Bride of the Water God 2017: Episode 12
It’s possible to lie so much that a person begins to believe their own lies, but So-ah is beginning to realize that at some point you have to face the fact that the deception comes with consequences. She’s been lying for so long that she nearly believes what she says, but when she finally gets what she thinks will make her happy, she may learn that she never wanted it in the first place.
EPISODE 12 RECAP
Mura tells So-ah about Nak-bin, a human woman Ha-baek fell in love with. The king of the Sky Realm offered Nak-bin eternal life if she would help him steal Ha-baek’s powers to create a new order in the Realm of the Gods. Nak-bin foolishly accepted, and Ha-baek was cursed to appear as a child whenever he was touched by daylight.
Nak-bin is captured, and Ha-baek, in the body of a young boy, enters the cave where she’s being held. As he ventures into the darkness, he transforms back into his adult body. He conjures blue water fireflies to light his way, and Bi-ryum follows him hesitantly.
With a wave of his hand, Ha-baek reveals the watery barrier that cages Nak-bin, bound and asleep. He speaks her name and she wakes, and he can hear her calling his name in her mind.
Ha-baek tells Nak-bin that the Queen Mother has ordered her execution, and that her death will break the curse she visited on him. He says she will gain the eternal life she coveted, existing in a never-ending limbo, forbidden to either move on to the next world or be reincarnated in this one.
Nak-bin begs Ha-baek to have pity and save her, saying that she didn’t know he would be cursed and that she did it so that she could be with him forever. But he just looks at her coldly, and says, “I will never forgive you.”
Nak-bin is taken to the edge of the sea, where the Queen Mother and Bi-ryum wait to witness her execution. Ha-baek, again in the body of a child, thinks about when he and Nak-bin were in love, as Mura stands nearby.
Nak-bin is led to the very edge of the ocean, and the Queen Mother waves a hand, conjuring a force that takes over Nak-bin’s body. Nak-bin screams Ha-baek’s name as she walks into the water against her will, futilely begging for her life until the very end.
At the moment of Nak-bin’s death, Ha-baek’s curse is broken. He changes back into his adult body, and he bows his head in sorrow. Mura covers him with his cloak, and Ha-baek has one last vision of Nak-bin admiring a flower. He picks it and throws it into the ocean where she died.
Mura tells So-ah that Nak-bin’s life wasn’t enough to appease the Queen Mother, who also demanded the lives of her brother and his son. The brother begged for mercy, vowing in exchange that he and his descendants would serve the gods forever.
So-ah asks what any of it has to do with her, refusing to feel guilty for what Nak-bin did over a thousand years ago. Mura tells her that she’s foolish, and doesn’t fully understand.
Ha-baek paces So-ah’s house until she comes home, and when she does, she makes light of the situation and brushes off his concern. Ha-baek demands to know what Mura said to her, so So-ah says that she just told her his old love story, which wasn’t even very interesting.
She asks why she should be responsible for something her ancestor did so long ago, calling it ridiculous. Upset, Ha-baek asks if that’s really what So-ah wants to say, and So-ah looks him right in the eye and tells him to go back where he belongs, as soon as possible.
He growls that he’ll leave when he pleases, and turns to go. But So-ah says to his back, “You did nothing. When the woman you loved was dying, you did nothing.” Ha-baek glares at So-ah and storms out, slamming the door behind him.
He doesn’t know that Mura told So-ah to make Ha-baek leave, whatever it takes. She’d told So-ah that Ha-baek is hesitating to go home because he’s in love with her, so she has to make him go. Mura had explained that Ha-baek and the Water Realm are inextricably linked, so no matter what he wants, he has to go back and become king.
Mura told So-ah that Ha-baek punished himself when Nak-bin died, and she can’t stand to see that again. She’d earnestly begged So-ah not to hold him back like Nak-bin did.
Back at his penthouse, Mura tells Bi-ryum that she wishes she could cry, or get drunk, or any of the stupid things humans do. She’s upset that she had to admit to So-ah that Ha-baek is in love with her in order to get So-ah to understand, and Bi-ryum says she didn’t have to do that.
Mura says it was the only way she could send him back, and Bi-ryum tells her not to be angry or regret it. He gives her a back-hug and says he would beat Ha-baek up if she’d let him.
Neither Ha-baek nor So-ah can sleep that night. In the morning, Ha-baek dresses in the suit he wore when he came to Earth, and he looks at the door between his room and So-ah’s house, though he doesn’t go through it.
He steps outside and wakes Namsuri, asking if his feelings were hurt that Ha-baek worked to buy So-ah a present. Namsuri admits it and Ha-baek apologizes, saying that he knows Namsuri works hard at multiple jobs while Ha-baek just takes baths and enjoys food and books.
Namsuri loudly begs forgiveness for being upset with him, but Ha-baek adds, “You weren’t actually expecting me to say such things, were you?” HAHA, never change, Ha-baek.
They go down to breakfast, where Ha-baek actually thanks So-ah for the meal. He hands over his and Namsuri’s phones and asks So-ah to cancel the service, and dispose of his clothes and books. Nooo, he’s leaving!
Ha-baek tells So-ah not to stay out late, and to get a porch light that turns on automatically after dark. He instructs her to eat better and clean the house more, and to submit a complaint when the streetlight out front isn’t working so she doesn’t have to walk home in the dark.
Ha-baek dismisses Namsuri, and once they’re alone, he reminds So-ah that he can see it on her face when she lies. But he says that last night he couldn’t tell, and he realized that she truly wants him to leave. He admits that he bluffed that he would protect her, and that he’s embarrassed that he made a promise he knew he couldn’t keep.
He says he wants to ask her if she’ll be okay if he leaves, and how she really feels about it—but he knows she’ll be okay because he hasn’t done anything for her. So-ah blinks back tears and says she’ll be fine.
She agrees that he hasn’t done anything for her and says she’ll barely notice he’s gone, other than a bit of loneliness. She reminds him that she’s good at enduring since she’s only third-rate, but she still looks surprised when Ha-baek says that he’s leaving right now.
He refuses her offer of a ride to the divine gate, and steps outside to find Namsuri and Bi-ryum waiting for him. He walks away without another word, not looking back at her.
At the divine gate, Ha-baek sends Namsuri on ahead, staying back to take one last long look at this world. Maybe he’s hoping So-ah will come and stop him, but she doesn’t, and he steps through the gate back to his own world.
At Hu-ye’s hotel, Jaya reluctantly takes an acting job that involves being on a fishing boat, even though she gets severely seasick. Secretary Min overhears and tells her to turn the job down, but she says she can’t afford to be choosy. Secretary Min grabs her phone and calls the PD back, pretending to be her manager. He explains that she’ll definitely be throwing up on the boat a lot, making the PD cancel the job himself.
Mura tries to practice her kissing on the giant blowup doll, but it moves every time she tries, until she loses her temper and slaps it. Amused, Bi-ryum guesses the doll just isn’t her type and offers to get her one that looks like Brad Pitt, hee. Mura is actually interested, but Bi-ryum laughs and says that won’t solve the problem, because she is the problem.
He says that she scares guys instead of making them fall for her, then grabs her by the waist and pulls her close, silencing her protest mid-sentence. He says it’s those threats that scare her co-stars so badly that they can’t kiss her.
Mura stammers incoherently, and Bi-ryum leans down as if to kiss her. But he stops just an inch from her lips, and when she looks flustered, he grins and says, “There, that’s how you do it.” Oh, you sexy bastard.
Mura shoves him away, blustering that she’s been too easy on him lately, but Bi-ryum just laughs in her face. He tells her to let him know whenever she needs to practice kissing, because he’s much better than a mannequin.
So-ah is aggressively cheerful all day, and Sang-yoo gives her the good news that thanks to their patient Bong-yeol’s connections, the bank finally approved their loan. Sang-yoo notices how manic So-ah seems, but she just gripes that he’s too negative.
Yeom-mi bursts in to confront So-ah, upset that she asked a friend to set her up with someone. So-ah’s excessive laughter makes Yeom-mi and Sang-yoo worry, and Yeom-mi takes So-ah out for coffee. She squints suspiciously as So-ah insists, a bit too brightly, that she’s not as broken up about Ha-baek leaving as she thought she’d be.
She babbles on and on about how very okay she is, until Yeom-mi blows up and says she’s happy they broke up, but she’s not glad to see that So-ah isn’t crying. She reminds So-ah that she used to brag about how good she is at enduring pain, but So-ah ends the conversation.
So-ah heads back to her office, where Hu-ye waits for his session. Sang-yoo talks his ear off, telling Hu-ye about how So-ah grew up and asking him to prevent her blind date.
When So-ah returns, they both apologize for what happened the night he showed up drunk in her office. She says she knows he was reacting to a bad dream, and asks him what happened that reminded him of his painful past. Hu-ye hesitates, then finally says that he met some people he wanted never to meet.
He tells So-ah that those people want to lock him up in his past, and that they criticize him and remind him of what he used to be. So-ah says kindly that nobody can change their past, and ends their session when Hu-ye doesn’t appear to want to talk about it any further, though she adds that he should trust her more.
Hu-ye shakes off his dark mood and asks So-ah to have dinner with him. She hesitates, since he’s technically a patient, but he talks her into it. At the restaurant Hu-ye jokingly admits that he’s still miffed she tried to push him away when he simply wanted to have dinner and be friends.
He starts listing off all the things he knows about So-ah—her financial situation, her personality, who she likes, why she’s hurting right now—though he assures her that he never stalked her; he just has a photographic memory. He adds that she also knows a lot about him, and comforted and encouraged him, too.
It’s his way of pointing out that they’re entirely qualified to be friends, and Hu-ye lists all of his positive attributes and sighs that he’s not asking her to marry him or anything, making her laugh. He holds out a hand and So-ah shakes it, sealing their agreement to be friends. At that moment, Mura and Bi-ryum walk into the restaurant and see them.
Bi-ryum glowers and starts toward Hu-ye, but Mura stops him. She tells him to just leave quietly, so he does, ordering Jin-geon to take Mura home and driving off alone. Mura asks Jin-geon why Bi-ryum is like this around Hu-ye, but of course Jin-geon doesn’t say a word.
After dinner Hu-ye and So-ah go for a walk, and he says he’s still a tiny bit miffed because he doesn’t ask many people to be his friend. She laughs at his ability to hold a grudge and says she’s a little miffed herself since he doesn’t trust her as his psychiatrist.
So-ah turns to see a street vendor’s table, and she recognizes the blue stuffed dinosaur from Ha-baek’s modeling pictures. Hu-ye offers to buy the dinosaur for her, unaware of its significance, but So-ah jumps in and pays for the dinosaur herself.
Hu-ye gets a call from work and has to go, leaving So-ah to walk herself home. She makes coffee and drinks it from Ha-baek’s mug, the one with the matching blue dinosaur, then goes upstairs to his empty apartment. She thinks about the times they spent together, then sees the book he’d read to her, If There Were a Word More Loving Than Love.
She rereads the part he’d read aloud to her: “I didn’t want to think that we met by mere coincidence. So the only thing I can do is to do my best…” That’s where she’d cut him off, but today, she continues on: “…to love you. At this moment, I am passing through your love.”
As she reads, So-ah’s tears fall on the pages. Finally she gives in and sobs, her heart broken.
The next day, So-ah isn’t in such a good mood. She imagines Ha-baek sitting in her office, gently chiding her for saying she’s okay when she’s not. She replies that she was the one who broke up with him, but he says that it feels like the other way around.
He guesses that she hates him for not catching her lie, and says that it’s impossible not to ever hurt anyone. He tells her that lots of people live certain moments as if that day is their last, because they know they need to live today in order to see tomorrow, and they believe that memory will last them the rest of their lives.
Imaginary Ha-baek asks So-ah if that’s not easier than trying to find a way never to hurt anyone. So-ah lets out a wry little laugh and whispers that he’s not even human, and Ha-baek fades away.
In her shop, Yeom-mi looks up to see So-ah standing in front of her, dripping wet. She fusses at So-ah for never carrying an umbrella, but So-ah just silently mouths something to her friend then turns to the door.
Someone else walks in, but all we see is a pair of shoes, also soaking wet, before Yeom-mi wakes with a start. She tsks that So-ah must still be in love with that water god, then calls So-ah and tells her to come see her when she can.
Mura informs Hu-ye that Ha-baek returned to the Realm of the Gods. She asks Hu-ye to look after So-ah and make her his, insisting that the gods neither need nor want her as their servant. She’s oddly conflicted, and Hu-ye asks if she’s trying to be responsible.
Mura says that she just doesn’t believe that humans deserve to suffer because of the gods. Hu-ye wonders why Mura told him to take So-ah instead of saying to make her happy, but Mura just wants So-ah to forget Ha-baek. She tells Hu-ye to marry her and stay with her until she dies—that way, they can break the lineage and end this god-servant connection. “For her own sake, this tie must be cut,” Mura says. “Help her.”
Thanks to his help with the director earlier, Jaya tries to poach Secretary Min to work as her manager. He pretends to be excited then turns her down flat, ha. Next Jaya asks for his advice, and Secretary Min says that if she truly wants his advice, then she has to call him “oppa,” lol. Jaya asks how old he is, and when he says they were born the same year, she says that he can’t be her oppa because she was born in January.
Secretary Min informs her that he was born at one minute past midnight on January 1, then starts to walk away. Desperate, Jaya calls after him, “Oppa!” He turns back triumphantly, and she asks him again why Hu-ye would hug her then act so distant.
Secretary Min lays it out honestly — that Hu-ye is in love with So-ah, so it’s time for Jaya to face reality. Furious, Jaya calls her grandfather and demands that he evict So-ah from her office immediately.
So-ah shows up at Yeom-mi’s shop as requested, and Yeom-mi offers to read So-ah’s fortune, which she’s never done before. But a frantic call from Sang-yoo has So-ah rushing back to her office, where she finds Chairman Shin’s representative with several men, packing up her things.
He tells So-ah that Chairman Shin isn’t willing to wait any longer for the rent, and he refuses to accept the money from her today. He passes on the message that this decision is Jaya’s, who holds the real power.
So-ah’s patient Bong-yeol, the man Ha-baek saved from drowning and whose father runs the bank, shows up for his appointment and orders the men to stop in a booming, authoritative voice. He stands in front of So-ah protectively and tells them to put everything back, but then he loses control and starts swinging with both fists. The room erupts into pandemonium, and Bong-yeol is still fighting later as they’re all at the police station making their statements. So-ah’s in a bit of a fix, not having anyone to call to act as her guarantor.
Hu-ye shows up, having been called by Sang-yoo. He settles everything, and Yeom-mi and Sang-yoo take Bong-yeol home. Alone with So-ah, Hu-ye admits that he laughed a bit when he got the call, because she’d been so leery of being friends but had to then call him.
He offers her a ride home, but So-ah says she’ll take a walk to clear her head. Hu-ye says he’ll call her later to make sure she got home okay, and she heads off alone.
Hu-ye calls while she’s still walking, and we see that he’s following her on foot, making sure she’s safe. So-ah tells him that she just learned that her building owner’s granddaughter is her old school nemesis.
She complains that she doesn’t know why Jaya hates her so much, and Hu-ye sympathizes, saying that he’s dealing with people like that, too. Hu-ye offers to go with So-ah to talk to her landlord, or even to just buy the building.
So-ah turns the corner to her alley, then stops dead in her tracks. She drops her phone in shock as she sees Ha-baek, waiting for her under her streetlight like he never left.
So-ah takes a tentative step toward him, then another, then she breaks into a run and throws herself into his arms. Ha-baek catches her and holds her tight as she sobs, whispering, “I told you to come home early. You really don’t listen to me.”
Awww, he came back! I don’t even care why Ha-baek came back, I’m just so happy that he did. I really hope that So-ah stops fighting this so hard, now that she’s felt how miserable she was without him, and just treasures the time they have. My only fear is that Hu-ye is right behind her, and he’s about to see that Ha-baek is back, and I’m afraid that he’s going to lose control over his violent side.
I’m so glad to finally know the truth about Ha-baek’s past, and why So-ah and her family have been the gods’ servants for over a millennium. It’s a heartbreaking story, and it explains a lot of why Ha-baek is the way he is with humans in general, and So-ah in particular (and I appreciate how it incorporated Ha-baek’s curse to appear as a child in the daylight, which is a major part of the manhwa). He was badly betrayed and hurt by a human he let himself fall in love with, so it’s no wonder that he tried so hard this time to hold himself apart and not let his emotions get involved.
But it also highlights how amazing it is that Ha-baek did let himself fall for So-ah, especially knowing that they would inevitably be separated. Yet he was willing to put himself out there again, and he even asked So-ah if she could feel the same for him, fleeting though their time together would be. He let himself care for her so much that he was willing to go through all that pain again just to be with her for a little while, which just makes my heart crack right open for him.
So while I do understand why So-ah has been pushing Ha-baek away, it’s also frustrating that she reacts to her feelings in the exact opposite way as he does. I can’t fathom how hard it must be to love a god, and to know he loves you in return, and yet to choose to forgo even a moment of happiness while you can have it. So-ah will be heartbroken either way when Ha-baek is gone, so why not let herself enjoy that love while she can? But she already knows the pain of loving someone and being left behind, and it nearly made her give up on life entirely when it was her father. I imagine she’s terrified of what she might do if she lets herself love Ha-baek then loses him.
In that sense, it was right of So-ah to honor Mura’s wish and send Ha-baek away sooner rather than later. She knows he has to go back and take his throne, that there’s no other option for him. So it’s better to do it now, before either of them gets in any deeper and she loses her resolve. I wanted to cry when Ha-baek said he couldn’t tell if she meant it when she told him to leave, because she did meant it, just not in the way he thinks. He believes she sent him away because she doesn’t care for him like he does for her, but she did it because she cares for him so much and doesn’t want either of them to hurt anymore.
I’m very curious to know why Ha-baek came back, and how So-ah will act now that she’s been without him. I hope that even that brief day of misery has shown her that a little bit of happiness is better than none at all, and that she lets herself love him while he’s here.
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