Let’s Eat 3: Episode 13

What a refreshing episode! Everyone’s finally learned that honesty is the best way to heal old wounds and establish new relationships. Well, nearly everyone, since there’s still the question of what happened between Dae-young and Ji-woo to keep them apart all these years — and why they were never able to confess how they felt about each other.

 
EPISODE 13: “The Affair”

Seo-yeon apologizes to Ji-woo for the way she treated her after finding out Mom has dementia. Seo-yeon then further shocks Ji-woo by explaining that Mom no doubt treated Seo-yeon so nice because Mom felt guilty.

Ji-woo doesn’t understand how that could be until Seo-yeon reveals that Mom was the one who had an affair with Seo-yeon’s father, breaking up Seo-yeon’s parents. Ji-woo tries to process that information, but she can’t really ask Mom about it since Mom wouldn’t remember.

Later, Ji-woo tears up as she clips Mom’s nails, realizing that even though she may still hate Seo-yeon, she can now understand why Seo-yeon left them so suddenly. Ji-woo also realizes that it must have been difficult for Seo-yeon to leave the people she loved so much.

Flashback to Christmas 2005, where both sisters on on school break and back at home in Busan. Ji-woo writes a Chirstmas card to send to Dae-young and steps outside to mail it. Aw, she sends it off with a little kiss and then literally skips back home.

Meanwhile, Mom’s in the bathroom and calls out for Ji-woo. Seo-yeon offers to do whatever Mom needs, but Mom only wants Ji-woo. When Ji-woo returns, Seo-yeon listens to mother and daughter bicker about washing Mom’s back, just like old times when Ji-woo was growing up.

Feeling sad, Seo-yeon leaves and sits outside in the park. That day when in the train station, Seo-yeon actually overheard Mom tell Ji-woo that she’s extra nice to Seo-yeon because Seo-yeon’s gone through a hard childhood.

But it only further drives home to Seo-yeon that Ji-woo and Seo-yeon will never be the “same” — Seo-yeon will never be a “real” daughter to Mom.

Despite crying to herself in the park, Seo-yeon returns home with a smile and Christmas cake. Mom dotes on Seo-yeon’s thoughtfulness, which only makes Ji-woo annoyed. But Seo-yeon’s bright smile fades a little as she hugs Mom.

The girls return to Seoul, and when Ji-woo sees that puppy Kongali is still in the shop window, she decides to adopt the dog.

That brings us to the day in January when Ji-woo writes a letter to Dae-young, letting him know she adopted Kongali. It’s also the day of Dae-young’s leave from the military, and the sisters are happy until Seo-yeon gets a call that her father was in an accident and is now in the hospital.

Seo-yeon’s father passes away. Mom and the girls do their duty in the funeral hall, but Seo-yeon looks the most affected by it all. Mom gently encourages Ji-woo and Seo-yeon to go home and rest before coming back tomorrow.

But Seo-yeon sees her mother entering the funeral hall. There’s anger in her eyes as she grabs Other Mom’s arm and hauls her outside. Seo-yeon demands to know why Other Mom is there, and Other Mom puts on a huge show of feeling sorrowful for Dad’s passing — but really she’s only feeling sorry for herself.

When Other Mom snarks that Ji-woo’s mother now has two dead husbands, Seo-yeon finally snaps that Other Mom should leave “her mom” alone. Other Mom is offended that Seo-yeon would consider Ji-woo’s mother to be more important than her birth mother.

That’s when she tells Seo-yeon that Ji-woo’s mother was the one had an affair first, breaking up Other Mom’s marriage.

Ji-woo wakes up at home to realize that Seo-yeon isn’t there — and she left behind her mourning clothes. When Ji-woo goes to the funeral hall, Mom asks about Seo-yeon, and Ji-woo hesitantly reassures Mom that Seo-yeon should be there soon.

Meanwhile, Dae-young’s on his military eave and can’t get in touch with Ji-woo. That’s because she’s busy taking care of all the guests at her step-father’s funeral. Finally she admits to Mom that she hasn’t seen Seo-yeon since Other Mom stopped by yesterday.

Mom urges Ji-woo to return to Seoul and look for Seo-yeon there. Ji-woo sees a bunch of missed calls from an unknown phone number and ignores it, unaware that those are from Dae-young, trying to reach her from a pay phone.

When Ji-woo finally arrives home, she sees the apartment in disarray. Seo-yeon has clearly been there, emptied out all her clothes from the dresser, and left.

Dae-young’s back in his barracks, showing off his mechanical engineering skills by repairing the TV remote. He’s excited when he hears some college friends are there to see him. He thinks it’s Ji-woo, but it’s only Sung-joo and Byung-sam. Boo.

They give him grief for looking so disappointed, especially since Sung-joo gave up some of his own precious leave to visit Dae-young. Byung-sam, on the other hand, has returned to civilian life after his circumcision operation while in the military had some, ah, unwanted side effects.

But both boys brought Dae-young some yummy treats that he can’t get while he’s enlisted. Byung-sam brought fried chicken and pizza, Sung-joo brought jajangmyun, and they’re both eager to see which one Dae-young wants the most.

Dae-young consumes it all, of course, happy to enjoy the junk food that he hasn’t been able to eat for months. Dae-young says that the jajangmyun would have been even better with a fried egg, then realizes that he learned that trick from Ji-woo, which leads him to ask if they’ve heard from her.

Sung-joo says they haven’t been able to reach the sisters, and Byung-sam hasn’t been back on campus yet to see if they’re still around. But Byung-sam promises to bring Ji-woo the next time he visits Dae-young.

First, though, he has to find her. Which means having to talk to girls. Gasp. He tries to screw up his courage to enter the nursing school, but panics when he sees all the female students walking towards him. He spins around to run away, but knocks into a female student carrying a cup of coffee.

It spills all over him. She’s super apologetic, but even being in excruciating pain for having hot coffee spilled on his sensitive circumcized bits won’t get him to speak to a strange woman. He bites his tongue and scurries away.

When it’s time for Jin-seok’s leave from the military, Byung-sam convinces him to help track down Ji-woo. Ha, Jin-seok shamelessly makes Byung-sam pay for all his food, but he does use his precious vacation time to help Byung-sam try to get information from the landlords to figure out where Ji-woo might have gone.

The landlord is no help, so the boys head to the school. Jin-seok’s dressed in civilian clothes, hoping he doesn’t look too much like a soldier. He asks one of the nursing students if she knows Ji-woo — aw, it’s Coffee Girl!

She apologizes that she’s only a freshman and doesn’t know all of the other students yet, then she calls him “Mr. Soldier.” Ha!

But she does tell the guys that there’s a study group most of the senior students are a part of. Jin-seok and Byung-sam go there and Jin-seok asks them about Ji-woo, and one of the girls says Ji-woo just suddenly disappeared — they haven’t seen her in months.

They assume Ji-woo must have a boyfriend, since that’s why another of their classmates never showed up to classes and events.

Ha, in the hopes of getting dates, Jin-seok and Byung-sam are roped into helping the nursing students practice their bandage wrapping and blood taking. These boys never learn, do they?

Byung-sam writes a letter to Dae-young, letting him know that Seo-yeon left to study abroad in America, and they have no idea what happened to Ji-woo except that it seems like she has a boyfriend. Dae-young reads the letter while the rest of his company is glued to the TV, watching the World Cup.

Dae-young’s heart breaks, and you know just by how much because as the other soldiers cheer for Korea’s win against Togo in the 2006 World Cup, he ignores them all to stare at Byung-sam’s letter. It goes on to say that maybe first loves aren’t fated to be after all. Byung-sam is referring to himself and his crush on Ji-woo, but it also hits home for Dae-young.

Jump forward to 2008, when the boys are back to civilian life and school. They’re now seniors in their mechanical engineering class, and as the freshman introduce themselves, one of them says he has a girlfriend in the nursing department. That gets Dae-young’s attention, since it makes him think of Ji-woo.

In 2018, while Dae-young is trying — and failing — to convince restaurants to join his new business, Seo-yeon barges into her birth mother’s house and slaps down the notice that Other Mom is suing her for breach of contract. Other Mom says that Seo-yeon promised to live with her for the 200,000,000 won, and thus broke her promise when she moved out.

Seo-yeon fumes — this is no way to treat her own daughter! Other Mom whines that it’s not like Seo-yeon treats her like a mother, anyway. Seo-yeon snarks that Other Mom can just consider this another mistake, like the one she made by giving birth to Seo-yeon.

Other Mom pouts that at least Dad always let Other Mom do whatever she wanted, including when it came to getting married — and divorced. That surprises Seo-yeon, who points out that Other Mom told her that Ji-woo’s mother was the reason for the divorce.

Other Mom looks confused for a moment, then remembers telling Seo-yeon that just so she could make sure that her ex-husband’s money after his death wouldn’t all go to Ji-woo’s mother. Seo-yeon looks like she was punched in the stomach, realizing that the truth she’s believed for so long was just her mother’s selfish lie.

Ji-woo gets a call from the hospital, asking where Seo-yeon has gone since she still needs to be officially discharged. Ji-woo figures out that Seo-yeon must have gone to the nursing home. When Ji-woo sees her sitting outside, Ji-woo berates Seo-yeon for having the guts to confront Mom about the affair, especially when it would only confuse Mom since she wouldn’t remember anything about it.

But Seo-yeon starts to cry as she says that it’s all a lie. She tells Ji-woo what her birth mother told her. Ji-woo’s shocked that Seo-yeon would have so little faith in Mom, but Seo-yeon admits she always felt that there was a wall between her and Mom because she wasn’t Mom’s “real” daughter.

Seo-yeon confesses that she used to envy Ji-woo because of how much Mom loved her. Ji-woo can’t believe Seo-yeon could have felt that way since Seo-yeon was so popular, but Seo-yeon points out that she was just trying to fill the emptiness with attention from other people. She felt like she had to work hard to be loved, whereas Ji-woo was loved just for being born.

Ji-woo still finds it hard to believe that Seo-yeon would just leave so suddenly after Dad’s death, and Seo-yeon says that she thought it would be safer if she abandoned them before Ji-woo and Mom abandoned her. Seo-yeon realizes that it’s probably too late, but apologizes to Ji-woo anyway, promising that she won’t bother her any more.

Seo-yeon once again hits the road with her suitcase. Dae-young passes her, offering her some kimchi sujebi that he brought back from the restaurant.

Sun’s busy at a work dinner with a coworker, but keeps getting distracted when he hears a waiter call out Seo-yeon’s name. It isn’t Seo-yeon, just someone with the same name.

He returns home and sees the the ingredients from an uncooked meal, realizing that it must have gone bad by now. He hears Seo-yeon’s voice telling him that fresh noodles need to be cooked ASAP, and he imagines her cooking for him.

Sun suddenly calls Dae-young, insisting that he needs to return the track suit right now. He meets Dae-young at a bar, and Sun stops because he sees Seo-yeon sitting there, too. Sun’s convinced he must still be drink from his work dinner since he’s still seeing the imaginary Seo-yeon, but he pokes her head — and she’s real!

Dae-young invites him to stay and join them for a drink, but Sun insists that he can’t cross that line. Dae-young realizes that something must have happened between Sun and Seo-yeon, but neither are forthcoming.

Until they get drunk, that is. Then Sun slurs out that Seo-yeon needs to stop showing up in his imagination. He thought she was moving back to America, but she slurs back that she still has a lot of debts to pay. He thinks she needs more money, but Seo-yeon says debts aren’t always about money.

Sun insists he doesn’t care, but if she shows up in front of him one more time, he promises to cross the line.

Dae-young returns just in time to keep Seo-yeon from drunkenly slurping down the uncooked kimchi sujebi. Seo-yeon loudly, and repeatedly, begs the restaurant owner to cook the kimchi sujebi for her.

Sun’s also attempting to eat the food, but he’s so drunk that it’s just spilling down his shirt. Poor Dae-young looks like he’s trying to deal with a couple of unruly toddlers.

Sun wakes up in Dae-young’s apartment. Of course he does. He’s also wearing the tracksuit that he’d tried to return, but Dae-young tells him to just keep it.

Dae-young also gives him the code to his door, offering to switch homes with Sun. Since Sun keeps ending up at Dae-young’s house and wearing his clothes, Dae-young might as well take over Sun’s place and wardrobe. Ha!

He then tells Sun to get an egg from Ji-woo next door. Aw, poor Sun is mildly terrified of Kongali who protectively barks at him, but he makes it to Ji-woo’s door and enters. Sun’s shocked to find Seo-yeon sleeping on the floor, who wakes up in mild confusion as to how she got there.

Ji-woo invites Sun and Dae-young to have breakfast with them. Sun is surprised to find out that Seo-yeon and Ji-woo are sisters, since Ji-woo originally said she didn’t know Seo-yeon. But Ji-woo also points out that she didn’t know Seo-yeon is Sun’s personal assistant.

Seo-yeon interrupts, correcting Ji-woo. Was Sun’s personal assistant. They have nothing to do with each other any more. But Sun says that intends to keep on seeing Seo-yeon, reminding her that he promised to cross “the line” if he saw her again.

Sun bluntly confesses that he likes her. Sun explains that even though it’s a confusing and weird situation, it’s better to just be honest.

Dae-young and Ji-woo find whatever excuse they can to leave the two of them alone at the table, as Seo-yeon insists she doesn’t like Sun. Sun calmly says he knows that, and he’s not going to force anything. Then he continues eating while Seo-yeon stares at him.

As Seo-yeon washes the dishes, Ji-woo returns and pretends she’s not dying of curiosity. Seo-yeon promises to explain later after Ji-woo gets home from work. It’s not like Seo-yeon is going anywhere any time soon, so there’s plenty of time to talk.

Aw, she’s changed her mind about leaving. Seo-yeon says that Ji-woo can use the extra help taking care of Mom at the nursing home and paying the monthly fees. Ji-woo defensively says that there’s no reason for Seo-yeon to go to the nursing home, but Seo-yeon quietly says the other reason she’s not leaving is that she has nowhere else to go.

Ji-woo rattles off a bunch of house rules, and Seo-yeon smiles as she realizes that this is Ji-woo’s way of letting her stay. Seo-yeon watches her sister leave for work and quietly promises that she’ll make up for abandoning Ji-woo and Mom twelve years ago.

Dae-young asks Seo-yeon to help him pick out office space for his new business. Seo-yeon offers to continue to help him with his business, even though she knows he can’t pay her. It’s her way of paying him back for what she owes him. He has no idea what she means by that.

Meanwhile, Sun visits Ji-woo at the hospital, explaining that she was the one who spurred him into confessing to Seo-yeon. After all, Ji-woo told him he’d agonize over not admitting how he felt.

He peppers her with questions about Seo-yeon, and Ji-woo gently counsels him that Seo-yeon seems tough on the outside, but she’s lonely and vulnerable inside. She warns him that if he’s just doing this on a whim, both he and Seo-yeon will end up hurt.

But Sun is committed, and asks Ji-woo to help him deal with his one-sided love for Seo-yeon. He reminds Ji-woo that she once told him that she loved someone but the timing was all wrong, and wonders how she dealt with it. (Er, not well, but that’s beside the point.) Sun is bewildered because this is the first time he can’t figure out where the “line” is.

Sun shows up at Dae-young’s new office just to say “hello,” reassuring Seo-yeon that he’s not there because of her. Mmm-hmm, sure. Dae-young invites him to lunch, but Sun says that he’ll only go if Seo-yeon gives her permission.

She doesn’t — and doesn’t even look at him, so Sun politely bids adieu and leaves. Dae-young is just as baffled as ever by their interaction.

Dae-young stops by the hospital to see Ji-woo, who fills him on Seo-yeon and Sun’s backstory. She also gives him copies of the delivery survey her coworkers filled out. He wonders how he can repay her and then suddenly leans in.

Ji-woo’s flustered, but Dae-young’s just concerned that Ji-woo’s cheeks look a little thinner. He offers to buy her dinner. Oooh, it’s an expensive steak dinner.

They get to work grilling, and they both amicably realize that they each have their preferred way of grilling the various meats. The student may have become the master, but Ji-woo still has her own foodie quirks even all these years later, which Dae-young admires.

Dae-young takes a photo of the empty plates, and Ji-woo muses that she’s impressed he’s kept up with his blog all these years. Dae-young tells Ji-woo that she’s always been his first.

He explains that Ji-woo taught him how to enjoy food, but he can see that for her, as time went on, meals just became another annoying ritual that had to be done in order to stay alive. That’s when Dae-young realized there must be others out there like her, too busy and tired to be able to focus on their meals, but still wanting to enjoy the small pleasures in life.

That’s why Dae-young didn’t want to give up on the delivery dream and decided to pursue his new business venture.

But the new business venture isn’t all that easy, especially when Dae-young can’t afford the down payments the restaurants are asking as a promise to join the company. He no longer has the influence of CQ Foods behind him, so it could be a difficult journey finding anyone to agree to work with him.

Sun stops by and presents his welcome gift. Seo-yeon barely even looks at it as she accepts it. Sun politely asks if she’ll go to a movie or dinner with him, and Seo-yeon bluntly tells him “no.” But Sun still persists, respectfully asking if there’s anything she needs.

Seo-yeon suddenly stands and says that they should sleep together. She points out that he’s going to just keep coming by, day after day, bothering her with presents and requests to date, and it’s all with the end goal of sleeping with her. So they might as well get it over with.

Sun stares at her in shock as she smirks at him. Then, much to Seo-yeon’s surprise, Sun suddenly grabs her arm and practically drags her out of the office while Dae-young gawks at them.

 
COMMENTS

Aw, it’s sad to have all those theories about what happened between Ji-woo and Dae-young to finally be confirmed (and it’s also a little heart-breaking to realize that the last time they saw each other — until Kongali randomly reunited them in 2018 — was on that super romantic evening by the stream). I’m a little surprised that Ji-woo didn’t eventually write to Dae-young about what happened to her step-father. Yes, helping her mother after her step-father’s death — and the sudden absence of Seo-yeon — was definitely a burden that would take a lot of time and energy, but you’d think she’d at least drop him some kind of a note. But then we wouldn’t have the dramatic reunion, would we?

My heart also continues to break for Seo-yeon. I have a lot of respect for how this character is written, since we’ve been able to gradually peel back her superficial layers, that carefully constructed image she’s created in order to not be hurt again — but she’s always been hurting, hasn’t she? Seo-yeon has a deep need to be loved, a need born from her childhood that has never been fulfilled. But she’s also afraid to get too close to people to actually let them fill that need. She’s always been the one in control, ready to leave before someone could leave her. She knew exactly what she was doing when she was dating all those guys and getting their fawning attention — but I think she also knew it was shallow and fake, which is probably why she never seemed to take dating all that seriously.

That’s why I think Sun’s polite-yet-persistent “crossing the line” might actually be a good thing for her. I love that he keeps respecting her wishes, but is still determined to make it clear that he’s not going anywhere. As scandalous as this episode may have ended, I don’t think he’s going to let Seo-yeon get away with acting like she’s just a body he wants to possess for a little while. I’m hoping that instead Sun will continue to teach her that she can be loved without her having to actually do anything to first prove she’s worthy of love.

Seo-yeon has officially cemented herself as my favorite character this season. I feel like she has the most depth — she’s willing to not only own up to her mistakes, but to also try to grow from them. I still love Ji-woo, but it feels like she hasn’t really matured that much since she was twenty. She’s a little more guarded and skeptical, sure, but she’s just as judgmental as she was back then. Maybe that’s partially a good thing, because it means she’s no longer quite as naive as she used to be. Even so, I think Seo-yeon moving back in with Ji-woo would be good not just for Seo-yeon, but for Ji-woo — annoying, perhaps, for someone who’s lived alone all this time. But Ji-woo needs to realize that she doesn’t have to be responsible for everything all of the time. Ji-woo could use another person to help lessen the burden of taking care of Mom — even if it means facing her old jealousy of Seo-yeon. After all, Mom can love both daughters equally, each her own way.

Then again, maybe that’s the general lesson of the show. Dae-young may be still getting over the loss of Soo-ji, but the reawakening of his affection for Ji-woo (whether he realizes it or not) doesn’t mean that he loves Soo-ji any less. He can love them both equally, each in his own way. Except Ji-woo is the one before him now, and since we only have one episode left, I’m anxious for that realization to come sooner rather than later.

 
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