Side dish: You don’t have to be a legal adult to make Chicken Gizzard Stir-fry. Just make sure you hold off from drinking any soju until after you turn off the stove…and reach legal drinking age.
After inadvertently touching her hand, death god, Yeo (Lee Dong Wook) is able to see into restaurant owner, Sun’s (Yoo In Na) past life. Thus, he realizes that she might be the reincarnation of goblin, Shin’s (Gong Yoo) younger sister. Meanwhile, Shin stares intently at the couple as he contemplates the fact that Sun shares the exact same name as his younger sister. Teenager, Eun Tak (Kim Go Eun) has a jealous fit, thinking that Shin is interested in her pretty boss, Sun.
Yeo asks to borrow the ring he gave Sun in order to investigate whether she might be Shin’s sister. Sun agrees, but makes it clear that she wants to know what he finds out. However, when Yeo presents Sun’s ring to Shin, the goblin fails to recognize his sister’s ring.
While cooking in the kitchen, Shin recalls how his sister came to marry the king, while Eun Tak eavesdrops. The king was orphaned as a young boy, and when his older brother became king, only his mentor, Joong Won was on his side. Joong Won secretly sought power by controlling the young boy and paved his way to the throne by poisoning anyone standing in the way, including the older brother. On his death bed, the older brother begged Shin to watch over his younger brother, and have him marry Shin’s younger sister.
Against the wishes of Joong Won, the young king decides to marry Shin’s younger sister. However, in spite of her efforts, Joong Won turns the young king against his bride as well as Shin. Fearing that the popular Shin conspires to claim the throne, the young king sends him into exile. When Shin insists on returning, both he and his sister die before he was able to reach the king.
Shin accompanies Eun Tak when she goes to fulfill her ghost friend, Jung Hyun’s request to have flowers brought to her memorial site. It is there that Eun Tak learns that Jung Hyun was a school friend of her mother. When she confronts Jung Hyun about this discovery, the ghost reveals the cache of bank account books that she has been hoarding from Eun Tak’s evil aunt. The bank account contains the insurance money belonging to Eun Tak’s mother. Jung Hyun disappears, having fulfilled her duty. Shin enlists his associate to obtain the consent of the evil aunt, which will give Eun Tak access to the insurance money.
The chairman’s grandson, Duk Hwa (Yook Sung Jae) starts an entry level position as a salesperson in the company. When the obnoxious chaebol shows up at work, the store manager is ready for his antics.
Yeo goes to meet Sun on new year’s eve, and immediately asks to hold Sun’s hand, hoping to see more into her past. Sun denies Yeo’s request, wanting Yeo to be honest with her before they engage in further skinship. Yeo can only look sad and apologize. It is as Shin foresees when Sun breaks up with Yeo and walks away. Yeo goes home to mope over who dumped who.
The new year rings in, and Eun Tak happily announces to Shin that she is now a legal adult. As per her request, they go to a pojangmacha to drink soju and eat chicken gizzards in a bid for romantic adventure. The romance is briefly interrupted by the thief that Shin punished, who is out for revenge with a band of thugs. Shin makes short work of them using a broomstick handle. When he returns to Eun Tak, she asks for a kiss and he complies.
The next morning, a cheerful Eun Tak prepares a new year’s meal for Shin and Yeo. She reminisces about how cool they looked when they came to save her from the money lenders, then notices that she is missing leeks. The two gods need no further excuse to do an encore performance of their walk after buying the leeks. Their sexy march is interrupted by an irate motorcyclist.
By the time they eat, Yeo has lost his appetite, thinking of his break up with Sun. Eun Tak encourages him to pursue Sun and tell her that he is an angel. Yeo decides to grab Shin’s hand in a bid for more information, but fails to read the goblin. After Yeo releases his hand, Shin is loudly objecting to the unwanted touch when Eun Tak blows on his hand to disinfect (WTF?).
Shin and Eun Tak arrange for a chance meeting between Yeo and Sun, but their ploy is a complete failure. Sun remains hostile while Yeo looks defeated. Yeo receives advice on how to recover from the heartbreak from a doctor he ushers to the afterlife.
Meanwhile, Eun Tak takes issue with Shin’s awkward small talk during the meeting of Yeo and Sun, and the fact that neither he nor Yeo had money for the roasted sweet potatoes; Sun paid for them all. A shameless Shin enjoys eating the sweet potatoes nonetheless.
Remembering the necklace that he foresaw Eun Tak wearing as a 28 year-old, Shin transports himself to Québec to buy the necklace that he saw her admiring. When he returns home, he finds the Chairman waiting for him to play Baduk. During their game, Shin foresees the Chairman’s death, and is haunted by the knowledge. Yet, he refuses to tell the Chairman or Duk Hwa.
While Shin is expressing his distaste for Sun, Yeo reveals his suspicion that she is the reincarnation of Shin’s younger sister. The details that Yeo is able to provide about her past convinces Shin. What both Shin and Yeo remain ignorant about is the possibility that Yeo is the king who had both Shin and his sister killed.
This episode finally revealed how Shin’s sister came to become queen, and how the king was manipulated to turn against her and Shin. Yet, I still find Shin’s march to certain death inexplicable. How exactly was he going to save the lives of the innocent by returning from exile? How was his sister protecting the king with her death? These are important questions since Shin’s bid for vengeance is based on the flawed logic of noble idiocy. I feel like he would have a more legitimate claim on being wronged if he was actually a close confidant of the king, but the flashbacks do not appear to support that. It seems that Shin stayed mostly on the battlefield, and left the court intrigue to his poor younger sister who was no match for the sinister Joong Won. In that case, if anyone got Shin’s sister killed, it was definitely Shin himself.
Another annoying development in this episode was the casual homophobia played for laughs. When Yeo grabbed Shin’s hand, Shin acted like his hand was contaminated and only the breath of a heterosexual female (Eun Tak) could cleanse it. I could have done without the joke.
Thankfully, there were some genuinely entertaining moments. Shin’s showdown with the thugs was a good action sequence. Gong Yoo demonstrates once again what a great comic actor he is with his final flourish after jabbing the broomstick handle into the rear end of the instigator of the fight.
I also loved how Shin and Yeo’s slow motion march was played for laughs, even if the scene was entirely unnecessary. If it were any less charming, it would have been a jarring non sequitur.
I am not sure how I feel about the kiss between Shin and Eun Tak in the pojangmacha. She is barely legal, plus she was completely drunk, and therefore, not really in the right frame of mind to be making important choices. Thankfully, Gong Yoo has not gone full steam in pouring on the sexuality; the kiss Shin and Eun Tak shared was still quite chaste. I can only hope there’s a time skip soon so that Eun Tak is a full fledged adult, and then, Gong Yoo can unleash his full kissing ability.