Dinner Mate: Episode 1 Recap

This one’s cuuuuute! After finishing the premiere episodes of ‘Dinner Mate’ also known as ‘Would You Like to Have Dinner Together?’ starring Song Seung-heon and Seo Ji-hye, I decided to choose this drama as my next recapping project. Seo Ji-hye was the primary reason as to why I decided to tune into this drama and I’m glad she’s given the opportunity to be the female lead in a show of her own.

Seo Ji-hye plays Woo Do-hee, a PD at a creative studio/company for online content creators. She meets and interacts with Kim Hae-kyung (Song Seung-heon), a well-known and highly sought-after psychiatrist. Together, through a series of dinner dates and yummy delicious meals, the two get to know each other better and eventually form a strong connection and relationship with each other.

Note: Feel free to listen to the OST track for this drama while reading my recap 🙂

Dinner Mate/Would You Like to Have Dinner Together?: Episode 1 Recap

The first episode starts off with Woo Do-hee (Seo Ji-hye) exiting a taxi. She’s dressed exactly like Audrey Hepburn in the movie ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’ and stands outside of a jewelry shop admiring the beautiful jewelry showcased from the inside of the shop. Similar to the scene in the movie, Do-hee eats a piece of bread and drinks some coffee while staring at the jewelry. She’s alone and no one is bothering her. Do-hee admires this scene for its simplicity and philosophy in life.

Fast forward to the present and the real Do-hee is greeted by her boyfriend Young-dong (Kim Jung-hyun). They go out to eat some dinner in which he sprinkles some salt on Do-hee’s piece of steak, something she internally hates and dislikes but endures just for their sake. The couple eventually pass by the same jewelry shop again and it’s obvious Do-hee admires the necklace that is showcased. However, Young-dong brushes it off and the two lovebirds walk off together arm in arm. Sometimes, some things are more important in life such as the ability to have dinner with your loved ones.

There’s a high speed motorcycle chase involving two men. The situation escalates when things transpire onto foot and one of the guys has a knife in their hand. The other man attempting to calm him down is psychiatrist Kim Hae-kyung (Song Seung-heon). After failing to converse with the man in Mandarin, the two battle it out against each other. Thankfully, Hae-kyung is able to take the man down without getting himself or anyone else injured. Back at her apartment, Do-hee chats with her mom on the phone while packing up. Similar to Dad, Mom warns Do-hee about her boyfriend possibly cheating on her, but Do-hee is confident Young-dong is not that type of guy. Do-hee does find it strange though how Young-dong hasn’t called her yet that day.

When midnight hits, Do-hee calls Young-dong to wish him a happy birthday. However, he doesn’t pick up so she ends up texting him some sweet messages and even searches up different recipes she can cook for him for his birthday. The next morning, Do-hee heads to work at her company, 2N Box, a creative studio where online content creators for topics like mukbangs, e-sports, and ASMR can record and film their content. She’s brought her suitcase with her for she plans on heading somewhere right after work, but first, she must work of course.

After having a discussion with her co-worker Jin-kyu and CEO Nam (Ye Ji-won), Do-hee feels pressure to elevate her show even more. While livestreaming her usual show, she decides to go above and beyond. When the guest on the show gets drunk and begins to fight the host as well as grow angry at the viewers, PD Do-hee doesn’t cut the show short. Instead, she keeps the livestream on despite pressure from CEO Nam to stop broadcasting. The show eventually hits 100,000 views that serves as the basis for success at their company. In a meeting with CEO Nam afterwards, Do-hee doesn’t understand what was wrong with the way her show ran. They hit 100,000 views. Isn’t that what they want? However, CEO Nam isn’t happy with how messy and chaotic the livestream was and warns Do-hee not to do the same thing again next time. Do-hee doesn’t take her boss’s words that seriously and checks out. She’s heading for Jeju Island to meet up with her boyfriend.

Hae-kyung receives yet another request from a show interested in having him as a guest. However, just like all the other times, Hae-kyung shows absolutely no interest at all. Those type of things just aren’t his style. He prepares to head out to meet up with a patient. While exiting the office, Do-hee expresses her excitement for her Jeju Island trip during a conversation with her colleague, So-ra. Hae-kyung has a feeling Young-dong is going to propose to her after he had sent her a text of a ring the week before. She’s confident she’ll return from her trip with a ring on her hand.

Do-hee prepares to head out to Jeju Island. She records and videotapes the entire journey, from the moment she’s at the airport to the moment she’s on the airplane. She’s amazed and fascinated by everything, including the business class seat she got upgraded to on the plane. Her seating partner is none other than Hae-kyung who’s also on a trip to Jeju Island for work. The two don’t get along that well, but Do-hee can care less. She focuses on recording her adventures so she requests for the flight attendant to give a message to her and Young-dong. The flight attendant congratulates the two on their future engagement. Do-hee is in a good mood as her rental car has also been upgraded. Meanwhile, Hae-kyung also arrives in Jeju Island. Unlike Do-hee, he’s pestered by his assistant, Byung-jin, the moment he gets off the plane. Byung-jin requests to grab dinner with Hae-kyung once he returns from Jeju-do, but Hae-kyung isn’t in the mood. He likes to eat alone.

The next stop in Do-hee’s adventures is grocery shopping! She shops around in search of recipes and meals she can cook for her boyfriend’s birthday. Meanwhile, Hae-kyung meets with his patient at a restaurant. She’s struggling to get over her most recent break-up so Hae-kyung offered to meet up with her to provide her support and therapy. When Do-hee arrives at Young-dong’s restaurant/cafe, she notices something strange the moment she steps into his office. The room is all set up and it seems like there’s been some sort of celebration. Do-hee eventually discovers Young-dong kissing another woman right in front of her eyes. Upon catching her boyfriend cheat on her, Do-hee feels as if she’s drowning. The sight is too much for her to see, but she demands for answers upon Young-dong finally noticing her.

As if finding out about Young-dong’s cheating wasn’t enough, the woman he’s with is none other than the flight attendant who was on the plane with Do-hee earlier (nooooo!). In an act of rage and anger, Do-hee begins to beat up Young-dong. All the chaos and commotion is eventually heard by the customers of Young-dong’s restaurant, including Hae-kyung who happens to be at the same restaurant with his patient. Everyone shifts their attention to the fight between the three and Hae-kyung is in disbelief upon learning that Young-dong had cheated on Do-hee with the flight attendant from his flight earlier. It’s too good to be true.

Do-hee wants to know why Young-dong chose to cheat on her. What are his reasons? Why did he choose another woman over her? Although Young-dong lists out several reasons why, the biggest reason was his hate for eating with Do-hee. He never enjoyed it and he came around to despising it every time. So what about the ring? Why did Young-dong send Do-hee a photo of a ring? He sent it to her by accident and never actually intended to send it to her in the first place.

After learning all the information, Do-hee marches out of the restaurant. She’s followed by Young-dong who still wants to talk to her while he’s chased by the flight attendant. Eventually, Young-dong is forced to stop trailing after Do-hee by the flight attendant and he returns to the restaurant with his new girlfriend. Do-hee is heart-broken at the sudden revelation and it’s too much for her. Back inside the restaurant, Hae-kyung is swept up in a challenge of his own. He’s forced by his patient into connecting with Do-hee. If he can manage to help Do-hee get over her break-up, then his patient too will try to do the same. Hae-kyung has no choice but to follow through with his patient’s proposal and he follows after Do-hee to prove a point.

After chasing down Do-hee in a taxi with a driver who assumes that Hae-kyung and Do-hee are dating, Hae-kyung manages to finally catch up to the lady. He watches as she stands on the edge of a small cliff, reflecting on the incident that just happened. When Do-hee’s stance becomes unstable due to the strong wind, Hae-kyung runs up to Do-hee to rescue her from falling over. However, Do-hee dodges as Hae-kyung runs up to her and she moves out of the way while he falls into the water. So much for trying to save her! Do-hee eventually pulls Hae-kyung out of the water and he wakes up for a few seconds. Do-hee didn’t need any saving; she had no plans of jumping into the water at all. Hae-kyung was mistakened. The psychiatrist doesn’t stay awake for long as his head begins to bleed and he becomes unconscious once again.

Hae-kyung is hospitalized, but thankfully he’ll be okay. He suffered from a concussion, but he’ll be released upon waking up since his injuries weren’t too severe. When Hae-kyung awakens, he’s greeted by an apologetic Do-hee. She wishes to make up for what happened to Hae-kyung so she purchases some new clothing for him to wear. Hae-kyung isn’t so impressed with the granny clothes that Do-hee bought for him, but he has nothing else to wear. Hae-kyung wishes to conclude his meeting and interactions with Do-hee, but she insists on taking him to the airport in which he reluctantly agrees to.

Do-hee and Hae-kyung arrive at the airport with ample amount of time for Hae-kyung to check in for his flight. Before bidding farewell, Do-hee admits that she was worried about Hae-kyung earlier at the hospital. The doctor did tell her that Hae-kyung could be brain-dead if he was to collapse so she stayed with him to ensure his safety and well-being. She plans on staying an extra night to think things through and will leave for Korea the next day. Before entering the airport, Hae-kyung leaves Do-hee with an encouraging message,

When something bad happens, most people think they are the only unhappy ones. If that’s what you’re thinking, please don’t. Happiness has eyes, but unhappiness doesn’t. It just chooses anyone randomly.

Once inside the airport, Hae-kyung overhears Young-dong’s now fiancee gossip to her two flight attendant colleagues about his proposal to her. Other than the “obstacle” that they faced, the proposal went just fine. Do-hee waits in her car and ponders over what she should do now. After politely declining to buy some chocolate-covered mandarins from a random man, Do-hee moves on to reflecting on her relationship with Young-dong. Her eyes fill with tears as she recalls Young-dong’s harsh words about eating with her and how he grew to hating it.

While in the airport, Hae-kyung recalls the conversation that Do-hee had with him back at the hospital while he was asleep. She apologizes for what happened to him; today was just one of those days where she felt like the entire universe was against her. Sure, she might be overreacting by using big words like universe and world, but a break-up is a break-up and they hurt. She feels like she’s left alone — a phrase that is all too familiar for Hae-kyung himself who heard those words from his most recent break-up with ex-girlfriend, No-eul (Son Na-eun). Hae-kyung prepares to check in for his flight.

There isn’t much for Do-hee to do since it’s too late into the night. After craving for the chocolate-covered mandarins that was offered earlier, Do-hee receives another knock on her car window. She assumes it must be the same man again so she gets out of her car in excitement. She’ll finally get something to eat! However, it’s not the salesman who she sees standing outside of her car. It’s Hae-kyung, still in his granny clothes with his work carrying case still in his hands. Although a bit hesitant at first, Hae-kyung asks Do-hee if she would like to grab dinner with him.

My Thoughts:

COME ONNNNNN! You can’t expect to end the episode with the title of the drama and NOT have me squealing or grinning or smiling like an idiot! The ending was just so feel-good and way too adorable. How can you say no to a drama when the first episode is so funny and cute and ends in the most fulfilling way ever?!

I absolutely loved how the ending concluded with Hae-kyung asking Do-hee if they could eat dinner together. Not only because the question was literally the title of the drama, but also it signifies the beginning of a relationship as well as a new start of some sorts for Do-hee. She experienced a humiliating and devastating break-up with her cheating ex-boyfriend, but with Hae-kyung now in the picture, it’s as if not all hope is lost for her. Sure, things aren’t going to fly for her right away and she’s going to be experiencing a whole range of emotions over the break-up, but with Hae-kyung there with her, things won’t be so bad.

But wow, talk about Young-dong’s cheating! Urgh. There were so many things about his cheating that angered me. From the other woman being the flight attendant to his employees knowing about his cheating and not doing anything about it was upsetting! Sure, Young-dong is their boss and they are working under him, but for them to not mention anything to Young-dong and then to even attempt to push Do-hee away once she arrived at the restaurant was so wrong on so many levels. They were just encouraging and perpetuating Young-dong’s cheating so that definitely didn’t sit well with me. I understand that the drama is setting up Do-hee to get closer to Hae-kyung and needed a reason for their set-up, but it was just too sad to watch Do-hee break up with Young-dong in this way. She devoted the past few years to what she thought was a loving and trusting boyfriend who turned out to be a cheating liar. What did she do to receive this type of treatment from him? Plus, what about all those times she ate steak with pepper on it even though she actually really hated it the entire time?! Lol.

With the chapter between Young-dong and Do-hee now closed (although I’ll admit, I would love to see Kim Jung-hyun and Seo Ji-hye together again with a happy ending this time), it now allows for Hae-kyung and Do-hee to open up to each other and to become closer which will be fun to watch. Their interactions in this first episode was already great so I can’t wait to see how the two will bond over some food and additional adventures. I’d also like to note that as much as I enjoy watching Seo Ji-hye and Song Seung-heon in their respective roles, a part of me also wonders what the show would have been like had it been younger actors playing Do-hee and Hae-kyung. The characters feel a little too preppy and childish for our two actors to be portraying them, but maybe that’s just the feel I’m getting from Do-hee and Hae-kyung as characters (which is not the actors fault by the way, just the feeling and vibes I get from the characters).

Ironically, on the other hand, another part of me likes to imagine that Do-hee would have been great for someone with better comedic timing like Jun Ji-hyun to play. Seo Ji-hye is doing decent as the witty, quirky, and out-going woman who occasionally has her emotional moments and reflections from what we’ve seen in this episode. However, a part of me can’t help but also think what it would have been like had someone like Jun Ji-hyun who has great comedic timing – as we’ve seen in her past dramas like ‘You Who Came From the Stars’ as well as ‘Legend of the Blue Sea’ – played Do-hee instead. There would have been that extra oomph in her character that would have definitely elevated the show and made the drama a lot funnier. To contrast with Jun Ji-hyun, Cha Tae-hyun would have been amazing as Hae-kyung. Of course, this is just me and my wishful thinking and my reflections from the good old ‘My Sassy Girl’ days, but a little dreaming and imagination wouldn’t hurt, right?

I absolutely loved the ending to this first episode and it’s probably one of the more intentional and calm first-episode endings that I’ve seen in a while. It wasn’t over the top, it didn’t try to do too much to lure you into wanting to watch episode two, and the ending wrapped everything up so well. It felt as if everything came around full circle. When one door closes, another one opens. The music in the ending scene was also so well incorporated and implemented and definitely elevated the scene even better. It has to be one of my favorite endings to any episode from any drama in a while and that’s saying a lot. When an episode (especially the premiere episode to a drama) ends this well, it’s definitely going to keep me wanting for more. I am so ready to have both my yummy and my heart filled with this drama, just like how it was with this first episode.

Extra screenshots from the episode~

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