Hwayugi: Episode 11
It’s an episode all about death, but in true Hong sisters fashion it’s an opportunity for gags, since dying means something entirely different to a bunch of monsters who live for centuries. Still, it makes them reflect on what they live for, what they leave behind, and how they choose to go, and they learn that no one is truly exempt from death… maybe even immortals.
EPISODE 11 RECAP
Sun-mi reactivates Oh-gong’s bracelet with a kiss (even though it was never deactivated to begin with, heh) and Oh-gong answers by kissing her properly. They walk out holding hands, and Oh-gong says it’s been decided now what kind of ordinary relationship they’ll have, since the kiss ruled out friends or family. That just leaves…
Sun-mi’s eyes widen and she asks where he thinks he’s taking her. Oh-gong, ever the smartass: “You activated [it], so you have to take responsibility!” Oh you’re not talking about the bracelet, are you?
Flustered, Sun-mi says she’s going home, and Oh-gong offers to get there first and wait for her, but she refuses to let him come over unless she calls his name. Oh-gong can’t understand in the least, while Sun-mi runs home and freaks out over what just happened.
Mawang is on the news the next morning because he’s one of many public figures carrying the Olympic torch, and the crowd cheers as he readies to receive the flame from presidential hopeful Kang Dae-sung.
But as he’s waiting in front of all the cameras, someone from the crowd suddenly steps up and stabs him in the gut, and Mawang falls to the ground in a heap. The news spreads instantly, and when Han-joo tells Sun-mi, her first thought is that Mawang couldn’t possibly die.
But Secretary Ma tells reporters that Mawang could die in a worst-case scenario, getting teary-eyed in the process. It’s all for show, of course, and Secretary Ma explains to Sun-mi that the Mawang lying in the hospital bed is an illusion he created because he’s decided to die.
Mawang gathers everyone at home and announces that he’s going to die, and everyone claps for him in congratulations while Sun-mi looks around at all the monsters quizzically. PK explains that they regularly have to “die” and start new lives, and since Mawang happened to get stabbed publicly, it’s good timing to die.
Oh-gong chides Mawang for getting stabbed in the first place, but he insists that he got stabbed on purpose, for the sake of humans. In flashback, we see that he’d spotted a man possessed by a demon in the crowd, clearly intent on murdering someone. It looks like his intended target might have been Kang Dae-sung, but before he could get there, Mawang stepped in and got stabbed in his place.
He’d grabbed his attacker and told the demon to get out, and with one flash of Mawang’s red eyes, the demon had vanished.
Back in the present, Oh-gong asks what Mawang plans to do while “dead,” and Mawang says that Lucifer CEO Woo Hwi lived a rather noisy life, so he’s thinking of traveling quietly for a while, and then maybe opening a hotel as his next persona.
Oh-gong likes the sound of that and suggests that they open a hotel in a warm country, and Mawang immediately says he’ll do it someplace very cold.
Secretary Ma plans to die right away alongside Mawang like the loyal dog she is, and PK wonders if he should wrap up this lifetime too. Oh-gong thinks they all caused unnecessary trouble by becoming famous, and Mawang counters sarcastically that the rest of them didn’t have the foresight to live as unemployed loser punks like Oh-gong. HA.
Mawang thinks that gaining love and respect from human beings makes it all worthwhile, but Oh-gong says he doesn’t need love and respect from anyone except Sun-mi. Everyone’s eyes dart to her and she tries to deny that anything is going on, but Oh-gong protests, “If you’re going to be like that, I’m not going to activate!”
Sun-mi asks what, but he’s using “activate” as code for kisses, and demonstrates by kissing his fingers and then pressing them to her lips. Hee, the looks on everyone’s faces! Embarrassed, Sun-mi rushes Oh-gong out of there while muttering that he should follow Mawang and die today.
Up in Oh-gong’s room, she warns him not to seduce her, and he asks if she’s scared she’ll cave if he keeps at it. To his shock, she readily admits it. Oh-gong: “Why are you suddenly being like this? I really like it.”
Sun-mi says it’s embarrassing because she’s already been fooled by him before, and she knows that someday this will end and she’ll be all alone again. Even knowing this, she’s fallen for him, and she asks for a little mercy. He asks if being alone in his room is very dangerous for her, and can’t hide his smile when she says that it is.
He shows her his skylight and snaps his fingers to make the stars appear overhead, and while she watches the night sky, he watches her. Oh-gong looks at his bracelet and says to himself, “Jin Sun-mi, I think I’m being fooled too. If this disappears, I think I’ll feel the same as I do now. I’m crazy, right? I’m in danger too.”
Kang Dae-sung contemplates the glove that Buja left behind the second time she died in front of him, and thinks back to the night he hit her with his car. He wonders if he’s going crazy and starts laughing. Imma go with yes on that one.
Buja walks Sun-mi out and apologizes for biting her in the van the other day, and Sun-mi reassures her that she’s fine, and makes sure that Buja is no longer rotting.
But after Sun-mi is gone, Oh-gong confronts Buja and says sternly that if he’d been the one to catch PK that day she attacked Sun-mi, he’d be dead. He knows that Buja is still rotting despite the energy balls she’s eating, and says that at some point PK will try to feed her another human, and she’ll become a real demon then.
Tears spill down her face, and Oh-gong says it’ll make Sun-mi sad if Buja disappears not knowing who she was, but it’ll make her even sadder if she has to kill her as a demon. Buja says she understands and will find an appropriate time to disappear.
CEO Sa notes that Oh-gong has been running the air conditioner lately for Buja’s sake (aw), and Oh-gong just says gruffly that he hates the cold and it’s time to stop pampering the zombie. Gruff Oppa Monkey is so cute.
Secretary Ma and Summer Fairy share drinks while sighing over Sun-mi’s foolishness in giving her heart to a monster, and Secretary Ma is surprised to hear that Sun-mi spoke of a love bell that once rang for a monster-human couple fated by the heavens. She goes to the peddler’s grandson to find out if he sold her a love bell, but he denies it and says he only lost a death bell that day they chased him off the street.
Sun-mi holds said death bell in her hands, still believing it to signal her fated love with Oh-gong. She wonders if she should tell him that they’re a destined match.
At a construction site, two workmen hesitate in front of a large tree which needs to be knocked down, but is rumored to be cursed. One man says that someone touched it last week and ended up stabbing someone, and refuses to go near it.
The other man is willing to try cutting it down for the extra cash bonus, but as soon as he attempts to fire up the chainsaw, the sky turns dark. The wind kicks up the leaves around him, and then suddenly a force drags him straight into the tree, and the man disappears with a scream.
News of Mawang’s critical condition and fans’ well wishes is still the topic of the day, and Mawang sits in his living room watching the news and dramatically sobbing over his own death.
Oh-gong steals the remote to watch Seo-jinnie on Youn’s Kitchen, heh, disrupting Mawang’s emo moment. Oh-gong thinks they should open a restaurant like the one on TV (I like that Oh-gong persists in inserting himself into Mawang’s next lifetime), but Mawang rejects the offer. Oh-gong thinks he’s being far too emotional when he’s already decided to die, but Mawang says he would’ve lived longer had he known he was so beloved.
Secretary Ma interrupts to say that Mawang can’t die right now after all, because he needs to clear up a scandal first. The boys gape to see news stories of multiple women coming forward, claiming to have had Mawang’s children in an effort to inherit his fortune.
Mawang shouts indignantly that he’s been practicing asceticism for a thousand years (all the while pointing very emphatically at his crotch, LOL), and asks how the hell he could have sired so many heirs.
Oh-gong finds this all very amusing, not at all surprised when Secretary Ma adds that there’s another rumor about him having a secret lover on the side. But then Mawang shows him the article, which posits Sun-mi as his hidden girlfriend… and Oh-gong is suddenly outraged and demands that Mawang come back from the dead to clear this up.
That’s all the convincing Mawang needs not to die as planned, and he wakes up in his hospital bed good as new. The doctors declare it a miracle, and in no time the scandals are quashed and Mawang delights in the positive press about his miraculous recovery.
Kang Dae-sung’s foundation is the one building on the site with the cursed demon tree, and he doesn’t see why they can’t just blast the tree to smithereens. When he learns that the Olympic torch attack was meant for him and connected to that tree, he pays a visit to Mawang in the hospital, making sure the photographers get every angle.
Sun-mi is there with Han-joo to visit Mawang as well, and happens to see the workman who’d disappeared into the tree the other day. His eyes are red and he’s surrounded by black smoke, so she chases after him.
She loses him in a different wing but finds PK and Buja instead, and PK tells Buja to wait while they hunt down the demon, instructing her not to fall asleep in case she gets mistaken for a corpse.
He pats her on the head cutely and they head off, and Buja sits in the hallway, not realizing that it happens to be right outside her mother’s hospital room.
Kang Dae-sung tells his minion to have Buja’s mother moved to a different hospital to ensure that she doesn’t have a miraculous recovery like Mawang did, and so Mom gets wheeled out for her transfer right in front of Buja. She stares for a long time as her mother passes by, but doesn’t seem to remember her.
Sun-mi and PK can’t find the possessed workman, and share their theory with Mawang that the demon may be using different bodies to attack one target: Kang Dae-sung. He doesn’t see why, and asks Sun-mi to look into it with Secretary Ma as backup.
Secretary Ma happily says she’ll track down the demon that stabbed Mawang and kill it. I love Mawang’s “Niiiiice” in response.
Privately, Secretary Ma asks Sun-mi about having seen a love bell, and asks casually if she’s heard it ringing before. Sun-mi affirms it, and Secretary Ma keeps the truth to herself that the bell actually signifies one person’s fate to die at the other’s hands.
Oh-gong is annoyed when Buja brings home all the flowers from Mawang’s hospital room, saying that they’ll all rot and need to be thrown out. Buja’s face falls and she says they’re still okay, but realizes that they’ll become repulsive when rotted, just like her.
Oh-gong says they’re not the same at all (aww), then quips that flowers are pretty, unlike her. Buja pouts and insists that she’s been told multiple times that she’s very pretty, even as a zombie, and Oh-gong finally caves and tells her she’s pretty, which he points out is a very big compliment for a zombie to hear from him. I get so soft when he’s nice to the zombie.
Buja smiles broadly and thanks Oh-gong for pampering her so well, and bows in gratitude before declaring that she’s ready to go now. She asks Oh-gong to burn her, and he asks if she’s really okay disappearing without knowing who she was or how she died.
Tears in her eyes, she says that she must not have any family looking for her, and though she found the hit men who tried to bury her, she doesn’t want to turn into a demon just to get revenge. She looks down at the rose in her hand and says that she wants to disappear while she’s still beautiful, and asks him to keep it a secret while she says her goodbyes to everyone.
Buja tells Oh-gong to stop running the air conditioner for her sake, but he just grabs all the flowers and says he’ll throw them away… in the bathtub where she sleeps. That’s so sweet.
Secretary Ma reports to Mawang about Kang Dae-sung being connected to the construction site where his attacker worked, which she plans to check out with Sun-mi. She hesitates but also tells him what she knows about the death bell, adding that it rang but Sun-mi doesn’t seem to know what it really means.
Oh-gong texts Sun-mi to count to ten because he’s coming over, and she runs around cleaning up her apartment and tries to look casual when he arrives. He says he was being considerate with the warning since he doesn’t want her to be so happy to see him that she dies, and when she says she’s not that far gone, he warns confidently, “You will be soon.”
He came to tell her something, but asks first whether she’d prefer to know a sad thing beforehand even if it’s not preventable. Sun-mi says that if it’s inevitable, knowing sooner would just make her sad for longer, so Oh-gong refrains from saying anything (presumably about Buja).
He’s surprised when she invites him to stay for tea, and thinks it’s selfish of her to be so casual about it just because it’s not dangerous for her, while he’s barely holding it together to be around her.
But while she’s making tea, he opens the jewelry box sitting on the table and discovers the death bell. Judging from the look on his face, he knows exactly what it is. By the time Sun-mi returns from the kitchen, Oh-gong is gone.
He returns it to the peddler’s grandson, who confirms that it’s the death bell. Oh-gong asks whether it rang, and he says that it did. Ruh-roh.
At the same time, Mawang asks Patriarch if Oh-gong and Sun-mi are fated to kill each other. He doesn’t understand how it’s possible for Sun-mi to kill Oh-gong when he’s an immortal who couldn’t even be burned by hellfire, but Patriarch says that Oh-gong has developed a fatal weakness—the bracelet has softened his heart (he describes this in a physical sense, though it’s obviously metaphorical too).
Mawang asks the million-dollar question: “So in order to fulfill her heavenly calling, will Sam-jang have to kill Sohn Oh-gong… or will she die at Sohn Oh-gong’s hands?”
Patriarch says that since theirs is a deadly fate, it’ll be one or the other. Either way, he calls it heaven’s punishment for Oh-gong. URG, sometimes you really do want to shoot the messenger.
Mawang is stunned to realize that heaven has yet to forgive the proud monkey after all these years. Patriarch says that Oh-gong has never once felt true pain in his entire life, and that always angered everyone else in heaven. He supposes that they need to see Oh-gong’s true suffering in order to forgive him. In his lair, Oh-gong contemplates the bell and tosses it aside, looking angry.
Buja goes around saying her goodbyes, though she keeps the goodbye part a secret and just thanks the people in her life for the nice things they’ve done for her. She thanks CEO Sa for making her yummy food, Frosty for keeping her chilled, and Summer Fairy for making her pretty.
PK pitches a fit when Secretary Ma tells him and Dragon Prince (in Alice’s body) that they can’t break up because they got caught in a new picture together. PK whines that Dragon Prince passes out after one drink and swears that nothing happened, and Dragon Prince makes a pun on “pig” to insinuate that he couldn’t get it up. PK shouts that he wouldn’t want to, and it devolves into a shoving match.
Buja’s arrival breaks up the petty fight, and she thanks Secretary Ma for feeding her energy balls and encourages Dragon Prince to make up with his father. PK skips a photo shoot with Dragon Prince in favor of taking Buja to the amusement park, and as they wait for the elevator, he complains about Oh-gong always hitting him in the nose.
Buja realizes that he got beaten up for trying to feed Sun-mi to her, but he reassures her that he didn’t get hit very many times. She tenderly reaches up to touch his nose, telling him not to try so hard on her behalf.
PK reminds her that she’s his dongsaeng, and Buja fights back her tears as she says that she has plans with Oh-gong today, and he’s going to take her someplace very nice. Noooo, don’t go!
She says that she’s most thankful to PK and was happy when he called her his dongsaeng, and he pats her on the head and says that he likes his dongsaeng best of all. They wave at each other and she says goodbye, waiting until the elevator doors close to let her tears fall.
Sun-mi and Secretary Ma visit the demon tree that sits on Kang Dae-sung’s land, and Secretary Ma freezes the possessed workman while Sun-mi summons the demon with her blood. The sky darkens ominously and the tree speaks through the workman, “I’ve been a protector for a thousand years. You foolish humans! From now on it’s in your hands!”
Oh dear… I don’t think they should be killing this tree…
The demon vanishes and the sky turns bright again, and Secretary Ma is satisfied that the demon is gone. But Sun-mi is bothered by what it said, and wonders if what they got rid of was really a demon.
Oh-gong tells Mawang that he’s going to burn Buja, because it’ll be less sad for Sun-mi than seeing her as a demon. Mawang notes that Oh-gong’s heart really has become soft, and Oh-gong agrees, musing that Sun-mi could really end up killing him.
Mawang acts like that’s ridiculous, but Oh-gong calls him out on knowing all about the death bell. Mawang says that if it rang, one of them is destined to kill the other, but Oh-gong simplifies it—as long as he’s wearing the bracelet, he can never harm Sun-mi, which only leaves one possibility.
Mawang asks if he’s decided to die at Sun-mi’s hands, and Oh-gong says in a detached voice that if he wants to live, he’ll have to find a way to kill Sun-mi first…
But when they see Sun-mi approaching with Secretary Ma, Oh-gong wonders aloud, “How can the woman who might kill me look so pretty?” Mawang says that if she’s that pretty in his eyes, his only option is to be killed by her.
Oh-gong tells Mawang not to worry too much about him: “I won’t ever die.” Mawang says he’s not worried at all, and looks thoughtful as he watches him walk away with Sun-mi. He tells Secretary Ma that he knows Oh-gong very well, and he will surely find a way to get rid of Sun-mi to save himself.
“Love? Something like that can never beat him,” Mawang says.
Oh-gong puts on a smile in front of Sun-mi and interlocks their fingers, which suddenly takes on a very different feeling.
Buja goes to the hospital to say goodbye to Mawang, and at the elevator, the ajumma who’d been taking care of a patient in her mother’s room recognizes her from the photos by her mother’s bedside.
She finds a missing flyer left behind and shows Buja, who finally discovers that her real name is Jung Se-ra. In tears, she calls the number on the flyer, but her mother’s cell phone happens to be in the hit men’s hands. They lie that they’re her mother’s caretakers, and she runs off to meet them.
Oh-gong heals the cut on Sun-mi’s hand, and she tells him that the ground shook when a drop of her blood fell by the tree. But nothing else happened, and the demon vanished. He tells her to be careful anyway, since the monk’s blood could awaken something annoying, but she argues that it’s his fault since she’s the monk because of him.
He laughs and says she’s right that everything that happens to her is because of him, “So if I die because of you, I have nothing to say.” He takes her hand again, but his smile doesn’t meet his eyes.
Turns out Oh-gong was right about Sun-mi awakening something—a coffin was dug up underneath the tree at the construction site, and the foreman shows it to Kang Dae-sung, who tries to lift the lid open.
As soon as he touches it, whatever’s inside lights up, and he sees a vision of a woman in a black cloak performing some sort of ritual. He’s shaken and tells them to throw the coffin out, but methinks the damage is done.
Buja waits excitedly to finally meet her mother, but of course it’s the hit men who arrive instead.
Oh-gong tells Sun-mi to head home first because he has something to do, and she stops to ask him about that sad thing he mentioned earlier. She says that it’s necessary to feel sad sometimes, and wants to know.
He muses that she must really have a blood connection to Buja, and tells her that he’s agreed to burn her because she’s afraid of becoming a demon and wants to go when she’s still pretty.
Sun-mi gets emotional and demands to know where she is, and as soon as she says it, Buja falls from the sky right behind them, landing in a bloody heap on top of a car. Damn.
Sun-mi is about to turn around when Oh-gong grabs her in a hug to prevent her from seeing the sight, which is awful—Buja, still barely alive, all twisted up and broken, covered in blood.
Tears trickle out of Buja’s eyes as she thinks, “Sohn Oh-gong-nim…” The shock begins to wear off, and fury rises in Oh-gong as he looks up to the roof of the building where she fell, and his eyes glow red with anger. Aww, yesssss!
The hit men peer over the ledge to make sure that Buja really died this time, but when they turn around, Oh-gong is lying in wait. Eyes glowing red, he closes in on them as a gust of wind pushes them back towards the ledge.
Oh-gong is consumed with thoughts of Buja sweetly saying that she wanted to go while she was still beautiful, and the sight of her bloody body on the hood of the car. His rage grows and he grits through his teeth, “Die!”
Sun-mi makes it up to the roof just in time and screams for Oh-gong to stop, and at the sound of her voice, his eyes stop glowing and he snaps out of his trance.
But the second he’s back, black smoke seeps out of the bracelet and the tendrils around his heart tighten violently, to the point that he coughs up blood. Whoa.
They’re both startled, and Oh-gong looks back at Sun-mi like he can’t believe what she just did to him.
Well that just made his mortality a very real possibility, didn’t it? At a time when Oh-gong is very seriously weighing the pros and cons of love versus life, this is a pretty huge reminder of what’s at stake should he choose love. I can see why Mawang expects Oh-gong to defeat love and choose survival, because no matter the mystical hold the bracelet has, his true nature would win out in the end. Hell, even Oh-gong thinks this of himself despite having come a long way in developing real feelings for Sun-mi. But he’s obviously underestimating love, which has always been his problem.
Even still, asking for a selfish immortal monkey to suddenly give up his life for love seems like a pretty tall order. This is the upside of having a childish monster for a hero—in any other drama, it would be a foregone conclusion that the hero would sacrifice himself for love, but here we’re made to wonder if he’s really capable of it, or if he’s just been motivated enough to do something about that pesky bracelet.
It’s a good point in the story to present this dilemma, which is essentially the same as before on a practical level, since Oh-gong was always threatening to eat Sun-mi or find a way to get rid of her so that he wouldn’t have to be enslaved by love. But at a juncture when they’ve affirmed that their love is real and mutual, we naturally need bigger stakes to keep the conflict in their relationship fresh and ever-present. We’ve tested Oh-gong’s love in as many ways as we can, so I like that we’re finally seeing him grapple with the big question that’s been looming over our heads ever since apocalyptic omens and death bells were dropped in our laps. And I’m going to venture a guess that whatever’s in that coffin is the bringer of the apocalypse, given the tree protector’s ominous warning, so we’ll probably have the fate of the world to add to his plate.
It was amusing to watch all the monsters talk of death so lightly all throughout the episode, only to have the one actual immortal among them faced with the real deal. But it was Buja’s quiet acceptance of death that was truly touching today, not only because of the way she chose a dignified farewell over becoming a demon and thanked everyone for the little things, but because of the protective brotherly side that she brought out in Oh-gong. His bond with her has been gradual and PK has gotten the bulk of the cute moments with her, but it was so sweet to see Oh-gong treating her so nicely today and SO satisfying to see him going ballistic on her behalf. I was a little disappointed that Sun-mi stopped him from getting revenge on the hit men, but I suppose it was the right thing to do. I guess. If you want to be all moral about it. *monkey pout*
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- Premiere Watch: Hwayugi
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- Lee Seung-gi hits the ground running after army discharge
- Bora and Kim Ji-soo join Hwayugi as top star and first love
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