Okay, after slacking and procrastinating, the recap is finally here! Sorry to be so slow, but at least this time, it's complete. (I accidentally posted part of my draft earlier. To anyone who read it, I'm sorry.)
Seung Ji wanders outside, glorying in a beautiful morning. He asks the panda head if it saw everything last night, and shares his coffee in return for its silence. (You know it's an inanimate object, right, Hedgehog? Just checking.)
He turns around to find the detective's son watching him. (I'm going to start calling him Rice Cake because it's his favorite.) He asks Seung Ji what he was up to last night, and Seung Ji sheepishly buries his face in his coffee cup. He thinks back to the hug and kiss the night before.
Panda is thinking of the exact same thing. Da Na demands to know what she's obsessing over, since she kept her up all night with the tossing and the turning. Panda asks what Seung Ji is, and Da Na answers that he went out with Baby Hedgehog. Panda pouts that he didn't ask her or take her along. She tries to call him, but Da Na stops her "girls shouldn't call boys first."
Rice Cake asks where they're going, and Seung Ji answers that they're going to visit his past—the place he grew up. He wants to show him because he's the first customer who didn't like his cake.
Panda tells Seung Ji's room that she'll clean for him from now on, and Eun Bi startles her by asking what she's doing. Eun Bi is there to collect evidence of Panda's relationship with Seung Ji to show to Mom. Mom wants to keep her son away from Panda and figure out what Seung Ji's deal is.
Panda admits that she's dating Seung Ji, and Eun Bi congratulates her. (Why don't I feel that she's happy for Panda, but happy to be rid of competition?) Panda says she has something important to tell about their relationship, but she wants Won Il to be there for the announcement. Eun Bi automatically jumps to the conclusion that she's pregnant. Panda reveals that they've kissed a couple times, and Eun Bi is suddenly jealous that she's not kissing Won Il. She tells Panda that she has a secret method for making Won Il hers—slander.
Won Il discusses with Glasses his plans to get rid of Step-dad. Mom's been acting weird lately, and he thinks he can pull her over to their side. Glasses worries about how other employees will respond, since they might quit out of loyalty. (I'm pretty sure you'd only have to worry about Creepy Spy, and his loss would be an added benefit to the company.) Won Il wonders if he should hire a private investigator, but Glasses warns him that they tend to sell out to the highest bidder, so they shouldn't trust one.
Step-dad observes Mom outside eating cakes and complains to her that everyone is turning against him. "Don't you know how much money I invested for the macaron cosmetics ads? Why are you treating me like I have the plague?" (Or something like that. News Flash: you don't have the plague, you are the plague.) She brings up his other girlfriends (oh, so this has been an issue in the past? I'm sure he just played it off before, but she's dead serious now.)
Two of the young employees bring out some food for Step-dad, and Mom asks their waist measurements. She asks if it's one of them. The poor bewildered girls caught in the middle have no idea what's going on, but they know it's not good. (Seriously, I feel for these girls—first being sexually harassed by Step-dad, now being accused of being in a willing relationship with him by Mom. Can't catch a break!)
Mom asks if they know why Step-dad only wears long sleeves, and warns that if they say they don't know, she'll fire them, but she won't if they do know. One supplies the answer that he has a snake tattoo on his arm. Mom remarks that none of the others ever saw him naked, but the other girl steps in and explains that that's the story the kitchen staff came up with. But Creepy Spy told them it's really a burn scar. She gets after the girls, but they claim ignorance, and she shoos them off, warning them that she's watching.
Step-dad tells her he's angry, since she's making him look bad in front of his employees. It''s not fair for her to vent her anger in a way that vilifies him. (Sure, try to twist the blame here.) Mom just warns him that if she catches him, he'll be kicked out with nothing, just like he entered Saint Honore.
He retorts that that's impossible, since he doesn't have Min Woo this time. He remarks that she never even talks about Min Woo anymore, when before she couldn't stop talking about how much she disliked her. He warns her that he won't go down without a fight, after 20 years "volunteering" for Saint Honore and building it up, even if she "frames" him. But then she'll have to compensate his son for the last 20 years, since he was kicked out of their house because of Won Il. She answers that she compensated the mother 20 years ago, so there's no responsibility to repay now. He reminds her about inflation and how Saint Honore is so much more successful now, so the compensation from 20 years ago doesn't count. He threatens her and tells her she should give up the title of owner.
Step-dad pulls his spy aside and tells him that he's going to take over Saint Honore soon. He asks him to take time off and investigate an orphanage.
Won Il hears from the other secretary that Eun Bi is investigating Panda and Seung Ji. She tells him that her specialty is sleuthin, so it should really be her, but Mom doesn't know that. She offers to do some Shelock Holmes sleuthing for Won Il—just give her the word.
The two hedgehogs pull up outside an animal shelter. Rice Cake complains about all the hard work, and Seung Ji asks if he'd stay 3 days to help there. He reveals that he lived in a place like this for 3 years, because he could get food that other people wouldn't eat.
We see Mini Seung Ji, with a bandaged head, sitting in the corner of the kennel eating something that's not very appetizing. The ahjumma who runs the shelter (I presume) sees him and next we see him being well fed at her table, some time later, since he no longer has the bandage. But, someone wanted the land, and gangsters came and destroyed everything, sending the dogs and the ahjumma to heaven. Seung Ji only survived because he was in school, by the grace of the ahjumma.
Rice Cake asks if he didn't do anything to the people who took away the family he knew, and he answers that he did the same to them and was sent to juvenile detention. When he got out, he tried to get the police to investigate, but they weren't on his side, so he went back to that same life again.
Host Club and Beom Bo show up at the cafe the same time the hedgehogs return. They brought food for Seung Ji and Panda—"couple food, for people who aren't even a couple yet." Seung Ji suddenly gets hot, and it dawns on the guys that Panda and Hedgehog are now officially a thing. This elicits wrestling and headlocks, and the guys asked if they've kissed, and when. Seung Ji just acts like he doesn't know. (I don't think you're fooling anyone.)
Panda has called together a powwow of everyone connected to the cafe, explaining Seung Ji's past so they'll understand if detectives start asking questions. Lamesauce swears to protect Seung Ji, and Da Na starts crying over his pitiful life. Everyone vows to make his life better, and Won Yi admits that Panda made the right choice in being with Seung Ji over Won Il.
Eun Bi tells Panda that she'll need to use the secret method as well. Maybe I'm missing something here, but I don't see how slander is going to help Seung Ji. Rice Cake overhears all, and goes outside to tell Seung Ji not to worry about the detectives. The guys realize his dad is the detective.
When they go inside, everyone stands, "to properly congratulate him now that he's Panda's boyfriend." They give him three cheers, but Da Na is still sobbing behind the counter. She passes it off as joyful weeping. (Girl, your face says otherwise, but Seung Ji isn't the best at reading women, so we'll let that one slide.)
The sisters and Won Yi go to Grandpa's—Won Yi for food, Panda to formally tell him and Cherry Blossom that she's dating Seung Ji, and Da Na because she can't be in the same room with Seung Ji without crying. Lamesauce creeps in behind them, and introduces himself. Grandpa is outraged that this is "that troublemaker," but Lamesauce reassures him that he's done making trouble.
Seung Ji makes a cake, and Panda comes back and asks about it, even saying that they don't need a cake, right? He shows her a text he got from Hedgehog Jr. asking for a cake made of rice cakes that takes a long time to eat. He never gets to see his dad, and his dad's favorite is rice cakes, so he wants something that they can sit and talk over. All he hears from his dad these days is "I'm busy" but he really wants to bond. Awww, so sweet! And I love that he feels close enough to Seung Ji that he can confide those things to him.
Panda changes the subject, saying she wants to "talk about us. Since no one's around." Riiight. Talking. Finally, she comes out with it and asks if they can have some smoochie times. Seung Ji tells her to go wash out her mouth, since she reeks of garlic, and she explains that Grandpa kept forcing it on her. . . she hurriedly covers her mouth. He asks what they'll tell others, and she answers "That we make the best cakes and that we were born this way." Oh, Lady Gaga, you're everywhere! Seung Ji gets an idea and Panda twirls out.
Won Il shows up at work to find a huge banner with Mina's image on it outside Saint Honore, along with posters being put up in every window. The put-upon employees tell him there's more inside, and he finds Mom and Eun Bi recording the proceedings. Mom explains that this video recording is for evidence, not advertising. She tells him that since he came in for a fight, he'd better take it to the person responsible.
He informs Step-dad that this is illegal, but Step-dad counters that this is how he grew the business. If a problem arises, they'll just fix it then. He also threatens Won Il, saying that you can't just change a person or a company, without killing it. Mom strides up and says she's giving strength to her son.
Step-dad insults her and marvels that she's adult enough actually make decisions own now. Won Il tells him not to speak to his mother like that, and Mom tells Step-dad to leave. He answers that she knows the conditions of his retreat, and she answers that she'll pay Min Ho and his mother directly, and that she'll be able to find them on her own. This mention of Min Ho startles Won Il.
Glasses follows Won Il into his office and yells at him for starting things before they were ready. Won Il can't focus on anything other than the child he lost so long ago.
Step-dad marches out with the entire kitchen staff trailing behind—and in a shocking (to me) twist, even the young women he molests are following him. Glasses warns that this is just the beginning, but Mom answers that she's found a patissier for the next 3 days, but they'll need someone permanent. That's up to Won Il. Glasses says he'll look around, and charges Eun Bi with taking care of Won Il.
Won Il talks to his mom about the guilt he feels for losing Min Ho, but she tells him to focus on his actual sibling Won Yi. Besides, Step-dad would have turned Min Ho out eventually anyways, and he's capable of worse things.
Eun Bi calls Panda to ask to borrow Seung Ji, but he's too busy making rice-flavored cake. She tells Panda that she's the only one who can give Won Il the support he needs right now. She gets angry at Panda for not jumping to loan out Seung Ji (you know, because it wouldn't affect her business, or anything), and sneers at her phone when she hangs up. (Seriously, I'm really not liking this girl, even if I aaalmost started to earlier this episode.)
Seung Ji hands over the finished product to Rice Cake, who accepts it woodenly. Panda scolds him for not saying something affectionate, since Seung Ji stayed up all night working on it, and he blinks and says he'll send them a message. Kids these days! Seung Ji gets a text as soon as Rice Cake is out the door saying that Grandpa was watching them and Panda met with Won Il in the park. Panda: "As if we didn't know he was a detective's son. Scary kid!"
Customer and Won Yi run in, hoping to see the cake before it's delivered, but Panda asks Won Yi if it's okay for her to be there. Poor, clueless Won Yi has no idea why it wouldn't be.
Panda apprises Seung Ji of the situation over at Saint Honore and wishes they could do something to help out. He says they'll try to think of something. As he leaves his room, Panda gets a suspiciously bright idea. Seung Ji notices she didn't follow him out and goes back in to see her take something out of one of his drawers. He startles her, and she hides it behind her back, but he just grabs it and wonders what she wants with someone else's underwear. She explains that it's part of Eun Bi's genius plan, that if you have your boyfriend's underwear, it'll give him strength. That's just. . . weird, and why do you listen to Eun Bi again?
Seung Ji asks how Eun Bi plans to get Won Il's underwear. Which is the same thing she's pondering as she creeps around his office. She gets distracted when she thinks about just taking them off him, but smacks herself in the face to get focused. "If Won Il hears this, I'll be in trouble." Well, he heard that part, but luckily for you, he only just got there on the other side of the glass. Eun Bi says that she was lurking so she could tell him her idea—to bring Seung Ji on. Won Il tells her that's not feasible, since Cafe Panda needs him. She suggests that Grandpa's staff could help out at Cafe Panda if Seung Ji prepped things for them.
Rice Cake shows up at the station with his special cake. Detective is surprised by the cake filling his rice cakes, and Lil' Hedgehog shows him a text from Seung Ji explaining the cake and telling him that he hopes it will keep his dad around long enough for them to talk. But if he can't stay, to be forgiving of him since his job is so demanding. He tells him to eat well, do well in school, and if he doesn't he'll leave him at "that place" for 3 days. "Fighting!"
Seung Ji gets a picture text back showing Rice Cake, Detective, and an empty cake plate.
Eun Bi waits in the park for a disguised Panda. And by disguised, I mean she's super-conspicuously wearing sunglasses at night and acting extremely suspicious. They're going to burn the underwear, to make the charm stronger. Panda wonders why they couldn't just do it at her place, and Eun Bi admits she never thought of that. "But, then Hedgehog would see!" Panda snaps out the underwear and admits that he already knows. "He must really like you, then." Too true, Eun Bi, too true.
Panda wonders how Eun Bi got Won Il's underoos, and she admits that she had no way of getting them, so she brought some boxers and wrote his name on them. She dumps lighter fluid on the and sets them alight, performing some kind of ritual hand dance. At the office, Won Il's pants start to feel hot.
He asks Glasses what to do about Won Yi, and they realize Mom should be the one to tell her, but that's not very likely. Yeah, because Step-dad got to her first.
She shows up at a cafe with a huge suitcase for him. She asks how long he plans to be gone, and he says until things go back to how they were before Won Il returned. He tells her that she needs to look out for herself, or Won Il will cut her off (not likely), and that there's no real tie there since they're only half-siblings. Won Yi gets this shocked look on her face as he continues to tell her that he's never thought of or treated Won Il as his son, and vice versa.
Won Yi asks what he's leaving behind at Saint Honore, and he answers, "Money, power, fame, and half ownership of the cake. And all the things Saint Honore became because of me." Luckily, it seems Won Yi makes note of the glaringly absent list of family, love, memories, and companionship. (I hope.) She's stunned and very thoughtful as she leaves.
She shows up at the cafe, where Seung Ji is making a love cake. He notices that something's wrong and she asks him what he'd be leaving behind if he had to leave Cafe Panda. "The most precious things. The people I like, and the people who like me, and the love we've built together." Aww, who knew Seung Ji was such a romantic?
Won Yi asks about money, power, and fame, but he answers that those can't be more important than people. She thanks him for being there and giving her insight. She brings up the fact that Won Il can't eat cake, but she doesn't really know the reason behind it. He asks if she thinks Won Il would eat something like the cake he's making, and she unhesitatingly answers yes. She realizes that he's working hard to try to make a cake that her hyung can eat. She asks him to help her brother become the president of Saint Honore.
Aunt has taken Panda out for a ride. She asks if things are settled with Won Il, and Panda informs her that they all decided to be friends. "Your lover is one of life's treasures." Aunt's decided to sell her taxi, so this is their last drive in it. Panda asks if it's because of money problems, because she can ask Seung Ji to lend her the money, but Aunt insists that it's unfair to ask that of a boyfriend, and Panda needs to be more careful about borrowing from him.
Panda strolls home, but notices Seung Ji and Won Il across the street fighting.
Well, Step-dad's mischief is only just getting started, I'm sure. But I'm glad they all stood up to him. And I'm especially glad that Won Yi didn't fall for his nonsense about Won Il trying to scam her. I love that she's realizing on her own that maybe her dad isn't so great, but at least she has an amazing brother and amazing friends to help her. (I'm sure this emotional journey will be a tough one, but I'm also pretty sure that we won't see most of that journey, since they like to keep things light here in Pandaland.)
I do love how Panda and Seung Ji are creating their own family. And how that family is becoming and ever-more-necessary support to one another. I honestly thought that Lamesauce would only be around for about 4 episodes, so I was surprised when he kept popping up. But, they had to have someone stirring up mischief, right? I love that he's really become part of the family as well, though, and how they've welcomed him into their lives. They really genuinely love people, and I think that's beautiful.
I think that's really the overarching theme of this show, too. You make your own family. Even if that family consists of blood relatives (like Da Na, Aunt, etc.), it can still open up to others and provide them the support they need. Also, love is a strange and mysterious power in the world, and can really make a difference. And I feel that our central characters all feel a great love for people in general, and for each member of their little family specifically, and that's what makes them successful and happy. It's a sweet and simplistic message, and one I like.
Another thing I like about the family dynamics here is that Seung Ji hasn't just been absorbed into an existing family unit. He first created family with Grandpa and Cherry Blossom and Beom Bo and Host Club. When he became more important to Panda, her family merged with his, and the dynamics seem to have shifted accordingly. Yet they keep expanding the circle of their family and have invited Won Il and Won Yi and Lamesauce in. (Granted, I'm convinced that Seung Ji is related to almost everyone in this family outside of Panda's blood relatives, but they don't know that yet. So it's really very sweet.)
I'm also glad that we were filled in on more of Seung Ji's past. I totally understand his path to crime now, and I'm glad we know where he was between his accident and his jail time. No wonder Da Na cries whenever she sees him—if they know about the animal shelter ahjumma, his background becomes even more tragic. Just wait until you find out the rest, Da Na. I'm sure you'll cry buckets.