Hwayugi: Episode 7
There’s something nicely intricate about the way today’s plots weave together—and also something satisfying about the way the primary motif plays off our main couple’s relationship in a fitting way, but opposite to the way we might expect. Because fairy tales are fun and all, but better with a twist.
EPISODE 7 RECAP
After his snowy encounter with Sun-mi at Namsan Tower, Oh-gong isn’t feeling too hot, blaming the weather for his droopy condition. Mawang is skeptical that a being like him could get sick, but Buja confirms that his symptoms (feeling feverish and scratchy) point to a cold.
Mawang enjoys the idea of Oh-gong feeling bad (though he’s disappointed that he’s not suffering worse), just as his eye twitches. Oh-gong thinks he’s being taunted, but turns out they’re another side effect of Mawang’s remedies (to counter tasting the monk’s blood). Oh-gong offers to join in the winking as an act of solidarity (ahem, mockery), and orders the others to do it too.
Mawang expects to feel better soon, because he’s invited a famous movie producer to the house (the longhaired man Sun-mi met at the tower, who revealed to Mawang that young Sun-mi was his first love). He’s anticipating Oh-gong’s jealous reaction to their romantic reunion.
Buja finally figures out how to wink, only to get an eyeball stuck. Oh-gong offers to smack her head so they can pop her eyes out and reinsert them, but Buja pouts that she hates her eyeballs falling out because it makes her seem like a zombie, and runs away.
At the bar, Summer Fairy asks Sun-mi about what happened while the bracelet’s powers were momentarily frozen by Frosty. Sun-mi was able to ask her question, but she’s as confused as ever about the response: Oh-gong said he loved her just as the snow stopped falling, and she doesn’t know whether his answer was real or driven by the bracelet. She thinks Oh-gong’s declaration sounded more serious than his usual cavalier tone, but when she demonstrates, Summer Fairy can’t tell the difference.
Summer Fairy adds that her brother couldn’t have frozen the bracelet, because as soon as he’d freeze something, she’d melt it, since they share the same body. Sun-mi’s dismayed to hear it, and Fairy advises that she befriend humans rather than monsters. Sun-mi sighs that there are no humans for her to befriend: “If there were, I would have liked people.”
“But does that mean you should like monsters?” Fairy asks. Flustered, Sun-mi insists she doesn’t, but Fairy advises her seriously to find a human to like. “If your heart keeps getting stolen by monsters, it puts you in danger,” Fairy adds.
Sun-mi returns home and repeats the warning to herself, only to have Oh-gong ask what she’s talking about. He’s brought her a thermos of CEO Sa’s porridge to ward off the chill, and when she tells him to convey her thanks, Oh-gong tells her to say so herself by talking into the thermos lid.
He mimes an old-fashioned telephone, so Sun-mi holds the lid to her ear and speaks into the container, thanking CEO Sa for the food. There’s no response, so Oh-gong holds the cup level with her face, suggesting she try video.
LOL, it’s only now that Sun-mi gets that he’s teasing, and it piques her temper. So when he blows magic into the lid and tells her it’ll work now, she just slams the lid down and takes out her phone instead. She says pointedly that as a human she should use human devices; it’s only that her association with him has confused her.
He clocks her mood and guesses that she’s angry because he wanted to kill her. (I mean, there are worse reasons.) She snaps that she isn’t angry—just foolish for being too friendly with the one who wants most to eat her.
Oh-gong replies, “But it’s become clear to me that I can’t let you disappear. Before that happened, my heart would shatter. So you won’t die. Not before I do.”
She asks if it’s because of the bracelet. He says yes, but assures her to trust him that she’s safe. Oh-gong tells her to stay warm and tells her to leave him a message with the thermos if she needs to tell him anything. She sniffs that she won’t believe him, but is disappointed when he vanishes a moment later. And despite herself, she holds up the thermos like a phone, hoping it’ll work.
Then she shakes aside the memory of him telling her she’s pretty, and tells herself not to believe any of his words anymore. Only to hear Oh-gong’s voice coming from the thermos: “Liar, you believe me.” He says that she believes things too readily, and she slams the lid down.
In a nearly empty library late at night, a student sits at a table alone. Over text, his friend warns that the library is supposedly haunted at night and advises him to leave. The student laughs it off, particularly when he sees a beautiful young woman smiling at him from a nearby table.
He texts that to his friend, only to be told that the ghost is purported to be beautiful… and also legless. The woman suddenly appears in the seat right in front of him, and when the student drops his phone in nervousness, he hazards a glance over to her chair. Sure enough, there are no legs poking down from her dress hem. Ack!
The student fumbles to text his friend, just as the ghost drops down to meet his eye. He screams.
CEO Sa shops at a fish market, and hears a disembodied mystical voice calling to him, which leads him to an octopus tank. The creature identifies itself as the second son of the Dragon King of the East Sea and asks for help escaping.
So CEO Sa buys the octopus and brings it to the Lucifer building, explaining to Mawang that the Dragon King’s troublemaking son has lost his powers and been turned into an octopus as punishment. He asks Mawang to take in the prince, since Mawang is acquainted with the Dragon King.
Mawang is annoyed at the idea of taking in yet another monster, and puts Patriarch in charge as he heads out to go golfing. Patriarch chases him out protesting, and neither sees the octopus emerging from its container.
Meanwhile, bratty star Alice complains about not getting an audition for an upcoming movie. Secretary Ma reminds her that Alice’s “dog-foot-acting” is to blame, but Alice insists on speaking to Mawang directly and threatens to storm his house if necessary. Secretary Ma tamps down the urge to kill her and agrees to speak to Mawang.
Inside the office, however, all she finds is an empty styrofoam container and a puddle of water. “The prince has escaped,” she sighs.
Alice primps inside a bathroom stall, and looks curiously at the octopus tentacle under the stall door. Then it slithers into the stall in a sudden rush (yikes!), and she starts screaming.
A short while later, Alice opens her eyes and smirks. Her body language is now tough and loose-limbed, and she kicks off her high heels.
Octopus-inhabited Alice strolls out and runs into Secretary Ma, who guesses immediately that the dragon prince is now in Alice’s body. This is a problem for Mawang, since Alice is a celebrity, and he urges the prince to return to the sea. Octoprince says he’ll return home after he finds what he’s looking for, and figures this body will do for the time being. Moreover, he’s unable to switch bodies immediately anyway.
Unfortunately, Alice has a commercial to shoot today, which leaves Mawang with little choice but to allow the possession. He assigns PK to accompany Octoprince Alice on her activities today, while he seeks out Sun-mi.
At the office, Han-joo confirms that Sun-mi isn’t dating her bodyguard, then asks if she’d be interested in being set up with his hoobae, who’s been pestering him for an introduction. Han-joo says he’s much better than Oh-gong, then nervously looks around, having been conditioned to expect pain anytime he badmouths him. Ha!
Sun-mi picks up her thermos like a telephone and orders Oh-gong not to mess around here anymore. Han-joo looks at her like she’s a crazy person, and backpedals on the blind date. Aw.
Spooked by Sun-mi’s behavior, Han-joo calls his wife to suggest quitting his job, just as Mawang steps in. Mawang explains needing Sun-mi to attend a special event for faraway royalty, just as his eye twitches. A puzzled Han-joo mistakes it for a wink and gives a confused wink back, then tells his wife that the CEO is being very friendly so he’ll stick out the job after all, for the sake of his daughter’s future career.
Mawang explains the situation to Sun-mi: Dragon Prince came here to find a mermaid who’d fallen in love with a human. The prince gave her medicine to make her grow legs, so now they need to find her and return her to the sea.
Sun-mi asks if it’s possible for a monster to love a human, and Mawang says yes, pointing to Oh-gong as an example. But she sighs that that’s a fake love driven by the bracelet, and Mawang tells her it’s good that she realizes that distinction, advising her to seek love from another human.
She says there isn’t anybody like that for her, and Mawang asks how she’d feel if there were—would she return that love? She answers yes, and asks him to introduce her to any humans who might like her. Mawang tells her to find the mermaid, offering to find her a human, and chuckles at the idea that somebody will be heartbroken if she were to date someone.
The story Oh-gong learns from CEO Sa has a different twist: Dragon Prince didn’t come here to save the mermaid, but to kill the human who betrayed her. The prince requested that a carved knife be given to the mermaid so she can drive it through the human’s heart; a mermaid who is unable to earn the love of a human cannot return to the sea. (The Hong sisters do love their Little Mermaid reinterpretations.)
Knowing that virtue-seeking Mawang wouldn’t help find the mermaid under these circumstances, Dragon Prince asked CEO Sa to pass along the knife. In exchange, he promised mermaid tears, which allow one to experience a false reality as though real. Oh-gong isn’t that tempted until CEO Sa suggests he can use it to experience drinking liquor, and suddenly Oh-gong is ready to go mermaid-seeking.
CEO Sa already has a lead, and intends to use Sun-mi as bait. Oh-gong is delighted at his thinking and pinches his cheeks happily, agreeing that the monk is the perfect bait.
Of course, Oh-gong doesn’t present this full grim truth to Sun-mi; he merely says he’ll help find the mermaid because having Sun-mi in danger puts his heart in danger. Their lead takes them to a college campus, where the mermaid’s unrequited love is.
Oh-gong slips when he mentions being bait, then covers up by pretending Mawang must have called her that and acting outraged on her behalf. Ha.
The mermaid’s human is a librarian, so they stake out the library and keep an eye on the man, guessing that the mermaid will be nearby. Sun-mi wonders sympathetically why the mermaid who left her world behind wasn’t able to earn the love of her human. Oh-gong says it must have been stolen by a human, indicating the woman who joins the librarian now.
Sun-mi supposes that watching the two humans in love must make the mermaid want to die of heartbreak. Oh-gong disagrees: “She’ll want to kill him.” Sun-mi wonders if she’d be able to kill someone she loves, and sighs that the mermaid shouldn’t have loved him to begin with.
Oh-gong asks if she finds the mermaid pitiable. She says yes, and he asks, “Then what about me?” He says he’s in the same situation, then excuses himself, saying that he isn’t one for book energy.
Mawang explains to Secretary Ma his plan to reunite the film producer (named Jonathan) with his first love (Sun-mi). He goes giddy imagining the pain it would bring Oh-gong to witness the two together, and acts out the moment.
Since it’s unlikely that Jonathan would recognize adult Sun-mi as the girl from childhood, Mawang intends to tip him off beforehand. Secretary Ma doesn’t think that plan is very romantic, preferring to take the “If it’s meant to be, it’ll happen” approach.
Mawang isn’t one to leave things to fate, not knowing that Secretary Ma recently talked with Jonathan. He’d asked for her help locating a woman he’d photographed recently, whom he saw in this building, and Secretary Ma had recognized Sun-mi.
Thanks to Secretary Ma’s tip, Jonathan ends up at Sun-mi’s office, although she’s not in. He intends to leave an envelope with a note and reaches for a pen, which is when he sees the framed photo on her desk of young Sun-mi and her grandmother.
Reading her nametag, Jonathan realizes that the woman from his photo is his childhood love and exclaims excitedly to Han-joo how incredible this is—although it’s all in English, and Han-joo has no idea what he’s going on about (“I English little!”). Jonathan declares it destiny and grabs Han-joo in a hug, and Han-joo goes with it.
At Alice’s CF shoot, PK gives Alice a quick rundown on how to comport herself, like being friendly to staffers and smiling on camera. Alice stumbles in her heels and grabs her chest as though rearranging her bosoms, and PK barks at her not to do that. Alice just grabs a boob and picks a wedgie, complaining about the discomforts of being in a woman’s body.
She fidgets in her short dress, and a strap suddenly comes undone, threatening to expose her. The lights go dark without warning, and PK swoops in to cover her with a blanket. She looks momentarily flustered at the romantic gesture, but he just tells her to take care with the body she’s inhabiting.
When Alice’s heart starts to thump, Dragon Prince wonders at the body’s reaction. Alice asks her stylist if “this woman” likes PK, and the stylist gasps, “Did you confess?” Ha, Dragon Prince’s reaction is all the horror you want it to be, and he swears at the thought of being stuck in the body of a woman who loves the Pig. Horrifying, but hilarious.
With deadly seriousness, Oh-gong discusses which liquor he will be “drinking” in his mermaid-tear-induced virtual reality experience with CEO Sa. But as soon as CEO Sa mentions the food he’ll prepare to go with the liquor, Oh-gong second-guesses his choice, not able to commit to one favorite.
As Oh-gong agonizes over liquors, Buja asks why he would use such a grand opportunity to drink. If it were her, she’d see someone she misses. Oh-gong reminds her that she doesn’t even know who that is, but Buja says that while she doesn’t remember who, she does know there is someone.
Oh-gong tells her that anyone she’d want to see wouldn’t want to see her, since she’s a zombie now. His words are harsh, and Buja glares with hurt eyes.
Oh-gong returns to his drinking dilemma and decides on a choice, but while he’s basking in the fantasy, Buja cuts in to suggest an alternate. LOL. I love how much she appears to enjoy throwing a spanner in the works.
Sun-mi stays at the library until she’s the only one there, and finally the ghostly legless mermaid makes her appearance, floating amidst the bookcases. Sun-mi senses her presence and heads to the bathroom to fill a bucket with water, since Mawang had told her that a mermaid would show her true form when splashed.
Sun-mi walks the hallways with that bucket, until finally she turns to see the mermaid floating behind her. She tosses the water on the mermaid, who flickers away—then reappears looking exactly the same as before. Why hasn’t she changed form? The mermaid resumes wandering the hallways, and Sun-mi follows.
On a different level, Oh-gong also waits for the mermaid to make a showing and senses her arrival. But when he turns to see her, his smile fades as he takes in her floating appearance. He seems startled.
Sun-mi arrives to see Oh-gong handing over the carved knife. The mermaid takes it and leaves, and Sun-mi asks him why she has no tail or legs. Oh-gong doesn’t know, but he figures he’s completed his task and heads out.
Sun-mi asks what happens now, and what he gave the mermaid. Oh-gong replies vaguely that it was a gift from her ocean friend, and that it’s up to the mermaid to make a choice and finish things. Sun-mi asks if the situation is dangerous, pointing out that they have to stop things if a human may end up hurt. Oh-gong asks flatly, “Why should I?” and declares that he’s done here.
As Sun-mi leaves the library, her phone regains connection and displays her missed calls. She calls Han-joo, who tells her that her childhood friend has been waiting for her before passing the phone to Jonathan.
Just as Jonathan takes the call, Sun-mi sees the librarian passing by, and she puts the pieces together. Realizing that the mermaid will try to kill him, Sun-mi hangs up the call and hurries back inside the library, where she sees the knife in the mermaid’s hand and the tears in her eyes.
Oh-gong tells Dragon Prince Alice that he conveyed the knife as requested, and asks for his reward. Mawang had believed their goal was to return the mermaid to the sea and is shocked to hear of the plan to kill a human. But Oh-gong says the mermaid won’t be able to kill him anyway, since she’s in no condition to return safely to the sea.
In a storeroom, the librarian unzips a large black bag… containing the body of our mermaid. Aha, so there’s our twist! There’s one for the librarian, too, who is stunned to see a tail instead of legs—he’d never known.
“The mermaid… is already dead,” Oh-gong tells Mawang.
The librarian bolts in fear, and comes face to face with Sun-mi, who accuses him of killing the mermaid. He laughs to hear she was a mermaid, saying that he merely thought she was stupid for being so compliant.
Sun-mi warns that the mermaid will punish the librarian—the idea of mermaids disappearing into bubbles is just a fairy tale made by humans. Sun-mi steps aside, and reveals the mermaid’s ghost behind her, clutching that knife.
Then the mermaid drives the knife forward, which stabs him through the heart.
Sun-mi tells him, “That is the thorn [fish bone] that will remain stuck in your heart for the rest of your life, bringing you agony.” The knife liquefies and seeps into his chest, and he falls down unconscious. He’s alive, but now doomed to pain forever.
Sun-mi tells the mermaid she’ll be able to return to the sea now. The mermaid melts into a puddle of water.
Patriarch assures Mawang that this incident won’t cause problems since the human wasn’t killed. Mawang grumbles that this was all Oh-gong’s fault, just because he wanted the mermaid tears. But Patriarch supposes that Oh-gong won’t be able to drink his liquor with full enjoyment because this will have made him recall “that time long ago.”
Mawang recalls that Oh-gong had also been used and betrayed by a human, and it was in the aftermath of that incident that he was punished to his mountain prison for hundreds of years.
Sun-mi walks into Summer Fairy’s bar that night and nearly turns around when she sees that Oh-gong is already there. But Fairy urges her to take a seat, so Sun-mi joins Oh-gong’s table and asks why he didn’t share the truth of the mermaid’s story with her. Did he think she’d stop the mermaid from revenge?
“Yes, because humans are selfish and untrustworthy,” Oh-gong says, which would be extremely rich coming from him if it weren’t also true. She mentions his earlier question of whether he and the mermaid are pitiable in the same way, and says that they aren’t: “You’re not pitiable in the least. Because I like being with you. Even if it’s fake, I’m thankful for your love, and I like it.”
Oh-gong says that the librarian probably said similar things at first. She agrees, and says she could change her mind too—but if she ends up betraying Oh-gong, he can stab her too. He says that he can’t let her die, so Sun-mi offers to take away the bracelet so that he can stab her without pain.
Oh-gong extends his arm to her, palm outstretched, wanting a contract like the one they’d made when she was a child. She demurs, saying that she meant they should avoid situations that would get them stabbed.
Oh-gong asks what kind of false-reality experience she would choose if she could, and she says she’d meet with someone she can’t: her grandmother. Sun-mi’s glass of whiskey arrives and she apologizes for drinking without him, but he assures her that he’ll be able to soon enough.
Jonathan waits for hours before finally giving up, though he’s more happy at finding her than disappointed at missing her today. He asks Han-joo if Sun-mi has a boyfriend, and Han-joo briefly thinks of Oh-gong (barking at him, “Get lost!”) before assuring him that she doesn’t.
Mawang tells Dragon Prince (Alice) that if he’d really come here to hurt a human, he wouldn’t have let him off the hook. He urges Dragon Prince to return to the sea, and Secretary Ma wheels in a fish tank so the octopus can exit the body.
Princey pouts that he can’t go back because his father would kill him; that knife was a treasure of the Dragon Palace, and he’s already used a mermaid tear. Secretary Ma offers to kill him, but Mawang resists because “He’s Dragon King’s son! And also has to film a CF.” For now, they’ll just leave Alice to PK’s watch.
Secretary Ma offers some good news to lift his spirits: Sun-mi’s romance with her human has already begun. Mawang is delighted to hear how it happened.
Oh-gong proudly shows off his vial containing the mermaid tears, while Buja shows him the Wheel of Liquor she made to help him choose what to drink. She spins the wheel while he throws a dart, selecting whiskey as his choice. Oh-gong exults at the selection and CEO Sa promises to start cooking up the best dishes to eat with whiskey.
That night, Sun-mi comes out to the living room and freezes in shock—because sitting on her couch is her grandmother. Oh, Monkey.
Sun-mi is suddenly a little girl again, and she folds herself into grandma’s embrace and cries that she missed her. Grandma rocks her back and forth as they hold each other tightly.
In his lair, Oh-gong sits before a giant spread of food… and a glass of water.
Sun-mi sleeps on the couch, dreaming happily and calling out to her grandmother. On the coffee table is the vial of mermaid tears, which fade away as they’re used up.
The next morning, Sun-mi looks especially happy as she arrives at work, and she explains having a realistic dream where she met her grandmother. Han-joo says it’s a good luck sign and tells her to buy a lottery ticket, then recalls that Sun-mi doesn’t really need buckets of money. Then he wonders, “Then is that man the lotto?”
He means Jonathan, of course, who browses the children’s section of a bookstore and helps a boy find a book.
Sun-mi looks at the photos that Jonathan left for her, and comes upon a hand-drawn sketch. It depicts a young Sun-mi crouching behind her umbrella with a boy, and he’s written, “Do you remember me?”
Sun-mi flashes back to the encounter: She and a boy had been huddled in the corner of a room, behind her yellow umbrella, and she’d shushed him when he tried to talk.
She smiles at the memory now, remembering him as the oppa who had liked her. Han-joo says he’d told Jonathan she didn’t have a boyfriend.
PK shows Buja the video of her dancing that he uploaded to his social media account, and because he’d liked it, it’s amassed a ton of likes and comments. Buja can’t read them, though, and admits that her body seems to be deteriorating.
PK offers to read them for her, and says it would be nice if there were replies from someone who knew her. Buja agrees, saying that she’d like to meet with them, whether it’s a family member or someone else.
In the hospital, a middle-aged woman lies asleep next to a framed photo with Buja and a flyer searching for her. The room is watched by the two hit men who killed Buja, who report over the phone that the dead girl’s only family is her mother, who collapsed while trying to locate her daughter. Thus, if Mom dies, nobody will look for the girl.
On the other end of the line is, as we’d suspected, the handsome politician that Buja recognized.
Meanwhile, Buja tells PK that she wants to see the person waiting for her before she decays entirely and disappears.
Just then, the hit men discover PK’s uploaded video and recognize Buja as the girl they killed. Then… did she survive?
Secretary Ma oversees preparations for their special dinner, and Mawang describes their VIP to a disinterested Oh-gong. Mawang tells him to listen up, predicting that Oh-gong will be asking him about their guest shortly: “He’s a very special person to Sam-jang. I prepared this for you.” Man, these immortals put so much effort into annoying each other. Just imagine what they could do if they actually tried to accomplish things.
Mawang explains the whole first-love scenario, and Oh-gong initially scoffs. But Mawang assures him that Jonathan and Sun-mi have already recognized each other from their past, and tonight will mark their reunion in earnest. Mawang takes credit for writing and directing tonight’s drama, which stars Sun-mi, Jonathan, and Oh-gong. And while Oh-gong tries not to react, we can see he’s not entirely unaffected.
The doorbell rings, and Secretary Ma lets Sun-mi in. A moment later Jonathan comes rushing in, having caught a glimpse of Sun-mi outside. Eager to reconnect, Jonathan calls out to her just as Oh-gong rises to greet her, and Sun-mi smiles at him, assuring him that she does remember him.
Sun-mi takes Jonathan’s hand, Oh-gong’s gaze sharpens, and Mawang does a little dance in his seat. That’s worth a replay or ten right there.
Jonathan hugs Sun-mi warmly, and they exchange pleasantries. Mawang taunts Oh-gong, saying he must be feeling crazed, reveling in Oh-gong’s stone face.
“The crazed drama right now is what you wrote,” Oh-gong says. “What I do from here on is your fault.” Mawang’s smile turns confused, and Oh-gong heads straight for the reunited couple while Mawang tells himself that surely Oh-gong wouldn’t kill the man.
Without breaking his stride, Oh-gong pulls Sun-mi’s hand out of Jonathan’s grasp, turns her around, and says, “Did you just arrive? Nice to see you.”
Then he pulls her to him, holding her tightly, and says, “I missed you.” And then, kiss.
Jonathan’s eyes widen. Secretary Ma shoots Mawang an alarmed look. And Mawang whines, “Crazy!”
Sun-mi’s eyes dart back and forth in surprise. As the kiss continues, eventually they flutter closed.
Aw, jealous Monkey. I’m not sure I find this love triangle that threatening in the big picture sense—mostly because it came after Sun-mi acknowledged that she likes Oh-gong—but I welcome it because I’m sure I’m going to enjoy where it takes our characters in the near future. I can see how even though Sun-mi knows she likes Oh-gong, she’d be tempted to pursue a human relationship anyway —and with every monster in the drama urging her to do that, it’s not like there’s much question about what’s better for her. And if it gives Oh-gong a much-needed kick in the pants to step up his game (and be less hot-and-cold-and-taunting), I’m all for it. When the love balance of a drama seems unfairly tilted in someone’s favor, I always love when something flies out of the wings to send the seesaw in the other direction, especially if Mr. High and Mighty Monkey hasn’t seen it coming.
As a plot device, I really love how in this world, a whole story arc can be prompted by nothing more than a monster wanting to annoy another monster, and it makes complete sense and provides lots of comic fodder. (The reaction shots in today’s episode were everything I wanted and more.) Since we’re dealing with so many supernatural beings with extra powers, their squabbles can take on more intense damages because ultimately their lives aren’t in any jeopardy; mostly, they’re dealing with loss of face or humiliation or momentary (but fixable) physical inconveniences.
But then you throw a human into the mix, and suddenly things get a lot more interesting—because to Sun-mi, something that seems minor to a monster carries much higher stakes for her. She is at risk in very real ways, and their child’s play can put her in mortal danger. In that regard I completely see why everyone’s warning her to keep her distance and find camaraderie with her kind. At least there, the potential fallout isn’t casual death and destruction. And amidsr that sense of vague and impending peril, we have a doting human who believes her to be his destiny; it’s a tempting choice, I’m sure.
Despite the big jealous outburst and the kiss at the end, what really moved me was the sacrifice of the mermaid’s tears to Sun-mi, because as silly as it seems, we can understand exactly what a wrench that was to Oh-gong to give up a once-in-a-lifetime chance to break heaven’s rules without actually breaking heaven’s rules. Granted, I’m also not going to get incredibly dramatic about what a huge deal that is, because ultimately Monkey is an immortal being who has lived hundreds of years and has many opportunities to drink and/or thwart heaven’s rules again and/or find more mermaid tears.
It’s just that we know Oh-gong is also incredibly petty and in-the-moment too, and for someone who had zero reason to make any sacrifice at all, it’s symbolically a big step for him to care about anyone other than himself and his immediate pleasure. It was extra-poignant to see him alone in that moment, looking rather morose, and to not claim credit for the move. You’d think he’d be eager to score points with Sun-mi, but it feels like it actually means something when he keeps that to himself, as though giving her a happy moment really is more important than anything else. It’s these baby steps that give me hope and pang my heart.
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