Sweet Munchies Episode 12 (Final) Recap
Director Kim Ah Jin (Kang Ji Young) snaps she hates that she’s known he could ruin her. But she’s more worried about him. Chef Park Jin Sung (Jung Il Woo) admits he’s selfish, but he loves her. Ah Jin stares in shock. Jin Sung pulls her into a hug. She cries.
At the station, Manager Cha Joo Hee (Kim Soo Jin) is livid to learn the truth. She orders Ah Jin to craft the show so not to upset their loyal viewers. Shocked, Ah Jin declares they can’t continue the show. Manager Cha snaps that isn’t Ah Jin’s and SJ’s decision.
Manager Cha talks to her managers. She wants to end the show now telling the public there will be a second season. Not happy about losing the commercial revenue with only 8 shows, but knowing the backlash would be worse, the managers agree. They want someone to be held accountable. Manager Cha offers to step down once the show is wrapped up.
Director Nam Kya Jang (Yang Dae Hyeon) can’t believe Manager Cha is shutting down the successful show. Manager Cha points out Director Nam typically follows her orders without a qualm. He stares at Ah Jin. He asks why. Manager Cha agrees to tell him IF he keeps his mouth shut. She reveals Jin Sung isn’t gay. He stares at Ah Jin.
After the meeting, Director Nam demands to know when she found out. She apologizes. He tells her sorry won’t suffice. He demands to know what she’s going to do to make it right. Director Lee Sang Young (Kim Seung Su) tells Director Nam to layoff. Director Nam realizes Sang Young knew the truth. He assumes they colluded to keep the truth from him. Assistant Director No Jae Soo (Park Sung Joon) hears unhappy voice and asks what is going on. Director Nam tells Ah Jin not act like a victim. Ah Jin apologizes. Director Nam believes Ah Jin planned with Jin Sung. Manager Cha interrupts and order them to break up the discussion. Little do they know the reporter has overheard their argument.
Manager Cha leaves her office and finds Sang Young waiting for her. He says he was worried about her. She muses they just had a terrific team dinner and now this. He asks if she’s okay with quitting. Manager Cha chuckles and admits she’s not okay. Sang Young admits he couldn’t bring himself to tell her. He apologizes. Manager Cha believe she pushed Ah Jin to find a gay chef in a day, and this was the result. She worries the ramifications are just beginning. She leaves.
At the eatery, Ah Jin tells Jin Sung that no more episodes of the show will air. Jin Sung is worried that Ah Jin’s happiness at work is ruined and he’s the one that caused it. Director Nam enters and finds them talking. He assumes that Ah Jin forced Jin Sung to pretend to be gay. Jin Sung declares it was his idea and Ah Jin knew nothing about it. Director Nam believes their personal relationship says otherwise. Director Nam doesn’t understand why Ah Jin isn’t angry at Jin Sung. He pushes Ah Jin to the ground when she entreats him to leave. He declares the show was important to him, and they’ve dragged him into their muck. He leaves disgusted with them.
The next day at the station, everyone is talking about Ah Jin when she walks by. Director Nam tells her Manager Cha has been demoted because of her. Ah Jin is shocked. She rushes to Manager Cha’s office.
She cries. Manager Cha says she’s fine. Ah Jin asks why Manager Cha is taking responsibility. Manager Cha says that’s what her job requires. Manager Cha advises Ah Jin to hold onto her job tightly.
The reporter visits Jin Sung in his eatery. He introduces himself and offers his card. He tells Jin Sung he has a hunch that Manager Cha’s demotion means the rumors are true – Jin Sung isn’t gay and there is something between Ah Jin and Jin Sung. Designer Kang Tae Wan (Lee Hak Joo) enters the eatery. Tae Wan suggests the reporter not sling gossip and do his job properly. The reporter asks how close Tae Wan and Jin Sung are. Silence answers that statement. The reporter tells Jin Sung to call him when he wants to tell the truth. He leaves.
Tae Wan tells Jin Sung to shake it off. Jin Sung is worried what will happen to Ah Jin.
Writer Yoo Sung Eun (Kim Yi Jung) reads the rumor article the reporter posts. The negative comments litter the bottom of the post.
Jin Sung and Park Jin Woo (Choi Jae Hyun) (Jin Sung’s brother) read the article and comments. Jin Sung dashes out of his apartment.
Everyone is talking about Jin Sung not being gay and the relationship between Ah Jin and Jin Sung.
The managers demand Manager Cha solve this mess. They want to fire Ah Jin. Manager Cha says Ah Jin was just about to be offer permanent status. They declare Ah Jin created the mess. They order Manager Cha to fire Ah Jin. They won’t reverse their decision.
Jin Sung arrives at the station. Jae Soo asks if the article is true. Jin Sung says he’ll explain later. Jae Soo says that Ah Jin isn’t at the station. He advises Jin Sung not to go upstairs.
Jin Sung finds Ah Jin outside his eatery. He says he was worried. He invites her inside. Ah Jin declares she’s hungry. He chides her for not eating. She asks for a specific dish. Jin Sung agrees to cook it. They tease each other while he cooks the food. Jin Sung serves it up to a hungry Ah Jin. She declares it delicious. She eats with gusto.
The next day at the station, Sung Eun cries at Ah Jin’s imminent firing. She asks if Jin Sung knows. Ah Jin pats her friend’s back.
Ah Jin meets with the managers. She admits she was at fault. They inform her she’s tarnished the image and revenue of the company. They fire her.
She returns to her desk. Everyone watches her. Sang Young asks to speak with her.
Sang Young pours Ah Jin a drink and gives her food at a local eatery. He tells her to eat. She takes a bite. He tells her life isn’t over. She cries. Sang Young urges her to cry noting anyone would under the circumstances. Ah Jin cries more. He tells her mistakes were made, but she can get back on her feet. Ah Jin thanks him. He coaxes her to eat. She manages another bite.
Ah Jin looks around the station. Jin Sung approaches. She’s surprised to see him. He asks why she didn’t tell him. They leave together.
Ah Jin takes his hand as they walk. They go in the opposite direction when they spot the reporters outside the eatery.
They end up at Tae Wan’s design studio. He tells them he wasn’t surprised to find out. He offers them a meal, claiming it is expensive and good. They smile and eat. Ah Jin turns off her phone which won’t stop ringing. She turns off Jin Sung’s phone that won’t stop ringing either.
Jin Sung’s father worries about his son. He declares his accident created this mess.
Jin Sung tells Ah Jin he can’t forgive himself. Ah Jin tells him not to say this. Jin Sung says he must tell the truth so she isn’t tarnished forever. Ah Jin suggests they do nothing and let time heal this. Jin Sung says being with him will hurt her. Ah Jin grabs his hand and declares he will not break up with her.
The next day Ah Jin wakes to find Jin Sung gone. She calls him. He doesn’t answer. She runs into Tae Wan. He tells her that Jin Sung has left. Ah Jin demands to know where and why he didn’t stop him. Before she can rush out, Tae Wan grabs her and says Jin Sung couldn’t watch the person he loves be hurt. Ah Jin retorts she feels the same. She demands to know where Jin Sung is.
Jin Sung returns to his eatery. The reporters are waiting. They pepper him with questions. He offers to tell the truth. He admits to lying that he was gay for money. He explains about his father’s surgery and how a loan wasn’t possible given his financial situation. Jin Sung admits he wanted to save his father and his eatery and hurt many people in the process. He apologizes and bows. The cameras flash.
Ah Jin arrives and finds the eatery empty. She cries.
The eatery stands silent.
Jin Sung cleans out her desk and thanks everyone. She looks at her former coworkers smiles and bows. Not everyone is supportive but not everyone isn’t. Manager Cha shakes Ah Jin’s hand and tells her she’s a good director and not to doubt her abilities. Ah Jin tears up and thanks her. She urges everyone to work hard.
Jae Soo and Sung Eun escort her out of the building. She hands over her badge but Jae Soo opens her box of items. She puts her badge in it. She hugs Sung Eun and shakes hands with Jae Soo before taking her box. She leaves.
Life goes on. Tae Wan works with his team and laughs when things go well. But alone after work, Tae Wan remembers…
Flashback…Jin Sung tells Tae Wan he’s going to the bistro to talk to the reporters. He believes telling the truth will put things right. Tae Wan tells him not to. Jin Sung declares silence doesn’t solve anything. Ah Jin is lying about her feelings. She lost her job. He can’t stand to see her pain. He has to protect her by admitting all. Jin Sung thanks Tae Wan for being his friend. He wishes him well. He gives Tae Wan a gentle shoulder hug. He apologizes. He leaves.
Tae Wan’s father arrives with a bottle of booze. They drink. Tae Wan asks if everything is okay. He notes his father hasn’t done this before. His father says he’s getting old. Tae Wan promises to be a better son. Tae Wan admits he thought he was unhappy because he blamed his father for not living the way he wanted to live. His father admits he wanted a normal life for his son. Tae Wan says the words that they both know to be true…I’m gay. He tells his father he made himself miserable by not telling his truth. Tae Wan tells his father he loves him. He wants his father to be happy too. Tae Wan’s father’s eyes soften with emotion. He stands and leaves.
As Tae Wan sits alone, he remembers his father’s words that his happiness made him happy. His father says Tae Wan’s life is his to live.
In the future…Sung Eun and Ah Jin share a meal to celebrate Ah Jin’s success. Ah Jin looks at the food and remembers when SJ made her a similar meal. She digs in with relish. Behind her Jin Sung walks by. He doesn’t see her. She senses him but he’s gone when she turns.
Ah Jin and Sung Eun walk together. Ah Jin muses about the darkness being negative for some and positive for others. They meet Jae Soo. Sung Eun tells Ah Jin they’ll be off. The couple walks away as Ah Jin waves.
Ah Jin walks home in the light rain. She remembers doing this before all that happened. She nears the eatery. She enters. Another chef calls his welcome. Ah Jin approaches and orders a beer.
Tae Wan’s voiceover…when going through hard times, one must get used to the darkness.
Ah Jin drinks the beer. The door opens. Someone steps in.
Tae Wan’s voiceover…morning comes after night. When you think it’s the end, something else begins…like a miracle.
The man walks to Ah Jin.
Tae Wan’s voiceover…when that happens, we just have to move forward, toward the light at the end of the tunnel.
Jin Sung sits next to Ah Jin as she finishes her beer. As she orders another Jin Sung speaks.
Ah Jin locks eyes on him. She can’t believe it. Tears fill her eyes. Jin Sung says hello. Ah Jin says hello. They both offer a gentle smile.
Near perfect final episode. Writer Park Seung Hye deftly navigated the quagmire the characters were trapped in due to Jin Sung’s lie. Almost everything rang true. When Manager Cha learned the truth, she ended production. She accepted a demotion. A scandalous article based on rumors that happened to be true was the catalyst for the healing process. Ah Jin lost her job. Jin Sung couldn’t stay silent and went to the gaggle of reporters and told the truth…all of it, unvarnished. Then he disappeared. Ah Jin rebuilt her life and they met again in final scene. That was good stuff, but the best moments of the episode belonged to Tae Wan who finally admitted his truth to his father. And the reaction of his father was based in love for his son, urging him to live as he wanted. Truly lovely. The gentle tenor of the final episode bespoke the gravitas and offered hope.
Chef Park Jin Sung (Jung Il Woo) admitted his mistakes. Jin Sung couldn’t let the rumors taint Ah Jin, the woman he loved. In a lovely scene with Tae Wan, told his friend what he was going to do, apologizes for his actions, and gently hugged Tae Wan. A gentle heart felt moment. Jung Il Woo showed why he was the right person for this role, a man that lied, then compounded the lie so that a day of reckoning came. Jin Sung was humble when he admitted the details to the reporters. His remorse was real. He redeemed himself. Only the deft writing of Writer Park and the expert portrayal by Jung Il Woo could end this series with this character in good standing.
Kim Ah Jin (Kang Ji Young) got knocked down, brushed herself off, and went forward. Manager Cha was her supportive champion until she could no longer protect Ah Jin. Protecting Jin Sung was paramount to Ah Jin as she urged him to keep silent. But he couldn’t do that. He told the truth. He left for a window of time. In that time Ah Jin dealt with the ramifications of being fire and finding a path forward. At the end of the episode she was back on her feet but longed for Jin Sung. As Tae Wan’s voiceover stated, miracles can occur and Jin Sung appeared by her side. They didn’t hug or kiss, they ended the series with a gentle smile. It felt right.
Kang Tae Wan (Lee Hak Joo) finally told his truth. Tae Wan had the moment I wanted him to have. I didn’t want him to reveal all to the world, I wanted him to reveal his truth to his father. We all knew his father knew. Tae Wan knew his father knew. When his father stopped by his studio with a bottle, they drink, and Tae Wan sensed his father’s openness and willingness to let the admission be spoken. Tae Wan said the words and his father accepted him, though we only experienced that acceptance in a voiceover of his father’s words. I could quibble about that, but the tenor of the gentle exchange between father and son was wonderful to behold. Lee Hak Joo and Jang Hyun Sung made that moment worth the wait.
How did I do on my Wishlist for the final episode?
* Jin Sung reveals his truth instead of being outed. GRANTED. Jin Sung admitted all to the reporters after the burden of silence and the ramifications to Ah Jin grew unbearable.
* Jin Sung and Ah Jin give it a go as a couple. GRANTED. The end where they meet again was just right.
* Ah Jin doesn’t lose her job. NOT GRANTED. I’m glad this wish wasn’t granted. Ah Jin was better off dealing with the truth and rebuilding herself outside of the network she lied to.
* Tae Wan is at peace. GRANTED. Tae Wan was the character that I cared the most for. He was admitted his truth to his father in a moving moment. I was pleased with Writer Park’s sensitive handling of this character.
I rank this episode as almost excellent, 9.5 on a 10-point scale.