A Fated Kiss
This Korean drama has certainly taken its time building to this episode but boy has the wait been worth it. As Cha and Kang finally kiss and their fairy-tale romance finally seems to be materializing, it’s been quite the tumultuous ride up until this point. Chocolate has done so well to keep the consistent theme of food tied to all of its main narrative arcs and that much continues right the way through this episode too.
Episode 14 of Chocolate begins with Kang returning to Wando where Seo-Hun berates him for being away. A weakened Chairman Han throws a cushion at his face as Kang admits to wanting to stay in Wando and not come back. As she’s calmed down, Jun and Seung-Hun talk together in Wando, where the former asks about his Grandfather. Midway through their dialogue, he suspects Jun has something he wants to tell him but upon hearing his Father’s passionate story, decides against it.
Back at the hospice, Cha cooks until her brother awkwardly shoves her into Kang. Both of them seem to be getting on together well too, especially as he asks her to make something for him that takes a long time to cook so he can admire her technique. As she shies away, Kang makes a bold stance on how he feels about her, holding her hand and smiling warmly, admitting that he’s fine if she doesn’t feel the same way about him.
The nurse, Na-Ra, has issues of her own as her Father arrives at the hospice and berates her for working there and not as a nurse elsewhere. Yeong-Sil tries her best to stop him but Director Kwon sighs heavily and tells her it’s probably for the best, especially as they’ve stopped taking in new patients. He fears for the worst, suspecting that they’re probably going to have to close the hospice soon.
After that commotion, Cha-Young receives a text from Lee Jun asking to meet and after sorting her out some cooking utensils and shopping for ingredients, he begins cooking a delicious meal of kimchi fried rice. As the food sizzles, he thinks back to his meeting with his Father, where he questioned just why he and Kang fight so much together. As he continues to cook, Kang arrives and the two begin talking while eating. It’s an awkward conversation, to say the least. Lee Jun refuses to drink with him but he does tell him to visit the Directors.
It’s here we cut back to 1995 where we see Lee Jun berated by his Mother while Kang watches from afar. She talks to him in English but he doesn’t understand, telling him that Kang is a scared child. Watching from afar, he sees her lash the back of Jun’s legs before trying to make him feel better by making a chocolate shasha. He knocks it out of his hand though, prompting Kang to begin crying and telling him he’s not a monster.
Yeong-Sil visits Seon-Ae and they share some star cookies together while talking about her time working at the hospice. As she does, she admits that the hospice is about to shut down and goes on to talk about bossam kimchi – Director Kwon’s favourite. Convincing her to return to the kitchen, she begins making the dish for him.
At the hospice, Hye-Mi phones Kang while Cha heads to Forget-Me-Not Pensions to find her Mum but sees the property run-down and seized. A passer-by tells her the woman was a scam artist and stole money. At this point, this is when we cut back in time and see flashes of Cha as a child in the department store looking for her Mother. In the present, Cha approaches a man waiting at the bus stop and tells him not to wait for Yeong-Ju as years have passed and she won’t be returning. Tears in her eyes, she apologises to him and walks away, as we cut to her brother singing in a karaoke bar and also crying over hearing news of his Mother.
Determined to right this wrong, Cha heads to Mud’s Diner and hands over an envelope full of money; money for the owner to repay the debt her Mother left.
Kang meanwhile asks Hye-Mi to reconsider shutting down the hospice. She refuses to budge though and midway through talking about her plans, Kang rudely interrupts and picks up the phone to Cha-Young. After telling him where he is and giving him the address, he decides to leave and meet her, but not before telling Hye-Mi he’ll do everything he can to stop her shutting down the hospice. Leaving her speechless, he leaves the room.
Midway through returning to the hospice to try and reconcile her differences with Director Kwon, Yeong-Sil has another Alzheimer’s episode and forgets what she’s doing, wandering off aimlessly. As she does, Seung-Hun arrives in his car but she fails to remember who he is either. As he leaves her on the bridge overlooking the hospice, inside he speaks to Director Kwon and implores him to make plans before the hospice closes and the staff rebel.
Unable to hear anymore, Director Kwon threatens him with a baseball bat before running him outside. He sneers, telling him he should look after Yeong-Sil first given she’s not well. After some contemplation, he sits down beside her outside.
Kang meets Cha Young in Boryeong at a restaurant and the two sit eating grilled clams. He tells her he only came to see her and after the meal they walk down the beach together, where she tells him he was her first love. As she goes on to spin their turbulent tale together, admitting her true feelings, she reminds him of the time he asked her if she really loved Min-Seong and didn’t answer. Kang walks away down the beach silently, deep in contemplation as flashes of the past come back before he rushes back over to Cha Young and finally kisses her tenderly.
What a great ending and one that I’m sure will give many people a distinct satisfaction and some goosebumps. It’s been quite the ride to reach this point and despite the preview for next week promising more spanners being thrown in the works, it’s worth savouring this triumphant moment nonetheless. For a drama that’s been full of loss, regret, anger and sadness, these thin slivers of happiness have felt like a serious breath of fresh air. It makes the wait leading to this all that much more satisfying and it’s testament to the pacing of this one too, which has never felt overlong or dragged out its plot unnecessarily.
Without sounding too much like a skipped record, I’m crossing my fingers that this one nails its landing next week. There’s a fair amount of unresolved drama here too but I’m confident that this one will wrap up most (if not all) of its plot threads by the end. I just hope our ending involves Cha and Kang kicking back at Badu Restaurant in Wando!
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