Just two weeks ago i wrote about the host and ghost are on equal footing in seducing-Chef’s deal, in that none is a better or worse girl since both shall only benefit from it once the mission is accomplished — Soon-ae to cross over, Bong-sun to win him over. But it only takes two weeks for the win/win agreement to fall apart, no thanks to real feelings getting in the way.
Interestingly, liking the same guy in this drama doesn’t create a rift between the two female leads. Neither does it cause them to bring the other down while fighting over him. Instead, both step back from the hazzy triangle, leaving the super confused Chef at the center. When we get two selfish-turned-selfless heroines like this, who should we root for??
Shaman Ahjumma warned against Soon-ae’s getting swept up in the moment for a reason. Nearing her three-year period as a stranded soul, she has shown signs of turning malevolent on more than one occasion, and deliberately prolonging her stay in the human world only worsens the situation. She is no longer a human or alive, but the more she stays next to Chef, the more human emotions she feels and upset she becomes from dying so young. Initially she merely looks wistful at the sight of Chef showering Bong-sun with affection when she’s on the outside, which spikes into jealousy that eventually drives her to hurt Bong-sun against her better judgment.
Frankly, i thought she’s gonna take over the body then and there so she’ll be the one receiving the kiss and was thus as shocked as the two when she ends up pushing her aside instead. It’s still unexplained how she can make physical contact with something and someone, but whatever. That however serves as a wake-up call for Soon-ae that staying next to Chef will only make her greedier, thus her decision to keep her distance from both Bong-sun and him. As a result, we get to spend more time seeing Bong-sun as Bong-sun, which has its ups and downs.
[those heart-shaped bokeh lights~~ ❤💘💕💓💖💝💗]
Let’s start from the upsides first: we probably haven’t seen her at the wheel day and night for more than two episodes thus far, so it feels like i’m getting to know her all over again. This time, we get to see more sides of her besides the submissive Bong-sun who constantly bowed her head and blurted out “I’m sorry” no matter what words were said to her, whether or not she was in the wrong, whereas she gets to be in the moment with Chef.
The major downside is she’s lost without Soon-ae. Not only does Bong-sun lose the one person she can freely talk to, she’s also being revisited by scary-looking ghosts (ack~). Worst thing is, by leaving without a word, the ghost technically throws the host in at the deep end. She neglects to fill Bong-sun in on the things she needs to know when Soon-ae’s dominating the body — why, we don’t know. Although Bong-sun may be in the wrong for not asking in details, shouldn’t Soon-ae owe her a report? There are times when she asked what happened and if there’s anything she wants to tell her, and at those times, Soon-ae intentionally withheld information from Bong-sun.
As a result, every time Bong-sun is put on the spot sans any recollection of what she supposedly said, did, or is capable of, that had me rooting for her more while liking Soon-ae less. It is her body AND life, but she gotta adjust herself to Soon-ae’s stories, likes and dislikes to keep up the act where it should have been the other way around. Alas, Soon-ae was being completely herself while donning other’s body, not caring if ‘she’ is viewed differently by her circle.
I was decidedly wary that the discrepancy between her cooking skills and Soon-ae’s and the different taste produced by the two would give her façade away, if and when Chef would put two and two together… thankfully, Bong-sun got some skills, which earns her a hair ruffle from Cordon and a big fat thumbs up from Chef. Hee. Chef won’t be a fan of her cooking blog for nothing, right?
That said, receiving recognition based on her own merit is as important as being liked for who she is. Achieving the latter is way harder than the former. She enjoys being beside Chef, and it’s part of the deal that he’s hers at the end of the day, but realizing the bitter truth that she isn’t the one he fell in love with proves to be too much for her to bear. Initially i didn’t grasp why she was at a crossroads and had to muster courage and determination to go to him; now i can see why and boy is it heartbreaking.
The more she spends time with him, the more she feels that his affection is misdirected. Soon-ae has been dominating the screentime and Chef’s heart that Bong-sun feels left out in their two-way conversation. None of his fond memories is about her. As much as i wanted to believe it started with Bong-sun, we could tell that he began to see ‘her’ in a new light following Soon-ae’s deep take on life regarding the reunion with his former bully. She was the one who consoled him, thawed his heart, made him want to try eating (more) rice and to want to do this and that with and for her.
So there you have it: two self-sacrificing heroines. Soon-ae steps back because she isn’t Bong-sun; in turn, Bong-sun steps back because she isn’t Soon-ae. Soon-ae lets Chef go because she doesn’t have the right to be with him whereas Bong-sun lets him go because she isn’t the one he’s enamored with. (Does this selflessness have something to do with the fact that one of them is no longer alive? No matter what, Soon-ae can’t be with him, at least not in this lifetime of hers.) It tugs at my heartstrings but i fully support their decisions — Sun-woo deserves to be with someone who can accompany him for years to come, but it’s only right that he’s with the one he truly loves, not whom he thinks he’s in love with.
Back to our virgin ghostess, stepping away from man of vitality means giving up the way to ascend to heaven the painless way. I do wonder, however, if they firmly believe virginity is her grudge, why doesn’t Shaman Ahjumma try to appease her soul in the traditional way, spiritually, by matching her up with a bachelor ghost? At least show/tell us that it didn’t work, since the whole virginity grudge stems from this urban legend.
Anyway, the missing piece in her story is how she died, which she strangely cannot recall yet doesn’t bother to find out — well, she didn’t even remember whose family she was from. It’s reopening old wound, but she could ask Dad or lil bro about it provided that she’s curious. She has remembered them from episode 2 and only hears about her alleged suicide 9 episodes later! She’s clearly too fixated on her man of vitality to care about anything else, not that i blame her. Chef is such a catch after all.
Luckily before being sent off for good, Soon-ae happens to save Bong-sun from being hit by a speeding car, spots who is behind the wheel (Sung-jae), and sees his dark nature which is news to her. She has yet to link him to her mysterious death, but she has felt something is off regarding her suicide and good cop Sung-jae, and that’s a huge step in the right direction. Now i want her to figure that handing her diary (containing a possible smoking gun) over to him was a grave mistake. Also, what does it take for her to cross path with Sung-jae’s partner? He obviously has a bad feeling about Sung-jae since he and the culprit wear similar-looking watch. That could be a good starting point, and hopefully she chooses to join hands with Bong-sun again to solve this mystery, ‘cuz i kinda miss their sweet supportive bonding time.