Did you all survive the last 6 days? You know we have four more weeks of this torture, right? The ending to episode 7 of Mary Stayed Out All Night (Marry Me, Mary!) really was exceptionally well-done. It left me emotionally dangling for days, which is the best effect a good drama episode can do. Episode 8 of M3 was a soft landing for everyone involved. The heightened dramatic angst of the last episode was replaced by quiet introspection, and it’s like everyone stopped for a long minute and asked the question “WTF am I doing?”.
It would be too simplistic to say that Mae Ri, Mu Gyul, and Jung In (and to a lesser extent, Seo Jun as well) spent this episode pining over the other person they like. If love, especially the unexpected and confusing kind, is like a fog that descended over M3-land, then the participants spent this episode wandering through the misty air looking for an opening to see what lies ahead. It’s not that Mu Gyul and Mae Ri were actively trying to figure out their feelings – it was more like they tried to go on with their lives, but discovering that it isn’t so easy to pretend the last few weeks didn’t just happen.
At this point, Jung In needs to star in his own drama – Sympathy for Mr. Lonely. God I feel bad for the guy. Normally I feel bad for a second lead because he’s all schmoopy and pining away for the heroine. In this case, I feel bad because the man’s life just plain sucks. Having Mae Ri isn’t going to make his life objectively better, it’s just going to mitigate his emotional withdrawal and give him the warmth and love he’s been missing his whole life. That doesn’t solve his problem, he still needs to man up to his dad and stop the emotional and physical abuse heaped upon him.
Which is where I suddenly realized that M3 is like the bizarro version of Beautiful Days (one of my fave dramas). In BD, the heroine fell for the stoic, cold, and repressed older rich guy and not the free-spirited, kind, and cheerful musician second lead. Trust me, I was totally shipping heroine with repressed cold rich guy in BD, especially since she was supposed to end up with musician dude. Yup, BD is one of the most famous K-dramas to have the story completely rewritten in the second half to change the OTP – putting the heroine and the second lead together.
In M3, the chance of that happening is nil. I worried for awhile that since last 3 episodes of M3 have been going full steam ahead in terms of plot revelations and emotional development. Then I realized that it really hasn’t. Mae Ri and Mu Gyul realizing they like each other, Jung In realizing he’s falling for Mae Ri, all of those developments are the tip of the iceberg. Should they be together? Does he deserve her? Will she be happy with him? There are numerous unknowns looming in the horizon, and M3 has 8 more episodes to cement itself as my favorite romantic comedy drama of 2010.
Episode 8 Recap:
Mae Ri makes her confession to everyone in the room that she and Mu Gyul are not really married. She’s restraining her tears, which threaten to spill out of her wide eyes, as Mu Gyul looks on in shock. Loser daddy asks her whether they were also pretending to be in love as well. Mae Ri’s silence and pained look answers that question clearly enough.
Seo Jun walks out of the apartment, and Jung In follows, both of them digesting this news for vastly different reasons. Seo Jun says her head hurts, and declines Jung In’s offer to take her home. She wants to be alone for awhile, muttering that what Mu Gyul and Mae Ri pulled is simply incomprehensible to her. The daddys walk out with Mae Ri in tow.
The daddys ask Jung In if he already knew. Before Jung In can explain, Devil daddy manages to make me loathe him even more by bitch-slapping Jung In. Omo, dude, you are a piece of crap lower than mule dung. I hope your hand rots off for daring to mar the perfection that is Kim Jae Wook’s face. (Though his just-slapped side profile is to die for – imma going to stare at it for a few minutes here). Mae Ri looks on in shock, at the casual violence Jung In’s father bestows on his son.
The daddys take Mae Ri away like a guilty child caught with her hand in the cookie jar, while Jung In remains standing in the position where his father reminded him just how much power he wields in this family. A calendar flips through the pages quickly, counting down from 100 to land on 51 days. The daddys plot to have the kids engaged in a week, but not rush the wedding since they have the decency to notice that Mae Ri appears overwhelmed by everything.
The robot make-over lady comes back and delivers two works books to the daddys, illustrating a regimen for training the daughter-in-law. Seriously, I hate Jung In’s dad with a passion, but Mae Ri’s dad is no better for continuing to go along with this monstrosity of a wedding arrangement even as he realizes how much his daughter will be consumed by this family if she were to marry Jung In. Loser daddy is actually happy his daughter is getting deportment lessons because she grew up without a mother. I have no words for how much they make me throw up in my mouth a lot every time these two appear on screen.
Mu Gyul is sitting in his apartment working on his music. He gets up to grab a water from the fridge, and sees the kimchee they made together for his mom. He shuts the door and goes to sweep the floor. He throws away both the love story page that Mae Ri wrote about their alleged grand romance, as well as the mittens she knitted for him. My guess is that this bag of trash doesn’t actually make it out of the apartment and into the garbage truck.
Mu Gyul flips through his contract with JI Entertainment, and crumples it up. Jung In is listening to the tracks laid by Mu Gyul, and the bitchy manager comes and rags on Mu Gyul for quitting the OST production just like that. Jung In explains that there were extenuating circumstances, otherwise Mu Gyul is a responsible guy. The bitchy manager shows Jung In more scandal about Seo Jun in the rags, stating that she lied about her past such as education and family history.
Jung In goes to see Seo Jun, who has just finished her work out under the gossiping eyes of other gym-goers. Jung In tells Seo Jun that he will help with ameliorating the media attack on her. Seo Jun asks about Mu Gyul’s situation, and Jung In doesn’t answer her query. Mae Ri is composing a text to Mu Gyul – she’s sorry about what she did, which caused him to lose a job. She deletes that text and writes a new one – she asks how he is doing recently, and thanking him for everything he has done for her. She wants to tells him that tomorrow……but she can’t bring herself to type it.
Mae Ri is at the bridal salon with her two friends, clearly trying on dresses for her impending engagement to Jung In. Her friends tell her that this has turned out for the best, Mae Ri shouldn’t dislike Jung In on principle, since he does seem like a good guy. Mae Ri confesses that she hasn’t actually had a conversation with Jung In about the whole pretend to be married to Mu Gyul scheme she concocted. The friends tell her not to explain herself, just brush it under the rug. They remind her not to ever have any contact with Mu Gyul again.
Mae Ri says that she can’t even bring herself to send him a text, because she’s worried that he’ll get upset. She clearly doesn’t really comprehend WHY Mu Gyul is upset at her in the first place. Sigh. Her friends ask her if she’s alright. Mae Ri describes her current state of being akin to standing in the eye of a typhoon. As the storm rages around her, she feels unusually calm because she sees the maelstrom but doesn’t feel it.
Before they can discuss this further, Jung In arrives, poker-faced as usual. He tries on his tux, and his awesome good looks in formal wear does nothing to make me feel like he’s a walking cadaver with his non-expression. To those who say that Jung In loves Mae Ri, I am seriously wondering if we are watching the same drama. Jung In may care about and need Mae Ri, but this man does not (yet) have strong feelings for her. End of story. The friends take pictures of the (un)happy couple on their cell phones.
Jung In walks off to take a call, and the friends think that he’s angry at Mae Ri for lying about being married to Mu Gyul for the past 50 days. They tell Mae Ri that she’s guilty and needs to make it up to Jung In. Make it up to him, my ass! Mae Ri told a lie to a stranger to protect her future. She owes Jung In nothing.
The dysfunctional family is having a dead-as-doornails type dinner. The daddys are excited about the engagement party tomorrow, which also happens to be Mae Ri’s birthday. Mae Ri wants to go visit her mother’s grave, and Jung In offers to go with her. That night, Jung In is awakened by a nightmare, and he gets up to reveal that he’s still wearing his suit. Boy needs an Ambien prescription, stat. He also needs to go see a psychiatrist, maybe the same one who treats Joo Won in Secret Garden? He sees the sleeping socks Mae Ri bought for him and holds it up to his face to feel the softness and warmth. He puts it on and lays back down to sleep. Poor baby, you will sleep much better if I am there to hold you. Oops, did I just say that out loud?
Mae Ri is laying in her bed and flipping through pictures on her phone. She sees the pictures taken of her and Jung In trying out their engagement outfits, and her solemn expression speaks volumes. When she flips to the fake wedding pictures she took with Mu Gyul, her face breaks into a smile at last. She sees the picture she snapped of Mu Gyul performing on stage from episode 1, and she lingers on that picture.
Mae Ri and Jung In are driving somewhere, and he remarks that it appears she didn’t sleep well last night. She asks Jung In if he also had a sleepless night, and Jung In says that he didn’t actually, he had a good dream last night. Mae Ri asks where they are going, and Jung In doesn’t answer but simply smiles. He takes her to a beautiful mountain park area, and tells her that when he woke up this morning, he wanted to bring her here.
He takes her hand in his (squeeee, I love this quiet moments, even between Mae Ri and Jung In), and they walk down a path and talk. Mae Ri apologizes, explaining that she really didn’t want to get married for such absurd reasons as their fathers’ wishes. Jung In concurs, he felt the same way. He tells her that he’s been thinking a lot lately, and has even gotten mad. She tells him that she understands if he’s mad at her, and he tells her that he’s mad at himself.
He shows her the picture of them when they were kids, and tells her that he’s been thinking about what she said – don’t let his past torment him anymore. We flash back to the funeral for Mae Ri’s mom, when she was four and Jung In was eight years old. He was on the phone telling his mom that he wanted to stay in Korea and live with her. He doesn’t want to go back to Japan with his dad, since the kids there all torment him.
Little Mae Ri comes up to boy Jung In, and he becomes short-tempered with her. He tells her that her mom is dead, and never coming back. She starts to cry, and he piggybacks her down the stairs. He slips and the two kids tumble down the steps, leaving Mae Ri with a gash on her forehead and crying up a storm. Jung In bandages her cut, and tells her, in Japanese, that he will be there for her, he will protect her, always. The dads see the kids together, remarking that they should be married when they grow up.
Back to current day Mae Ri and Jung In strolling hand-in-hand in the park – she asks if he remembers his childhood now. Just bits and pieces, and still blurry, but Jung In is starting to remember. He tells her that rather than having nightmares, he foresees that he will be having more and more good dreams. He apologizes to her for causing her forehead injury, and Mae Ri tells him not to let bygones bother him. It doesn’t hurt, and she doesn’t let her past torment her. They smile at each other, and continue their walk.
Jung In and Mae Ri come back to his house, and he tells her that he has something to show her. It’s telling that Jung In no longer addresses her as Wi Mae Ri-shhi, but calls her Mae Ri-shhi now. It’s still not as intimate as Mu Gyul’s Mae Ri-ah, but it’s a step forward. Jung In pulls a Beauty & the Beast on us, and shows Mae Ri a room with a ceiling to floor bookshelf stacked with books. It’s his engagement present to her. Boy, you just rose in my esteem with these last two gestures – very apropos, genuine, and thoughtful.
Mae Ri sees a book which leads her to flashback to a conversation she had with Mu Gyul when she was reading that book at his apartment. She asks him what kind of life he wants to lead, and he responds that he wants an uncomplicated life. When she asks about the kind of music he wants to make, he says that he wants to make music which doesn’t lie. Mae Ri cocks her head and asks Mu Gyul what his real identity is? He lives a leisurely life just making music – is he the secret bastard child of a chaebol? Mu Gyul LOLs at her wild drama imagination.
Jung In breaks Mae Ri’s thoughts by asking her what she’s thinking about. Mae Ri demurs and says it was nothing, rather than tell her on-paper husband/future fiancée that she is thinking of another man right in front of him. Jung In gets a call that Seo Jun has quit the drama, and is unable to accompany Mae Ri to visit her mother’s grave. Mae Ri offers to go by herself, but Jung In tells her to wait for him, they can go together in the afternoon. He tells her to rest, and she tells him to just concentrate on the work at hand.
Jung In moves to leave, and then remembers something and walks back to Mae Ri. He gently parts her hair and kisses her scar again, wishing her a happy birthday. Mae Ri sees lots of texts wishing her a happy birthday, and sees a text from Mu Gyul asking to meet with her. She goes to meet Mu Gyul, and sees him performing “My Precious” at the park. Mae Ri has an expression of wistfulness mixed with joy at seeing him before her.
Mu Gyul finishes the song and get mobbed by a few girls, all grabbing him and calling him “teacher.” Mae Ri laughs at seeing the same old Mu Gyul, ever popular with the girls. The girls leave, and Mae Ri walks up to Mu Gyul. They awkwardly great each other, the first time we see them unable to be their usual carefree selves around each other. Mu Gyul looks down and his hand subconsciously lightly tilts his guitar back and forth. Mae Ri breaks the awkward silence first.
She says that he looks good, living a peaceful life now. He concurs, everything has gone back to the way it was before, and life is indeed peaceful. Mae Ri’s face falls a little, but she aint getting Mu Gyul to confess that he misses her that easily. He asks how she’s doing these days? It’s her turn to dissemble, and she says that her life is also peaceful these days. Mu Gyul’s face falls a fraction before he’s his usual self before her.
Mu Gyul’s band mates arrive driving the little van. They get out of the car and tease Mu Gyul for not being his usual self. They say he needs a change of style, and put a handcuff on him. His band mates are all dressed in black, like little boys pretending to play at S&M. The notice Mae Ri and greet her warmly. Mae Ri finally gets around to asking Mu Gyul why he wanted to see her. Mu Gyul hands her an envelope with money in it, likely returning the deposit she paid for him on the apartment.
She asks where he got the money, and his friends reveal that Mu Gyul is lecturing at a friend’s music academy. He’s making money and getting lots of presents from his students, who adore him. Both Mae Ri and Mu Gyul are extraordinarily uncomfortable and silent during this exchange, and the band mates note the somber atmosphere. Mu Gyul asks to be released from the handcuff, and one band mate releases only his own hand, and then cuffs Mae Ri to Mu Gyul. Yes, finally, those band mates come in handy!
The band mates tell the two cuffed ones to resolve their issues and make up. Oh boy, that’s like pulling teeth for Mu Gyul, and asking Mae Ri to explain procreation – not easy. They run after the van, but don’t make it farther than three steps when Mu Gyul stops and tells Mae Ri that the band mates will release them later, since Mu Gyul has an audition to go to. Mae Ri tells Mu Gyul she has a time crunch, she needs to be somewhere today. She opens her giant rug coat to reveal her engagement dress, shocking Mu Gyul, who asks if she is getting married today? Just about, Mu Gyul, so you better do something about it if you want a chance with her, got it?
Seo Jun has hid herself away in her drapes-drawn apartment. He’s there to convince her to stay on the drama production, but she’s seething and refuses to talk with him. Back to Mu Gyul and Mae Ri, he asks her when the engagement ceremony is. Both start discussing all the things they need to do today, and Mu Gyul tells Mae Ri that he desperately needs to wash his hair. Oh god, I just know that hair’s going to make a stand for Mae Ri in the future. Don’t be surprised if Mu Gyul really cuts it further down the line. He makes Mae Ri wash his hair for him – both of them griping that they really shouldn’t meet anymore since every time they meet, their peaceful lives get upended.
Jung In finally goes into the bathroom, to find Seo Jun sitting fully clothed under the shower, crying her eyes out. He wraps her in a blanket, and sits down to tell her that her continued silence in the face of these spurious allegations will only exacerbate the problem. He tells her that she has done nothing wrong, the naysayers simply believe what they want to believe.
Mu Gyul is having lunch with Mae Ri by his side. She gets a call from Jung In, apologizing that he won’t be able to accompany her this afternoon. Mu Gyul hears from the conversation that Jung In is with Seo Jun dealing with her situation. Mae Ri tells Mu Gyul that he should have some concern for his ex-girlfriend, who is dealing with harsh rumors. He should at least text her.
Mu Gyul pulls out his phone to text Seo Jun, all the while asking Mae Ri if she’s fine with Jung In being with Seo Jun today. Mae Ri says that Jung In and Seo Jun have a working relationship is all. Mu Gyul finishes his text to Seo Jun and tells Mae Ri he’s off to take a nap and meet his mom in the afternoon. Mae Ri tells him to take a short trip with him, and he grumbles but ends up going to visit Mae Ri’s mom’s grave with her.
Mu Gyul looks at her mom’s picture and notes that Mae Ri looks identical to her mom, who was a classy beauty. Mae Ri asks Mu Gyul to put on her head phones as she needs some privacy to talk with her mom. She tells her mom that she wanted to tell her about her engagement, and even wore her dress to show her. She points to Mu Gyul and says that he’s not the guy.
Mae Ri starts to tear up, telling her mom that she wishes she could be just like her parents – falling in love at first sight and running away to get married despite their parents protests. Except, instead of that romantic scenario, she finds herself inexplicably getting engaged today, to a man she does not love. But he’s a good man, and her dad likes him a lot. Jeez, why doesn’t her dad marry Jung In then! She tells her mom that she will live well. Then Mae Ri starts to cry in earnest, wishing that on a day like this, she could be with her mom and the person she loves.
It’s obvious that Mu Gyul overheard her conversation, and his look of concern shows clearly on his face. He puts Mae Ri’s coat back around her shoulders, explaining that he thought she looked cold is all. He hastily tells her that he can’t hear a word she’s saying so she might as well continue the conversation. Mae Ri looks at Mu Gyul, and continues to softly cry.
They take the bus home, sitting in comfortable silence with their handcuffed hands resting next to each other. They discuss their sad upbringings – one waiting at home for her dad to come home, the other living like a ghost moving from one relative’s house to another. They tease each other upon finding out that they both were taken to the opposite sex bathing house by their parents. Mu Gyul says that if he wrapped a towel around himself, people thought he was a girl child. Mu Gyul gets a call from his mom, and they go back to the apartment to meet up with her.
This time its Mae Ri’s turn to wear the headphones, and Mu Gyul and his mom discuss her plan to move to Paris with her boyfriend. They aren’t planning on getting married, but she hopes that living in a foreign land will make them dependent on each other, and they will stop the breaking up and getting back together cycle. She’s such a delusional romantic. She tells Mu Gyul that her leaving is good for him, too. She keeps relying on him, and making his life difficult with her situations. Amen to that, sister!
Mu Gyul explodes at her, yelling that she’s not done anything to make his life difficult. This woman is so freaking self-absorbed that she doesn’t realize that her constant abandonment of Mu Gyul is what’s killing this poor boy and making him fear commitment. Mom tells Mae Ri that she’s planning to leave in about a month, and asks Mae Ri to take care of Mu Gyul. This pisses Mu Gyul off in so many ways, he yells at his mom for telling an outsider about their plans.
Mu Gyul stalks through the park dragging Mae Ri along. He’s hella pissed, and calls his band mates to demand that they release them from the cuffs. They make plans to meet at the club for an audition, and as he turns to leave with Mae Ri, she’s plucked a kale bouquet similar to the one from episode 1, and it’s her turn to present it to him. He flashes back to his own gesture to her when they first met, and cracks a smile. Mae Ri tells him not to be so upset, and she does indeed change his mood quickly with her adorable ways.
The daddys get dolled up for the engagement part of their children. Loser daddy asks devil daddy why he is so harsh with Jung In, but we don’t hear devil daddy’s answer. Speaking of which, Jung In is playing the guitar for Seo Jun. She opens up to Jung In, explaining that she severed ties with her rich and prominent family when she dared to become a lowly actress. Jung In stops playing as his left hand cramps up again, and Seo Jun looks to see that he has a scar. She casually asks if he tried to kill himself, and *gasp*, Jung In confirms that he did.
Jung In explains that when he was in Japan, the guitar was his only companion. But his father wouldn’t let him play, claiming that music made a person in touch with his emotions, and therefore weak. Jung In couldn’t bear it, so he did something that he regrets. He tells Seo Jun that he’s proud that she made a stand with her family and following her acting dreams.
At the audition, Mu Gyul and Mae Ri are still locked together because the band mates lost the key. They tell the club manager that she’s there to be a back-up dancer. ROFL, this I gotta see to believe. Mu Gyul tells Mae Ri to do her best, and she protests that she doesn’t know how to dance. You see Mae Ri cuffed to Mu Gyul with one hand, holding the kale bouquet on the other hand. What follows is SO FREAKING FUNNY someone needs to make a gif of it and send it to me.
Mae Ri does this ridiculous dance that makes everyone laugh at her complete inability to dance. She is utterly adorable. Even Mu Gyul sneaks a glance at her and gives a tiny little grin as he’s singing. After the performance, the band mates still can’t find the keys, and Mae Ri calls Jung In to tell him that she’s in Hongdae, and will explain to him later what happened. Jung In heads to Hongdae to pick up Mae Ri, and Seo Jun is with him in the car.
Jung In confesses to Seo Jun that he’s supposed to get engaged later tonight, and Seo Jun apologizes for being a burden on him today. He tells her not to think too much about it. She confesses to being a tad envious of his fiancée and curious as to her identity. He tells her that he will introduce them after the engagement ceremony.
Mu Gyul is using a screwdriver to try and pop the lock on the handcuffs, but has no luck. Mae Ri tells him that Jung In is coming in an hour to pick her up, and he asks whether she’s that anxious to get engaged. She tells him that she doesn’t want to be engaged, but it’s something that will nonetheless happen. Mu Gyul asks Mae Ri whether she’s going to call him a bad luck fellow now, and she asks him why she should say that.
Mae Ri tells Mu Gyul that he’s actually a good luck guy. He’s good looking and has musical talent, he should count his blessings that these gifts have been bestowed upon him. She always unconsciously hits all his right buttons, doesn’t she? Mu Gyul sits up, and tentatively asks Mae Ri whether she’s ever like him before? She wonders why he’s asking this question now, and he says that since they’ve ended things, he’s just curious. He confesses that he did feel something for her.
She’s incredulous at this declaration, especially since he claimed that he doesn’t view her as a woman. Mu Gyul says that more than a woman, Mae Ri….and he doesn’t finish his sentence and plops back down on the sofa, saying that he doesn’t know anymore. Mae Ri asks when he first felt this way, and Mu Gyul openly tells her that it was when she went to the country estate with Jung In. He was eating ice-cream after his mom left him. He kind of deflates the confession when he tells her that after he saw her the next day, those feelings went away. Kang Mu Gyul, liar liar, whatever shredded pants you have left is on fire.
The band mates call right at this moment, interrupting the impending confession, telling Mu Gyul that they found the keys. As Mu Gyul and Mae Ri hurry to meet them, Mu Gyul chides Mae Ri for claiming to want to marry a man for love, hence the fake marriage with him. But look at her now, marrying for business reasons in the end. She stops walking and asks him to not talk about this anymore. Mu Gyul looks annoyed and asks her whether she loves Jung In?
Mae Ri confesses that she’s never been in love before, so she doesn’t know whether she loves Jung In or not. Mu Gyul makes fun of her for never being in love before, and Mae Ri is so pissed off that she calls Mu Gyul out as someone who doesn’t know what love is either. His pledge to not date a woman for a month is a form of disease, a disease that fears intimacy and commitment.
Mu Gyul gets upset and asks whether she knows him well enough to say that. Mae Ri yells back that she does know him well enough, she spent over 50 days by his side as his fake wife. She tells him to get his disease treated, otherwise he will never know what love is. Mu Gyul yells back at her – how dare she tell him what to do, she who is marrying a man she does not love! Oh my, the sparks of anger are flaming so hot right now between them.
The same school girls from earlier at the park run into Mae Ri and Mu Gyul, and are about to get in Mae Ri’s face for being handcuffed to their favorite teacher. Mu Gyul grabs Mae Ri and they take off running. The daddys are at the engagement site waiting for the kids to arrive. Jung In is parked in Hongdae but can’t get a hold of Mae Ri on the phone. Seo Jun asks to borrow his phone since hers is out of juice, and she sees the bridal salon picure of Jung In and Mae Ri, realizing now that Mae Ri is the titular fiancée.
Mu Gyul pulls Mae Ri into a narrow alleyway, both of them catching their breaths and laughing about being chased by a gaggle of school girls.
The girls run by the alley, and Mu Gyul instinctively hugs Mae Ri, using his back to shield them from view in case the girls glance their way. After he releases Mae Ri, she’s clearly affected by their closeness, as is he.
He leans in to kiss her, and she turns her head away. This is not the kiss she wants to accept, one that seems to be casually in the moment. She calls him a playboy, and confesses that even though he doesn’t seem affected by it, her heart was pounding so loudly she thought it would burst (during their first kiss).
Mu Gyul is incredulous by this confession. Mae Ri then softly yells at him for ruining a kiss meant to be shared with the person one loves.
Mu Gyul grabs her little fist from pounding his chest, and calls out her name in a questioning tone. Mae Ri asks Mu Gyul – wasn’t he the one who told her that he doesn’t see her as a woman in his eyes? He throws it right back at her – wasn’t she the one who told him that she doesn’t see him as a man in her eyes? Oh you two, letting these throwaway remarks tie you to a principle that is flimsier that a block of nonexistent ice in the Pacific.
Mae Ri looks at Mu Gyul with her great big eyes, her lips quivering, as she asks him again – wasn’t he the person who specifically told her NOT to fall in love with him? He asks her right back again – wasn’t she the one who told him that she would never fall in love with him? They look at each other, all wounded and tentative, processing this moment and all the unsaid things they keep using questions to evade – and then Mu Gyul makes the first move and grabs Mae Ri’s face for a deep, lingering kiss.
Now that’s what imma talking about! This kiss was not caused by their breathless proximity or hormones or to put Jung In in his place. This was the kiss of a young man who cannot help but be attracted to this young woman, who has discovered that her heart has fallen IN LOVE with a guy before she even knew what that felt like. The camera pans down from the couple still kissing, focusing on their hands and the handcuffs that bind them.
Thoughts of Mine:
At the rate Mu Gyul and Jung In are moving forward with Mae Ri, skinship-wise, I’m chuckling to myself thinking that we’ll get some X-rated boating by episode 13. Seriously, the kiss in the alley was like Mu Gyul reminding all of us – you think my first kiss to Mae Ri was weaksauce and Jung In brung it during their kiss in the rain, well, how’s THIS for a kiss, kiddos? Kang Mu Gyul-shhi, THAT was indeed how you kiss a girl. Thank you, sir. I have been duly chastened.
A special shout-out to Jang Geun Seok for finally showing me that you can kiss your co-star on screen. I’m sure all your previous lip-presses were at the behest of the PDs who refused to let you do some steamy kissing, but I’ve sat though pretty much every one of your dramas waiting for the goods, and you finally delivered. In addition, THAT was what I wanted the rain kiss in PK to be like. No knock on Kim Hyun Joong or Jung So Min, but that PD in PK needs to be pistol whipped for not upping the urgency of the entire scene. Sigh.
Back to M3 – I don’t think that kiss clarified anything other than Mu Gyul and Mae Ri finally realizing that both have been feeling something for the other person this whole time, but have been restraining themselves under the assumption that those throwaway things they said to each other actually carried significant weight. “You told me you don’t see me as a man?” “You told me you don’t see me as a woman?” These two adorable kids have been carrying around these self-imposed roadblocks, unable to take step forward to change their relationship until now.
Mu Gyul is too experienced with women not to understand that he’s started to see Mae Ri as a woman, but he’s hampered by his own fear of commitment, her impending engagement to Jung In, and a complete inability to ascertain how Mae Ri feels about him. How does one fight for the girl if one is unsure the girl likes you back, especially if said Romeo has never waged a battle for love in his entire life This was also the episode that made me understand that Mae Ri has been aware of how she’s started to feel something towards Mu Gyul, but is also unable to move forward because of the same restraints. Mae Ri and Mu Gyul are really like mirror images of each other. Who died of the cute when it was Mae Ri’s turn to use the kale bouquet to cheer up Mu Gyul?
Nothing moved me more than the conversations everyone was having in this episode. First off – Mu Gyul and Mae Ri’s open discussion of how they felt about each other, which result in a confirmation they pretty much they are confused as heck. Jung In’s discussion with Mae Ri about his memories of her was nice, and brought them closer. But it was actually his revelation to Seo Jun about his childhood suicide attempt that was the breakthrough for him. This was also this first time I connected with Seo Jun, her familial struggles shedding light on her diva attitude and emotional vulnerability.
I remember back to all those dramas where I got so fed up by the OTP taking way too long to figure out their feelings for each other, or taking way too long to get together. M3 appears to be tailored make to my fan-service fantasies, because this kiss was neither for show, accidental, in anger, or having no plot driven purpose.
This kiss, for all intents and hot as hell purposes, puts Mae Ri and Mu Gyul completely on the same wavelength. They are falling in love with each other. Now, we’re not talking about mature adults who know how to handle a sure-to-be-difficult relationship fraught with parental land mines. Both are exceedingly young in age and immature in love for different reasons. As such, knowing that they may love each other doesn’t mean it’s smooth sailing for Mae Ri and Mu Gyul at all. I mean, my money is on Mu Gyul bailing at least once (maybe) when he can’t handle the pressure. Or devil daddy abducting him for his split-the-lovers-up scheme. Either way, this couple is in for a rough ride.
Jung In and Seo Jun, on the other hand, fully convince me that they’d work as a couple, because they are actually friends on the same wavelength. They are actually the very same kind of kindred spirits in the same way that Mae Ri and Mu Gyul are with each other. They both come from rich and disapproving families, putting up walls to protect themselves from the world that demands they be something they are not. I like this pairing, not just as a way for Jung In to not end up broken and lonely at the end of the drama. They seem like they actually understand each other, and have the same hopes and desires to make something of themselves. I don’t see the chemistry yet, but I see the potential.
To be honest, normally I have a roadmap of how I think a drama will unfold. It’s not rocket science, and allows for me to be surprised by the little things while gearing myself up for the big reveals. In M3, I’ve been constantly surprised by how some classic clichés are delivered and unveiled. I do worry a teensy bit now that we’ve hit the halfway mark AND we’ve gotten to the big OTP mutual declaration (which was pretty fast in for a sixteen episode rom-com). Does the drama find a way to create conflict and angst while keeping the cute and the sweet all balanced on a delicate platter? I sure hope so. For now, Christmas has officially come early for me. Thank you, Kang Mu Gyul-shhi, for having the cojones to kiss your girl senseless.