Disney+ K-drama Link: Eat, Love, Kill – Yeo Jin-goo, Moon Ga-young make a compelling pair in engaging fantasy comedy-drama-mystery
- This Korean fantasy drama series features Yeo as a chef with a connection to a mystery person that causes him to laugh or cry uncontrollably
- Moon is a struggling graduate being pursued by a stalker who unexpectedly dies and ends up in Yeo’s fridge in a frantic opening that leaves us wanting more
This article contains mild spoilers.
In its opening credits sequence, Link: Eat, Love, Kill promises an inviting fantasy, delectable dishes and … a dismembered hand. But while this Korean drama series does occasionally edge into the macabre, it’s hard to imagine anyone being put off by its congenial concoction of comedy, romance, drama and mystery.
Both performers play similar characters in Link: Eat, Love, Kill, whose tone is somewhere in between that of the aforementioned series.
Yeo plays Eun Gye-hoon, a brilliant executive chef at a high-end restaurant who admonishes anyone in his team if they bring their emotions into the kitchen. Unfortunately for Gye-hoon, the person who most often breaks the rule is none other than him.
At inopportune moments, he is prone to bursting into tears, which cascade into his carefully prepared sauces, or dissolving into fits of laughter. Gye-hoon has no control over these fits of emotion. He fails to explain this unusual phenomenon to the manager of the restaurant, but thankfully does a better job in voice-over.
As a child he shared a special bond with his twin sister. Whenever she experienced a strong emotion he could feel it, no matter how far away he was. This enabled him to save her from bullies, but not on the day that someone took her away.
Gye-hoon’s sister disappeared a long time ago; lately he feels a connection with someone, he just doesn’t know who it is.
Though he isn’t aware of it yet, that link is with Moon’s character, No Da-hyun, a college graduate who is scraping a living through odd jobs and pretending to her mother, Hong Bok-hee (Kim Ji-young), that she has a stable company job.
This involves a lot of running around to hide bills and junk when her mother unexpectedly drops in, which leaves Gye-hoon out of breath.
The pair first cross each other on the street, with Da-hyun darting past in an elfin Christmas costume. They are properly introduced at a food event where Gye-hoon runs a booth and Da-hyun waits tables.
They have a brief conversation and Gye-hoon wonders whether she may be the person he feels connected to. He sheepishly tries to ask her something, which she mistakes for her phone number. He actually wants to know where she grew up and her age, and to play rock, paper, scissors with her.
These unusual requests ring alarm bells for Da-hyun, who quickly makes her escape.
Meanwhile, we learn that Da-hyun has a creepy admirer in her midst, her co-worker Lee Jin-geun (Shin Jae-hwi), who has begun to stalk her and send her unwanted gifts.
Gye-hoon decides to strike out on his own with his friend and junior chef Cha Jin-ho (Lee Suk-hyeong). They find a location in Jinhwa, the rustic neighbourhood he grew up in, which is full of nosy neighbours and vagrants who pee on the walls.
As chance would have it, it’s also where Da-hyun lives, having just moved back there after her mother discovered her deception.
Disaster strikes one evening when Da-hyun’s stalker, Jin-geun, shows up. Following an unpleasant altercation, Da-hyun wakes up to find Jin-geun dead on the tiles of her mother’s restaurant.
Her mother and grandmother Na Chun-ok (Ye-su-jeong) swiftly come to her aid, and seem a little too comfortable as they help dispose of the body, which they stuff in a fridge on the street.
The fridge belongs to Gye-hoon and was mistakenly tossed out. Gye-hoon and Jin-ho roll it back into their soon-to-be-opened “bistronomy”-themed restaurant.
Between the fantasy concept, a murder mystery, food theme, family backstories and neighbourhood characters, Link: Eat, Love, Kill juggles a lot of elements. To the show’s immense credit, it never feels that way in the first week of episodes.
Beyond the compelling lead performances and enjoyable mix of comedy and mystery, the show also evinces a sense of familiarity and empathy.
There’s a lot of talk about honesty and its absence. “Everybody lies,” Da-hyun explains at one point in her own narration, adding that the most common lie is when people say: “I’m OK.”
The show packs quite a lot of story into its opening, but without overdoing things. Hints at past events leave plenty of mystery for us to immerse ourselves in during what will hopefully be a fun and engaging summer’s worth of TV.
Link: Eat, Love, Kill is streaming on Disney+.