THIS was the episode, folks. Episode 7 of Mary Stayed Out All Night (Marry Me, Mary!) was the turning point for this drama in my mind. It’s the moment where the drama shows hand, and tells us whether it’s capable to doing emotional heft alongside lightweight fluff. And the answer is a resounding yes. If I cut out all the unnecessary scenes, what is left in this episode might just be the best of M3 that we have seen thus far.
I’m glad I decided to recap M3 instead of Secret Garden. It’s not because I love M3 more than SG, but rather that M3 is much more fun to recap. Its simplicity lends itself to allowing the flourishes a recapper can insert into a scene to smooth over its rough edges. I don’t think I’m a good writer (by any measure of quality), but I tend to write with my gut. When I watch M3 for the first time, the emotional connection with the drama and its broad strokes of a story combine to make my recaps more interesting than the story itself because I pontificate all sorts of random asides that pop up when I watch it.
When I rewatch M3, the lags becomes more obvious and I realize my love for the drama has patched over those lags when I read my own recap. Which is to say, watching a drama is living in the moment – so while M3 may not hold up over time, it sure hits me right where it hurts but good right now, and my recap captures my subjective reaction to M3 at that high point. I think the highs in M3 hit at such crucial moments that it colors my entire recap, which I am cognizant of and accept as part and parcel of the entire experience.
Some detractors have noted validly that M3 seems to be puttering along, moving sideways instead of full speed ahead. I don’t quite agree, because I think M3 was always moving ahead, but felt stagnant because there wasn’t a lot of story to tell. I think that is about to change. The story cannot remain mired in the fake marriages sham or shenanigans if it aims to touch a realistic emotional chord. The end of episode 7 takes us right to that edge, and I have a feeling episode 8 will push the story in a whole new direction.
Episode 7 is the episode where I finally connected with Jung In as a character. And it was about time! This is all the writer’s fault for forcing his character into such a passive mode. To be honest, both Kim Jae Wook and Jung In are exactly my type of actor and character in an objective world. I have a thing for guys in suits and cold dispassionate chaebol wounded woobies. I love Jang Geun Seok and Mu Gyul more subjectively because both his performance and his character are given the free rein to emote and he does so.
It’s a writing fail not to have a more compelling love triangle because I would relish the gut punch feeling of loving both male leads for the heroine. See Damo for the one drama which succeeds beyond any measure of creating two AMAZING men and making the heroine and the viewers unable to pick between them. (But I did pick, Team Naeuri FTW!).
Moon Geun Young is doing everything in her power to elevate the material, and she is doing such a bang up job I love M3 more for it. This is one drama where the characters will remain vibrant long after the drama ends. Kinda like we always recall Kim Sam Soon, Hwang Tae Kyung, and Choi Han Kyul. But at the end of episode 7, if anyone even thinks Jung In has a snowball’s hell in chance of getting Mae Ri to fall in love with him, I would like to sell you a goose that lays golden eggs.
M3 Episode 7 Recap:
Mu Gyul holds up Mae Ri’s hand in his, and announces to everyone at the office that this girl is his woman….and they are married. The jaws collectively drop. He gives Jung In one final stare, and tells Mae Ri that they are leaving now. They walk out, leaving a stunned crowd in silence. Seo Jun stares at Mu Gyul so hard during this announcement her eyeballs almost need a new zip code from the rest of her head.
Mu Gyul’s band mates are curious about the about face – didn’t Mu Gyul warn them to keep this marriage under wraps at work. Why is he revealing it now, which would make them an office couple. The crowd disperses, leaving Seo Jun and Jung In standing there. She asks if Jung In knew already, and his silence is answer plenty. She throws her drink against the wall and stalks off.
Mu Gyul drags Mae Ri out to the lobby, and she throws off his hand and confronts him right there about the stunt he just pulled. Why did he do it? Mu Gyul claims that he can’t do it anymore, perhaps excusing his grand proclamation as a way to end the 100 day contract, leaving Jung In no wiggle room. But we all know he did it because he was jealous and wanted to put Jung In in his place.
Jung In catches up to them, and walks right up to Mu Gyul and punches him but good. Oh yeah, show some emotion, Jung In! Mu Gyul deserved it, for being such an ass about Mae Ri’s feelings and the entire situation. Jung in calls Mu Gyul a guy with no responsibility. Mu Gyul smarts at both the punch and the assertion and returns a fist to Jung In’s face, calling him a materialistic man who would buy a marriage with money.
Both guys launch at each other, grabbing the other by the shirt collar. Mae Ri rushes to break them apart and defuse the situation. Jung In accuses Mu Gyul of breaking the arrangement, thereby Jung In has no obligation for fair competition anymore. Mu Gyul tells Jung In to compete by himself. Oh yeah, the fur is flying now. Jung In asks Mu Gyul whether he has considered Mae Ri’s position, which is where Jung In wins points for actually thinking about Mae Ri. But he’s still in the negative point column for his end game being to marry her for his father’s money.
They are about to punch each other when one guy’s elbow hits Mae Ri in the forehead, and the situation ends right there. Mae Ri takes Mu Gyul back to her place and minsters to his broken lip. She asks him what happened to the man who hates conflict, who likes peace? He responds that when a challenge is issued, he has to man up to it.
Mae Ri wonders what will happen tomorrow, and Mu Gyul contritely apologizes and surmise that the 100 day arrangement is null and void now. She puts more medicine on his forehead and chastises him for always letting his explosive temper get the better of him. She tells him an apology is useless now. Mu Gyul, who is feeling bad, nonetheless reminds her that she constantly drags him around doing what she wants and then apologizing for it as well. Yup, these two are like two peas in a pod.
Mu Gyul notices her bruised forehead, and leans over to crush her bangs aside to look at it. He remarks that the bruise will likely swell up soon. This moment of closeness causes a frisson of awareness to pass between them, and both lower their head slightly to break the eye contact. She finally asks why he told everyone they were married? Mu Gyul can’t explain, it just happened. To which Mae Ri yells at him for always being like this: doing whatever he wants, no sense of responsibility, going with the moment.
Mae Ri calls him out for using her in Mu Gyul’s attempt to win over Jung In. What does she mean to him? He tries to explain that it wasn’t solely that reason, but she’s already stomped back to her room and shut the door. Back at his place, Mu Gyul is mixing a new song (and it sounds great), and his eyes settle on the love story Mae Ri constructed about their romance. He flashes back to all the times they’ve spent together.
The next day, Mae Ri walks into the office and runs into Jung In, who has decided to go for a new emo hairstyle. Me no approve, emo Jung In does not do Kim Jae Wook justice. Likely it’s to cover up his own forehead from the remnants of Mu Gyul’s fist last night. He assures Mae Ri that he will continue the professional arrangement with Mu Gyul, but they need to discuss the personal arrangement. Mu Gyul arrives at the office and calls out “chagi-ya” to Mae Ri. He’s sure free with the chagi-ing all of a sudden.
He drapes his arm over Mae Ri, and she wonders why the heck he’s at work so early. He smiles and says that one needs to work hard to support one’s wife. Oh Kang Mu Gyul, you are a piece of happy work. He then pinches her cheeks and tell her that he will work hard from now on. Mae Ri is taken aback by this new husband and stammers her consent with his new plan.
Devil daddy suddenly makes an appearance and yells from the elevator at Jung In, demanding to know whether Jung In decided to pre-produce the drama. Mae Ri wisely and quickly shuttles Mu Gyul away from the arrival of Jung In’s father. Mae Ri thanks the lord her dad didn’t arrive at the same time, and is trying to send Mu Gyul away to the set when they do run into her dad, who is none too happy to see Mu Gyul at the office AND with his original girly hair.
Jung In’s dad – who is so demented at this point I’m just going to keep calling him devil daddy, okay guys – is pissed to find Mu Gyul is producing the OST and working with Mae Ri and Jung In. Jung In tries to discuss the marriage arrangement, likely to ask his dad to reconsider, but devil daddy plows ahead with his demonic pressure on his son. He tells Jung In that he must win in both the company and his personal relationship with Mae Ri. Jung In has no alternative but to succeed. Way to threaten and demean your kid, devil daddy.
Mae Ri’s dad – who I shall call loser daddy – is angry that Mu Gyul hoodwinked him with the haircut and wants to grab a scissors and cut it right there. Mae Ri holds off her dad and tells Mu Gyul to take off. She explains that Jung In knew Mu Gyul’s identity and still selected him to work at the company and produce the OST. Devil daddy warns Jung In to get rid of Mu Gyul before the office finds out about his marriage to Mae Ri (haha, too late for that, buster). Jung In, who is literally white with repressed anxiety, promises that he will handle it.
Mae Ri tells the two dads that Jung In needs Mu Gyul at this time for the drama to succeed. She offers to leave the company to avoid the awkwardness. She’s packing up to leave, and Mu Gyul offers to leave and have her stay. Mu Gyul tells Jung In that Mae Ri loves dramas, and should keep working at the company. Jung In says that Mae Ri will continue to work on the drama, just not in the office. She’ll be assisting the screenwriter from now on. But regardless of the reveal of Mae Ri and Mu Gyul’s marriage, the 100 day arrangement remains intact.
Mu Gyul smarts at the all-mighty drama producer Jung In, and his determination to keep this arrangement going. Mu Gyul asks whether Jung In intends for Mu Gyul to keep getting more nervous as Jung In continues to work harder. Jung In concedes Mu Gyul won round one, but he’s in it to the very end. The boys have a stare down. This shit never gets old for me to watch. Jung In reminds Mu Gyul that there are only 60 days left.
Mae Ri goes to Mu Gyul’s apartment and runs into his mom, who has decided to crash with him for a few days. She drags Mae Ri out to buy ice-cream and other food stuffs. Mom wants to buy lots of pre-packaged foods, and Mae Ri warns her that eating too much will make her age faster. Mom puts it all away and grabs all the fresh produce. Guess who’s going to have to cook it for her. Mu Gyul and Jung In are listening to a demo track, and Jung In is pleased with Mu Gyul’s work product, complimenting him sincerely for creating such natural and moving music.
Seo Jun arrives, having skipped several days of recording sessions, and asks to speak with Mu Gyul alone. She slaps him and rightfully asks why he lied to her and kept her in the dark. Was it fun toying with her? She tells him that they can’t even be friends anymore, she doesn’t want to see him again. She calls him his dreaded name, a bad-luck guy, and slams the door on her way out.
Jung In tries to reason with her, but she’s livid over how a man who claimed to never want to get married would suddenly be married (and not to her). Seo Jun cannot wrap her mind around Mu Gyul picking Mae Ri. She tells Jung In that Wi Mae Ri is not Mu Gyul’s type at all. Jung In is also reassessing that relationship with this new nugget of information.
Mae Ri is tired from making all the kimchee and calls Mu Gyul asking him to hurry home. She asks mom why Mu Gyul seems to hate being called a bad-luck fellow. Mom confesses that she had Mu Gyul when she was 17, and he was passed from one relative to another. Everyone called him a bad-luck fellow as he was growing up. Mu Gyul comes home to find Mae Ri toiling away for his mom.
He ties up his hair and gets down to work alongside his wifey. He picks up a piece to feed to Mae Ri, and his mom watches with a curious eye. She comments that they are just like a newlywed couple (hello, that’s what I’ve been saying since episode 1!), and both automatically deny it. Mom takes off to go shopping, leaving the kids to do all the hard work. Mu Gyul tells Mae Ri to leave and he’ll finish up, it’s almost 10 already. She refuses to leave such a mess behind, agreeing to stay but honestly telling him that his mom is so demanding. He apologizes, and asks cutely if she’s tired or not.
Loser daddy calls Mae Ri and offers to pick her up on his way home from the dokbokggi restaurant. She tells her dad that she’ll be late today, leading dad to show up at Mu Gyul’s place to see all the kimchee. He’s upset that his daughter is working so hard when she’s with Mu Gyul, asking if they plan to open a kimchee factory.
Mom comes back at that very second, and introduces herself as mom to loser daddy. Loser daddy is upset that mom is making his adorable daughter work so hard and do the things a daughter-in-law is supposed to do. The parents get into a shouting match, and the kids gets dragged into the pulling and the biting. Finally, Mae Ri drags her dad out of here.
Mae Ri calls Mu Gyul to apologize, but candidly tells him that her dad isn’t all in the wrong. Mu Gyul agrees, and apologizes for his mom as well. Both are them are so sweet with each other, and Mae Ri says again, they are suffering from the same ailment (bad parents disease). Mae Ri tells Mu Gyul that she is not comfortable being with Jung In alone, so she asked her friends to come hang out with her at Jung In’s place.
One of Mae Ri’s friends is totally flirting with Jung In, who keeps looking at Mae Ri, standing off to the side still talking on the phone with Mu Gyul. Her compliment of Jung In’s hands, and remark that he doesn’t wear a wedding ring, leads Jung In to wonder why Mae Ri doesn’t wear a wedding ring. The friends try to explain that the wedding was such a rushed affair there wasn’t any time to get a ring. They quickly add that Mae Ri and Mu Gyul have a set of solid gold couples rings.
Jung In says that he thought Mae Ri didn’t wear her ring because of the 100 day arrangement, and not because she doesn’t have a wedding ring. Mae Ri’s friends take off, and Jung In immediately asks Mae Ri whether its true that she doesn’t have a wedding ring because they didn’t have time to get one. Mae Ri confirms, and then pretty much blows her story when she tells Jung In that they have a set of silver couple rings.
Mae Ri wonders what’s gotten into Jung In today, asking all sorts of confirmation questions about her relationship with Mu Gyul. Jung In honestly tells her that he didn’t intend to. Then Jung In asks Mae Ri point blank whether its indeed the case that she and Mu Gyul married for love? Mae Ri, unable to lie directly at Jung In with his sincere question, excuses herself and takes off.
It’s raining outside and Mae Ri forgot her umbrella at Jung In’s house in her haste to exit. She runs home in the rain. She calls Mu Gyul, and confesses that she really doesn’t want to keep lying anymore. She is outside his apartment when Seo Jun comes up to her. Seo Jun asks Mae Ri – who brought up getting married first? Mae Ri confesses that it was her. This pleases Seo Jun, who remarks that Mu Gyul would never ask someone to marry him first (oh lady, you better believe he’s going to be asking in the near future, my crystal ball says so, and it ain’t going to be you).
Seo Jun asks Mae Ri whether Mu Gyul was forced to get married, and Mae Ri honestly tells her that she has a reason that she can’t explain right now. Mae Ri kindly gets Mu Gyul off the hook for lying to Seo Jun, saying that she was the one who asked Mu Gyul to keep it a secret. Mae Ri excuses herself again and runs back into the rain rather than enter the apartment. Jung In watches her from the car, having brought her umbrella.
Mu Gyul comes back soaking wet, and Seo Jun follows him in. She’s there to apologize for calling him a bad luck guy earlier. Mu Gyul tells her to leave if she’s said what she came here to say. Seo Jun sits down, telling him she just got started. She spies the blue mittens, and takes Mu Gyul to task for lying to her about those as well, clearly it was made by a woman, by Mae Ri.
Seo Jun confesses that she just saw Mae Ri, and tells Mu Gyul that they both lie quite well. Seo Jun’s pride is hurt that Mu Gyul would reject her, since she pined for him for an entire year, yet he decided to marry Mae Ri. Seo Jun stands up to leave, and her tears come unbidden, as her heart really breaks for having feelings for a guy who doesn’t reciprocate it.
Mae Ri is at the bookstore when Jung In comes up to her. He asks whether coming to the bookstore is a good way to calm oneself down. She concurs, she comes when she needs some space, and she can hide herself away. He notes that she is reading poetry, and she explains that poetry is elegant and spare, explaining a lot with very little words.
They sit alongside a stack and read. Another customer comes by and asks Jung In to move so that she can grab a book he is blocking. Jung In scoots closer to Mae Ri. He leans over to read over her shoulder, and she notices and raises the book between them. Jung In is embarrassed and resumes his own reading.
Night has fallen, and Seo Jun and Mu Gyul are resting on the sofa. She reaches over and touches his forehead, asking him why he walked home in the rain. He’s going to be feeling sick all night. She asks him what Mae Ri means to him. Mu Gyul says that initially it was all just a joke, for fun. But now it’s not longer a joke. Mae Ri is like family to him. Seo Jun correctly remembers that Mu Gyul views family as a burden and a negative association.
Mu Gyul says that used to be how he saw family, until Mae Ri came into his life. When he sees Mae Ri, he realizes that this is what being in a family is like. Seo Jun says that the reason Mu Gyul can be with Mae Ri for over a month now must be because he doesn’t see Mae Ri as a woman, but as family. Mu Gyul corrects her – Mae Ri is a woman with intense loyalty. Seo Jun continues to push Mu Gyul – even if he sees Mae Ri as family, when he gets tired or bored with this relationship, he’ll still walk away. Isn’t that how he always handles things? She tells him not to feel bad, and leaves.
Jung In and Mae Ri are strolling in a market. Jung In confesses he’s only seen these places on TV, he’s never actually been to a real food market. Mae Ri buys dried dates from a halmoni, and offers one to Jung In. He declines because he doesn’t particularly like dates, but she persist and he reluctantly tries one. To no one’s surprise, he says its sweet and quite delicious. Mae Ri explains that a date tastes like sunshine, because it’s dried under the sun and has weather all the elements.
Seo Jun has dragged all the band mates out and is grilling them all on the how, where, whys of Mu Gyul and Mae Ri’s wedding. The band mates keep trying to end the conversation but she’s determined to get to the truth. Mae Ri and Jung In are eating a meal at a market stall, and Mae Ri asks Jung In what he meant back at the country estate when he told her that he sees devil daddy like a god?
Jung In explains that he was once kidnapped because of his father’s dealings in Japan, but his father saved him. To make him stronger, his father became harsher with him. But he sees his father as a protector who saved his life (rather than the loser who put his life at risk in the first place). Mae Ri thinks that his story is just like a drama. She asks whether he lost his memory because of the kidnapping, and he says that since he saw the picture of them as kids, he’s starting to have quite a few dreams with respect to his lost memories.
Mu Gyul is at home, burning up with fever. He calls his mom, who doesn’t answer despite Mu Gyul’s plea that she be there for him. He calls his Merry Christmas, and she yells at him for getting rained on during such a cold day. She tells him to wait for her, she’ll buy medicine and bring it to him. Mu Gyul waits outside for her, but since she’s slow in arriving, he takes off to buy medicine himself.
Jung In drives Mae Ri home, and walks over to open the car door for her with an umbrella ready to shield her from the rain. She’s about to take off when she rummages through her bag for something to give him. He pulls her closer to keep her under the umbrella shade, and they are aware of their proximity to each other. She brought socks for him at the market, socks which are warm and soft and will help him sleep.
Mae Ri thanks him for being so candid with her today, and sharing some of his emotional childhood trauma with her. She tells him that today, for the first time, she feels like Jung In has opened himself up and she can relate to him as a person. She tells him to not be so closed off all the time, and not to fear his father so much. She reminds him to wear the socks to bed. As she walks around, he calls her name and pulls her back into a kiss. And oh lord, was this a wonderful kiss. In the moment and very sincere. Jung In kisses her because the time they spent together really affected him.
It’s telling that Mae Ri neither draws away (isn’t in love with Mu Gyul, in that she would refuse a kiss from Jung In, especially since Jung In does affect her), nor does she close her eyes after the initial shock of the kiss (which would indicate her falling into the moment of the kiss). Jung In apologizes after the kiss, which is witnessed by Mu Gyul. He rushes up and punches Jung In, who really deserves it if he believes he is kissing a woman who is married and in love with another man. At this point, even Jung In doesn’t know what to believe.
Mu Gyul drags Mae Ri inside. She yells at him for always using his fists first, and he yells back at her for bringing Jung In to his place. She shows him the medicine she brought, to explain why Jung In is there. Mu Gyul starts coughing, and Mae Ri shuttles him into bed. He tells her to forget it, and she agrees, thinking he means to forget this argument tonight. She comes back with water, and he repeats again that they should just forget it. What follows is, thus far, the most meaningful sequence in the entire drama.
He goes further and tells her that they should forget this whole fake marriage thing. He tells her that he is exhausted and can’t continue. She asks him what he means. He tells her that he can’t differentiate between whether it’s his desire to win over Jung In, or he really likes Mae Ri, but this entire fake marriage is becoming too real to him now. And he can’t handle it anymore. He’s tired of it all. He tells her that they should just end it.
During this conversation, both of them start to tear up, but neither can see since Mu Gyul has his back to Mae Ri, and doesn’t turn to look at her. Jung In, who is standing at the top of the staircase, clearly has heard this entire conversation. Mae Ri thanks Mu Gyul for everything he has done for her. She says that she is tired, too. And she’s sorry for putting him through it all.
She turns and walks to the other room, where she pauses and tries to compose herself. But the tears continue to come, as she swallows her sadness at the end of her association with Mu Gyul. These are not tears resulting from the anguish of having to marry Jung In, since the end of her fake marriage only means she can’t postpone or avoid marrying Jung In now. These are the tears of someone who is being pushed away by the person they care about.
Mu Gyul finally turns to look at her, his face hidden beneath his scarf and his lustrous hair, but the tears glistening by his eyes. Mae Ri wipes away her tears and brings him a cold compress, telling him that she just wants to do something for him and then she’ll leave. He sits up and pushes her hand with the towel away, telling her that he doesn’t need it. She yells right back, a combination of frustration that he won’t let her help, and her raw emotions at losing Mu Gyul by her side, telling him that she KNOWS, their contract is over.
Her sunny disposition comes back up, and she tells him not to be angry, it’ll just make him sicker. She’ll make him some bean sprout soup to drink, and then she’ll leave. She cooks the soup, and coaxes him to sit up and eat something so that he can take the medicine and go back to sleep. She prepares the food, and Mu Gyul looks at her wearily, a combination of uncertainty and exhaustion. She feeds him, and he doesn’t push her away.
Seo Jun finally gets the youngest band mate to confess the truth to her about Mu Gyul and Mae Ri’s fake marriage. At the same time, devil daddy finds out that Mu Gyul revealed his marriage to Mae Ri in front of the entire office at the opening party. He turns his car around to pick up loser daddy as they head to Mu Gyul’s apartment. Jung In remains standing outside, understanding that Mae Ri and Mu Gyul are ending things inside
Seo Jun comes back to the apartment, but Jung In refuses to let her inside. Mu Gyul wakes up to see Mae Ri sleeping on the ground, with her head resting on the mattress. He pulls the covers over her, fixes her head, and smoothes her hair away from her face. The demonic duo of daddies arrive, and loser daddy confronts Mu Gyul for revealing to the world that his darling daughter is a married woman.
Okay, what follows is a scene where I want to strangle loser daddy – he accuses Mu Gyul of ruining his daughter, with no intention of being true to her. But this coming from the man who SOLD his daughter to pay his debts, I simply have no words for the extent of his hypocrisy. Seriously, I hope he gets eaten by an alligator at the end of the drama. He pushes Mu Gyul down, and sits down to cry and harp some more about his poor daughter.
Rather than explain that everything was at the behest of Mae Ri and it was a fake wedding, Mu Gyul simply takes all the yelling and pushing, and apologizes. Devil daddy yells at Mu Gyul for making things so difficult for everyone involved. How does he plan to resolve things now? Um, marry Mae Ri for real? Would that satisfy you two turd buckets? Please go walk off a cliff and never let me see you again.
Mae Ri starts to tear up at seeing Mu Gyul so misunderstood and abused, and tells them to stop yelling at him. She says that Mu Gyul has done nothing wrong, it was all her. She apologizes to Mu Gyul, who tells her to forget it, it doesn’t matter now. Mae Ri tells the dad’s that she and Mu Gyul never got married. Jung In and Seo Jun walk in right at the moment, and hear her confession. Mu Gyul’s eyes widen, and he calls out Mae Ri’s name, shocked that she would reveal it to everyone involved. Mae Ri, with her eyes rimmed with tears, is doing the right thing so that she and her problems will never burden Mu Gyul again.
Thoughts of Mine:
M3 appears to be doing its darndest to raise the stakes in each and every episode. I won’t even call today’s episode a game changer, which it is. It now feels redundant because every episode has been a game changer since Jung In decided to really pursue Mae Ri. This was way earlier than I expected for the cat to be let out of the bag. So now everyone who matters knows that Mae Ri and Mu Gyul are not really married.
I love it! This means that everything that happens between them from now on, it’s not for show at all, but because both of them want to be together. I always appreciate it when a plot device is tossed aside as soon as its served its useful function rather than remain as a crutch. This allows Mae Ri and Mu Gyul to make decisions independent of putting up appearances, and I bet money they both will struggle to understand why they can’t seem to let each other go.
Jung In’s kiss was objectively way better than Mu Gyul’s kiss, in every way. The kiss, the location, the impact on the person watching, the impetus, the prelude, the aftermath. Coming in second doesn’t mean you can’t make a bigger oomph. Too bad all that emotional buildup with Jung In was negated by the best and most raw scene between Mae Ri and Mu Gyul since the drama started. Omo, if you didn’t tear up during the sick bed scene, then you are made of stone. Poor Jung In, just as he’s about to make headway to Mae Ri, Mu Gyul again one ups him. By pushing Mae Ri away, Mu Gyul is actually doing the very thing that would make her assess his importance to her.
Jung In may make Mae Ri’s heart flutter and her mind consider him objectively as a possible romantic partner, but it’s Mu Gyul who makes Mae Ri’s heart break. You can see how much him being in pain hurts her. It’s not that she’s hurt by his rejection of her, but rather she’s hurt that her actions have put him in such an untenable position that he’s forced to lash out at her. When Mae Ri announces to the fathers that she’s not really married to Mu Gyul, it’s for his benefit so that he is no longer bothered by her mess.
Even though Mu Gyul earlier told her to end the contract, his refusal to reveal the truth when the fathers came to harass him is evidence enough for Mae Ri that he’s changed his mind. But she goes ahead anyways because she wants to stop burdening him. This was the clearest indication in my mind that Mae Ri loves Mu Gyul. Not that she is “in love” with him (which she is as well), but that she already cares for him enough to doom herself to marrying Jung In. It’s not yet the grand sacrificial gesture, but it’s one where Mae Ri has made a choice to release Mu Gyul and deal with her own situation by herself. Her backbone astounds me.
If I hear a single criticism of Mae Ri – be prepared to bring it, peeps. I love this girl. The moment she realizes and understands that her request that Mu Gyul pretend to be married to her has such emotional consequences on him, she immediately backs off and takes all the responsibility for her actions. She owes no one anything, yet she still sacrifices and puts her future on the line for those she loves.
She can tell Jung In’s dad to frag it and let her dad suffer the consequences, but she won’t because she loves her father. She can use how Mu Gyul feels about her (now that he’s confessed to being confused about whether he likes her) to bind him to the contract, but she won’t because she can see how much he’s hurting because of her. She can tell Jung In to shove it, but she will actually give him a chance to come into her heart because she can see he needs someone who loves him, and she will not bar that possibility from happening. I don’t think she’s sacrificing insomuch as she’s making conscious choices to find a solution that makes everyone happy, including herself.
I think Mu Gyul and Mae Ri need to be apart for them to realize how significant they have become to each other. Can Mu Gyul resume his life the way it was before Mae Ri ran him over with her car? Can Mae Ri transform her life the way it was meant to be before she made Mu Gyul pretend to be married to her? Not bloody likely. This is where I sell the oft-used but wholly plausible truth about love – the heart wants what the heart wants. I firmly believe that had Mae Ri not run into Mu Gyul first, she would absolutely be able to fall in love with Jung In. Too bad timing is everything.
If you asked me who needs Mae Ri more (not to mention who loves Mae Ri more), the answer is Mu Gyul. Jung In needs a friend, someone to encourage him to get over his ingrained fear of daddy dearest and be brave enough to tell his father off and go make something of his own so that he is not beholden to his daddy’s every ridiculous demand. While Jung In also needs his own woman who loves him, Mu Gyul doesn’t need a woman, he needs Wi Mae Ri, the one person capable of filling the void in his heart which prevents him from commiting himself to any relationship. I think there is still a lot of story to tell. To be together, Mae Ri and Mu Gyul have mountains to climb, in the form of three horrible excuses of a parent.
[Credit: all screencaps done by me! I learned to do it so I can get these recaps up faster for you guys.]