Dae Jang-geum is Watching: Episode 8 Recap

Things are looking well for our characters. While they might be going through hardships and challenges in life, they can work in peace knowing that they’re not alone and that they have people who care for them.

Dae Jang-geum is Watching Episode 8: The 8th Meal, Shout Out for Love in the Center of Chinese Food

Jung-sik grows confused and conflicted over his feelings for Seung-ah. Does he like her or does he not? Moreover, does she have any feelings of affection for him? Whether it’s peeling an apple or cutting some green onions, Jung-sik plays a game of ‘she-likes-me-she-likes-me-not’ to test his feelings. He even occasionally speaks to the plant that Seung-ah gave him which he’s named Megan Fox. Lol.

The next day, Jung-sik volunteers to return Seung-ah’s shopping bag back to her without knowing it was actually for San-hae. San-hae makes up an excuse to keep the bag and sports the new jacket that Seung-ah got for him at work. Of course, San-hae leaves her (and me) so speechless she accidentally spills some coffee on her co-worker and an important work document. Lol.

Manager Lee enters the office and is dressed up this time as Suzy from ‘Architecture 101.’ Lol. However, none of the employees can correctly guess from her outfit and Seung-ah even goes as far to claim that Manager Lee is representing the nation’s mother ‘Soo-mi.’ Lol. Eventually, Won Bin guesses correctly after noticing Manager Lee and presents her his report. However, since Seung-ah accidentally spilled some coffee on Won Bin’s report, she is assigned to finish the report. Seung-ah is given only two days to prepare a report and presentation on the analysis of their brand new cars. San-hae offers to help, but Won Bin advises him it’s best he doesn’t get involved.

While Seung-ah gets right to work on the report, Jung-sik is busy texting her and waiting for her response. He worries that maybe Seung-ah didn’t like the selfies he texted her the night before and attempts to take a few more new ones. Jin-mi interrupts Jung-sik and worries how he’s been talking to himself a lot lately. However, she has other things to worry about such as her new entertainment agency.

Upon entering the agency building, Jin-mi is greeted by Min-hyuk. She worries that people will think they’re dating so she attempts to physically distance herself from Min-hyuk. Just then, Jin-mi receives a phone call from an employee at the agency so she heads off to meet with the employee. She doesn’t forget to text Min-hyuk to meet at the convenience store for lunch.

Jin-mi is introduced to the group of female trainees she will be training with. After exchanging greetings, they chatter about rumors of a trainee getting into the agency based on connections to the nephew of the agency’s CEO. Jin-mi gossips with the trainees about the rumor, but little does she know the rumor is actually referring to her. It eventually hits lunch time so Min-hyuk waits for Jin-mi at the convenience store.

Jin-mi eventually arrives and the two meet up at the store. Jin-mi worries that the meal they’ll eat for lunch that day might be her last one since she needs to lose weight for training. However, Min-hyuk encourages her to diet in a healthy way. She can exercise just as much as she eats and he’ll even exercise with her. With that, the two eat lunch with each other thanks to Jin-mi’s delicious recipes. When they finish eating the noodle cups, Min-hyuk even wipes off Jin-mi’s mouth which causes her to grow nervous.

Jin-mi then brings up the rumors about the trainee who got in to the agency thanks to nepotism. Whereas there are people like her who trained for years and had to work the hard way to get into entertainment agencies, there are others who can just easily get accepted into an agency based on connections. Min-hyuk grows uncomfortable with the rumors and reminds Jin-mi to attend her vocal training lessons.

Jung-sik waits for Seung-ah to get home from work at the bus station. He gives up after waiting a few minutes for her and walks away. However, just when he’s given up all hope, Seung-ah calls out his name and the two reunite. Seung-ah isn’t actually returning home, she’s just stopping by her house to grab some clothes and then plans on heading back to the company. Jung-sik worries that his brother might have given Seung-ah too much work to do, but she reassures him that that isn’t the case. Jung-sik volunteers to drive Seung-ah back to her company so she agrees to buy the both of them some coffee.

On the ride back to the company, Jung-sik points out the similarities both he and Seung-ah have in common with each other. He also takes the opportunity to ask her about her ideal type. If she met someone who had superpowers and heroic abilities, would she be able to fall in love with that person? At first, Seung-ah firmly states no. It’d be too much for her to handle and she’d be scared and uncomfortable. However, she also notes that sometimes you can’t really help who you fall in love with and that sometimes love can be blinding. This gives Jung-sik the extra boost of confidence he needs and he begins to consider other ways to seduce Seung-ah. He drops her off at work before leaving.

Jung-sik voices his concern for Seung-ah to San-hae at home. He’s afraid Seung-ah might be too exhausted from all the working she has to do. San-hae questions why Jung-sik seems so worried for Seung-ah, but he claims it’s only because Seung-ah is his cooking student. Before leaving the room, Jung-sik assumes San-hae’s returned the jacket to Seung-ah, but in reality, San-hae still has the jacket.

San-hae decides to head to work extra early the next morning to check up on Seung-ah. He finds her dozing off in her seat at her desk and covers her with his jacket. San-hae also leans in to listen to Seung-ah sleep-talk about craving some black bean noodles. At that moment, Won Bin walks in with some sandwiches and witnesses San-hae leaning into Seung-ah. He assumes they’re kissing each other and he immediately disappears after dropping the sandwiches on the ground. LOL.

While San-hae picks up the food from the ground, Seung-ah wakes up from her short nap. She finds San-hae with some food and assumes he bought them for her. She also notices the jacket over her body which he must have placed over her. Hehehe. Even though San-hae is prohibited from helping Seung-ah with the report, he grabs the majority of the documents resting on her desk and reads them for her. Furthermore, San-hae hands Seung-ah a cup of mocha to drink alongside the sandwich. The two make plans to eat black bean noodles later on for lunch. Aww.

Jung-sik receives his ingredient for the day: mapo tofu. Meanwhile, it hits lunchtime for our office employees. Though Seung-ah planned on staying behind to work during lunch, San-hae tempts her by recommending a restaurant that can serve her her black bean noodles within half an hour. Seung-ah can’t refuse so she goes out with San-hae for lunch. As expected, San-hae’s tastes and knowledge works to their advantage.

The noodles are served seconds after they order and it tastes delicious. San-hae explains to viewers the history behind the dish ‘jjajangmyeon’ and describes how the noodles for their dish were made. Eventually, San-hae and Seung-ah finish eating the jjajangmyeon with twenty minutes left to spare. Seung-ah decides to spend the remaining time with a short nap.

Jung-sik begins his cooking live stream and introduces to viewers the dish he’ll be making for dinner that day: Mapo Tomato with eggplants. He lists the different ingredients needed for the dish and instructs viewers on how to prepare plus cook it. After finishing the live stream, Jung-sik decides to save some for Seung-ah who he plans on giving the food to after dinner. During dinner, Jung-sik sports on a fancy outfit so that he can impress Seung-ah when he meets up with her afterwards. Jin-mi and San-hae assumes he’s heading to a girl group fansigning event so they tease him.

After dinner, San-hae rests in his room, but he can’t seem to stop thinking and worrying about Seung-ah. He makes plans to visit Seung-ah at work and to feed her so she won’t be starving for dinner. With that, San-hae heads to the kitchen to see if there are any leftovers from dinner. When he finds the lunchbox that Jung-sik packed for Seung-ah left unsupervised out in the kitchen, he decides to take it. Jung-sik grows angry when he realizes the lunchbox he prepared for Seung-ah is gone and accuses Jin-mi of stealing it.

When San-hae arrives at work, he finds Seung-ah working hard at her desk. He eventually gives Seung-ah the food to eat so that she’s able to a break from working. Seung-ah enjoys the food so much she makes references to BTS to describe just how delicious it is (LOL I’m loving all these BTS references hahaha). San-hae checks up on the report that Seung-ah is writing and advises her to use other reports located in Manager Lee’s office as a reference.

Just as Seung-ah makes her way to Manager Lee’s office, the lights at the building shuts off and the building grows completely dark. Maintenance is conducting an electrical inspection so the lights will be off for half an hour. Seung-ah unfortunately sprains her ankle because of the blackout so San-hae comes to her rescue. However, when he arrives at the office, he also sprains his ankle after attempting to help Seung-ah. LOL.

The two are stuck in Manager Lee’s office with no cell phone or source of contact with the outside world. They eventually sit next to each other and share a blanket to keep themselves warm. Thankfully, Jung-sik arrives at the work building to visit Seung-ah. Since he’s unable to contact Seung-ah via cellphone, he decides to use the stairs to reach her physically.

Back in Manager Lee’s office, Seung-ah and San-hae have a conversation with each other about relationships and ideal type. After pestering San-hae for answers on his first (and only) relationship, Seung-ah is curious about the types of women that men likes. Seung-ah acknowledges that she doesn’t fit the conventional standards that men like in women and assumes that men disprove of girls like her. However, San-hae reassures Seung-ah that there are guys who like women like her.

Just before San-hae can elaborate any further, the lights in the building finally turn back on. Seung-ah and San-hae can better see each other’s faces with the lights on while Jung-sik races his way up the stairs to meet Seung-ah.

The ending poem for the episode recites:

There is no one whose heart never gets swayed. Even a glossy mapo eggplant dish gives off its flavor by getting stir-fried and shaken. Unswayed love doesn’t exist in this world. 

My Thoughts:

GAAAAAH, yes Seung-ah. Yes, there are men fond of girls like you because San-hae is one of them! He likes you. Hehe. This episode was so darn cute and packed with comedic and adorable interactions between Seung-ah and San-hae. 

I loved how tsundere and nonchalant San-hae was in this episode in regards to Seung-ah. He’s always been reserved and tsundere towards her, but his actions in this episode was so comedic. He purposely did things for her, but he didn’t want to make it seem too obvious so he would act like he didn’t plan these things out ahead of time. Oh, the lunchbox that Jung-sik originally packed for Seung-ah that I stole? I brought it for me, but you can have it if you want. Oh, the documents on your desk that you needed to help you with your report? They were useless data so I took them out so that I can look them over instead. Oh, and also, that cup of mocha that I poured for you? I accidentally pressed the wrong button and it’d be too much of a waste to just throw it away so you can have that cup of coffee. LOL. I love how San-hae makes up a bunch of excuses in the process of caring for Seung-ah and showing her his support. He tries to make it seem like things aren’t a big deal, but in reality, it is a big deal that he’s doing all these things for her. And of course, it’s also because San-hae still wants to maintain the cool, smooth, and charismatic perception Seung-ah has of him even though inside he’s gushing like a little puppy every time he does things for Seung-ah.

I never liked the idea of a love triangle in the first place between our two brothers and Seung-ah. It was my biggest fear for the drama and I was so hesitant when the drama went down that direction. While I still don’t care for the love triangle, I’m also glad that the drama isn’t doing more with the love triangle than it already is. Jung-sik has an unrequited love for Seung-ah and I’m so relieved that she 1) isn’t aware that Jung-sik has feelings for her and remains oblivious to it all and 2) has a crush for San-hae which he’s slowly reciprocating back to her. This makes me feel less iffy about the love triangle and more confident in our relationship between Seung-ah and San-hae.

The love triangle also makes me frustrated in the sense that it makes Jung-sik so limiting as a character. I wished there was more to him than being the lovesick and nervous little brother who has a crush on his older brother’s co-worker. Don’t get me wrong, I like Jung-sik and I enjoy his cooking live streams. However, from the beginning, the drama showed us that they weren’t planning on doing much with Jung-sik compared to his two siblings which is a little shameful. I wished there was more to him than watching him doing the usual live streams and gushing over Seung-ah (his crush on Seung-ah is so relatable though! The way he anxiously waits for her texts or saves food for her to eat). His characterization has been weak since the very beginning of the drama and it’s a little regretful that the drama never chose to do more with him. Jung-sik is a funny and talented man, but there’s not much the drama is doing with him.

This contrasts highly with Jin-mi whose story we followed closely since the beginning. She’s clearly struggled in achieving her dreams of becoming an idol and we witnessed this when she got dismissed from her other agency to working part-time at a convenience store to finally getting accepted into another agency. Her journey is one that I’m the most easily invested in because it was a journey that the drama showed us from the very beginning. Jin-mi has made so much progress since she got dismissed from her first agency and she’s learned a lot since then. Obviously, she’s going to get hurt when she finds out that she only got into the agency because of her connections to Min-hyuk, but it’ll also maybe help her realize her situation as well as inspire her to form new dreams. She can still certainly dream of becoming an idol and continue to audition at other companies once she realizes the truth about how she got accepted into her current agency, but maybe she can also realize her other many talents and work off of that.

I like how things are wrapping up for our love triangle between the two brothers and Seung-ah. Granted, we haven’t even reached the climax just yet, but Jung-sik will eventually discover San-hae and Seung-ah together and learn that he has little to no chances with Seung-ah. Jung-sik’s excited and nervous little heart is going to break into pieces, but maybe his heart will heal faster than expected. He’ll always have Megan Fox if he needs someone to talk to.

Bonus: Extra screenshots from the episode~

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