Orange Marmalade: Episode 6
Oh, the bromance! It’s lovely to see how Jae-min and Shi-hoo grew up as friends, and what keeps them together despite their wildly different personalities and interests. It’s clear that their friendship means the world to them, and it’s a shame that the one thing they have in common, is the one thing that could tear them apart.
EPISODE 6 RECAP
Shi-hoo and Jae-min sit at their hideout and talk about the girl they love, never guessing they’re both thinking of the same girl. Jae-min freezes when Shi-hoo asks what noble house his girl is from, unable to say out loud that she’s a lowly butcher.
Meanwhile Ma-ri lies in bed thinking of Jae-min, and wondering why he blamed his stained clothing on her. She remembers how delicious his blood tasted when she pulled out the snake poison from his foot, and cringes at the turn her thoughts have taken.
The boys’ hideout turns out to be an unused hunting lodge, and inside Shi-hoo reveals that, since he’s been expelled from Sungkyunkwan anyway, he’s going to take the military service test and become an officer. Jae-min is unable to fathom actually welcoming such a fate, and looks horrified.
Ma-ri’s father takes a late walk and is met by a blood-drinking vampire — the female leader of the Wonsangu clan, Lady Won. She expresses surprise that the animal-blood drinkers are doing well, to which he retorts that even a longer life is only a half-life if you have to kill to get it.
Lady Won is here mainly to tell Dad and his vampire clan to back off and let her carry out her plans to conquer the humans, but he vows they will stop them no matter what it takes. Lady Won attacks when he turns to go, but he fights back — and though the fight is vicious, they seem evenly matched.
Ma-ri’s dad warns her never to cross this bridge into his territory, or it will be considered a declaration of war. His clan may not be stronger physically, since they drink animal blood, but they have the upper hand in one thing — the ability to move about during the day. They could kill her whole tribe while they slept.
Ah-ra and her friends discuss her upcoming wedding and the rumored outstanding looks of her groom, but Ah-ra is the only one who’s actually seen him. She’d lost her shoe one day while trying to escape a group of Sungkyunkwan students petitioning her help with something, and Jae-min had scared them off and gallantly put her shoe back on her foot.
One of Ah-ra’s friends suggests a special sort of makeover before the wedding, something that seems to be forbidden. The place evidently doesn’t just provide beauty treatments, but also makes magical drugs to captivate men. Ah-ra expresses her maidenly horror at the very thought, then goes to the place that night anyway.
She’s met by the owner, none other than Lady Won. Ah-ras given treatments by various experts in acupressure and massage, and Lady Won comes to speak with her after she’s done. She offers Ah-ra a scented charm worn by all the famous beauties of the country to bewitch powerful men, but there’s a catch. Ah-ra must help her teach a particular upstart her place in the order of things.
The next day Ma-ri is summoned to Ah-ra’s home for a delivery, and the servant girl ties an embroidered ribbon in her hair, saying it’s a gift from the young lady of the house. She tells her to help herself to snacks, while waiting for Ah-ra to come home and thank her.
Ma-ri admires the ribbon, having never seen anything so fine, then stuffs some of the snacks into her sleeves so it looks as if she ate. Ah-ra walks in with her mother, who is shocked and furious to see her there. She’s dragged outside and accused of thievery, since a noble lady would never invite a butcher into her home. It was all a setup.
Ah-ra’s mother orders Ma-ri locked in the shed, but Shi-hoo, who’s been watching all this from over the wall, puts a stop to it. He argues that tying a ribbon in her hair isn’t a crime. Though he manages to make everyone pause, he doesn’t seem to be doing much else, when suddenly Jae-min’s voice breaks in to ask a question.
He’s known to the household, and he validates the ladies’ anger, saying that any reasonable person would be offended by a butcher, lower than a pig, touching their belongings. He likens Ma-ri to an animal trying to act human, and says to send her home to her pigsty like you would any pig.
Oh dude, I know you’re trying to help get her out of this safely, but you are so gonna pay for that later. Of course when the guards take Ma-ri’s arms to lead her out, the food falls out of her sleeves, just making her look more of a thief. She walks home shamefaced, with Shi-hoo following behind.
He stops her to ask her to duel with him, and takes her out to a stand of bamboo, cutting a short length as a stand-in for her reed flute. He says that he saw her fend off those thugs while never actually hitting them with the tip of her flute, which proves she’s a very precise fighter, and wants to see how she managed that.
Shi-hoo pulls no punches as they spar, and Ma-ri defends herself very well. They even start to have fun, and she forgets the terrible day she’s having. Shi-hoo wins but declares her fighting skills to be excellent, then he admits that it was his prank with the food that got her father unfairly punished. Shi-hoo tells her that he was expelled, and says that he will give her his most sincere apology.
Lady Won tells Ah-ra that she did enough to earn the magical charm, but Ah-ra wants to know what Lady Won’s relationship is to Ma-ri. Lady Won gives a vague answer, but Ah-ra is too happy to have her charm to ask any more questions.
Shi-hoo fights at the gambling house again, and this time Jae-hee, Lady Won’s right-hand man, is there to see him. He cryptically tells the vampire that runs the place to catch a fish for him, and the vampire invites a young noble to a private room.
The man is plied with food, drink, and women, until he’s too drunk to stay conscious. Jae-hee and Lady Won, with their vampires, come in secret to have a feast. The next day the noble’s body is found drained of blood, with puncture wounds in multiple places. And uh-oh, he was the Queen’s younger brother.
Ma-ri sits on her rock and plays her flute, which is where Jae-min finds her, and she silently prepares to leave when he asks if she was hurt by his words. But then he ruins it by blaming her for being fickle, when she said that it’s only what she thinks of herself that matters and not what others think. Um, did you just call her a hypocrite? Maybe stop talking now.
Ma-ri affirms that she meant every word of what she said, but it still hurt when he called her a dog and a pig. That night neither Ma-ri nor Jae-min can sleep, and they both sit outside watching the stars.
Everything Ma-ri does reminds her of happy moments with Jae-min, so that she almost doesn’t realize it’s really him when he shows up at her house. He says a simple, “I’m sorry. I’m really sorry,” and it’s enough to convince her to speak with him.
They go to their rock where she finally tells him her name, and he says it’s an awfully fancy name for a commoner and mentioning famous people named Ma-ri. Then he blows it again by assuming she can’t even read, and seriously, stop talking.
He finally shuts up about it, and just says he can’t see any daylight stars today. Ma-ri tells him the wind, trees, and sunlight have to be just right, so you have to wait for the right moment. You can only see them if you are patient, and stay still.
Jae-min brings up an old proverb that basically says, “Although you have seen it, you have not seen it. Although you have heard it, you have not heard it.” He says this reminds him of that proverb, because he’s been in this forest many times, but it’s never touched his heart before. He’s impressed that, though he’s read many books, Ma-ri seems to understand their teachings better than he does. Now there’s a good compliment.
Jae-min doesn’t have much of an appetite at dinner, letting Shi-hoo scarf up everything. He’s too busy thinking of Ma-ri’s hesitancy when he mentioned food, which he’d misinterpreted as her not having enough food to eat.
He goes home with a bag to get some rice for Ma-ri, justifying it with more proverbs about sharing with your neighbors. He’s caught in the act by Lady Yang-pyong, who offers to make him a snack, but he scootches out of the room looking completely guilty. The rice he spilled on the floor gives him away, and Lady Yang-pyong looks worried.
Jae-min is so proud to present the rice to Ma-ri, and makes a point to say that he’ll be reading his books on this rock from now on. Because the light is good here, you know. And if he’s reading here, he’ll need rice balls to eat. Just sayin’.
Ma-ri gets the hint, but there’s a problem — she’s never cooked before. Her friend teaches her how to cook the rice, teaching her about salt and how to tell when it’s ready by smell. Whoa, she’s putting a LOT of salt in there.
Jae-min is surprised that Ma-ri used all of the rice, but when she pulls a face he stops fussing at her. He takes a huge bite of a rice ball, and HAHA, it looks like it’s definitely way too salty. He pulls himself together and declares it delicious, and is forced to eat it all, but is rewarded with a bright smile from Ma-ri.
Jae-min can’t even eat dinner because he’s still trying to wash away all that salt with water, and he suddenly realizes that that must be why Ma-ri put in so much salt with the rice. He actually starts to sob as he thinks that she must have made it salty, so she could eat less and fill up with water. Hee.
But Lady Yang-pyong had followed Jae-min and saw his exchange with Ma-ri, and she goes to Ma-ri’s parents that night with her concerns. The adults are concerned about their growing attachment, since Jae-min is promised to be married next month, and they step outside to find that Ma-ri overheard about Jae-min’s marriage.
She runs to the river to think alone, distraught to have lost her love before she even experienced it. Her father watches his daughter sadly from a distance.
Jae-min speaks with his father to call off his marriage with Ah-ra, and Dad reminds him that he’s making him marry because he’s totally useless to the family otherwise. Jae-min offers a deal — if he succeeds in becoming a military officer, will Dad cancel the wedding?
His father reminds him that he faints at the sight of blood, but he must agree to the deal, because Jae-min sets up a series of training dummies at the hideout and gets to work. He thinks of Ma-ri as inspiration, recalling that he admitted to her his weakness with blood and how it embarrasses him.
Ma-ri had told him not to blame his heart for a fear he can’t control, but instead to find a way not to experience those fears at all. So, Jae-min trains while blindfolded — if he doesn’t see the blood, it can’t make him sick.
As it turns out, Jae-min is a pretty amazing fighter, even blindfolded. But he’s so driven that he practices until his hands are bloody and he’s broken most of the training dummies, yet he still won’t stop. It’s hard to watch, though Shi-hoo does exactly that, not giving away to his friend that he’s observing his frantic behavior.
Shi-hoo is lost in thought, remembering when he was a child and was forced to defend an injured woman alone against a band of men. At the last minute Jae-min had stepped in, and the two boys were good enough fighters to fend off the men.
But Jae-min had landed a hard blow to one man’s head, and the gushing blood caused him to pass out right there. That was the day Shi-hoo had realized that his friend was an exceptionally gifted fighter, and also the day he learned of Jae-min’s aversion to blood.
Once Jae-min exhausts himself, Shi-hoo gently removes his blindfold and the two friends share a silent exchange: “Have you still been enable to master it?” “Turn a blind eye. Even if you see, you didn’t see.” “The reason you’re going this far… am I not allowed to know?” “Don’t ask anything.”
So, Shi-hoo only mentions that it’s cold, and takes Jae-min inside the hut to sleep. He stays up all night, repairing the training dummies and making new practice swords to replace the ones Jae-min broke. In the morning Jae-min is surprised, and sets right back to practicing.
Ah-ra looks at the magical amulet, and seems to make a decision. She goes to Jae-min’s home, ostensibly to bring his father an early birthday gift. Ma-ri brings the gift, some expensive meat from her father’s butchery. But as she carries it Ah-ra’s servant trips her, and the meat falls into the dirt.
Ma-ri accuses the servant, who follows his script, yelling at her and ripping the sleeve off her shirt. Jae-min arrives in time to see this and covers her with his coat, which was obviously not part of Ah-ra’s plan.
Knowing her place now, Ma-ri gives his coat back, saying that a dog or pig isn’t worthy of a noble’s clothing. Jae-min is ashamed to have his words thrown back at him, but when Ma-ri turns to go, he covers her again. Right in front of everyone, he says, “Don’t pass by me. Can’t you see that I’ve stopped?”
It’s an echo of Ma-ri’s words from the forest, that you can’t see the important things until you stop and wait. Jae-min grips Ma-ri’s shoulders and reminds her that she said you can’t see the good things in the world if you pass by them, so why is she passing by him?
With Ah-ra standing right there, and Shi-hoo watching from over the wall, Jae-min tells Ma-ri, “I have stopped walking, to look at you. I am standing here!”
Well if that’s not a confession, I don’t know what is. While the romantic side of me is happy that Jae-min declared himself in front of everyone, it’s also a bit of a shame that it had to happen publicly like that, because now I’m afraid that Jae-min has put Ma-ri in some serious danger. Not only is she nowhere near his social class, but she’s not even of his species, and if that gets out her life will be at risk.
It’s interesting though, how the whole vampire issue is almost an afterthought in this part of our story. I feel more like I’m watching a sageuk about forbidden love between classes, and the vampire story is just a side-issue. I do hope that changes in the next two episodes, before we come back to modern times, because I’m very interested in seeing how the treaty between humans and vampires takes place. The show is running out of time to get to that problem, so I just hope it’s not rushed. I do have a feeling that Jae-min and Ma-ri’s love story will have a lot to do with it. But please, I just hope they don’t end up in a Romeo and Juliet-type setup where their deaths make everyone realize they need to change.
I do think the story will start focusing on the vampire aspects now, since they’ve set up lady Won and Ma-ri’s father as opposing forces. It’s clear that lady Won is after Ma-ri to either get back at her father for defying her, or scare him into letting her wage her war unopposed, or something. I’m not entirely clear what her plan is about, but it’s interesting that she’s using Ah-ra to carry it out. I wonder what putting Ma-ri in her place will accomplish. All of these questions are compelling, and I do hope the show starts to focus on them next week.
One thing I appreciate about the Joseon era story over the modern story, is Jae-min’s inner struggle. He’s an arrogant, entitled little prig in both incarnations, but (as I mentioned in a previous recap) his whole change of heart in the modern era came about because he wanted Ma-ri, so it was either accept her as a vampire or lose her. And while it was nice to see him change for love, it wasn’t exactly a morally satisfying change. A fancy bit of mental gymnastics so that he could continue liking her, yes, but hardly a sincere altering of his ethical values. Regardless of whether he accepted Ma-ri, I’m sure Jae-min still hated Teacher Han and his mother, and all other vampires — he just decided it was okay if Ma-ri was a vampire.
But in the Joseon era, though his prejudice has a different target (basically anyone who’s not a noble), he at least seems to realize that his dismissal of people who are socially below him is wrong. He’s shamed that he likes a girl who is of the lowest social class, and he struggles with it. He’s even willing to defy his father and work to accomplish something he never wanted, in order to have the woman he loves. It’s hard to watch him go through the pain of realizing that his whole world view is wrong, but I appreciate that he’s at least thinking about it and trying to change. He knows that his words and actions hurt Ma-ri, and he takes responsibility for that, and he even does what he can to make it up to her. This version of Jae-min is much more mature and less self-centered than the modern version, and I like him a lot more for that.
- Orange Marmalade: Episode 5
- Orange Marmalade: Episode 4
- Orange Marmalade: Episode 3
- Orange Marmalade: Episode 2
- Orange Marmalade: Episode 1
- Yeo Jin-gu sound bites from the Orange Marmalade press conference
- Bashful high school crushes in Orange Marmalade
- Vampire kisses and Yeo Jin-gu tears in Orange Marmalade’s first teaser