As Eat 2 progresses in its storyline, its characters also become more defined, and relationships become more jumbled. While the focus of Eat 2 remains more or less on our OTP and the “third leg” Sang-woo, I’ve previously highlighted other interesting relationships within the story. However, not all triangular relationships are what we assume them to be initially…
1) Crush? Crushee?: Dae-young-Soo-ji-Joo-seung
In eps5/6, it’d appear that Joo-seung seems friendlier towards Soo-ji than Dae-young. In fact, Joo-seung dislikes the ebulent Dae-young for reasons unknown. This observation becomes even more apparent in the beginning of ep7, when Joo-seung specially orders fried chicken…and times the delivery to coincide with Soo-ji’s return from work, so that he can share the meal with her. Only thing is, he didn’t expect (thick-skinned) Dae-young to tag along.
Cue world’s most awkward chicken-eating session: with Joo-seung flashing dagger-liked glares at Dae-young, and Dae-young, pretending to be oblivious to the death stares, focusing only on the chicken on hand (he even snatches away the chicken drumstick which Joo-seung offered Soo-ji). And caught in between is the blissfully ignorant Soo-ji, who has laughed away Dae-young’s comments earlier that Joo-seung may be crushing on her. Soo-ji is the only one really focused on the chicken-eating. 😛
However, all that is to change within 5 mins at the convenience store when Joo-seung happily agrees to accompany Soo-ji midway through chicken-eating to get cold beer (and to have some together-time with Soo-ji?). Unfortunately, all thoughts of Soo-ji as Crush object fly out of the window when Joo-seung meets the coquettish store asst, Hye-rim (or rather, Hye-rim’s deep, plunging cleavage). He literally has to pick his jaws off the floor after (ahem) staring at her assets for a full 5 minutes or so. End result: totally smitten. Especially more so, when Soo-ji informs him that although Hye-rim has loads of suitors, she doesn’t seem to be officially attached.
Cut to: Joo-seung volunteering his time at Hye-rim’s convenience store the next day, doing what the other suitors have done — labouring for her, for free. When Soo-ji tries to talk sense into him, Joo-seung’s reply is to tell Soo-ji to “get lost” and “stop bothering him”. All the while making puppy, mooney eyes at Hye-rim.
Aw, whatever happened to the 15 mins of possible love triangle between Joo-seung and Dae-young + Soo-ji?
And juz like that, we have a new pairing — Joo-seung/ Hye-rim. Which is tinged with a little bit of suspense, when Hye-rim quits her job at the convenience store without informing Joo-seung in advanced. Joo-seung becomes mad — first with worry, then later with anger. So angry that he storms out with a sharp pair of scissors ready to slash Hye-rim’s face the moment he discovers her throwing trash in the alley where she is now working at (a noodle place). Luckily, Hye-rim’s aegyo saved her (even though she isn’t aware), and erm, probably pressing Joo-seung’s linked arm close to her breast helps too.
I suppose Joo-seung’s weirdness has a lot to do with his backstory. According to Granny Lee, his parents foolishly invested in properties/ land, only to lose all the money when the market crashed. They committed suicide and left orphaned Joo-seung with insurance money. This may explain why Joo-seung literally sleeps on a pile of money, and why he isn’t really poor even though he’s unemployed. But more importantly, Joo-seung’s family history can also point to his psychological fear of abandonment, and possible guilt over his parents’ suicides. Thus he goes off his rockers when he perceives Hye-rim has “abandoned” him.
2) Office “romance”: Soo-ji vs. In-ah for Sang-woo
Technically, the dynamics between the threesome isn’t romantic at all. Discounting Soo-ji’s long one-sided crush on Sang-woo of course. However, the ways the girls bicker over Sang-woo’s attention and In-ah’s not-ill-intentioned-but-still-brainlessly-mean remarks aimed at Soo-ji make it seem like they are in some sort of a love triangle, with In-ah thinking she has the upperhand. Only to be put down by Sang-woo’s mindless comment later — like how he also can’t remember In-ah’s family name (similar to how he remembers “Writer Baek” as “Writer Park”), even though she has worked with him for years…
In eps7/8, their dynamics do take a slight turn towards the romantic, when In-ah introduces her feisty, proactive sister, Min-ah. (not sure if i remembered the name correctly) Although I am not against proactive girls who go after guys, I do find Min-ah’s approach to be lacking in common sense. Dirty (provocative) dancing in front of a man whom you only met thrice serves to give the wrong impression — if he isn’t spooked enough to run.
Unfortunately, once he knows (from Dae-young) that Soo-ji is crushing on him, Sang-woo chooses to “hide” behind Min-ah so that Soo-ji can get the hint to back off. And his reason: he needs to maintain his (hypocritical) prim and proper civil servant facade, so he cannot date Soo-ji since she is “a colleague”.
3) And the “real” Love Triangle (?): Soo-ji + Dae-young + Sang-woo
Up till ep8, the relationship between our three leads are rather undefined. Dae-young and Soo-ji believe they are juz friends, and friends only. Even though they clearly show much chemistry together and are totally comfortable with sharing thoughts with each other. I believe Dae-young may have some subconscious inkling that he likes Soo-ji more than juz a friend, or as a friend whom he owes a debt to. And helpful Taek-soo isn’t stingy in providing insights to how Dae-young appears to be more irrational when it comes to matters regarding Soo-ji. (like whacking Sang-woo real hard in a “friendly” soccer match after he “dumps” Soo-ji)
But between Soo-ji and Sang-woo — it’s always been a zero for Soo-ji and a one for Sang-woo. Even though in recent eps, Soo-ji has been inching slightly closer to Sang-woo. However, her baby-steps attempts are always one step forward, three steps back. Like when Sang-woo offers to drive her home, she doesn’t know to how start small talk. But that was remedied when Sang-woo let slips an epithet, and the conversation turns to Soo-ji teaching Sang-woo creative swear phrases. This newfound camaraderie gives Soo-ji the courage to send juk (porridge) to a sick Sang-woo a few days later, but she fails to leave her name at the guard station. And Sang-woo assumes (wrongly) that Min-ah arranged to have the juk sent to him — a misunderstanding our dishonest Min-ah fails to clarify.
And of course, when Sang-woo does realise the juk is from Soo-ji and the reason why she is so nice to him, he chooses to colleague-zone her in order to preserve his “civil servant image”. (yeah, she can’t even be a “friend”) Ironically, when Soo-ji does back off, he becomes concerned over her welfare. He even volunteers to go in Dae-young’s place to help out a very drunk (and dishevelled) Soo-ji. Soo-ji (who mistakes Sang-woo for Dae-young) hilariously vents her anger — at the correct person. She pulls Sang-woo’s hair, bunny punches him, before collapsing on his shoulder.
The next morning, Sang-woo visits a hungover Soo-ji and proposes that they date. (duh. so much for acting demure) And who should hear this declaration, but Dae-young, who has trooped down in his tracksuit pjs to purchase gastric pills for Soo-ji early in the morning?
And so, Eat 2‘s Love Triangle will begin in earnest.