“She works hard for the money / So haaaard for it honey / She works hard for the money / So you better treat her right.” Never truer words, my friend. This episode, Mi-ho learns the value of a
Dollar Won, and Dae-woong learns the value of a gift from the heart.
The last episode’s Little Mermaid metaphor just worked on all counts for me, but more than the metaphor itself, I loved Dae-woong stepping up to be a hero, to shield her heart from the tragic ending in her fairy tale. In this episode he continues to step up when it counts, and Mi-ho? She just continues to be awesome.
EPISODE 8 RECAP
Dae-woong tells Mi-ho that The Little Mermaid ends happily, and to believe his words, not anyone else’s. He sweetly wipes a tear from her eye, as he says, “So don’t cry; it’ll rain.” Swoon. His sudden assertiveness since the last episode, especially about the ending of that book…it KILLS me.
They get up to go, and she leaves the book behind. Aw.
They missed the premiere, so Dae-woong stands in line to get tickets to another movie (Cyrano Dating Agency. Jealous.) While waiting for him, Mi-ho sees another couple on a date, and starts mimicking their actions. She sees the girl primping, and making cheesy wink-and-finger-guns gestures at her boyfriend, so she does the same to Dae-woong.
When she sees them share a drink with two straws, she gulps down her soda and then surreptitiously sticks her straw in Dae-woong’s drink, lying in wait. How cute. Dae-woong jumps back when he sees her, and scolds her for stealing his soda. Stupid boy.
Next, she sees the couple walking together, and the girl has her arm around the guy’s waist. So Mi-ho follows suit, putting her arm around Dae-woong, and reaching her hand (Omo) right into his pocket. Rawr!
He jumps, clasping his hand over hers. She smiles up at him like, hey baby. God, I love her. He’s startled at first, but then smiles right away, saying, “You couldn’t wait?” And then to her dismay, out of his pocket, he pulls out…a sausage! PWAHAHAHAHAHA.
A sausage? In your pocket? You have a Sausage in Your Pocket. I can’t…even….my head is about to explode from the number of jokes that are clamoring to get out. Suffice it to say, the man’s not squeamish about pulling a tiny sausage out of his pants. Pffft. Yes, I am twelve. I know.
Mi-ho gets foiled time and again for her attempts at skinship, but then during the movie Dae-woong tries to take a piece of popcorn out of her hair, and she manages to take charge of his arm for the rest of the show. Afterwards she tells him that dates are fun, and Dae-woong balks at her use of “Date.” He declares (protesting too much, I doth say), that this isn’t a date; it’s a walk, like taking the dog for a walk. And instead of taking her by the hand like she asks, he leads her away by her bag strap like a dog. Sigh.
They end up in the electronics department of the mall, where Mi-ho marvels at all the strange new gadgets, and Dae-woong stops in front of a display, drooling over the camcorder he’s been wanting. Dae-woong’s amused that she finds all the newfangled appliances interesting, so he uses the opportunity to poop on Dong-joo Teacher’s range of knowledge. He tells her that the stereo is a mind-reading device, the bathroom scale is an age-indicator, and the calculator is a human-remote.
He plays a trick on her with the vacuum like it’s eating his hand, so she rescues him by throwing it on the ground, where it breaks into pieces. He’s forced to purchase it in penance.
While waiting for him, Mi-ho runs over to the fans, playing with the sound of her voice and letting her hair fly in the breeze. Dae-woong sees her, and in a moment of reverie, says to himself that he was silly to think she would ever eat him up. He muses that like this, she looks just like a normal girl, and realizes that his mind keeps forgetting—that she isn’t. He watches her, and his heart starts to beat in his ears, and he begins to see her in a new light.
He snaps himself out of it, and turns the fan off (as if that’s the source of his feelings, HA) and walks away. He keeps looking back at her, knowing what he’s feeling, and we can see his mental process as he convinces himself that he’s crazy for even thinking it. I love that this entire process, from the discovery of his feelings, to the denial, is delivered silently, but we can read it plainly all over his face.
Hye-in meets with Byung-soo and Sun-nyeo, plying them with lunch to get information about Mi-ho. She finds out that Mi-ho doesn’t go to school or have a job, and since she knows that Director Ban is chasing her for the lead role in the movie, her antennae go up about Mi-ho’s unusual stunt abilities. She wonders if that night at Dae-woong’s place, Mi-ho actually jumped off the roof…but then realizes that would be crazy…
At home, Dae-woong grills up some meat while Mi-ho sits in front of the fan. Thankfully, her perm wasn’t very permanent at all, although she wishes it had lasted longer. Dae-woong watches her warily, almost willing her to keep doing crazy things, to disabuse him of the idea that he could develop feelings for a gumiho.
She asks when they’ll go on more dates, saying that she likes to do stuff with him, and Dae-woong asks her leading questions like, “You like me because I buy you meat, right? You like meat, therefore you like me.” He declares that he’s going to stop buying meat, thinking she’ll decide that she doesn’t like him, but to his dismay, she says it’s regrettable, but she’ll deal. Heh.
He starts overreacting that she’s a gumiho—how can she be so cavalier about him not buying her beef? He tells her that she should be scary and threaten him—she’ll scare, he’ll be frightened, and he’ll REMEMBER that she’s a gumiho, and not a human. Mi-ho says that she doesn’t want to scare him anymore, and to just think of her as a person then. He’s not having any of that. “You’re a gumiho! You’ve got to live up to your tails. You have nine of them!”
He forces her to act the part, so they go through the motions of taking away her beef, threatening to eat him up, then fearing for his life. Mi-ho pouts, and Dae-woong goes to bed chanting to himself that the lines have to be kept clear, and he repeats over and over, “Gumiho, gumiho.”
Dong-joo, Fairy Godmother, wakes up from a nightmare about his long-lost love, Mi-ho’s doppelganger from centuries past. In the dream she tells him that she’s fallen in love with a man and asks for a way to become human. He then tells her to kill the man that she loves, which she can’t do. She asks Dong-joo to kill her instead, and he complies. He wakes up shaking and in tears. Gold star and dance of joy for those of you who guessed this angle on the backstory.
Dae-woong puts up a countdown board for the remaining days of their contract. He tries to convince himself that this helps put things in their place and tries his best to put some distance between himself and Mi-ho. He explains to her that this is the extent of their relationship, and that when the 100 days are over, he won’t concern himself with where she goes or what she does. He leaves and she waves goodbye, which he forces her to change to a threatening fist wave instead, and acts out his part of the fearful human, promising to bring home beef. Mi-ho frowns at his coldness.
She goes to see Dong-joo Teacher, and wonders if she should just tell Dae-woong that she wants to be human. Dong-joo, bitter from his nightmares, tells her that she shouldn’t expect Dae-woong’s affections, since she has nothing that humans want—money, talent, ways to get money, etc. He spits out angrily that he can’t understand why she would want to give up being a special, powerful being, to be a lowly human. Interesting. I like this angle on his character a little more, although if he’s so against it, I don’t know why he helped her so willingly.
Mi-ho wonders if he’s feeling okay, and puts a hand on his cheek and asks sweetly if he’s sad. His tears well up, but he says nothing. She offers him the vegetable juice that she was saving for Dae-woong, and leaves. It’s nice that both men are becoming increasingly affected by Mi-ho in different ways, and against their will, at that.
Hye-in and Dae-woong both get called to meet with Director Ban, and while waiting in his office Hye-in decides to pull some shenanigans in order to break the ice with Dae-woong. She purposely trips and knocks over a bunch of DVDs (the severity of which I don’t get, really) and they scheme to put them back while distracting the director. This suffices to get them talking on friendly terms again.
Mi-ho goes back to the department store and looks at the camcorder that Dae-woong wanted. She fantasizes about buying it for him, earning his respect as a human and making him happy all at once.
At home, Dae-woong looks at his ring and at the calendar, sighing that only 93 days remain, and that time is passing faster than he’d thought. Aw.
He wonders why Mi-ho isn’t home, so he calls her. But Mi-ho is busy washing dishes at a restaurant, so that she can earn some money for the camcorder. Dae-woong sits at home waiting and waiting, growing annoyed at the thought that she might be hanging out with Dong-joo. Heh.
He even considers calling Dong-joo, but decides against it for the sake of his pride. She finally calls him back, and the concern is audible in his voice. He asks where she is, but all he gets is a curt, “I’m busy. Don’t call me. Don’t wait up.” She hangs up to get back to work, leaving him stunned and yelling at his cell phone in disbelief. He says with pettiness, “See if I ever call you again!”
And then he waits up for her all night. Kyah, so cute!
He calls her again. Mi-ho: “Why are you calling me? I’m busy.” Dae-woong: “You’re a girl and you’re out at all hours of the night.” Mi-ho: “Woong-ah, I’m a gumiho.” He catches himself forgetting again, and swears he’ll never call again. He takes the battery out of his phone, and goes to bed.
He wakes up in the morning to find that she’s home, but she gets ready and leaves again right away. Dae-woong insists that it’s not like he was waiting or anything, but he wants to know what she’s doing. She doesn’t have time to talk, and rushes off saying that she’s busy. I sort of love that the tables are turned now, and he waits around for her, stewing in his own feelings.
He eats alone, complaining that she’s late again today, and lets out a deep sigh as he crosses another day off the calendar. Poor puppy. He calls her again, but this time she has her phone off.
He wakes up in the morning to discover that she never even came home last night. He thinks again about calling Dong-joo, but decides he can’t, and just then, Mi-ho walks in. He grabs her by the wrist (oy, Woong-ah) and demands to know where she’s been. “Have you been with Dong-joo all this time?” She smiles, finally having the upper hand, and declares that she has. He tells her if she’s going to be out every night, to get out, and without skipping a beat, she says she’ll go to Dong-joo then. “If you’re regular cow, then Dong-joo is wild cow!” Hahahaha.
This is of course a dream, but it’s awesomely telling. He wakes up and chastises himself for dreaming such things. He decides it’s because he’s been waiting up for a gumiho—it’s causing him to dream crazy cow dreams. He regretfully crosses another day off the calendar and convinces himself that he’s better off not concerning himself with her.
Mi-ho counts her money with the chicken shop ajumma, and pouts that earning money is hard. The ajumma notes that she’s a good eater, so she’s got the perfect job for her. She takes her to the set of the home shopping channel, where they’re filming a commercial for beef. All they have to do as extras is eat meat—the perfect job for Mi-ho. She does so happily, and Dae-woong meanwhile misses her television debut, while wondering where the hell she is.
Byung-soo notices Mi-ho onscreen, and Dae-woong is shocked to see her, while annoyed that she looks like she’s having the time of her life (heh). He sees Director Ban and his aunt on their way in, so he blocks the tv from their view.
He goes home to find Mi-ho waiting for him, and she declares that it’s been forever since they’ve seen each other, and she’s missed him. That appeases him a little, but he still petulantly tells her that she looked like she was having fun eating on tv with the chicken shop ajumma, and that she can spend all her time with Dong-joo if she pleases, but to answer her phone.
She says that there were too many grill plates to answer the phone, outing the real reason she’s been so busy. She tells him that she’s been working hard to make money, so that she could buy him the thing he really wanted—the thing he picked out that day after the movies. He’s so impressed with her that he can’t help but smile, and she declares that he’s going to be so surprised by his gift, and runs upstairs to get it.
He waits with a chuckle, saying there’s no surprise if you tell him what the gift is. She bounds upstairs and with much fanfare, she presents him with…
…the SIGN for the camcorder that he wanted! AHAHAHAHAHA! Oh my god…she thought he wanted the SIGN! I’m seriously busting a gut here.
Dae-woong totally sees why her very literal mind interpreted things this way, and he very sweetly doesn’t let on that she’s bought him the wrong thing. He praises her gift-giving skills, and tells her proudly that he’ll put it right next to his bed, and it’s the very thing he’s always wanted. AW.
He asks her if it was hard earning money, and when she tells him how much the restaurant paid her for washing dishes, he’s shocked, and marches over there to give the owner a piece of his mind. He gets the remaining wages out of him and hands it over to Mi-ho. She frowns that he must’ve taken advantage of her because she seemed stupid, but Dae-woong reassures her that she’s not stupid—she’s just different, because she’s a gumiho. He tells her not to let her tails droop.
Hye-in buys herself that same camcorder, and decides to buy one for Dae-woong too. Sun-nyeo conveniently lets slip another piece of information: that Dae-woong isn’t so much healed from his accident, as working through the pain, “for love,” because of Mi-ho. Hye-in grumbles at that.
Dae-woong heads into the studio for a costume test, and tells Mi-ho to wait for him, and that he’ll take her out to eat tonight. She perks up, saying, “A date?” He tells her it’s going out for a walk, and she frowns.
Director Ban and Aunt Min-sook come back from a lunch date, and she hooks her arm into his as they coo back and forth at each other. But then Sun-nyeo appears with Hye-in around the corner, and Doo-hong freaks out, pushing Min-sook away with such force that she ends up flying a few feet and landing on the floor. Sun-nyeo comes bounding up, commanding Daddy’s attention, and Doo-hong can’t bring himself to acknowledge Min-sook in front of his daughter. Min-sook agonizes over her plight.
Hye-in happens to see her and asks if she’s okay. Min-sook recognizes her face from Dae-woong’s phone, so she asks if she’s Dae-woong’s girlfriend. Hye-in cops to just being a friend, but when Min-sook admits to knowing very little about said girlfriend, she sees an opportunity. Hye-in lays it on thick that she’s not one to judge, but she thinks that Mi-ho latched onto Dae-woong with a plan to use him for his money, and tells Min-sook that Dae-woong was seriously injured, but is continuing to do the movie at Mi-ho’s urging. Gah, hateful bug-eyed girl!
She gets up, proud of herself for her masterful meddling, but then jumps out of her skin to find Mi-ho standing right behind her. Awesome. Mi-ho confronts her about her lies, and when Hye-in defends her position, Mi-ho resorts to scaring her. Love it.
Hye-in leaves in a huff, wishing she would’ve said more. She decides to use the camcorder to send a message to Mi-ho. It gets delivered to the house, and Mi-ho opens it up, to realize that this is what Dae-woong actually wanted. She looks at her gift, and Hye-in’s, and it dawns on her just how lacking hers is. Breaks my heart. Couldn’t you just let them pretend, Show?
Across town, Min-sook tells Grandpa about Dae-woong’s accident and Mi-ho’s involvement in pushing him to do the movie against the doctor’s wishes. Grandpa fumes.
Mi-ho goes to see Dong-joo, and she tells him glumly that she thought she was just different, but she realized today just how lacking she is. Dong-joo tells her that even if she becomes human, she can’t be with Dae-woong. With other people, who just think she’s dumb or short a few marbles, she can learn and get by, but with Dae-woong who knows that she’s fundamentally different, it’ll never work. She hangs her head in defeat.
As Dae-woong finishes his work, he turns down Byung-soo’s invitation to go out, saying he received a gift from Mi-ho, so he’s going to bring home some beef, the cut of which is called “flower.” Byung-soo thinks it’s amusing that Dae-woong is bringing home flower beef instead of flowers, and Dae-woong insists that “my Mi-ho is different,” and that she doesn’t like flowers. Or…wait…he realizes that he doesn’t really know, since he never asked.
So he comes home, wielding a giant bouquet of flowers. Adorable. He pauses in the entryway, thinking it’s a little ridiculous to present flowers to a gumiho, but then he sees his camcorder sign in the trash. He brings it back in, and sees Hye-in’s gift, realizing that Mi-ho must’ve found out that her gift wasn’t exactly what he had wanted.
Mi-ho comes home later that night, and is surprised to walk into a darkened apartment. In the middle of the room is one floodlight, above the camcorder sign. Dae-woong steps out from behind it, and asks why she threw it away. She says it wasn’t what he wanted, which he acknowledges—it wasn’t what he originally wanted, but it’s a gift from her, so now it’s what he wants, and he’ll learn to like it.
With that, he presents her with the flowers. She lights up, saying that she loves them, and he’s surprised to see that against his preconceptions, she does like flowers like a regular girl. He says that he didn’t know, since she’s different, but he’s glad that she likes his gift. Mi-ho still lingers on the fact that she didn’t get him the gift that he wanted. He corrects her—she’s wrong about that, just as he was wrong about what her likes and dislikes are. He declares that they’ll correct those things by learning about each other, and living to match their tastes. Gah. WHY ARE YOU SO CUTE?
Mi-ho says that from now on, she’ll ask him everything, and true to form, she starts right away.
Mi-ho: Right now, how much are you afraid of me?
Dae-woong: Honestly, I’m not afraid of you at all. I was pretending before.
Mi-ho: Do you hate being with me?
Dae-woong: Honestly, I don’t hate it. I guess I’ve gotten used to you.
Mi-ho: Then…from now on…is it possible that you could start to like me? Even if I’m different from you, couldn’t you…like me?
Dae-woong looks up at her darling face, brimming with eagerness at his response. He gulps, weighing it in his mind. And as he starts to think that maybe he really could, a petal falls from the bouquet and he catches it in his hand. He clasps it, about to respond…
…when Grandpa charges in, breaking up the moment. Aw, Grandpa! Couldn’t you have waited like THIRTY SECONDS?
He declares that it’s over—they’re to break up, and growls at Dae-woong to pack his bags. Ruh-roh!
I love how fast we’re progressing plot-wise, and yet how slowly the relationship is developing between our leads. They’re slowly learning how to trust each other, how to figure out what the other person wants—it’s such a realistic portrayal of what happens in a real relationship, once you get past the puppy love stuff, when trying to figure out how to live together in the real world. Well, minus the supernatural stuff. But that’s why I love this kind of story—because the “difference” that they’re speaking of is such a great metaphor for the distance we go as human beings to truly understand one another.
Hye-in bugs me, of course, but she doesn’t bug me as much as a classic second lead, because she really has no traction here. There’s no room for her in this couple, and her ploys always fall flat, and so far, they usually serve to give our couple yet another excuse to bond, so as a plot device, I’m all for Hye-in.
Her latest stunt with the family will probably muck things up for a little while though, seeing as how Grandpa seems more irate than the time his precious fish died. I would think Dae-woong could find a way to reason with him, but I wouldn’t mind a little angst to separate them for a little while, as long as it made them miss each other like crazy.
I love that Mi-ho is consistently open about her feelings for Dae-woong and that she isn’t afraid to ask him the kinds of things that it would take other drama heroines centuries to put into words, if ever at all. It’s so refreshing to have them both be so forthright, because the source of angst for them is in the mythological, not the mundane. As long as that giant elephant is still in the room—love or death—then the little conflicts are free to be resolved and we don’t have to feel like the little misunderstandings that drive other drama plots are running this one. See? I love this show for reasons other than the cuteness. I swear.
Oh, who are we kidding. If I had a stuffed doll of Lee Seung-gi’s left dimple, I’d nibble on it like Mi-ho with her stuffed chicken leg. Nom, nom.
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