Dinner Mate: Episode 7 Recap

Do-hee reevaluates the relationships in her life after coming to terms with her failed relationship and heartbreaks. She might have moved on from her first love, but she still has plenty of challenges in her love life that she has to face. Do-hee experiences firsthand the difficulties and struggles in respecting boundaries for a relationship that her heart has no control over. Love is love and that’s all that she knows.

Dinner Mate/Would You Like to Have Dinner Together?: Episode 7 Recap

Do-hee confesses her honest thoughts to Hae-kyung about their relationship as dinner mates: she wishes to end things. She broke a rule to their relationship and shared personal details to her life that he wasn’t supposed to see or know. She’s crossed the line. Although Hae-kyung argues that it doesn’t matter to him, it matters to Do-hee and she wishes to stop. She can’t stop thinking. Their conversation concludes with silence, but Do-hee chimes back in by commenting that it’s the book written by Hae-kyung’s Mom that she can’t stop thinking about. Why would she think about Hae-kyung? Lol. With that, Do-hee heads back to her tent to rest. However, constant calls from Jae-hyuk irritates her and she storms back outside. Hae-kyung grows concerned by Do-hee’s screaming and assumes something has gone wrong, but Do-hee states that she simply just saw a snake inside of her tent. Do-hee chuckles at the sight of Hae-kyung jumping on the chair upon hearing the words snake, but Do-hee does the exact same thing upon reading a warning sign about recent sightings of snakes. Haha. Great minds act alike.

Do-hee eventually answers Jae-hyuk’s phone call after many missed calls. He has something he wants to give her and would like to know where she is. However, Do-hee declines his offer and ends the phone call with him rather quickly. Afterwards, she returns to her chair to find a folded blanket laying on it. Aww. She sits herself back down next to Hae-kyung and the two continue to chat. Do-hee starts off by thanking Hae-kyung not for the blanket, but simply for showing up to their dinner date. Aww, I’m gonna cryyyy. Hae-kyung doesn’t think too much about it; they are friends after all. Friends who grab meals together. And with these meals come conversations where they share details with each other that they wouldn’t be able to share with anyone else. And it also helps that they don’t know each other that well so they can just talk freely about whatever is on their mind without feeling pressured.

Hae-kyung then transitions to asking about Do-hee’s ex-boyfriend who she just talked to on the phone with. Although Do-hee no longer feels anything towards him, she’s puzzled as to how she should treat him. He was her boyfriend during the brightest moments of her life and she associates him with the emotions from those times. To erase him is to erase those memories and brightest days from her life. However, Hae-kyung has a different approach to all of this. Do-hee must have also had bright moments in her 20’s that didn’t include Jae-hyuk. Even without him, Do-hee would have shined brightly. Do-hee takes Hae-kyung’s words to heart and questions if he’s a therapist or something. He has a way with his words. Hae-kyung refrains from commenting anything. They should still follow the rules they’ve set up for their relationship. Haha.

On the drive home, Do-hee complains about Hae-kyung. She’s shared some details about her life with him, does he plan on doing the same? Hae-kyung gives in to the peer pressure and reveals some information about himself to his dinner mate. Writer Lee Mun-jeong is his mom and unlike Do-hee, he doesn’t have any lingering feelings about his past relationship. He has no desire to start over with his ex-girlfriend. When they arrive at Do-hee’s place, she gives him some words of wisdom and encourages the psychiatrist to think more positively. Maybe things might turn out differently for him in the future. With that, she exits his car and walks to her place. However, Jae-hyuk is still waiting for her at her place and he approaches Do-hee upon finally seeing her.

She’s not so happy at the sight of Jae-hyuk and turns him away. Do-hee doesn’t want to see Jae-hyuk and she attempts to drive him away. However, her first love doesn’t give up so easily and he tightly grabs her wrist to get a hold of her. Hae-kyung arrives just in time to stop Jae-hyuk from hurting Do-hee any further. The medical journalist recognizes Hae-kyung from the photo he saw of him with Gun-woo, but he remains quiet. Instead, he questions Do-hee’s relationship to Hae-kyung. Who is this man standing in front of them? To get herself out of the situation, she introduces Hae-kyung as her boyfriend. Hae-kyung plays along and warns Jae-hyuk to never touch Do-hee again. He won’t let it slide next time. Do-hee and Hae-kyung walk off together and he treats her wrist by placing a cold beverage on it. The psychiatrist also warns Do-hee to stay away from Jae-hyuk.

The next day at work, Do-hee finds herself intertwined with Jae-hyuk once again. While updating So-ra about her dinner date from the night before, Jae-hyuk interrupts the two for a private conversation with Do-hee. Once alone, Jae-hyuk invites Do-hee to attend their friends’ wedding together. However, Do-hee has no interest in going with Jae-hyuk to the wedding and she rejects him like all the other times. Hae-kyung travels to meet up with his Jeju Island patient. However, she cancels their therapy session at the last minute so Hae-kyung is left alone. He must miss Do-hee so much he starts to hallucinate about her. While reading a page from a novel kept in his bag, Hae-kyung imagines that she’s dressed up in a pretty, pink dress. They slowly waltz with each other and lean in for a kiss. However, Hae-kyung snaps himself out of his trance and gets ready to go home.

CEO Nam drinks some coffee at the cafe near 2N Box. The coffee reminds her of Keanu and she enjoys the beverage even more. She’s accompanied by Jae-hyuk who joins her shortly afterwards. He inquires for further information on Do-hee’s relationship status and questions if she’s seeing anyone at the moment. When CEO Nam remains silent on the matter, he excuses himself and leaves. Speaking of Keanu, he’s cleaned himself up and he’s dressed in a nice, navy blue suit. While standing outside of Hae-kyung’s clinic, he recalls the moment he witnessed Jae-hyuk in Do-hee’s neighborhood. Memories of a cup of coffee falling onto the ground and breaking into pieces flashes in his mind. He eventually enters the clinic to ask about Hae-kyung, but walks away after learning from Byung-jin that the psychiatrist is not present in the office.

Do-hee introduces her plans to do the Jin No-eul show to her team. She wants to go through with it. Everyone, including Jae-hyuk, either remain silent or hesitant about the show. They’re not so sure if the show is a good idea. However, the mood changes once No-eul herself enters the meeting room. PD Jin-kyu happily agrees to helping out with the show upon seeing the influencer in person. Lol. Back at the clinic, Hae-kyung returns after his business trip to Jeju. Byung-jin updates him about Keanu’s visit to the clinic, but can’t reveal much since he didn’t ask for Keanu’s name or contact information. When Hae-kyung returns to his office, he’s greeted with a text from his mom who proposes that they go on a trip together. CEO Nam grows curious and worried when she fails to spot Keanu at his usual convenience store. Just as he walks past the store in his navy blue suit, CEO Nam ponders if he’s relocated to another store.

Do-hee holds a meeting with her team on their new show together. In their next meeting, they are to come up with some ideas. The team eventually concludes and they each go about their own ways. No-eul leaves first after claiming that she has a private appointment she needs to attend. After exiting the office later than everyone else, Do-hee finds No-eul waiting outside of the building for her. No-eul was waiting for Do-hee to grab dinner with her. And so the two ladies do. They establish their friendship with each other during their pizza date. They speak comfortably to each other and chat about various topics from their collaborative show to even their relationships. Do-hee learns from No-eul that Hae-kyung is No-eul’s ex-boyfriend which surprises her. Wait, No-eul wanted to work with her ex-boyfriend? But that’s not such a big deal, right? I mean, Do-hee works with her ex-boyfriend too. However, Do-hee argues that things are different between her and Jae-hyuk and that they will never be a thing again in the future. Their relationship is done for though Do-hee does acknowledge that it did take her a long time to move on from their relationship.

So if Do-hee no longer has any feelings for Jae-hyuk, does she like someone else at the moment? Do-hee almost chokes on her cup of beer and lies that she doesn’t like anyone at the moment. However, that might change for Do-hee. Right as they’re talking, No-eul receives a text notification on her phone and Do-hee happens to catch a glimpse of No-eul’s lockscreen: it’s a photo of No-eul and Hae-kyung. No-eul then reveals the identity of the man in her photo and introduces him as Hae-kyung. This man is THE Kim Hae-kyung who Do-hee has been grabbing dinner with this entire time (OMGGGGG!! FINALLY!!!).

Do-hee is in disbelief upon learning the truth. It can’t be. No-eul’s ex-boyfriend can’t be the same person as her dinner mate. She processes the grand revelation while in the bathroom and tries to gain control of her thoughts and emotions. Okay, so the Hae-kyung who she was trying to recruit onto her show is also the same man who is her dinner mate who also happens to be No-eul’s ex-boyfriend. Sure, things are complicated, but Do-hee can always avoid him by never seeing him again. That should cut it, right? However, things are much easier said than done. While walking back to their table, Do-hee finds both Gun-woo and Hae-kyung speaking to No-eul. OH NOOO. No-eul wants to introduce Hae-kyung to Do-hee if he’s going to participate in the show with them. Upon seeing her dinner mate, Do-hee quickly hides in the store. Using a life size cardboard cutout of the pizza shop’s model, Do-hee hides behind the cutout and manages to escape out of the store without being caught. She calls Gun-woo to grab her bag for her so he does as he is told. Hae-kyung pleads for No-eul to stop whatever plan she has up her sleeves, but the influencer is confident he’ll give in to doing the show with her (also, this is super random, but wow, the pizza shop (aka PPL) must be a fan of BTS because they were playing some of their songs in the background haha).

Gun-woo reunites with Do-hee upon returning her bag to her. He proposes that she simply introduce herself to Hae-kyung, but she rejects the idea and quickly uses the cardboard cutout to hide behind when Hae-kyung approaches them both. Gun-woo manages to distract Hae-kyung from paying attention to Do-hee and the two guys walk away. Do-hee walks solemnly throughout the neighborhood to gather her thoughts. She remains in disbelief about Hae-kyung’s identity and connection to both her and No-eul. Gun-woo talks things out with Hae-kyung later on that night in an attempt to get him to do the show. Do-hee still managed to recruit No-eul onto her show despite No-eul’s scandal. That says alot about PD Do-hee. Plus, if Hae-kyung is so significant to No-eul, shouldn’t he give her a helping hand? However, Hae-kyung begs to differ. He still feels the same way about No-eul. He knows that her feelings for him are insincere and temporary. She should learn to overcome her obstacles on her own and not come to him for help.

That night, Do-hee attempts to concentrate on work. She first engages in some meditation practices to process her emotions and thoughts. No-eul and Hae-kyung used to date. No-eul still has feelings for Hae-kyung while he’s clearly moved on from her. But wait, why is their relationship so simple and yet hers with Jae-hyuk is not? LOL. She stays determined to get some work done so she props open her laptop and prepares herself for a night of work. Of course, that means turning off any thoughts related to Hae-kyung. But things are easier said than done and Do-hee can’t stop thinking about Hae-kyung. From the giant stuffed penguin doll he got her to his mom’s book to just simple memories of them together, Do-hee’s mind is fixated on Hae-kyung. Aww.

It’s another day of work for those at 2N Box. Do-hee still isn’t feeling great and her mood is down at work. When pulled aside for a private conversation with CEO Nam, she breathes a little bit more life into her. Wait, CEO Nam wants to know where Keanu is? Why would she be curious about him? Did she happen to visit the neighborhood while Do-hee was away? Although CEO Nam feigns ignorance to Do-hee’s many questions and suspicions, Do-hee senses something is up with CEO Nam and the homeless ahjusshi. She reassures CEO Nam that she’ll tell Keanu about CEO Nam the next time she sees him.

Hae-kyung’s mind also begins to wander off and soon he finds himself thinking about Do-hee. It’s been a while since they’ve last talked, he grows paranoid and concerned that something bad’s happened to her. From getting kidnapped to getting run over by the truck Car of Doom to setting her place on fire, Hae-kyung worries that Do-hee might have gotten into an accident. However, he snaps himself out of it and refrains himself from texting Do-hee first. Do-hee ends up being the one to initiate the conversation with Hae-kyung. After hearing a portion of Hae-kyung’s Mom’s book read out loud at work, her mind wanders back to Hae-kyung and she gathers the courage to ask him for a brief meet-up the next day. It won’t be a usual dinner date like all their other times; she just wants to simply meet up to tell him something.

And so Do-hee waits nervously for Hae-kyung at a cafe the next evening. Hae-kyung assumes it’s another friendly meet-up like all the other times, but he can tell that something’s different. It doesn’t feel the same. Do-hee gets straight to the point and she doesn’t shy away from speaking what’s on her mind. Do-hee wishes to stop being dinner mates with Hae-kyung.. forreals this time. She admits that she wasn’t in the best condition when they first met back in Jeju Island. Things are different now and she wishes to cut things off. She doesn’t see a future with Hae-kyung and adds that they don’t even know each other. She ends the brief conversation by thanking him and then walking away afterwards. The separation is too sudden for Hae-kyung and he’s uncertain as to how to process what just happened.

Do-hee finds CEO Nam waiting in front of the convenience store in her neighborhood and utilizes the chance to talk things out with her friend. While drinking some alcohol, the PD begins to cry and shed tears upon thinking about Hae-kyung. She reveals that the Hae-kyung who she tried to recruit onto her show turned out to be the man who was her dinner mate. CEO Nam assumes Hae-kyung must have done something bad or harsh to Do-hee to make her cry, but Do-hee denies the assumptions. No, it’s not that. He’s not even aware that Do-hee is PD Do-hee. They were just dinner mates, but to Do-hee, it was so much more than that. CEO Nam caresses her friend and gives her a warm hug. Do-hee no longer wants to like Hae-kyung, but that’s what’s proving to be the hardest part for her. Aww.

And CEO Nam finally reunites with Keanu again! Yay! While walking back to 2N Box later on that night, CEO Nam discovers Keanu walking and trialing behind her. Our homeless ahjusshi helps put CEO Nam’s shoes on her after she accidentally threw them at him seconds before. She notices his new haircut and grows relieved at finally seeing him again. The next morning proves to be a challenging one for both Do-hee and Hae-kyung. After checking her phone, Do-hee decides to solidify things one step further by deleting the chat between her and Hae-kyung. Like CEO Nam mentioned, there are many more fishes out there in the sea. Do-hee shouldn’t be so sad. Hae-kyung checks the chat with him and Do-hee as well, but grows alarmed when he discovers that he can no longer text her. Their chat has been discontinued.

Do-hee and Jae-hyuk both attend their friends’ wedding. One of the guests who performed at the wedding expresses interest in Do-hee and invites for her some dinner. Unlike her first dinner mate, Do-hee is aware of this man’s face, name, profession. Everything reminds her of Hae-kyung. While waiting at the bus stop to go home, Do-hee tries to convince herself to move on from Hae-kyung. Just like with Jae-hyuk and Young-dong, this too shall pass and she will turn out okay. Like CEO Nam said, there are plenty of fishes in the sea for Do-hee. However, she also can’t deny that Hae-kyung was different. He was so different from all the other guys. Do-hee reflects,

“The world is big and there are tons of men in the world. This is what Ah-yeong (CEO Nam) said to me when I was crying my eyes out for days after breaking up with Jae-hyuk. It didn’t mean anything to me then. When I broke up with Young-dong, people said the same thing. That’s when I thought: there may be tons of men in this world, but none of them are trustworthy. But then, Hae-kyung showed up. He didn’t know anything about me, but he saved my life, listened to what I said, and ate with me.

It never started, but it ended already. Maybe I can move on if I try hard. Maybe it will be nothing if I pretend that it is.”

Do-hee gets on the bus once it arrives and she makes her way back home. Just when she had thought that things were final and that the story of her with Hae-kyung had concluded, the sight of Hae-kyung waiting outside near her place tells her otherwise. Upon seeing Do-hee, Hae-kyung crosses the street and rushes to her side. He pulls out his business card and hands it over to Do-hee. He firmly introduces himself to Do-hee as Psychiatrist Kim Hae-kyung. If she should ever need to contact him for any reason, she can call him using the phone number listed on his business card. It is at that moment that Do-hee realizes what she had been trying to deny all along: no matter how much effort one puts into deceiving themselves that they don’t like someone, none of that effort matters when you have someone who you truly like.

My Thoughts:

THIS. THISSS. THISSSSSSS. This is all I’ve ever wanted from the drama and I’m so glad and happy that it delivered in the end. Everything just meshed so well with that ending scene: from the music to the burning chemistry to the look in both Do-hee and Hae-kyung’s eyes and even to the way Hae-kyung looked to his side before crossing the street (no Truck of Doom!) — all these aspects made the perfect ending to what was a bittersweet and heartbreaking episode. I had to stop myself from screaming out loud upon watching the last 3 minutes of this episode; I was so close to shedding a few tears and jumping up in pure happiness. I honestly don’t know how to handle all my feels right now. I don’t know how to process or comprehend the wide range of emotions that I’m feeling at the moment. Should I go out for some pizza like No-eul and Do-hee did in this episode? Should I do some meditation practices? Do I drink a few bottles of soju like Do-hee does in every episode? The ending to this episode was so wholesome in so many ways and made me feel so many things in so many ways and I absolutely loved everything about it.

I don’t even know what words I should use to describe the ending to this episode. It just felt so wholesome. So fulfilling. It was such a beautiful and heart-warming ending and it probably has to be up there with episode one in terms of favorite endings from the drama so far. I know I mentioned in earlier recaps that I wished the drama wouldn’t drag out the whole PD Do-hee vs. Dr. Hae-kyung fiasco for too long. I was afraid at one point that it was never going to ever be resolved until the very end and that the drama would just continue to push it aside. I think it was primarily because of these concerns that made the ending to this episode so much more rewarding and beautiful when the drama finally made some progress in regards to this plot. Do-hee finally discovered the identity to her dinner mate and his connection to both her and No-eul. Sure, I still didn’t enjoy how the drama dragged this specific story out, but it sure was rewarding when the ball finally dropped. The drama made the long and frustrating and irritating watch well worth it in the end.

I can’t even blame Do-hee for developing feelings for Hae-kyung. Sure, she and Hae-kyung were just supposed to be dinner mates and were supposed to follow the rules and boundaries they set with each other for their relationship. However, somewhere along the way, she began to feel something for him because she started noticing just how different he was from her past ex-boyfriends. I love it that she even went into details as to why she fell for Hae-kyung and what it was about him that made him different from other guys before him like Jae-hyuk and Young-dong. He didn’t hurt her like how the other two guys did and, instead, he did the exact opposite. He cared for her, listened to her, and showed interest in her from day one. He didn’t brush her off and he was sincere about both her and their relationship as dinner mates. A part of this might stem from Hae-kyung’s occupation as a psychiatrist, but another part of me wants to think he cared about her because he was genuine about both Do-hee as well as his feelings for her. Do-hee’s gone through her fair share of heartbreaks and jerks in life and she finally thought she found something different at last. Although she denied her feelings for Hae-kyung all along and tried to persuade herself that they were nothing more than just dinner mates, her heart was telling her something different. Her heart couldn’t handle the lessons and messages that her mind was trying to communicate with her.

Although Hae-kyung’s reveal to Do-hee wasn’t exactly executed in the way that I wanted it to happen, I’m just glad and relieved that it finally did happen. For too long, the drama had been dragging their whole fiasco against each other and it was starting to get a bit boring. I wanted the two to figure out that they were the ones fighting each other online but grabbing dinner together in person during the evening. I wanted the two to somehow find out each other’s identities and then eventually bounce back from the revelation. However, Do-hee ended up discovering the truth about Hae-kyung’s identity first (and through No-eul of all ways) which wasn’t the best approach in my opinion, but one that made sense plot-wise. I mean, No-eul did attempt to recruit Hae-kyung to do the show with her and she still clearly has lingering feelings for him so I guess it made sense that Do-hee found out about Hae-kyung’s identity through No-eul. I would have preferred if Do-hee reached this conclusion through Hae-kyung himself, but I’m not complaining about the methodology when we got a very beautiful ending out of it.

I think the reason as to why I’m not as bothered by how Do-hee found out about Hae-kyung’s identity despite the drama dragging the story out for weeks is due to the fact that the drama ultimately spent so much more time on the aftermath of the grand revelation rather than the revelation itself. The episode spent a few good minutes on revealing Hae-kyung’s identity to Do-hee, but it spent a much longer time in showing us Do-hee’s conflicting reaction to the identity reveal. I absolutely enjoyed the insight to her struggle in processing the truth because it only reaffirms what we had been suspecting all along: Do-hee does have feelings for Hae-kyung and she finds herself drawn to him for various reasons. I love it even more that Hae-kyung didn’t have to do something big or grand for Do-hee to cause her to slowly fall for him. He didn’t have to do a dramatic rescue to win over her heart. He didn’t have to save her from a Truck of Doom for her to see him in a different light. Hae-kyung didn’t have to fight Jae-hyuk in order for Do-hee to fall in love with him (although he almost did). Do-hee became attracted to Hae-kyung because of his small, subtle actions and behaviors. It was in the way he would listen to her during their dinner dates or the way he gave her relationship advice when she shared her honest feelings about her first love or in the way he would take care of her such as with the blanket in this episode. Hae-kyung is a simple, genuine, and kind man and Do-hee fell for him because he was so different from guys like Young-dong and Jae-hyuk who has only caused her hurt and pain. The reason Do-hee pushed Hae-kyung away in this episode was not because he replicated similar toxic and demeaning behaviors like the both of her exes emitted, but rather because he didn’t act like they did. She didn’t think she deserved him.

However, Do-hee fits with Hae-kyung so well and they’re such a great match for each other. I think it’s safe to say that Do-hee has made just as big of an impact in Hae-kyung’s life as he did in hers in the brief amount of time that they spent together. She too has transformed his life as his dinner mate and it’s apparent that he also has an interest in her. I mean, if he didn’t, he wouldn’t have showed up in her neighborhood at the end of this episode and properly introduce himself to her. What he wasn’t able to do to her the first time around he finally had the courage to do this time because he didn’t want to risk losing her. If Do-hee argued that them not knowing each other was a reason as to why she wanted to end their relationship, then maybe an introduction could be that first step to rekindling that curiosity and journey.

Just like Do-hee, Hae-kyung wants this relationship just as much and he’s willing to do whatever it takes to get a second chance at things. And this time, they’ll do things differently. He’ll introduce himself to her and she’ll do the same and they’ll start off on a familiar note. Things won’t be much different though. The only thing that will change hopefully is that they now know each other’s name and professions. However, the comfort and peace that they experience when with each other will still be present and they will still be able to be vulnerable with each other and still not be afraid to share what’s truly on their mind and in their hearts. They’ve already developed a strong relationship as what was essentially strangers, they can maintain that bond as friends. Not all relationships deserve a second chance (as obviously seen with Jae-hyuk and Do-hee), but some other relationships do. Do-hee and Hae-kyung undoubtedly deserve that second chance; they deserve to begin again.

Extra screenshots from the episode~

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