House on Wheels: Episode 12 (Final)
In our final episode of House on Wheels, our cast and guest continue to enjoy their beautiful ocean scenery. With big brunch plans, big lunch plans, and lots of
working eating to do, it’s a great episode on which to end our time in the tiny house with our new-found friends.
EPISODE 12 RECAP
We pick up right where we left off last week — with a cast that’s hungry after a day of fishing and ready (as ever) to start eating! Jin-gu heads into the kitchen to start up some rice, and like the pro that he now is, starts rinsing and prepping. Ji-won comes in and compliments him, but you can tell he’s nervous. We cut back to his shy statement earlier in the day — that he finds it hard to look straight at her — and we play off his fanboying for a little bit. Can’t blame him, after all, since Ha Ji-won is pretty cool.
While Jin-gu’s working in the kitchen, Dong-il and Hee-won put up the big bug netting. Ji-won pokes around trying to help, but for change, our cast has things under control.
Jin-gu sets to work on their sashimi salad, except he and Ji-won can’t remember what vegetables are supposed to be in there, so they just basically grab anything and wing it. Ji-won washes the veggies, Jin-gu chops, and it’s not exactly traditional, but it looks great.
Dong-il pounces on the scene once it’s time for the sashimi to get involved, and gets busy adding the fish and seasoning, but pretty soon he’s complaining they added too many vegetables. Either way, it looks amazing — this might just be my favorite of their meal creations.
Ji-won asks if adding water turns it into cold sashimi soup, and Dong-il quickly wants to turn the whole dish into soup if that’s what she prefers. They settle on one sashimi salad dish, and one soup. For the broth, Dong-il says they need cider (among other ingredients), and the cider nearly explodes when Ji-won opens it. Hee-won has a giggle saying she’s just like him, but of course Dong-il refuses to agree with this.
Before they settle down to enjoy, Jin-gu sets up an entire platter of steak tartare, and he plates it so well everyone gasps. It tastes just as good as it looks. Ji-won looks like she’s in heaven (and gets a cute sound effect to go with her reaction). Jin-gu takes a bite and immediately starts clapping lol.
Jin-gu and Dong-il are so close at this point it’s absolutely hilarious and sweet to see them carrying on together over the food, and laughing like crazy. Dong-il says their food makes you happy when you eat it, and after watching this show, there’s no arguing with that.
Dong-il takes the chance to show off his sushi making skills again, and adds some hilarious flourishes as he preps the rice, wasabi, and then adds and braises the meat. It looks really professional, and they’re all wowed. Boy, I’m really going to miss Jin-gu’s awesome food faces when this show is over.
Hee-won seems to be enjoying it too, but he gets way too much wasabi on his piece, and if you’ve ever experienced that, you know that the pain he manifests on screen is pretty accurate. Dong-il is amused, and once Hee-won recovers he still says it was delicious. They’re also pretty pleased with their sashimi dishes. There is so much munching going on! Every time Ji-won takes a bite she nods and makes an adorable “Mmm!” sound.
Night has fallen and everyone is exhausted and ready for sleep. An adorable and pajamaed Jin-gu tries to pull out the trundle bed for Ji-won but falls over in the process. He quickly recovers, though, and makes up her bed with a special blanket. Dong-il teases him that he hasn’t done this for any of their other guests, making everyone laugh. Dong-il and Hee-won head to the tent, and Jin-gu gingerly climbs up the ladder to his loft.
Hah, this show does the best wake-up scenes ever — no pretend-sleeping with full faces of makeup and perfect hair. Instead it’s morning groans, pjs, and bedheads all around. Dong-il and Hee-won are up first, taking in the gorgeous view from the tent, and wishing Jin-gu was up to make them coffee. Sounds perfect to me, too!
They head to the nearby stream and wash off in the water like two mountain men, and then chill out in their chairs, trying to stay cool while taking in the scenery. Hee-won gets poetic about the ocean; Dong-il falls back asleep.
Still no coffee for our ajusshis. Two hours have gone by since they’ve been up, but Jin-gu and Ji-won are still out cold. They find this particular funny of Ji-won, who told them she has insomnia. They debate waking the two up, but Dong-il says it would go against the theme of the show lol.
Instead, they make a racket on the deck, Hee-won sneaks into the house to get sunglasses, and in no time, Ji-won pops up and greets them through the screen window. Then, her voice wakes Jin-gu who’s been sleeping like the dead.
Ji-won does some morning stretches and makes the bed before joining them outside, tripping on her way to the deck (also, she looks way too good for only being awake for about fifteen minutes).
Ji-won was going to make homemade cream cheese, but she said it takes two hours and she slept in too much for that plan to work. They compromise on the cream cheese she brought as a gift (also handmade by her), and they plan to have it with Jin-gu’s coffee. Count me in.
Dong-il and Hee-won head out on a “date” to get some fish from Dong-il’s friend (of course), and meanwhile, Ji-won and Jin-gu get to work in the kitchen. Ji-won’s brought coffee beans since she heard Jin-gu can roast them — he hesitates adorably before admitting he’s never actually done it.
Ji-won also heard they had a LP player, which Jin-gu quickly retrieves. They try to set it up on the fold-out table, but the leaf keeps collapsing on them. Jin-gu quickly sets things to rights, telling Ji-won of the “Don’t panic!” mantra of House on Wheels.
But they kinda have to panic, at least briefly, when the table collapses a second time, almost dropping the record player. Jin-gu is hilariously irritated: “Why does this keep happening?!” They move the record player to the bed, and pretty soon things are calm again. Ji-won’s favorite song plays in the background, and it totally fits the laid-back vibes of the house and the scenery.
Jin-gu’s next task is roasting the coffee beans, and with the help of a quick YouTube video, he looks like quite the pro already. Meanwhile, Ji-won readies breakfast, and has even brought basil and mint that she grew at home.
Hee-won and Dong-il drive to their destination and chat about the area, the famous windmill, and how it’s such a great tourist destination. When they get to the restaurant, they’re greeted with two gigantic jars of marinated crabs and shrimp, which they “sample” happily. It’s actually a shock there’s still food to bring back, but they literally leave with an ice-packed crate of goodies.
Hee-won and Dong-il arrive home with their food, and everyone rushes to try the crabs — Ji-won loves them so much she practically floats around the kitchen lol. Breakfast sure is a production, though. Jin-gu is still monitoring the coffee beans, and when they’re finally done roasting, they actually look fantastic; the oil has come out and you can practically smell them through the screen.
Jin-gu grinds away while Ji-won finishes preparing the bagels and toppings she’s brought along. We get some footage of her in a professional-looking kitchen making the homemade flavored cream cheeses. I’m getting serious Chocolate flashbacks, and I’m not complaining one bit.
She makes them all quite the New York breakfast — bagel halves with cream cheese, smoked salmon, tomato, onion, and capers. Jin-gu watches her excitedly and she even enlists him to help her open a jar (aww!). But wait, there’s more! Each bagel half features a different cream cheese and mix of toppings. It’s all so completely thought out and sweet.
Ji-won and Jin-gu fuss over the details for so long that Hee-won and Dong-il, sitting out at the chairs waiting for them, crack jokes that this hotel’s service is very slow. It’s worth the wait, though, and everyone loves it. Dong-il says it’s literally as good as a hotel, and Hee-won delivers an emphatic thumbs up (complete with some hilarious sound effects).
I never thought watching people eat bagels could be so entertaining, but we spend a delightful ten minutes or so watching them eat all of Ji-won’s creations, and carefully taste, comment on, and react to all the flavors and textures. They must be fun to cook for — they savor and enjoy their food so much!
They are all quick to praise Ji-won’s skills, but somehow all fail to correctly call her homegrown herbs “organic” — Dong-il teases Hee-won that he always plays life-sentence prisoners so of course he doesn’t know the right term.
After eating, they decide to head to the local market next, at Ji-won’s request. Dong-il asks the perennial question (“What do you want to eat?”), but Ji-won explains she just loves the feel of markets, from the food to the people.
In the car on their way, Ji-won plays a song on her phone and has the window open, enjoying the view. Dong-il is passed out next to her, but her gasps soon wake him up lol — they’ve passed through the forest and have a beautiful view of the Namhae sea.
Geoje Gohyeon Market is pretty epic, and our cast makes a beeline for the fish cake and dukbokki (they’re hungry again, of course). Among the many purchases are shikhye, fresh peaches, and of course, the ingredients for dinner.
Jin-gu takes the wheel on the way home (why do I love watching him drive!), and Hee-won enjoys the break and feeds Jin-gu snacks as they go along. Hee-won says he’ll take over when Jin-gu gets tired, but Dong-il says that if they get a second season of the show, Ji-won will be back as their driver. They get formal about it for a second, and Ji-won agrees. *Can this really happen please!*
Back at the tiny house, Dong-il sets a plan in motion for where they’ll cook and eat their lunch. He mentions the shabu shabu they’re planning, and Hee-won teases him for his “American” pronunciation. They blame the very American bagel breakfast for this slip-up lol.
All of a sudden the tiny kitchen is a bustle of activity. I don’t know how the four of them fit in there, busily working away, but they do. Hee-won’s washing the dishes, and Dong-il gets ready to fry the goldeye rockfish that they picked up early this morning.
Dong-il carefully follows his friend’s directions and uses the soybean oil to fry (it has a high smoke point and a nutty flavor to boot). He clearly knows what he’s doing, but he’s super careful to make sure no one gets burnt by any rogue oil splashes — especially Ji-won.
But it’s Jin-gu that gets a splash on him, and he learns his lesson right away and hides behind Hee-won haha. While Dong-il successfully flips the fish in the oil, Jin-gu plates the marinated crab and shrimp, and gets raves from Dong-il on the extent of his plating skills.
Dong-il suddenly loses confidence in the fish, and calls the ajumma to confirm how long it should be frying — uh oh, she says under fifteen minutes, and their fish has already been frying for way longer than that. However, it still looks perfect, and Dong-il is proud that he fried them with the head still on — apparently a sign of true skill.
The final dish is the eel shabu shabu, but the broth was already prepared by Jin-gu and Ji-won the night before. Wow, they did so much just to create the broth, but it looks like it was worth it. It’s such an impressive spread of food, and all so fresh!
Dong-il serves Ji-won the rockfish first, on her rice bowl, and to say she loves it is an understatement. Everyone else is right behind her, and they’re impressed with the flavor of the fried fish, and how it doesn’t need other seasoning.
Next it’s on to the eel shabu shabu, and right away some fresh veggies go into the broth along with the eel. It was strategically cut so that it “flowers” when boiled, and everyone watches with excitement. It looks amazing.
It’s gasps all around again, as everyone is overwhelmed with the deliciousness. Dong-il cooks all the eel and makes sure everyone has theirs before he starts eating, and then he joins right in with their raving. Ji-won says it’s the best shabu shabu she’s ever had, and gobbles it up like crazy, earning much praise from Dong-il. “The pretty ones eat well,” he says with a chuckle.
Next it’s the marinated crab and shrimp, and rice added to the shabu shabu broth, and everyone is pretty much in heaven. There’s not a criticism among them. The entire lunch has been perfectly to everyone’s taste, and they just keep eating and eating.
Ji-won says the broth feels very nourishing — like a broth that heals your body as you sip it, and you sweat out toxins.
Back on the deck in front of the little house, sitting all in row, Dong-il says they need to return to the question he asked Ji-won in the car: would she come back to the house on wheels again? He flashes her his best smile, but it’s not even needed — she says yes without hesitation.
I’m getting some serious hints of a Season 2, but Hee-won breaks the moment and says all of the guests said they would come back, and instead, that they should start making their guests audition to join them. Then he says the house is too small and they need a two-story apartment instead. “Apartment on Wheels?”
They’re having too much fun with this joke, and they soon turn it into “Multiplex House on Wheels” when they think of all the guests they’ve spent time with on the show. Hee-won remarks how fast the time went, and we get a cute replay of when they started filming in May. They went whenever and wherever they wanted, with the hope of “turning the whole country into their front yard.”
It’s a great little wrap-up for our show, and we see a few highlights and snippets of all the guests, while the onscreen text asks us “Where will they go next?” “Which new guests will they meet?” and a final little message from our cast of three which says, “We’ll see you again!”
I am more than okay with all these hints of more House on Wheels, because I’m going to miss this show so much! Jin-gu’s belly laugh and bed head. Dong-il and Hee-won’s bromanceful teasing and endless giggles. The tarp, the deck, the coffee — the amazing local food.
This show has been precious, hilarious, and most of all warm and comforting. In fact, I can’t think of one that deserves more airtime as much as House on Wheels does. In the meantime, with our fingers crossed, let’s follow our casts’ lead — live well, eat well, and above all, don’t panic!