Reflections By the Sea
The cat is finally out the bag. Kang is now aware of who Cha-Young is and thanks to some friendly reminders from the comment section last episode, Min-Seong is also Director Kwon’s son. As we reach the tail end of this drama, the sprinklings of romance finally begin to flutter in the air as Kang’s past comes crashing down around him, crumbling the walls he’s worked so hard to build up around his heart.
We begin episode 13 of Chocolate with flashes of Cha in the past, as she arrived at the restaurant but far too late given Kang had already gone. In the present, Cha apologises to him for not keeping her promise as Jeong-Bok arrives and immediately gets involved in their business. However, he tells her he already likes someone else but after casting a knowing glance at Cha, refuses to tell her who that is.
At the hospital, Lee Jun phones Kang but he’s preoccupied with the old dog from his time in the past – the offspring of the one Lee Jun kicked the dog-house in the flashback during the first episode. Unable to phone through to him, Lee Jun decides to visit Kang in Wando and tells his Mum on the phone it’s because he misses his brother.
Cha and Kang continue to grow closer together, bonding over the sick dog as Cha whips the canine up something from the kitchen and manages to make Sea eat. Kang thanks her for staying with him and admits he would have cried had she left. Thankfully, Cha’s brother Tae-Hyun rings and embarrasses her, which turns the conversation elsewhere and prompts her to make a speedy getaway. As she does, Kang lies with Sea as she pants while Cha finds a photo of Kang as a child and comments how thankful she is that she’s met him again, affectionately referring to him as “kiddo”.
Meanwhile, back at the hospice Yeong-Sil and the others look over the notice-board they have up for the various different patients that have passed away, including Michael. It turns out Michael’s wish before he died was for Susan to taste the Ongsimi she experienced beforehand. In a nice twist, it turns out Michael’s birth-Mother was the one who made it for her.
In the morning, Kang realizes that Sea has passed away. As he cradles the dead dog in his arms, Cha says goodbye to Sea for the last time. Outside Bada Restaurant, Lee Jun arrives as Jeong-Bok greets him and the two talk. Mentioning Lee Kang, she takes him to see the house but when they arrive Kang and the others are nowhere to be seen. Before he can go looking or his brother, Seung-Hun rings and berates him for heading out to Wando.
Back at the hospice, Director Kwon and Seung-Hun wind up in a fight over Jang-Mi, until she jumps in and pleads with them not to fight, promising the Director that she’ll leave while Seung-Hun promises ramifications for his actions.
Cha and Kang bury Sea next to Mr Ha before he takes a deep breath and tells her he just wants to sleep. As he returns to the house, he ignores Lee Jun and heads inside to sleep, leaving Cha to tell him to talk once he wakes up given he’s exhausted. Collapsing to the ground, he curls up in a ball while Lee Jun and the others discuss what happened with his dog outside. Lee Jun instead heads in the house and pleads with Kang to wake up so they can head back. Tears streaming down his face, he tells Lee Jun he just wanted a happy life but and berates him for coming to take him away from Wando.
Leaving him alone, Lee Jun sits by the sea as a text message comes through informing about Hye-Mi being promoted to the Chairwoman position. After the situation with Kang, Lee Jun makes his choice and phones through to his Father, telling him they have to talk. While he does, Kang eventually wakes up and walks up to Cha who sits by the shore. She tells him she made food and suggests they head off and eat. Eventually at peace in his mind about what to do regarding Min-Seong, he asks her not to leave for Greece and goes on to ask if he can love her.
The teasing ending is enough to finally hint at a happy ending for our duo and I really hope this one ends up that way. With little regarding Cha’s sensory issues and a lot more focus on Kang’s childhood slowly withering away, there isn’t a whole lot of plot development here, save for the final few minutes of the episode. Tae-Hyeon’s comedic moments feel like distractions rather than serving as a light comedy relief too and his character arc doesn’t seem to be going anywhere either.
With three episodes to go, Chocolate’s preview for tomorrow’s episode looks like we’ll be getting more romance and perhaps finally see the pair kiss too. The romance in this has been really organic and to be honest, this quiet, reflective episode has served Chocolate well to act as a deep breath before the final plunge into the late-drama. All eyes will be on tomorrow’s episode now but Chocolate looks like it may just nail its ending yet. I don’t want to jinx this one with the dreaded Vagabond curse but if this k-drama can nail its finale, it’ll certainly be a tough drama to beat this year.
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