I freakin’ LOVE this show. I don’t even care if it breaks my heart or pistol-whips me later and leaves me for dead. Show, you complete me.
EPISODE 2 RECAP
After revealing herself in her gumiho form, Mi-ho takes back her healing fox bead and Dae-woong slumps to the ground. She floats above him, saying that she saved him, but he tossed her away, so she doesn’t know him anymore.
He starts to deteriorate quickly, as a dark black smoke surrounds him. Mi-ho hovers above him, a little sad to let him die, but starts to leave. She flashes back to the pig incident, remembering how he so bravely came back for her and tried to protect her from what he thought was a very scary pig.
So she returns, her white energy dissipating the black cloud, and says that since he came back for her once, she’ll do the same. Aw.
And rawr! How much do I love that she’s the one doing all the kissing?
Dae-woong wakes up in a daze, startled to see Mi-ho staring at him like a shiny new toy. He runs and hides (heh), so Mi-ho muses to herself that she’ll have to put the fear of god into him to make him stick to her side. She watches with amusement as Dae-woong tries to action-sequence himself out of there, failing hilariously. Mi-ho: “Do you want me to help?” Hahaha.
There’s an extended sequence where imaginary-action-stuntman Dae-woong does all these crazy stunts to get away, and encourages real Dae-woong that he can do it. There’s nothing more revealing about how dorky a guy is than the superhero version of himself giving him the thumbs-up.
He gets stuck in mid-air right above her, and to top it off his grandfather calls and he drops his phone. Mi-ho peers at it curiously, and hearing a voice, she answers. Grandpa asks where Dae-woong is, and Dae-woong responds with grunts and heavy breathing as he tries to hold onto the rope, and Mi-ho says matter-of-factly: “Dae-woong? Is on top of me.” Tee-hee-hee!
Mi-ho tells Dae-woong to come down now, but he insists rather than get eaten up, he’ll just die up here, thank you very much. She threatens to pluck him down herself, and Dae-woong scoffs that she can’t pluck him like an apple. So Mi-ho demonstrates another of her gumiho powers, and flies up to retrieve him.
She lands on top of him (all right, Mi-ho!) and Dae-woong acknowledges that she’s a gumiho. Dae-woong: “Okay. You’re a gumiho. Since you plucked me, you can eat me.” Kyah, all these thinly veiled sex jokes are making me giggle like a schoolgirl.
Mi-ho: “Can I really eat you?” Dae-woong: “You can eat me. But just know this. If there are gumihos in the world, then there must be ghosts too. So I’ll come back as a ghost and get my revenge!” He braces himself for death with false bravado, not listening to her question of why he never asked to be saved.
She says, “Okay, but if you asked me to save you, I would have let you live…” Immediately, Dae-woong gets on his knees (ha!) and begs for his life.
Gumiho hunter Dong-joo figures out the phone number pattern that Dae-woong was going for, and reaches his aunt. He pretends to be Dae-woong’s friend and asks to confirm Dae-woong’s cell number.
At the rooftop room above the action school, Mi-ho chomps down on some chicken, as Dae-woong apologizes for not being able to get beef at this late hour. He reconfirms with her that until she can safely retrieve the fox bead that saved him, she has to stick by his side. This could be true or just an excuse she made up to be near him, and it doesn’t much matter to me either way. I sort of like the idea that she could make anything up about gumihos, and he’d have to believe her now.
When the camera pulls back, we see that Dae-woong is still sitting on his knees. He tries to figure a way out of it, but is scared back when he sees her tearing at the chicken bones with zeal. Mi-ho: “Dae-woong-ah, while you have my fox bead, I can’t let you go. You’re MINE.” She smiles, pleased as pudding, and Dae-woong laughs nervously. He starts calling her Gu Mi-ho-sshi and being polite out of fear. He’s using a funny mix of heightened honorifics with banmal, because he both fears her but reacts to her as if she’s a child.
He goes inside and decides that for now, if he keeps her well-fed on beef, then she won’t try to eat HIM. While practicing his sword skills in case he has to defend himself, he comes upon a movie costume of armor and wears it for protection. Mi-ho wonders if she’s really that scary, since all she did was save him. Dae-woong says that still, what if she sees his exposed liver and gets hungry?
She gets offended: “Have you ever seen me eat a liver? Have you seen me scoop out someone’s liver and eat it?” Dae-woong replies that she IS a gumiho, after all….to which she just sighs and gives in. Mi-ho: “Fine. I’m a gumiho. Watch your liver.” And with that, she goes to sleep.
Dong-joo the gumiho hunter finds Dae-woong’s information easily online, and smiles to himself that it’ll be an easy hunt. He reveals a wall of gumiho-related information (what’s with everyone and their Big Boards lately?) and takes out a mystical knife with ancient carvings. He sneers, wondering why the gumiho ran away to become human, instead of staying put where she belongs.
Dae-woong sleeps in his suit of armor outside, and Mi-ho watches over him. She says that she had fun today because she got to be with him, so she’s happy that while her fox bead heals him, she gets to stay by his side longer. She notices mosquitoes hovering above him, so she gleefully catches them all, and tells the sleeping Dae-woong that neither the mosquitoes nor she will eat him tonight, so he can sleep soundly. She looks out at the city from the rooftop, and marvels at how beautiful the world has become.
Grandpa and Aunt Min-sook worry over Dae-woong, and Grandpa bemoans the fact that while Dae-woong always caused all sorts of trouble, he’s never caused any GIRL trouble…until now. He tells her to cut off his credit cards. Min-sook wonders what on earth the girl said over the phone, and Grandpa says it’s not for her unmarried ears to hear. She gets in a huff about his bringing up her singledom and leaves.
Dae-woong’s card gets declined at the restaurant right after Mi-ho eats her weight in meat, and he’s forced to fork over what little cash he has left. She stops him to buy her a soda on the street, and I love how her expressions can range from innocent and clueless to I-will-eat-your-liver-for-breakfast-and-polish-it-off-with-this-bubbly-water.
His coin gets stuck in the machine, so he starts kicking it, and she joins in. with one swift kick the whole vending machine comes crashing down, and soda comes popping out of it. They grab and dash.
Min-sook takes a sip of her iced coffee in front of the elevator and gets an ice cube stuck in her throat. Just then, Chow Yun-fat Lite gets off the elevator and discovers her choking, so he slings her over his shoulder, and jumps up and down until the ice cube pops back out. Well I have never seen someone do the Heimlich maneuver like that! Min-sook dies of embarrassment and the man walks away, his fantasy soundtrack blaring.
Dae-woong takes Mi-ho to school with him, and she marvels at the university, knowing at least from visitors to the temple that it’s a prestigious place where everyone prays fervently to attend. She thinks Dae-woong’s pretty cool for going to one, which his fragile puffed-up ego enjoys very much. He tells her that people at university are very smart, so she’ll have to pretend to be human and not do anything to be detected. She promises to act human, and asks Dae-woong eagerly if she really looks human, if she stands still and doesn’t do anything. Heh. He admits that she does, which pleases her.
He goes around to all his friends to ask for some money, which he assumes will be no big deal since he’s spent so much on them. But one by one, they lie that they’re broke and leave him hanging. Mi-ho can smell the money in their pockets (making for a hilarious bit of butt-sniffing), so Dae-woong is doubly embarrassed to be confronted by the fact that his so-called friends are…well, not so much.
Mi-ho asks if he doesn’t believe her, and asks why he’s doing nothing when all his friends are lying to him. Is he scared? At that, Dae-woong goes back to his friend, and hands him all the cash in his own pocket, telling him to eat lunch with that. Mi-ho is extra confused now—why did he give his money to the lying friend? He tells her angrily that sometimes it’s better NOT to know things, and that pretending is less embarrassing. He snaps at her that she’s not human, so not to meddle in human things, making her pout.
She tries to follow him into the library, but he tells her she can’t go inside without an ID, and since she’s not a person—no name, no social security number—she can’t follow. She pouts again, and tells him not to look down on her because she’s not human, and he counters that because she’s not, he’s afraid of her. Once he leaves her there, she sighs, wanting so much to go someplace where only humans can enter.
Inside, Dae-woong frantically starts researching the gumiho legend. He looks for some way to make her leave him, thinking that it must be similar to exorcising a ghost. But, being the slacker that he is, gets bogged down in all the old-timey language and gives up. He complains out loud in the middle of the library that these old dudes have never even SEEN a gumiho, so what do they know? And why, of all people, did she have to choose him?
A light bulb goes off as he remembers the temple. He looks it up and finds a news story with the two scroll paintings side by side—the original, and the one with the missing fox. He realizes that he freed the gumiho by drawing the nine tails.
Outside, Mi-ho runs into one of Dae-woong’s lying friends, and she returns his runaway basketball…full-force right at his head. He goes down and she walks away, realizing that she just insulted the guy for following Dae-woong around and getting stuff for free…which is exactly what she’s doing. But then she consoles herself that she’s neither human nor Dae-woong’s friend, so it’s okay.
He asks her if she’s really the fox from the painting, and she answers yes. He remembers being so scared that night and making a mistake with his pen—and it turns out that the dot became a mole on her shoulder too. He’s crushed to confirm that he can’t complain why-me anymore, since this was all his own doing.
Mi-ho offers that because he set her free, she gave him the thing that was most precious to her, as she puts her hand on his chest. She says to think of it like he’s taking responsibility for her, which of course has an entirely different meaning in Korean, where sex = responsibility.
His friends Byung-soo and Sun-nyeo burst in, only hearing the tail end of their conversation. Sun-nyeo runs off crying, taking the words to mean only what they could to normal people: she gave him her virginity, so now he has to take responsibility. Byung-soo congratulates him like a typical dude.
He explains to Byung-soo that her name is Gu Mi-ho, and that she’s staying with him for the time being because of extenuating circumstances. Byung-soo seems to be Dae-woong’s only real friend, as he offers up the cash in his wallet to help him out, since he knows what being on the outs with Grandpa means.
Mi-ho overhears the conversation and later asks Dae-woong why he called her Gu Mi-ho. He starts to just say he made it up ’cause it sounded like a name, but she starts to scowl. So he quickly adds that since she wants so much to be human, she needs a name, and Mi-ho sounds nice and it suits her. She beams, saying that she loves it when he calls her by her new name. He tells her that she can’t mess with his friends, just as basketball dude gets hauled away on a stretcher behind him. She averts her eyes and nods that of course she won’t.
Dong-joo arrives on campus and baits Dae-woong with a call to the administrative office. He awaits for the gumiho to arrive with him, and watches his mystical dagger for the glowy sign of gumiho-nearness. Dae-woong comes in alone, but once Mi-ho sits down nearby, the dagger glows and Dong-joo takes off running.
Mi-ho senses something coming towards her…and she turns her head, and we cut back to Dong-joo running down the hall.
Cut to Mi-ho as she says, “It’s a chicken!”
She takes off running after the chicken on a motorcycle, and Dong-joo chases after her. He catches up, and as his dagger lights up in her presence, she turns to look in his direction, and he’s startled to see her face. No, it isn’t just her staggering beauty—he recognizes it immediately, and it stops him in his tracks.
He wonders, his whole body shaking, why she happened to return with the same face. He flashes back to centuries ago, when he killed her the first time, and then held her in his arms, both of them crying as she faded away into ash.
Aw, the gumiho hunter in love with a gumiho! Seriously guys, I love this stuff. I don’t even care if it’s epically cheesy. That’s what makes it AWESOME.
Back in the present day, Dong-joo convinces himself, with a tear in his eye, that she can’t be the same gumiho. No, he killed her by his own hand. She just looks the same. That’s all.
Dae-woong tries to ask Mi-ho about the painting and where he can find the Grandmother Spirit that trapped her in there. She doesn’t want to give up any information, so he devises a foolproof plan: get her drunk and then she’ll talk! Silly boy. Do you know nothing of supernatural constitution?
He knows her penchant for bubbly drinks, so he shakes up the beer to make it extra foamy and they toss ’em back. And boy, she’s a drinker. Just wait till he introduces you to carbonated makgulli. He drinks maybe less than half of what she does, tossing his beer out while she isn’t looking, or playing rock-paper-scissors and telling her that scissors beat rocks, so she drinks. He even tries to teach her to crush the cans, which she does handily, but he struggles with (heh).
He thinks she’s probably drunk, so he starts laying it on pretty thick, about how he feels really close to her now, and she’s much better to be around than his fair-weather friends. He says that she’s prettier than most girls, and that he was startled when he first saw her. She frowns at that, saying that she actually doesn’t like that, because in order to appear human, she’d rather just be average-pretty. HA. Dae-woong’s expression of really, princess? is perfect.
He rolls out compliment after compliment, one of them being that she eats more than Kang Ho-dong, which if you know Lee Seung-gi from his variety shows, is a shout-out to his hyung. He says that as long as she doesn’t try to eat him up, he’d love to be friends. That puts her on cloud nine, and she wonders if they can be friends even if she’s not human. Dae-woong’s like, if E.T. can do it, so can we! She asks how they become friends, so he teaches her the E.T. handshake.
She’s so excited that she does it over and over again, and Dae-woong starts to feel a twinge of regret at lying to her when she so clearly wants to be his friend. But that doesn’t stop him from getting to his objective. He starts asking her about her gumiho powers, and finds out that she’s weaker in her abilities because he’s got her fox bead, which must be the source of her power.
He asks if she’s got any weaknesses? Nope. Heh.
Any fears? Yes—she says she’s afraid of large bodies of water, now that she doesn’t have her fox bead. He stores that tidbit away, wondering how he’s going to drop her in a lake somewhere.
Mi-ho comes running down, saying that the beer put her in such a good mood that her tails are dying to come out. She wants him to come outside so she can show him, and they go back in forth in a hilarious bit using euphemisms like, “But I’m not ready,” and “But we did it once before.” She coaxes him like she’s luring him to bed, and he gets dragged out, saying, “Gently, slowly…treat me well…” Hahahaha. This sexual role-reversal metaphor is killing me. It’s the best thing since sliced bread.
In the subsequent days, she wants cow for breakfast, lunch and dinner, day after day. We catch up to a scene similar to the one that opened Episode 1, were Dae-woong tells her that they can’t have cow today. Her eyes glow blue and he cowers in fear, and when a lady above them drops her potted plant, Mi-ho flies up in the air to kick it away, and the flower lands perfectly in her hair. She adds a little agyeo (cute factor) and does a little “Woong-ah-ah” much like the famous oppa-pout-wiggle. I know you’re a fox, but where did you learn agyeo? I do love that she calls him “Woong,” short for Dae-woong—it makes him sound even less manlier than he already is.
Min-sook returns to the department store, hoping to run into the mysterious Chow Yun-fat Lite again. She finds him eyeing a new trenchcoat, and is about to walk up to him, when Sun-nyeo comes bounding up, calling him Doo-hong-sshi. They act cutesy together, and Min-sook stares agape, then runs away.
Doo-hong goes after her, and Sun-nyeo calls out, “Daddy!” Okay, I know it makes for a good misunderstanding, but who calls their dad by name? That could be misconstrued as icky, so let’s get your college-aged daughter to stop doing that, shall we?
He catches up to her, where she happens to be hiding out in the men’s underwear department. A sales rep asks her if she’s shopping for men’s underwear, and to save face, she answers “Yes.” His face falls, and he keeps walking, both of them thinking the other is unavailable.
At the park, Byung-soo and Mi-ho play a guess-which-hand-the-coin-is-in game, which of course she wins every time. Byung-soo calls her “jae-soo-sshi,” which is a moniker for your brother’s wife, and what close friends call each other’s girlfriends or wives. Dae-woong sneers at that, but lets it pass, and wonders to himself if he threw her in a lake like this one, he’d probably end up dead.
Byung-soo tells him to stop feeding the carps so much because they’re rare fish, and Dae-woong says they’re not the rare kind, like the ones Grandpa raises. Another light bulb goes off—that’s where he can get more money! Oh, you and your hare-brained schemes. He sneaks in and manages to catch one, but Grandpa catches him in the act. He takes off running, with Grandpa and Aunt Min-sook chasing behind, and then while he’s not looking, a truck comes screeching to a halt in his path.
Aunt and Grandpa scream, and the fish goes flying…
Cut to the hospital, where Grandpa begs the doctor to do something to save him. The doctor says nothing can be done. Dramatic music plays…
And Dae-woong comes walking out, just a band-aid on his forehead, and we see that Grandpa was pleading with the doctor to save his fish. Haha.
Outside, Grandpa tells Dae-woong to come home, and he refuses, finally shouting out, “If I don’t stay with that girl, I’ll die,” which is a great use of a phrase that all love-addled teenagers say in earnest, except he actually means it literally. He asks for money so that he can stay with her and take care of her, and Grandpa flips his lid that Dae-woong’s lost his mind over a girl.
Finally, Grandpa and Aunt tell him to bring the girl over, so that they can meet her, and decide if Dae-woong can marry her. Now it’s Dae-woong’s turn to flip out: “I’m not crazy enough to marry her! Why would I marry her? I’m just going to live with her for a while, then send her off.” Hahaha. Grandpa slaps him across the face.
That jolts all of them, as clearly this is the first time Grandpa has ever shown any really harsh discipline as far as Dae-woong is concerned, and Dae-woong clutches his cheek from the emotional blow. Grandpa tells him to live however he wants to, and gets in the car.
Dae-woong walks the whole way back with his hand on his cheek, still reeling from the disappointment. Sun-nyeo runs into him to say that she doesn’t want him living at the action school with his girlfriend, so she kicks him out. She adds that Hye-in came by and ran into Byung-soo and Mi-ho, at which he takes off running.
Hye-in meets Mi-ho, who introduces herself as Dae-woong’s friend, but she reads between the lines and asks if she’s his girlfriend. Dae-woong runs toward them, telling Mi-ho not to say anything, but Mi-ho answers “Yes.”
Dae-woong arrives, declaring loudly that she’s NOT his girlfriend.
Uh-oh. She doesn’t look happy about that.
I really love both main characters, and I think the actors play them to the hilt. I haven’t seen Shin Mina in much, but I adore her take on this character. And I have such an affinity for Lee Seung-gi that I’m probably blind to all the overacting comments some people have been making. It’s slightly hammy, but he’s so cute and expressive that it totally works for me. So far Hye-in is the only character on my To-Hate List, but we’ll have to see if she lands in In-hee Bot territory (delightfully hateful), or just hateful.
I like that they’re reinventing the mythology of the gumiho here. It’s smart to present all the commonly-known lore as false or unverified rumors that people have spread throughout the centuries either in fear of the gumiho, or in jealousy. I’m looking forward to their take and hope that it’s going to be a version of the legend that I can get behind. I also love that Mi-ho uses all the fear and misunderstandings to her advantage, to keep her boyfriend in line. Ha.
As of now, I’m curious to know if she’s the world’s only gumiho, since the way they talk about it, she seems to be the one and only. The way the gumiho hunter is talking about her, it might be that she is reborn in different guises but there is only one at a time. I’m also interested to know if her ‘good’ powers—beauty, healing—are counterbalanced by anything detrimental to her, other than being lonely or misunderstood. Her energy seems to be mostly good (purely based on the very simple metaphor of white glowing energy vs. black smoke of death), but she also has a mysterious edge and a dark side, which is great.
Her desire to be human is such a good premise. Taking a centuries-old creature and then making her new in the world is such a great trope, rife with potential. It sets up hilarious comedic situations, while being such a great contrast to Dae-woong’s arrogant but bumbling character. She’s older and wiser, but unfamiliar with human ways, so in essence they will be teaching each other how to be human. If you’re familiar with Buffy, you’ll recognize that it’s the Xander-Anya relationship, played for both comedy but also surprising insight into what it means to be human. She even has an affinity for money, which is an amusing similarity.
I can’t wait for all the antics, the lore, and the epic hilarity. All aboard the love train, people. You know you want to!
- My Girlfriend Is a Gumiho: Episode 1
- Pop Culture: Gumiho
- Official posters for My Girlfriend Is a Gumiho
- Girlfriend Is a Gumiho holds its press conference
- Official trailer video out for SBS’s Gumiho Girlfriend
- My Gumiho Girlfriend has nine tails
- A few more Girlfriend Gumiho stills
- Lee Seung-gi cowers before his gumiho girlfriend