Excuse me for a moment. My belly really hurts. No, I didn’t eat anything bad. On the contrary, I ate something so good it made my belly ache from the laughter and the worry. For the first time in 12 episodes of Mary Stayed Out All Night (Marry Me, Mary!), everything clicked and all my right emotional buttons were pushed. I giggled at the adorableness of Jung In and Mu Gyul’s deliciously dorky competitive spirit. I ooohed my way through Jung In and Mae Ri’s every interaction, and I awwhed my way through every Mae Ri and Mu Gyul moment.
Episode 12 was fun, fast, and narratively tight, moving everyone forward in rational and amusing ways. To be honest, I am really not joking about how close I am to jumping ship to Jung In-Mae Ri. It’s only because I’ve built up 12 episodes worth of love and loyalty to Mu Gyul that I am sticking with my boy come hell or high water. But this is the first time I truly believed that Jung In may be the better fit for Mae Ri in every way – except for the one thing that matters, which is that she loves Mu Gyul.
Jung In can do everything and more for Mae Ri, including love her to pieces, that Mu Gyul can do. So why is Mu Gyul my choice, and Mae Ri’s choice? Because if I take M3 as the story of Kang Mu Gyul, and not the story of Wi Mae Ri, then Mae Ri is the catalyst in Mu Gyul’s life, the sole transformative power of love and understanding that turns this playboy into a real man. He’s getting there, in so many ways as evidenced in episode 12.
In some ways this makes Mae Ri a passive participant. If she chooses Mu Gyul in the end because he needs her more, and because she loves him in some puppy dog first love way, then their relationship is doomed. I need both Mae Ri and Mu Gyul to really make some hard choices, and it can’t be choices dictated by their parents’ horrible behavior or some marriage contract shenanigans looming over them.
I need Kang Mu Gyul to understand that love is not about being together and keeping warm, literally and emotionally. I need him to understand that Mae Ri is choosing him over an equally awesome guy who genuinely loves her, because she LOVES ONLY HIM. It’s a startling emotional journey from “we become attracted to each other in a pretend marriage and started dating” to “this is the person I cannot live the rest of my life without.”
The new writer is finally taking the drama in that direction. And the first thing she does is make Jung In so freaking awesome there’s likely a flurry of ship-jumpers in the last two days. Mae Ri needs a real choice (and she’s getting it with new and improved Jung In), and Mu Gyul needs a real rival. It’s only then can they test the true depths of their growing love for each other. It’s not through the ups and downs of a crazy love affair that a couple achieves longevity – it’s through the dull and ordinary that we realize this is the life we seek.
I mentioned about that I was also worried. What am I worried about? Oh, the possibility of an OTP switch, however slight. This is the hallmark of a good drama, it makes us genuinely worried that our OTP won’t work out, not through devil daddy machinations, but through a bona fide transfer of affection amongst the participants. I see some set up going on in episode 12, but I think it’s just good writing by the new writer to make me gnaw on my arm like a beaver for the next 6 days in anticipation.
Finally, thank you all for the words of encouragement and appreciation for my recaps and sundry other M3 goodies. It means a lot to me when you leave a comment, and I hope everyone continues to comment more about the drama as well. I have a feeling the next 4 episodes will be meaty with discussion possibilities. I know my thoughts on this drama are getting longer and longer. Feel free to skip and just read the recaps. I’m probably thinking too much as it is.
Episode 12 Recap:
Seo Jun stalks out of the recording booth and declares that there is no way in hell she will sing a sappy love song composed by her ex-boyfriend for his new girlfriend, with lyrics chronicling their love story. Theoretically I feel for ya, Seo Jun, but you’ve used up my patience long ago, and now I just want you to suck it up and let it go.
Mu Gyul tells her to behave like the professional she is (which surprises me, since Seo Jun has not behaved like a professional once since she started her “I still love Kang Mu Gyul” self-pity session). Since Mu Gyul told her to start living like the Seo Jun of yore, she’s starting right now by refusing to sing a song that disgusts her. Mu Gyul is furious at her description of the song as disgusting. Jung In calls an end to the recording session, walking off to reason with Seo Jun. Mae Ri picks up the music sheets strewn everyone, and tries to alleviate Mu Gyul’s temper.
Mae Ri is unpacking her luggage at Mu Gyul’s apartment, since she is now also living with him. I know that her living with two guys is rather unpalatable on the surface, but when you understand the context it’s actually both pragmatic and rather innocent. He asks her why she brought so much stuff, and she grumbles that he should be helping her unpack. When Mu Gyul moves to take Mae Ri’s bedding to the bed, she protests that they can’t sleep in the same bed!
It’s too small a place to get another bed, and Mu Gyul won’t sleep on the sofa because it makes his back ache. Mu Gyul reassures her that he, um, you know, won’t be doing that, but his still shy and innocent Merry Christmas wants more reassurance than the words of a hot-blooded twenty-four year old former playboy indie rocker. Mu Gyul offers to make a dividing barrier in the middle of the bed, and I just died of the cute again.
Mu Gyul positions the curtain, and Mae Ri stands back with her hands crossed directing him in a bossy and snappy way. It’s such an adorable turnaround from when she helped him decorate his apartment like an obedient puppy. Now that they are dating, she’s exhibiting her entire arsenal of emotions and moods with him, and I love it. She’s got a temper, and used to show it with Mu Gyul. It kinda died on us for a few episodes, and I’m glad to see spirited and opinionated Mae Ri back in the saddle.
Mae Ri is especially keen that Mu Gyul divide the bed fairly, yelling at him that his side is much bigger. Mu Gyul cuts his finger on the hanger hook, and immediately Mae Ri rushes to him and solicitously minsters to his cut. Rather than put a band aid on it like she did with Jung In’s forehead gash, she puts his bleeding finger in her mouth and licks the blood off. It was totally an instinctive thing she did, and not intended to be sultry or anything like that.
Mu Gyul teases her that they should have a kiss to celebrate their living together (I second that suggestion!), and she stops sucking on his finger and turns around in a pique. Omo, I totally understand why she’s pissed at him during this unpacking session! Seo Jun mentioned in the studio that she saw Mu Gyul this morning, and Mae Ri is obviously upset that he didn’t tell her he went to take care of her.
She changes the subject and asks him why he broke up with Seo Jun. He says that its in the past now and not worth discussing. Mae Ri tells him that Seo Jun is clearly still hung up about it in the present. Mu Gyul understands why Mae Ri is curious, but doesn’t elaborate other than explain that he told Seo Jun to find a cooler guy than himself to date. Mae Ri asks – what will happen if she can’t find a cooler guy than you? Mu Gyul doesn’t have an answer to that.
Seo Jun is calming having lunch with Jung In, and apologizes for her behavior earlier. He asks why she broke up with Mu Gyul, and she answers that it was all due to a misunderstanding. Turns out that Mu Gyul misunderstood that the man Seo Jun was supposed to be engaged to, and that she blew off to be with Mu Gyul, was a rich man who was supporting Seo Jun and being her sugar daddy.
In Seo Jun’s mind, when two people are in love, they don’t need to explain misunderstandings. I think the one thing Seo Jun miscalculated was the “love” part – clearly Mu Gyul did not love her the way she loved him back then. It’s shitty for her, but love is the one thing that is not fair in life. It hurts that she has to watch Mu Gyul fight for Mae Ri when Mu Gyul barely did anything to resolve a minor misunderstanding with her. I do feel like her hang up with respect to Mu Gyul has finally been clarified, and I find it relatable albeit still rather a stretch to believe.
Lee An comes to find them, and tells Seo Jun that he convinced the bitchy manager not to press charges. He still doesn’t believe she had anything to do with leaking Seo Jun’s scandal, but Seo Jun calls him a idiot for believing everything she says and following her around like a puppy. Lee An tells Seo Jun that SHE is the person he’s following around, and finally this guy gets a semblance of a personality. Lee An goes back to the car to see the bitchy manager, who says that she will not let Seo Jun succeed that easily.
Mu Gyul’s mom runs into Mae Ri’s dad at the dukbokggi store, and confesses her taking of Mae Ri’s ring and pawning it. Back at the apartment, Mae Ri finds the pawn slip and realizes how much the ring is worth. She worries whether Mu Gyul’s mom will return it to her, and Mu Gyul sadly says that he’ll pay it back if she can’t. My poor Mu Gyul baby, I offer to go club your mom.
Loser daddy calls at that very moment, and Mae Ri has to explain to him that her ring was a gift from devil daddy and she didn’t mean to give it to Mu Gyul’s mom. Loser daddy is rightfully pissed (though at the wrong party – he needs to club the crazy lady eating at his restaurant behind him), and runs to find Mu Gyul to settle with him about the mess his mom made.
The two of them run outside to avoid her dad. They see him turning the corner, and in their haste and limited hiding options, they jump into the dumpster in front of the apartment. Well, Mae Ri hoists herself in, and poor Mu Gyul literally takes a head dive right into the trash. Loser daddy arrives and pounds on the door, accusing Mu Gyul of being in cahoots with his mom to swindle Mae Ri of money. They two of them realize loser daddy isn’t going anywhere soon, and they snuggle together in that dumpster, cold and hungry.
Jung In is at home, and goes to get a cup of coffee. Seeing the empty chair where Mae Ri sat to enjoy breakfast with him triggers a fleeting awareness of missing her. Our poor hapless OTP are still stuck in the trash bin. They hear ramyun being delivered, and they open the lid a notch to smell the wafting scent of delicious ramyun that loser daddy is inhaling. Poor Mu Gyul sinks back into the dumpster, starved and weak from the cold, leaving his Merry Christmas to cradle his shoulders and urge him to be strong. I cannot stress enough how funny and charming this drama has been again since the new writer took over.
Mae Ri has the bright idea to call Jung In, who is more than a little pleased she’s calling him when she’s with Mu Gyul. But Mae Ri just needs him to lure her dad away so that they can get back into the house before they freeze to death outside. Jung In lures the dad away, and Mae Ri and Mu Gyul hurry back inside. Mae Ri sits down at the makeshift heater, and Mu Gyul pulls another chair to sit beside her, but not before he drapes a blanket over her. Squee, he is so sweet when it comes to her.
She covers them both with the blanket, and they snuggle together. But they smell like trash, so Mu Gyul goes to turn on the water so they can wash. Too bad the pipes are frozen and no water will come out. Mae Ri is dismayed, and the next thing you know, Mr. I hate the cold Kang Mu Gyul is willingly outside in the freezing weather getting water from the public tap for his Mae Ri to wash. Now THAT is devotion, ladies and gentlemen.
Mu Gyul’s mom has moved in with Mae Ri’s dad – as a condition of her repayment of the money needed to buy back the ring, she will work for him at the dukbokggi store. They assure each other that neither is their type, for sure nothing untoward will happen between them. Yawn, I so could care less about these two nitwits. Mom finds out that Mae Ri has a fiancée in Jung In, and she’s upset on Mu Gyul’s behalf.
Jung In calls Mu Gyul right when Mu Gyul is getting the water. Jung In hears heavy breathing on the end of the line, and what follows is so comically hilarious. Mu Gyul asks what the hell Jung In wants so late, and Jung in wants to know why Mu Gyul is breathing so heavily? Mu Gyul wonders whether he’s that bored with nothing to do, resorting to calling so late just to hear someone breathing.
Turns out Jung In wanted to talk about the music, saying that the tempo seems a tad too slow. Mu Gyul says he can speed it up, and tries to get off the phone, saying they can talk at work tomorrow. Mu Gyul hangs up and grabs the pail of water to head home. Jung In calls back, and he gets the same out-of-breath Mu Gyul on the line, telling him that now is NOT a good time to talk. Mwahahaha, oh god, I dies of the cross-communication here.
Jung In wants to hear the new tempo of the song right now, and Mu Gyul asks him to cut to the chase and just tell him what the hell he really wants. Jung In wants to know what Mu Gyul is doing right now that makes now a bad time to talk. Mu Gyul hangs up again, and takes out the battery this time. Jung In turns around in his bedroom all upset, and then FLOPS ON THE BED FACE DOWN! I swear, if Jung In gets any more adorable, screw Mae Ri, I want him for myself. Me, me, me!
And then the next scene hit, and my eyes just started welling up in tears. Mu Gyul has heated up the water, but his Mae Ri is asleep already, so he takes a wet cloth and wipes her faces and hands down. This scene runs parallel to the scene where Mu Gyul wipes his mom’s face after her meltdown, but what I love is that he’s doing this for Mae Ri, a woman who more than deserves his tenderness and devotion.
Mu Gyul lays down to sleep, but he can’t help it but lean into the sheer dividing curtain to look at Mae Ri. He moves the curtain aside, but then Mae Ri moves and he quickly lets it slide back into place, then curling down to sleep in contentment. The next morning, they are walking back to Jung In’s place, and I love the tableau of this couple walking in the early morning, enjoying each other’s company.
They remind each other to take a warm shower. Mu Gyul is quiet, leading Mae Ri to ask what’s wrong? He’s upset at himself for letting her endure such hardship with him. Mae Ri tells him that this is nothing, she’s made of stronger stuff than this. Yet another example of the new writer really understanding why they fit so perfectly in many ways – Mae Ri would never pick a man based on how rich he was, she’s never been one to shirk or gripe about living a hard life, especially if its on behalf of the person she loves. Before it was her dad, now it’s Mu Gyul.
Mu Gyul confesses that he really doesn’t want to deposit Mae Ri back at Jung In’s place, and Mae Ri reminds him that she will be back tomorrow. They see loser dad coming and Mae Ri hurries to get back inside Jung In’s house before he arrives. Mu Gyul happily waves her off, but his face falls as she runs inside.
Loser daddy hits Mae Ri in frustration over her giving the ring to Mu Gyul’s mom, which is interrupted when the stiff housekeeper arrives to continue deportment lessons for Mae Ri. Back at the office, bitchy manager has come to bargain with Jung In. She will end Lee An’s suit seeking to nullify the drama contract, if Jung In agrees to change the lead actress from Seo Jun to someone else. Jung In declines, and the bitchy manager promises that it’s just getting started.
Mu Gyul is reluctantly heading to visit a production site with Jung In. Mae Ri finishes her toilette and texts her honey, asking whether he’s cleaned up and feeling better? What follows is the absolute funniest scene in this episode. I will proceed to recap every detail. Mu Gyul reads the text, and immediately loudly exclaims “Oh, it’s from Mae Ri!” Jung In turns to look at him, and Mu Gyul ups the ante.
He says the text message is so cute, and she’s asking about taking a bath, does she want to take a bath together? Jung In tries to lean in to read the text, and Mu Gyul turns slightly and holds up the phone so Jung In can’t read it. Mu Gyul says that the text message even has a heart symbol in it, and pointedly smirks at Jung In, who loosens his tie a little in frustration.
Mu Gyul pours on the “me, too, me, too” sentiments to the text message, and Jung In slams on the brakes and Mu Gyul gets choked by his seatbelt in the ensuing sudden stop. Jung In sees Mu Gyul choking, and he has to physically turn his head to face the window because he is thisclose to cracking up. I, on the other hand, did in fact crack a rib laughing. Even better is when Jung In asks, in his usual polite way, whether Mu Gyul is okay.
They arrive at the venue, and Mu Gyul assesses that its too small for a full blown concert shoot. The drama should make it a guerilla concert event instead. Jung In’s phone rings, and his now trademark smirk comes back when he realizes who is calling. Jung In answers the phone and loudly calls out “Mae Ri-shhi” and walks away to talk. Mu Gyul’s head snaps to attention and he turns and walks behind Jung In.
Mu Gyul is trying to listen in on the conversation, which entails dinner plans later in the evening. Jung In asks if Mae Ri is cooking, and we hear Mae Ri answer that the housekeeper is cooking, but Jung In blithely says that he can’t wait to eat Mae Ri’s home cooked meal. Mae Ri is clueless on the other end, and asks whether Jung In heard what she said. No, honey, there is a contest going on involving you, and these two guys are in it to win it.
During dinner, devil daddy asks Mae Ri to wear the ring to their family dinner on Saturday. Back in Mae Ri’s room, Jung In asks Mae Ri if she knows how their parents all met. Mae Ri doesn’t know the details, but she does know that her mother knew Jung In’s dad before she met her own dad. She calls her dad to get the ring back as soon as possible, which leads to Mu Gyul’s mom getting a paste copy for Mae Ri without telling her.
Mu Gyul’s band mates are reviewing his music for the OST, and all are commenting that this is not Mu Gyul’s typical style. Mu Gyul says that their usual style is too narrowly focused, and the band wonders if he wants to go mainstream now. Jung In stands up for Mu Gyul, agreeing that drama OST music is intended for the mass audience and should be more mainstream.
The band is out drinking, and Mu Gyul tells them that he will never give up rock. They ask why he wrote those songs, and Mu Gyul tells them that he’s tired of working so hard and never making it. One of the band mates leaves, telling Mu Gyul that he’s disappointed in him, leading all of them to walk out.
Mu Gyul sits in the restaurant alone, contemplating what his friends said as well as his own musical future. I love this introspective scene. Seo Jun comes and sits down, asking him if he’s okay. Mu Gyul honestly replies that he’s not sure what he’s doing, he’s not sure what will happen.
Seo Jun asks him what the name of the new song is again, and says that she will sing it. He doesn’t want her sympathy, but she replies that before she was his girlfriend, she was always his fan. It doesn’t matter what musical style he wants to do, she will always support him.
Its morning time, and a disheveled Mae Ri walks out of her room and into the living room. She runs smack dab into a bathrobe-clad, yawning, mussy-haired Jung In! Jung in immediately looks like a startled deer, and touches his hair to discover that it’s a bird’s nest and not his usual Rico Suave do. Jung In reminds her that they have a concert to attend later, but the conversation is as awkward as they both are with each other.
Both scurry back to their respective rooms in a hurry. And I melted into a puddle of Koala goo at this scene, how cute and awkward it was. Jung In was so hot that I would have jumped his bones right then and right there. Yup, it was totally a Baek Seung Jo comes out of the shower moment right there.
After the concert and during dinner, devil daddy wants to admire the ring on Mae Ri’s finger. He notices that it’s a paste, and Jung In jumps to the rescue by explaining that Mae Ri is not comfortable with such a pricey bauble so he bought her a paste one to wear. Loser daddy is furious at Mu Gyul’s mom and vows to make her pay for the deception.
Jung In takes Mae Ri back to Mu Gyul’s place. She apologizes for the paste ring almost fiasco, and he calmly tells her that he knows she must have her reasons. He wants to give the rest of her time tonight to Mu Gyul, since she seems rather tired. Dude, please stop being so freaking awesome, I cannot handle this anymore without short circuiting my OTP wires.
She watches him drive away, with neither excitement or sadness, more a tacit understanding of what a great guy he is. Mu Gyul’s leaning against the wall, clearly having caught some of the discussion. He calls out “Wi Mae Ri-shhi”, and Mae Ri turns around and her face lights up in a giant smile upon seeing him.
Mu Gyul says that she looked quite happy back there, and she truthfully tells him that she was just thanking Jung In for helping her out. Mu Gyul is pouting and wants to know where she went with him today, and she grabs his arm and tells him they can discuss inside because its so cold out.
They are snuggling on the sofa as Mae Ri is explaining the paste ring situation. Mu Gyul is upset she didn’t call him, he promised to take care of his mom’s mess, didn’t he? They don’t have a chance to discuss any further, because loser daddy is pounding on the door. It takes them a minute to realize that loser daddy is about to discover their cohabitation!
They run around like headless chickens looking for a way out or a place to hide. Loser daddy has found the door unlocked and opened the gate, about to walk inside. We leave our lovebirds looking at each other in shock, and looking towards the door in anticipation of the impending daddy doomsday scenario.
Thoughts of Mine:
Oh what a good writer can do. Such a simple thing really – write what makes sense and write from the heart. Too bad the old writer of M3 lost her way, and had the characters wandering in circles irrationally moping. Starting from episode 11, it’s like a fog has lifted and everyone is seeing the situation anew and with eyes wide open. For me, it’s also like re-falling in love with M3 all over again, a reminder of why I fell in love with this drama in the first place.
Episode 12 was wonderful, wasn’t it? Alternatively funny and poignant, it balanced the lovely moments with the underlying issues that are still nowhere near resolved. The ending of episode 12 leaves me precariously wondering what the heck will happen in the next episode. This hasn’t happened since…..the ending to episode 7, when Mae Ri announced that she wasn’t really married to Mu Gyul. This time it’s not angst I crave, it’s an emotional connection with how and what will happen to Mae Ri and Mu Gyul in the long run.
I think everything will work out with respect to the external forces that seek to keep our OTP apart. I worry more for the internal issues that still require clarity. Mu Gyul – he’s a tough cookie for me to crack. While it’s obvious that he more than just likes Mae Ri, he has fallen in love with her, what does that mean? He told her in episode 10 that he will only have eyes for her when he likes her, and she asked him “for how long?” That was the single most important question that needs to be addressed between them.
I would love for Mae Ri to feel a stirring of “what if” fleeting thought when it comes to Jung In, because she needs to think clearly before choosing Mu Gyul. It’s not going to be an easy life, and I would love for her to move past the “but I love him!” feelings and choose him because she cannot imagine a life without him, in the good and the bad times. I also love how Mu Gyul is finally being confronted about his own musical career and future, which was a topic that was barely grazed in the beginning before being shunted aside.
Seo Jun returned to normal in this episode, completely and totally. She had a rational conversation with Jung In explaining why she can’t let Mu Gyul go so easily, and she also managed to work through her own issues and made the professional decision to sing the song. Not everyone needs to behave like raving banshees for a drama to be dramatic. I think all the characters have so much emotional potential and it hurts me to see how they all been under-developed until now.
The Jung In and Mu Gyul competitive streak when it comes to each of their interactions with Mae Ri was both LOL-funny as well as oddly like a bromance between them. I don’t mean in a slash-fiction sort of way, but in a good guy friends one-upping each other kind of way. Except this isn’t all fun and games – Mu Gyul is in love with Mae Ri and wants to be with her (now, and maybe as long as he wants to – he hasn’t gotten to the point where he has consciously made a decision to be with her for life), Jung In has developed feelings for Mae Ri, somewhere below like, but definitely more than care for.
Both men have their careers and their emotional future tied to this girl. Only one guy can win the girl, but hopefully both guys can help each other succeed in their careers. I don’t think we’ll see Jung In and Seo Jun paired up. If anything, dim little Lee An’s crush on Seo Jun appears to be genuine, and hopefully the two of them can make a cute little Hallyu couple in the future. I don’t think the drama is also positioning Jung In to fall deeply, madly, irrevocably in love with Mae Ri.
I see the drama moving Jung In into caring so genuinely for the wellbeing of Mae Ri that he will stand up to his dad for her, and that will be the big transformative moment of his life. Just like Mae Ri’s love is slowly and irrevocably transforming Mu Gyul, Mae Ri’s loyalty to Jung In and warmth will make him realize no father has a right to treat a son the way devil daddy has been traumatizing him. Seeing how alive Jung In has become recently, it’s almost like I’ve already gotten my happy ending for him. Dashing, sly, and confident Jung In striding off into the sunset, making that drama he intended, that’s a fitting ending for this closet-dorky second male lead.
Mu Gyul and Mae Ri have moved past puppy love already in my view. I love how the new writer remembers to throw in the Mae Ri and Mu Gyul get into scrapes together moments in this episode, a reminder of how much FUN it was to watch them in the earlier episodes, before it got all weepy on us. Did you notice that Mae Ri didn’t cry in this episode once! And she exhibited temper, her bossiness, and her adora-klutzy ways.
We have four more episodes to go, and frankly I am clueless how plot-wise this will all play out. I now have faith that the current writer understands the characters and their motivations much better than the original writer, and I trust in what she will deliver. It’s been a long time since I’ve felt so at peace going into the final stretch of a drama. I know my OTP will be together, I believe the writers will make it happen in ways that move me and make sense, and I think that all the other characters will end up where they ought to. That means all the parents will end up in the bottom of the ocean, where even the fishes won’t nibble on them because they are so very toxic.
All the interactions in this episode felt so intimate and real, especially every scene between Mae Ri and Mu Gyul. Yes, dumpster diving to escape your crazy daddy doesn’t happen other than in dramas, but it’s the little things they do when they are together, no matter in what setting, that make Mae Ri and Mu Gyul the sweetest K-drama couple for me in 2010. New writer-shhi, you have Jang Geun Seok and Moon Geun Young, along with the most intoxicatingly adorable chemistry since a litter full of puppies frolicking in the sun, so please do right by them.