Side dish: If you’re having a craving and you’re not lucky enough to have a hot waffle man in your neighbourhood, you may have to make your own waffles. Here’s Jamie Oliver’s recipe for making waffles in a griddle pan, in case you have such an emergency, and no waffle iron.
Han Gyul is under pressure from his grandma to generate triple the financial investment she has made in the coffee house in three months. She offers the incentive of his entire inheritance if he succeeds, but also threatens to take away his car and apartment if he turns her down. When Han Gyul continues to whine about not wanting to work, his father’s disapproval sobers him up.
Han Gyul seeks solace with Yoo Joo, but discovers that she has reconciled with his cousin, Han Seong. Not happy to play the third wheel, Han Gyul makes an abrupt departure after Yoo Joo criticizes him for holding a grudge against his father.
On his way home, Han Gyul spots Eun Chan struggling with an irate man and his girlfriend in the pouring rain. He extricates her and brings her back to his apartment where she gets emotional listening to his records, because they remind her of her late father. She and Han Gyul spend the evening sewing eyes on dolls for 5 cents each while he discusses his problems. Eun Chan encourages Han Gyul to not only take on the coffee house challenge to impress the girl he likes, but to hire her. The next morning, Han Gyul calls his grandma to accept the job of rehabilitating the coffee house.
After spotting waffle street vendor, Sun Ki (Kim Jae Wook) and his popularity with the students of a nearby women’s university. Han Gyul is inspired to cater to the female market with a staff of pretty boys, including Eun Chan. Coffee house barista, Mr Hong surrenders to Han Gyul’s plans, but stays silent about Eun Chan’s actual sex.
Eun Chan finds out that Han Seong is back with Yoo Joo, but he feels uneasy about her continued friendship with DK, the man she left him for. Eun Chan encourages Han Seong to stay positive and scores his phone number.
Han Gyul obtains minimal funds from his grandmother to renovate and redecorate the coffee house, so he enlists the help of his friend, Ha Rim who works in television set design. After reconciling with Yoo Joo, she contributes a mural to the wall of the newly renamed First Shop of Coffee Prince, much to the dismay of Eun Chan.
Eun Chan’s sister’s boneheaded suitor, Min Yeop inadvertently scores a job at the coffee house after stopping by to pick a fight with her. Unfortunately, Eun Chan tasks Min Yeop with ordering coffee beans, and when he orders 20 kg instead of 2kg, she takes responsibility. Han Gyul humiliates Eun Chan with a tongue lashing in front of everyone including Yoo Joo.
Only 만: So, this episode is the one where Gong Yoo’s charm caught up with me, because he kind of acts like a jerk, and I still wanted to watch him.
Junggugeo Kaenada 중국어 캐나다: Please do elaborate so I can daydream a little.
Only: I think it was the moment where Han Gyul made a meal for himself and Eun Chan, watched her eat the whole thing in horror, then smiled like it was the cutest thing he’d ever seen. I pretty much would have accepted anything he did after that. Which is a good thing, because he looked kind of desperate chasing after the unavailable Yoo Joo, and shouting at Eun Chan for her mistake wasn’t attractive either.
Junggugeo Kaenada: Yes, I did not realize how shouty Han Gyul was until I rewatched this episode. However, I can’t say Eun Chan was any better at times. I was surprised at how stubbornly petty she was towards Ha Rim when he was teasing her, and she insisted on in-kind retribution.
Only: Her reaction to Ha Rim’s teasing was over the top, especially since she made Min Yeop order the coffee beans for her so she could continue to harass Ha Rim for an apology. To be honest, Eun Chan kind of deserved being yelled at, though not to the point of public humiliation.
Junggugeo Kaenada: Before the blow up, though, I was pleasantly surprised that the lead couple were given the chance to bond during a sleepover. One that was approved by Eun Chan’s mom, no less.
Only: Ha! There are upsides to being mistaken for a guy, I guess. Though, I loved how awkward Eun Chan was when Han Gyul burst into the bathroom to pee while she brushed her teeth.
Junggugeo Kaenada: He was hilariously oblivious, noting her lack of facial hair and how small her butt was, without realizing the obvious.
Only: I loved the sleepover, though the lead-up to it felt cartoonish, with the stuffed toys, the angry couple, the sudden downpour, and Han Gyul’s miraculous appearance in the middle of it. On the other hand, the sleepover made it all worthwhile; I loved how charmed Han Gyul was by Eun Chan, but also how easy their friendship felt.
Junggugeo Kaenada: I also enjoyed their scooter tour of the Hongdae neighbourhood around the coffee house. It’s funny that Han Gyul was so ignorant about Hongdae. When I visited Seoul in 2014, it was clearly a hip neighbourhood catering to the Ewha Women’s University crowd. On the show, it looks like this was the case even 10 years ago. On a side note, the Coffee Prince coffee house is a big tourist attraction, but the woman who owns it is a big bitch who will reprimand you and chase you away if you take photos outside without coming in to make a purchase.
Only: I guess I’ll have to stick to the Coffee Prince of my memories then.
How did you feel about Han Seong and Yoo Joo’s reunion in this episode? It was a little too fast for me.
Junggugeo Kaenada: It was fast, and yet, given how much they missed each other, believable. You can tell their relationship is the type that quickly goes full-tilt. Just look at the kinky tiny boot fetish they engage in. Actually, that was completely inexplicable, but I enjoyed it for being such a bizarre demonstration of their love, especially in a Kdrama.
Only: I could understand why he’d take her back, but not why he wouldn’t be able to express his misgivings, especially when she’s openly taking calls from the man she dumped him for. Nobody could expect him to be that relaxed about it that quickly, and yet, he only mentioned it to Eun Chan, and not Yoo Joo.
Junggugeo Kaenada: Again, I find the dynamic completely plausible. When you date a cool girl like Yoo Joo, there’s an expectation that you’ll be as easy going as she is. On Yoo Joo’s side, she thinks that being with Han Seong should be enough to reassure him that he is the one she has chosen. Maintaining a friendly relationship with her ex-boyfriend, DK, is a separate matter in her mind.
Only: It’s not that I don’t find it believable, but I can’t say I like it. If he feels like he has to keep his mouth shut about his feelings to keep her, then there’s obviously a problem. And, if Yoo Joo has no idea that Han Seong would be bothered by it, then she’s completely insensitive. I’m not advocating for pandering to jealousy here, but at least some sensitivity to hurt feelings that came about because of her own actions.
Junggugeo Kaenada: Yoo Joo senses that Han Seong might be jealous, and asks if he is bothered after she gets off the phone with DK. However, Yoo Joo seems like that type of girl who likes to push boundaries, in order to have her cake and eat it, too. Her character is very consistent that way.
We could debate the relationship between Han Seong and Yoo Joo nonstop, but let’s move on to simpler pleasures. Did you enjoy the introduction to the wooden, but pretty waffle man, Sun Ki?
Only: Any sighting of Kim Jae Wook is good, though I’d have preferred if we’d gotten a better look at him.
Junggugeo Kaenada: He is well on his way to becoming one of the Coffee Princes, despite his anti-social response. Speaking of Coffee Princes, I watched Ha Rim’s introduction carefully, because I’ve always been confused by his character. Was he originally intended to be a gay set designer? How did he end up becoming a womanizer and full-time coffee house employee? Perhaps this is a question to explore in a future episode.
Only: Given that this show was mostly pre-produced, you would have thought that they knew what they were doing with Ha Rim from the start, but it’s clear they didn’t. Maybe they combined two characters for the sake of expediency? Maybe we’ll have to concede that “Coffee Prince” isn’t perfect?