Episode 10 is vintage Mary: Some incredibly adorable scenes between Mary and Mu-gyul, who do puppy love like nobody’s business, and some repetitive plot conflicts that go around in circles. But no matter, since this may be our last time seeing this kind of storytelling style, since the writer change kicks in with the 11th episode.
I’m not holding my breath for a major shift, but it will be interesting to spot the differences, if any.
SONG OF THE DAY
Winterplay – “눈 내리던 어느 날” (On a certain snowy day) [ Download ]
EPISODE 10 RECAP
Mary comes upon Seo-jun kissing Mu-gyul and watches them unnoticed. Mu-gyul hasn’t initiated or participated in it, but neither does he set her straight or push her away. Instead, he merely tells her to go home, unruffled by the kiss.
Spotting Mary, Seo-jun confronts her with disdain for acting all innocent-like while leading two men around in a merry chase. Mary stands up for herself, saying politely that she understands that Seo-jun, as Mu-gyul’s ex, wouldn’t like her, but that she has never toyed with either man.
I sort of see where Seo-jun’s coming from, but can’t help but think she rubs me the wrong way with her attitude, as though this is all an affront to HER, which she masks as concern for the boys. What happened to the cool, ballsy Seo-jun of earlier days? Why has she turned so… petty and sneering?
Mary picks up the discarded guitar-pick necklace on her way in, and is quieter than usual as she prepares dinner for Mu-gyul. He eats enthusiastically, and Mary tells him that she enjoys seeing him eat even more than when he’s onstage. Spoken like a true mother, and he says as much. She laughs, “Yeah, you’re my kid.”
Mary asks if there’s anything he wants to do as a couple, and gets carried away imagining them getting couple rings, and couple T-shirts, and couple necklaces, and couple hats… Lady, be careful what you wish for. With a boyfriend like Mu-gyul, you’re more likely to be mistaken for sisters.
He says that’s kid’s stuff and tells her to up her game. Clearly Mu-gyul’s mind is in sexier places, and he imagines that she’s about to propose a makeout session, which is what the rest of us would do. But no, innocent Mary proposes a romantic campfire in the woods, to his disappointment. And ours.
He perks up again when she shyly suggests something else, something special, something she’s afraid to ask, that she wants to do tonight… Mu-gyul gulps.
Which… ends up taking them to a deserted construction site.
They ride a rickety elevator to the top, and as they climb higher, Mary breaks down in fear and clings to Mu-gyul’s leg, crying, “Dad!” Talk about mixed messages. Mu-gyul attempts to liberate his pants from her death grip, and they make it to the rooftop.
Mary explains that she read in a psychology book that if you have a bad memory of a place, making a new (better) memory in that place can help get rid of the old one. As a child, she’d once been chased up to a rooftop by loan sharks who’d been after money owed by her father, and afterward she had started to have nightmares.
She’s shaken by the memory, and even now tears of fright fall from her eyes. Mu-gyul gathers her close, then gives her a sweet peck on the lips, saying that ought to keep her nightmares at bay.
As it starts to snow, he tells her he hopes her dreams will whiten away, like the snow, and they stand there together, holding each other. It’s adorable.
Mary gets her campfire after all as they huddle together in the snow afterward. Wanting to return the favor for helping her get over her fear, she asks what situation makes Mu-gyul particularly happy, or if has any bad memories needing exorcising.
The first is easy enough — he’s happiest when he’s conditioning his hair. LOL. The second answer requires some explanation, and he relates the story of going to an ice rink as a child one day to look for his mother, and freezing his butt off while she never showed. Mary promises to do both with him — condition his hair, and accompany him to the skating rink.
More scandal follows Seo-jun (sigh, again), because her late-night kiss with Mu-gyul has found its way into the tabloids. Another headache for Jung-in to take care of.
Worse yet, it angers co-star Lee Ahn, who in this drama’s reality is a big Hallyu star. He and his manager threaten to leave the project if filming doesn’t begin on the contracted date.
On top of that, Manager Bang makes good on her threat to pull investors from the project (since it was Lee Ahn’s involvement that brought them onboard), and now Wonderful Life finds itself flailing.
Admittedly, the drama’s explanation for why this is such a Dire Situation is on the flimsy side, but I suppose there’s a certain (perhaps incomplete) internal logic at work: The initial scandal with Lee Ahn and Seo-jun’s “romance” brought out the Seo-jun anti-fans, who resented her for claiming their beloved oppa, and they went to town with an internet assault. In addition to the usual slander, they also started digging into her past, including investigations of her education and family.
This Mu-gyul scandal paints her as a cheater as well as a scandalmaker, turning her into a thoroughly irresponsible, unlikable star. No longer is she bankable on her talent alone, and business entities don’t want to associate with her drama. Now she’s a liability.
That’s the dilemma Jung-in faces when he meets her, but he decides he’s sticking with her. As bad as things are now, it’ll be worse if she leaves the production. Solution? Call a press conference. That’ll show ’em.
Mary overhears the news of the dropped investors when she drops by the office for a meeting with the writer, who likes her story suggestions. Then, she catches the televised press conference as she walks by a storefront on her way home, and stops to watch as Seo-jun addresses the reporters.
At first Seo-jun gives “safe” answers to the press’s questions, saying that she and Ahn are just co-workers, and that she and Mu-gyul are friends. However, a reporter presses on the issue of Mu-gyul, and Jung-in steps in to issue a blanket “no comment.” Except Seo-jun ruins that by declaring, “Kang Mu-gyul… is the man I love.”
Mom flounces home to congratulate Mu-gyul on this public declaration from a star, which in turn makes him a star. He has no idea what she’s talking about, so she fills him in on the gossip, which he waves off, calling their photographed kiss as a mere goodbye gesture. Mom remembers he has Mary, so she warns him not to two-time his women, having been the receiving end of that in the past.
After watching Seo-jun drop the bomb, Mary sits in the park wiping away tears, all while knitting a sweater for Mu-gyul. Her friends track her down and tell her to forget that two-timing bastard, then take her for a drinking session, advising her alternately to go for Jung-in instead, or grab Mu-gyul for good and fight off that sneaky actress wench.
Another trio of angry ladies present themselves: Mu-gyul’s student fangirls confront him outside the academy, Love Actually-style, bearing signs that insist that he break up with Seo-jun. He inches away from them warily, then breaks into a run.
His bandmates tease him about the gossip, and their paths conveniently cross with Mary’s group. The sidekicks relocate to get their drink on while Mary and Mu-gyul talk.
If the ignored phone calls haven’t been enough of a clue, Mu-gyul can see from Mary’s expression that she’s upset and explains that even if Seo-jun still has feelings for him, it doesn’t mean he has any for her.
Mary points out that he hasn’t made a decisive break with Seo-jun; he asks incredulously if she’s accusing him of clinging to her. While he turns away to get his frustrations under control, Mary walks away holding back tears. She ignores his call again as she rides home on the bus alone, thinking back to that kiss — she’s been busy defending it to everyone else as nothing, but she can’t shake off her feelings of hurt and unease.
Mary calls her friends to find out where Seo-jun lives and makes an unannounced visit. There, her spirits sink to see the framed photos of Seo-jun and Mu-gyul back in their days as a happy couple.
Mary asks why Seo-jun made that announcement today, saying with an accusing tone that if she still loves him, she should have protected that love back when they were together. She gets back the surprising answer that Seo-jun did — that Mu-gyul was the one who couldn’t follow through. And here Mary had assumed that the relationship ended because of Seo-jun’s failing.
Mary’s here to ask Seo-jun to check herself; don’t put Mu-gyul in any further difficult situations.
Mu-gyul hears from Mary’s friends that she went off to see Seo-jun, so off he goes, arriving too late to catch Mary. He asks Seo-jun why she keeps complicating matters, referring to her public declaration, but she says that she can’t control how she feels. She’d have moved on if she could.
She reminds him that she gave up everything — family, background — so she could have him, but he just ended everything suddenly with her. I’m not sure what her point is, ’cause as far as I know love isn’t about keeping score, and Mu-gyul asks if this is her attempt at revenge. He leaves with one request: “Don’t hurt Mary.”
She notes sadly as he heads out, “You’ve really changed.”
Seo-jun texts Jung-in a request to be dropped from the drama, saying that’ll be best for all parties. He tries to call her immediately, only to find that she’s turned off her phone.
Jung-in receives a call from an investor who is pulling his funding, and sits with his head in his hands, feeling overwhelmed with frustration. And then, he looks to his phone and sees the photo of Mary, which I suppose is supposed to be some big symbolic gesture showing us that she’s the shining beacon of hope in his life, or whatever. Instead, I find myself thinking, Man, this drama has the strangest soundtrack.
Mu-gyul combs the streets looking for Mary. Finally, he heads to Mary’s home, where Dad gives him a far-from-friendly greeting, particularly worried since Mary isn’t home yet and isn’t picking up his calls.
The scandal with the actress has turned Mu-gyul into a full-on playboy in Dad’s eyes, and he insists that Mu-gyul stop meeting Mary and shoves him away.
Mary strolls through the neighborhood, deep in thought, and Jung-in casually sidles up next to her until she notices him. They’ve both had rough days, and sigh over how difficult this drama production is going. He had particularly wanted it to succeed because it was his first business endeavor, but he’s finding that everything is going awry.
She encourages him that he can do it, that the project won’t just die, and he thanks her for her vote of convidence.
As they part ways, Mary slips on the ice and goes crashing to the ground. Jung-in acts swiftly — fast enough to grab Mary, but not to prevent their fall, and he ends up with a cut on his forehead. She’s dismayed to have caused him injury, but Jung-in smiles at this reversal from their childhood accident.
Mu-gyul arrives to see Mary sitting with Jung-in after tending to his cut, and jealously grabs her wrist. Glare-off!
Mu-gyul wants to talk with Mary, but she’s not in the mood tonight and tells him to go home, leaving him outside.
He arrives home to find his mother sobbing — her trip to Paris is on the rocks, thanks to her shaky credit. The credit bureau won’t allow her to leave the country unless she pays the 30 million won ($25,000) she owes after being talked into signing as guarantor for a business venture that went bust.
Mu-gyul realizes with horror that she has used 20 million won from his account to pay back most of the debt — the 20 million he was going to return to Jung-in in exchange for dropping the drama. (Guess who’s going back into the production? Again?)
Frustration bubbling over, Mu-gyul asks his mother why she lives like this, always at the mercy of a man who dumps her or cons her of money. Mom falls back on her old excuse — that she’s an “unlucky bitch” — and those hated words remind Mu-gyul that he’s included in that. And that it was her so-called bad luck that led her to have him. He throws those words at her now, angry to be reminded again that he was an unlucky bastard from birth.
Hurt and angry, Mom retorts: “You’re right, I should never have had you. I’m sorry, for giving birth to you without your permission.” She falls to the ground sobbing that she’s sorry. Mu-gyul is torn between being hurt by his mother’s words and for hurting her.
(This scene is probably the best of the episode, because it brings to the surface some real emotions and is grounded in solid acting. That look on Jang Geun-seok’s face as his mother calls him the result of bad luck? It kills me.)
At home, Mary also battles her conflicted feelings, thinking over the events of the day while knitting her red sweater for Mu-gyul, even though her friends had insisted that he doesn’t deserve it. The sweater is something of a symbol in this episode for her feelings, something she turns to whenever she’s feeling particularly torn or upset, even though she’s not sure what she’ll do with it ultimately.
As threatened, Manager Bang and Lee Ahn present Jung-in with paperwork suing for contract cancellation. They argue that Lee Ahn’s missed out on profitable business opportunities and his image suffered as a result of the scandal.
Jung-in apologizes for that, but his sharp mind has started thinking about the origins of the scandal, and who has most to gain from it. He warns Manager Bang that she’s picked the wrong guy to screw over, having picked up on her habit of signing contracts, only to tuck away the signing fee when nullifying the contract.
Lee Ahn has been a loyal client of Manager Bang’s from the beginning of his career, and while he’s selfish and simple, he’s been unaware of his manager’s nefarious dealings, and this takes him by surprise. Jung-in appeals to his sense of decency and says this may be Ahn’s last chance, and asks him to choose wisely: “Manager Bang — or me?” (…in bed?)
President Jung calls sonny boy to tell him he’s putting an end to this drama venture, deciding that Jung-in isn’t fit to run his own business after all. Jung-in kneels in supplication and says that he hasn’t failed yet — he still has a month to convince Mary to marry him.
This he says just as Mary and her father arrive to pay a visit to the president, and they overhear Jung-in pleading for another month before pulling his drama investment. The president declares that he’d already made this decision when his engagement was called off. He orders Jung-in to give up the production company and start working for him instead.
Mary steps in and asks the president to give Jung-in one more chance at the drama. She kneels alongside Jung-in and defends him, saying that the broken engagement was her doing, not his. She’s the one who deserves his scorn.
Who is the president to deny the girl who looks like his long-dead lost love, whom he desperately wants to marry his son? He agrees to grant Jung-in one more chance.
Mary arrives at Mu-gyul’s studio in better spirits today, to his relief. She confesses that she went to see Seo-jun, and She admits that seeing the photos of them made her jealous — it seemed like he’d already done everything she wanted to do with him, but with Seo-jun.
He understands, but assures her that he’s never gone to the skating rink wearing a sweater his girlfriend has made him. They agree to go soon, and Mary promises to finish knitting quickly. Mu-gyul also promises that while he likes her, he’ll only like her — no looking askance at other women. I’m sure he means this in a sweet way, but his time limit (“while I like you”) sounds ominous, and Mary asks, “For how long?” He doesn’t have a ready answer for that.
Mu-gyul’s jealousy flares when Mary telsl him that she’ll have to help Jung-in again, but he understands that she has her loyalty. Still, when she asks him to join her and Jung-in tomorrow for a coffee date to talk things over, he refuses.
The next day, Mary anxiously looks around the cafe, hoping Mu-gyul will show and disappointed that he hasn’t come.
Jung-in interprets this to mean that they can talk this over just between the two of them — which is when Mu-gyul cuts in, here after all.
Sitting down and leveling a firm stare at Jung-in, Mu-gyul suggests that it’s time to cut the child’s play: “Let’s give this real marriage arrangement a try.”
Oh, wait. He means with Mary. Aw. And here I thought…
When I fired up the ol’ internet machine today, I forgot that Mary was airing two episodes today and started watching Episode 11 instead of 10. I can’t believe I watched it for ten minutes before realizing I had accidentally skipped an episode — and strangely enough, even before realizing my mistake, my thoughts on Ep 11 weren’t, “Why is everything moving so fast?” but “We’re STILL here?” So, sigh. The drama-within-the-drama is in trouble — again. Seo-jun is the source of scandal — again. The contract is on — again.
How much more of this can there be? The problem with all this back-and-forthing, aside from merely being repetitive, is that it creates this lack of faith in the resolution. If the characters are stuck in the same dance, over and over and over, then how are we to believe that the final resolution will stick? In order to have any faith in the characters at the core of this drama, we need some real, organic, authentic character development. Advancement instead of just change. I sort of feel like we’re stuck in one of those children’s puzzle games — you know the kind where you have square tiles that you have to slide around, one tile at a time, until the tiles form a picture. Every episode is like one tile move.
It’s funny that the writer is faltering on this drama, because to be honest I actually quite liked her previous show, Love & Marriage, which was also very low-key, loosely plotted, and romance-centric. I remember commenting on the lack of dramatic conflict, and yet in that drama the rest of the story somehow worked within its framework. I suppose it’s because it had more of a theme (marriage, divorce, the possibility of finding your true love the second time around rather than the first), and the main characters — Kim Ji-hoon and Kim Min-hee — had adorable chemistry together. Although certainly Moon Geun-young and Jang Geun-seok have just as much.
Well, I’ll be eager to see what kind of welcome changes Episode 11 brings. Please, let there be some. And for the better.
- Mary Stayed Out All Night replaces writer
- Mary Stayed Out All Night: Episode 9
- Mary Stayed Out All Night: Episode 8
- Mary Stayed Out All Night: Episode 7
- Mary Stayed Out All Night: Episode 6
- Mary Stayed Out All Night: Episode 5
- Mary Stayed Out All Night: Episode 4
- Mary Stayed Out All Night: Episode 3
- Mary Stayed Out All Night: Episode 2
- Mary Stayed Out All Night: Episode 1