Chocolate returns this week with another poignant slice of drama as we get ever closer to the end of this wonderfully heartbreaking show. There’s so much heavy drama every week but the way this one has managed to tie it into the themes around chocolate and food without ever feeling cliched is partly why I think I like this one as much as I do. It also helps too that the past is starting to tie into the present, and along with the familial issues at the heart of this one, makes Chocolate one of the more thought provoking and reflective Korean dramas on at the moment.
Episode 12 of Chocolate begins with Kang and Cha-Young driving silently up to Wando. It’s a 6 hour drive and as they approach the welcome sign, Kang asks if she’s tired. This inevitably prompts him to flashback to his time with Dong-Gu, in the Summer of 1992 on the docks, unable to admit that Kang moving is the reason for him being upset.
At the hospital during the present, family tensions spill over as Hye-Mi continues to feign sadness until she runs into Jun outside. He refuses to look at her though, eventually going on to demand she call Kang, given his Grandma may not wake up. He tells her Kang’s the only legitimate heir, reinforcing what’s been hinted at before – they have the same Grandma but not the same Grandfather.
At Wando, Kang bids farewell to Cha and somberly walks to the funeral hall. As Kang looks out at the memorial, he flashes back to see him tell Kang to forget Wando. Silently, Kang apologises for taking so long to return and looks sadly at the ground. As he does, he’s given a box that Dong-Gu wanted him to have when he passed away. Inside is a box of chocolates – a box that he wanted to give Kang personally when he returned but unfortunately couldn’t give to him in person as he’s taken so long to return.
Meanwhile Lee Jun finds out that his Father knows nothing of the family scandal, prompting Hye-Mi to leave it up to him to decide whether he’ll say anything or not. While walking through the corridors, Lee Jun overhears Tae-Hyon discussing the issues facing Cha and Kang, with the former asking him to message Kang for her. As Lee Jun looks set to walk away, he hears Cha’s brother speak of the fated love between Kang and Cha, given they first met in Wando.
At the hospice, Seon-Ae makes the Director a feast of food, one final gesture to say goodbye with. As he stands up, he tells her about his family issues, admitting how horrible he’s been and asks her to let him live as a decent human being and to stay out of his life. It’s a really tough moment and one that sees him leave the cafeteria and head back to his office, where he weeps and looks at a picture of him and his son, Min-Seong, at his desk.
In Wando, Kang reads the message from Tae regarding Cha’s condition and he approaches her on the beach, hugging her and thinking over the words he read from before. He holds her close and as he does, back at the hospice Yeong-Sil’s second cousins arrive and cause issues as they fight over money. Lee Jun watches their fight unfold, reflecting back on his own sibling rivalry with Kang and being left with a difficult decision to make regarding his future.
Back at the hospice, Michael finally tastes the kimchi he was after, thanks to Michael’s birth-Mother adding the mushrooms which was the hidden ingredient. Michael hugs Susan and tells her he loves her while outside Jeong-Sil tells Michael’s birth-Mother that he’s grateful for her and that she should meet him. Instead, she dignifies herself by saying thanks to Susan and walking away.
Lee Jun heads back home and finds his Father monologuing and looking at a family picture. Thankfully, Han has regained consciousness and upon hearing this news they rush back to the hospital together. Once there, they learn that Chairwoman Han is being forced to step down from her role for now thanks to her health which means the business decisions immediately turn to the Vice President – Hye-Mi. This causes the group to immediately begin arguing, leaving Jun alone in the room, looking down at his Grandma who sheds a tear after hearing the commotion going on around her.
Kang takes Cha to his Mum’s old restaurant, where he suspects Mr Ha kept it going and run it when he left. Finding the key stashed where he always used to hide it, he heads in and immediately reminisces on times gone by with his Mother. He offers to cook for Cha and she looks at him incredulously as he begins preparing food for her. As they talk, he finally reveals that he knows about her condition. It’s here she tells him she’s so unbelievably happy and, as he looks at her, tears filling his eyes, he finally realizes who she is.
What an ending! It’s been coming for a while but the way Chocolate has waited until now to pull the trigger makes for a really heartwarming and surprising twist. I loved the rewinding segments and although it is a little cliched, I think it works well in the context of this drama. I mentioned earlier there’s an awful lot of sadness and reflection in this one, and it’s a refreshing change of pace to see Chocolate mix things up and deliver a semi-happy ending.
Unintentionally, I ended up seeing the preview for next week and it looks like we may just get the fabled romance between these two after all. Whether the show will go that way or not remains to be seen but for now, Chocolate is one of my favourite Korean dramas to cover every week and I’m still surprised there’s only two weeks left of this one – it’s gone so fast! This will be a tough one to beat for tears and sadness but so far, Chocolate is shaping up to be a pretty formidable show and a tough one to beat for 2020.
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