Mama Fairy and the Woodcutter: Episode 12
The misunderstandings grow between the fairy and her two suitors, causing them to not only be heartsick, but sick in body as well. Yi-hyun in particular is suffering serious backlash from his increasingly disturbing dreams and memories, making him lash out at those who care about him most. More is at stake here than a fairy’s winged dress – the consequences of a wrong decision could very well harm the cosmos themselves.
EPISODE 12 RECAP
Several hundred years ago, in the fairy realm, Bausae used to carry a love letter with him at all times, too afraid to give it to Ok-nam, the fairy he loved. The letter said, “Again, like always, light shines from your hands. As if it were to convey yearning, warm wind blows from he east to west. For all the time I have had you in my eyes, I have yet to say something. Today, I write about my feelings for you.
“Alkaid, you may be the only woman in my life that I will cherish and love with all my heart. But even though you are within reach, and my feelings for you are as clear as day, I don’t have the courage to approach you. This one thing I promise, though — a thousand years may pass, and mountains may come between us, but I will always love you.”
In the present, heartbroken that Ok-nam thinks that Yi-hyun is the reincarnation of her husband, Geum tells Jeom-soon that he feels as though he and Ok-nam are connected, and that Ok-nam senses it, too. He decides to tell Ok-nam how he feels, and to ask her if she really has feelings for Yi-hyun and not him.
Even though he had lunch with Ok-nam, Yi-hyun wonders if it would be strange to ask her to dinner, too. He sees Geum on his way to the coffee kiosk, so he power-walks in an attempt to get there first. The guys are both running full-tilt by the time they careen into the quad near the kiosk, getting Ok-nam’s attention.
Geum speaks first, saying that he needs to tell her something, then Yi-hyun asks her for some of her time, too. At that, Geum blurts out, “Why is it not me? I was at the waterfall, too. There’s something I want to tell you. So… I… my heart…”
But Ok-nam interrupts him, asking if she can speak first. We go back to one hour ago, when Ok-nam had found her son’s egg wobbling and cracking again. She’d taken it to Bong-dae, scared that something bad might happen to Jeom-dol with his egg so cracked. Bong-dae told her not to worry too much, because children always return to their parents when it’s time.
Ok-nam had confirmed that this is Jeom-dol’s first reincarnation after his father died, so he probably just wants to see his father. She advises Ok-nam to find his father quickly, lest Jeom-dol be disappointed when he hatches. Ok-nam had taken Jeom-dol’s egg back home and apologized to him for not preparing for his rebirth.
Now Ok-nam apologizes to Geum for confusing him with her selfishness. She says that she relied too much on his kindness and good nature, but that the reason she’s here (in Seoul and on Earth) is to find her husband. She tells him to live his own life, but he asks if Yi-hyun is really her husband.
She and Yi-hyun both look uncertain, but Ok-nam tells Geum that she believes Yi-hyun is her husband. Geum walks away without another word, looking hurt.
Yi-hyun ends up taking Geum to dinner, having heard that he gave away his lunchbox from his mom. They both drink too much soju, and Geum asks Yi-hyun if he thinks he’s a nuisance to his fated relationship. Yi-hyun says he’s not sure it is a fated relationship, since he naturally doubts even things that have been proven.
Growing upset, Geum asks if Yi-hyun’s feelings for Ok-nam are nothing, but Yi-hyun treats him like a kid, saying that he wouldn’t understand what it’s like to suffer from insomnia and nightmares your whole life. Yi-hyun says that he becomes a child again at night, locked up in the same place every day.
We see a small child being shut up in a tiny shed, with people dressed in Joseon-era clothing standing outside watching. Their faces are the same faces that loom over him like ghosts when he sleeps, and Yi-hyun says that he feels angry and hateful and scared every day. He says that no matter how hard he tries, he can’t figure out why it’s happening to him.
Then, he continues dramatically, one day he met Ok-nam, and he was suddenly able to sleep and felt relaxed for the first time. But he still doesn’t know if they’re meant to be together, which makes him uneasy all over again.
Geum’s chin wobbles as he says that there’s nothing to prove, because Ok-nam chose Yi-hyun. But Yi-hyun says that he needs to prove it, and over his shoulder, Izy whispers ominously, “… or she’ll go looking for the one she’s really meant to be with.” Startled, Yi-hyun jumps to his feet, but Izy swiftly floats away.
When he turns back to Geum, the poor guy is crying his heart out, and he leaves mumbling that he needs to see Ok-nam. Worried about how drunk Geum is, Yi-hyun follows him outside. Geum doesn’t get far before he stops at the entrance to an alley, saying that he sees a woman.
Yi-hyun doesn’t see anyone, but he goes after Geum when he runs down the alley. When he catches up, Geum is talking to someone only he can see. He slurs, “I know you. I saw you. I saw you on the mountain.” Fed up, Yi-hyun starts to walk away, but he whips back around when Geum says, “You were a deer then.”
He stops Geum and tells him to go home, but Geum says that he remembers that night in Ok-nam’s room when the candles blew out, and for a moment, he saw not Yi-hyun, but a woman in red. He says, “That woman… she was you.” He passes out, and Yi-hyun barely manages to catch him before he crashes to the ground.
He piggybacks the unconscious Geum home, wishing he’d learned some of Dr. Lee’s creative curse words, ha. Geum’s mom helps get him into bed and asks Yi-hyun if there’s something going on between them, but he claims everything is fine and hightails it out of there.
Although she seemed certain when she told Geum that she believes Yi-hyun is her reincarnated husband, Ok-nam can’t forget his crestfallen expression, and she tears up at the thought of his disappointment. She stays up all night embroidering, surprising Jeom-soon in the morning with a picture of herself in cat form, wearing the red hat that Geum gave her.
Jeom-soon asks if something happened between Ok-nam and Geum, and instead of answering, Ok-nam jumps up saying she needs to open the coffee kiosk. Jeom-soon grumbles that she feels like she should be worried about Geum as she tucks a blanket embroidered with Jeom-dol’s egg around the real Jeom-dol’s egg.
Geum is weak and feverish in the morning, but he remembers to ask his mom if Professor Park called her yesterday. She tells him she hasn’t, but promises to return any calls from unfamiliar numbers.
Yi-hyun feels unsettled, recalling Geum’s drunken rambling that he saw a deer on the mountain, having seen a deer there himself. He almost walks right into Professor Park, who asks him if Geum’s mom has a boyfriend. Yi-hyun has no clue, but she calls Professor Park just then, so he wanders off to talk to her. She thinks he’s calling about the drink she “stole,” so she asks to meet him later when she’s on campus.
Yi-hyun continues on his way, grabbing his head when he hears Izy’s voice telling him that Ok-nam might find the person she’s really looking for. He runs into Shin-seon and Fairy Oh, who note that he doesn’t look well and his forehead is blazing hot. Yi-hyun says he feels fine, and Shin-seon admires him for coming to work when Geum called in with a fever.
The three of them head to the coffee kiosk, where Ok-nam looks exhausted and listless. Yi-hyun asks why she couldn’t sleep, and Shin-seon jokes that she must have stayed up all night with a broken heart.
Yi-hyun tries the Black Water coffee for the first time, unconcerned when Ok-nam warns him that its effects can be alarming. He tells her that he keeps hearing a strange voice, but then he says not to worry about it, and he notes her relieved reaction when he tells her that Geum got home okay last night.
Taking her hands, he asks Ok-nam not to think of Geum right now, because it upsets him to see her upset. But the moment is too raw, so he pretends to be feeling the coffee and backs away. He tells her that he came yesterday to ask her to have dinner with him, and she accepts, though the thought of it doesn’t seem to make her very happy.
Jeom-soon goes to the lab looking for Geum, and the instant Kyung-shik lays eyes on her, he’s completely entranced. He tells her that Geum called in sick and asks who she is, so that he can tell Geum she came by of course, but she runs off without telling him her name.
As she’s heading home, Jeom-soon spots Kyung-seul, who hasn’t contacted her since they kissed. He hears her calling his name and tries to hide, still freaked out by the video he made of their kiss, which clearly shows Jeom-soon’s tiger tail. He continues on his way, unaware that Bong-dae is following him.
Shin-seon thinks that “the weasel” (as Master Gu calls Yi-hyun) is acting suspicious lately, but Fairy Oh finds it romantic that he went to visit Ok-nam while running a fever. Shin-seon says that he wishes Ok-nam and Geum had a better relationship, having noticed that they both get teary-eyed and emotional when they see one another.
But Fairy Oh says that’s a load of nonsense, since Ok-nam has found her husband and obviously, he’s Yi-hyun. Shin-seon argues that nothing has been decided and that Ok-nam should follow her heart (that’s what I’m saying!). Fairy Oh haughtily reminds him that he got kicked out of the fairy realm for dating too many fairies, hee.
Shin-seon continues that Geum gets along with Jeom-soon better than Yi-hyun does, and that he even takes care of the immortals like they’re Ok-nam’s family. Unwilling to concede the point, Fairy Oh just yells that Ok-nam belongs with Yi-hyun, and that’s final.
Kyung-seul eventually spots Bong-dae tailing him, so he tries to lose her by taking the stairwell. She’s waiting patiently at his desk when he gets to class, making him run out of the building. He heads to a convenience store, and at the sight of Bong-dae inside munching on a sausage, and Kyung-seul screams bloody murder.
During some down time, Ok-nam tells the “cellphone deity” in Geum’s phone (so cute) that she keeps thinking about someone other than her husband, and asks if this feeling is sincere. The phone vibrates from a spam text that reads “Don’t miss your golden opportunity,” which she takes as an answer.
She wonders what it means, then remembers that when she was a very young fairy, the Master of the Northern Star told her that timing is everything in life. He’d also said that someday she would receive a golden opportunity, and that she would know it when she saw it.
She’d been too young to understand then, and she sighs that she still doesn’t understand now. She wonders if her unclear memories of her husband led her to make the wrong decision, because her heart feels like it’s longing for something hopeless. She sobs that maybe she made a mistake coming to the city, and the skies open up and cry along with her.
Dr. Lee calls Yi-hyun that afternoon to ask his help training for a triathlon. He comes up with several excuses, but she ignores him and says to meet her at the gym later. She makes him hand her water and kimbap while she uses the stationary bicycle, explaining that she’ll need to eat during the race due to low blood sugar.
Yi-hyun asks why she does this, and she says that she wants to know what she’s capable of. He confesses that he’s afraid to know himself, and when Dr. Lee asks why, he remembers overhearing guests at the orphanage gossiping and his mother dragging him away, snarling that he never should have been born.
He can’t breathe all of a sudden, and he gasps to Dr. Lee that he’s a mess on the inside. She says that she thinks he’s pretty great, but her words do little to cheer him up. He growls that he’s selfish and vengeful, and he hates people who were loved while growing up.
He asks Dr. Lee angrily if she thinks that crossing a finish line will make her an amazing person, when in reality she’ll just look gross while deluding herself that people are impressed. He storms out of the gym, leaving Dr. Lee gaping at his unwarranted outburst.
As he stalks through the rain, Yi-hyun hears a voice asking why he’s in such a bad mood. He sees Izy’s blurry, transparent form nearby, and when he asks who she is, she just scoffs, “You still don’t know? How disappointing,” before fading away.
Yi-hyun mumbles that he can’t go crazy because he still has to atone for what he did, then stops again when Izy reappears. She asks if he really means revenge: “You were abandoned and betrayed. You never had anything for yourself, and even now you’re anxious over one person’s love. You poor thing. Nobody loved you and your stupid temperament will be your demise yet again, when all you have to do is get revenge.”
She walks through Yi-hyun, causing him to stiffen in shock and fall to his knees.
Yi-hyun manages to reach the coffee kiosk, and Ok-nam runs out to bring him an umbrella. He wordlessly lowers his head to her shoulder, asking softly to stay like this for a while. He sighs, “It’s too hard. I can’t hold on. In the end, will you leave me, too?”
Ok-nam asks what happened, and Yi-hyun says that he keeps dreaming of being abandoned. e’s a child in his dream, and an old woman gives him some food and tells him to stay hidden. She locks him up in a shed, where he screams and cries to be set free, but nobody comes.
Another vision, this time of Izy being banished from the fairy realm for disobeying the laws of the sky while Bausae looks on, stone-faced. Yet another vision shows the deer finding Woodcutter Bausae’s body at the bottom of a ravine.
Yi-hyun tells Ok-nam that he thought being with her would be his atonement, but when he got close to her, the deer told him to pay for his sins and a woman told him to get revenge. He sobs that his mysterious memories are driving him crazy, so Ok-nam explains that those memories must be from a previous life.
She advises him to accept everything that’s happening to him instead of rejecting it, because no matter how much it hurts, he has to remember in order for the two of them to go back. Yi-hyun tries, and he sees Woodcutter Bausae (with Geum’s face) standing at the edge of the ravine while the deer approaches him, Ok-nam’s winged dress draped over her back.
She asks him if he truly doesn’t remember anything, blaming him for her current appearance as a deer and accusing him of betraying her. Woodcutter Bausae demands she hand over Ok-nam’s winged dress, but the deer asks if that’s what he really wants, since it will allow Ok-nam to fly away and take their children with her. Again he tells her to give him the dress, but as she moves closer, the dress disappears, and Woodcutter Bausae backs away in fear.
Locked in a nightmare, Geum writhes in bed as Ok-nam tells Yi-hyun that if they don’t resolve things soon, the stars will lose their places, mortals will stop believing in deities, and both the fairy and the human realms will be destroyed. She grabs Yi-hyun’s hand, but he shoves her away angrily and asks why he should endure so much pain just so others will be spared of theirs.
He turns away, but Ok-nam says that he’s a kind man deep inside. Yi-hyun turns around to see Ok-nam surrounded by a soft blue glow, untouched by the pouring rain, and he raises a hand to her face in wonder. She steps forward and kisses him, but suddenly her eyes fly open and she steps back. Yi-hyun also startles, staring at Ok-nam in surprise.
At that exact moment, Geum opens his eyes and sits bolt upright in bed.
Epilogue: “‘This is my green tea!’ The ill-fated relationship between Geum’s mother and Professor Park”
Geum’s mom finds Professor Park in his lab, pretending to act casual. She slams a huge bag full of green tea onto the table and tells him never to contact her or Geum about the stupid tea ever again. Professor Park knocks the teas all over the floor then orders Mom to pick them up and take them away.
Mom tells him to clean them up himself, and to think hard about whether he actually pressed the button on the vending machine that day. She wheels and storms out of the lab, and when Professor Park tries to go after her, he finds himself facing a very cranky-looking Master Gu.
Master Gu blocks Professor Park from following Mom, allowing her to execute a perfect epic flounce.
They know, don’t they? They know something. That kiss seems to have shaken something loose, and all three of them may have just realized that something is terribly, horribly wrong. This was really Yi-hyun’s episode, but I can’t help but continue to feel terrible for Geum, especially after he was so soundly rejected by Ok-nam. He knows in his soul (literally) that they’re meant to be together, just as he did when he was Fairy Bausae, but he doesn’t know that Ok-nam is feeling drawn to him as well. This whole case of mistaken identity is getting to the point that all three of them — Yi-hyun, Geum, and Ok-nam — are getting weak and sick over it, so something has to give soon.
I just loved the argument between Shin-seon and Fairy Oh over who Ok-nam should end up with, which reminded me of so many discussions we’ve had in recaps over the same issue! Fairy Oh believes that Ok-nam belongs with her husband, full stop, while Shin-seon argues that what matters is her feelings now, and she clearly has feelings for Geum. Fairy Oh has a point – Ok-nam has waited for almost seven hundred years to see her husband again, both because she needs to find her winged dress to return home, and because she loved him deeply both as Fairy Bausae and Woodcutter Bausae. Ok-nam believes that Yi-hyun is her husband, so she probably feels disloyal for her attraction to Geum. But I agree with Shin-seon, that the past is the past and Ok-nam should be true to what her heart feels now, regardless of whether the man she falls for now was her husband or not. The difference is that the last time I said that, I thought that Ok-nam was falling for Yi-hyun, but now I believe that she’s just in denial and that her true feelings lie with Geum.
Once again, just when I thought I had things figured out, the show has me all confused again. I do think that Yi-hyun is the deer’s reincarnation because she pretty much told him so, and that in a way, he’s also Izy. But I wonder if, somewhere in all of his lives when he was being mistreated and neglected, the angry part of Izy’s spirit somehow sheared off and developed it’s own sentience, sort of like a spiritual split-personality. So Yi-hyun retains the anxiety, resentment, and guilt that Izy felt over whatever got her kicked out of the fairy realm, which is why he feels that he needs to atone for wrongdoing, while the part of Izy that felt betrayed still cries out for vengeance. That would explain why the deer seemed to genuinely try to help Woodcutter Bausae and Ok-nam get together — because she was trying to atone for a wrongdoing she did to them in the fairy realm – and why she seemed horrified when she found Woodcutter Bausae’s body. It doesn’t explain everything (such as why the deer also had Ok-nam’s dress and warned her to be wary of her husband, though I also have a vague theory about that), but it would explain a lot.
- Premiere Watch: Mama Fairy and the Woodcutter, Happy to Die
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- The coffee-brewing Fairy in search of her reincarnated Woodcutter
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