I really, really like Chocolate (the drama not the sweet treat). Every week I find myself trying to prepare for the drama ahead and constantly being hit with a poignant hammer to the gut. Today’s episode is no different, building up to a heartbreaking third act involving Ji-Yong and a beautiful tribute to him at the end.
Lee Jun and Cha exchange messages about Su-Hui at the start of this episode, with the former telling her to throw out his plate. Her attempted suicide has hit him hard. Soon after, Cha-Young heads up the mountain to pick berries and as she ascends up the steep hill, the view is breathtaking. Yong-Sun accompanies her and as they talk, Ms. Bong is bitten by a snake. As Cha frantically calls for help, she falls and knocks herself out as she hits the ground hard, partway down the cliff face. Yeong-Sil carries Ms Bong to safety but Cha is nowhere to be seen. As day turns to night, they realize Cha is still stuck in the woods and missing.
Kang heads up to try and find her in the dead of night with his flashlight and does eventually stumble upon her, still passed out on the ground. He scrambles over and snatches her up, rushing back to the hospice with her over his shoulders. Back at the hospice she refuses treatment, prompting Kang to berate her for not listening to him. He goes on to admit how much he cares for her as the screen splits in two and we see the different reactions to this news as Kang leaves the room.
In the morning, Cha makes a delicious dessert using the berries picked from the mountains and limps over to Ms. Bong and hands her the rice cake. This is, of course, a cake for Ms. Jang. She thanks Cha and goes on to tell her she’s going to live with her son. Believing she’s alone on the roof, Cha weeps while Kang watches from afar.
Eventually he speaks to her and asks whether she’s going back to Greece or not. After their conversation, Kang meets with Su-Hui’s doctor and they discuss her treatment while back in the kitchen, Cha cooks up another dish for Su-Hui before informing Seon-Ae she’s leaving for Greece. She sighs, going on to admit she’ll quit too given her Alzheimer’s is becoming more aggressive.
Meanwhile at the university hospital, things become more serious as the investigation into Lee Jun intensifies, leading to him down the police station and berated by one of the officers. As he stares into space, back at the hospice Su-Hui is prepped ready for surgery, taken away in the ambulance.
A touching conversation with Ji-Yong regarding his planet then ensues, as he defiantly tells Cha he’s an Iron Ranger and sent here to protect the people of Earth. As we soon learn from Min-Yong later that night, this is an elaborate ploy brought up by their parents to keep Ji-Yong in line following his bad behaviour. It worked too, making him a happy and wel-behaved boy for the most part. However, Min-Yong tells her he’s not a ranger. While Kang watches in admiration, Cha-Young defiantly tells Min-Jong she thinks Ji-Yong really is a space warrior.
The next day, Lee Jun’s fortunes take a turn for the worst when his parents split up and he’s kicked out of the hospital after lashing out. To make things even harder, he receives a call from Su-Hui just before she heads into surgery, telling him how sorry she is.
Meanwhile Kang rushes back to the hospice as Ji-Yong takes a turn for the worst and ends up with delirium. Kang suddenly asks him about his planet and his Iron Ranger status, asking outright if he’s being summoned back home. He nods and tells him he wants to go back, prompting Seon-Ae and the others to lavish praise on him, calling the young boy their guardian angel and their happy mascot. As he passes away, back to his planet, Cha-Young bakes him a spaceship cake in memory of him.
As the episode closes out, a rocket blasts off into space; a beautiful tribute to a beautiful young boy.
It has been foreshadowed for a few episodes now but Ji-Yong finally meets his fate and what a beautiful send-off he received too. Of course, the actual act itself is cruel and death is never easy to face but Chocolate has managed to interweave this melodrama with the themes around food and how emotional and personal eating can be. This, of course, ties in nicely with all the gorgeous visuals of food and seeing these interspersed through the episode, especially after big dramatic moments, only reinforces this.
At times the show does fall a little too far into the sad moments, making this a pretty exhausting watch twice a week (I can’t imagine what a strain binging this would be!) but there’s enough here to make this a really smartly written drama worth checking out.