My Girlfriend Is a Gumiho: Episode 6
It’s my favorite of all k-drama tropes: the fits-of-jealousy as a stand-in for early declarations of love. It’s angst, love, denial, and pettiness all rolled into one, and I for one, can’t get enough. The Green-Eyed Monster takes center stage this episode, and turns everyone right-side-up, then upside-down, providing hysterical laughter, adorable hijinks, and lots of pouty lips.
EPISODE 6 RECAP
Mi-ho marvels at her couple ring and declares that she’s Dae-woong’s girlfriend now. He can’t help but smile, and gives in. They bump their be-ringed fists to seal the deal. Mi-ho jumps up and says there’s always something she’s wanted to do, once she got a boyfriend…
And she shows up dressed as a bride! Oh my god, she cracks me up. Dae-woong stops her mid-bow, totally floored that now she’s made him her boyfriend, she’s trying to sneak marriage in there too. The look on Mi-ho’s face when he refuses to marry her is So. Cute.
He starts to walk away, and she pouts, saying, “Fine. Then do you want to mate?” AHAHAHAHAHA.
Dae-woong literally stops in his tracks, shaking his head like he must’ve heard wrong. He checks—nope, she meant it all right. He starts to laugh nervously, and Mi-ho mistakes it for giddiness at wanting to mate with her.
His nervous energy once she brings up mating is just priceless. He declares that rather than mate with a gumiho, he’ll throw up the fox bead. She just smiles at his futile gestures of playing hard to get, saying, “You can’t throw it up like that. You’re MINE NOW.” Omigod, I can’t even describe the depths to which I love her.
Dae-woong decides to beat her at her own game. So he takes the alpha male approach, and grabs her, backs her up against the wall, and leans in close, saying, “Is this…what you want?” She backtracks shyly, saying she was just kidding…only this is Dae-woong’s imagination of what a normal girl would do.
What actually happens is, he leans in close, and Mi-ho grabs in a hug that sends him running away and begging for mercy. HA! Y’all know I love this sort of dynamic, but this? Is my own personal heaven.
Dong-joo, magical-knife-wielding-liar-liar-pants-on-fire-emo-boy, turns over the mystical 100-days hourglass on his desk. Handy, that. He says, complete with Very Intense Stare at no one in particular, that as one side empties, the other one will fill up. I might have to rename him Metaphor Boy.
Dae-woong tries to lay some ground rules with Mi-ho, saying that their arrangement isn’t so much a relationship as it is a contract. Yeah, that’s how all the great romances start, don’t ya know. She promises not to do anything he doesn’t want, so he requests that she stop looking at him like she’s going to eat him up. (This has a double meaning in Korean as it does in English.)
Mi-ho defensively says that she hasn’t looked at him like that at all…lately. Dae-woong: “Lately? Then, there was a time when you wanted to eat me?” She tries to play it off, but he can’t let it go. “Tell me the truth. Was there ever a time when you looked at me and thought, ‘Dae-woong looks tasty today.’?” Pwahaha.
She tries to deny it, but confesses to having thought it…once. No, twice. What commences is a hilarious rendition of a standard dramatic breakup scene, with phrases like “I think we need some distance,” all the while talking about the fact that she wanted to eat him. Heh. Dae-woong goes to bed angry and Mi-ho regrets saying anything.
Dae-woong is woken up in the middle of the night by sounds of Mi-ho crying. Her wails sound otherworldly, so he creeps up cautiously to find her in the bathroom, not knowing what to expect…as it turns out she’s crying because she drew her wedding makeup on with a permanent marker, and now it won’t come off. Dae-woong lifts up her face to see the damage, and then goes online to find a way to take it off. Quite the hero in cases like this.
He fixes her face (love all the excuses for him to hold her face in his hands), and she tells him about how five hundred years ago she wanted to paint her face like that and get married, but because of all the bad rumors, no one came and she got locked up in that painting. To make her feel better, he promises to make a movie someday to clear her gumiho name. He remembers the other present he bought for her, and goes up to present her with the giant chicken leg doll. I don’t know who’s happier about the chicken leg—Dae-woong or Mi-ho. They KILL me.
The next day, Byung-soo decides that he’ll tell the director about Dae-woong’s injuries in order to protect him, but finds that Dae-woong is not only healed, but performing action stunts well enough to move the director near tears. Dae-woong convinces his friend that he’s fine, and Byung-soo notices the couple ring on his finger.
He promptly tells Sun-nyeo about it, who then runs to check Hye-in’s finger, to see if she’s got a matching ring. My, this grapevine is fast. It’s like DSL speed up in this world. Hye-in huffs at the mention of Dae-woong having yet another girl, and then gets metaphorically bitchslapped when she finds out that he’s doing the movie after all.
Mi-ho goes to see Dong-joo, and shows off her couple ring, saying that people only give these when they like somebody. He counters that Dae-woong doesn’t see her as a human or have any reason to like her, so she starts rattling off all the things Dae-woong praised her for, like her super-speed and strength. He answers that those things aren’t so important, in a world with cars and airplanes. Fine, then, she eats a lot. Dong-joo tells her that it’s not really a good thing to cost so much to feed. So she goes to her last line of defense: “But, I’m pretty.” Ha. Even Dong-joo can’t argue with that. He warns her not to rely too much on her looks and throw herself at Dae-woong (possibly trying to keep them from ‘mating,’ for secret nefarious reasons) and offers her some advice, to try and do stuff that he wants to do.
At home, she tries to ask Dae-woong what he wants, but mostly he just wants her to be quiet while he learns his lines. They get interrupted by workers ready to clear out the attic room where they’re staying, so Dae-woong pleads with the director to let him stay there for the duration of the shoot. He promises to do extra cleaning, and Chow Yun Fat Lite is of course delighted to think that Dae-woong’ aunt might come by if he stays here. He asks about the girl in white, the action star of his dreams, and Dae-woong pretends not to know, and warns Mi-ho to run away if she sees the director.
They head out and run into the chicken shop lady, and Dae-woong is surprised to see that Mi-ho has made friends in the neighborhood. He’s proud of her, until his phone rings and it’s Dong-joo on the other line. He asks to speak to Mi-ho, and Dae-woong’s jaw drops as she answers the phone cheerily to talk to this strange man.
She sneaks off to talk to him, and the look on Dae-woong’s face is gold. Oh, jealousy—you never fail me.
He tells her to talk right here, but she steps away, and he sees her smiling and being coy, which raises his blood pressure. He stalks over and wonders that they must be really close. She calls Dong-joo her friend, which makes him even more pissy. He tries to warn her in that fake it’s-for-your-own-good-and-not-because-I’m-jealous way that she has to be careful around people who don’t know her true nature. She cuts him off, saying that she doesn’t want him to ask about Dong-joo, and that she’s not going to do anything bad to him. He balks, “So you were going to eat me, but you’re going to be nice to HIM?” Hahaha.
He’s like, fine, don’t have him calling my phone. She agrees readily, saying that she’ll just go visit him then. That stops him in his tracks again.
At the bus stop, the entire gaggle of men (and even an ajumma) waiting for the bus marvel at Mi-ho, gaping at how pretty she is. Mi-ho is busy staring at a picture of beef, while Dae-woong shakes his head at their naivete, for being fooled by her beauty. That is, until one of them gets up to talk to her. Dae-woong glances sidelong in anger, and steps up to Mi-ho, putting his arm around her right in front of the guy, and sticking his hand out to show the ring. Swoon. God, I could watch this stuff for fifty episodes. Bring on the Cute!
On the bus, they sit an aisle apart, but then another guy sees Mi-ho and decides to get up and sit next to her. Eagle-eyed Dae-woong sees him and beats him to the seat, silently taking her hand and holding it up, to display their matching rings. The guy hangs his head in defeat. I have never seen the point of couple rings until now. Seriously never thought that a pair of cheesy rings could bring me such endless glee until it became a plot point.
Mi-ho asks why he’s sitting next to her now, when he kept telling her to keep her distance, and he answers with puffed up bravado that he’s selflessly doing it to save humanity and protect people from her, much like his childhood idol, Batman. I may have just died.
They get interrupted by none other than Go Min-yeo (a cameo by Park Shin-hye, reprising her role in You’re Beautiful), who happens to be a high school junior of Dae-woong’s. She recognizes him, and they’re happy to see each other, saying how they’ve both gotten better looking.
And now it’s Mi-ho’s turn to stake her jealous claim. Min-yeo has to get off at the next stop, so she asks for Dae-woong’s new phone number, but when he reaches for his phone, Mi-ho grabs his ring hand and holds it up defiantly, in the same gesture that he just used. Min-yeo apologizes for intruding when he’s with his girlfriend, and leaves. Heh. And aw.
And Go Min-yeo, what are you doing asking for Dae-woong’s phone number? I know he’s an old classmate, but Hwang Tae-kyung is most definitely going to purse his lips at you for that. I suspect poor Pig-Rabbit is in for quite a beating.
Mi-ho muses that the ring is quite handy—it has the power to send any unwanted girls running in the opposite direction. She says she wanted to stop him in case he liked that other girl and ran off to mate with her. Haha. Dae-woong assures her that he’s not that easy, and declares that no matter HOW POPULAR he always was (heh) he only ever had eyes for one girl. Mi-ho frowns when she realizes that he means Hye-in.
She asks why he didn’t make Hye-in his girlfriend right away then, and he lets it slip that he was going to, with rings and all. She looks down at her ring, as it dawns on her that it was never meant to be hers. Hooray, Show—I love how quickly you’re revealing things. Your truthiness is downright huggable.
Dae-woong can’t hide the fact that he did buy the rings with those intentions, but he assures her that they’re not second-class rejection rings. He never even got the words out to Hye-in, nor did he ever offer her the rings. Mi-ho still pouts that it’s not right, and he shouldn’t be like that. He concedes. Heh. I love that he knows he’s being an asshat right now.
He reverse-psychologizes her that he’ll take his ring off then, and she lunges to stop him. Oh, you two.
He leaves her outside while he goes in to a people-only school building, but once inside, he starts to feel guilty for leaving her all alone out there. Aww. He tries to shake it off, but he ends up turning back to go get her. He takes her with him to class (He’s attending class! Like a real student!) and she’s super nervous and excited to be going to class like a real human. He goes to get her some bubbly water (it’s what Dae-woong and Mi-ho call the lemon-lime soda, which is adorable since he only does that for her benefit).
Outside, he runs into Hye-in, who is angling to check out his ring finger. He quickly hides his hand and pulls the ring off. It drops to the ground, but he swiftly kicks it under the soda machine in a panic. She sees his bare hand and smiles to herself. While he’s fishing for the ring once she’s gone, she heads to the lecture hall with a sandwich for him, near-missing Mi-ho sitting inside.
Dae-woong rushes her back out, and when she offers to attend class with him, he lies that class got canceled. She then wants to take him out to lunch (oy, woman!) so then he rushes back to Mi-ho and LIES that he has to go run an errand, and leaves her there. To his dismay, Hye-in wants to drive elsewhere for lunch, and he gulps, wondering if it’ll be okay if he goes.
At the restaurant she orders a multi-course meal, putting him on edge, but he can’t say anything. Meanwhile, Mi-ho gets caught raising her hand in class on accident while catching a fly, and gets kicked out, so she waits and waits for Dae-woong outside. When he doesn’t show, she heads home on her own. Director Ban sees her while he’s dropping Sun-nyeo off, and Mi-ho, following Dae-woong’s instructions, flees.
Director Ban chases her in his car, delighting in her speed, but she manages to give him the slip. Her heart races, and she gets flushed, making her wonder what’s wrong with her.
Dae-woong rushes to eat his meal with lightning speed, and runs back to the lecture hall to find it empty. I love that he goes from feeling guilty one second, to mad that she didn’t even wait for him in the next.
Mi-ho has gone to Dong-joo instead, clutching at her heart and saying that something is wrong with her. He explains that she’s slowly becoming human, and that’s what it feels like to hurt—human beings hurt easily, and often. He asks if she can endure it, and she smiles to hear that it means she’s adopting human traits, and insists she can handle it. He cooks her a steak, and when she notes that he doesn’t eat meat, he says he prepared it for when she came to visit.
At home, Dae-woong also prepares a plate of meat, and waits for Mi-ho. A man who waits at home with bbq at the ready? Did I fall asleep and dream this up?
He even has an entire tray full of bubbly water chilled for her. He waits and waits, but she doesn’t show. Serves you right. You SHOULD have to wait for her once in a while. He finally heads down to wait for her outside, but on his way down the stairs, he sees Mi-ho walk in with Dong-joo.
He’s surprised that Dong-joo looks like a normal guy (although most people here would scoff at your use of “normal”), and balks to overhear her saying how much she loved the meat he cooked for her. She asks if it’s expensive, and when he answers that it is, she muses that Dae-woong won’t get it for her then.
Dong-joo puts his hand on her forehead to check her temperature, popping Dae-woong’s jealous lid. He walks off angrily.
Dong-joo asks why she calls him “Dong-joo Teacher,” and she says it’s because he’s teaching her how to become human. He slyly asks if she trusts him completely, and when she asks very innocently if he’s ever lied to her, he says pointedly that he’s never said anything false, but he has yet to teach her…everything. She takes it at face value and runs off to find Dae-woong.
She finds him grilling up meat (mmm….gogi, gogi) and in a pissy mood because she ate expensive meat elsewhere with another man, and then came home to him. Keh. She smiles, knowing he overheard her conversation with Dong-joo, and he chastises her for pretending to be a sickly weak girl, putting on an act to get expensive steak.
While he’s busy being righteous and indignant, Mi-ho notices that he doesn’t have his ring on. Oh crap. He forgot it in the midst of all the crazy. So they head back to school and she lifts up the soda machine and he gets his ring back.
He tries to roll right over it, but she isn’t going to let it go. Mi-ho: “How did the ring end up there??” He finally has to tell her that he took it off because he didn’t want Hye-in to see it. She realizes that he left her at school today in order to hide her from Hye-in, and asks outright if that’s what he’s planning: to hide her like he hid his ring.
He answers truthfully that he would like to, and asks if his wish (her offer earlier to do anything he wanted) could be to hide her existence from Hye-in. She shakes her head—no, anything but that. Ha. I like that she stakes her claim and doesn’t budge on that.
She starts to shout, angry and hurt that he clearly doesn’t think of her the same way that she does. She asks him what he wants, and he declares that there’s nothing he (a human) could want from a gumiho. She wonders, with a stricken look on her face, if there’s nothing he wants from her other than her fox bead. He hangs his head with a pang of guilt, as he says that she knows that’s the truth, so why ask? He walks away, leaving her deflated.
Director Ban has a drink with the crew and spills his red wine down his shirt in a fit of angst, and then does a Better-Tomorrow-blood-spattered-walk to the bathroom. He runs into Min-sook, who is out to meet friends, and he comes up to her in a back hug, while she feigns protest. Only when he doesn’t budge, she realizes he’s fallen asleep, and she’s piggybacking him! Hahaha.
Hye-in and Sun-nyeo meet up, and after finding out that Dae-woong is back at the action school, Hye-in decides to head over to clear up this couple ring mystery once and for all.
Dae-woong, meanwhile, can’t sleep because his chest hurts, wondering if maybe it’s indigestion. Couldn’t it be, say, your conscience? No? Okay then.
He peeks in on Mi-ho, but she’s not in bed. He looks outside, and is shocked to find her drunk, with her tails hanging out. Dae-woong: “What are you doing with your tails out?” Mi-ho: “I’m a gumiho! From now on, I’m going to spread my tails out and live proudly as a gumiho!” Haha.
Dae-woong realizes she’s pretty far gone, and gasps when he discovers empty soju bottles among the beer cans. He convinces her to put her tails away, and she’s so happy to finally be asked to do something, that she complies, and asks what else he wants. He gets her to hammer in a nail with her bare hand, and howl at the neighbor’s dog to shut him up, and kill the mosquitoes.
She does so happily, and tells him that the mosquito part is something she already does, so that they don’t eat him up. Seriously, this is so Korean, but that’s moving—to both Dae-woong and to me. He smiles up at her sweetly, and they play a round of catch the mosquito.
All the while, Hye-in is on her way up, up, up…
Mi-ho smells her coming and says as much, but Dae-woong doesn’t know who she means. Without explanation, she steps up on the ledge with her hands out.
Mi-ho: I’m going to give you what you really want. Because I like you.
Dae-woong looks up at her, startled at her declaration. Hye-in enters behind him, and when he looks back at her, Mi-ho jumps off the ledge and disappears.
Dae-woong realizes she’s gone and he rushes over, shouting, “Mi-ho-ya!” He sees Hye-in standing there, but breezes right past her, on his way down to find Mi-ho.
What a great twist at the end—we’re set up for the classic discovery moment, thinking we know exactly what to expect, but there’s a reversal, and it sets up an even more dramatic situation. Now Mi-ho has declared her feelings, done something truly for Dae-woong’s benefit, and even though he would never admit as much, we can tell by his actions where his heart is heading.
I love how epic their romance is on a mythology level—it’s the type of fiction I’m most drawn to, a sci-fi-meets-epic-love story—but I love even more how their tiny day-to-day interactions are imbued with a simple chemistry and charm. Individually they’re awesome, but together, they’re magical.
I know that Mi-ho’s forthrightness and her forwardness are attributes that she’s allowed to have because she’s a gumiho, and there’s definitely a pre-existing mythos of the gumiho-as-man-eater (sexually and literally), so it’s not necessarily reinventing the wheel in terms of making her the sexual aggressor. Except for one very important thing: here those things are attributed to her because she’s a gumiho, but she herself isn’t EVIL.
So through her character, those things that used to be associated with the dangers of female sexuality (in the gumiho myth) actually get re-appropriated. She’s cute, innocent, and alien, but a sexual being, which reclaims some of the territory back from the patriarchy. And for that, among a host of other reasons, I love her to bits.