Greasy Melo: Episodes 23-26
It’s funny how going on a forced diet can make a week seem interminable. But now the hiatus is finally over and it’s time to fill our hearts (and bellies) with Greasy Melo’s delicious offerings. Thankfully, there aren’t any cold, soggy leftovers here! Instead, countless appetizing meals are made, relationships are established, battles are fought, and the kitty finds a home.
EPISODES 23-26 WEECAP
Chil-sung tries to act cool as he tells Gum Granny that he’s not used to having a mother so she shouldn’t come around again. Despite being an orphan and a gangster, he’s managed to make something of himself by owning a building (including the restaurant). The only thing he wants to know is why she abandoned him at a Chinese restaurant when he was a child.
Gum Granny says it’s just because that’s the kind of food she liked the most. Chil-sung, hurt by her selifhsness, is not as cool as he seems. He angrily tells Gum Granny should have at least paid for their meal, instead of forcing him to become a thief over a mere few thousand won. He leaves a 1,000,000 won note with her and tells her that he’ll pay for the meals she likes so much, then he walks out.
He passes by the cheering Happy Wok staff, who are delighted to get the doctor banquet (but he doesn’t see the awkwardly-long hug between Poong and Sae-woo, which Poong tries to cover up by hugging everyone else, ha). Finally, Chil-sung allows the emotion from meeting his mother to hit him, and he cries. But only for a moment, then he puts his sunglasses back on.
Poong immediately gets to work creating a menu for the banquet. Sae-woo suggests jajangmyun and sweet-and-sour pork, since those are two classic dishes that the hotel always refused to serve.
However, the VIP guest calls to let Poong know that Master Wang offered to make her a hotel-quality dish for the same price as Happy Wok, and she can’t pass it up. She still really wants the jajangmyun and sweet-and-sour pork, so is swayed back to Happy Wok when Poong tells her the menu he’s planned. But Master Wang is also desperate and tells her that they’ll make those dishes specially for her.
Which leads Poong and Master Wang to face-off in a cooking competition, with the VIP guest as judge (lucky her!). They each have their spin on sweet-and-sour pork and jajangmyun, and the VIP guest deems them equally good. However, Poong’s dish kept the true essence of jajangmyun that reminded her of her childhood, so she ultimately selects Happy Wok. Yay!
Sae-woo finds the kitty! She says it needs a home, and Chil-sung offers to be its mother. Aw. Sae-woo says that she’ll be the kitty’s dad, then. She names the kitty Dim-sum. Eeeee, too cute!
Sae-woo notices that something seems different about Chil-sung, and he admits that he feels sad, lonely, and angry. So she gives him Dim-sum to hold, explaining that children actually give more than they receive. Aw, Sae-woo’s advice on how to take care of Dim-sum actually gives Chil-sung important lessons on how to deal with his recent parental discovery.
Poong is thrilled about his victory over Master Wang, but Chil-sung’s boys are more focused on investigating Giant Hotel’s suspicious funds. Poong’s attempt to distract them so he can brag about his success is utterly ignored.
The gangsters have discovered that the hotel is having a hard time with money because they teamed up with a crooked construction owner for their renovations, and now the unpaid workers are protesting in the banquet halls — which means the money-making banquets are being cancelled and Giant Hotel must be taking out loans somewhere.
He tries to downplay the success when he sees Sae-woo, and acts so awkwardly around her as he repeatedly asks her out, then says it’s better she go home. Finally fed up with his confusing actions, she heads to the bus stop. Poong asks her not to leave, but she does, anyway.
Frustrated with himself, Poong sprawls out on the bus bench, regretting his ridiculous actions that made Sae-woo leave. But Sae-woo surprises him by returning. She demands that he stop flip-flopping in the way he treats her, then rattles off a highly detailed, petty list of things she hates that directly relate to him and are ways to prevent her from liking him. Poong wonders if she hates him, but Sae-woo says she actually hates herself for being this way.
In the morning, Chil-sung finds Gum Granny leaving a note on his door that says she’ll do as he wishes and never come to see him again. He ignores the note and drags Gum Granny to the restaurant. The staff is surprised to see Gum Granny, but they’re even more surprised when Chil-sung says that she’s his mother.
Thanks to Sae-woo’s kitty conversation last night, he’s decided to accept Gum Granny’s parentage as a gift and a blessing. Gum Granny is still ashamed, but Poong sweetly offers to make her breakfast. Aw, Gum Granny tried to abandon her only son again, but instead she’s found a whole new family!
Poong meets with Bo-ra, who begs him to let her come work at Happy Wok. She pleads forgiveness, insisting she only helped steal the recipe notebook because she wanted to keep her job at the hotel. She says that all the hotel staff agreed that he was the better chef in the cook-off.
Poong says she should stay at the hotel since it will be a better learning experience for her, but she’s welcome to drop by Happy Wok whenever she wants. They’re both very drunk by the end of their meeting, and Poong calls Maeng-dal, asking that he send anyone but Sae-woo to go with him to the market.
Surprise, surprise — who should arrive except Sae-woo, under the impression Poong specifically requested she join him. Ha! She’s curious why he wanted her when all the other kitchen staff was available (pffft), and Poong says it’s because he missed her (aw). He also apologizes for lying to her — him being at the hospital that day wasn’t a dream.
Amused, Sae-woo says that if he got so close to her to warm her up at the hospital, it’s strange that he’s keeping his distance from her now. She says it feels like that night when they agreed to have an affair, and Poong suddenly leans in and gives her a peck on the lips — just like he did that night in the car.
Poong confesses that he actually likes her (even more than he likes Chil-sung!), that he can’t stop liking her, and asks that she not hate him anymore (’cause he’s now being honest). Then he leans in to kiss her again, but this time it’s a real kiss.
Sae-woo also admits that she likes him, then wonders what’ll happen now. Poong doesn’t see the problem since they both like each other. He also promises that from now on, he’ll love her more than she loves him and he’ll never run away from her or hurt her. Swoon.
He admits that’s why he hesitated and acted so confusing before — he wanted to be sure how he felt, especially since the both of them were coming from broken marriages. Aw, they’re so adorably nervous and giddy as they confess their love for each other.
Poong returns to Chil-sung’s apartment (which is gradually becoming Poong’s home, too). He doesn’t mention Sae-woo, but he does encourage Chil-sung to appreciate calling Gum Granny, “Mom.” Since Poong’s parents died when he was young, he doesn’t get to call anyone “Mom” anymore.
Chil-sung tells Poong about Dim-sum and how he’s Dim-sum’s mother and Sae-woo’s the father, and how them being a “couple” (even in jest) made his heart flutter. Chil-sung thought he was over his crush on Sae-woo, but apparently not. He likens himself to an expired can of food that you just can’t throw out. Poong looks like he’s about to tell Chil-sung about his new relationship with Sae-woo, but gets interrupted by Maeng-dal and thinks better of it.
In the morning, Chil-sung makes the infamous almond dish. Sae-woo literally skips to work in anticipation of the food (and seeing Poong, too, I’m sure). It’s so cute how happy Sae-woo is to eat his food, and how happy Poong is so see her so happy.
Chil-sung stands outside the restaurant, pretending he’s not anxiously waiting for Gum Granny to stop by. But she’s nowhere to be seen. Aw.
Happy Wok is busy with their lunch crowd (thanks to the success of the Whole Shrimp menu), and Seol-ja happily anticipates that after the banquet, they’ll become even more famous once word continues to spread. Jung-hye grabs the wrong dish to serve a table, and Poong barks at her, berating her for messing up an order and setting the kitchen back since they have to fix it.
During their break (where they enjoy some requisite Subway PPL), Seol-ja, Sae-woo, and Geok-jung comfort the distraught Jung-hye, who asks that they never mention Poong to her again. That’s going to be kinda hard since Sae-woo promised Poong she’d introduce him to her family soon. Jung-hye is also worried that Poong smiles too much at Sae-woo. Jung-hye’s under the impression Poong is still married and penniless so, even despite her own dislike of Poong, Jung-hye warns Sae-woo to stay away from Poong.
Chil-sung finds Gum Granny’s humble home. She’s surprised to see him, but offers him some of the ramen she’s eating. Chil-sung’s distracted by a poster of his prize-fighter father, who died when he was a baby.
Gum Granny says that Chil-sung should just leave, but Chil-sung sits down and joins her at her small talbe. For the first time in his life, he wants to be raised by a mother. Starting now.
Sae-woo and Poong sneak off for their first real date and it’s super cute how much they enjoy just being together. But Sae-woo, worried about her family finding out that she and Poong are now a couple, says that it might be better if they date in secret and not let anyone at work know. Poong would rather have everyone know, but eventually agrees to keep it a secret.
In the morning, Poong once again tries to tell Chil-sung about his new relationship with Sae-woo, but is once again interrupted.
The banquet is today, and Happy Wok busily preps for their guests. However, Giant Hotel has convinced the hospital director to choose the hotel for the banquet at the last minute, since cancelling the day-of means there would be no way for Happy Wok to recoup the loss. The VIP guest calls as soon as she finds out about it, but because it’s a decision made by the director, she has no authority to argue. Everyone at Happy Wok is shocked and distraught, realizing all their money and time has now been wasted.
Chil-sung puts in an order to deliver jajangmyun and sweet-and-sour pork to Giant Hotel. Poong refuses because he wants nothing to do with the hotel, but Chil-sung reassures him that this is for more important guests than the doctors.
The delivery is for the protestors that have taken over the banquet halls. Hahaha, Chil-sung avoids being detected by the hotel security thanks to his amazing rhinestone cowboy hat. The jajangmyun and sweet-and-sour pork isn’t just a kind gesture, though, but another stepping stone on the path of taking over the hotel.
Chil-sung offers to pay the men the fee the construction company owes them, and in return, he’ll take over their right to protest (since those banquet rooms are technically their property because their work hasn’t been paid for).
Poong waits until after the banquet and then invites the hospital director to an after-dinner drink at Happy Wok. Poong also creates a tasting menu to go along with the drink. The hospital director tries it — one bite of each and then a sip of the cocktail. He doesn’t say anything, but leaves behind a 100,000 won note as payment. Far from the 18,000,000 won they were hoping to get tonight, but at least it’s something.
Sae-woo shows up to “secretly” bring Poong some beer. Poong’s still not sure that he’s comfortable keeping their relationship a secret, but Sae-woo insists that they need to for now. Then they kiss again! But their secret won’t be a secret for long because Chil-sung sees them kissing.
I was worried that the hiatus would cause me to lose interest in the Happy Wok family, but honestly it just made me all that more pleased to have them in my life again. I’ve missed them so much! I feel like I ought to make more thoughtful commentary than just “I love everyone at Happy Wok!” and “OMG Dim-sum finally has a home (and a name!)” and “Sae-woo and Poong make an adorable couple after all!” and “I’m so hungry now after watching all this delicious food being made!”
But honestly, that’s… pretty much how I feel. This show makes me so happy (proving that the restaurant name is indeed accurate!). Yeah, the show is nothing particularly special — it’s a slice-of-life that also has fantastical, melodramatic elements. The characters teeter between being comical caricatures and surprisingly well-rounded. The battle between Happy Wok and Giant Hotel is predictable yet exciting. In short, it’s a show of contrasts. It gives me the sweet and the sour in a way that seems like it shouldn’t work, but it does, and it’s incredibly satisfying. In that way, I suppose this show is like one of Poong’s recipes. On their own, the characters might not seem so compelling or relatable. But when they’re jumbled up together and tested by fire, something amazingly delicious is created.
It also helps that I finally feel like I’ve got a good handle on everyone’s personalities. Even though Chil-sung manages to instill a bizarre devotion I’ve never had for one of Jang Hyuk’s characters before, I’m not particularly disheartened to see him discover Poong and Sae-woo’s relationship. Chil-sung has shown that he’s the kind of guy who will, yes, endure a little heartbreak — but he has too much respect and affection for both Poong and Sae-woo to take their relationship as a personal attack. I can’t imagine him going down the typical second-lead path of trying to sabotage their relationship in a desperate attempt to prove Sae-woo should be with him. Instead, he needs to focus on the new relationships in his life: learning how to have a mother and how to be a mother.