My Girlfriend Is a Gumiho: Episode 13
Oh, My Girlfriend Is a Gumiho just kicked it up a notch. Yeah, I cried like a baby in Episode 13.
Ratings-wise, this week was a real hit, since Baker King is out of the picture. Numbers shot up to 15.2% for Episode 13, then even more to 19.2% for Episode 14, which aired back to back on Thursday night. (For consistency’s sake I use AGB numbers, which are more readily available, but TNS numbers for these two episodes were even higher — 19.4% and 22.5%.)
Meanwhile, Playful Kiss had a 5.8% (6.0% TNS) and Baker King’s special drew a 16.8% (17.9% TNS).
Special request: I know you’re all probably itching to discuss both episodes, but we’d really appreciate if you could keep the commentary in this recap to this episode. We promise the next one will be up for you to talk about soon!
SONG OF THE DAY
Suki (숙희) – “Missing You” [ Download ]
EPISODE 13 RECAP
Mi-ho is coming to terms with the idea of dying in order to protect Dae-woong, so the remaining days take on heightened meaning. Dae-woong had thought she’d want to cross the days off the calendar quickly to get to the human part, but she explains that every day with him is precious.
She wants to go for a “walk,” but now that Dae-woong’s all grown up and accepted his feelings, he calls it a proper date, taking her hand as he asks her out.
Adorably, when Dae-woong orders ice cream mash-ups for them, he uses terms Mi-ho understands best: cow color, mixed with some pig color and some chicken color. Mostly cow.
Then, Dae-woong notices an affectionate couple nearby — the ones who taught Mi-ho her cheesy finger guns — and gets the idea to feign tiredness as an excuse to lean on Mi-ho.
But Mi-ho takes him at face value and looks at him worriedly, then picks him up to carry him on piggyback. How appropriate for this drama to reverse another gender stereotype after giving us the wimpy hero and the assertive heroine. I love it.
Dae-woong sees the girl feeding her boyfriend, and opens his mouth to signal that he’d like some of that action… only to find that Mi-ho’s all done with her ice cream. How great that Dae-woong’s getting a taste of his own medicine, after Mi-ho tried to cozy up to him earlier.
Mi-ho looks over and sees the cheesy couple making hearts with their hands, and Dae-woong demonstrates a big one, lifting his arms over his head. In response, Mi-ho puts up V signs, which disappoints him — after his heart, all he gets is another cow reference?
Mi-ho’s explanation turns him around, though — she learned it from Aunt Min-sook, and they represent her “heart’s antenna,” always pointed in his direction. Aww.
Speaking of whom, Min-sook meets with Director Ban, who has come back directly from film shoots in the Chinese desert. So directly, in fact, that he smells. Min-sook suggests gently that they clean up and start fresh with a day at the saunas, so off they go — where Dae-woong and Mi-ho have also ended up.
Dae-woong has come back to Korea without the director’s knowledge, so he hurries to keep out of sight, and he and Mi-ho take refuge under a towel together. Director Ban sniffs at the public display of coupley affection, but Min-sook finds it sweet.
As they walk along, Dae-woong notices an elderly couple walking hand in hand and says that they’ll be like that in fifty years, which is a thought that dims Mi-ho’s mood.
Dae-woong shows Mi-ho how to toss a coin into a fountain to make a wish, and she thinks of how she has to leave him in order to save him:
Mi-ho: “But after I’m gone, don’t be too shocked or hurt. Even so, call for me every once in a while… Then I’ll live in your heart forever. Right? You’ll remember me forever, right?”
Hye-in is peeved to hear from Byung-soo and Sun-nyeo that the happy couple plans to go to China together while the movie finishes filming. Knowing Mi-ho’s identity, she doesn’t understand how Mi-ho could have a legitimate passport, but she suspects that Dong-joo’s behind it.
Dong-joo owns up to making the documents, but he intended to use them to send Mi-ho away. Since Mi-ho won’t budge, he decides that they have to work on Dae-woong, and tells Hye-in to scare him, to insist that he’s in danger and needs to stay away from Mi-ho. Hye-in resents being forced into this, but she’s still scared enough of the Gumiho Hunter to comply, albeit grudgingly.
Mi-ho sees that Dae-woong has posted up their life plan, and he’s fully onboard now. However, she grabs it down, saying they’ll have to put it away for the time being; she rushed into things, and she can think about those things after she’s human. Right now, she should think of what to do in the remaining 52 days of being a gumiho.
Dae-woong is a little concerned as he make sure that she doesn’t mean to get rid of the plan for good. She can’t answer that, so she deflects. As they flip through their photo album, Dae-woong things of all the things they can do to fill it, like going skiing in the winter, or preparing for Christmas.
Mi-ho knows it won’t snow within the next 50 days, but she agrees to his plan to fill the album with new photos. For instance, she wants to go to the zoo, which for some reason makes Dae-woong uneasy, and he suggests the aquarium as a substitute.
At the very end of the night, Mi-ho finally allows herself to cross that day off the chart. She even finds sleeping time to be a waste, and wants to stare at him all night.
The next day, Hye-in finds Dae-woong to try to dissuade him from bringing Mi-ho along with him, not convinced that it’s safe for him to keep the fox bead. She’s not doing this because she wants him, she says, but because she’s truly worried — she is positive that Mi-ho and Dong-joo must be hiding something. He’s being used by them for something, she can sense it.
To her surprise, Dae-woong admits freely that Mi-ho is using him, and that he told her to do so.
Dong-joo sees that he can’t stop Mi-ho, and just asks her to be sure to come back in a month. He makes an excuse to run an errand, asking Mi-ho to stay behind to wait for him, and she eagerly agrees. The reason being: She had actually followed Dong-joo when he went to put away his magical dagger, to make a note of where he kept it. With some time to search his place for it, she heads down to his Emo Lair.
Dong-joo’s no dummy, and he suspects that Mi-ho has figured out that she can kill herself to save Dae-woong. He waits a few minutes outside before heading back inside.
Mi-ho finds the case on the desk and opens it, and the blade starts to emit some sort of energy. Dong-joo’s voice cuts in to warn her not to touch it, and Mi-ho sees that she’s been caught. But she doesn’t make excuses or defend herself; she tells him, “I need your knife.”
Dong-joo asks whether she’ll kill herself if he tries to force the bead out of Dae-woong, and she nods. He confirms that she’s going to give herself up for him, and she answers, “I have to protect Dae-woong.”
This frustrates and angers Dong-joo, who calls her actions too one-sided, deciding everything on her own. She may love Dae-woong enough to die, but does he feel the same? Dong-joo believes not.
He tells Mi-ho to ask if Dae-woong could die for her, guessing she doesn’t have confidence in his answer. And given that, isn’t it too unfair and wrong for her to die for him? Furthermore, if Mi-ho dies without telling Dae-woong, he’ll soon forget her and another woman will take her place by his side.
Mi-ho asserts that Dae-woong would never forget her, but Dong-joo disdains her “immense fantasy about love.” Even if Mi-ho says she doesn’t feel that it’s unfair, he urges her to confirm it.
So she goes home and tries it out, presenting Dae-woong with a few what-if scenarios: What if they’re about to drown and there’s only one wooden plank? What if there was a fire and only one person could safely escape? What if they were clinging to a cliff, and there was only one rope?
Not understanding her motivation, Dae-woong laughs off the scenarios, saying that they’d never happen anyway. When she grows increasingly agitated, he concedes that he’d give her the cliff-rope, but he’s just humoring her and she knows it.
Calming down, Mi-ho consoles herself with the thought that he doesn’t have to want to die for her for their affection to be real: “That’s not what I want. All he has to do is keep remembering me. That I’m sure of.”
But even that conviction takes a hit when forgets that he already bought sneakers for her. She tests his memory, asking what they were running from when they met, and what he called her. His memory is intact but a little fuzzy on the details — like whether the leaves on the tree she put him in were pointy or round.
Mi-ho gets more and more worked up, and Dae-woong guesses that she must be worried that a fading memory is part of her de-gumiho-ifying process. She retorts that he’s wrong: “I remember everything!”
Again, a little time to calm down is enough to get her to convince herself that it’s okay if he forgets some things. She suggests that they go out today and make sure to remember everything about it, and he agrees. But he needs to be reminded of where she said she wanted to go yesterday, and that freaks her out again:
Mi-ho: “If you can’t remember what I said yesterday, what in the world will you remember? You’ll forget everything, and you won’t give me the rope, and you’ll be with Internet Slander [Hye-in] and Melong [“neener,” aka Sun-nyeo], won’t you? If that’s true, then it really will be too unfair to me!”
Mi-ho broods, asking the chicken ajumma if people just live on happily after someone dies. The ajumma says of course — the living have to keep living. If we all clung to our memories, we’d be crying all day and never be able to move on.
She realizes the wisdom of that and heads home to make up with Dae-woong, but finds the door locked. Thinking he’s mad at her, she apologizes to him through the closed door, but Dae-woong won’t open it, so she breaks open the door and heads in — where she finds that he’s surprising her with a packed lunch for their trip to the zoo.
They drop by to see Grandpa after their outing, and Grandpa surmises that Mi-ho must really be special to get Dae-woong to go to the zoo. After all, his parents had died in an accident after they were coming home from the zoo, and ever since, he hasn’t liked them.
She hadn’t known this, and it makes her reconsider things: “I just wanted you to remember me. I didn’t think of how painful that memory would be.”
As she and Dae-woong cross off Day 51 from the calendar, this puts them square in the middle of the 100-day process. She says, “I’m sorry if you feel pain, but I want to give you a lot of things to remember. Then I won’t feel wronged at all.” She thinks to herself that she’ll be satisfied with 50 days “that are more beautiful than 500 years.”
Day 50 marks the day of their departure for China, and the couple plans to meet at the airport, because Mi-ho has a few errands to run first. She makes the rounds saying her goodbyes to Dae-woong’s family and the chicken shop ajumma. While the others assume she’s saying goodbye for the duration of her short trip, she knows it’s for good.
Hye-in finds her to make one last attempt to stop Mi-ho from joining Dae-woong — she just has a bad feeling that something will happen to Dae-woong if Mi-ho continues to stay with him. She even threatens to reveal that Mi-ho is a gumiho, but Mi-ho laughs at that, since everyone will just think she’s crazy, especially since Mi-ho is now a documented citizen.
Hye-in snaps that Dae-woong’s the one who lost his mind. How did she bewitch him? Mi-ho replies simply: “By liking him. Because I liked him so so so so much, he liked me too.” If Hye-in wants to get a guy to like her, she out to try telling him she likes him so so so so much, too. And she teaches her the finger guns.
With that, Mi-ho says goodbye to the loft and gets ready to leave — which is when Dong-joo finds her, knowing she must have made up her mind to disappear in China.
Mi-ho asks if he thinks she looks pathetic for dying instead of Dae-woong. Dong-joo doesn’t see why she would do that for one measly human, but she thinks she’s rather impressive for doing it and asks him not to stop her.
Mi-ho: “I’m a gumiho and I can’t end up as a human, but to the one person I like, I can give everything. I like that me.”
Now Dong-joo reveals his motivation for trying to prevent Mi-ho from trodding down a path that, to him, is all to familiar:
Dong-joo: “I believed that doing what the other person wanted was love. I did that, and for more than a thousand years I have regretted it. I don’t want to repeat the same mistake.”
Mi-ho tells him, not unkindly, “I’m not your Gil-dal.”
Hye-in tells Dong-joo that there’s no stopping the couple, who are determined to leave together. So finally, Dong-joo brings out his last card, and says that the only thing he can do is tell Dae-woong the full truth.
He explains the whole gumiho-turns-human concept, including the part where the human who gives the bead back to the gumiho must die. Thus armed with the truth, a shocked Hye-in is instructed to stop Dae-woong from leaving with Mi-ho, at all costs.
Hye-in cuts off Dae-woong’s van as he’s leaving for the airport, and urges him to run away. By now he’s tired of her meddling, but this time she has important information to reveal: That if he stays with Mi-ho, he’ll die.
While they’re having their tete-a-tete, Dong-joo finds Mi-ho at the airport, waiting for Dae-woong, and tells her he can’t let her go after all. He drops the bomb that Dae-woong has now been made aware of the conditions of borrowing the bead.
Mi-ho is upset — why did he do that? She’d wanted to make sure he never found out the truth. She never wanted to put Dae-woong in the position of making that choice between dying or living for her.
Dong-joo insists that Dae-woong won’t come once he knows he’s dying — he’ll run far from her. Even if he came now, as death looms over his head, he’d run later. Once again, he calls her faith a foolish fantasy, and says that he’s here to shatter the illusion. That’s exactly why she can’t give Dae-woong the chance to make that choice honestly, because then her grand illusion of love will shatter. She needs to protect herself, and once she realizes that Dae-woong won’t come, she can accept the reality and live on (with the bead, of course).
Now Dae-woong understands the choice they face — that at the end of the 100 days, either he dies or Mi-ho dies. Hye-in thinks Dong-joo had his own reasons for telling her the truth, and Dae-woong deduces that this must be his way of breaking up the couple. He understands that he is expected to run.
Instead, he decides to go to Mi-ho, which prompts a shrill outburst from Hye-in, who can’t understand why he’d do that when being with Mi-ho would make him die. Dae-woong bursts out, “I won’t die!”
With that, he runs to the airport while Mi-ho waits for him, growing ever glummer the longer the wait grows. (One word, people: PHONES!)
All the while, Dong-joo keeps watching, and makes another, gentler push for her to listen to him. If she leaves it to him, he’ll take care of everything, and they can go together to Japan. She can rethink her decision over the next 50 days.
Dejectedly, Mi-ho agrees to try it his way, and walks with him as he leads her to buy new plane tickets. Except, the moment his back is turned to ask for directions, Mi-ho bolts. She races toward the exit, aided by a crowd that keeps Dong-joo from spotting her running away. As she runs, so does Dae-woong, speeding toward the terminal just as she’s leaving it.
She’s not quite sure where she’s going — I think she just wants to get away to think for herself — but she tells herself it’s okay even if Dae-woong doesn’t come, because her feelings aren’t fantasy.
And then, Dae-woong’s voice calls out to her from across the street. With purpose, he walks into the crosswalk, pausing at the halfway point to ask, almost angrily, “Are you just going to run? Even though I’m here?”
Her reaction mixing worry with relief, Mi-ho makes up her mind, and starts walking toward him, meeting him halfway. (Agh! All this symbolism about meeting in the middle? IT KEELS ME. In the good way, not in the OMG what do you mean Dae-woong’s gonna die? way.)
He confirms that it’s true that one of them must die, and challenges, “Since that’s all decided, you want me to just sit still and accept it, or to save myself and run away?! Well, I can’t do that. I won’t!”
He turns his head to see Dong-joo watching, and tells her he won’t accept those two options: “Half of the 100 days have passed. Mi-ho — take the bead now.”
What in the WHAT? Mi-ho’s scared of that prospect, and Dae-woong admits that he doesn’t know what’ll happen. “But,” he adds with a pointed look at Dong-joo, “that guy won’t know either.”
Dae-woong: “We’ll make the decision and take it how it goes. I’ll give up half my life, and you’ll give up becoming human, and we’ll see what happens. I don’t know if we’ll live or die.”
Mi-ho: “Then we’re both grabbing the only rope.”
Dae-woong: “Mi-ho. I love you. So I won’t die alone for you, and don’t die for me either.”
Mi-ho: “Dae-woong, I love you. I won’t die for you, and don’t do it for me either.”
Dae-woong: “As the person who loves you, this is my decision. Who knows where this will go, but let’s do it together. If we live, we both live. And if we die, we die together.”
With that, Dae-woong kisses Mi-ho while a tear falls from his eye.
He pulls back momentarily, then moves in close again — and this time, a blue light starts to glow between their mouths as Mi-ho retrieves her bead.
Dong-joo looks at this in angry disbelief, while back in his lair, this cosmic disturbance sends the Sandglass of Doom toppling — with the sand divided perfectly in half, equally among both chambers.
AH! This episode KILLED me. I was completely onboard, hook, line, and sinker, which I realize is a total mixed metaphor but I don’t have enough brainpower to think of one that makes sense right now.
Actually, it wasn’t until the latter half of the episode that the awesome really happened, because in the first half, I thought things were cute but wondered when the story would really kick in. But then the second half happened, and BOY DID IT EVER kick things up a notch.
I’m glad Dae-woong found out the truth one episode after Mi-ho did, because I hate these noble idiots who always decide to shoulder big burdens without telling the other person, thinking they’re sparing them pain. And I love that the growth is as much an emotional, mental thing as it is a romantic one — as the story progresses, the more Dae-woong is becoming assured of himself. His speech at the end? HOT DAMN it was fantastic. As I mentioned in the recap, the motif of “halfway” was done particularly well — it was built into multiple aspects of this episode with the 50 days, the crosswalk, the sandglass.
I’m sure we’ve all harbored our own theories and suspicions about what would happen with the fox bead, but I was still happily surprised by Dae-woong’s decision to remove it now. I wasn’t expecting him to be so decisive or commanding, but he really impressed me with his reaction. I was not surprised that he ran back to Mi-ho instead of running away (that was a gimme), but his conclusion about taking that step together was a very nice twist on that expectation.
It has the added benefit of flouting known gumiho lore — Dong-joo can’t interfere because he doesn’t have all the answers — and this sets up a metaphor I particularly enjoy: they’re heading into the unknown together.
- My Girlfriend Is a Gumiho: Episode 12
- My Girlfriend Is a Gumiho: Episode 11
- My Girlfriend Is a Gumiho: Episode 10
- My Girlfriend Is a Gumiho: Episode 9
- My Girlfriend Is a Gumiho: Episode 8
- My Girlfriend Is a Gumiho: Episode 7
- My Girlfriend Is a Gumiho: Episode 6
- My Girlfriend Is a Gumiho: Episode 5
- My Girlfriend Is a Gumiho: Episode 4
- My Girlfriend Is a Gumiho: Episode 3
- My Girlfriend Is a Gumiho: Episode 2
- My Girlfriend Is a Gumiho: Episode 1
- Pop Culture: Gumiho