Oh wow, is this show a doozy of pain. They are taking the genre “melo” from melo-romance and really jumping in it cannonball style. Watch only if you want to live in despair for probably all 16 of its runtime hours.
CHOCOLATE: EPISODE 1 RECAP
Lee Kang walks outside to the coast. A woman is standing there, Moon Cha-young.
But later we see that she is not there This is a hallucination.
The camera cuts back to a Portugal city on the coast. It is now daytime and our hero is riding his bicycle through the city.
VO – Ridding long and far through a long time and a far distance. I am going…
He tosses his bike and starts to run up a long flight of stairs.
VO – Sometimes I wanted to stop, sometimes I wanted to give up, sometimes I got lost…because you were there, I could come here.
He gets to the top and we see a woman looking out over the ocean under an overlook.
VO – After a long time passed, our story starts here.
WAN ISLAND 1992
A woman leaves work or home early in the morning a boy follows along. They go to the coast and ask the fisherman coming back in if they caught a lot of fish.
Then they get all their fish and starts to head back. One of the fishermen gives the boy a chocolate and tells him to enjoy. He wanted to carry his mothers cart to the restaurant.
The little boy mocks him and yells to JUST CONFESS! The man tells him not to do that! If you do then your father will kill me! They have fun playing back and forth in the harbor.
Back at the shop, the mother cooks and we see all that she is cooking which makes this feel like I am watching a cooking show on the Food Network. Everything looks so good.
The little boy gets back and goes outside to talk to his mother who is cooking fish. She asks him if it tastes good so he gives it a taste and says that something is lacking in the flavor, maybe dried goguma?
Then we cut to a little girl who is walking around and sees the dried sweet potato in the sun outside. She takes a bite. But then the boy comes out and telsl her that it is for cows, this one is for people. He shows her the prettier looking goguma (sweet potato).
She thinks that it is good for cows to eat something pretty like that.
Then the girl stays for dinner as the boy prepares her a pretty massive meal with lots of sides. He tells her that it is all for free for her when she says that she doesn’t have money.
Then he goes inside and serves the packed house of people who are all enjoying the food.
She eats happily outside and he works happily inside.
The song from The Classic plays
The mother sees the girl eating and asks the boy if this is his customer. He says yes, she did not eat since last night. The mother asks, why is she about to cry?
So the boy runs out to see if she bit a pebble? She says that the food is so good, she is so happy. He gives her a tissue and asks if she wants more rice? He tells her that he will make something else for her to eat. When she is hungry, she can come there anytime. I don’t need any money.
But then a boy runs up and asks why she is there? Everyone is looking for you! Did you eat? Mom will kill you!
Cut to her well to do family who looks like they purposely keep the girl from eating because she has auditions and can’t gain wait. The mother has her on a strict diet.
But she gained weight from eating so the mother is upset and tells the father (who brought in chicken to eat that the mother swipes away) to start the car to head to the audition.
In the small restaurant, the little boy is cooking alone and accidentally burns his arm. He dresses it himself and keeps cooking.
The little boy makes chocolate by hand and decorates it in little balls and waits outside for the girl.
Then a rich family shows up. He tells them that their lunch is done for the day. The Grandmother in the family starts to ask him if he is good in school and all those things. He calls back to his mother and says that they have a customer. She looks like she knows them and bows.
The Grandmother tells the mother that she heard a rumor that the son and heir of a chaebol group ran away with the maids daughter and died at a young age. Then the older brother thinks that he owns the group now.
One of the men with her looks affronted, lol, maybe he is he older brother. The Grandmother says that those two (son and his wife?) tried to sell their land for a hospital.
The grandmother says that her son left a boy so there is an alternative. Joon is very smart. But then the grandmother talks about this cooking son whose name is Kang and wonders if he will win over Joon.
She says that she will give the company to whoever is smarter. The mother tells the grandmother not to involve her son in their family company fights. They will live their comfortably.
Outside, the two boys get in a fight because the rich son is breaking a dog house so Kang pushes him off after telling him to stop several times. He tells him that if he is here to eat, then just eat and leave.
Then Kang comforts the little dog. The rich kid, Joon, throws a rock at Kang so Kang starts to beat him up. they go back and forth with punches and then wind up in the water.
Both boys find themselves in the hospital. But all the doctors and nurses flock to the rich son. Only one doctor and one nurse is looking after Kang though Kang looks like he is the one that is more injured.
The mother pleads with the doctors to look after her son who is unconscious. But the doctors just tell her that they will decide who needs treatment and takes the rich boy away.
This makes the mother think that she should take up the Grandmothers offer. She tells the doctors that her son is also from that chaebol group! He is the grandson of the chairwoman!
We open on the little girl, Moon Cha-young, who looks like she grew up a little bit. She came back to the cafe by the sea, but the cafe is closed.
The fisherman from earlier sees her and says that the people who lived here went to Seoul. She is pretty sad and says that she came there for chocolate because now she can eat whatever she wants to.
The fisherman says that Kang waited for her and made the chocolate, he even burned his arm making it. She sits outside at the restaurant and thinks about this.
Kang is all grown up and getting dressed for the day. Min-sung knocks on his door to bring him out. Then they both pay their respects at his mothers memorial service in the living room. they are the only two there.
He thinks about telling his mother that he did not want to go to Seoul and he only wants to be a cook. His mother tells him that his grandmother died as a maid in that family and I want to die as the daughter in law of that family, so let’s go.
She basically had to pull him to Seoul because he really did not want to go and gripped on to the dog as he tried to stay rooted in place.
In the present, Kang mutters that his poor mother did not get to realize her dream.
We see Lee Joon working at the hospital. He tries to get a patient to come from underneath something, but she is covering her head and does not want to come out.
A nurse is able to get her out. This person is the grown up Moon Cha-young. This nurse tells her that she is getting better and will be out soon. She also tells her that everyone is nice like her in this hospital except for one person, Doctor Lee Joon.
She goes on to say that the doctor lost his family just like her. He hates anyone talking about it in front of him. She sits up and looks at him. The nurse says that is why he is cranky with her, she probably reminds him of his pain.
Kang shows up to work (maybe the hospital?) and sees a couple arguing and about to break up. He wants to break up with her. she wants to stay with him. She also might be a patient in the hospital.
So Kang pushes the boyfriend away and asks the woman if she is discharged yet and if she can see him. She passes out so he picks her up and carries her away.
Kang and Joon end up arguing over this patient because the patient had a hemorrhage in her brain and yet was discharged. so they both posture up to each other.
Then Joon’s father shows up and smiles at them both. Kang walks away angrily.
Moon Cha-young leaves the hospital and takes a deep inhaling breath as she warms her a face to the sun. Then she goes home and then goes home and eats chocolate.
Her memory goes to a department store collapse that took the life of her mother. Cha-young survived. This is the accident that the nurse said also took Joon’s family.
Cha-young starts to cook and remembers telling someone that she wants to cook yummy food. She might have told someone this at the hospital while recovering.
The camera goes back and forth between Cha-young and Lee Kang as they both do their daily job. Hers is cooking and his is brain surgery. So she bakes a lot of yummy cupcakes and he operates on someones brain.
VO – Mom, you told me that if you have something that you don’t owe, then you have to take it back to that person. But this pain and anger is not mine from the beginning so I want to give it all back and leave this hell.
He finishes up his surgery and heads out.
She finishes up her cupcakes and smiles happily at them.
Cut to Lee Joon opening up his anonymous lunch (that Moon Cha-young made) that is fabulous looking. the cupcakes are there as well as a lot of other very delicious looking dishes to eat.
Lee Joon runs out to find he person that left it and starts to talk to Moon Cha-young about giving him this food. She tells him that she did not leave it. Though in her mind she says that she did leave it and only did it to comfort him.
He moves to throw it away, she asks why! She stops him. He says it could have poison in it. She tells him that she will try it to see if it has poison.
So she picks up a tiny wrapped morsel and takes a bite. She says it is delicious, but then she collapses to the ground as if she has been poisoned.
In surgery, Kang’s patient dies. He goes to the bathroom and throws up about it. Then he walks like a zombie along the halls.
His lawyer friend shows up with food and happily motions to him that they should go eat it.
So they go outside and eat on a bench. They joke and feed each other and talk about how the friend can eat ddukbogi now and can speak Korean now. You are not American anymore.
The friend says that he is a lawyer, he has to make a living.
Elsewhere, Cha-young tells someone over the phone that her surgery went okay. It was just her appendix so you don’t have to come here. My brother will come here soon.
She is walking outside and sees food on the bench. It is Kang and Min-sung’s leftover food. Cha-young wonders why they did not throw away their food, such bad people.
But she also looks at it as if it looks really good and starts eating it. She talks about how this is such a waste, such a waste, and keeps spooning mouthfuls into her mouth.
But then Kang comes back and asks if the hospital does not feed her? She stands up embarrassed and says that someone threw this away. Kang says that he did not throw it away, he just said goodbye to his friend and was about to finish eating it.
She sees his name as Lee Kang and thins that she knows it. She wracks her brain wondering about that name as he walks off thoroughly annoyed.
In her room, her brother talks to her about her surgery and all that. They joke about her pretty clean face and how she could have been Miss Korea. He laughs and says that she gave that life up a long time ago.
Then they start to talk about her first love from the coast. She says that she met someone with the same name as him. Her brother tells her that a lot of people have the same name as Lee Kang. But she says that that is not a common name.
She says that he looked exactly like he did before. He was super cool back then and is super cool right now as well. He tells her that he caught her stealing his food and with the way you look right now as well.
She says that she did not steal his food! The brother starts to mention a famous poet. She says that she was looking for him and could not find him and yet now she met him like this. So embarrassing. Maybe it is not him.
She starts to stalk him around the hospital and thinks that it might not be him. Or maybe it is? She keeps stalking him.
But then she asks herself what she is doing. It does not matter if he is that boy or not.
Then she drops her IV bag and he picks it up which makes her scream and try and run away which makes it pull out of her arm and blood shoots out.
So he has to redress it for her.
She looks at his name tag and thinks about the little Lee Kang. She sees the burn on his arm and thinks about someone telling her that he got burned while making chocolate.
In the present, Kang tells her that he will not date her so stop following me around and stay in your hospital bed. He leaves.
Lee Joon sits with his family who all look alive and well. So maybe the nurse actually meant Lee Kang. The family all starts to talk about baseball and studying that. The aunt makes fun of them for it.
Le Joon sarcastically asks her if he should introduce her to a good plastic surgeon? Then Joon comes in and apologizes for being late. The grandmother looks happy to see him. Then they start to talk baseball again.
The grandmother asks what they think about a new player on the team or something. Perhaps they own this baseball team? Joon says that they should let that player go but Kang says that they should still keep that player. He then starts to say that baseball players stats.
The grandmother agrees. She thinks they need to keep him on the team with whatever money it takes.
The uncle cuts in and tells the Grandmother that Kang is going to Libya to the hospital that they work with. But they did not tell Kang about this, he is hearing about it for the first time right now.
The uncle tells him that they need to be a good example to the hospital and the surgeons who all have families. The table gets very awkward after that.
It is new years, the fisherman looks out over the water and remembers Lee Kang telling him that he will come back to the island.
Time passes, we see Cha-young cooking her food and Lee Kang trying to survive in warn torn Libya amidst bombings and destruction. It looks like their hospital is in ruins.
Cha-young helps people escape and also tries to help the injured.
Montage of Cha-young making desserts happily and then we cut to Lee Kang living in Libya and looking at some kids happily playing outside but then they find a bomb and blow up.
Cut back to Cha-young making desserts and then to Lee Kang trying to stay alive after that explosion.
Pain on top of pain on top of pain. And we haven’t even gotten to the hospice yet. Not only is a kid pulled from his hometown, the mother dies in a department store collapse so he has to live with this new family. On top of that, he is a bran surgeon that throws up when he loses a patient. Plus, he has to live in a war torn country and watch some kids blow up and get a brain injury and get amnesia possible?
The same goes our heroine Moon Cha-young who could not eat anything due to competing in pagents and then eat delcious food and then see that the place that they food was in has gone away and then the department store crashes and takes her mother (and father?) with it leaving her and her brother alone.
But not to worry, she is smart and spunky and hides under tables gripping her head whenever she relives it.
Like I said, we haven’t even gotten to the hospice yet. And on top of that, I heard a rumor that Lee Kang’s best friend, his only anchor to this world, dies to sink him further into despair. But that is only a rumor, it might not actually happen. Though with how this first episode went, I expect it to.
CY – I want to be honest with my heart and not hide it anymore.
Nurse – Dr. Lee Kang went to Libya
Nurse – Everyone is talking about it, they think they went there to get his dead body.
LJ – Abogi, did you agree with it? Don’t touch Kang anymore.
CY – Maybe he has a big injury? Maybe he cannot come back anymore.
LK – Have we seen each other before?