Sweet Munchies: Episodes 9-10 Open Thread
I suspected things would get messy this week, and while I certainly wasn’t wrong about it, it wasn’t for the reasons I expected. Our chef’s efforts to keep the lie going no matter what causes a lot of heartache. He faces a difficult choice: protect the show or protect the innocent people who are being hurt along the way?
EPISODES 9-10 WEECAP
We resume this week where we last left Ah-jin and Jin-sung, locked at the lips at Bistro. Ah-jin’s reaction is to duck away home, search the internet for opinions about what it all means, and then pretend that she remembers nothing when she next encounters Jin-sung later that evening at her doorstep. I’d say that this isn’t a solid strategy, but they barely pretend that nothing happened before sitting right down and talking it out. The truth doesn’t come out, but at least no lame excuses are uttered either.
It seems like Jin-sung can’t possibly keep the lie inside his heart any longer, and yet he somehow manages to refrain from confessing anything and just shoots her down with a shrug about his actions. I thought surely that this uncertainty and confusion would drag out through the week, but instead their talk happens pretty quickly and Ah-jin respectfully backs off.
And so Ah-jin announces that she’s going to focus on her first true love, work. It’s the one thing that all three corners of our love triangle have in common, and also the first thing that they all turn to when they’re hurting. But all three also struggle keeping their spirits up with their favorite professional distractions.
So that leads us to Jin-sung’s second opportunity to tell the truth and the heartbreak that is the final triangle angle: Tae-wan. Sigh. He spends the episode feeling encouraged by what he sees as bravery and openness all around him from his new friends. When Sung-eun and Jae-soo finally confess their relationship by gathering the gang together at Bistro (when did Jin-sung have time between all the cooking, sending mixed signals, and filming to brew his own beer?), Tae-wan sees a reality that might be possible for him too.
And when all hell breaks loose at the restaurant when some intolerant hecklers turn up, Tae-wan sees nothing but bravery in Jin-sung’s response at the police station afterwards when Jin-sung refuses to back down and accept the blame. Speaking of bravery, if you were wondering what it would take for Tae-wan to lose his cool, the answer is the most vile of assholes. He’s been chill even during PD Nam’s thoughtless disrespect, but he won’t tolerate explicit vileness and erupts with a mighty punch to one of the men’s faces. He’s so full of respect for Jin-sung that he doesn’t see the valor in his own actions.
We’re starting to learn more about Tae-wan’s experiences when he was younger, and how they have built up a wall of shame and denial for many years. Seeing someone stand up for themselves and remain in the spotlight even when the world is cruel, he feels hopeful.
So of course, dude shows up with a giant bottle of absinthe and does his best to confess to Jin-sung. He hopes that the overt symbolism of the devil’s drink will open Jin-sung’s mind to the truth, since all the wrist grabs and standing super close attempts seemed to have failed.
Jin-sung finally gets it, and it’s heartbreaking. Instead of taking this moment to tell the truth, Jin-sung delivers a rejection to his second suitor. At least we get to enjoy a sweet scene of Ah-jin and Tae-wan finally getting past their awkwardness to unknowingly commiserate about being rejected by the same guy, but it’s not worth seeing the pain in Tae-wan’s tearful eyes.
Add to that Jin-sung’s attempts to derail his little brother’s TV career and his father discovering the show, and Jin-sung spends some quality time wallowing. The juxtaposition of Jin-sung wiping away the hateful graffiti left on his restaurant with Ah-jin reading him letters of gratitude from fans was really striking, because Jin-sung can find no comfort in any of it. His whole life has become a sham.
I can’t believe that Jin-sung hasn’t told someone, but I think I see the problem. Jin-sung selfishly doesn’t want anyone to hate him for this. Because if he could be selfless about it all, he would have told Tae-wan the truth the moment he confessed, and he would have told Ah-jin ages ago. He’d rather double down now than admit to anyone that he’s the bad guy.
It doesn’t help that he’s getting reinforcement for this view from PD Lee. I will say, giving the truth to that guy was ingenious. We know exactly what PD Nam would do with the information. But PD Lee was a wildcard. He cares about harmony and he cares about his company, and so he goes to the root of the lie and tells Jin-sung to never ever tell the truth for the sake of Ah-jin’s show.
The brewing emotions swirl us right into the final moments, as Tae-wan brings his friends together at Bistro to come out to them. He still wants to emulate Jin-sung and be honest to himself. And so Jin-sung chooses the most painful and unfair moment to admit that he’s not really gay. Next week, Jin-sung will finally have to be the bad guy, and we’ll have to see how he handles it. I haven’t liked the flares of anger we’ve seen come up when he’s vented his frustration at Ah-jin, and I hope he doesn’t do the same with Tae-wan. He’s going to have to do a lot of work to try to undo all of this. Good luck, Jin-sung.
- Premiere Watch: Will You Have Dinner With Me, Sweet Munchies
- Jung Il-woo and Kang Ji-young experience career-threatening crisis in Midnight Snack Couple teaser
- Dance party at Jung Il-woo’s restaurant in new teaser for Midnight Snack Couple
- Character stills for JTBC’s Midnight Snack Couple with Jung Il-woo, Kang Ji-young, and Lee Hak-joo
- Jung Il-woo to play chef in SBS rom-com Midnight Snack Couple