This kdrama is a chef Moon Cha Young (Ha Ji Won) and a neurosurgeon Lee Kang (Yoon Gye Sang). They met as children in a small seaside town, Wando, and eventually cross paths as adults. As children, Kang made a meal for Cha Young when she was hungry. Her mother had put her on a diet. They planned to meet the next day but missed each other.
Kang grew up in Wando with his single mother. His father passed away when he was young. His father was the heir to a hospital but he married one of the housemaids, Kang’s mother, and ran off to Wando. His grandmother and uncle came to find Kang and his mother to take them to Seoul to compete for the Chairman position with his older cousin, Lee Joon (Jang Seung Jo). Kang’s uncle and aunt are hell-bent on making sure that Joon wins.
Kang is a typical prickly neurosurgeon. Neurosurgeons are known to be the biggest assholes in medicine. Ask any of your doctor friends. His personality may also be a product of growing up in the warzone of a home at his grandmother’s. He lost his mother not long after they moved to Seoul in a tragic accident.
Joon is competitive and wants to beat Kang on his own without his parents scheming. He hated Kang since the day he met him.
Cha Young is an accomplished chef and became a chef because of the one childhood interaction she had with Kang when she was young, in Wando. Her mother earns a living as a con artist and her younger brother Tae Hyun (Min Jin Woong) follows her around and makes her life more difficult than it needs to be.
Cha Young and Kang end up working at a hospice. The show goes through the lives of everyone living in the hospice who came for end-of-life care. Even though someone died almost every episode, this is definitely a healing show. This show made me realize, being able to spend your last days in hospice can potentially be a gift. The patients get a chance to say their last goodbyes before they leave. Cha Young could get a job at any restaurant with her skill but she chose to work at the hospice because she gets more satisfaction granting patients their last wishes than getting paid lots of money.
Every patient’s story is heartwarming and I can’t believe I avoided watching this show for so long. There was lots of crying, sad and happy crying. If you need a good cathartic outlet and a great story, this is the show for you.
I was a little annoyed with the love story so this show was not so much the destination but the journey that got me. The first love thing is unrealistic and has a play-out theme. Plus, I don’t like how rude he was to her in the beginning, and then suddenly out of nowhere he’s kind to her because they were back in his hometown. I guess it kind of has to do with him getting over the fact that she is his dead best friend’s ex. The ending made me kind of mad. Why did she run away? Maybe she has commitment issues. I felt no chemistry between those two.
I think the characters were named Lee Kang and Lee Joon to be representative of Joseon Kings. They were the Lee dynasty with single-syllable first names. Two potential heirs battling over the coveted hospital chairman position. They developed no real relationship with each other even they’re close in age and Joon’s parents encouraged this rivalry.
I love that the women ran the show. Even though Kang’s grandmother and aunt were villains, they controlled everything. The grandmother was a mast manipulator and we later found out had always planned to make Kang the successor. She only brought him to teach him to be more competitive.
Kang’s loss of his best friend hit really hard. Kang had no one after his mother died. He had no other friends and his family hated him. His grandmother was cold and his other aunt (not Joon’s mom) was only concerned with herself. Kang went to great lengths to find Cha Young to get the mandu gook (dumpling soup). He missed his last fishing trip with him. He missed so many fishing trips before and this was his last chance to go fishing with his best friend. He had so many regrets with his best friend. Even though he was a jerk most of the time, you can feel his loneliness when his best friend died.
I found the relationship between the hospice director and his ex-wife the saddest. Having Alzheimer’s can be just as bad a dying. She has moments of lucidity and moments where she is living in the past and thinks she’s still married to him. His apology to her killed me! There was no way to know how long she would be lucid and he took the opportunity to make sure he said everything he needed to say to her.
I absolutely love Ha Ji Won and she was so amazing and cute in this show as she always is. Her character’s empathy towards everyone is was heartfelt and she brought such a huge emotional aspect to the show itself. She really looked like she poured her soul into her food when she was cooking.
There were so many moments in the show where it was too late but the families did what they could to make the last patients’ last days as best as possible. This show definitely sheds light on how important it is to spend time with the people you love before it’s too late.