Dinner Mate: Episode 8 Recap

What would you do to earn a second chance at a relationship that you so desperately miss and wish for? All of our characters are constantly being tested and pushed to the limit in hopes of that second chance, but some things are just meant to happen once. Some people were meant to just cross paths once and never intertwine again. With this being said, how will things pan out for Hae-kyung and Do-hee whose relationship is on hold? Will they get a second shot at things or has fate given up on our two former dinner mates?

Note: Feel free to listen to the latest OST track for the drama while reading the recap 🙂 (it probably has to be my favorite OST from the drama just yet!)

Dinner Mate/Would You Like to Have Dinner Together?: Episode 8 Recap

After waiting for a text from Do-hee that eventually never comes, Hae-kyung takes things into his own hands. Do-hee’s discontinued their chat with each other which the psychiatrist isn’t so happy about. He heads out and nervously waits for Do-hee around her neighborhood. He’s nervous and he keeps checking his watch and he keeps panting back and forth while waiting for Do-hee. When the PD eventually does show up, Hae-kyung hurries to her side and introduces himself to her using his business card. If she ever needs to contact him, she can call the number listed on the card. Do-hee accepts the business card and takes a good look at it. Meanwhile, Jae-hyuk himself continues to think about Do-hee and their past relationship. He recalls the conversation he had with Do-hee about fate and just like Hae-kyung, he drives off in his car.

Since Do-hee claimed that they didn’t know each other that well, Hae-kyung wants to start things over by properly introducing himself this time. However, Do-hee isn’t interested in getting to know the psychiatrist at all. He must have misunderstood. She has no plans in getting to know him better and she hopes he feels the same way. Hae-kyung is determined to maintain their friendship, but Do-hee wants to cut things off. To simply put it, Do-hee no longer feels comfortable eating with Hae-kyung. Of course, since this was the most important rule to their relationship as dinner mates, Hae-kyung backs off and gives up. There’s nothing he can do about their relationship. Although Do-hee puts up a front with Hae-kyung, she cries her heart out in her room. It doesn’t help that she has Hae-kyung’s business card with her. However, what does help is CEO Nam’s phone call and Do-hee goes out to meet with her friend at the nearby grocery store.

CEO Nam senses that something is off and she inquires for an update from Do-hee about Hae-kyung. What happened this time? Do-hee reveals that Hae-kyung came by to visit her in front of her place. However, things are still difficult for Do-hee. CEO Nam insists that Do-hee just reveal her identity to Hae-kyung, but Do-hee is hesitant with the idea. It’s a lot easier said than done. She doesn’t want to hurt Hae-kyung or herself. CEO Nam concludes the conversation by claiming that love is all about timing and encourages Do-hee to just tell Hae-kyung. Do-hee doesn’t have the courage to do so; she has no plans to tell Hae-kyung anything. After grocery shopping, Do-hee unpack everything at her place. However, she panics when she fails to find Hae-kyung’s business card. She assumes she must have lost it. But wait, maybe this is a good thing and she gives up.

Byung-jin informs Hae-kyung of the many interview requests he’s gotten from different shows and production teams. Just like before, Hae-kyung’s mindset hasn’t changed and he has no interest in participating in any activities outside of his counseling sessions. After complaining silently to himself about Hae-kyung’s mood swings, Byung-jin encourages his boss to grab lunch before his 2PM appointment. Lol, the struggle is real! Back at 2N Box, No-eul participates in a photoshoot for her upcoming show with PD Do-hee and Jae-hyuk. The influencer attempts to catch up with Do-hee over some coffee after their last pizza date. However, Do-hee distances herself from No-eul and pretends as if she’s occupied with work. However, in reality, Do-hee isn’t that busy with work (LOL me) and she enjoys a sweet cup of coffee all alone at the cafe nearby 2N Box. No-eul catches the PD inside the cafe and grows confused. Didn’t Do-hee say she was busy with work? Lol.

It’s 2PM which means it’s the hottest time of the day it’s time for Hae-kyung’s next counseling session. Since it’s a new client, Hae-kyung reviews the medical chart of the new patient before the appointment begins. To his surprise, the patient is none other than Jae-hyuk (AHHHHH!). Jae-hyuk boldly struts his way into Hae-kyung’s office and the two chat about Do-hee. Clearly still upset over their interaction the other day, Jae-hyuk doesn’t shy away from mentioning Do-hee as his girlfriend. Jae-hyuk’s pretty sure his girlfriend is still in love with him despite claims that she’s seeing someone else. Do-hee’s name doesn’t exactly trigger a response or reaction from Hae-kyung which catches Jae-hyuk’s attention. How does the man who Do-hee claims is her boyfriend not recognize her name? It’s at this moment that Jae-hyuk gains a better understanding of the situation. It’s not until Jae-hyuk introduces Do-hee as PD Do-hee from 2N Box that Hae-kyung finally connects the dots. Jae-hyuk makes his obsession with Do-hee clear; there’s nothing he wouldn’t do for her and he personally believes that he knows her best.

Hae-kyung tries his best to stay calm and he diverts their conversation back to Jae-hyuk as the patient. He recommends Jae-hyuk take a mental exam first before he can diagnose him with anything. However, it does seem like Jae-hyuk’s a bit delusional so far just based off of their conversation so far. Jae-hyuk is determined to win Do-hee in the end, but Hae-kyung notes that Do-hee isn’t an object he can just pine over. It’s up to her as to who she wants to be with. With that, Jae-hyuk storms out of the office. Hae-kyung trails behind him shortly and he too exits his clinic. He’s in need of some sugar.

Hae-kyung gets his sugar intake from a talk with Gun-woo at a cafe. It doesn’t take long for the psychiatrist to ask Gun-woo about Do-hee. He eventually learns that Do-hee and Jae-hyuk are working together with No-eul on a show since Hae-kyung initially denied her request to do a show together. Enough of Jae-hyuk. Hae-kyung wants to know how this PD Do-hee girl looks like. Gun-woo whips out his phone and shows Hae-kyung a photo of Do-hee. Hae-kyung’s suspicions are confirmed and he learns that his dinner mate this entire time was the PD who tried to recruit him onto her show. Hae-kyung is afraid he was the one who messed everything up and he rushes out of the cafe, leaving Gun-woo alone.

Jae-hyuk confronts Do-hee alone at work about his meeting with Hae-kyung. Although she claims that Hae-kyung is her boyfriend, the truth is that Hae-kyung doesn’t even know about her identity and profession. He didn’t even know who she was. After confirming that Hae-kyung and No-eul are each other’s first love, Jae-hyuk sternly warns Do-hee that the best way to end a complicated relationship is to just cut everything off. Thankfully, So-ra interrupts the intense situation and our PD resumes with work.

Hae-kyung can’t stop thinking about Jae-hyuk. He’s still fixated on their appointment in his office. Before leaving work, Byung-jin visits his boss. He senses that something’s wrong with Hae-kyung and worries that Jae-hyuk might have attempted to steal his girlfriend or something, but Hae-kyung encourages Byung-jin to just go home. Byung-jin does as he is told and Hae-kyung is left alone at his clinic. Do-hee has some company herself when she sits outside of the convenience store that Keanu visits often. He not only joins her at her table, but he joins her in eating the snacks she’s bought from the convenience store as well. Haha. Having witnessed the incident of Do-hee with both Jae-hyuk and Hae-kyung the other night, he questions which one she’s in a relationship with. However, Do-hee vehemently denies an affiliation with either guys. Our homeless ahjusshi can tell that Do-hee hasn’t been feeling the best due to the dark circles under her eyes. Eating healthy is important but so is getting sleep and he encourages her to sleep or else she’ll get ill. Do-hee grows suspicious of Keanu and assumes he’s a doctor for a second, but the thought tires her out and she leaves. She’s going to get some sleep. Lol.

Hae-kyung and Jae-hyuk pass by each other while they drive in their cars. It’s obvious their interaction with each other earlier that day is still weighing heavily on their minds. Meanwhile, Do-hee is reminded of Hae-kyung while walking home that night. She recalls the moment when she discovered Hae-kyung waiting for her outside of her place and handed her his business card. Although they’re no longer in contact with each other, it’s obvious that Do-hee still misses Hae-kyung. A few seconds after Do-hee enters her apartment, Hae-kyung pulls up to her neighborhood in hopes of reuniting with her. And so he waits and he waits and he paces back and forth for a chance to possibly meet her. However, the chance never arrives and Hae-kyung ends up going back home. It wasn’t meant to be this time.

Back at his place, Jae-hyuk can’t stop thinking about Do-hee. After reading an article about doctors overprescribing psychotomimetic drugs for money, he shifts his attention to the photos he has of him with Do-hee taped on his wall. He also has Hae-kyung’s business card on there as well and he’s determined to set things back to like how they were before. Hae-kyung with No-eul and him with Do-hee.

It’s another day of shooting at 2N Box. PD Do-hee and her team begin filming with No-eul for their new show. Although everything seems to be going well, Jae-hyuk notices that one of the light stands behind No-eul wasn’t screwed on tightly. Uh-oh. Keanu is dressed up once again and just like the other day, he stands outside of Hae-kyung’s clinic. He’s reminded of memories of when the two used to work together as doctors back at the hospital (omg, so our homeless ahjusshi was a doctor!). Keanu enters the clinic for a second chance at meeting Hae-kyung and succeeds this time. Hae-kyung is shocked but relieved to finally reunite with his Sunbae after five years. It’s been five years since they’ve been in contact.

Keanu doesn’t jump around or create small talk with Hae-kyung. Five years have past since they’ve last talked, but he has more important things to talk about. He warns Hae-kyung to be careful with Jae-hyuk. The medical journalist is a dangerous guy and he’s more dangerous than one might think. Keanu adds that Hae-kyung should protect his loved ones from Jae-hyuk; it’s no use in regretting once you’ve lost someone precious and dear to you. Although Hae-kyung insists for more answers from his Sunbae and wants to maintain in contact with him, Keanu doesn’t reveal much. He reassures Hae-kyung that they’ll meet again someday and he leaves the clinic shortly afterwards.

Back at 2N Box, the light stand behind No-eul eventually breaks and it falls towards the influencer. Do-hee reacts fast enough to push No-eul out of the way and Jae-hyuk follows up by protecting Do-hee from the falling light stand. All the staff rush to No-eul’s side and they also contact the police. Although both Jae-hyuk and Do-hee are hurt, No-eul is unconscious and they bring her to the hospital. Hae-kyung feels conflicted on whether or not he should tell Do-hee about the warnings that Keanu shared with him. Sure, she doesn’t know that he knows about her identity, but that’s not what is important right now. As a doctor, he has the right to warn Do-hee about Jae-hyuk. And so Hae-kyung sets out to find a way to meet with Do-hee. However, his plans are interrupted when he receives a call from Gun-woo about No-eul’s hospitalization.

When Hae-kyung arrives at the hospital, he finds No-eul laying on the hospital bed and accompanied by both Do-hee and Gun-woo. The reunion is awkward and there are no words exchanged between the two former dinner mates. The two can only awkwardly avoid each other’s eyes and they’re not so sure how to react or what to say. Gun-woo is eventually pulled aside for a talk with a doctor so Hae-kyung and Do-hee are left alone next to an unconscious No-eul. She eventually awakens and the first thing she does is hug Hae-kyung. She’s happy to see her first love there by her side. The situation is too much for Do-hee and she silently leaves the scene. Not too far away is Jae-hyuk who’s receiving stitches for the wound he received as a result of the incident. The light stand was his idea all along. He was the one behind the incident.

Gun-woo learns from the doctor that No-eul has been suffering from malnutrition. He advises that she stay in the hospital so they can keep an eye out on her as a precaution. While walking away from the hospital, Do-hee is chased down by Hae-kyung. He warns her to be careful of Jae-hyuk; he’s a dangerous man. Do-hee is more curious as to how Hae-kyung knows Jae-hyuk, but that’s the least of his concerns. Jae-hyuk might not seem like he’s a dangerous man, but he is and she should be careful around him. Do-hee shifts the topic back to No-eul and she advises that he stay with her at the hospital. With that, Do-hee walks away from Hae-kyung (OOF, MY HEARTTT. I’m so sad). Do-hee eventually reunites with her first love after he pulls up in his car. Since he’s injured, he asks for her to drive him home. She agrees to the request and finds herself in the same car as Jae-hyuk. However, that’s not the only thing Jae-hyuk wants from Do-hee. He wants to grab dinner with both her and her mom at her house some time. He’s craving some of her mom’s stew.

Back at the hospital, Gun-woo updates Hae-kyung on the details to the incident. Do-hee jumped in to rescue No-eul without hesitation which could explain for the small wound he found on her hand. Hae-kyung permits Gun-woo to go home and volunteers to stay with No-eul at the hospital. Meanwhile, back at her house, Do-hee reflects on her interaction with Hae-kyung back at the hospital. Why didn’t he ask her why she was at the hospital with No-eul? But then again, No-eul was injured so he wouldn’t care about her. Just then, Do-hee receives a special visit from her boss and friend, CEO Nam. Do-hee is instructed to stay home and rest the next day as a result of the incident. CEO Nam then heads to the convenience store afterwards for another outing with Keanu. They properly introduce themselves to each other this time and reveal their names in the process. They too have become dinner mates of some sort.

No-eul wakes up the next morning to find Hae-kyung asleep next to her side. It’s just like the old times when he would take care of her when she was sick and would feed her to help her recover. She softly brushes Hae-kyung’s hair like how she did in the past but stops herself once he wakes up from his sleep. After checking out with the hospital, No-eul drags Hae-kyung to go eat with her. Like the doctor noted, she’s malnourished so she needs some food in her system. Back at 2N Box, Do-hee and her small team experiment with an online video about ‘past life regression’ meditation with a psychiatrist. In her imagination, Do-hee is surrounded in a grassy field and approached by a North Korean soldier who looks just like Hae-kyung. He calls her by her name ‘Dan’ and the name sounds familiar to the PD. LOL. PD Jin-kyu tries the meditation himself and the names ‘Seri’ and ‘Ri Jeong-hyuk’ pops up during his session (Omg, all these ‘Crash Landing on You’ references are too darn funny!).

Hae-kyung and No-eul enjoy some food at a gimbap restaurant. No-eul brings up the past to Hae-kyung and reminisces the cherished moments they shared in the past. Just like how Hae-kyung proposed to No-eul in the past and brought up the topic of marriage, No-eul does the same in the present. She casually proposes that they get married to each other. Hae-kyung is uncertain as to how to react. On the drive home, No-eul questions if Hae-kyung is still mad and upset at her. However, he isn’t. In fact, he doesn’t feel anything towards his first love anymore. He’s erased all his feelings and thoughts about her. Before exiting the car, No-eul makes it clear to Hae-kyung that she won’t give up on him. She’s going to stay determined and she’s going to eventually get him back. The pain is too much to bare and No-eul breaks down into tears upon exiting the car. The guilt gets to Hae-kyung and he apologizes to No-eul, but she remains silent. The influencer walks away.

Back inside his car, Hae-kyung reflects on his relationship with Do-hee. He confesses,

I had hopes that I would be able to eat with this woman again tomorrow. I got angry because of some woman whose name I didn’t even know and a man I’ve never met before. I was worried not of hurting myself but of hurting her.

And so Hae-kyung garners his courage to speak what’s on his mind and in his heart with Do-hee. Just when Do-hee and her team contemplate on who they should invite to their show, they’re surprised with a visit from Hae-kyung himself. He makes his presence known at 2N Box and he agrees to participate in Do-hee’s show with her (GAAAAAH). But it doesn’t stop there. The two take it outside for a private talk and address the concerns that they were worried about this entire time. Hae-kyung doesn’t care that the woman who he argued with and fought online with is PD Do-hee. He doesn’t care that she cussed him out online. None of that matters to him, because in the end, he still wanted to see Do-hee. He wanted to see the woman who he went camping with, who he grabbed dinner with, who he knows love coffee milk, and who he understands is still heartbroken from her previous relationship. He wanted to see her.

Just like Do-hee mentioned, some endings can be different and Hae-kyung and Do-hee’s story is no exception. He wants to believe this is true. So with his heart on his sleeves and his gleaming eyes on Do-hee, Hae-kyung gathers all the courage he has inside of him to make a grand confession: he likes Do-hee. Hae-kyung closes the distance between him and his crush by taking a step towards Do-hee. With one step forward and no steps taken back, Hae-kyung and Do-hee can only go forward from here.

My Thoughts:

THESE ENDINGSSS. THESE ENDINGSSSS. These endings will be the death of me with how beautiful and polished and perfect they are. Just like the ending to episode 7, this episode’s ending once again delivered in all aspects. The biggest thing that stood out to me, however, was definitely the acting from our two leads. Do-hee didn’t say much at the end, but just the look of both hope and uncertainty in her eyes was heartbreaking. Here she was, thinking that Hae-kyung was upset at her because she wasn’t honest with him and had refrained from revealing her identity to him. Here she was, heartbroken and hopeless that any chances of her being with Hae-kyung who she liked was lost. But as we saw, it wasn’t at all like what Do-hee originally thought.

And then there was Song Seung-heon’s most memorable performance yet as the passionate and earnest and genuine Hae-kyung who was so keen in pouring his heart out for Do-hee and trying to get her to understand that he still wanted to be with her despite all that they’ve gone through. Even after all the fighting online as enemies to the dinner dates as dinner mates and the brief awkward transition in between, Hae-kyung still wanted to spend time with Do-hee. He still wanted to be with Do-hee. I think a big reason for this is because Hae-kyung has seen Do-hee through it all. He’s seen her through both her good and bad moments; he’s been there at her worst and her best times. In fact, I would argue that through all the moments they spent together, he was able to witness not only the quirky and silly side of her but also the vulnerable and raw and honest side to her which was what ultimately caused him to fall for her. Hae-kyung saw sides to Do-hee that she didn’t show anyone else and that’s what made him attracted to her. With each passing dinner date and interaction, they began to feel more and more comfortable around each other. However, it wasn’t just that Hae-kyung felt comfortable enough around Do-hee to break down his walls around her, but it was also that she felt comfortable enough around him that he felt this undeniable connection between the two of them. He provides her with as much comfort and peace as she does to him and this serves as another reason as to why they’re so fitting for each other. Hae-kyung still likes and appreciates everything about Do-hee, flaws and all.

I know Do-hee pulled a noble idiocy in the last episode and a half, but I somehow am not that mad at her. I actually had no idea that the drama was going to go this route once Do-hee and Hae-kyung learned the truth about each other’s identities. I didn’t think there was going to be this much angst and heartbreak and pain and noble idiocy; I was actually expecting something more comedic and humorous upon the grand revelation. I can’t say which one I would have preferred more now that we’ve seen how things have unfolded, but I am content with how the drama handled everything. I think Do-hee’s noble idiocy stems from her initially denying her feelings for Hae-kyung first before she even discovered about his connection with No-eul. Do-hee found herself suddenly developing feelings for a man whose name she didn’t even know, but whose presence and words provided her with so much comfort and consolation. She didn’t want to believe it at first and didn’t want to think that such a thing could happen. And then the main noble idiocy part truly began once Do-hee learned about Hae-kyung’s connection to No-eul who she felt like she had no chance up against. How could she even think of her and Hae-kyung possibly being a thing when No-eul was his first love who she still had lingering feelings for? Add to the fact that Do-hee and No-eul are colleagues in a sense who are also on good terms with each other and pushing Hae-kyung away was the only option Do-hee felt like she had. It would be too difficult for Do-hee to move forward in confessing her feelings to a man who she never really knew in the first place and who is also being sought after by his first love.

The thing that I loved the most about the last two episodes that was this episode primarily focused on storytelling from Hae-kyung’s point of view while episode 7 was mainly centered around Do-hee’s reaction to the identity reveal. I love that we gained insight on how our two leads felt upon learning the truth about each other. That extra attention to their reactions and their inabilities to process and face their reality was beautiful and I’m glad the drama dove into that. Noble idiocy is never fun and it’s frustrating and irritating many times, but I think things were less frustrating with this show because we got to watch our two leads come to terms with the reality to their relationship. We understood why Do-hee continually pushed Hae-kyung away and why Hae-kyung was so determined to win Do-hee’s trust and heart back. It made all the yearning and reflecting throughout the last two episodes as well as the confessing in this episode well worth it in the end.

I think another really interesting aspect that the drama brought up in this episode was the topic of fate vs. being an active participant in your own life and journey. I think if this was the Hae-kyung and Do-hee from episode 2 or 3, they would have been fine with cutting off contact with each other and would have moved forward with their lives (and possibly even get back with their first love’s). Episode 2 or 3 Hae-kyung and Do-hee would have just labeled their relationship as something done by “fate” and then given up knowing that they weren’t meant to be. It’s not what fate had in store for the both of them.

However, what I loved about this episode was that we saw the two (and more explicitly, Hae-kyung) be more proactive in shaping out the life that they wanted for themselves. They’re no longer going to leave it up to fate to decide what the status of their relationship should be; they’re not going to simply wait around for coincidental encounters. This time, Hae-kyung took matters into his own hands and played a much bigger role in chasing after what he wanted and what he passionately felt about. In the past, Hae-kyung and Do-hee used concepts like coincidences and fate as the reason for their many encounters with each other, but now the two find themselves playing a much more active role in the continuation of their relationship. Fate lead the two to each other in the beginning, it’s up to Do-hee and Hae-kyung themselves to keep that relationship going. If they want to maintain that relationship they have with each other, they’re going to have to put in the time and effort and energy to do so. Hae-kyung learned this firsthand in this episode and he did not shy away from pursuing after what it was he wanted: Do-hee. He made it extra obvious and clear to her that he still wanted to be around her. I love it even more that although we found out through Do-hee’s perspective that she had feelings for Hae-kyung, it was Hae-kyung who ended up confessing his feelings first.

I’ll admit, I was afraid for a second that Hae-kyung was going to return to No-eul and give her a second chance. With the way he stayed at the hospital with her, I thought he was slowly giving in to her and returning to his old ways. Thankfully, being with No-eul only reaffirmed what he had been feeling and thinking all along which was that he’s move forward with his life. He no longer has any feelings for No-eul. Yes, they were a thing in the past, but Hae-kyung doesn’t have the desire nor energy to make up in the present. He’s done such a good job in healing and bouncing back from their break-up that returning to No-eul would mean risking all the progress he’s made so far. I honestly wasn’t so sure what the show was going to do with the inclusion of No-eul and Jae-hyuk, but I’m liking the limited involvement they have in Do-hee and Hae-kyung’s life. I like how the drama doesn’t focus on the exes or doesn’t try to make us sympathize for either of them. I like how the drama is still centered around Hae-kyung and Do-hee’s relationship rather than trying to shove Hae-kyung with No-eul or Do-hee with Jae-hyuk down our throats. The exes are kind of there just to be there. I think in any other drama, our two leads would have gotten back with their exes, gone through another round of torture, and then eventually fall in love with each other, but this drama is different in that it cut out all the unnecessary drama and jumped straight to just focusing on the leads. No unnecessary angst, pain, or drama. Of course, things could change and maybe Hae-kyung might give No-eul another chance (in which, I reallyyy hope he doesn’t). But as of right now, I hope things stay this way. In a way, I think that’s also another message that the drama is trying to tell us: leave what was in the past behind and build towards a better and brighter future. You can’t change what happened in the past, but you can certainly change your future.

With us hitting the halfway mark into the show, I really have to acknowledge and commend the chemistry between our two leads. Song Seung-heon and Seo Ji-hye are beautiful individually, but their chemistry is off the charts when they’re together and it was this chemistry between the two that largely motivated me to give the drama a try. I knew I just had to check the drama out because of our two leads who looked amazing together. Although I might have had some concerns at first, I feel completely confident in our two lead actors now that we’re eight episodes in. I’m enjoying Song Seung-heon and Seo Ji-hye’s performances as their respective characters and I cannot say enough about their onscreen chemistry. Here’s to hoping they can maintain that electric chemistry as they start again from strangers to dinner mates to friends to eventually, lovers.

Extra screenshots from the episode~

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