Chocolate has been the one drama I’ve actually been anticipating the most this week. It’s always difficult for dramas to emulate the same tension and high stakes as the first couple of episodes, taking a few weeks to settle into a consistent groove, but Chocolate picks up right where it left off from before and delivers another very impressive episode. With a lot of time jumps back and forth through time, Chocolate is a drama you really have to pay attention to but it’s worth it for some of the character drama and emotional pay offs.
While on the plane across to Greece, we begin with Kang reminiscing of a time when he and Min-Seong discuss Cha Young’s food, joking that he won’t end up in a love triangle. As Kang lands and walks toward Cha-Young’s restaurant, he finds out she’s at the cooking contest. This brings us back to the end of last episode as Kang decides to try the food. As he moves from table to table, Cha-Young reminisces over a time at the cinema when Min cancelled on her and Kang fell asleep on her shoulder. As he rests his head on her, she vows to move across to Greece to make sure she doesn’t fall for him, all the while ignoring what effect this could have on Min-Seong in the future.
As we cut back and forth from this to the contest itself, Cha-Young tells him she’s seeing someone else but when he asks if she’s in love, she stares right at him and tells him she loves someone else. At the cooking competition, Kang grills her hard, calling her conniving and heartless based on what she did with the dish. They’re harsh words but also something that plays against how she treated Min in the past. He subtracts her 50 points but the other judges taste her food in this confusion and seem to like it.
Back at the restaurant Kang sits alone as Cha-Young is introduced to him. However she gives him the cold shoulder before he orders dumpling stew. Despite it being an Italian restaurant, he asks her personally to serve it up and, speaking to the waiter in English, orders expensive red wine to wash it down. While she prepares the food, Kang heads out back and asks if she’s happy before telling her Min-Seong isn’t. He’s on his deathbed it seems and as they talk, Tae-Hyeon arrives and he learns that they’re together. After hitting him in the face, Kang heads outside and phones Min-Seong, telling him he hasn’t seen Cha-Young and to think of a different dish other than dumpling stew.
Back at the hospital, Kang heads in to the staff meeting and is immediately berated for taking Park’s surgery. As the room turn on him, he’s forced to apologize to Minister and Doctor Park following what happened last episode. Kang vacates the hospital and arrives with a handful of food for Min-Seong but the taste is nothing compared to Cha-Young’s cooking and he refuses to eat anymore, wallowing in self-pity and putting the cover up over himself.
While this takes place, Cha-Young gets a taxi up to Min-Seong’s hospice but as she sees Kang outside, hides her appearance from him, putting a flower pot over her head. Heading into the kitchen while Kang leaves, she’s invited in to slice up onions which inevitably causes her to cry. However the lady in charge invites her back to eat but as it turns out, she’s incredibly forgetful and seems to suffer with dementia.
Kang is prevented from operating as punishment and worse, booted out from his house too. Collecting up his things, he looks over his cooking book he had as a child and reminisces as he looks through the different recipes, stopping on the one for dumping stew.
After cooking a meal at the hospice, Cha manages to gain entry where she sees Kang in the restaurant cooking like he used to. With nowhere else to go, he decides to cook the dumpling stew recipe, prompting a split screen montage to pick up. Unfortunately Kang’s uncle calls him before he can finish, telling him Chairman Jo has collapsed, forcing him in to to do the surgery. When he leaves, Cha sneaks in to the room and sees his prep work.
Without much of a choice, Kang heads into surgery while Lee Jun berates the decision to make him take this on. While the Director assumes he’s going to fail, there is a slight chance that he may be successful and if that happens, it puts shame on Jun Lee.
After the surgery, Kang prepares to leave but an emergency brings him right back into surgery again. As he does, Cha-Young cooks up the dumpling stew but tells Min-Seong’s assistant to tell him Kang cooked it, not her. As Min-Seong bites into it, he immediately feels the same wave of euphoria he did last time. Outside, Cha-Young weeps and apologises for not being there for him after all these years.
As the episode closes out, we learn Min-Seong has passed away. For real this time. One final montage closes us out as both Cha-Young and Kang reminisce on their past with him.
Min-Seong’s passing may have seemed inevitable given what we’ve seen before but it’s still a pretty tough blow to endure. He’s clearly the one roadblock between our two protagonists and now that’s he’s gone this black cloud of regret and guilt threatens to consume Kang, especially given he wasn’t there for him during his dying moments. I’m interested to see what direction this one goes too and whether the series takes us down a dark path for Kang’s grief.
Meanwhile Cha-Young’s character is already showing a fair amount more depth this week, and the reveal about her feelings for Kang is certainly an eye-opening revelation. On top of that, it’s also worth mentioning the soundtrack too which is fantastic. I’ve actually spent the past week trying to find some of these themes and although Part 1 is up on Spotify and other streaming services, the main themes for this one are still unreleased, which is a little frustrating.
Still, Chocolate is setting itself up to end 2019 on a high and thankfully we haven’t got to wait too long for the next slice of drama. Roll on tomorrow!