Orange Marmalade: Episode 9
Thankfully, this episode begins where we left off and ties up the Joseon portion of our story quite nicely. Everything comes to a head as Lady Won puts into motion her plan to rule Joseon, and nobody will be able to save their world alone. Everyone must decide which side they’re on in this conflict, which will affect their lives, current and future.
EPISODE 9 RECAP
Jae-min waits in the cave with the other Soldiers of the Silver Blood for a vampire to show up, and when she does, they waste no time attacking. Just in time, Jae-min realizes that it’s Ma-ri, and quickly slashes the arrows out of the air with his sword. He tells the Silver Blood that there’s a mistake — she’s not a vampire.
One of the soldiers says that she must be, and holds up his mirror to show Jae-min that she has no reflection. Still, Jae-min begs them to wait, and things get tense when he pulls his sword on his own men.
Suddenly Shi-hoo drops in (literally) to stand beside his friends, and he pushes Jae-min’s sword arm down. He whispers to Jae-min to get Ma-ri out of here, and tells the Silver Blood (who don’t recognize him because they always wear masks) that he’s a vampire. To prove it he allows his claws to extrude, and tells Jae-min again, with glowing eyes, to go.
Jae-min actually looks like he’s going to stay and fight with his friend, but a black cloud descends and all of the Silver Blood fall instantly unconscious. The men of Ma-ri’s clan come, and the blind elder tells a terrified and confused Jae-min that they have no power to hurt people beyond erasing memories.
Jae-min begins to accept that these people he trusted really are vampires, as Ma-ri’s father Baek assures him that they never drink blood. They live in harmony with humans. Jae-min turns betrayed eyes on Ma-ri, and she can only duck her head in answer.
The pregnant queen sets out to give tribute to her dead brother, apologizing for not even having a funeral for him yet since it could invite harm to her unborn child. Jae-hee interrupts, and takes her hostage on Lady Won’s orders.
Jae-min goes to the hideout and shoots arrow after arrow, until Shi-hoo steps in front of his bow, still looking bleak and ill. He asks Jae-min to shoot him — now that he’s not human, he wants to die. Jae-min lowers his bow but says that he can no longer see Shi-hoo as human, but begs him to live.
Shi-hoo repeats that he’s a vampire, and Jae-min knows very well how to kill a vampire. Jae-min draws back his bow and shoots– but he only grazes Shi-hoo’s cheek. The cut heals nearly instantly, proving that he’s a vampire. Shi-hoo cries, but Jae-min quietly walks away.
He sits on his and Ma-ri’s rock, shaking and remembering that she tried to tell him once that she’s not human, and only now realizing that she meant it literally. Shi-hoo goes to Ma-ri’s home to find her staring forlornly into the fire.
By morning, Jae-min is still at the rock and looking like hell when Ma-ri comes looking for him. She simply says that she wishes he were at peace. She turns to go, and Jae-min says that when he first saw her, he thought she was a woods fairy. But she’s actually a monster.
Angry, he asks if she turned Shi-hoo into a vampire by feeding him her blood, and her defiant gaze answers his question. He screams, “WHY?!” and she fires back that she couldn’t just let him die, and that was the only other choice. He calls that a lie, since his book says a vampire-bitten person can be revived back into a human.
With no small amount of suspicion, Jae-min asks what her intention was when she turned his best friend into a monster like her. Her eyes fill with tears and she starts to turn away, but he grabs her wrist and says that if it had been him, he’d rather have died. Not for one moment would he live his life as a vampire.
Ma-ri asks what the vampires did that was so wrong, and he growls through his teeth that they drink human blood to live. Ma-ri corrects this assumption — they only drink the blood of the animals that humans kill to eat. Humans kill animals to live, and they even step on their own kind to increase their own status. What makes humans better than vampires?
She’s got a point, and Jae-min pales to realize it. Sadly, Ma-ri continues that he probably doesn’t remember the first time he saw sunlight, but she does. She remembers clearly the day her mother took her into the sun for the first time, and she’s always loved being alive because she can see the sunlight.
Ma-ri says she’s never wished to be human, but when she met Jae-min, it became harder to be a vampire. She continues that she doesn’t like herself anymore, and Jae-min seems to try to pull her closer but she yanks her hand away. She says that she’s disappointed in him, and walks away.
Shi-hoo waits in Ma-ri’s room, and she brings him his first meal of blood and the sunlight drink. He asks why she fed him her blood, and she answers that she just knew she needed to keep him alive. He sincerely thanks her for saving his life, but she’s distraught that he blames her for making him a vampire.
Shi-hoo decides to make an effort for her sake, and drinks the blood while thinking that it’s at least comforting, now that he’s the same as Ma-ri. He talks to Baek later, who tells him about the human blood-drinkers and how they can’t come into the daylight. He tells Shi-hoo that he must drink the sunlight medicine to be able to go into the sun.
The young queen is discovered to be missing, and troops are sent out to find her and bring her back. Jae-min’s father seems to be in charge of the search, and in light of the queen’s disappearance, his assistant suggests they put the matter of the vampires on hold for now. Nobody showed up at the cave, and they can just quietly search for the owner of the butcher’s knife.
Shi-hoo and Baek are also discussing the missing knife, and they both suspect there’s a connection between it going missing and Hwasawon, the establishment where the women go to be pampered. Jae-min is also thinking of Hwasawon, and how Ah-ra had told him she was giving information to its owner, the leader of the vampires. Ma-ri’s words that she’s disappointed in him reverberate in his mind.
Ma-ri runs into Ah-ra on the street, and Ah-ra admits to having sent the letter calling her out to the cave. Ma-ri demands her father’s knife back, but Ah-ra doesn’t have it, and warns against Lady Won’s grudge against Ma-ri’s family.
She asks Ma-ri’s forgiveness, saying that she’s never hated anyone before but that Ma-ri made her feel lower than a butcher. She’d felt like Ma-ri took everything from her, and that if Ma-ri took away her hope of marrying Jae-min, she wouldn’t be able to live. So she tried to kill herself, but even then her only thoughts were of ruining Ma-ri. Now Ah-ra says that she wants herself back.
Lady Won watches Jae-hee visit Lady Yang-pyong though her crow’s eyes, and Jae-hee reports back that he took the queen to a secret hiding place. Lady Won asks him if he knows Lady Yang-pyong, and orders him to kill her. He dares to ask why, and she notes that the coldness in his gaze is melting recently.
Lady Won visits the queen in her prison room, and promises to take her back to the palace soon. But first, her baby will become part of their family. She says she will bring someone to help the young queen with her childbirth, and hopes that she produces an heir to the throne.
Ah-ra is cornered by a pair of vampires that night, intent on taking her to Hwasawon, but Ma-ri coming flying out of the dark and fights them off with her reed flute. They recognize her as one of the Banchon clan, but she quickly says that she came to tell Ah-ra to protect her place with her fiancé. She holds her own against the vampires until Ah-ra gets away, but they eventually overwhelm her.
On Lady Won’s orders, Jae-hee goes to Lady Yang-pyong’s room that night and brandishes his sword at her throat. He says simply that she needs to die, but the lack of fear in her eyes makes him pause. She says that when she met him, his eyes were kind, and she knew he would never hurt her. Jae-hee just grumbles, “I hate humans.“
Instead of Ah-ra as planned, Ma-ri is taken to the queen to assist her in childbirth. Lady Won says that her clan won’t dare interfere in her plans in the future, now that Ma-ri will have helped them. Meanwhile Ah-ra runs to Jae-min for help, telling him what happened to Ma-ri and where she’s been taken.
Shi-hoo practices his new vampire skills, and repeats the Hwasawon name as the hideout of the vampire clan. And Jae-min suits up for battle, but leaves the silver neck armor behind.
Jae-min finds the vampires who kidnapped Ma-ri and kills one, directing the other to take him to the vampire leader. Jae-hee meets him first and smiles at his fearlessness, then kills his own vampire entourage. Shi-hoo drops down from above and he and Jae-hee recognize each other from their fight over Ma-ri.
Jae-hee tells both boys Lady Won’s plan to turn the queen and her baby into vampires and rule Joseon. The vampires that Jae-hee struck down are healing and recovering, and call him betrayer, but he says he’s tired of thirsting for human blood. He mutters to Shi-hoo that a vampire fight only ends when one dies, and urges him to leave, but Shi-hoo quips that Jae-hee isn’t the only one who gets to be cool.
Inside, the queen is going into labor, and Ma-ri promises to protect her. At the same time, Ma-ri’s father has heard of Ma-ri’s kidnapping, and tells the rest of the Banchon clan. But he knows a way to the chamber where Ma-ri and the queen are being held, and decides that they can no longer hope for a peaceful coexistance with the Hwasawon vampires.
With no other choice, Jae-min’s father, the Defense Minister, vows to lead the Soldiers of the Silver Blood himself against the Hwasawon vampires. This will be his last battle, since he’s despondent that there was a spy selling information to the vampires within his own ranks. Dying on the battlefield is the only way he feels he can wash away the sin of allowing that to happen.
Je-min is already inside Hwasawon, and he faces off with Lady Won. He manages to slash her throat and she heals immediately, but she’s terrified that a human could cut her while she was still protected by the power of the eclipse. She runs from him and bars the doors magically, cutting Jae-min off from chasing her.
Outside, Shi-hoo and Jae-hee fight off the Hwasawon vampires together, but Jae-hee takes a vicious wound just as Shi-hoo reaches his side. He thinks of Lady Yang-pyong, whose life he spared, thanking her silently for helping the hatred in his heart to disappear, then he falls dead into Shi-hoo’s arms.
As he tries to figure out how to break through the magical barriers, Jae-min is joined by Ma-ri’s entire family clan. The combined power of the vampires allows them to open the door for Je-min, and he runs deeper into Hwasawon after Lady Won. Ma-ri faces a similar barrier that, try as she might, she can’t break through — but the barrier suddenly comes down with the rest, and she and the queen are freed.
The Defense Minister issues orders to the Silver Blood to be careful of the queen, and they rush into Hwasawon just as another wave of vampires is about to attack Shi-hoo. Inside, Jae-min finds Lady Won in her lair, as Baek and her clan hold the barriers open.
Lady Won and Jae-min fight violently, and Jae-min is pinned with Lady Won’s claws to his throat just as Ma-ri sees them and comes running. She’s thrown across the room and Jae-min rushes to catch her, and in his distraction Lady Won is able to sink her fangs into his throat.
He quickly takes a silver arrow from his quiver and stabs her in the stomach and, gravely injured, Lady Won escapes into a mirror. Jae-min fires another silver arrow at the mirror, ending Lady Won for good.
With her death, the magical barriers come down on their own, and all of the Hwasawon vampires dissolve into ashes simultaneously. Jae-min staggers and falls to his knees, and manages to ask if Ma-ri is alright and hold a shaking hand to her face. He reassures her that he’s fine, but it’s clear that he’s far from okay.
Baek finds them and begs Ma-ri to leave with him since the humans are coming. He drags Ma-ri out, and Jae-min whispers after her that he’s relieved she’ll be safe. He manages to get the queen outside before he collapses, shaking, and his father finds them.
Jae-min suffers from his vampire bite for days, and Ma-ri can only watch him from afar. She goes to the blind elder for help, who says that there’s no way to restore a person who’s been bitten by a vampire to their humanity. Even if there were, there’s nothing she can do. But while he’s sleeping, Ma-ri finds an old book among his belongings, and starts reading.
Lady Yang-pyong entreats Jae-min’s father to rest, and he says quietly that when he would see men die on the battlefield, he always remembered that they were someone’s precious son. He felt dishonored because he couldn’t send his own son to war and take the same risk those parents did by sending their children. But there was also a part of him that was relieved.
Ma-ri goes missing, and her clan search for her in the woods with no luck. She’s at her rock when Shi-hoo finds her, playing her flute, and she says she knew he would come. He notices she’s sweating and pale, and she says that if a vampire refuses blood, it becomes close to human before it dies.
She tells him that she can save Jae-min and restore his humanity by giving him the blood that flows at the moment of her death. She asks Shi-hoo to take her to Jae-min, and he stoically asks if she has to do this. He agrees, though he can’t hide his tears.
Shi-hoo piggybacks Ma-ri to Jae-min’s home and sweetly removes her shoes for her since she’s so weak, and takes one last long look at her. Ma-ri goes in to Jae-min and caresses his face one last time, then uses her knife to make a cut in her arm. Her face grows paler as she feeds her blood to him, and she looks at peace with her decision.
Jae-min wakes in the morning to find Ma-ri unconscious beside him, and he instantly knows something is wrong. He gathers her into his arms, calling her name, and she opens her eyes weakly. He asks why she’s here, and she just says she wanted to show him that she’s wearing the ribbon he gave to her.
Jae-min tells her that it’s really pretty, and says that she should show it to him many times. He asks why she’s cold and weak, and Ma-ri admits that she lied to him. She was never disappointed in him — and because she met him, she was happy. Ever since they met, she’s been as happy with him as she was to see the sunlight.
She’s fading fast, but she manages to gasp that she wishes him to be safe and at peace, and that in her next life, she will be the same kind of being as he is. Then she gently closes her eyes for the last time. Jae-min cries and begs her not to go, but it’s too late.
Later Jae-min goes to the forest to their special place, and buries a beautiful box under a tree. He swears her that, even though he couldn’t keep their promises now, someday they will be kept. He will wait for her.
In the present, Jae-min stands beside the large stump in the middle of his school’s courtyard. He’s been drawn to it all this time, though he still doesn’t know why.
In the Joseon days, Ma-ri’s father Baek bows in front of the king. The king beckons him closer to see the treaty he’s written between the humans and vampires, and declares them equals as the respective leaders of their people. The king thanks Baek for saving his grandson’s life, which makes Baek smile shyly, though the smile fades when the queen asks after the young girl who saved her life.
I’ve enjoyed this Joseon era part of the story quite a lot, because I very much feel that it shed a lot of light on the present-day events. I’ll go so far as to say that the main issue this show has had, for me, is that I believe they showed the timelines in the wrong order. Maybe it’s not as edgy and creative to show everything in the order it happened, but so much more makes sense if we had only known then what we know now. I feel that the story and its elements would have been much easier to follow, if we hadn’t spent the first four episodes wondering why in the word these people behaved in such extreme ways. We had no motivations for their actions, such as why Jae-min hates vampires so viciously and why Shi-hoo and Jae-min took such an instant disliking to each other. We were shown those things, but we were never given any reason for their behavior, so instead of being intrigued we were just confused. If we had seen their Joseon era lifetimes first, or at least had them interspersed throughout the present-day events, I think many people wouldn’t have been so confused for so long. I get that people in entertainment want to tell stories in new and interesting ways, but if you’re risking losing your audience for the sake of innovation, you’re just shooting yourself in the foot.
My biggest source of confusion in the present-day was: Why in the world does Jae-min hate vampires with such ferocity? Now that I’ve seen his and Ma-ri’s origin story, of course it makes sense that he hates vampires! His whole life was destroyed in the past just because vampires existed — he lost his best friend, his love, and the dream of the happy life he wanted for himself. It was no one person’s fault, which could explain why his hatred of vampires in the present is so intense yet has no focus. He never does articulate exactly why he hates them, he just does, and I never felt like even he really knew why. But at least now we as viewers know why, so my hope as we go back to the present day is that we’ll be able to sympathize with him more, instead of him just seeming like a royally spoiled brat.
One thing I wanted to comment on was Ma-ri’s statement as she died, that in her next life she would come back the same as Jae-min. Since she came back as a vampire and he as a human again, I’m assuming that in this world’s rules, you cannot be reborn as something you were not (since Shi-hoo would have had to die a vampire, and was reborn a vampire). But yet I still feel that Ma-ri’s statement was accurately prophetic, though maybe not so literal. Although she and Jae-min are still different creatures, in the present day they’re finally on equal footing. They don’t have the class divide they faced when they first met, and now it’s acceptable (though there will always be those with prejudice) for humans and vampires to marry. So, while she wasn’t exactly correct, it is true that in their next lives, they were born as equals. That is, of course, if Jae-min can get over his mental block against vampires and accept her for who she is.
So now that Ma-ri has proven her love with her willingness to die for Jae-min, I’m ready to see him step up and grow and fight for her. He’d started to do that at the lighthouse when he said that he didn’t care that she was a vampire and that he loved her anyway, but I still feel that’s not good enough. Loving someone in spite of who they are isn’t love, it’s tolerance because you feel attraction. It’s not a lasting sort of love, like the love that is willing to give up everything for the other’s happiness. Ma-ri knew that Jae-min would rather die than become a vampire, and she remembered that when it was time to make a decision.
If she’d been selfish, she could have made him a vampire against his wishes and tried to convince him to stay with her (from what I understand, it’s canon that vampires live about 150 years, so they could have had a long life together). But she loved him enough to give him the life he wanted as a human, or at least as close to it as she had control over. So now that we’re back to present times, I want to see Jae-min prove that he loves her in the same way. Not “I love you even though you’re a vampire,” but “I love everything you are.” We’ve even seen Shi-hoo give up his life for the person he loves (*sob*) and Jae-min is the only immature holdout. He made great strides in the Joseon era, but clearly his soul hung onto some serious issues when he was reborn. It’s time for him to take a cue from his mother, and learn to see the person inside, and not just the outward assumptions he’s clinging to. I know he’s got it in him to feel real, unselfish love.
- Orange Marmalade: Episode 8
- Orange Marmalade: Episode 7
- 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