Orange Marmalade: Episode 11
So much cute! Emotions are running so high, there’s practically hearts flying out of everyone’s eyes. Old loves are beginning to be rekindled and new bonds are forged. And as Jae-min tries his best to recall the memories he’s lost, enlisting Ma-ri’s help in the process, he may actually remember a lot more than he ever bargained for.
EPISODE 11 RECAP
Ma-ri tells Shi-hoo that, no matter how Jae-min feels about her and vampires, she still likes him anyway. Jae-min comes around the corner, and Shi-hoo takes advantage of the situation to grab Ma-ri in a hug. He whispers to her to stay still for a moment, and he’ll help her.
But she pushes him away and whirls to see Jae-min, who turns and walks back the way he came. Ma-ri starts to go, but Shi-hoo asks if she’s not going to thank him for helping her. He claims that what he just did was like throwing a rock at Jae-min — now they’ll see if it hurt him or not. By his expression, Shi-hoo thinks it looks like it did.
Jae-min shows the video of Orange Marmalade’s concert to Bum-sung and asks why he didn’t ever tell him about this. Bum-sung says that the doctor asked everyone not to tell Jae-min what happened at that time, and to let him remember naturally. He doesn’t know what Jae-min really wants to know — was he that close to Baek Ma-ri? Jae-min says he’ll just remember it himself.
Jae-min calls Ma-ri out that night to “send an SOS,” as he calls it. He tells her about his hallucinations, though he doesn’t go into details, and says he needs to figure out why she’s in his dreams. He claims that he only wants to know that he’s not crazy, and he needs her for that. If she helps him, he’ll help her with her Coexistence Project.
It turns out that Shi-hoo was given the chance to help with the Coexistence Project because of his television interview from months ago, when he’d seemed so invested in humans and vampires getting along. He’d been convinced to participate in the Project with the promise that, if it works out, all vampires who are currently serving sentences under the old laws will be granted a retrial. His parents could go free. Now, he thinks to himself that if that can happen, he’ll be contented.
The parents confront the school over a vampire being allowed to attend classes with their children, and Jae-min asks to address them as class president. He says that as much as he hates vampires too, it’s a fact that they’ve been living among humans all along — all that’s changed is that they’ve revealed who they are. Ma-ri attended class last semester without any problems, so he asks if they can just let her continue for now.
The parents allow it, and Jae-min even offers to be Ma-ri’s seat partner and be responsible for her. He tells the class to just concentrate on finals, and let him worry about the vampire for them. Ma-ri looks happy, but Shi-hoo seems disappointed that she doesn’t need him anymore.
Jae-min actually sits and studies with Ma-ri while she drinks her lunch, and the students only watch from a respectful distance this time. He even gets a popularity boost from it, as everyone is talking about how selfless he is, sacrificing himself for his fellow students.
Ma-ri’s parents decide to join her in revealing themselves, and are pleasantly surprised when their employer lets them keep their jobs. Luckily, their employer turns out to be Jae-min’s mother, and she tells them that not everyone hates vampires. She even tells them that Teacher Han is her husband, and it turns out that he even got them the jobs.
The entire class shoots looks at Ma-ri when blood donation day is announced, but nobody says anything. Ma-ri works on a new song that night as she thinks about riding the train home with Jae-min. He’s still determined to stay close to her until he figures out his daydream, but Ma-ri selfishly wishes with a little smile that he never figures it out.
Shi-hoo suggests that he and Ma-ri skip school, since it’s blood donation day and he’s worried the other kids will be extra nervous around her. But Ma-ri is determined not to hide, saying that if she starts avoiding things now, she’ll end up avoiding everything soon enough.
Shi-hoo asks if she’s so confident because Jae-min is backing her, and tells her not to get her hopes up too much or she’ll be that much more disappointed. Ma-ri counters that that can never happen — her expectations have already been exceeded. Jae-min’s friendship is enough.
Ma-ri sits next to Jae-min on the train to school, and he has a sudden flash of a memory — her lips on his neck. He stares at her nervously, while she innocently reads a book. Some girls chatter that they’re nervous to have a vampire at school on blood donation day, so Jae-min tells her to get off at the next stop and they’ll skip school.
Ah-ra pouts at the fact that both Jae-min and Ma-ri are conspicuously absent, and she decides to leave school early. She runs across Shi-hoo playing his guitar on the street and stops to listen, and when she turns to leave, he calls after her that she should pay for listening, ha. He plays her a song about a lonely person living an average life, and it seems to strike a chord with her.
Jae-min and Ma-ri pass a fountain and he asks if she wants to make a wish, which triggers another memory of the two of them making wishes (at the lighthouse). He asks if they’ve come here before, but she says they haven’t. She wants to make a wish on the fountain, but her coin doesn’t land in the top tier and her face falls.
Jae-min asks what awesome wish she wanted to make that she’s so disappointed, but Ma-ri says that he wouldn’t be interested in a vampire’s wish. Of course he agrees that he’s toootally not interested, but he still walks right into the fountain to get her coin back.
He throws it up into the top tier and grumpily says that now she’ll get her wish. Cute. It begins to rain, and Jae-min reflexively reaches for Ma-ri’s hand like it’s the most natural thing in the world. But he stops himself, and runs off to shelter with her on his heels.
Shi-hoo tags along while Ah-ra goes shopping in a nearby store, offering to buy her a hairpin. She gives him the side-eye, but he says it’s just a bribe to be nice to Ma-ri. Ah-ra asks if he likes Ma-ri, and he denies it.
Ah-ra asks if he really did put that tomato juice in her locker that time, and he says that they both know she did it. She remembers him holding up his own bag of tomato juice, and it suddenly seems familiar — could he also be a vampire? Shi-hoo slowly picks up her wrist and traces the veins in her arm, and says that even her veins are pretty.
He lowers his lips to her wrist, and has to remind her to breathe (what a good idea — breathe, Lollypip). With his lips still on her wrist, Shi-hoo asks if Ah-ra is scared. She says she’s not as scared as she thought she’d be, and he whispers that she shouldn’t be, because they don’t drink human blood.
Jae-min resume their walk when the rain stops, and when he says they should change clothes, Ma-ri says that vampires don’t catch colds. Jae-min nervously asks if she dislikes “that thing” so much since he’s never seen her with it, and it takes Ma-ri a moment to realize that he’s asking about the purse he bought her. She says she’s saving it for a good day.
Jae-min gets a call from his mother to remind him that he’s got therapy today, and Ma-ri asks if he still hurts. He says that’s why he sent her the SOS, hoping he could find a clue as to why something he never knew existed could hurt.
Shi-hoo is offered a job by the shop owner, playing guitar for ambiance, and he says he has to ask his girlfriend. He leans in close to Ah-ra and whispers for her to tell the shop owner that he’s a vampire. She just tells him to work hard, because he promised her he would buy her tomato juice, and she gives him the same little “RAWR” snap of the teeth that he gave her when they first met. HA, his face is priceless.
Jae-min’s mother meets with his doctor and hears about his auditory hallucinations of a flute, and the doctor says it’s all a part of his post traumatic stress disorder. He tells Mom that if the hallucination symbolizes a traumatic incident, then recovering that memory is crucial. He suggests an activity to try to jog his memory.
On their way out, the doctor’s wife brings his lunch, and Jae-min smiles at their loving interaction. But he suddenly hears the doctor’s voice in his mind, talking about meeting someone again after a long time passes, and he hears the flute again. (Wait, is the doctor the blind vampire from their past life? I didn’t even recognize him!)
Jae-min can’t stop thinking about the words he heard in his head, and can’t concentrate on his studies. HAHA, Bum-sung snaps him out of it by showing up in a facial mask (Jae-min: “Are you an idol?”). Oh this is hilarious, because next thing you know, Jae-min is shopping for skincare products. Funniest PPL ever.
When Ma-ri gets home, her father is desperate for her to help Joseph with an art project, making folded paper hearts. She makes a large one while thinking of Jae-min and stuffs it with vitamins, wishing that he won’t catch a cold.
Later that night his mom catches Jae-min sleeping on his homework with a pore strip on his nose, hee. She does urge him to think about rejoining the school band, and tells him that in the time he’s forgotten, he’d started playing his guitar again.
The music producer who expressed interest in Orange Marmalade is disappointed to hear the band broke up, but he thinks that if they were that good after only two months, they have the potential to be stars. He decides to do something about it before someone else realizes how talented they are, based on the ever-increasing hits on their one video.
Ma-ri tries to get up the nerve to give Jae-min her paper heart on the train, but she chickens out. She does pass him a folded paper in class with the vitamins in it, saying they’re to prevent a cold.
The Orange Marmalade members are brought together in the music room to meet with the producer, and he’s thrown by the news that the lead singer is a vampire. He proposes switching her out with someone else, but keeping the rest of the group, and arranging a debut for them within a year. Wow, the resounding silence speaks volumes. The producer asks Jae-min what he thinks as group leader, but he says that in his opinion, he doesn’t think they can leave out Ma-ri. Aww, Ma-ri’s face.
Soo-ri also says she won’t do it without Ma-ri, but Ma-ri offers to stand down and puts forward Soo-ri as a good singer. Shi-hoo interrupts her, and says that in order for the band to work without her, they’ll also have to switch him out because he’s a vampire too.
Later Jae-in tells Shi-hoo that the group all decided to keep his vampire status a secret, so he won’t have to change schools. He says he still hates vampires, but he just doesn’t want to see the school in an uproar. Shi-hoo doesn’t look like he’s buying that one bit.
In front of their tree (stump), Jae-min tells Ma-ri that he was thinking of rejoining the band, though not because of anything like a possible debut. He’d hoped it might help him remember, since it’s something he did during the time he’s forgotten. He wants to remember why he started playing the guitar again, unaware that the reason is standing right beside him.
He tells her about his accident, and that he keeps having hallucinations involving her whenever he’s near this tree. Ma-ri says that this is the first time she’s ever noticed this tree, and he admits it’s probably just a fantasy for him. The person he sees that looks like her, does seem like a different person. He says his mind feels like pieces of a puzzle that don’t fit together.
Teacher Han celebrates Mom’s birthday, wishing he could have birthday cake with her just once. In turn, she wishes she could share birthday blood with him on his birthday (it sounds nicer than it reads, I promise).
She apologizes for not being able to see him more since she’s busy taking care of Jae-min, but he’s not upset. He wonders if he should keep working at the school, hiding his identity when other vampires are living openly and struggling. Mom says that for now, it’s enough that he’s there and supporting Ma-ri.
Just as Teacher Han leans in for a kiss, Jae-min arrives home and interrupts. He goes and stands under the shower fully clothed, muttering, “Why a vampire? Why??” Somehow I don’t think he’s talking about his stepfather.
Ma-ri sits with her guitar that night, thinking back on Jae-min and how he’d wondered why he’d started playing guitar again. She remembers their conversation from months ago, when he’d told her that he wanted to live doing what he loved, and challenged her to do the same. She hopes she can help him put his puzzle back together.
As Jae-min stand under the shower spray, the water starts to turn rust-colored, as if there’s blood in the water. Horrified, he experiences a flash of a memory — Ma-ri with her lips on his neck. He claps a hand to his throat, but it’s only another hallucination.
Ma-ri dresses in a pretty dress and slips her new purse over her head, telling herself that today will be a good day. She heads out, taking her guitar with her. Meanwhile Shi-hoo tells his uncle that they rejected the music producer’s offer, and Teacher Han gives him a video he recorded of their one concert. Frustrated, Shi-hoo decides to go for a walk.
Jae-min also goes out for some air, and he gets a call from Ma-ri offering to help him with a piece of his puzzle by playing a song for him. They run into each other while still talking, and Jae-min asks her to tell him honestly — did she ever put her lips on his neck? Her face gives her away, and she admits it.
She says that she did it involuntarily, but his blood was so sweet she couldn’t resist. He cuts her off and says that from now on, she doesn’t need to help him with his puzzle anymore. He doesn’t want her near him, because now he’s horrified at what he might remember, and he tells her to transfer to another school.
Shi-hoo happened to witness this by accident, and he follows Jae-min to the bus stop. He asks if Jae-min’s request to keep his vampire status a secret was for his sake, but Jae-min doesn’t need to answer. Shi-hoo knows it was for Ma-ri, that Jae-min was worried she might get hurt if the vampire issue flared up again.
He asks if Jae-min even knows why Ma-ri revealed herself as a vampire, and says it was so that she wouldn’t have to lie to him anymore. He says she’s not staying near him because she wants to drink his blood, but that Ma-ri is doing all this because she likes Jae-min so much. He tosses the video of the Orange Marmalade concert to Jae-min, and leaves.
Ma-ri is sad, but mostly because she feels as though she always brings Jae-min pain. The next day at school she cleans out her locker, and nobody in the class really seems happy about it (except that one mean girl, and nobody is listening to her). Jae-min storms out of class and goes to the music room.
The night before, he had watched the video of their concert again, and now Ma-ri’s words that their band was formed out of the idea that they wouldn’t push people away because they were different resonates through his head. He sees something that makes him stop — the banner they made of their band name. He picks up Ma-ri’s composition book, and flips through it to find the note from when she left school the first time: “I’m sorry, Jae-min.”
He picks up a guitar, and slowly starts to play the song that Ma-ri wrote. Another memory flashes, of listening to Ma-ri play that exact song in the café. More memories come, and he even remembers thinking that he met a person who could freeze time for him.
More and more images flood Jae-min’s mind, memories of now and memories of the first time they fell in love, centuries ago. Laughter, and arguments, and love, all underscored by Ma-ri’s flute song. Shaking, Jae-min drops the guitar and runs.
But he’s not running to catch Ma-ri — instead he goes to the tree stump, and digs up the box that he buried all those years ago after Ma-ri’s death. The box has nearly disintegrated over time, but inside is the red ribbon that he gave to her when he first declared his love.
Ma-ri comes back to see the tree one last time, and finds Jae-min holding the ribbon. He whispers that it wasn’t a fantasy. Standing to face Ma-ri, he thinks to himself, “It was always you.”
I’m such a happy little recapper right now! There’s no worse feeling than loving a show, then watching it slowly disappoint you, and there was a time when I worried that Orange Marmalade was going to go that route. But these last two episodes have given me back that sweet glittery feeling I had at the beginning of the show, with all the cute and adorable moments. The show has taken a lot of flak for not being what fans of the manhwa expected, and that’s perfectly fair because from what I understand, there’s really very little to tie toe drama to the manhwa other than the characters and most basic premise. But I truly think that for what it is, Orange Marmalade is a little gem of a drama. It’s not perfect, and I have some quibbles about how the pacing was handled, but all in all I have really enjoyed it (and I don’t expect next week’s finale to change that).
I did like the sageuk section of the story quite a lot, and feel much more informed about the dramaverse now that we’re back in it. It was nice to see (rather than just be told) the struggles and hardships that vampires in general and our characters in particular, went through in a different time period when the prejudices weren’t so different. The characters and their behavior make so much more sense, now that we understand the problems that vampires went through when they first revealed themselves, and why it makes it difficult for them to integrate into society, even hundreds of years later. And this episode in particular did a lot to tie the two timelines together and make it all make sense.
And finally, we’re getting some character growth from Jae-min! I like Ja-emin’s first step towards Ma-ri being one of fairness — he needs her, and she needs him. He may not be happy about the situation, but he’s willing to help her in return for her helping him regain his memories. I appreciate, even if he’s still not accepting of vampires as a group just yet, that he does see Ma-ri as an individual and not just a set of fangs and nothing else. I thought it was very mature of him, as class president and as his half of his bargain with Ma-ri, to take away the class’s ability to object towards her. He will watch her, so they can concentrate on studying — it’s actually pretty clever, because their whole objection to Ma-ri is based on, “What if she goes crazy and bites someone?” Well, now someone is watching her, and they have no high horse from which to persecute her anymore. Not only was that personally mature of him, but it speaks well for the man he will someday be.
Well done, Jae-min… I’ve been asking for some maturity from him since the beginning, and he’s finally delivering. I’m also happy that this time around, he’s not just saying that it’s okay for Ma-ri to be a vampire because he likes her, and so he’ll accept her despite her flaws. He seems to be actually thinking about his prejudice, and he’s also treating the other vampires he knows with much more consideration. I wouldn’t call it respect, and I wouldn’t even call it acceptance just yet, but Jae-min has certainly stopped making excuses to treat them as less than equals. Before, it felt as though he liked Ma-ri so he made it okay in his head for her to be a vampire, but he didn’t change his thinking about vampires in general. This time, he truly appears to be rethinking his prejudice because treating them as equals is the right thing to do, in and of itself. His feelings about Ma-ri are still the catalyst, but they aren’t his excuse anymore.
I’m also happy for Shi-hoo, that he’s at least taking a chance for happiness with another girl. At first it felt a little sudden for him to be calling Ah-ra his girlfriend after only a few interactions, but then I realized it wasn’t, so much. When they first met there were definitely some sparks of interest between them, but they were both so wrapped up in someone else that they didn’t really realize it. Now that they’re accepting that they’re not going to get Jae-min and Ma-ri, it makes sense to see what they could have together. And I love that Shi-hoo admitted his vampire status to her, and that she accepted it pretty well. I think they make a really good couple, honestly. Ma-ri and Shi-hoo only fight whenever they talk, but Ah-ra has the spunk to keep Shi-hoo, and his bossy mouth, in their place. He needs someone that can give him some boundaries, and Ah-ra looks like just the girl to do that.
I’m definitely going to be pleased with the show in general, if the finale next week can wrap things up as well as it seems it will do. I don’t think I’ve looked forward to a final show this much in a long time, and I can’t wait to see how everything ends up. I just have one request — can we have the bromance back, please?