By extension of Kim Seul Gi, Park Bo Young is equally a delight. She exudes so much of Soon Ae’s sassy personality that it’s hard not to believe that Kim Seul Gi has actually possessed her. There is one scene where a creepy looking child ghost appears and it was NOT COOL, but thankfully they don’t look like the ghosts from the first episode of Master’s Sun. (I know, the rotting flesh-grandmother becomes a kindly looking one, but it’s hard to forget the rotting flesh.) And they don’t show up so often.
So Soon Ae is causing a lot of trouble for Bong Sun because they are just vastly different personalities. After flipping over Sun Woo, she realizes that it’s quite possible she just made a huge mistake for Bong Sun and tries to get out of the body. But nope! She’s stuck! The frequencies are just too in sync with hers! As she strains to get out of Bong Sun’s body, she ends up fainting and the kitchen crew has no idea what to do with her. Eventually Soon-Bong wakes up and realizes she’s surrounded by men. Kyah! Now more reason to stick around!
She apologizes to Sun Woo and rashly attributes her resignation to Sun Woo’s harsh words about rethinking her place in the kitchen. It’s enough to get her back at the restaurant, except now she’s super sassy. She talks back at sous chef Min Soo when he tells her to do tasks that Sun Woo assigned to him, and wipes water off the floor with a wet mop, making the kitchen floor even more slippy for the chef to walk through. She even peeks at the guys showering after their shift! (That pervy Soon Ae!) The guys are super perplexed by her new personality because she looks exactly like Bong Sun but isn’t acting like Bong Sun. Wondering if the recent stress of her sudden resignation and then coming back to the job was part of it, they reason that she must have dissociative identity disorder – just like all the other leading males in K-dramas! And if that’s the case, they’re even more afraid that she will have a psychopathic side to her and just may kill them all with their knives!
Meanwhile, that famous food blogger who was completely rude the other day has returned with a vengeance: by slapping Sun Woo with a lawsuit! She calls him out on her blog for his rudeness and accuses him of pushing her so hard that she required three weeks’ hospitalization. Three weeks! All for a nudge out the door because she couldn’t control her child, and he had ended up knocking into Bong Sun while she was holding a steaming hot plate of pasta! Even the kid knew he was in the wrong and that blogger was all, “My son is a saint, your staff is rude and dumb.”
In any case, Sun Woo refuses to apologize or settle because he doesn’t think he’s in the wrong. However it’s a huge hit on his popularity and he gets less customers, inviting instead more rude and snobbish ones that think they too know better than the chef in terms of how their dishes should be. Sun Woo doesn’t really care that he has less people and looks at the bright side: at least he and his staff will have more of a break. However the negative press around him is definitely impacting his business.
His worried mother, Cho Hae Young, goes to meet the blogger and pays off the settlement fee. She can’t watch her son suffer from all this negative press, especially when it’s foretold that he’ll have a very ill-fated year! Sun Woo gets real angry with her and storms into her office at school to fight with her; she’s never been a mother to him, and now she gets all involved in his business?! It’s hilarious how as Hae Young beats up her son for his rudeness, she also has to add a disclaimer to the passing college students that she’s beating up her son, not her boyfriend.
A moment with her at the pojangmacha reveals that she is indeed a single mother, and truly a progressive woman. She had Sun Woo at nineteen with a man, and lived with him for a while. They then had Eun Hee together before they broke up, never marrying. Hae Young had her aunt take care of her daughter mostly while she was out studying, working, and building a more stable career for herself. However she ended up neglecting her children. As she can’t live without a man, she also dates around quite a bit, developing a reputation of being a cougar. I love how this kind of female character could easily be put in a makjang drama, but instead is shown in a lighter light here.
In any case, after dealing with a rough couple of days Sun Woo decides to go with his friend, PD Lee So Hyung, to visit his best friend Chang Kyu’s ashes. Chang Kyu is So Hyung’s former husband, or at least lover, and while we aren’t sure why he passed away, it certainly feels like Sun Woo holds a minor grudge against Chang Kyu for getting the girl. In any case, during the visit she proposes to Sun Woo that he join her variety show. She’s doing a cooking survival show where chefs go head to head and compete on weekly missions to see who will come out on top. She’s already signed Chef Marco, a rotund celebrity chef who’s super popular even though Sun Woo doesn’t think he’s got real skills as a cook. Since Sun Woo would like to be more popular, regain the respect of his staff, and not have to rely on his mother paying for his troubles, he agrees to appear on the show.
Sun Woo gives first chance for Min Soo to join him on the show as he is the sous chef. It’s a win for Min Soo, but he is quite inept because he never likes to prepare things himself. Therefore on the day of the recording he realizes that he forgot to pack Sun Woo’s personal knife, and calls up Bong Sun to bring it over.
Meanwhile, Suhbingo is having difficulty tracking down where Soon Ae is. Luckily she gets a call from Hae Young who wants her to read her son’s fortune and advise on what talismans or protection he should get. Suhbingo doesn’t realize it yet, but by taking on this job she’s about to get even closer to Soon Ae! Soon-Bong, ready to deliver the knife to the studio, recognizes Suhbingo right away and runs out of the restaurant in the opposite direction, coughing and keeping her hand on her neck to minimize the jingling bells’ sound.
Because Min Soo is an idiot, he also forgets to bring his pass when he accidentally exits the building’s security turnstiles. He gets held up in the lobby, unable to reenter, and so his spot on the show ends up going to Soon-Bong! Sun Woo’s more nervous to have her by his side as he doesn’t quite know if she can really cook, and she’s been quite the unexpected spitfire lately. However she proves to be quite the most valuable help when the mission is to cook a breakfast meal based on rice for a son with a hangover. Sun Woo hates rice, and he hates cooking rice more. He ends up burning the rice when they only have 10 minutes to spare, and Chef Marco is already setting his plates.
In a moment of inspiration, Soon-Bong pours the pollack soup into the burnt rice pot and serves it as such with a few side dishes. When it comes time for the judging, Chef Marco has presented an elegant array of foods while Sun Woo presents a very traditional, cozy meal. (It’s like right out of a scene from Ratatouille!) It’s not expressly stated who the winner is, though there seems to be more favorable reviews from the judges for Sun Woo’s dishes. Sun Woo himself tries the soup afterwards and is pleasantly surprised that it’s really quite good.
Now with this success, Sun Woo will have to return the following week with Soon-Bong for consistency’s sake. Min Soo protests, even though he knows his own idiocy was the cause of his downfall. And Sun Woo gives Soon-Bong permission to work in the kitchen – perhaps as more than a dishwasher now!
Officer Choi Sung Jae (Im Joo Hwan) manages to have a few scenes too: he frequents this humble restaurant owned by Shin Myung Ho and his son, the hapless Shin Kyung Mo. Myung Ho clearly has the life sucked out of him as he serves subpar food to his few loyal clientele. He no longer serves his restaurant’s specialty, burnt rice pollack soup, because only his daughter – yes, Shin! Soon! Ae! – made it before she died. He doesn’t seem to have quite accepted that his daughter died yet, too. Sung Jae is very familiar with this family, though it’s not clear if he knew Soon Ae in the past or what happened to her.
So when Soon-Bong brings in a drunk Kyung Mo from the streets to the precinct, Sung Jae only acknowledges her as Bong Sun, the girl who works in his brother-in-law’s kitchen. He then calls over Kyung Mo to pick up his son, and encourages Soon-Bong to stay until Myung Ho arrives. She suddenly gets deja vu as she watches Myung Ho unsuccessfully wake up Kyung Mo because she used to do that in the past – by hitting her brother with a ladle on the head. She remembers why she was such a pro at making the burnt rice pollack soup, but now she can’t remember why she left such a warm and loving family.
Despite their very different personalities, it’s no wonder why Soon Ae and Bong Sun are perfect for each other: they’re both very good chefs who specialize in traditional home cooked food, and they cook from their hearts, not from their technical, learned skills. They both have very sincere hearts and arguably just as good as those “famous chefs” like Sun Woo and Chef Marco – just in a different way.
I am kind of mad though that we did not get to see a lot of Kim Seul Gi in this episode. Park Bo Young is definitely doing a good job in reflecting Kim’s personality, but I was kind of hoping for more back and forth between them since technically Bong Sun can see ghosts. They’re just not utilizing that aspect very much yet. Writer-nim, I don’t want to see Seul Gi only in flashbacks! Please let her get out of Bong Sun’s body!
I really really really enjoyed Shin Eun Kyung’s scenes in this episode. She’s really quite funny and I can only wish she’d do more comedy. She plays a very progressive female character – single woman in her 40s with two grown children that were both born out of wedlock, and she can’t live without a man so she dates many men, even those younger than her. I laughed out loud when she sent Sun Woo her account number so that he could immediately pay her back for the settlement money! Shin Eun Kyung usually plays a mother in a melodrama or makjang drama, and had she been this equally progressive her character would also be trying hard to hide her past. But I love that this character is out and loud and proud about it; it’s just a part of her and she’s not ashamed of it. She definitely neglected Sun Woo and Eun Hee for a bit while trying to start a career, but it’s not like she’s not trying to make up for it. So I really enjoy her here and hope that her role is not just a cameo, but rather a full fledged supporting role.
Again, thumbs up for the use of minimal camera movements, focusing only on the main actor in the scene, and also for minimal use of soundtrack.
And also, a corgi cameo. Oh I hope Sun Woo ends up owning the corgi!