Dinner Mate: Episode 3 Recap

Fate. Destiny. Dinner: three concepts that seems to keep drawing Do-hee and Hae-kyung back to each other. As much as they want to deny that their first few interactions were just purely coincidental, something else tells them that it’s more complicated than that. Maybe they were destined to be more than just familiar strangers. Maybe they were fated to be acquaintances and, best of all, dinner mates.

Dinner Mate/Would You Like to Have Dinner Together?: Episode 3 Recap

Hae-kyung and Do-hee meet up with each other at the Haedong Fish Market like they promised since trot singer Tae Jin-Ah’s newest song hit number one on the music charts. It doesn’t long for them to lock eyes at the fish market and they kindly greet each other upon reuniting. What were the chances that they would meet up again? Do-hee questions whether things are a coincidence or meant to be, but Hae-kyung is confident it’s all just a coincidence. With the two now at the fish market, they bicker on what they should eat. Hae-kyung is craving some sea urchins, but Do-hee is leaning more towards something else. Since she’s treating, she’ll choose their meal. Haha. And so Do-hee’s choice is another rice bowl (just like what they ate back during their Jeju trip). Hae-kyung isn’t so impressed or happy, but since Do-hee is treating, he gives in.

CEO Nam and the team at 2N Box chat about Do-hee’s whereabouts. CEO Nam instructs everyone to get in contact with Do-hee and report to her if they hear from her. She then pulls So-ra aside to have a conversation about Do-hee’s break-up with Young-dong. CEO Nam grows worried that Do-hee might have disappeared again like how she did years ago when she broke up with another ex-boyfriend, Jae-hyuk. But there’s nothing to be worried about. Do-hee is safe and sound with Hae-kyung and the two munch on their rice bowls on the rooftop of a building. When asked how Do-hee discovered such a place with a nice scenery, Do-hee shares that she found out about it through someone she knew. However, she doesn’t go into more details and the two acquaintances feast on their rice bowls. While Hae-kyung is busy stuffing himself, Do-hee takes some time to respond to her many text messages from CEO Nam, So-ra, and Assistant Producer Kim. Do-hee shares that she hasn’t the chance to meet with this so-called Mr. Kim Hae-kyung guy yet because she’s currently busy on a date at the moment. So-ra and Assistant Producer Kim share the news with CEO Nam back at the office. Hae-kyung once again enjoys the rice bowls so much he finishes both his and Do-hee’s in a short amount of time. Do-hee is flustered at his actions. It’s as if he hasn’t eaten in days, haha.

Our couple head to another restaurant for their second stop. This time, Hae-kyung gets to eat what he’s been craving: sea urchins! He at first isn’t so certain about the quality of the food since the restaurant doesn’t look the most welcoming or clean, but his mind changes once he has a taste of the restaurant’s sea urchin himself. Lol. He’s curious once again as to how Do-hee found out about the restaurant. She must have came here with someone back then. Hae-kyung connects the dots together and assumes that the rooftop location as well as the current restaurant they are at were places that Do-hee visited with an ex-boyfriend. She confirms his assumptions and shares that she visited these places with an ex-boyfriend who was also her first love. However, their relationship ended the day before he was to study abroad and she only found out through a one-line text message that he sent her. They dated for six years, but broke up so easily over one text message.

Fast forward to the present and Do-hee’s first love, Jae-hyuk, visits the same exact spots that she showed Hae-kyung. He stops at the fish market to grab a rice bowl and then also munches on it at the same rooftop that he and Do-hee would frequent back when they were dating. Back at the restaurant, Do-hee wraps up her first love story to Hae-kyung and expresses her misery and disappointment in how her first love story concluded. She didn’t experience a happy first love relationship at all unlike others. Hae-kyung can easily relate to Do-hee as his relationship with his first love wasn’t the greatest or happiest either. Do-hee whispers the word ‘jerk’ under her breath a few times, confusing Hae-kyung on who she’s referring to. Haha. Do-hee has to clarify a few times that she wasn’t speaking to Hae-kyung directly. Lol, they’re too cute.

Things are going fine for Do-hee until she hears a familiar man’s voice in the restaurant (OMGGGG, I’M FREAKING OUTTTT). She freezes upon hearing the man’s voice and immediately turns around to check out the situation. However, it’s not who she originally thought it was and the man is just a random customer at the restaurant. Her hopes are let down and she calms herself back down. She suggests that they both go home since it’s getting late so Hae-kyung steps outside first while Do-hee goes to pay for their food. However, she doesn’t have enough money to cover her tab so she promises the restaurant owner that she’ll come back next time to pay. She leaves behind a business card which Jae-hyuk notices when he stops by the same restaurant ten minutes later. Not only does he pay for Do-hee’s tab, but he also takes Do-hee’s business card with him. Ahhhhh.

Do-hee accompanies Hae-kyung to his car and they bid farewell a second time. She enjoyed spending time with him and she’s glad she felt comfortable enough to share some details about her life to him. However, she cut ties with Hae-kyung and wishes that they can end this weird and odd relationship between the two of them. While Do-hee walks away, Hae-kyung watches her motion further and further away from him. He feels conflicted about the sudden separation and doesn’t seem so happy with it.

The next morning, Do-hee wakes up late for work and expects to get reprimanded by CEO Nam when she arrives to the studio. Instead, much to her surprise, CEO Nam feels pitiful and sympathetic to Do-hee and forgives her for being late. She assumes Do-hee must be having a hard time due to her most recent break-up. Thanks to So-ra, Do-hee was saved for the day. Lol. When the two colleagues chat in the bathroom, So-ra grows curious as to who Do-hee was on a date with the night before. Who’s this “granny” that Do-hee was referring to? However, Do-hee quickly brushes it off and claims that there’s nothing going on between her and this man. Since she is at work, Do-hee’s primary focus diverts back to Dr. Kim Hae-kyung who she still is angry at. She’s going to shatter him into pieces.

Of course, this Dr. Kim Hae-kyung guy is none other than the man she was eating and drinking with the night before (lol, but of course, the two aren’t aware of each other’s identities just yet). Hae-kyung reviews a medical chart with his assistant, Byung-jin, and follows up with question about the patient. While reviewing the chart, he’s reminded of a conversation he had with his ex-girlfriend, No-eul, moments before they broke up. Fast forward to the present and No-eul is now a popular regular at the gym she frequents. She’s super popular and many guys show an interest in her. No-eul takes an interest in one of the guys back thanks to some insider info that her friend shares with her and they set up to go on a date with each other.

Do-hee sets out on her mission to catch Hae-kyung. While walking out of the studio, she comes across colleague, Kang Gun-woo (Lee Hyun-jin) who gifts her with a random restaurant voucher. She sure could have used the voucher the day before, but she’s grateful nonetheless. After briefly interacting with Do-hee, Gun-woo prepares for a livestream. He learns through Assistant Producer Kim that Do-hee has stepped outside to capture Hae-kyung. And so Do-hee pays another visit to Hae-kyung’s clinic. However, just like before, she barely misses him by just a few seconds and is unsuccessful at meeting him again at his clinic. However, she finds a small note on Byung-jin’s desk with the words ‘Moon River’ so she resumes with her investigation. It’s not as easy as she thinks as there are multiple cafes with the same name spread throughout the area. Meanwhile, No-eul’s “date” with the man she met at the gym is unsuccessful.

While Do-hee is busy searching for Hae-kyung, Jae-hyuk is occupied searching for Do-hee. He stops by 2N Box in hopes of reuniting with her, but he’s greeted by an angry and haughty CEO Nam instead. While meeting privately in her office, it’s clear CEO Nam isn’t happy with Jae-hyuk. He suddenly broke up with Do-hee years ago without telling her ahead of time and he dares to come back? She remains in disbelief that he wants to get back with Do-hee to give things a second try. As if that wasn’t bad enough, he uses the excuse of them being ‘first love’s’ to justify why they should receive another shot to make things right. Before leaving, Jae-hyuk places his business card on CEO Nam’s coffee table and encourages her to reach out to him if she ever needs anything. CEO Nam warns So-ra – who had been eavesdropping on the conversation between Jae-hyun and CEO Nam – to not mention anything to Do-hee.

Hae-kyung arrives at the ‘Moon River’ destination that was noted on Byung-jin’s desk. Upon arriving, he’s reminded of the exact moment years ago when he visited the same cafe. Back then, he met up with No-eul who had wanted to break up with him. He was boring and she had fallen out of love with him. His desperate plea for her to stay with him was futile for she had already made up her mind. Fast forward to the present and No-eul is sitting at the same exact table in front of Hae-kyung again. However, things are the opposite now and she wishes to get back together with Hae-kyung. She wants to give their relationship another try. What Hae-kyung had thought was a counseling session with a patient turned out to be a meeting with No-eul who had booked the appointment under a fake name so that they could meet. Hae-kyung is taken aback by the abruptness of it all.

While Hae-kyung is experiencing a range of emotions due to No-eul, Do-hee is going through a range of emotions thanks to Hae-kyung. There’s four different ‘Moon River’ cafe’s across town she can visit and she has a hard time deciding which one to go to first. Eventually, she makes her way around to the correct cafe where Hae-kyung and No-eul are stationed. Maybe Do-hee will reunite with Hae-kyung again! However, they merely miss each other by a few seconds and Do-hee is wrongly introduced to a female Kim Hae-kyung at the cafe instead of the psychiatrist himself (remember, the reservation was made under a fake name, not Hae-kyung’s). Once again, the two miss each other by a few seconds as Do-hee is walking out of the cafe so the two fail to notice each other. After taking a small break in the restroom to catch a breath, Hae-kyung seats himself across from No-eul again. She demands for him to end any relationship he might have with another woman if he wants to give things another try with her. Hae-kyung scoffs in disbelief at the entitlement.

Do-hee’s Mom stops by Do-hee’s apartment and makes herself comfortable while she’s there. Do-hee learns from a homeless man in the neighborhood about Mom’s visit at Do-hee’s place so Do-hee calls her mom on the phone for more information. However, it turns out Mom just wants to spend some time with her daughter. Mom is still devastated about Dad cheating on her with another woman so she wanted to have some drinks with Do-hee. Exhausted, Do-hee doesn’t go home. She contemplates in her car on where she should go next after eliminating both the office and the sauna as plausible options. Right as she’s about to give up hope, she receives a knock on her window. Already frustrated and cranky, Do-hee storms out of her car to confront this person. However, her demeanor completely changes once she realizes and recognizes the person standing across from her: it’s her first love, Jae-hyuk (AHHHHHHH).

Jae-hyuk confesses his wishes to give things a second chance with Do-hee. He was wrong back then, but he’s changed now and he wants to work things out with Do-hee. However, Do-hee has trouble trusting Jae-hyuk after what he did to her during their break-up. He simply texted her that he was going abroad and then simply disappeared from her life afterwards. In a desperate attempt to get Do-hee to listen to him, he impulsively confesses to Do-hee. He loves her. He means it. But Do-hee has changed and she doesn’t fall for it. She doesn’t want his love anymore. It’s too late. Do-hee marches away after rejecting him.

When Hae-kyung returns home that night, he’s greeted by a familiar stranger in his house. It’s his Mom. He’s not so pleased at the sight of his mother who wants him to accompany her to a doctor’s appointment. She’s scared to go alone. Hae-kyung reasons that he was alone for the majority of his life when Mom ran away. Plus, Dad was alone as well before he passed away from gastric cancer. Mom should learn for herself the fear of what it’s like to be alone. Hae-kyung still hasn’t forgiven his mother after all this time.

Gun-woo receives a call from Hae-kyung who wants to meet up with him. However, Gun-woo is busy helping out at a photoshoot with No-eul so Hae-kyung will have to wait for a bit. Starving Do-hee runs to the restaurant that Gun-woo gave her a food voucher before earlier that day to calm her rumbling stomach, but there aren’t any tables available. Right at that moment, Do-hee comes across Hae-kyung at the restaurant since he’s meeting up with Gun-woo there. As he waits at his table he made a reservation for, Do-hee hopelessly walks out of the restaurant with her stomach still growling. When No-eul’s photoshoot concludes, Gun-woo announces to her his plans of grabbing dinner with a friend (aka Hae-kyung), but No-eul reminds him that she still has an interview she needs to do with a medical journalist. She wants him there during her interview.

Hae-kyung’s mind is occupied with Do-hee although he has an appointment with Gun-woo. He changes his mind at the last minute and decides to cancel his dinner plans with Gun-woo in order to eat with a dejected Do-hee. After running out of the restaurant, Hae-kyung chases after Do-hee and turns her around by ringing onto her arm. She’s pleasantly surprised to see him and is certain that they’re destined to be with each other with this third meet-up. This can’t just purely be another coincidence. Although he’s panting from all the running and he’s almost out of breath, Hae-kyung makes it clear to Do-hee what his intentions are. When asked if she would like to have dinner with him, Do-hee’s eyes lit up upon hearing the question and a small grin forms on her face as a response.

My Thoughts:

DO ITTTTT. DO IT, DO-HEE. Get dinner with Hae-kyung again!

This episode was quite an interesting one for me and there were some aspects that I had mixed feelings about, but there were also some other parts in this episode that I enjoyed. To be frank, I’m not the biggest fan of the return of the exes. To be fair, No-eul and Jae-hyuk were barely introduced in this episode so we don’t know too much just yet about their past relationships with Hae-kyung and Do-hee respectively as well as about themselves individually. I predict the drama is going to dive deeper into this and give us more backstory about each relationship as well as who both No-eul and Jae-hyuk are. However, I also don’t really know if I’ll care enough when that time comes. At this point, I’m fully on board the Hae-kyung and Do-hee ship and they’ve given me plenty of reasons to do so. No-eul’s entitlement to Hae-kyung’s love and a second start to their relationship was off-putting (I was scoffing just as he was) and Jae-hyuk still remains mysterious in his decision to just suddenly disappear from Do-hee’s life without really giving her any reason or time to prepare (although I’ll admit, I was more invested in watching Jae-hyuk reunite with Do-hee than watching No-eul and Hae-kyung’s story). I know the drama threw No-eul and Jae-hyuk into this episode because it needed to somehow introduce our second leads into the show so that they can finally make their appearance. However, their appearances weren’t the smoothest so I’m not the biggest fan of how they were looped into the show (I actually felt like things felt a bit forced with how much the episode was trying to do with No-eul and Jae-hyuk within a single episode). I understand why the show decided to bring the back the first love’s; they’re going to shake up Hae-kyung and Do-hee’s lives and test their relationship with each other. But I’m not sure if this is completely necessary.

I think the biggest reason for this is because I completely enjoy Hae-kyung and Do-hee’s relationship and their interactions with each other. I was so in tune and focused on watching their relationship development that I didn’t even stop to think a second about No-eul and Jae-hyuk. And if I’m going to be completely honest, I actually would have been okay without the exes showing up into the drama. I’m afraid that by having them involved, the quality of the show will be impacted and things won’t be as interesting anymore. Sure, Hae-kyung and Do-hee will still be able to get dinner together and they can still go on dinner dates and whatnot. But with their first love’s – who they still haven’t completely forgotten about – back in the picture, things are not going to be as smooth and simple as it was before (which, once again, I understand is the whole purpose of bringing back No-eul and Jae-hyuk in the first place). With No-eul and Jae-hyuk back in their lives, Hae-kyung and Do-hee are going to have to learn to navigate their returns and what that means for them.

I think the drama so far has been doing a great job in developing Hae-kyung and Do-hee’s relationship. It’s slow but so so good when they do spend time together and actually find themselves enjoying their time together. They didn’t have a ‘fall in love at first sight’ type of love and I would even argue that that type of first impression would have been made things less interesting between them. I like how we’re witnessing Hae-kyung and Do-hee go from being airplane partners to now dinner partners. I love how we’re witnessing the two feel more and more comfortable with each other to the point where they can be honest with the other. I love how the two bicker with each other over small things, but they also can let some of their walls down and be vulnerable with each other the next. They even feel comfortable enough to share details about their love lives with each other on what was barely a second date. It’s as if the two have known each other for a while given what we’ve seen of them so far together, but it’s crazy to think that it hasn’t even been that long since they’ve known each other. Do-hee and Hae-kyung are slowly forming a connection through each dinner date and watching them spend time together has been such a sweet breeze; their love is a slow burn type of love and I’m all here for it. I want more of it.

This could explain as to why I was so happy when Hae-kyung chased after Do-hee and asked her once again for another dinner date. I think it’s clear at this point that although the two have some sort of interest in the other, Hae-kyung seems to be a bit more invested in this whole relationship than Do-hee is. This is ironic and funny considering that he was the one who wanted to cut ties with Do-hee at first after their Jeju trip because he was afraid that she was developing a sense of dependency on him. It seems like the tables are slowly but surely turning and now he’s the one who wants to spend more time with her. Hae-kyung’s asked Do-hee to have dinner with him a few times already and that’s telling of the type of interest he has in her as well as how he wants to be on her good side. There’s something in her that he finds comfortable. He initially got associated with Do-hee because his patient back in Jeju wanted him to help Do-hee heal from her break-up which was a challenge that he got forced into hesitantly accepted. Now, it’s less of Hae-kyung trying to complete that mission and more of him just wanting to simply spend time with Do-hee and getting to know her better because he has growing interest in her. He sees her differently now than he did the first time around and it’s through these dinner dates that gives him that opportunity. It would make sense as to why Hae-kyung would want to keep getting dinner with Do-hee.

There’s just something about Hae-kyung and Do-hee’s relationship that makes watching them eat and spend time together so effortless. I hope Do-hee doesn’t cut ties with Hae-kyung again; it seems like no matter how many times they try to convince themselves to stay apart, they somehow find themselves back in each other’s lives. Their paths are meant to cross and that’s something beautiful that both are slowly accepting. Just like Do-hee mentioned, it seems as if they’re somewhat destined to keep meeting. From Jeju to Seoul, no amount of distance can keep them apart. Even with No-eul and Jae-hyuk in the picture which will be a barrier in and of itself, Do-hee and Hae-kyung will be tested but still connected. Is it also in their fate to return to their first love’s or is it in their fate to move forward from their past and create a new path for themselves by merging with each other?

Extra screenshots from the episode~

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