Those concert pictures yesterday really resurrected my flagging enthusiasm big time. Too bad the concert scene wasn’t in today’s episode 13 of Mary Stayed Out All Night (Marry Me, Mary!), but I am forever a patient Koala and will gird myself for the onslaught of Jang Geun Seok performing on stage as Kang Mu Gyul hotness in the upcoming episode. *Fans self*.
Today’s episode had all the hallmarks of the new writer’s juggling act of (increasingly ridiculous) forward plot movement, as well as continued steady emotional development for Mae Ri and Mu Gyul. Too bad the forward part came at the expense of plot sanity, including unearthing the double dose of career-inhibiting-injury and critical-juncture-kidnapping (the latter of which I called out many recaps ago as likely to happen). Eh, this is nothing new. This year alone, M3 was not even the worst offender in drama plot going to the wolves, WUAS (Wish Upon A Star) takes the cake and the coffee in this category.
What really struck me today is how it’s become impossible for anyone, including Seo Jun and especially Jung In, to not acknowledge that Mae Ri and Mu Gyul are totally 100% in love with each other! It’s so obvious how genuine their affection is for each other that there is no justification in the world for anyone to get between the two of them.
I think Jung In discovering his dad’s sick ulterior insistence on having Mae Ri as a daughter-in-law gives his character the excuse he needed to stop pursuing Mae Ri, especially since he has not fallen in love with her just yet. Jung In will get his logical ending, and hopefully some real friends in Mae Ri and Mu Gyul going forward.
M3 is really a story constructed around a premise (wacky dual marriage) and a central love story (Mae Ri and Mu Gyul). It’s like someone writing a novel not based on telling a gripping story, but writing scenes first and then linking the scenes together into a logical progression of how and whys. There is no story beyond how Mae Ri met Mu Gyul, two random people who randomly meet, fall in love and discover soul mates in each other. This premise was only ever going to appeal to a small group of people who absolutely love this couple, and are willing to overlook everything else lacking.
I am one of those folks, and can’t blame others for not feeling the same adoration of Mu Gyul and Mae Ri’s love story. I don’t feel particularly pissed off that M3 had a great cast who deserved a better script, because I’ve enjoyed what I’ve been given. We’re turning the corner and heading into the final stretch, and I just have a wish for the writer to resolve the external conflicts quickly, and allow my OTP to work through their own developmental hurdles, both individually and as a couple. I’m calling it right now – we’re getting a wedding at the end, whether right away, or after a time jump.
Episode 13 Recap:
Our lovebirds are running around like headless chickens, scrambling for a way out of the impending loser daddy predicament. Loser daddy opens the gate and rushes into Mu Gyul’s apartment, and comes face-to-face with the rocker-girly-guy his daughter loves. Mae Ri is nowhere in sight. Loser daddy berates Mu Gyul for swindling his darling daughter, emotionally and financially, and tries to drag him to the police station. Someone needs to hog tie loser daddy and then nudge him not-so-gently off a hillside.
Loser daddy pauses when he sees Mu Gyul’s bed, divided by a familiar curtain, next to a familiar bed spread. He further spies female toiletries on the table next to the bed. He talks to himself – it must be a coincidence, there are many similar things in this world, and his Mae Ri is safely living with Jung In now.
Mu Gyul wisely books it as loser daddy puts two and two together, running outside with Mae Ri’s giant orange suitcase in hand. He jumps into a taxi with the suitcase, which contains his Merry Christmas, all battered and shook up from being shoved into a suitcase and forcibly transported from Mu Gyul’s apartment to a taxi.
Loser daddy hurries to Jung In’s house, and barges into Mae Ri’s room to find her sleeping on the bed, feigning exhaustion and illness. Jung In is playing along, as usual, trying to stall loser daddy since he thinks Mae Ri is with Mu Gyul tonite. Jung In understands what likely transpired tonight when loser daddy accuses Mae Ri of playacting and being hidden in the suitcase that Mu Gyul was dragging around earlier.
Loser daddy drags Mae Ri outside to talk, and Jung In skims the room with his eyes as he heads out behind them, clearly wondering where the heck Mu Gyul is hiding. Turns out the errant boyfriend is hiding behind the wardrobe, and he slowly steps out after the coast is clear.
Loser daddy immediately asks Jung In for help, to save his Mae Ri from being swindled by Mu Gyul. Jung In plays along, while Mae Ri hacks away with her pretend cold. Loser daddy asks Mae Ri how her blankets and other household items ended up at Mu Gyul’s apartment. Mae Ri lies that she threw those things away because she doesn’t need it at Jung In’s house. Loser daddy warns Mae Ri – the day he sees her at Mu Gyul’s house, its’ the end of the road for them as family. Way to keep threatening the person you supposedly love, loser daddy!
Mu Gyul’s waiting to leave the room, and he takes a look around Mae Ri’s plush digs. He remarks that its like a princess barfed up a fantasy room, and is so lame. He sees a book on the table, and opens it to read Jung In’s handwritten post it about the story and its meaning. Mu Gyul is not impressed, calling it an old-fashion way to woo a girl.
Mu Gyul walks outside to hear Jung In tell Mae Ri that he will buy the ring back, and that she should have asked him for help if she needed money. Mu Gyul tells Jung In that he will handle it, and grabs Mae Ri to leave. She notes that her dad is likely camped out at Mu Gyul’s apartment waiting for him still. Jung In suggests that Mu Gyul also move in temporarily since loser daddy is so suspicious recently. Mu Gyul says that there is no spare room, and Jung In offers to let Mu Gyul crash in the small living room.
The trio walk into the living room, and Mu Gyul finds his new digs too cold and drafty. He thinks he should just sleep in Mae Ri’s room. Jung In repeats “Mae Ri’s room?”, and Mu Gyul ups the ante by explaining that they slept in the same bed when Mae Ri stays with him. Kim Jae Wook looks like he about to crack up during this entire scene, which is so adorable of him to accept the silliness and have fun with it. Jung In repeats “slept in the same bed?”, and Mae Ri taps Mu Gyul and reminds him that there was a curtain dividing the bed.
Jung In tells Mu Gyul to do as he says, since it’s his house. He walks out to grab some bedding for Mu Gyul, who gripes that he wants to just leave since being here totally ruins his mood. Mae Ri does her usual Mu Gyul OPW and totally gets him to relent. Jung In walks back to his room, and immediately starts imagining Mu Gyul and Mae Ri sleeping together, and making out. Oh you two boys, this constant fantasizing about the other couple is really bad for your self-esteem.
Mu Gyul wakes up thirsty, and toddles off to Mae Ri’s room to ask her to get him some water because he can’t find the fridge. He pounces on Mae Ri and muffles her scream with his hand, mumbling about needing water and being thirsty. She hands him a glass of juice, and spills it over his shirt. She’s super bossy and tells him to take it off right now, she needs to wash it for him.
Jung In hears water running and noise from outside, leading him to investigate. He hears Mae Ri and Mu Gyul having a conversation in the bathroom, along the lines of “I can do it”, “no, let me do it”, “I’m doing my best”, etc. He barges in to find Mu Gyul leaning over Mae Ri, with a towel wrapped around him, and Mae Ri washing his top. Jung In tells them to not make so much noise in the middle of the night, and grumpily goes back to bed.
Mu Gyul’s mom comes to his apartment and is ambushed by loser daddy. Seo Jun is recording “Hello, Hello” with Mu Gyul at the studio, and he stops her for singing it with too much emotion. It should be a faster song, and he ends up singing it to demonstrate for her. Jung In walks in to hear Mu Gyul’s rendition, and he suggests that Mu Gyul sing this song for the OST, as its more suited for the man in the relationship to sing. Seo Jun agrees and walks out, a little bit pouty but not her usual level of bitchiness.
Jung In sits in his office and broods over the implications of his dad carrying around Mae Ri’s mom’s picture in his wallet. Devil daddy calls Jung In to prod him about wedding preparations, and Jung In works up the courage to ask his dad about what his real relationship was with Mae Ri’s mom. Devil daddy tells Jung In that he doesn’t want to talk about it right yet, and walks away leaving Jung In more disturbed than ever about this fixation that he marry Mae Ri.
The wedding planners are at Jung In’s house to have Mae Ri try on wedding dresses. Jung In confronts the housekeeper lady and asks her about his father’s relationship with Mae Ri’s mom. She refuses to divulge anything, other than a confirmation that devil daddy has been carrying around Mae Ri’s mom’s picture in his wallet for thirty years. Damn, that is one obsessed dude.
Mae Ri is forced to try on a wedding dress, and she pulls Jung In outside to once again remind him that she will not be choosing him at the end. He understands, but tells her that this is necessary to keep up the ruse. They are about to walk inside when Mu Gyul walks up to the house and sees Mae Ri in a wedding dress. He asks if they are planning to take wedding pictures, and when Mae Ri says this is not what he thinks, Mu Gyul stalks off and Mae Ri chases after him in the bitter cold clad in only a strapless wedding dress.
She loses him, and Jung In comes to drape his suit jacket over her, and her eyes rimed with tears. None of these three are happy with this situation, and it’s becoming increasing harder emotionally to handle. Mu Gyul gets a text from Seo Jun to meet at a restaurant. Mae Ri goes to Mu Gyul’s apartment and runs into his mom.
Mom, who is in no position to lecture ANYBODY, tells Mae Ri that since she is married to another man and living there, she shouldn’t be coming by here anymore. Mae Ri honestly tells her that she only has Mu Gyul in her heart. Though circumstances require that she live there for now, she’ll be moving out in two weeks. His mom is so wack in the head that she says being with Mae Ri would be hard for Mu Gyul, who needs a loving woman and a warm in-law family. Damn, I want to wack her like a wack-a-mole. She asks Mae Ri not to see Mu Gyul anymore. Bitch, the only person who should never see Mu Gyul again is YOU.
Seo Jun actually does something constructive for a change, having called the entire band together, asking them to drink and work out their differences. The band mates apologize for their early diss, and tell Mu Gyul that he’s always their leader.
Devil daddy goes to see loser daddy, informing him that he knows that the paste ring is not of Jung In’s doing, and that he has been keeping tabs on Mae Ri and Mu Gyul’s secret relationship. He delivers a threat that if Mae Ri continues to see Mu Gyul, then loser daddy is going to be in deep shit. See the complete boredom on my face, that is how much I do not care about whatever happens to loser daddy.
Back at the restaurant, the band mates are passed out drunk, and Seo Jun and Mu Gyul finally talk about their failed relationship. He apologizes for not understanding her feelings more back then, and she confesses that she contributed to the problem by trying to play it too cool. Which is why she’s letting all her now unrequited feelings hang out, because it’s now or never for her to express how she really feels, no matter how childish it may seem. Wow, Seo Jun has a non-woe-is-me conversation with Mu Gyul that is somewhat mature and poignant.
Too bad the band mates drunkenly let slip to Seo Jun that Mae Ri is sleeping at Jung In’s house tonight, and Mu Gyul needn’t have left so early. Mu Gyul wanders home, talking to an imaginary Wi Mae Ri, asking if she liked wearing a wedding dress today. Boy, you are so in love with her, I feel for you, because this insanity you are putting up with can only be handled if you are emotionally committed. He looks at the lump on the sofa, and pulls the blanket off to reveal his mom. She chides him for coming home and the first thing out of his mouth is his Merry Christmas. What, did you think it would be you, you horrible excuse of a mother?
Mom confesses that she told Mae Ri to leave, but then asks him to find another woman and not let this relationship ruin his life. He snaps back at her that he would never be like her, letting love dictate his entire life. Mu Gyul leaves and heads to Jung In’s place. He stands outside and composes a text, but doesn’t end up sending it. Mae Ri sits in her room, composing basically the same text, but she doesn’t send it either.
She walks to the kitchen to get some water, and finds Jung In sitting in the dark and drinking. He struggles to walk upright back to his room, yet brushes off Mae Ri’s helping him. He tells her that right now, he’s stuck between a rock and a hard place, can’t go forward, and can’t retreat. He has never once disobeyed his father’s command, accepting what his father says as the right thing to do. Except now, he doesn’t think so anymore.
He tells Mae Ri that once the showcase for the drama is done filming, he’s planning to return his father’s investment money, and then Mae Ri can be free. He walks off, and she hurries after him, except both trip and Jung In lands on top of Mae Ri.
He’s struggling in his drunken state to get off her, which is when Mu Gyul comes home. He pulls Jung In off and starts to get pissed, until he realizes that Jung In is passed out drunk and it was just a mishap that landed him on top of Mae Ri.
Mu Gyul deposits Jung In in his bed, and he and Mae Ri walk outside. He tells Mae Ri that he would demonstrate at the drama showcase how suitable he is for Mae Ri, so he can ask her dad to give her to him. That is a roundabout proposal if I’ve ever heard one. Before he heads back to his place to prepare for the showcase, he tells Mae Ri that if a drunken Jung In tries to paw her, she should just poke his eyes out. LOL, you two are so cute!
Mu Gyul works all night on his music. His mom at least has the decency to feel bad that she may have tried to split up two kids in love. She tells loser daddy if they can’t split them up, he should be accepting of their relationship. Loser daddy refuses to budge.
Lee An has agreed to film the Wonderful Day MV, and brushes off the screeching of the bitchy manager for daring to make a decision about his career without her consent. Everyone prepares to film, and there is a lot of mutual watching going on, as Seo Jun sees Mae Ri talking with both Jung In and Mu Gyul, and later Mae Ri watches as Mu Gyul films a scene where he lovingly teaches Seo Jun how to strum a guitar.
The filming is halted when the bitchy manager comes storming in, demanding to talk with Lee An. During the ensuing verbal altercation, Lee An knocks over a prop screen display just as Mae Ri walks underneath, which causes Mu Gyul to grab her in his arms to protect her as the screen falls on him. [Btw, this screen looks about 10 pounds, made out of plywood and cardboard, and simply fails the “it can injure a person if it fell” test, but I’ll give it the suspension of disbelief that it might scratch Mu Gyul’s perfect face.]
Mu Gyul gets dragged to the hospital, and Mae Ri worries what will happen if the injury means Mu Gyul can’t play the guitar anymore. Mu Gyul walks out with a cast on, saying that it’s alright, he just needs to set it for a day and he should be fine to play the showcase tomorrow. He notices Mae Ri’s glum face as she apologizes for being the cause of his injury.
He smiles at her, and tells her that she should just be his right hand then. She nods, and Mu Gyul drapes his arm around her shoulders in an effortlessly affectionate way, and they leave, mindless of Seo Jun and Jung In looking at them.
If Seo Jun and Jung In watched this intimate moment and still can’t accept or understand that MM is truly in love with each other, then they need cornea transplants right about it.
Mae Ri deposits Mu Gyul into his bed, telling him that he needs to rest now. He tells her “my right hand, get over here” and points to the other side of the bed. She smiles and plops right beside him on the bed, gazing at him adoringly. He tells her “right hand, my head itches” and she immediately scratches him. He asks her to wash his hair for him when he wakes up, and she agrees to make sure each strand is perfectly clean and silky.
Mu Gyul tells Mae Ri that he wishes she was always before his eyes during his every waking moment. Damn boy, you are making me melt alongside Mae Ri! She promises to be by his side when he wakes, but worries that he’s downplaying the injury for everyone’s sake. He shakes his head, saying that he plans to make a declaration at tomorrow’s showcase before he performs. She asks him what, and he tells her to anticipate it.
Too bad loser daddy comes right in and ruins the moment. Mu Gyul kneels before loser daddy, promising that he will bring Mae Ri happiness. He will become a successful musician and take good care of Mae Ri. Loser daddy says that he already has one son-in-law, and it isn’t ever going to be Mu Gyul. He drags Mae Ri out of there and locks her in her room.
The drama production sets up the outdoor showcase in Hongdae, attracting a sizeable crowd of spectators. Mu Gyul prepares to head to the showcase, and it’s clear his injured hand is not fully healed and still hurts when he zips up his guitar. Mae Ri pretends she has a belly ache and lures her dad to open the door, whereby she promptly rushes out.
Mu Gyul is headed to the showcase venue when a black car screeches to a stop, blocking his way. Three guys get out and grab him, shoving him into the car. Mae Ri arrives just in time to see this, trying valiantly to stop the guys from kidnapping Mu Gyul. The car speeds off, and she’s left behind, shocked and worried for Mu Gyul’s safety.
Thoughts of Mine:
There is such a thing as drama fatigue. Even for a sixteen-episode trendy, typically towards the end I always find my initial enthusiasm waning and the story plodding towards a predictable conclusion. Very few dramas leave me as crazy about it from start to finish. I was starting to feel the fatigue with M3, which also coincided with a flood of criticism of the drama that may have been valid, but lost me with the vitriol and sentiments akin to M3 throwing their puppy out of a moving car. People taking the time to write paragraphs about how much this drama sucks boggles my mind. Why bother?
Which made me think critically about its strengths and weaknesses, and ultimately realizing that balancing a taut well-written story with a meaningful romance is very tough. Since M3 is a rom-com, I find that I’m way more invested if the romance is more convincing to me rather than the story is more substantive and concrete. Yes, it would be ideal if I can have both, no question about it. But You’re Beautiful, taking a page from the Jang Geun Seok playbook, was the opposite situation from M3 for me. My general views on YB are pretty clear, so no need to repeat again, only to say that as a whole I love M3 much much more than YB.
Back to what happened in this episode! I like it, it was funny, things happened, and our Mae Ri and Mu Gyul took steps forward in their relationship development. At this point, it’s a given that everyone else is a throwaway character, so the new writer has to salvage whatever she can of the only redeeming thing left in the story, poor shafted Jung In and poor wasted Seo Jun nothwithstanding. It was and always will be the MM show, and the only viewers still watching M3 are fully invested in getting a satisfying conclusion to their romance.
Actually, I think the story is dragging a bit, in the sense that the writer really could wrap up the devil daddy-loser daddy marry the kids to each other gambit really quickly. But it’s a choice to leave this flimsy premise intact to create nonsensical detours such as kidnappings and god knows what other obstacles. I much prefer organic conflicts, such as Mae Ri and Mu Gyul’s relationship pitfalls living an ordinary life together.
If the new writer is smart, she will just double dose us on the moments where MM strengthen their relationship through the clichéd adversity, rather than let the increasingly nonsensical plot device derail our interest in the couple. There wasn’t much story to begin with, and now we’ve got even less story to tell. But Mae Ri and Mu Gyul still have lot of emotional richness to mine, and that is something I will happily tune in anytime to watch.
I’ve been racking my brain for a drama, ANY drama, where the substantive quality of the story has been as sorely missing as in M3 (which I’ve seen plenty of), yet the romance has been so satisfying that I loved the drama regardless. I couldn’t come up with any that fit both these criteria, leaving me no choice but to bow down to the awesome acting and that indefinable thing called chemistry between Jang Geun Seok and Moon Geun Young.
Without them, I would have definitely checked out of M3, and never looked back. It takes quite a lot of charisma to make something that seem boring on paper come alive onscreen. When people just read M3 recaps without watching the drama, the story is so thin they can’t quite grasp why a small minority love this little drama so much. It’s the onscreen talent of the Geun-Guens that make this drama worthwhile, however slight it may be. The two of them made M3 come alive for me, and I pretty much will always adore them for making me feel like I’m living a fantasy young love all over again.