Back when Soon Ae (Kim Seul Gi) was still alive, she and her father’s restaurant were equally popular. The diners would beg for her food, and Soon Ae would merrily cook and sing on demand. However, Soon Ae gave special attention and extra food to the customer she had a crush on, police officer Sung Jae (Im Joo Hwan).
In the present, Soon Ae is a ghost occupying the body of meek assistant chef, Bong Sun (Park Bo Young). Thus, she discovers how far her father’s restaurant has declined, without being recognized by him. Trying to hide her tears, Soon Ae runs out of her father’s restaurant only to be confronted by the neighbourhood that was once her home. However, the memory of her death still eludes her.
The cooking competition TV show featuring Soon Ae, and Bong Sun’s boss, chef Sun Woo (Jo Jung Seok) airs. Soon Ae’s father is surprised to see Bong Sun cooking his daughter’s Burnt Rice Pollack Soup dish. At Sun Restaurant, Sun Woo’s chefs are also watching, and marveling at how their rice hating boss could have won the competition with a rice dish. Meanwhile, Sun Woo is watching the TV show by himself so that he may freely bitch about the camera’s failure to capture his charm explosion.
Soon Ae starts visiting her father, frequently running in and out of the restaurant with gifts of various kitchen items pilfered from Sun Restaurant. Soon Ae’s brother is suspicious of this strange woman who has taken an interest in his father, and disapproves.
However, in Soon Ae’s mind, everything is going swell. Not only has she reconnected with her father, but she runs into Sung Jae, and her infatuation is instantly rekindled. She is so distracted by his physical presence that she is barely able to hold a conversation with Sung Jae. He marvels at how much she has surprised him, because he thought Bong Sun was introverted. After she and Sung Jae go their separate ways, Soon Ae goes skipping off in a giddy haze of love.
It comes to Sun Woo’s attention that items have gone missing from his kitchen, including the expensive caviar. Soon Ae arrives back at the restaurant just as Sun Woo is pressuring his staff to confess. Soon Ae is about to do just that when sous chef, Min Soo (Kang Ki Young) pipes up to convince his boss to let the incident go for the sake of employee morale. Sun Woo instantly identifies Min Soo as the culprit; in the case of the caviar, it turns out that Sun Woo is correct. The situation escalates when Min Soo denies being responsible for all the other missing items, and Sun Woo refuses to believe him. Min Soo ends up quitting on the spot, and a guilt ridden Soon Ae attempts to fix the situation without revealing her own culpability, but fails to persuade Sun Woo to hire Min Soo back.
Shaman, Suhbingo enlists another mystic to help her find Soon Ae, but the woman turns out to be a fraud. Suhbingo runs into Sun Woo’s mother outside the sham mystic’s office, and Sun Woo’s mother is sheepish at being caught consulting with the competition. Suhbingo holds no ill will, since the sham mystic will only prove that she is the real deal. She reveals to Sun Woo’s mother that she is looking for a ghost.
Sun Woo expresses his guilt about firing Min Soo to the stray dog that he accidentally adopted, but he ends up determined to show that the restaurant can operate without the sous chef. Dinner service that evening is a disaster with Min Soo’s skills sorely missed in the kitchen.
Sun Woo calls a colleague in order to find a last minute sous chef, but is told that his reputation for being critical means that few will want the job. Just as Sun Woo hangs up, Soon Ae’s brother dumps a box at his feet. It contains all the items that Soon Ae gifted their father. He angrily tells the chef that he and his father are neither a charity case nor rich people to be conned, before storming away.
Sun Woo hauls Soon Ae outside by the wrist, and it becomes clear that she is guilty of the thefts. However, Soon Ae is more preoccupied with threatening bodily harm against her brother than afraid of being fired. Sun Woo is shocked at the change that has come over Bong Sun, then exasperated when she bluntly throws the blame for Min Soo’s firing right back at him.
Min Soo has just received a verbal lashing from his new boss at a gas station when the driver of the car that he is wiping down turns out to be Sun Woo. Sun Woo initially taunts Min Soo’s previous bluster, but when a humbled Min Soo has no retort, Sun Woo simply orders him to get into the car. A grateful Min Soo jumps in and hugs his boss.
When Min Soo is reinstated at the restaurant, only Soon Ae and Min Soo’s sister, Eun Hee (Shin Hye Sun) appear genuinely happy. The rest of the chefs are dismayed at the sous chef’s reappearance. Regardless, Sun Woo announces that he will take everyone out to dinner, and the other chefs cheer up over the prospect of a free meal.
Just as Sun Woo and the chefs are about to depart from the restaurant, his mother and Suhbingo suddenly show up, drunk. Soon Ae tries to sneak by unnoticed, but ends up being ordered to fetch the women, water. She walks daintily as she brings the glasses, clutching the invisible bells that Suhbingo placed around her neck, and manages to escape without getting caught.
During dinner, Min Soo eagerly does a love shot with a reluctant Sun Woo as his other employees cheer. Min Soo reiterates his claim that he only took the caviar, and Sun Woo attempts to dismiss the subject while Soon Ae tensely distracts everyone with drinks. Thus, Min Soo remains unaware of Soon Ae’s guilt, and when it is revealed by his colleagues that his only advocate was Soon Ae, he invites her to call him, “Oppa”.
A sloshed Soon Ae is coming on to Sun Woo when he receives a call, and shoves her aside. He rushes to his friend, So Hyeong (Park Jung Ah) who has experienced a minor car accident. Sun Woo walks So Hyeong home, but turns down her offer to come up for a cup of coffee, claiming to be afraid of being attacked. So Hyeong laughs, claiming that he is not to her taste.
After the happiness of bonding with her colleagues, Soon Ae visits her father with a bottle of soju. She takes him to task for sending back her gifts, and her father apologizes on his son’s behalf, then gently asks that she not burden him with any more favours. Things go from bad to worse as a dejected Soon Ae walks by the police station, and finds out that Sung Jae is married to Eun Hee. Finally, she goes home to discover that she has been kicked out for late payment of rent, and a creepy new tenant is already occupying her room.
Before entering her apartment building, So Hyeong laughs at Sun Woo for coldly leaving her without looking back. Unbeknownst to her, he returns to stare at her apartment window as it begins to rain. He thinks back to the crush he had on her when they were students. Unfortunately, his friend, Chang Kyu made a move on So Hyeong first, and Sun Woo was left to play third wheel while hiding his feelings for So Hyeong. Even a decade after Chang Kyu’s death, Sun Woo feels that he has missed his chance with So Hyeong. Meanwhile, Soon Ae is also walking in the rain, thinking about how everyone in her life has moved on without her in the three years since her death.
Bong Sun’s grandmother calls, and Soon Ae is forced to answer the phone. When Soon Ae speaks formally then gives a weak excuse for this unusual behaviour, Bong Sun’s grandmother is struck silent. The old woman then ends the call without further comment. Having learned that Bong Sun sends money to her grandmother, Soon Ae approves of what a good granddaughter Bong Sun is, but she remains dismayed at how timidly she has lived her life.
Soon Ae decides to decamp to Sun Restaurant, and manages to get a good look at Sun Woo’s body, post-shower. While sneaking around downstairs, Soon Ae encounters a malevolent spirit, and when pleading fails to make it go away, she decides to swing Bong Sun’s massive spear at it. The ghost pushes back, causing the spear to crash noisily into some metal containers. The ghost vanishes as Soon Ae freezes and stares fearfully in Sun Woo’s direction. Meanwhile, Sun Woo looks towards the source of the noise, and he recalls Suhbingo’s warning of an infestation of ghosts around him.
Only 만: How much do you love Soon Ae in this episode?
Junggugeo Kaenada 중국어 캐나다: Soon Ae is probably one of my favourite K-drama female leads of all time, right now. This is because she is this rare mix of ridiculously entertaining, but emotionally mature.
Only: As an aside, I’m still wondering if Bong Sun or Soon Ae is the lead. Back to the point, Soon Ae is a great character, but she’s not the only one in this show by a long shot. Sun Woo is slowly, but surely growing into an interesting character, as well.
Junggugeo Kaenada: Yes, I have to give credit to Jo Jung Seok for bestowing these nervous mannerisms on Sun Woo, which are subtle bits of physical comedy. Aloof and insecure Sun Woo is especially entertaining when up against the outspoken and impertinent Soon Ae. However, this episode has started building a deeper connection between the two characters; they both regret lost opportunities to be with those they love.
Only: That’s one thing I love about this show; how well it balances the comedy with some genuinely heart-wrenching moments. I love how well the actors balance the laughs with the emotions in their characters, as well; Jo Jung Seok’s Sun Woo, for example, has a perpetually harried expression most of the time, but the look on his face as he made sure the light went on in So Hyeong’s apartment was genuinely touching..
Junggugeo Kaenada: Then, there’s Park Bo Young and Kim Seul Gi both playing Soon Ae perfectly. Her lusty streak continues, but Soon Ae is demonstrating an admirable level of self-control and resiliency. Of course, the prospect of spending time with her father is exciting, but Soon Ae is able to hold herself back from revealing her true identity. Then, when both her father and brother push her away as a suspicious stranger, she is devastated, but understands their reasoning, and does not resort to desperate actions to hold on to them.
Only: I know you’re no Suhbingo, but any predictions for the future?
Junggugeo Kaenada: Bong Sun’s grandma may make an appearance in a future episode. The pregnant pause during her conversation with Soon Ae would seem to indicate that grandma thinks there is something wrong, and being a shaman, she will probably jump to a supernatural conclusion right away. In this case, she would be right to blame possession for the sudden change in her granddaughter.
What do you hope for in the future?
Only: I’m hoping that Bong Sun and Soon Ae get to interact soon. I think the writers are too smart to fall into the trap of Bong Sun disappearing in favour of a more entertaining character, plus I think Bong Sun and Soon Ae would actually be pretty funny together. I hope we get some closer interaction with Sun Woo and whoever Park Bo Young happens to be at the moment, since this is a romantic comedy and all.
Junggugeo Kaenada: Since Bong Sun’s crush on Sun Woo has already been revealed, I doubt the writers would be so cruel as to leave her hanging in favour of Soon Ae. So, you may just get what you wish.
Here’s a last look at Soon Ae’s casual and lazy phishing for sex.