. Well, some might like it more than the others while some just don't like it that much, but that's so ok.

Thank you! (*winking eyes*)

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I'll have to tag @sunset125 and @noone in case they miss my comments haha.

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My dear @mmmmm
How could I miss your thoughts as I have been checking this page regularly to read the comments section?
I thought so much has been said that it was best to keep mum :)
Also a confession: i did speak and read too much about the two episodes when they were released. I was overflowing with thoughts and emotions.
To be honest episode 16 is not my favourite. I did like episode 15... quite a bit. I do wish chocolate got more love but am also ok with people not liking it. I am trying to get two friends to see it, and I want to know their opinion. And I do think the end wasnt as great as the rest of the series (just my personal opinion). The context setting got so much love, the end deserved the same.

I do think (just like you) that I wouldnt have enjoyed this as much as I did if not for the different people who shared their perspective.

Special thanks to @sunset125 :) i was waiting to hear your take when ep15 recap was published, so on seeing you here at last, I was super happy. Followed your goblin ig account :)

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Oh and I love deep moments, silences and film/drama that shows rather than tell...

But i also need interpreters for these as I dont understand the nuances of such moments.
And @teriyaki @sailorjumun @sunset125 and @lilium you were my perfect guides for this chocolatey journey, thank you.
That is not to say that some of the silemt members who spoke up to share their interpretations didnt help but candid spirits like @mmmmm and @pyc just added more colour to my mornings/rides spent reading the recaps+comments. Sharing some love with all of you named and not named here.
Until another fascinating watch... 🤗

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Thank you @mmmmm. It has been great watching Chocolate with you 😊 and other Beanies here!

Thank you @noone 😊! Thanks for “finding me” 😊. This is the end of my journey here until the next drama that excites me. But I will write lots more on Chocolate on my IG so it is great to have you there . Hope to see you lots more 🤗.

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I have read most of the Ep 15 and 16 comments here and elsewhere but yet to watch them in full due being caught up in real life but it's also a delayed goodbye to a drama that evokes so much that I haven't felt for a long while.

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@epyc2010 Dear Chingu, you should watch them. It's a beautiful little gem. I almost cannot quite believe how this show is so underrated. But who cares? It's still beautiful.

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I really just have to commend the commenters :-)

Though I have read only comments for this episode and not all of them in fact, most are very respectful, even the ones who did not like the episode and/or the drama, I guess, as a whole. I have been reading posts on various sites related to this drama (and even commented on a couple) hoping to stumble into another drama recommendation such as this one. This thread I liked the most.

And to those who wrote the recaps, and commenters who provided insights, all so beautifully worded, my gratitude to you all.

If I can offer my 2 cents - and please forgive and indulge me, the opinion that follows are that of someone way past mid-life (am close to 60):

There is no question that this drama has a lot of flaws, But as I have stated in a previous comment, I like this drama just the same because it leaves a lot of room for the imagination and interpretation. Which is also why (and am sure this is also generational) I prefer reading novels. In my opinion, TV Dramas are also like fictional novels, you have the characters, the story line, beginning, middle, and end. However, good novels, and some dramas as well, one has liberty to "read between the lines". Some dramas I have seen, and maybe because it is demanded, or maybe it just a matter of preference, one can only imagine up to the next episode. And sometimes not even that. Happy, sad, good or bad, directly all laid out to bear. Again, am not saying it is bad drama, it is just not for me, and I will be the first to admit that I don't necessarily have good taste :-).

For me however, the so-called loose ends, understated interactions, non-verbal reactions, recurring lines, inexplicable course - makes one ponder, interpret, and even relate. As someone who has been fortunate enough to have quite a number of years tucked under her belt, and has gone thru a bit, I can relate. No, much as I wish I have the same great love story, that is not the case. And I did not and do not have the same trauma or even akin to what the leads had. But it is true that sometimes, it takes only one interaction for the person and the moment to be seared in somebody's memory. That years and years later, you just know! How it feels; how it tastes; how it smells; or how good and true a person will remain no matter what.

It is also true that for some, myself included, for good or bad, when confronted with something so painful, you would choose to detach, even if it means also detaching from what is good. Because you know that is the only way for you to heal and move on. And hopefully, if possible still, be well enough to go back and pick up the good you left behind.

Lastly, yes, it is my fervent wish that should I be near death's door, I still want to be treated as somebody still living instead of someone dying. And I know that I can only be deserving of that if I at least try to always learn from yesterday, live today, and remain hopeful for tomorrow.

... oh,...

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I am not sure why this was cut off ... one small clarification - (and again, this is just my opinion), only a TV Drama that is well written and acted, can mimic a good novel.

Anybody, if you have recommendations, please recommend away and thanks in advance.

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Dear @ina,

I feel the same. A good piece of art always makes us reflect but in art theory (I think), there is also a philosophical question that is raised: how much of the appreciation comes from who we are and what our (audience) context is at the time when we are indulging in that art form?
I feel, the drama dealt with themes that are difficult in such a romantic fashion. It invited us to grieve. I once read an article about death cafes in UK, wherein as humans face less and less deaths in the world, they go to these spaces to learn how to cope with them. I felt this drama was a bit about coping mechanisms.
They also say art is something that you can appreciate today and tomorrow, while pop art loses its flavor within a few days/years. I would like to see this again after a few years to just see my reactions to it.
I confess for me this drama was an experiment. Also, it did motivate me to be more creative because of its beauty.
Just some meanderings inspired by your comment. I hope that until I die I also remember to live fully and also, realize that death is not an end. I remember to not be scared and to be more spiritual for all that is, that was and always will be :)

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nice ....

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sorry for the typos, wrong punctuations, and misspelling (such as *bare) ... allow my age to be my excuse :-)

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Thank you for dropping by! I am happy to learn that you also like/love Chocolate despite all its flaws (well, for me personally I don't think they are flaws per se, but I think that it would have been so much better if the show was extended to a 20-ep show.) For me, this show gave me many life lessons I can reflect on, and many incidents I can relate with. And there are many points in your comment that I have to agree with.

When you talked about how a person can leave a lasting impact/impression on another person reminded me of some wonderful people I've met in my life. Thank you for putting this so beautifully into words. Sometimes I want to say something like this too, but I couldn't find the proper words to use.

I also agree that I, too, tried to detach myself from people or anything that made me sad. And only so many years later did I learn that that might not be the solution because one day, in order to finally move on, I will need to face it heads on and experience all the negative emotions coming out of it. I understand that this takes time. But just as Kang said "have a lot of rest (be it days, months or years) and make sure that you come back." I guess, haha, the show actually provided us with the correct answer: Just make sure you come back to all the good things that you left. This is how Kang helped CY: To always be her guiding light so that she will not be lost.

I, too, didn't have a great love story (not that I mind if I happen to have one in the future hehe), but I also experienced the near-death experience. At that point, I could not help myself. My life actually depended on the mercy of people around me (and thankfully, they were all kind-hearted.) Right then, I finally realized what life was all about: it is about people who love and cherish you. Some people, in my case my family and some friends, will stay with you no matter what. Normally, people will never know how many 'real friends' they have unless they kinda have that kind of experience. Then, if you manage to survive, you will learn to appreciate the really good things in life so much more. Things that do not truly matter will be so insignificant, and your life will be so rich, so rich like Kang, CY and Jun at the end of the show.

^ ^ Thanks again for leaving your beautiful comments here. I'm sure other Beanies and our wonderful recappers @sailorjumun and @teriyaki will also appreciate your comments.

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*fighting* @mmmmm
Kindness begets kindness and a dialogue from some Kdrama (I love the dialogue):

We are all in our own ways trying to be the best versions of ourselves. So be a little more understanding and forgiving of each other’s flaws.

Not sure if it fit the context but chocolate characters kept reminding me of this.

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Thanks! @noone, and yes, the dialogue you mentioned surely fits the context. Sometimes, people struggle too much and too long they forget all about kindness. It would be nice if we all could remind ourselves that other people are struggling too. I think our world is in need of a good dose of kindness and empathy right now. :)

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thanks too!

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"Learn from yesterday, live today, and remain hopeful for tomorrow"
THIS, so beautifully said, Ina!!

Thank you all for the amazing recaps and comments, CHOCOLATE has been a wonderful journey for me and I will cherish it forever 🍫🥰

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thank you!

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Thank you for the recaps and all the commenters , I enjoyed Chocolate a lot but reading the recaps and the commenters insights have made the experience all the more enjoyable.

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I could watch Ha Ji-won and Yoon Kye-sang all day long. They are soooo pretty. Sometimes I choose dramas based on actors, and even if it gets a bit boring or predictable, it's just so gratifying to see such awesome actors being cute and handsome together. But since the ensemble was also pretty awesome it made everything easier to watch.

Although the writing went a bit overboard - how many tragic things can happen to one person???? Having a shitty mother doesn't seem to be bad and dramatic enough anymore ("Cinderellas Sister" was just simpler times) Serious drama this drama^^

So overall - pretty good 7.5/10 , bc it's prettily shot and directed, and the writing actually get's less and less hospital politics after the beginning and struggle get's replaced by heartful stories which was a surprisingly soothing thing - it went from all out drama to happy ending feel good romance with heartful sadness
However - binging this, I did mind all those flashbacks (way too many) and the editing/directing put the side characters stories sometimes way too far apart - they felt like an afterthought. They could have cut all those flashbacks out and put the stories scenes a bit closer - not like episode 5 (which was super obvious and hard to relate to) & 6 that were like "this weeks slow death-journey" (maybe they needed some time)- but also not way too far apart like they did with the youtube-girl or the Grandfather and the little girl (choppy story connection). It just felt like they had to fill in minutes sometimes and the tight writing of the first episodes got lost with all that product placement (How many sandwiches and chocolate and cars can you eat?) - Sometimes that just ruins the emotional scenes. Honestly.

Something else that totally distracted me was the fact that Jang Seung-jo (Lee Joon) just looks so much younger than Yoon Kye-sang, (he is in fact 3 years older) that it was so awkward to hear Lee Kang call Lee Joon his older brother. Every time I cringed - but they both are such great actors and they had really good scenes together, so I guess it's not too bad of a casting^^

I enjoyed it - a really easy watch for the eyes

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@moko1
Hi... if you have the time then do read some of the comments in the previous recaps. This particular drama is slow and experimental (in some ways). I thought the comments helped me understand stuff better. Thus, suggesting the same for you.

With regard to Joon and Kang age gap: in places the actor who plays Kang does look old. But I think this was also discussed and I sort of agree: the director/casting person wanted to emphasize how hard life has been for Kang (mom, being treated as an outsider, Libya, losing his best friend and then the big accident) (so he has aged before his time!!) while Joon has had it relatively easy, so the better model of a car and looks. Also, the boys didn’t have much of an age gap even as kids.

All said and done... I miss chocolate!

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@RuckusLikesDrama
I guess if the casting director intended to cast the Yoon Kye-sang for that reason it totally went past my analytic abilities. The fact that they have to state that in order for me to understand is not helping - that means the drama didn't explain it well enough. Also I guess it's because he usually plays so manly characters I just think that's him, his style of acting - that's just what you get when you watch a drama with him.

Also I wonder if Lee Joon really had it so easy with that mother and those high expectation in that family. Hell Joseon is not an easy place to live in general, even if you are smart. Of course Lee Kang had it way harder - but with that amount of pressure from this family, both of them should have a few gray hairs by now.

Already reading the comments of this episode helps me to cherish the drama better. Of course I like the strong emphasis on how to cope with death in the most positive and loving way. (Having dealt with death in my family myself, I totally get it and wish we had such a place to go to) I also think that the emphasis on food and what good food means to people is very beautiful. It made me want to be a good cook and a better person (I can't cook).

That Greece ending and seperation is such a trope now, I don't even care if the writers use it anymore. It's just there, whatever. Last episodes are usually sad because one has to say goodbye to the characters and everything feels a bit awkward whilst wrapping everything up.

What really bugged me was that Lee Kang lied to Cha-young about his mother. That honestly disturbed me. She will find out anyway if they live together for the rest of their lives. There is no reason for her to not find out how his mother's name is and how she died. That was bizarr, even if he did it for himself to cope with the trauma or the crazieness of life or whatever reason - just doesn't really make sense when you wanna spend the rest of your life with that person, to lie about your mother's death...Don't get me wrong I understand why people lie. But now every time this comes up Cha-young will have to act like she doesn't know (but we know she knows, kinda) - how awkward is that?

Anyway I wanna eat chocolate now^^

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Chocolate was a good drama but the ending was a let down for me. The separation did not make sense to me. It seemed like the writer just needed an excuse to take us back to the beauty scenes and cinematography enjoyed at the start.

I did not appreciate Kang hiding the truth about his mother’s death. Yes, we assume he will tell her in the future, but this is an integral part of the story that should not be omitted.

I also didn’t like how CY always acted demure with Kang when she has been pining for him for the longest time.

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Also, it took forever for their relationship to develop, it wasn’t till ep 12. There were too many side sad stories then the writer had to cramp everything in ep 15.

I still like this drama but I was disappointed with the finale.

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I just happened to be here and I had to write on reading your comment @tizzy :

The finale totally didn’t work for me, either. Just because the drama began in Greece, they had to force it to end in Greece too... thus separation had to happen and yes it did feel forced. I have questioned myself and wondered if the character demanded this ...
But here I think someone in the comments said it best: the main character (Cha Young) was the only one who didn’t get a proper closure or character arc.
I for one have a bone to pick with the writer with regard to Cha Young’s character.

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Did I miss something?
Do we know if Cha-Young ever re-gained her taste and smell back?
Do we know if Kang ever told Cha-Young that the lady in accident/department store collapse was his mother?
I'm thinking maybe those two areas were just "understood" by both?
-lb

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After watching HJW on House on Wheels, I wanted to see her in a drama. Remembered Chocolate as the latest one, I ended up bingeing the drama in two days.

What a ride was that eh? My brain understood CY's choice to heal and process everything alone after meeting with her mother. But my heart wanted her to share the burden with Kang. They have been through A LOT, and the show owes them some smooches, hugs and happy moments. Also, I wanted more brotherly scenes. Jun was such an interesting character, I actually expected him to be the typical angry 2nd lead in the earlier episodes and was pleasantly surprised that it did not happen as the drama went on. Jang Seung-jo played him with such layers of emotions every time Jun was conflicted on his decisions.

The drama had too much accidents that every time they're in the car or on the road I get nervous. Despite the complaints I had along the way I still enjoyed the performance of the cast.

Thanks for the recaps @teriyaki & @sailorjumun, I read your comments and enjoyed it as I marathoned the show.

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