Well, it finally happened. You knew it was coming. The episode in which girlfriday’s sanity gets kidnapped and sold on the black market. What’s the going rate for what’s left of my marbles?
EPISODE 14 RECAP
So…Mu-gyul gets KIDNAPPED. No, really. I was hoping that maybe I just had too much to drink and imagined that part last night, but then I realized I would just be angry at myself for imagining such a ridiculous scenario…and lo and behold, it’s actually happening. Sigh, Drama. Sigh.
Mary manages to conveniently find a pair of cops to hop a ride with, as they chase down the kidnappers. Gracious kidnappers that they are, they lower their window so that Mu-gyul can see Mary hanging her head outside the cop car as they drive alongside. Aw, they’re fans of romance, the kidnappers. That’s sweet.
Meanwhile, Jung-in does what he can to delay the showcase, and calls Mary’s phone. Dad picks up, and when Jung-in says that he’s looking for Mu-gyul, Dad lets it slip that he’s busy getting himself served. Jung-in’s ears perk up, but he gets no other information.
Then, for no apparent reason other than the fact that they’ve caused enough dramatic tension for Mu-gyul, the kidnappers decide to pitch him (AND his guitar—hey, thanks! He’s gonna need that!) out of the moving car. The cops ditch Mary just as handily, with no recourse or explanation. This drama is So. Weird.
Mary worries about Mu-gyul’s injury, but he insists on going to the concert, of course. Because rockers don’t need medical attention. They only need Rock.
Jung-in tries to stall as best as he can, but they’re out of time, and Absolute Mu-gyul takes to the stage…without Mu-gyul. Jung-in persuades Seo-jun to front the band in Mu-gyul’s place, but the crowd starts chanting Mu-gyul’s name, backing them into a corner.
They stand there, frozen, not knowing what to do…
…which is when Mu-gyul makes his way through the crowd of screaming fans, Mary in tow. The awesome part about this is, none of the enthusiasm of the fans is faked in any way. They really are this excited to see Jang Geun-seok perform.
He takes to the stage, still cringing in pain from his hand injury. He starts to say his big declaration to Mary, that this song is for the girl who warmed his cold heart…but then breaks into laughter at his own cheesiness. Heh.
He pauses, and then shouts into the mic: “Mary Christmas…I love you!” Mary pretty much dies right there, among the screaming fans.
Seo-jun’s jaw drops at the unabashed declaration of love: SO not the Mu-gyul that she used to know. Jung-in just breathes a sigh of relief that the concert didn’t go down in flames.
Mu-gyul sings “Hello, Hello” and the concert is a roaring success. Then, all of a sudden, we cut to Mu-gyul tied and gagged, back in the trunk of the kidnappers’ car. What the…if the concert was all a dream, I’m going to rip some heads off, starting with this writer…
Oh, it wasn’t. The re-kidnapping is the dream. Mary wakes him up, asking if he’s having a nightmare, and Mu-gyul opens his eyes to find that he’s in Jung-in’s house but doesn’t remember getting there. It turns out he collapsed right after the concert, and they brought him here.
Mary asks if he can think of any reason someone would want to kidnap him (Oh, let’s see….) but he can’t. Jung-in has an inkling, and says he’ll look into it. Does he not know that his father has a yakuza background, or is he just in massive denial?
Speaking of denial, Seo-jun has a drink with Lee Ahn, and decides that Mu-gyul doesn’t love Mary. Listen, if you don’t know the meaning of words, then I can’t help you. I’m pretty certain “I love you” is quite rudimentary grade-school level stuff.
Dad meanwhile calls Jung-in’s father to very loudly ask if he took care of Mu-gyul…right in front of Mu-gyul’s mom. He then decides to go see Jung-in, where the three kids are sitting there, discussing their next plan of action.
Dad has a fit, of course, and this time they don’t try to run away or hide. Jung-in tells him that it’s all his doing, and they pretty much tell him everything. Dad can’t believe that Jung-in would lie and use Mary to secure investments for his company, with no real intention of marrying her.
Jung-in is clear about one thing: he does want Mary to be happy, and will do anything to help her have the life that she wants. Aw. But Dad is just ridiculously, irreparably against Mu-gyul, and will not listen to reason. Gawd. I’m getting REALLY tired of shrill papa, who has NO RIGHT to call anyone out for being a ne’er do well.
Mu-gyul and Mary both plead, with Jung-in even chiming in, but Dad continues to be a frustrating, stupid block of wood. He declares that it’ll never happen, and leaves in a huff. He goes straight to Jung-in’s father and tells him everything, which is frankly a relief, since the repetition of lies was getting quite tiresome. Jung Seok is peeved that the kids dared to fool him, and plans to do something about it. Does it involve more kidnapping? Please, no more third-rate kidnapping attempts.
Back at Mu-gyul’s place, Mary tends to his wounds, where he takes full advantage of her tender loving care, much like he did when they first met. He tells her to blow on his shoulder, then his forehead, and his lips…
And Mary, instead of kissing him, decides to smack his lips for puckering up. Listen, I’m concerned there’s something wrong with you. Can someone please explain to me what she is doing pushing Jang-Geun-seok-lips away from her person? Does not compute. Does not compute.
Mary remembers that his birthday is on Christmas Eve, and asks what he wants as a present. He thinks for a while, then decides there IS something he wants…to get rid of that curtain dividing their bed. Rawr!
He makes his best come-hither look at her, while she cluelessly wonders why he’d want to get rid of a curtain in perfectly good condition. Oh, Mary.
Jung-in has some bed drama of his own, but in the form of a nightmare/memory, where he recalls a fight between his parents, with that picture of Mary’s mom as the catalyst. He wakes up crying, and we finally get to see a glimpse of Kim Jae-wook‘s acting chops, which have heretofore been sorely underutilized in this drama.
His father calls him over to give him the wedding invitations. So I guess we’re barreling through with the faux wedding after all, eh? The Denial…it is strong with these people. Jung-in has finally had enough (Thank God) and stands up to his father for the first time. He calls him out for kidnapping Mu-gyul, and asks what he thinks Mary will say when she finds out.
He adds that he’s always followed his father’s wishes because he thought it was the right thing to do, but he’s not going to play that game anymore. He tells Dad not to use him and Mary as pawns anymore. That gets Jung-in slapped across the face for his defiance.
Mu-gyul’s mom gets to brag to a couple of Mu-gyul fans about being his mom, which Mary’s dad eyes with some curiosity, although he won’t acknowledge it. Mom rushes over to Mu-gyul to fawn over his newfound success, while he brushes her off coldly, still upset with her for Paris, the ring, and let’s face it—her general flightiness.
She tells him that she’s working at Mary’s dad’s restaurant to repay her debt for the ring, and adds that she overheard Dad talking about Mu-gyul, asking his hyung if he took care of him. It dawns on Mu-gyul that Jung-in’s dad is the culprit.
He goes to confirm it with Jung-in, who doesn’t deny his father’s wrongdoing. He apologizes on his father’s behalf, but Mu-gyul isn’t here for an apology. He doesn’t understand why Jung-in’s father thinks he has the right to decide Mary’s fate, and decides that it makes no sense. Join the club, friend.
Jung-in tells him that his dad’s got some fixation with Mary (yeah…don’t you two think that’s, say, weird?) and that he’s doing all this with the misguided notion that it’s what’s best for her. Mu-gyul tells him that he’ll show them who the right man for Mary is, the one who will make her truly happy in the end.
Jung-in even encourages him to do well with the drama OST so that he can succeed. Well, if you’re not even going to put up a fight, it’s no fun, is it? So, now there’s zero romantic tension, and ramped up Daddy tension instead? That’s the name of the game? Really, Show?
To that end, Jung-in books Mu-gyul’s schedule solid, as his popularity grows, idol-size. He goes on a radio show, which Mary listens to, and talks about writing the song for Mary Christmas, only the radio host twists his words to make it sound like it’s a nickname for Seo-jun. Mary happens to hear it while she’s shopping for treatment for Mu-gyul’s hair, making it sting even more.
Dad calls her home with a fakeout that he’s sick, and gives her money to get a hanbok for the wedding. She tells him that they can do all the planning they want, but ain’t gonna be a wedding without a bride. What…is that…logic? What are you doing here?
Dad lets it slip AGAIN that Jung-seok will force her to marry if he has to, just like he did with Mu-gyul. Mary’s jaw drops, as she tries to get Dad to tell her if he really had anything to do with Mu-gyul’s kidnapping. He refuses to say anymore, so Mary runs off to confirm it for herself.
She happens to walk in on Mu-gyul and Jung-in arguing over doing a photo shoot with Seo-jun, and catches them just as Mu-gyul shouts, “What, are you going to drag me there by force, like your father?” He turns to storm out, and sees Mary standing in the doorway.
Mary’s eyes widen as she looks at Jung-in. She asks if his father really ordered Mu-gyul kidnapped, and decides to go confront him to put an end to the madness. Yes, please.
She tells Jung-seok that she and Jung-in lied to him because of his investment in the drama production, and tells him that she’ll take whatever punishment is necessary herself, so to stop hurting Mu-gyul. He doesn’t even deny kidnapping him or admit that it was wrong; he justifies it, in fact, by saying that it was necessary to keep her from living a lifetime of regret because of a mistake.
She tries to tell him that it’s no mistake and that she’s happy with Mu-gyul, but he cuts her off and reminds her that he’s a man of his word, and that she made a promise with him. What, now? Doesn’t your act of violence negate that stupid promise? How about just “I love him, so shove off”?
Mu-gyul ends up doing the couple-themed photo shoot with Seo-jun, who marvels at how much Mary has changed him. She seems to be purposely trying to jab at him, implying that Mary’s tamed him like a housecat, but he doesn’t seem to care.
Mary falls asleep waiting up for him, and wakes up to find him crouching by the bed, watching her sleep. He just came home for a moment to see her face, and she tells him that she told Jung-seok the truth, and that she no longer has to stay at Jung-in’s house. I don’t remember you saying that. Anyway, they make a date for Christmas Eve.
Mu-gyul stops by a jewelry shop to pick up a little kitty necklace for his kitten Mary. He smiles thinking about her giant Shrek-cat eyes. He goes on interview after interview, gaining popularity by the minute, and even gets Manager Bang re-orbiting him to sign with her again. Why, because he has amnesia?
Jung-in comes home that night to an empty house, and sighs when he looks for Mary but she’s nowhere to be found. See, you didn’t actually tell anyone that you weren’t living here anymore, did you?
He calls and she braces herself as she answers the phone. He asks, voice shaking, if she’s going to be late tonight, and when she’ll be home, so that he can take her to the bookstore. Oh my god, heartbreaking. He closes his eyes, knowing what’s about to come, but not wanting to hear it.
Mary tells him that she went to see his father and told him the truth, so she’ll no longer be coming by the house. Jung-in, grasping at straws, tells her that the contract isn’t over yet. She tells him that it seems meaningless at this point, so she’s calling it off. She hangs up, and his heart sinks.
It kills me that he’s so unable to just admit that he likes her, and has to use the dreaded contract as an excuse to be near her. Also, I really wish this revelation had come waaaaaay earlier. Like centuries ago.
It’s Christmas Eve and Mary preps for her birthday date with Mu-gyul. She makes a cake and pulls their bed-dividing curtain back, tying it with a heart. Aw. Her phone rings and she races to pick it up thinking it’s Mu-gyul, and asks when he’s coming home.
But it’s Jung-in, calling her to come over one last time…because he has something to say that he never got to tell her. He’s sitting in the kitchen with fruit and cupcakes, wearing a reindeer sweater…aw, somebody give this guy a hug.
She apologizes and tells him that it’s Mu-gyul’s birthday today, and she can’t come over. He asks her for just a moment of her time, but she turns him down.
Aw, it kills me, the holiday party where Mary waits for Mu-gyul alone, and the holiday party where Jung-in waits for Mary alone.
She waits and waits, and finally gets through to Mu-gyul’s phone. He just arrived close by, but pretends to be stuck in traffic, and tells her to go ahead and sleep because he’s going to be a while. Her face falls in disappointment.
Meanwhile, Jung-in texts her to say that he’s going to keep waiting until she comes to hear what he has to say. Oh Noes! Don’t go now!
Mu-gyul picks up the engagement ring from the pawnshop (thus freeing them from the contract and any ties to Jung-in) and heads home.
Jung-in sits alone at the world’s saddest Christmas party, until Mary arrives. He tells her that he has to have cake, otherwise it doesn’t feel like Christmas; Mary says she knows what that feels like, since after her mom died and Dad was busy being chased by debt collectors, she spent Christmases with candles stuck in Choco Pies. Oh my god, that’s the saddest thing I’ve ever heard. He’s officially the worst dad ever.
Jung-in: “It’s nice…spending Christmas with someone else. It’s warm.” Mary, with tears in her eyes, asks him for a divorce. She knows she’s breaking his heart, but says it’s what’s best for everyone involved.
Mu-gyul rounds the corner, and we see that he’s not in Hongdae, but in Cheongdam, on his way to Jung-in’s house to return the ring. Crap.
Mary gets up to leave, but Jung-in backhugs her, asking her to stay like this for just a minute longer. Tears fall, as she lets him hold her like that…
…which is when Mu-gyul walks in.
Now THAT’s what I’m talkin’ ’bout, Show! Why the hell did it take us so long to get here? Why did we spend so many episodes with Jung-in denying his feelings, when clearly he’s not just some benevolent cupid for Mary and Mu-gyul?
What a crazy episode. The last ten minutes were great—some actual conflict in the love triangle, with pent-up feelings and all. But the rest of it was like blowing hot air. I hate this one writing tick in particular, which happened to be ALL OVER this episode like cheap perfume: it’s that circular thing where characters say words to each other, which in the moment are delivered like big declarations…and then the other person DOES NOT HEAR the words that are coming out of their mouths.
All episode long, people were shouting things, for no reason it turns out, because there was zero plot advancement that followed. Usually, let’s say: I know something you don’t know, so then I tell you, and then that awareness changes something in our dynamic. You learn, you reply, we go forward with new knowledge. That’s how human beings interact. Even if it isn’t, that’s how narrative information propels a story forward.
But we just spent an hour with people declaring things, like “I love her,” or “I don’t want to marry him,” with no effect, no change, no ripple. It’s like they’re all shouting into a vacuum, and not at each other. It’s confusing, at the most basic level of conversation, because what on earth is EVER going to make these people listen to each other? What is the point of words in this drama? Will they suddenly be hit with lightning bolts in the eleventh hour, or drink some magic listening tonic?
The problem you set yourself up for when you do this, is that when characters all of a sudden DO listen, when you’ve been saying the same damn thing for a bazillion episodes—”Dad, I really, really, really don’t want to marry that guy”—then what is the impact of those words suddenly taking on meaning in the end?
Yes, this is a strange obsession, I know. But just once I’d like for someone to say something in this drama, and for the other person to hear the words, compute their meaning, and reply like a functional human being.
Okay, rant over.
On the upside, lots of pretty Mu-gyul-onstage this episode.
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