It’s our finale episode so things wrap up for our silly, creative, and funny characters who all experienced a wild roller coaster ride after being intertwined with one another. Although the journey itself wasn’t the easiest and smoothest, there were plenty of healing moments that lead to a rewarding and peaceful outcome. For our characters, there was a light at the end of the tunnel for everyone.
Note: I would just like to thank all of you who joined me in my recap series for ‘Dinner Mate.’ It truly is so odd and sad to think that I bid farewell to three dramas this month (‘Kkondae Intern‘, ‘Oh My Baby‘, and then now ‘Dinner Mate’). This drama wasn’t the easiest to watch (no really, sometimes it was such a dread) and the drama lost sight of what its original focus was along the way (AKA Do-hee and Hae-kyung). Despite my irks with the show, it still remained a breezy watch largely in part to Hae-kyung and Do-hee and their incredible, sizzling, and undeniable chemistry. You can join me in my recaps for currently airing ‘Was It Love?’ (which I’m really enjoying). Until then, take care of yourself and don’t forget to wear a mask, everyone!
Dinner Mate/Would You Like to Have Dinner Together?: Episode 16 & Final Recap
Do-hee changes the bandage around Hae-kyung’s waist after eating dinner at his place. While she’s busy taking care of him, Hae-kyung stares lovingly at his girlfriend and can’t help but express his love for her. He warns her that he’s completely fine and then leans in to give her a big kiss on the couch. After a few seconds, Hae-kyung pulls away and asks for Do-hee to have breakfast with him the next morning. She nods her head and Hae-kyung leans in for another kiss.. except he doesn’t. His wound is still causing him pain so he stops halfway. With that, Do-hee takes this as a sign that Hae-kyung needs to do nothing but just rest. She orders him to get into his bed and to lay still and not do anything. Do-hee agrees to stay with him ten more minutes before heading back home. Hae-kyung adds that he’ll do his best to recover physically while also support Do-hee in healing emotionally. Aww.
That night, CEO Nam spends the night with Do-hee at Do-hee’s place. She reveals her break-up with Keanu to Do-hee and is still clearly heartbroken from the separation. The next morning, Do-hee finally returns to work and meets with CEO Nam as well as with the usual 2N Box crew on upcoming ideas they have for shows. Clearly, the four of them haven’t been putting much thought into it which doesn’t impress CEO Nam. So-ra at one point notes that they can do an educational show about dating, but of course, that doesn’t fly with CEO Nam so easily. She demands that all four come up with three ideas each in their next meeting.
Hae-kyung calls Keanu for an update on Jae-hyuk. Keanu shares that Jae-hyuk seems to be doing fine although it will take time for him to heal and show signs of recovery. With that, Keanu hangs up and joins Jae-hyuk on his walk around the park at the psychiatric ward. Meanwhile, Hae-kyung takes Do-hee on a drive to grab some lunch. While in the car, Hae-kyung brings up once again the topic of Do-hee’s Mom and when she plans on introducing them to each other. Do-hee doesn’t have any plans of introductions and formal greetings anytime soon; Mom doesn’t seem to have such a favorable and great impression of Hae-kyung. But more so, it’ll be a problem if Do-hee did introduce them to each other and Mom approved of Hae-kyung. She’ll pester Do-hee about getting married and it’ll get exhausting.
Of course, this doesn’t sit well with Hae-kyung and he pulls over to the side to discuss with Do-hee about marriage. Does she not want to marry him? Why does this seem like such an issue? Although Do-hee reasons that it’ll be because of her mother’s constant nagging that will tire them both out, Hae-kyung feels otherwise. He drives them to Mom’s place to meet her. Ooh, someone’s up for a challenge!
So Do-hee does what she had been dreading all along and introduces Hae-kyung to Mom. Mom’s a bit taken aback by the sudden introduction and she has a private talk with Do-hee for a bit. Do-hee asks for Mom to just go with the flow and to not think too much into it. With that, they feast on the samgyetang (ginseng chicken soup) that Hae-kyung bought for all of them from a nearby restaurant. Okay, so he got the dinner part down. Of course, Mom digs into the food, but she also digs in into both Do-hee and Hae-kyung’s relationship. She’s curious as to how they met. Hae-kyung lies that they met when Do-hee came into his clinic to ask him to do her show and that they’ve only been dating for a month — something that they agreed upon during the drive over to Mom’s house. So what about the show that they did with No-eul and Jae-hyuk? Everyone seems to know about that too.
Hae-kyung merely explains it as relationships that were in the past so it’s not something they worry about anymore. His smart and brief answer impresses Mom, but she shrugs off the small smile on her face. Although dinner had been going well, Hae-kyung makes a mistake when they chat about Mom’s trip to Jeju Island for her drawing class. Hae-kyung is familiar with Jeju Island since he often travels there for work so he knows a few good places to eat, including the ones near where he and Do-hee stayed at in Jeju last time. Do-hee manages to stop Hae-kyung just in time before he elaborates any further, but of course, this doesn’t sit well with Do-hee or Mom. Oh nooo.
The dinner concludes so our couple walks back to Hae-kyung’s car. Do-hee worries that Mom might have said something to Hae-kyung while she was away at the table, but Hae-kyung reassures his girlfriend that Mom didn’t. Mom is in a way relieved that Hae-kyung is aware of what happened to Do-hee in Jeju Island. The last thing she would want is for Do-hee to live consciously about her past. Relieved at Mom’s response, the two walk arm in arm. CEO Nam is still heartbroken over her break-up with Keanu and sends him another text that she’ll wait for him. No-eul herself is focused on her next project with Gun-woo after quitting 2N Box. After taking some photos for their fashion business, the two sit down at the park and have a small talk. No-eul is feeling refreshed; she feels as if she’s starting anew and can just relax.
Hae-kyung pesters Byung-jin for some advice on his situation with Do-hee’s Mom. What should he do? How he should get his girlfriend’s mom to like him? Of course, Hae-kyung frames it as if he’s asking for a friend, but Byung-jin can tell that it’s Do-hee’s Mom who Hae-kyung is referring to. Hae-kyung even considers lying to Mom again and claiming that he lost his memory in order to win Mom over. Byung-jin doesn’t necessarily agree with Hae-kyung’s witty idea. Do-hee goes over to visit her mom again and they have a chat about Hae-kyung. It’s not that Mom’s worried about Hae-kyung being a womanizer that she disproves of Hae-kyung. Mom doesn’t like how Hae-kyung is aware of Do-hee’s past and her relationships with Young-dong and Jae-hyuk. He knows everything about her past and could use that against her one day. So Do-hee gives it a thought, but she feels as if nothing is going to change between her and Hae-kyung despite him knowing about her past.
While meeting him for dinner one night, she reflects on their relationship and considers,
So what if it does happen? My history will remain the same even if I do meet someone who has no clue about my past. You can’t erase the past anyway. He’ll be someone who will embrace me knowing everything. He’ll also pretend not to know anything. What’s more important him knowing everything is that I want to be with him no matter what. That’s the most important part.
During dinner, Do-hee shares great news to Hae-kyung: Mom wants to meet with him again. With that, Hae-kyung takes it as good news and the two decide on what to eat for dinner. Our lovely couple have many more dinner dates as well as field trips and adventures together. Time passes by and a year passes since they’ve been dating. One year later, our couple are still having their usual dinner dates. But on this particular night, Do-hee arrives two hours late to her dinner date with Hae-kyung for she was stuck working late into the night at 2N Box. Hae-kyung isn’t so happy with Do-hee and he grows upset with her. He waited 2 hours for her! Do-hee attempts to seek forgiveness from her boyfriend and tries to make it up to him. She’ll turn in her resignation letter the next time CEO Nam makes her work late. When Hae-kyung refuses to give in, Do-hee threatens to leave him. However, Hae-kyung quickly changes his mind and he asks that she stay with him for some food. And just like that, our couple make up with each other once again. Hehe.
So-ra herself receives some flowers while at work. Of course, everyone’s impressed and curious as to who her secret admirer is. Even Do-hee wants to know. Lol. Hae-kyung meets with a married woman who expresses her concern in regards to her husband’s odd behavior. He keeps calling her all day to check up on her; she can’t quite understand whether it’s an obsession or just him caring for her. She’s sure that he would never cheat on her though or would never hide anything from her as he’s a diligent man. Hae-kyung suggests that she bring her husband with him for their next counseling session. With that, the session ends and it’s time to clock out. The appointment gets Hae-kyung thinking on how many times a day he would call Do-hee. Byung-jin advises that 10 at the most would be sufficient enough; anything more than that would be too creepy. Lol.
It’s another day of CEO Nam waiting for Keanu. She hangs around at the convenience store he frequented, but he’s not around. He’s no where to be found. No-eul and Gun-woo have a short chat about their business. They have many followers and their business is popular, but they’re not making much profit. Just then, their talk is interrupted by a sudden visit from Jae-hyuk. He’s been released from the psychiatric ward and he wanted to come see them. The three catch up and they chat over No-eul and Gun-woo’s business as well as Jae-hyuk’s condition. Jae-hyuk feels at ease now and is doing much better. He’s learned that physical labor and activities is the best way to keep himself busy and occupied. He might not be a medical journalist any longer, but he has ambition and determination to try new things here and there.
While walking to the convenience store, Do-hee and Hae-kyung come across Keanu. Our homeless-not-so-homeless ahjusshi is back! This time, for good! The three have some dinner at a restaurant and they catch up with each other. Keanu was able to travel with Jae-hyuk and bond with him; together, the two were able to heal individually while also building their relationship with each other. But what about Do-hee and Hae-kyung? Are they living together? Do-hee sternly denies the assumption and reveals no plans to live together or get married anytime soon. It’s not the time just yet. Do-hee steps outside for a bit to welcome CEO Nam inside the restaurant. She has a surprise for the 2N Box CEO. CEO Nam nags her way into the restaurant with Do-hee until she lays her eyes on Keanu. Do-hee and Hae-kyung leave the two behind in the restaurant so that they can have their alone time.
While walking back to Do-hee’s place, the couple get into a small argument about meeting strangers. Do-hee brings up how she befriended Keanu back when he was still our homeless ahjusshi. She sensed something smart and great about him from the beginning, but Hae-kyung warns Do-hee not to be too friendly and reckless with strangers. She should be more careful. But hey, this is also how Do-hee met Hae-kyung. She didn’t know his name, but yet they went on dinner dates together. Hae-kyung agrees with Do-hee’s explanation, but still, he doesn’t like the idea of her befriending strangers. Plus, with him in her life, Hae-kyung jokes that there won’t be a need for her to meet anyone else, lol.
Hae-kyung gives marriage with Do-hee another thought and he goes over to Mom’s house to propose the topic to her. He’s aware that Do-hee avoids the topic of marriage, but he wants to get married to her. He requests for Mom to rush Do-hee even further into getting married. Hae-kyung is getting impatient. Speaking of Do-hee, she further investigates on the flowers that So-ra received at the studio. Who could have given her flowers? So-ra shares that she was talking to someone online on a dating website, but that the charming man stood her up when she asked to grab dinner together. A few seconds afterwards, PD Jin-kyu enters the scene and gifts So-ra with a cup of coffee. Hmm, that’s interesting. He’s never bought Do-hee or anyone else any coffee. Maybe he’s the secret admirer.
Jae-hyuk is showing signs of improvement. In a chat with Keanu, the two discuss about how Jae-hyuk felt when he reunited with No-eul and Gun-woo. Jae-hyuk jokes around and feels as if Gun-woo shouldn’t be doing business while he felt that No-eul was a lot more chill than before. He’s not so sure himself how he would react if he was to see Do-hee and Hae-kyung again; he hasn’t given that encounter too much thought just yet. Gun-woo and No-eul agree to work with Jae-hyuk for their fashion business. He’s a smart and talented man and he sure would be of great help.
Hae-kyung and Keanu chat at the clinic. Keanu, for now, has no plans of continuing his profession as a doctor. He’s been healing and recovering himself by taking care of Jae-hyuk and he’s realized that there’s many more things he wants to do with his life, including spend time with CEO Nam. Speaking of CEO Nam, she and Do-hee catch up with each other at work the next day. They both gush over her reunion with Keanu and it seems as if he won’t run away from her ever again (hopefully). Hae-kyung visits 2N Box and feeds the staff with some lunch. Since Do-hee has been so busy, he came over to her workplace to meet her. After a few interactions with the staff, Do-hee drags Hae-kyung outside for a talk. Hae-kyung gets straight to the point and expresses that there’s been a few things on his mind that he’s been wanting to say. The most important one being that he wants to get married to Do-hee.
Do-hee isn’t surprised by the sudden proposal, but she’s also not so impressed. He’s proposing to her with a lunchbox? He should re-do his proposal. Lol. Now that Hae-kyung has received some kind of hint about Do-hee’s response to his proposal, he’ll really start to plan out how he wants to propose to her. The couple give each other a hug and they continue to joke about the proposal. Speaking of proposals, CEO Nam invites the 2N Box crew, Gun-woo, No-eul, Byung-jin, Do-hee, and Hae-kyung to an event that she’s hosting. They’re not so sure what she has up her sleeves, but they attend regardless. Upon walking over to the venue, Do-hee, Hae-kyung, and Byung-jin reunite with No-eul and Gun-woo. It’s been a while since they’ve last met so they kindly greet each other and have a brief talk. Gun-woo almost reveals that Jae-hyuk has been helping them with their business until No-eul manages to stop him just in time. No-eul excuses herself from the event by claiming that she has something else to do so she leaves while everyone else attend CEO Nam’s event.
The venue is pretty and decorated and everyone groups up in confusion as to what is going on. That’s when CEO Nam pops up from behind a pretty, white backdrop in a white gown. She’s getting married. But wait, to who?! Of course, Keanu pops up from behind as well and that’s when everyone gains a better understanding as to what is going on. CEO Nam and Keanu registered their marriage earlier that morning and they’re now having a small, informal wedding. That explains why everyone was suddenly gathered at the venue. The wedding ceremony resumes with Keanu and CEO Nam saying their vows to each other and then everyone taking a photo together to commemorate the big day. It’s a great day for everyone, especially for the newlyweds. Meanwhile, No-eul heads back to Gun-woo’s place where Jae-hyuk is feasting on some ramen noodles. She accompanies him for lunch and the two sit down to eat together.
Do-hee and Hae-kyung drive to their next destination after the small wedding ceremony. Hae-kyung has something up his sleeves and now it’s his turn to do what he had been planning all along. The couple end up eating from a rice bowl food truck near the sea, just like they did when they were both in Jeju Island (AWWW!). They enjoy their rice bowls and Hae-kyung garners the courage to confess to Do-hee. Asking her for dinner was the best thing that he’s ever done in his life. He still clearly remembers the taste of the food from their first dinner date. With that being said, he wants to eat dinner with Do-hee everyday. Hae-kyung asks for Do-hee to stop playing hard-to-get and together, they ask each other the same exact question that started it all: “would you like to have dinner with me?”. They giggle upon reciting the phrase together and feed each other bits of their rice bowl. From their first dinner date to their dinner date in the present, nothing has changed for our lovely couple. They still enjoy eating dinner together and feel comfortable and at peace in the presence of the other. It wasn’t easy to get to this point, but it’s brought them to where they are now. What might have been a coincidence at first has now transitioned into something caused by fate and destiny and the decisions of both Do-hee and Hae-kyung. They are together at last.
But wait, what about the proposal with the ring and Hae-kyung getting down on his knees?! Just kidding, I like this proposal much better. The ending scene pretty much summed up Do-hee and Hae-kyung’s relationship with each other and brought them back to their first dinner date that they had back in Jeju Island. I like how things came full circle for the two whose relationship started with a dinner date and will conclude with many more dinner dates. In the end, it was food and these dinner dates that brought them together.
It took me forever to finish the recap for this episode so my thoughts are all over the place, but I think we can all generally agree that Do-hee and Hae-kyung’s chemistry and relationship was the magnetic force that kept us all watching this drama. Seo Ji-hye and Song Seung-heon were both so pretty to look at and they made for such a beautiful couple together. They had strong and undeniable chemistry with each other and were so visually pleasing together. I also enjoyed their relationship for its simplicity (for the most part) and silliness. Two people who had gone through their fair shares of heartbreak and pain from relationships were able to slowly heal by meeting each other and going on dinner dates. From transitioning from strangers to dinner dates and eventually lovers, Hae-kyung and Do-hee felt something that they didn’t feel with anyone else. To Do-hee and Hae-kyung, they were each other’s source of comfort and peace and everything traumatic that had happened in their past could be forgotten thanks to this new found love.
It’s unfortunate that the drama slowly drifted away from our main characters and their relationships by placing way too much attention on No-eul and Jae-hyuk’s extreme, intense, and insane tactics to get both their exes back. This is why the drama became such a dread to me at one point. I was really only staying for Do-hee and Hae-kyung who remained the best thing about this show for me and it was painful to have to watch two people try to take that away from us viewers. I wholeheartedly believe that this drama would have benefitted a lot more without Jae-hyuk and No-eul’s intervention which is why I enjoyed the first two episodes so much. The first two episodes was mainly focused on building the foundation to the drama, but also just giving our two leads the spotlight that they deserve and that’s why I liked it so much. Once No-eul and Jae-hyuk came into the picture, that’s when things began to drag and I no longer felt the excitement and content that I had for the drama. The two were selfish, reckless, and evil with their tactics in “winning” back their ex-lovers, but things were also repetitive. Nothing was happening (like it shouldn’t have) with No-eul and Jae-hyuk’s efforts and it hurt even more knowing that the drama could have gone on without them in the first place anyways. With that being said, the drama got less interesting and exciting to watch as it progressed and the only thing that really kept me from dropping it was my love for Do-hee and Hae-kyung. Their relationship had its fair share of confusion and pain as well, but they were the selling point for me. As harsh as this might sound, I was excited when the drama was approaching the end because I knew Jae-hyuk and No-eul would eventually be out of the picture and we would hopefully get more time with our two leads. The drama did give us that to us in a way and things were much more bearable once Jae-hyuk and No-eul were out of Hae-kyung and Do-hee’s lives. I just wished things would have been this way from the start or that our second leads were never present in the show in the first place.
With the way that the drama was setting things up towards the end, I’m not surprised by the redemption arc for Jae-hyuk and how things ended for him. He went from being psychotic, crazy, insane, evil, and frightening to all of a sudden being able to live in a world where he doesn’t even bat an eye at Do-hee and can walk away from her without even talking to her or thinking about her at all based off of a one-night hospital stay. Look, I get it. I know the drama wants to redeem Jae-hyuk’s character by showcasing that he has the potential to heal and recover and be better. That’s the reason as to why Hae-kyung and Do-hee never gave up on him despite all the horrible things and threats he did to them. But I also don’t agree with how rushed his recovery process and I also knew that it wasn’t something that the drama was necessarily going to show us. I think that was the part that was frustrating for me to watch — Jae-hyuk’s obsession and infatuation to be with Do-hee was one thing, but for the drama to spend that amount of time on evil Jae-hyuk and then give us two episodes of him recovering? The timing and pacing of Jae-hyuk’s journey and healing process wasn’t the greatest and I think I would have been able to at least understand him a little bit more if the drama decided to tell his story a little differently. However, the drama once again cheated us by using a shortcut to make us believe that Jae-hyuk was a completely different person within such a small amount of time. Healing looks different for everyone and some people heal at a much faster pace than others. I just would have appreciated it if we got to actually witness that in regards to Jae-hyuk.
‘Dinner Mate’ was your typical rom-com and in a way, it reminded me dramas from the older times which I think was so interesting. You have your lead couple and then the two annoying exes who intervene and try to win over our first leads. Nothing is new, the formula is something we’ve seen plenty of times in K-dramaland, and yet, the drama went on with it despite everything. I can’t help but just think about how different and more enjoyable ‘Dinner Mate’ would have been had the drama just omitted Jae-hyuk and No-eul’s characters. I loved all the parts with Hae-kyung and Do-hee, I would have loved a drama of just them two dealing with their relationship, their families, their friends, and their workplace. Why did we need to bring in both No-eul and Jae-hyuk into the story when they really didn’t serve any purpose? If the drama had to absolutely wring them in for some reason, why were they suddenly shifted into the main characters whose stories was the main focus of the show? I can’t quite wrap my head around why the drama was so pinned on No-eul and Jae-hyuk’s scheme to gain back their ex-lovers — an idea that was never going to happen in the first place with how interested and romantically involved Do-hee and Hae-kyung were with each other. There was no potential or possibility of this ever happening.
When you think of it from that perspective, it just make things more mind-boggling. There was no chance of No-eul getting back with Hae-kyung and Jae-hyuk getting back with Do-hee so why did the drama make it such a big deal? The drama brought in No-eul and Jae-hyuk to test Hae-kyung and Do-hee’s relationship, but it wasn’t necessary to have them present or as involved all the time. The drama would have fared better had the drama slowly started to cut them off at episode 12 at the latest and then really hone in on Hae-kyung and Do-hee’s relationship from then on. Instead, the drama still chose to have the two bitter exes involved until the very last minute (to the point where Hae-kyung almost died) and then suddenly redeemed as if they had never done anything wrong or guilty. To add onto this, even Hae-kyung’s relationship with his mom was one that I wished had a bit more depth. I think their relationship could have been interesting had the drama just given it a bit more time and insight, but instead, all we saw were little bits here and there of Hae-kyung resenting his Mom. It wasn’t until she was in the hospital that he finally came to realizing that she still is his Mom after all and that he should take better care of her. Fast forward a few episodes and he was suddenly visiting her in the hospital and they made up. I mean, I understand where the drama was trying to come from, but more background and context behind their relationship would have also allowed for me to better understand why Hae-kyung felt the way that he did in the past, during, and after Mom’s death.
Going back to No-eul and Jae-hyuk, I think this is where my other issue with the drama lies. Are we just going to pretend as if No-eul and Jae-hyuk didn’t do anything crazy, bewildering, or frustrating to our lead characters? Are we going to act as if they were angels all along and that they didn’t do anything wrong or as if they weren’t selfish this entire time? Look, if the writer was going to focus on No-eul and Jae-hyuk as much as they did throughout the duration of the drama, the writer should have also focused on them receiving some kind of consequence to their actions. But instead, they just suddenly came to the realization that Hae-kyung and Do-hee didn’t love them anymore so they just simply moved on from their past. How convenient was it that this happened two to three episodes before the drama was going to end? How was it that they finally saw those signs and hints when Do-hee and Hae-kyung had been telling them all along and showing them that there were no chances of ever getting back together? How many times did Do-hee and Hae-kyung turn those two down or expressed their wishes for them to go away before the two evil exes finally did? Like I mentioned earlier, ‘Dinner Mate’ is your typical rom-com with a similar formula we’ve seen before which is why I’m not surprised at how it decided to wrap things up for No-eul and Jae-hyuk. I’m not surprised at how the drama decided to just brush off the things they did to our characters and instead, give them an ending where their past actions towards Hae-kyung and Do-hee were nonexistent. It was good to see that No-eul and Jae-hyuk were learning to just focus on themselves after finally getting over their exes, but I was disappointed with the way the drama went about doing this. The execution was just not there.
You could tell that with Jae-hyuk and No-eul suddenly out of the picture, the drama was struggling to fill up the last two episodes with content (such as all the scenes of CEO Nam waiting for Keanu or the scenes of So-ra and PD Jin-kyu’s sudden love line). This is what happens when you center your entire drama primarily around your second leads pulling selfish and frustrating behaviors to your main leads (AKA something you should never do). With that being said, I reiterate that the main (and really, only) reason as to why I stayed with this drama until the end was because of the amazing chemistry between Seo Ji-hye and Song Seung-heon. I really mean it when I say that they looked so great together and that they had chemistry unlike any other. It’s not easy for actors to have chemistry with their respective co-stars, but I think ‘Dinner Mate’ was a show where it managed to barely pull through and stay afloat because of its lead actors. It’s such a shame because it could have been a much better drama if things stayed that way from the start. There was so much potential to be much better.
I’m glad that Hae-kyung and Do-hee had each other after the heartbreaking, painful, and stressful breakups they went through with No-eul and Jae-hyuk. Their past was traumatic and horrible, but they were able to find something much better later when they crossed paths. One of the biggest things about their relationship that I think the drama illustrated was just how comfortable they were with each other. They were grabbing dinners together despite not even knowing each other’s names or professions. They literally built their connection and relationship upon having dinner which spoke volumes about how comfortable they felt with each other. They didn’t need to know all of that information in order to just feel at peace with each other. Their presence offered more than enough, and they found each other at a time when there was uncertainty, pain, and heartbreak in their lives. Sure, Hae-kyung was there when he witnessed Do-hee’s breakup with Young-dong and he was around to witness all the terrifying things that Jae-hyuk did to Do-hee, but it’s never anything that he would use against Do-hee. Hae-kyung isn’t that type of person in the first place, but it’s also because he knows how much Do-hee went through in the past that he cares for her even more. He’s aware of how much pain her relationships with Young-dong and Jae-hyuk caused her and that’s why he worked so much harder to win her over and prove her different. Hae-kyung is not like the other guys and he had to build that connection with Do-hee to win her trust. When you think about it from this perspective, maybe it was a good thing then that they started off as strangers grabbing dinner together. There was really no label on their relationship and they could just freely grab dinner without having to worry about what the other person would think of them. I think that’s why Hae-kyung and Do-hee felt so comfortable to just talk and share small things about themselves during that phase in their relationship: they had similar things in common based off of their past.
This also is what brings me comfort and relief when I reflect on Hae-kyung and Do-hee’s relationship moving forward. They sure had to deal with a lot and went through so much both in the past and the present, but they had each other through it all and that was why they were able to remain so strong and confident throughout. Sure, there were times where they might have been frustrating or where they could have maybe done better, but they were always genuine and honest with themselves and that’s why I couldn’t always be so harsh on them. They’re good, genuine, caring people at heart and they want the best for everyone, even for the people who might done them wrong or hurt them in the past. That’s why Hae-kyung forgave his Mom or that’s why Do-hee didn’t push Jae-hyuk away completely even though he hurt her so much. Hae-kyung and Do-hee both see the positive in other people even when things are difficult and that’s why they’re fitting for each other.
‘Dinner Mate’ wasn’t always an easy watch, but I have to admit that there will be certain scenes and moments in this drama that I’m going to remember for a long time because of its simplicity or for how refreshing it felt. One of them was the ending to episode one when Hae-kyung returned from the airport to ask Do-hee to have dinner with him. I’ve seen plenty of dramas throughout my life, but there was just something magical, effortless, and beautiful about that ending that made me inclined to watch the next episode and then the next and then the next one after. It wasn’t only because the drama came full circle by having Hae-kyung ask Do-hee for dinner (I loved how the ending scene matched with the title of the drama), but it also marked the start to their relationship that would soon endure many nights and days of both hardships as well as happiness and love. Hae-kyung’s confession scene at the end of episode 8 was also another highlight of this drama for me, with the way that Hae-kyung’s eyes literally lit up as he was expressing his love and wishes to be with Do-hee. He sounded even desperate in a sense because he wanted to prove to her that he was different from all the other guys and that he truly wanted to be with her.
And of course, we can’t talk about memorable moments in this drama without mentioning the ending to episode 7 when Hae-kyung walked up to Do-hee after waiting for her at her apartment, looking both ways before crossing the street (good decision, Hae-kyung!) and properly introducing himself to Do-hee by handing her his business card. I mean, I was screaming my head off after watching that scene because it was so great. It once again marked another phase in their relationship where they went from being dinner mates with no idea as to who the other person was to now suddenly knowing details that they were purposely ignoring in the first place. The ending to episode 7 was truly wonderful and it’s something that I can probably watch a million more times and not get tired of. Do-hee and Hae-kyung’s little camping trip or their trip in Jeju Island were other really fun and stand-out moments in this drama that were super adorable.
Ultimately, the drama came full circle by having our two lovers grab dinner like how they did back when they first met back on Jeju Island. I love that everything still pretty much remains the same for Hae-kyung and Do-hee even though they’ve now transitioned into becoming lovers. A year and many months later, they still feel comfortable eating with each other and sharing details about their lives without feeling like they’re being judged. Maybe that was a reason as to why Do-hee didn’t necessarily care and worry that Hae-kyung was aware of her past. She knew that he wouldn’t judge her for it and that he would take good care of her regardless — something he’s proven from the beginning of their relationship. Do-hee and Hae-kyung have finally found each other after experiencing their fair share of heartbreak and pain and although the journey was not easy, it was what lead them to each other. Do-hee and Hae-kyung were dinner mates then and they are still dinner mates now. They will forever remain dinner mates :^)