Mama Fairy and the Woodcutter: Episode 11
The closer our fairy’s suitors grow to her, the more they can feel their true connections to her surfacing. Even she can sense that something isn’t right, but her emotions are so mixed up that it’s difficult to determine what they mean. Only one of the three is ready to confront the truth, but will the truth fix everything, or just make things worse?
EPISODE 11 RECAP
While waiting for Geum to return from the car, Yi-hyun tells Ok-nam that he wishes he had her winged dress. With a sigh, he asks her what he can do to make her stay with him, admitting that he feels uneasy now that she’s come to him.
He leans in and kisses her, just as Geum arrives. Ok-nam sees Geum, who turns to run away. Ok-nam goes after him, but Yi-hyun calls out to her, “Don’t leave! Don’t leave me, please.” But she follows Geum anyway.
Geum runs until he falls in the dark, allowing Ok-nam to catch up to him. He tries to keep going but falls again, and this time he just lies there, half-conscious, visions of Ok-nam in the fairy realm overwhelming him. He’s Bausae, and he sees Ok-nam tucking a flower into his hair, smiling at him like he’s the only one she can see.
Eventually he revives, and all three of them make it back to the car. There’s only awkward silence between them on the drive back to the city, and when they drop Ok-nam off at home, Yi-hyun seems to want to say something but settles for wishing her goodnight. Geum doesn’t say anything, he just watches Ok-nam go with a look full of longing.
Yi-hyun tries to bring up The Kiss when he and Geum are alone, but Geum cuts him off, then slams on the brakes when Ok-nam jumps in front of the car. She’s worried because Jeom-soon isn’t at home, and the three of them head to Yi-hyun’s house. They find the immortal trio, Geum’s mom, and Doctor Lee all passed out drunk in the living room, ha.
Fairy Oh wakes first and tells Ok-nam that Jeom-soon said she was going out with a friend (“She went out in panties!” LOL), and promised to come back here when it got late. That makes Ok-nam even more worried, since Jeom-soon never breaks her promises. Yi-hyun says that he and Geum can go look for her, but when he tries to prove that his ankle is just fine, he trips over Doctor Lee and injures it even further.
Geum ends up going out to look with Ok-nam, and he mentions the craft beer pub Jeom-soon has told him about. Ok-nam seems upset that Jeom-soon never told her about the place, and Geum starts to reach over to take her hand, but he holds back.
He goes into the pub to look for Jeom-soon, and while he’s gone, a young woman staggers outside and collapses on the sidewalk. Ok-nam starts to check on her, but another drunk patron wobbles towards her and she backs up. Luckily, Geum comes out in time to rescue Ok-nam from getting barfed on.
Despite her mother’s worry, Jeom-soon is perfectly fine, leaning on Kyung-seul’s car on the beach. Kyung-seul flirts shamelessly, and Jeom-soon asks if he has any secrets, admitting that she has one. Kyung-seul teases that his secret isn’t free, and he goes in to kiss her, but Jeom-soon backs away at the last second.
Kyung-seul apologizes and turns away, but Jeom-soon changes her mind and kisses him. For just a second while they’re kissing, Kyung-seul opens his eyes to make sure the camera in the car is recording this. It is, unfortunately for Jeom-soon, whose tiger tail pops out.
Ok-nam regrets not buying Jeom-soon a phone when she asked for one, which reminds her to return Geum’s phone, but he tells her to keep it in case Jeom-soon calls. Ok-nam mentions what happened on the mountain, apologizing for upsetting him, and he looks at her as if he wants to say something.
But a car pulls up, and when Ok-nam sees that it’s Kyung-seul bringing Jeom-soon home, she jumps out to confront her wayward daughter. But interestingly, it’s Geum who takes a parental tone with Jeom-soon, asking where she’s been.
She starts to explain guiltily, but Kyung-seul jumps in, saying that he’s sure she meant to come home early but just lost track of time. He adds that she certainly did not drink alcohol, and she quickly agrees that she didn’t go to any bars whatsoever.
Geum tells her to apologize to her mother even though he already knows how sorry she is. Okay, that was so cute the way he covered for her like a doting daddy.
Ok-nam accepts Jeom-soon’s apology and sends Geum home so she can talk to her daughter. She tells Jeom-soon that she’s just glad she’s okay, and she asks who this Kyung-soon is that she told Fairy Oh she was with. Jeom-soon confesses that she was actually with a guy named Kyung-seul, and that he’s nice and she likes him.
Jeom-soon asks Ok-nam if her father (who she still thinks is Yi-hyun) remembered them during the trip to the mountain, but Ok-nam says he hasn’t recovered all of his memories. Jeom-soon gets excited, hoping that this means they can stay in Seoul for a while longer, since Seoul has the guy she likes, wi-fi, and Geum, who she says is almost as good as having a dad.
Doctor Lee wakes in the morning as the immortals are having breakfast with Geum’s mom. She asks where Yi-hyun and Geum went and learns that they both headed to work at the crack of dawn. Shin-seon claims that he saw Yi-hyun and Geum having a glare-off when Geum returned home late last night, but everyone accuses him of lying, saying that Geum would never be so disrespectful.
At work, Yi-hyun thinks about the deer he saw in the woods, and how she told him that she is him, and that he needs to atone for his sins. Doctor Lee brings him lunch from Geum’s mom, and he asks her why she was at his house last night. She snaps that she was worried when he didn’t answer his phone all day, surprised when he says he was at the mountain.
Geum’s mom brought her son lunch in person, and she can tell by his expression that something happened between him and Yi-hyun. Geum denies it, telling her not to worry about him. Yi-hyun watches them a little sadly, and he asks Doctor Lee if he’s a selfish person.
She jokes that he “absolutely” is, but he says that his whole life, he’s had to be selfish in order to get what he needs. Doctor Lee points to herself, saying that not everyone can be friends with someone as awesome as her. Yi-hyun sighs, wondering if anyone will ever love him, and Doctor Lee tells him that he’s already loved, but he’s not really listening.
Doctor Lee reaches out as if to touch Yi-hyun, but the moment is spoiled by Professor Park, who pops up behind them and scares the living daylights out of them. He’s stalking Geum’s mom (To Yi-hyun: “That woman holding hands with your boyfriend!” Hee), still angry that (he thinks) she stole his vending machine drink.
Over at the coffee kiosk, Ok-nam gets ready for the day. That includes perking up her plant friend whose leaves have gone a little dull, though she frowns when her touch only partially works.
Master Gu comes to visit, and he asks Ok-nam if “that weasel” (his nickname for Yi-hyun) is really her husband. He notices that she doesn’t look well, and after a long, suspicious pause, Ok-nam says without looking at Master Gu that in nearly seven hundred years, Yi-hyun is the only person who recognized Jeom-soon.
She explains that his current life has been difficult, which is why he’s scared to see the truth. Master Gu asks if Yi-hyun thinks he’s Ok-nam’s husband, and if Ok-nam feels as though it’s true. She pauses again uncertainly, remembering how he begged her not to leave him and go after Geum.
She admits that her heart hurts when she sees Yi-hyun, “As if I’ve been ignoring someone I should have embraced.” She says she wants to make sure he doesn’t feel alone, and she tells Master Gu that this must be the marital bond. She tears up, making Master Gu tear up as well, so she goes back to making his coffee.
Geum shares his mom’s food with Jung-min and Kyung-shik, who notice that he doesn’t look well and assume that he got dumped by the barista halmoni. They quickly cover up the food when Professor Park wanders in (he’s known for gobbling up others’ food).
He orders them to open the container when he hears it’s from Geum’s mother, and he demands a wrap, which he angrily shoves into his mouth. He tells Geum that his mother wronged him and insists on getting her number even though Geum offers to have his mom call him. HA, I think someone has a little crush.
Jeom-soon tracks down Bong-dae, who tells her “no” before even hearing the question, hee. She repeats the “no” when Jeom-soon asks to borrow her phone, until Jeom-soon concocts a story about a friend owing her money so she can repay money, then Bong-dae can’t hand over her phone fast enough. She’s actually calling Kyung-seul, who doesn’t answer, so she tells Bong-dae to let her know if she gets a call from his number.
Yi-hyun sighs morosely at the lunch from Geum’s mom (“There are… a lot… of eels… in here…”). He decides to share the eels with Ok-nam, and he leaves his office feeling peppier than he has all morning.
He nearly chickens out when he spots Shin-seon and Fairy Oh at the coffee kiosk, bickering over Fairy Oh’s addressing Shin-seon as “jagi” (darling). But he grins like a doofus at the sound of Ok-nam’s voice, before remembering to act cool and wiping the grin off his face.
Yi-hyun is a little sheepish when he sees that Ok-nam has her own lunchbox from Geum’s mother, and he says that he’s jealous that so many people care about her. Ok-nam points out that his lunchbox is bigger, but he says that Geum’s mother only made it out of sympathy, so it doesn’t feel sincere.
After making him a wrap, Ok-nam says that Geum’s mother only wanted to share delicious food with the people she likes, not out of sympathy or with the expectation of getting something in return. She tells him that he’ll get used to it in time, but when he asks when that will happen, she just asks what he’s afraid of.
He reminds her that he didn’t have a mother who made food for him, so it’s natural for him to get scared when someone cares for him. He almost seems to be talking to himself as he continues that he knows too well how it feels not to be loved, so he gets scared that he’ll lose the other person’s love.
Ok-nam tells him brightly not to be scared, because he’s a good man who deserves an even bigger lunchbox than this one. Yi-hyun cheers up at that, and they continue their meal together. Yi-hyun is so happy as he returns to his office that he doesn’t even see Izy’s spectre pass right in front of him. She scoffs that he’s become a fool before disappearing.
Geum is distracted all day, so Jung-min sends him to get some coffee and food and pull himself together. She tells Kyung-shik that Geum always acts like this when he’s upset, forgetting to eat and getting nothing done in his attempt not to bother anyone with his feelings. Kyung-shik finds her insight into a man’s heart attractive, which just gets him beat up, ha.
Geum grows shy when he nears the kiosk and sees Ok-nam, and the flower she wears in her air reminds him of the one she put in his hair on the mountain. He watches her with so much longing in his face, thinking that she probably wishes he would stop coming to see her this way, but he just can’t help himself.
Master Gu runs into Geum’s mom on campus, and she shares her earbuds with him, gazing up at him adoringly as they listen to a song on her phone. Professor Park calls her, but they don’t realize it’s a real person talking, and Master Gu wonders if this is that “rap” stuff the kids are listening to these days. On his end, Professor Park assumes that Master Gu is Mom’s boyfriend and vows to make her pay for this insult as well.
After waiting for Kyung-seul to meet with her for a date for nearly two hours, Jeom-soon storms home to obsess over his disappearance after they just kissed last night. It occurs to her that he may have decided he doesn’t like her after all, sparking a full-on temper tantrum.
Having given up her phone games, Bong-dae suddenly notices all the cute young guys on campus. She spots Kyung-seul heading into a building, hoodie mostly hiding his face, and she follows him inside.
He’s busy using a computer lab to edit his illicit video of himself and Jeom-soon kissing, and he can’t believe his eyes at the sight of Jeom-soon’s tiger tail. Bong-dae pokes her head into the room and sees everything, to her horror, and she follows Kyung-seul when he leaves.
She calls him, and even though he declines the call, it confirms that he’s the person Jeom-soon tried to call earlier. Bong-dae realizes that she’s going to have to get the video back from him, and she pretend-laments the fact that she’s about to make a cutie cry.
Geum finds Jeom-soon in cat form, ears drooping and big sad eyes brimming with tears. She switches to human form and sobs that she got dumped, but a jumbo-sized sausage from Geum helps stop her tears. She tells him that she’s been reborn five times, but that last night was her first kiss, and that the guy disappeared.
Whiskers popping out, Jeom-soon begins to grow angry as she says that she hasn’t felt this bad since that tiger bit off her pinky finger. She starts to huff and growl, so Geum quickly points out that it’s only been one day. Although her whiskers recede, Jeom-soon wails that she still feels terrible.
Geum tells Jeom-soon that he understands how she feels, since he saw the person he likes kissing another man. Jeom-soon asks tentatively if it was her mother, and Geum admits that he’s angry, because he feels as though he’s got a stronger connection to Ok-nam than Yi-hyun does.
He cries as he continues, “Why do I feel like we’re meant to be? No matter how many times I’m reborn, I’ll only have eyes for her. Why do I feel like she’d be the same way? If this is how I feel, I can’t just give up on her.”
Feeling determined, he stands and says that he should ask Ok-nam if she really feels more for Yi-hyun than for him. Jeom-soon nods encouragingly, so Geum decides, “I’ll tell her. I’ll tell her everything. I don’t know why, and I don’t know how I’m going to explain this, but I’ll tell her that she’s supposed to be mine.”
Epilogue: “Why does a deer appear in the fairy and woodcutter tale?”
Yi-hyun corners a random student to ask her why the deer from the story of the fairy and the woodcutter appeared to the woodcutter in the first place. Startled (but entranced by how cute he is), she says that the woodcutter was hunting the deer, but Yi-hyun wants to know what happened to the deer after it told the woodcutter where to find the fairy and he married her.
The student only knows how the story goes, that the deer told the woodcutter how to reach his family when they returned to the fairy realm. Yi-hyun asks what would happen if the woodcutter died before the fairy found her winged dress, and whether the deer could be reborn as a human and become the fairy’s second husband.
The student doesn’t find Yi-hyun so cute anymore, but he just walks away as if she’s answered his question.
Oh Geum, you sweet, sweet boy, you’re killing me. Until now I’ve been rooting for Yi-hyun, because I’m not someone who generally gets Second Lead Syndrome, and Yi-hyun is clearly the lead. He genuinely cares for Ok-nam (once he stopped fighting it) and I just like him, despite his flaws — or maybe even because of them, since he’s got a good reason for being so suspicious and stand-offish. Yi-hyun is a good guy, even if he is a reincarnation of Izy, as if he’s got the part of Izy’s soul that cared for Ok-nam and Bausae before she felt betrayed by them and went bad.
But Geum won me over in this episode, and it doesn’t hurt that I’m certain now that he’s the reincarnation of both Fairy Bausae and Woodcutter Bausae, which makes him Ok-nam’s true love and earthly husband. I don’t believe that Ok-nam must end up with him in this incarnation just because they were in love in the past, but it’s hard to deny that Geum and Ok-nam seem much more suited in personality. And Geum is just so earnest in his love for Ok-nam and his conviction that they’re meant to be together that it’s hard to watch him so dejected by her insistence that Yi-hyun is the right guy. The way Geum looks at Ok-nam when he thinks nobody is watching just breaks my heart, and whether or not she chooses him, I just want her to see him for who he truly is.
It’s so sad for both Yi-hyun and Geum that Ok-nam has mistakenly identified Yi-hyun as her husband, because all three of them can sense that it’s not right. Geum is having the most emotional reaction, having been rejected when his spirit knows the truth. Ok-nam and Yi-hyun are still trying to convince themselves that Yi-hyun is Ok-nam’s husband, but they both feel unsure and uneasy about it. It was very telling during their trip to the mountain that, even after being kissed by Yi-hyun and having him beg her not to leave him, Ok-nam followed Geum anyway. I think that she knows deep down that he’s the right one, but she’s just not ready to give up on her first assumption that Yi-hyun is the one she’s been looking for because her feelings for him are so complicated.
Even Ok-nam’s emotional responses to Yi-hyun are telling her that he’s not her husband — she reacts to him more like she would react to Izy if she knew that’s who he is (and I’m fully convinced now that Yi-hyun is the reincarnation of Izy/the deer). She doesn’t say that she loves Yi-hyun or feels like she’s found her love… instead she describes her feelings as not wanting him to feel alone, and that she feels guilty as though she’s been ignoring him. That’s how she would have felt towards Izy so long ago, if and when she knew of Izy’s feelings for her and her sense of betrayal and loneliness when Ok-nam and Bausae fell in love. It doesn’t help that Yi-hyun is opening up about his fear of abandonment and how he doesn’t even know how to be loved — not that he’s telling Ok-nam these things to guilt her into staying with him, he’s just being honest about his life. But it’s almost certainly contributing to Ok-nam’s feelings of guilt whenever she’s with him, because somewhere deep down she knows he’s not the right one.
- Premiere Watch: Mama Fairy and the Woodcutter, Happy to Die
- Accepting the unexplainable in tvN’s Mama Fairy and the Woodcutter
- The coffee-brewing Fairy in search of her reincarnated Woodcutter
- Moon Chae-won sparkles in teaser for Mama Fairy and the Woodcutter
- Yoon Hyun-min up to romance fairy barista Kang So-ra