Raine here to pick up the Pasta baton and run with the delightful Gong Hyo-jin and Lee Seon-kyun to the finish. I am a dramabeans junkie and I am only too glad to try my hand at the recaps that are like internet crack to K-drama lovers like myself. And now for episode 12.
“Lucky Day” – Every Single Day (from the Pasta OST)
episode 12 recap
Episode eleven left us with a kitchenful of expectant cooks, an unsuspecting San and our adorable Eun-soo’s ominous statement, “I have something to say. Please listen to me, sunbaenim.” After all of the tears he shed in the last episode, he understandably says, “I quit.” Hyun-wook orders Eun-Soo to the office for a heart-to-heart and they depart, leaving the cooks in the kitchen speechless.
(Enjoy this look while it lasts. Seon-kyun, you make me happy.)
In Hyun-wook’s office, Hyun-wook ridicules Eun-soo who makes it clear that he’s really leaving – he doesn’t want to be a cook, but instead wants to make money. The look on his puppy-dog face says otherwise. But after the way he’s been treated, I think its fair to say that Eun-soo can use whatever excuse he wants to remove himself from Hyun-wook’s nearly constant verbal abuse. When Hyun-wook climbs back up onto his soapbox, Eun-soo delivers the kicker – “I know you and Yoo-kyung like each other.” Cat’s out of the bag, Hyun-wookie. Eun-soo leaves Hyun-wook looking properly flabbergasted.
What follows is the inevitable discussion about how to handle the vacant kitchen assistant’s spot. It is the busiest role in the kitchen and the kitchen would cease to function without it. Therefore, Yoo-kyung is once again the kitchen’s maknae (youngest one) after one month of glory behind a frying pan.
(Let’s say it all together: AWW!)
She tries to convince Eun-soo to stay but he literally runs away, his wounds too raw for further discussion. Gong Hyo-jin’s sad face just makes me want to hug her. I think it makes Hyun-wook want to hug her, too.
(I spent waaay too much time getting these screencaps. But no one can blame me. It’s No Min-woo!)
In the locker room, Team Italy and Team Korea discuss Eun-soo’s untimely departure and we get a happy/mandatory screen shot of No Min-woo shirtless. In place of a brooding shower scene, I’ll take a broody changing-in-the-locker-room scene.
(This is how you healthily vent your frustrations on each other…)
Scrubbing the kitchen floor, a dispirited Yoo-kyung whines about her demotion Hyun-wook and orders him to bring Eun-soo back, now! Seconds later, however, the spirited part of Yoo-kyung’s personality emerges. She tells Hyun-wook that he treated Eun-soo badly. I like the way she explains Eun-soo’s importance to the chef and the kitchen.
An assistant is a cook, too. He is one of your ten fingers. Your pinky. You keep biting it so he says it hurts, not just because.
Hyun-woo pushes her. His pride won’t let him admit his wrongdoings. Yoo-kyung pushes him right back.
This next scene is so adorkable. Hyun-woo accidentally walks in on Yoo-kyung changing after their little “altercation” and they both experience some level of mortification. (I do believe hers may reach a little higher on the scale.)
Hyun-woo takes it upon himself to guard his Goldfish from further disturbance with his chest puffed out and his chef’s powers warding an unsuspecting Ji-hoon away from the locker room. (What if his house keys were in there Chep?!)
When an embarrassed Yoo-kyung emerges from the locker room, Chef tells her that if she wants Eun-soo back, she has to get him herself. The one who chased him out should bring him back, she counters, and quickly leaves. As soon as she gets outside, she calls Eun-soo and demands to know where he is.
Hyun-wook goes back into the locker room and opens Eun-soo’s locker. His uniform is unceremoniously dumped on the floor. Photos of him together with the chefs are taped onto the inside of the door.
One handwritten note hits home for Hyun-wook: Chef is my idol. Chef is awesome! Hyun-wook realizes how much Eun-soo looked up to him and loved to be in the kitchen; he also realizes how disappointed Eun-soo must’ve been when he discovered the Chef’s hypocrisy – forbidding kitchen romance and then secretly dating Yoo-kyung. Needless-to-say, our hot-tempered chef is at a crossroads and by the look on his face, he’s clearly conflicted over which path to take.
The general morning meeting at La Sfera is underway and when the waiting staff is dismissed, former-manager Seol (or Mr. PICK-UL as Skimmy deemed him) not-so-stealthily stays behind, partially hiding himself behind San. The topic at hand is to find a permanent solution for the vacant assistant’s position. Hyun-wook wants to hire someone new but Team Korea wants Yoo-kyung as the assistant. The kitchen runs more smoothly with her than with Eun-soo. (Hrm, how could Yoo-kyung be better than Eun-soo? Maybe it’s the three years of experience versus Eun soo’s whopping month.) Chef Oh jumps to Yoo-kyung’s defense. Chef Choi reminds them he wants to hire someone new. Mr. PICK-UL takes a jab at Hyun-wook. It’s an all-around passive aggressive battle.
President Kim decides to hire a part-timer and is rewarded with Yoo-kyung’s beaming smile, which irks Hyun-wook. (Hee-hee.)
Next we see Yoo-kyung kicking-ass as the kitchen assistant, anticipating needs and eliciting the praises of everyone much to her chagrin – and Hyun-wook’s.
During her break, she rushes over to Eun-soo’s new place of employment and drags him off for a good talking-to. He argues that no one saw him as a chef, that he gets treated better at his new job, and that he can no longer trust Yoo-kyung. Ouch.
The next morning, a determined Yoo-kyung visits Eun-soo’s rooftop apartment and tells him she is his escort to work. He accuses her of coming for selfish reasons and she agrees – she’s worried about becoming the assistant again. She was so happy when he first came. She explains how she’d tried to treat him well, make him feel welcomed, and make his job less lonely because she knew how tough it could be. He pretends to sleep, although she’s beginning to get under his skin. She doesn’t want to think of her efforts as wasted so she refuses to let him quit. He whines that he won’t go so she jacks his keys and promises to return again the next day. (Is it just me, or is Eun-soo adorable even when he’s whining and rebellious?)
Former-manager Seol and President Kim have brought a new assistant, which perks Yoo-kyung right up. Mr. PICK-UL manages to get his two-cents in before San shuts him down. Hyun-wook doesn’t look pleased but San seems more than happy to let the new assistant stay. Yoo-kyung’s smile is his crack, and he’s getting a heavy dose of it.
And now we see the kitchen without the dependable Yoo-kyung as maknae – or do we? She spends half of her time cooking and the other half guiding the clumsy, clueless newcomer. Hyun-wook tells her to focus on her own work and herds the newbie into the freezer with giant chopsticks for a lesson. Newbie answers with a ‘tude. Why do I see this ending badly?
Back at Eun-soo’s new place of employment, he’s serving a patron and is surprised to discover that it’s the Chef. He jumps right into the insults, making fun of Eun-soo’s nametag. It says “Oh Baek Won”, which means 500 won, a coin in Korean currency. The Chef thinks it should be “Oh Ship Won” (50 won) and wonders when Eun-soo will upgrade to a paper bill. (In other words, how low are you going to go?) Eun-soo isn’t having it and bids him adieu. Hyun-wook orders him to sit and after a bit of resistance, Eun-soo sits for some more verbal abuse. Then,
Hyun-wook: Do you like it? Huh? Are you glad to have given up cooking to serve?
Eun-soo: (With the vocal stylings of a rebellious teenager) It’s not because I’m serving that I like it. No matter where it is, I’m just happy because I’m not working with you.
Hyun-wook tells him his name is Jung Eun-soo and slaps his La Sfera nametag on the table. He says, “wear your own name tag when you work” – to thine own self be true. He flicks it towards Eun-soo – we can’t have the chef getting too sentimental.
“Come back,” Hyun-wook asks. Eun-soo brings out his trump card – what if I tell everyone that you are dating Yoo-kyung? Hyun-wook admits that it had been troubling him but he can’t let that fact keep him from asking a needed person to come back to work. Hyun-wook is laying his pride aside – he’s asking Eun-soo to come back even though Eun-soo has the power to hurt him.
Seo Jong-gyu, Yoo-kyung’s father, has come to visit his daughter’s place of work. Yoo-kyung shows off her kitchen – the chef’s table, the stoves and her spot. Dad wonders if her position is the lowest and she points to the sink – that’s the lowest. He shrewdly wonders why she’s still there if she’s not the lowest.
Then he asks, “Do you have the confidence to make it up [to the chef’s table]?” She says “yes” and offers to make him pasta but he refuses. He’ll wait until she works her way up to the chef’s table because now it’s not like she can do anything. Aw! In his own gruff, roundabout way, he’s telling her that he’s got her back on the long road ahead. She asks him why he’s there and he hands her the bag he brought – and it’s full of sharp knives!
“If you’re going to imitate someone, at least have everything you need to imitate. And don’t let me hear anything bad about you’re just because you’re a woman.”
(Double Aw!) She walks him out and he keeps going without a goodbye. He’s said his peace.
“If you hadn’t given me those knives, I really just might’ve thrown in the towel today.” (She says this as an awesome cello solo translates her emotions into cello awesomeness. I’m a cellist. It’s my duty to point it out with two uses of the words “cello” and “awesome”.)
Yoo-kyung is back at Eun-soo’s rooftop home and he ignores his noona and tries to go back to sleep. She promises to keep returning. He is frustrated by being woken up and perhaps by the nagging of his conscious (e.g. noona).
In the morning, San tapes a new cactus photo onto Yoo-kyung’s locker. Hyun-wook walks in just as San murmurs, “Be strong, Ms. Cook.” The Chef ducks out of the locker room and waits until San leaves before re-entering. Yoo-kyung arrives and smiles upon seeing the photo. This causes her secret boyfriend to bristle and ask how long she’d been receiving the cactus photos.
Yoo-kyung: “Three years. Since I first started working.”
Hyun-wook: “The whole time?”
Yoo-kyung: “The whole time.”
Hyun-wook: (Looks thoughtful.)
Yoo-kyung asks Hyun-wook if he could please make peace with Eun-soo. Chef tries to tell her that they’ve been made by Eun-soo but he doesn’t have the heart to make her worry.
Yoo-kyung spots the newbie relaxing in the dining room and listening to his headphones. She tries to support him as she’d done with Eun-soo, but Newbie McSmartass snidely remarks that everyone in the kitchen still treats her like the assistant. She squares her shoulders and tries again, but he accuses her of trying to lord over him. He starts to rudely talk back to her when Chef appears and smacks the newbie upside the head. (Mwah ha ha!) He begins to take Smartass to task, but Yoo-kyung, still hoping for the best, defends her maknae by saying he didn’t know any better. Apparently, that was the wrong thing to say because Newbie McSmartass throws down his apron and quits with a few last barbs at Yoo-kyung. Newbie ducks to avoid Chef’s punishing hand and bolts out of the restaurant.
San stops Hyun-wook from going after assistant McSmartass. When Hyun-wook tells San to mind his own business, San asks whose fault it is that the new assistant quit, making life more difficult for Yoo-kyung. She tries to go after the newbie but Hyun-wook orders her to stay and then says that they’re better off. Yoo-kyung is hurt and baffled by the fact that Hyun-wook doesn’t understand her like San does.
After watching San tape the cactus onto her locker, this comment hits Hyun-wook hard. He drags her up to the roof by her wrist. Even though she begs, Hyun-wook refuses to bring Eun-soo back. He tries to tell her that Eun-soo knows that they’re dating, but he doesn’t want to worry her. Instead of talking, he reverts to his modus operandi – he yells at her and stalks off. Dr. Raine detects the symptoms of a minor case of “Noble Idiot Syndrome”.
Hyun-wook stomps into the locker room and calls Eun-soo, demanding that he come to collect his belongings. Yoo-kyung says he doesn’t have an anchovy’s poop’s worth of compassion. (Again with the fish analogies.) At this point I’m thinking, “Just tell her why, you idiot!” She tells him that Eun-soo really looked up to him and it’s good that he quit. Now she’s scared to become a heartless chef like Hyun-wook.
Eun-soo returns to clear out his locker and the strains of a melancholy jazz piano accompany him on his final rounds through the kitchen. The Chef appears and says,
“Alright, take this order. Table number here. (He taps the chef’s table.) One order of Jung Eun-soo’s pasta. You came here to be a chef. Won’t you have any regrets if you leave this kitchen without holding a frying pan? For the first and last time, go ahead and hold a frying pan. And leave without any regrets. And don’t ever come back.”
Eun-soo takes great care in making the pasta and the Chef slowly eats every bite. “So this is what Jung Eun-soo’s pasta tastes like. I’ll remember it,” he says. He puts his empty plate down and leaves the kitchen. Eun-soo tries the leftover pasta and tears well in his eyes. “My pasta really tastes bad.” He slumps on the floor as the realization of the Chef’s actions hit him – an empty plate is the biggest compliment for a chef. The Chef gave Eun-soo an empty plate as a parting gift.
Yoo-kyung goes outside to meet San and Hyun-wook comes upon them. Immediately, jealously flares. San grabs her hand and tells her to go out for some beer to help alleviate her bad mood. She feels awkward about the handholding, but he looks mighty pleased with himself. San drags her off as Hyun-wook mutters, “Straddling the fence must really be her specialty.”
San and Yoo-kyung go to the pool for some goldfish-shaped bread and beer. She tells him that she’s getting to like him more as she gets to know him better. “You finally realized that,” he asks. Then he tells her to rebel against the chef and that he’s got her back if she decides to do so.
She rings Hyun-wook’s doorbell and offers him a goldfish. He pouts for attention, still smarting over seeing her leave with San. They begin to argue and she tells him that being in the kitchen is stressful because she doesn’t want to embarrass herself in front of him. She rambles on about liking to lean on him but not wanting to appear weak in front of him.
After a pause he asks, “Are you done? Even though we like each other, should we just forget about everything, then?”
She says that they haven’t done anything together and he asks what she wants to do together. “Everything!” she replies. He decides that they should just do what they want in the kitchen and she flashes him a winning smile. She brings up Eun-soo and Hyun-wook finally tells her that Eun-soo knows about their relationship. She is understandably upset, but Hyun-wook tells her not to be scared. If they get caught, they’ll leave the earth together. Before that, however, they’ll sew Eun-soo’s mouth shut. “You be thread and I’ll be needle, and we’ll just sew it shut!”
Eun-soo wakes up and is puzzled and disappointed that Yoo-kyung hasn’t come to harass him.
The waste-of-screen-space trio wants to open a pasta shop and is looking for a monthly rental. The real estate agent thinks pasta is the Italian version of bibim gooksu and enthusiastically agrees to show them the space.
The Chef and Yoo-kyung drive to Eun-soo’s place and in Yoo-kyung’s lap lies Hyun-wook’s peace offering: Korean beef. Because it’s cold outside, Yoo-kyung uses the keys she pilfered to let them in. She asks Hyun-wook if he’s like his chef but he doesn’t like being compared to his chef. He lies down and she asks again about Hyun-wook’s chef – she wants to know if Hyun-wook became like his chef because maybe then she can become like hers. His expression softens.
He tells her to lie beside him and they notice pictures of food all over Eun-soo’s ceiling. She says it’s a good thing they came, but then wonders what will happen if they can’t sew his mouth shut. He takes her hand and assures her its okay if Eun-soo sees them because they’re going to silence him. Hyun-wook strokes her fingers and she comfortably falls asleep while he watches her with adoring eyes.
Eun-soo comes home and is freaked that the lights are on. He’s even more freaked out when he peers into his apartment and sees the Chef and Yoo-kyung sleeping hand-in-hand on his floor. In a cathartic moment, he runs to the edge of the roof and yells, “Chef and Seo Yoo-kyung are dating!” over and over again, waking them up. Eun-soo marches into his apartment and wedges himself between them. (Tee-hee.) Then all three gaze up at the ceiling.
Eun-soo: Every time I looked at those pictures, I thought I was going to die of loneliness.
Hyun-wook: That isn’t your spot. Go to your spot. (He pats the spot on the other side of him).
Eun-soo: (Crawls over to Chef’s left side.)
Yoo-kyung: (Rests against Hyun-wook’s right side.)
Hyun-wook: Aigoo. Hey, Eun-soo ah, stop rebelling and come back, huh?
Yoo-kyung: (nods in agreement)
Hyun-wook: Come back.
Eun-soo: (Remains silent.)
Hyun-wook: (Shouting.) I said come back.
Eun-soo: Yes, chef.
The chef tells him to shout out the truth every morning and then come to the kitchen. Now that all is right with the world, they fall asleep together – a happy kitchen family.
Here it is. Raine’s first recap. Wow…just…wow. I’m super impressed by those of you who churn these out on a schedule. This took me about a week, working off and on. I had to learn to screencap, how to make brevity my friend (we’re still hostile acquaintances), and how to make the whole thing look cohesive. There’s still a lot for me to learn, but I really enjoyed the process. I’ll be taking on episode 13 next.
This is the episode of the prodigal son Eun-soo – the wussy, completely adorable kitchen assistant who just wants someone to love him and tell him he’s wanted in the kitchen. Because he quit, we see some pretty important changes in our leads, most notably in Hyun-wook. (An aside: Seon-kyun really showed is acting chops this episode. I had the hardest time choosing screencaps to include because all of his facial expression are priceless!)
Hyun-wook is finally learning to put his pride aside and treat people like…well, people. This whole episode dealt with him overcoming his ego and going to fetch Eun-soo back to where he belongs – with his kitchen family. Over the course of the sixty-five minutes, Hyun-wook learns quite a lot about Eun-soo and begins to understand the poor kid better. That understanding led to Hyun-wook’s ability to show his vulnerability to Eun-soo…a teensy, tinsy, bit. He’s not quite as willing to let Yoo-kyung see it, yet. I can’t wait for that to happen! Baby steps, Hyun-wookie. Baby steps.
With Yoo-kyung…oh man. I gushed over the ending of this episode. The way Seon-kyun embodies Hyun-wook’s absolute adoration of Yoo-kyung totally had me squea’ing.
As for Yoo-kyung, she’s really having to step out of her comfort zone now. She’s in a situation that she’s not quite sure how to handle – how does she know where the work relationship with the Chef ends and where the romance with Hyun-wook begins? She’s terrified of making a total ass of herself in front of him (hence all of the babbling explanations), but she also needs to lean on him. She’s been demoted from her dream position – making pasta. She feels pathetic for repeatedly asking for Eun-soo to come back. She’s trying to fix everything but does not have the power to do so. She needs her man to put his arms around her and give her a hug.
The general criticisms that have already been pointed out by javabeans, andromytta and skimmy in their dramabeans recaps still apply:
- Hyun-wook still yells…a lot. (Seon-kyun, does your throat hurt?) The only time I actually felt it was effective was in the very last scene when he orders Eun-soo to return to the kitchen. “Ah,” I thought. “Things are back to normal.”
- The kitchen scenes are still quite drawn out. The PD doesn’t quite know when to cut things off. It’s all in the transitions, people!
- This is a slice-of-life drama. There is no pervading, drama-wide conflict that fuels the action. The action is merely watching the lives unfold under daily challenges. That said, there is a 2% chance of plot movement in our forecast.
- Manager Seol/Mr. PICK-UL: This man is seriously the grossest kind of conflict instigator. Although he is a sunbae to San, that does not warrant all the liberties he takes! Grow a pair, San!
- What ever happened to the vindictive Sae-young? She was your typical sneaky, meddling second lead for about six episodes. Now she’s turned into a total wilting flower. I preferred her before – at least her character was consistent. Lee Ha-nui’s lackluster acting makes the even more lackluster character a black hole on my t.v. screen.
To conclude (I felt like sounding pretentious!), our leads are finally getting some real character development now. Hopefully, there will be plot movement, too. But if not, Gong Hyo-jin is just so damn adorable with Lee Seon-kyun I think I can fill my need for plot up with cute! As for next episode, I anticipate surprise and relief over Eun-soo’s return, the intrigue of hiding the kitchen romance, and…more of the cute.