Orange Marmalade: Episode 7
We finally get down to the gritty part of our Joseon story, as the conflict between the vampires and the humans starts to heat up. A special task force is formed to eradicate the vampires, but they’re not going to take it lying down. If Jae-min and Ma-ri think the worst obstacle they have to overcome is their social standing, they have a lot to learn about their world.
EPISODE 7 RECAP
Lady Yang-pyong informs Jae-min that Ah-ra is here to deliver early birthday congratulations, but since Father is busy, Jae-min needs to greet her. At the same time, Shi-hoo enters Jae-min’s father’s room to get a look at a famous sword given to him by royalty, but he hears someone coming and quickly hides behind a screen.
He overhears Jae-min’s father telling the head of the armed forces that he’s been given orders to eradicate the vampires, and to assemble a secret force to accomplish this. When the man leaves, Jae-min’s father calls Shi-hoo out, having been aware of his presence. Shi-hoo begs to be allowed to join the special force, and is told he can join if he passes a test.
Jae-min arrives in the courtyard just in time to see Ah-ra’s plan to humiliate Ma-ri, and witnesses Ah-ra’s man tear Ma-ri’s sleeve. Jae-min covers her with his coat, and yells at her, in front of everyone, not to pass him by since he’s stopped for her.
Hearing the commotion, Shi-hoo’s excitement over the task force is swept away as he watches the scene from over the wall. He connects the clues and realizes that the girl his best friend loves, is the same girl that he loves.
Everyone freezes when Jae-min’s father arrives and demands to know what’s going on. In private, he berates Jae-min for falling for a butcher’s daughter, and Jae-min begs to live his life as he wants. Dad retorts that there’s nothing he’s done and nothing he owns, so he doesn’t have the right to his own life.
Dad storms that he doesn’t expect good things from his son, but he does expect him at the very least not to bring shame on the family. He decides to bring Ma-ri’s family and punish them, and his graphic description of what will happen to Ma-ri makes Jae-min beg for mercy and promise to end things with her.
Jae-min shuffles back to his room in such a daze that he doesn’t even see Shi-hoo, who stops him to ask why he didn’t tell him about Ma-ri. He almost seems more hurt by the fact that Jae-min told everyone else today before his best friend, than the fact of who the girl is.
He asks if Jae-min thinks he can go against his father, but more importantly — can he go against himself? Jae-min just says that Shi-hoo doesn’t know him very well, but Shi-hoo thinks to himself that it’s because he knows his friend so well, that he’s scared.
Ma-ri’s mother urges her to eat, saying that worrying won’t help the situation and not eating will only make things worse. Ma-ri only says that she remembers the day she saw the sunlight, and that’s enough for her.
Jae-min goes to his hideout, and thinks about Ma-ri’s words that she’s precious because she thinks of herself as precious. His father’s taunts that he’s never accomplished anything echo at him, and he attacks his training dummies in fury.
The next day, Ma-ri delivers the drink that allows vampires to go out in sunlight to her friend, who asks why she was making rice balls when she can’t eat them. She doesn’t answer, but when she turns to go, Jae-min is there. He grabs her hand and pulls her to a deserted alley to talk.
When Ma-ri says that she’s scared people will see, Jae-min counters that the only eyes he’s worried about are hers. Her eyes seem distant, and she won’t even speak to him casually now. He asks if she’s decided to hide her feelings, pointing out that her aching heart when he compared her to an animal proves that she does have feelings towards him.
He boldly says that she’s in love with him, but Ma-ri tries to deny it. He doesn’t believe her, since she was the one who said that others’ opinions don’t matter, so the very fact that his words hurt her are the proof that she loves him. And, he confesses, he feels the same way. To him, nobody’s opinions matter but hers.
Ma-ri manages to hold firm, and tells Jae-min that she won’t see him again. He’s to be married soon and being seen with a butcher could ruin him. He insists that he’s not getting married, since he won’t be here, and there can’t be a wedding without a groom – he’s planning to leave. But Ma-ri’s mother arrives then, effectively ending the conversation.
Jae-min was serious, and he packs his things in preparation to leave that night. He quickly grabs a book and looks studious when Shi-hoo visits, and Shi-hoo blithely, like his old self again,takes out a book on vampire information and starts asking Jae-min questions. Jae-min gripes about Shi-hoo’s obsession with vampires, but ends up giving him some vampire-fighting ideas.
Then Shi-hoo gets caught by Lady Yang-pyong, pilfering the silver, HAHA. He’s not even sorry, but just says he’ll use them for national business. Lady Yang-pyong asks if he knows where Jae-min has been going during the day, getting dangerously close to the truth when she wonders if he’s been practicing his fighting skills.
Shi-hoo spends the day at the hideout breaking down the silver into small balls and melting it to coat a length of chain, thinking over the details of the vampire victims and how they were found. Jae-min’s father had issued him a deceptively simple test — just catch a vampire. Jae-min has advised him in the best way to do this, by tying the feet so they can’t jump, and told him that they’re weak to silver.
Jae-min goes to Ma-ri’s home to find the elderly blind vampire, and asks him to get a message to Ma-ri. He needs her to meet him at their spot after sunset, because he wants to tell her something before he leaves. The blind man agrees, but stops Jae-min from leaving to ask if he believes that fate can transcend time.
He says that though he’s been blind for decades, he can still see the spark of his dead love in his heart, and that he believes there’s a way to find that loved one’s spark again. Jae-min departs that night, leaving behind a letter for Lady Yang-pyong that he’ll make something of himself and come home.
Dressed in his fighting garb, Shi-hoo goes vampire hunting. He beats the crap out of the weaselly guy that works at the fight club, looking for information on where to find a vampire. He wants to know who the queen’s brother left with the night he died, and the weasel gives up the owner of the fight club, Gak-hee.
Shi-hoo finds Gak-hee walking in the forest, and picks a fight by telling him that he plans to capture him so he can never kill again. The fight is pretty even given the fact that Shi-hoo is an exceptional fighter and has a sword, while the vampire has only his claws and fangs, though Shi-hoo only narrowly escapes being bitten by blocking Gak-hee’s teeth with the weapon.
Finally Shi-hoo snares Gak-hee’s feet with the silver-coated chain, then in a badass move, kicks one of the silver balls into the vampire’s mouth, effectively rendering him helpless. He ties the vampire up in the hideout and blocks all of the windows to avoid him being burned by the sun before he can bring Jae-min’s father.
Meanwhile Jae-hee, Lady Won’s right-hand man, is tipped off by the weaselly guy that Shi-hoo is looking for Gak-hee. He finds the spot where they fought, and sees blood on the ground from an injury during the fight. He summons his crow and orders it to find Gak-hee.
Lady Yang-pyong goes looking for the boys’ hideout, thinking that Jae-min may have gone there, but Jae-hee gets there first. He finds Gak-hee trussed up inside, and confirms that Shi-hoo did this to him. He sends his crow to report to Lady Won, who instructs Jae-hee to get rid of the vampire that was careless enough to be caught. Jae-hee rips down the curtains and punches a hole in the wall, and leaves Gak-hee there to die at sunrise.
On his way back to Lady Won, Jae-hee falls into a pit trap, which is no big deal since he can easily jump out. But Lady Yang-pyong saw him fall so he pretends to need help escaping, and when she heads in the direction of the hideout he says that he just left that place, and there was nobody there.
Jae-min waits at Ma-ri’s rock, and it begins to rain. Ma -ri lies in bed, remembering his saying that he was leaving and that he asked her to meet him before he goes, conflicted as to what to do.
Lady Yang-pyong and Jae-hee take shelter from the rain under an overhang, where Jae-hee notices scratches on Lady Yang-pyong’s hand. He gently bandages it with his hair tie, which she allows, and he asks who she’s looking for. The owner of the dagger she’s carrying?
She says that her young master always carried this dagger, and that she’s been his nanny since he was a baby and his mother died. She knows it’s dangerous for a slave to consider a master as her son, but he’s everything to her. Jae-hee seems moved by her words, and muses if they mean she would give her life for him.
As Jae-min waits in the rain, he thinks about the old blind man’s words about how we live over and over, but not to push fate away. Things must happen now — there is no tomorrow without today. Ma-ri also sits and thinks, until the blind man calls to her from outside. He says that Jae-min seemed like a good man, with a strong voice and a deep heart.
She looks outside and finds a straw mat, and she covers with it and runs through the rain to catch Jae-min. At once point she trips and falls, and abandons the mat to run faster. But she’s not fast enough, and when she gets to their rock, Jae-min is gone.
Ma-ri can only stand and cry, until a familiar voice calls her name, and she turns to see Jae-min behind her. He waited! She gasps out what she came to say: “Don’t leave. Don’t go anywhere!” and Jae-min pulls her into his arms. They hold each other wordlessly in the rain.
After the rain stops, Jae-min gives Ma-ri a gift of a beautiful hair ribbon, and thanks her for coming. She says a butcher can’t wear this, but he says she can, if she marries him. He tells her that when he was packing, he realized his father was right, and everything he has is because of his father. But now he wants to make his own life, and he refuses to run away.
Ma-ri can’t speak, only wondering why he’s giving his love to her, as Jae-min continues that he wants be with her. She manages to say that she’s not human, but he misunderstands and thinks she means she’s not worthy of him. He angrily says she’s as human as he is, and that she’s precious to him. Then he kisses her, and there’s nothing else to say.
Lady Yang-pyong and Jae-hee wait until the rain stops, and he offers to take her wherever she’s going and protect her. They run into Jae-min as they walk back towards town, and Lady Yang-pyong drops his dagger as she rushes to him, which Jae-hee picks up.
Jae-min apologizes for worrying her, but Lady Yang-pyong says that she wasn’t alone — but when they turn around, Jae-hee is gone. As they walk home she notices that he speaks to her formally for the first time, and he says that just for now, he wants to show her his heart. He says that in his heart, she’s been his mother for a long time, and brushes aside her weak objections.
They keep walking, and Jae-hee watches them go from a distance, an inscrutable look on his face. He reports back to Lady Won, who doesn’t speak but ties a cloth around his forehead.
It triggers a memory of himself as a young boy, being chased and finally caught by Lady Won. She’d bitten him and he’d woken in her rooms, weak and helpless. She’d said that he was alone in this world and asked him if he would protect her, and be protected in turn. He’d nodded, and Lady Won had opened a vein in her wrist and fed her own blood to him.
In the morning, Shi-hoo leads the head of the special task force to the hideout, but it’s too late. His prisoner was incinerated when the sun rose and streamed in through the hole Jae-hee made in the wall. But they report to Jae-min’s father that he’d surely caught a vampire, and he allows Shi-hoo onto the task force.
That night, several young men are inducted into the task force, the Soldiers of Silver Blood, and given weapons made of silver to fight the vampires. They’re told that their involvement will never be recorded, and if they die in combat their families will not be given their bodies.
The next day, Shi-hoo finds Ma-ri washing clothes in the river, and asks her to wish him luck in war. He’s vague about the reason, but she wishes him luck, which seems to make him happy enough. He asks, the next time he sees her, if he can hear her play her flute.
The Silver Blood leader brings Jae-min’s father a report regarding the vampires’ activities, and they decide to send the Soldiers of the Silver Blood after them. The Silver Blood corner them that night, and it takes all of their forces to subdue only three vampires.
Jae-min meets with Ah-ra to break their engagement, allowing her the right to break it off officially so as not to suffer social humiliation. She’s unwilling to cancel the marriage, and gets upset when Jae-min says there’s another girl he loves. Ah-ra knows it’s Ma-ri, and this makes her furious.
She’s not the only one who’s furious — Lady Won is livid about the attacks on her people, and she accepts a visit from Ah-ra who has information about the Silver Blood. Ah-ra shows her a silver choker she was given by a member of the Silver Blood, and offers to help Lady Won.
She offers the choker in return for Lady Won getting rid of Ma-ri. Jae-hee objects, since killing Ma-ri would be an open declaration of war with her father’s vampires, but Lady Won wants it done. She orders Ma-ri killed to look like a human murdered her and her body brought to Bansoo in the Sungkyunkwon grounds, where the police are not allowed.
The next night a little boy delivers Jae-min’s dagger to Ma-ri, with a message that he’s waiting for her. Later when Jae-min comes to thank the blind man for his advice, he tells Jae-min that Ma-ri went to Bansoo to see him.
Ma-ri heads to Bansoo, but she’s stopped in the street by Jae-hee, dressed as a human nobleman. He attacks and she fends him off with Jae-min’s dagger case, and luckily Shi-hoo was close by and sees them grappling. Just as Jae-hee renders Ma-ri unconscious by touching a pressure point in her neck, Shi-hoo flies in and distracts him.
He asks why Jae-hee is trying to kill Ma-ri, and who he is, but Jae-hee won’t say. He only says he’s acting on strict orders, and warns Shi-hoo to stay out of it. Instead Shi-hoo fights back, and his unique fighting style clues Jae-hee in that he’s the fighter from the club.
While they’re still sizing each other up, Jae-min comes running to find Ma-ri, and it’s too many witnesses for Jae-hee, who slips back into the shadows. Shi-hoo gathers the still Ma-ri into his arms, and when Jae-min finds them, the two friends just look at each other over her head.
Okay, now we’re talking! I’ve been waiting for weeks to get into the meat of the “vampires versus humans” part of our story, because I feel like that’s where all the juicy narrative stuff lies. A cute love story is great, even an angsty love triangle is wonderful, but if that’s the only thing that’s happening then it can get a bit boring. I was hoping the plot would get to this sooner, but hey, I’ll take what I can get. It’s possible it just feels like it’s taken longer to get here than it actually has, because of the once-a-week format and the switch from modern times to Joseon era. I feel like it’s been much more than seven episodes, but really we’re only barely halfway through the story at this point.
I still don’t exactly understand where Ah-ra falls in the plans, and it feels a bit like her part was randomly shoehorned in to give her a role in this part of the story. I never did get why Lady Won chose her to teach Ma-ri a lesson in the first place, and I feel like, if that had been explained more clearly from the start, Ah-ra’s involvement with the vampire queen would make more sense now. The best I can figure is that the choker is how the Soldiers of the Silver Blood are protecting themselves against the vampires, and if Lady Won has a choker, she can figure out who makes them and neutralize them. I don’t feel like the Silver Blood are really needed to advance the story, and are just another thing, along with Ma-ri’s father and his vampires, standing in Lady Won’s way of taking over the humans. Ma-ri’s death would serve multiple purposes, all of them benefiting the human-blood-drinkers, even without the Silver Blood in the mix.
But at least it gets Shi-hoo in on the human/vampire conflict, though I’m terribly afraid we’re going to lose Shi-hoo in this timeline too, given all the foreshadowing of his death (or more likely, his UNdeath by being turned into a vampire for his fighting skills — just a guess). It was hard enough to watch him die first time, so I hope we at least end up with a Shi-hoo who’s a vampire, no longer human but not truly gone. He’s still my favorite character in this story, because he’s so tragic and interesting with his desire to be accepted and never quite fitting in. I can relate to him much easier than I relate to the unhappy but immature Jae-min (though I still think he’s much better in this incarnation than in the present day), or the decorative but mostly pawn-like Ma-ri.
It’s funny how, though I don’t think much of either of the lead characters, I’m still very invested in the story as a whole. I keep hoping they can learn from their mistakes, whether in the present day or their former lifetime, and can figure out a way to be together. At least in this past life, Jae-min is growing as a person and learning that who a person is on the inside means more than their station in life, which I respect about him. But it makes me wonder why then, is his present day incarnation still so angry and judgmental of vampires? I’m guessing the next episode will give us the answer, and I have some educated guesses as to why. I’m worried his anger at Teacher Han is because Jae-hee (his former self) is going to do something terrible to Ma-ri, possibly even succeed in killing her, which earns him Jae-min’s eternal hatred.
That would certainly explain why Jae-min, in the present day, seems to have so much anger towards him when Teacher Han is actually a pretty nice guy. It would also explain why Teacher Han seems to invested in mending his relationship with Jae-min, if his instincts tell him that he wronged Jae-min in a past life. In fact, I see glimpses that he’s probably a pretty nice guy in the Joseon era too, but his circumstances in life have put him in a position that he has to act against his own conscience. I hope, when we get back to the present-day story, he gets a chance to redeem himself.
- Orange Marmalade: Episode 6
- 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